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The Dragon's Clutch.

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Spoiler: Part eleven"Well, that's good. Isn't it?"
"Not sure, we did go for a good look around, there's no sign of fires anywhere."
"Could she've gone and left?"
"Hmm, I guess it's possible, but I think probably not. She might've gone fishing."
"So what now?"
"Bed, sleep, I'm tired and you'll feel a lot better if you spend at least a couple of hours in a proper bed. I'd walk round the cottage first, loosen up those muscles."
Harry stood up, yawned and stretched, walked round the cottage three times before going in, it wasn't a big cottage. Toothless was curled up on the rug in front of the unlit fire, giving a fair impression of an oversize domestic cat. Hiccup was already asleep on the couch. Harry went to bed, and was asleep almost as soon as his head touched the pillow.
Hermione was, unsurprisingly, fist down in the morning. Remaining virtually silent, she disapperated from the garden. Harry was next down, and did much the same, perhaps a fraction less silently. Ron tried, really he did, but the unthinking toilet flush gave him away, he was kicking himself as he tiptoed down stars.
"Ah, Ron, err, you know that thing you do, where you conjure fish from thin air?"
"Geno Piscia?"
"Geno Piscia." Ron incanted, with the wand movement.
Ron provided twelve, before he gave it the 'Finite Incantatem'.
"Right, I need to go to work. Thanks for last night, by the way, that was ace."
Hiccup smiled knowingly.
"See ya later. Ninety three Diagon Ally." Ron said, stepping into the fire place.
Hiccup found sleeping a little uncomfortable, it was a bright summer's day, not a cloud in the sky, and it was hot. Well, hot for a Viking used to living somewhat closer to the north pole.
Ron was home first, unusually, and found Hiccup washing the dishes.
"You don't need to do that."
"Well, I thought .....
"No, no, no. Higitus figitus migitus mum, skitun de bitun de batun de dum."
The plate in Hiccup's hand slid from his fingers, dunked itself in the water, lifted into mid air, where it was met by the wipe of a cloth.
"You've bewitched the dishes?"
"Yeah, trouble with that incantation is, you gotta keep an eye on it . Otherwise it'll wash the same dishes over and over and over. It'll wear them away completely, if you left it running long enough."
"Err, I, err, last night ..... was ..... nice ..... it's been a while since we, err, enjoyed each others company, if ..... "
"Yeah, I get where you're going."
"So ..... "
Ron placed a small bottle on the table, as he did so, Hermione appeared in the fire place.
"Ronald Weasley ..... " Hermione strode to the table, indignantly slammed her bag onto the table, and from it dropped a similar small bottle. They watched in stunned silence as it rolled to the edge and over, falling into Hiccup's waiting hand.
"You were saying, Hermione?"
She blushed, deeply.
"Alright, last night was the best bloody night we've had in sodding well ages!" Hermione, deeply flustered "There, I've said it."
Harry appeared in the fire place to see three humans and a dragon around the table looking awkward.
"What'd I miss."
"Both of our love birds want another night like last night." Hiccup held up the two bottles "Time to tell them?"
"If you like, I think I'll stay, just in case you need magical intervention."
"I'm not worried, I've got Toothless here, and their magic doesn't work on alpha's."
"Well, can I watch?"
"Watch what?"
"Watch what?"
"I'm wondering that as well."
"Right you two, take a seat if you want more like last night, loving not loathing each other."
Ron took a seat with no hesitation. Hermione hadn't expected that and it was a moment before she too sat down.
"Behold the wooden spoon."
"The wooden spoon?"
"It's a token, if this is going to work, you must both agree that only the person holding it may speak."
"What ever."
"Oh the enthusiasm! Look, it's your marriage, if you're not up for it, we don't have to do this. You know?"
"I agree."
"Yeah, me too."
"Right, no spitting, no kicking under the table, no melee weapons, and in your case, no magic. Please hand your wands to the independent observer. Harry, please, if you would."
Harry took their two wands, both handing them over with very slight reluctance.
"OK, here we go." Hiccup picked up the spoon "You are both here to try to fix a damaged relationship. To heal wounds and hopefully have a more enjoyable time in each others company. Do you both agree?" Both Ron and Hermione looked very pointedly at the wooden spoon, still being held by Hiccup "You are allowed to nod. And/or shake your heads, as appropriate."
Both nodded.
"OK, honesty is very important in a relationship, I want you to take turns to say what the other is doing that drives them mad, each will get a turn, possibly several, but you must hear the other out. Ron was back first back home today, so, Ron, here's the spoon. I'm sure we'd all appreciate it if we at least tried to keep this civil."
"Alright, err. This diet's driving me mad, she won't let me have any of the food I like, I'm on half rations for sugar in my tea. I've ended up sleeping on the couch more than a few times, and even in the garage once. Or twice. There's a constant stream of verbal. Insults, abuse and put downs, it's like she can't open her mouth without bad mouthing me about something! I get no nice anything from the harridan ..... "
"Keep it civil please."
" ..... alright, the woman I married, she's like a ball and chain, holding me back, all of the time 'Trouble and strife', too bleedin' right!"
Hiccup gave him an encouraging look.
"That's all I've got. For now."
Ron handed Hiccup the spoon, Hermione was conspicuously seething.
"Right, well, thank you for your honesty, and you can have another go later, if you think of anything else you feel you need to say. The purpose of this is to get everything into the open, confront it and work through it. Hermione, your turn."
Hiccup handed her the spoon.
"Ronald Bilious Weasley, is not the man I thought I was marrying. In addition to having piled on the pounds quite considerably since our wedding, he's become a vile, thoughtless, selfish, self centered wretch, with all the charm of a dementor, the personality of a festering slug, with table manners worse than a mountain troll! Oh, not forgetting the kindness, gentility, consideration and sex appeal of a boggart!"
Hiccup gave her the same encouraging look.
"I'll let you know when I'm ready for more."
Hermione handed back the spoon.
"Ron, any more?"
Ron had more, quite a lot more as it happens, by the time he'd finished, Hermione had more too, and so it went on, back and forth. For over an hour.
"OK, any more?"
Finally Ron shook his head, he'd poured out his soul, and his troubles, and so had Hermione. Oddly, both had ended up finding it quite cathartic.
"Absolutely sure?"
Both nodded.
"OK, we've covered good ground. This is a massive simplification, but, the root of the problem appears to be that Ron doesn't feel like he's the master of the house, and Hermione doesn't trust Ron to be mature and sensible when left to his own devices. Am I right?"
Ron and Hermione looked at each other, for a moment before nodding.
"Ron, you don't like the realities of dieting, so what can you do instead to achieve the same gains?"
Hiccup gave Ron the spoon.
"Err, more exercise, I guess."
Hiccup gave a circling gesture to encourage him to continue.
"I could have fewer cups of tea, half as many, that way I could have two in each and wouldn'tn't have any more sugar in total? I know I used to bring you flowers, but you hate the one's I buy you ..... "
Hermione became very agitated.
"What?" Ron said, handing her the spoon.
"Apart from the lily's being associated with death and funerals, it's the fact that that soap reacted with the pollen."
"Which ..... " Ron stopped at the severely raised finger.
"Which I don't use any more, not since I realized that was what was causing the rashes, in conjunction with the pollen. It was a nice thought, really it was, and it does smell really quite nice, on the dish in the bathroom, which is why I kept it."
"Oh, and Ron ..... Finite Incantatem, Accio falling dishes! Honestly, you'll wear them out with that spell, Merlin may have been wise and powerful, but he wasn't much of a house keeper."
It was Ron's turn to look agitated, as the dished piled themselves neatly on the table before her.
"Scourgify, before you ask ..... Look, this is sweet and all, but I don't see how this is helping. Once upon a time, long long ago, Ron and me were actually in love ..... "
Here Hiccup slid the spoon from her fingers.
"You still are. And now the bit Harry's been waiting for. See, because what he already knows is ..... The magical love potion you both took last night. That clear, colorless, odorless, flavorless liquid love potion ..... Went down the sink and was replaced with regular tap water ..... What you felt, is what you really feel inside, when you're completely and utterly honest with each other ..... And yourselves."
"So ..... err ..... What?" Ron was confused.
"You're lying." Hermione, accusingly.
"Nope. You can use Veritaserum if you don't believe me."
"How d'you know about Veritaserum?" Harry sounded cautiously suspicious.
"I'm a blacksmith, we're trusted with more magical knowledge than the average muggle."
"Oh." Harry said, still not one hundred percent satisfied.
"Any relationship requires work. From both parties. Ron, more flowers and nice gestures, and more quality snuggle time too. That's very important, and very often over looked. Hermione, he's a bloke, you need to accept he's never going to be as emotionally mature as you. Sad fact is, we lag behind girls in that. We just do. If his diet's important, try and find thing's he likes that's not so fattening. Try having the odd diet free day from time to time. Moderately diet free at least, I can tell Ron's thinking about massive bingy blow outs from here. Yeah, so, go for long walks in the countryside, it's very pretty round here, enjoy it. Together. Quality time and exercise that wont leave you too knackered, it's a win/win. And most vitally of all, is to accept it won't all be flowers and gifts, there will be shouting, things will be thrown. The critical thing is, that there's all the good stuff too. A successful marriage is hard work. Trust me on this, lots and lots of very hard work. So put away your potions and go get an early night. Sleep, none of us's had too much of that lately. And Harry, stop sniggering."
"Sorry." said Harry, trying to stop.
"I'm serious you two, go! Harry, you 'n' me're going for a little fly round, two pairs of eyes are better than one."
"OK, I'm coming."
"We'll see you two later, or in the morning."
Hiccup followed Harry into the garden, and Toothless followed close behind him.
"Right let's go."
Toothless dipped a shoulder for Hiccup, Harry mounted his Broom.
"So, where we going?"
"General look around, nothing more ..... No hidden agenda, if that's what you're thinking."
"OK, what're we looking for?"
"Any sign of the Dragon I might've missed, then back to the cottage, and sleep for you."
"Alright, I'll follow you then. Haudquaquam Animadvortex."
Toothless sprang into the air, pulling himself heavenward with hugely powerful wingbeats. This wasn't a race, but Harry was still impressed with the rate of climb. They leveled out, far lower than he night before, around three thousand feet. They made a circuit of where she'd been previously. There was nothing fresh that either could see. They swung round, flew low over the mine entrance, again nothing obvious. Hiccup leaned forward, said something softly and Toothless gained height once more.
"I wanted to see where the sea is, it's a fair way." Hiccup called to Harry.
"Is that where she'll go fishing?"
"I expect so. Want to go back yet?"
"Tell the truth, no, but if we carry on where we left off yesterday, it'll be hours before I can sleep."
"We'll save that for tomorrow night, then."
"Yeah, definitely."
"See you on the ground!" Hiccup said, sliding off into a vertical dive, closely followed by Toothless. As tempting as it was to follow, Harry came down slowly. He watched as dragon nudged human into a slow spin and disappear from sight dizzyingly far below him.
Hiccup and Toothless were nuzzling each other again as Harry landed.
"We haven't fed him tonight yet."
"No, not so far. Err, would you ..... "
"Yeah, course, no problem. Geno Piscia!"
Harry gave Toothless ten large fresh salmon, which seemed to meet with his approval.
"You know when Hermione made the dishes stop washing and come to the table, earlier?"
"You had her wand, right?"
"I didn't think it worked like that."
"Magic without a wand is tricky, and never as powerful. It's not something that's taught at Hogwarts, or any other school of magic as far as I know ..... But it's do-able. I guess Hermione's been practicing. Very Hermione, that."
Harry yawned deeply.
"Anything else?"
Harry yawned again.
"Excuse me ...... Well, I'm off to bed. Wake us if anything appears."
"Count on it!"
Harry left Hiccup and Toothless in the deepening dusk, and went to bed. Despite wondering how long it would be before he would be woken, it was not long before he was asleep.

Harry woke, alarmed and wondering what was happening, bathed in a brilliant blinding light, it was a moment before he gained his bearings. He got up, closed the curtains and sat on the bed. He looked around the room, it wasn't the first time he'd slept there, it wasn't the first time he'd woken there, but there was something wrong this morning, and he was at a loss as to what it was. He dressed and went down.
"Morning Harry." yawned a sleepy Hiccup.
It hit Harry what was wrong, nothing. Nothing was wrong, and that was precisely what was wrong.
"No attack?"
"So what happened?"
"It got dark, it was kinda cold, which was refreshing, more what we're used to. Then it got light, the sun rose and we came inside, 'coz it's a bit bright out there. Still pretty fresh though, I expect it'll be another scorcher today."
"Two nice days together? Probly have a storm this afternoon. Could she've attacked somewhere else?"
"We flew round a couple of times. I saw nothing, and Toothless didn't twitch, so, I guess not."
"Two nights in a row with no action. Fishing again?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
"Could Toothless've killed her?"
"I don't think so, no ..... Mmm ..... But that's not to say, whoever killer her mate couldn't've."
"Hmm. Well, I've got to be at work early, breakfast meeting with the team, then one with the Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Magic. See you this evening."
"Yeah, see you."
He wasted no time, and used the Floo to get to work. Hermione was next down, wearing a broad smile."
"Sleep well?"
"Umm, yes, although oddly, it took a while to nod off."
"I couldn't beg a heartstring, could I?"
"I found the Dragon's heart in the freezer. Accidentally. I was looking for some ice."
Hermione blushed.
"Oh ..... I, I, umm, I, err, I guess I can't see why not. Look, I'm sorry, but their worth more than double their weight in gold, and ..... "
"No need to explaine, they're magical creatures, and they have magical properties."
"He was dead already, it's not like he'll miss it. Err, can I ask what you want it for?"
"Gift for a friend."
"Odd gift, all things considered."
"Maybe, but I know what they're into."
"You think they'll like it?"
"I hope so. Yeah, pretty sure."
Ron thudded noisily down the stairs.
"Sleep well Ron?"
He blushed deeply.
"Err, yeah. Yeah, you could say that."
"Good. Marriage on a better footing this morning?"
Hermione and Ron exchanged looks.
"Yeah, and thanks. You know what?"
"Our view of Vikings, well, marriage counseling isn't exactly what springs to mind when people mention 'em."
"He's right, blood thirsty, violent ..... "
Hiccup was a little saddened by this.
" ..... skilled sailors and explorers, but ..... well ..... you know."
"Look, people don't change, anywhere you have a relationship, you're going to have issues. Be it Norse, Roman, Sumerian or people from your time and beyond, there's always going to be domestic problems. Wherever you are, there'll be someone somewhere to help you patch things up. Some better than others."
"Yeah, but .... "
"Ah, ah, ah. You two're still in love, just needed a bit of a nudge, that's all. Not all relationships can be fixed."
"You and your wife ever ..... ?"
"Astrid. Oh yeah! And how!"
"So who fixes the fixer?"
"We've a Spá-kona, a, err, Wise Woman. Gothi. Which is kinda tricky, 'coz she pretty much mute."
Ron and Hermione both looked blankly, neither sure what to say.
"OK, so ..... Breakfast. We know Ron'd like a fry up, but what will he suggest?"
"I would like a fry up, ain't had one since my birthday. Only ever get 'em on my birthday."
"It's called a birthday present. If you got one every day, it wouldn't be special, and you'd look like Vernon Dursley."
"Now then, this is dialogue, which is good, I'd like the next part to be a constructive approach to what happens after."
"Alright, if I have a one this morning, I'll have a salad this evening, and use the stairs at work, not the floo's and apperating."
"Done, but if I find you've been cheating."
"I won't! I won't! I know what a grass my brother is!"
"OK, a fry up for Ron ..... "
"Accio knife, fork and plate. Ientaculiata frixus."
" ..... and the usuals Hiccup and Toothless?"
"At home, does he usually eat from a dish, or off the floor?"
"Either, he's not fussy. Well, actually, perhaps maybe there's a slight preference for the floor. Although, Astrid's not so keen."
"I'll bet!" Ron managed, with a mouth part full of bacon.
"I mean she prefers Toothless to eat from a dish ..... Not that she eats off the floor, she likes to have a plate, or whatever. Pretty much insists on it, as it happens. It's the Dragon drool residue on the floor she's not keen on."
"Open mouth, insert foot. Good job she's not 'ere to hear."
"Your wife does the cleaning then?"
"Actually, we clean up after our own Dragons, Toothless makes a mess, I clean it up, Stormfly, and it's Astrid's job. Well, in theory, most of the time we kinda clean up together, as it happens. It's not exactly romantic, but it certainly helps maintain a bond."
"There's nothing like clearing up a pool of rancid dragon vomit for reinforcing the love in a relationship, eh?" Hermione smiled, looking pointedly at Ron.
"You've no idea." Hiccup, smiling too.

Spoiler: Part twelve
It was a fine sunny day, another hot one, the rain had stayed away and Hiccup had had another uncomfortably sticky day's sleep. Ron was back first, with a large bouquet of flowers, among them were a dozen red roses. He'd asked the florist for something extra romantic, he also had a box of rose petals.
"Afternoon Hiccup. I miss anything?"
"Hi Ron. Not a lot. Nice flowers."
"Thanks, back in a mo'."
He popped up stairs and scattered the rose petals across and around their bed. He returned with a smile he could not suppress. He rummaged in a closet for a vase, found a large one, part filled it with water and added the contents of a sachet before dropping the flowers in too, a little unceremoniously. They looked lovely on the table. In fact, they looked amazing. He stood back to admire his work.
"Think she'll notice?"
"Probably, it's the kind of thing they tend to."
"Catch a forecast for tonight by any chance?"
"Nah, sorry, kinda manic all day, Gorge weren't too impressed when I wanted to nip off early, but he understood. So I guess it'll either rain, or it won't, chance of snow, slim."
Harry arrived next in the fire place.
"Core, they're nice, err, hi guy's, Ron, you're back early?"
"Yeah, wanted to surprise the misses."
"Got anything for heart failure in the first aid kit?"
"You know, I think we have."
"Good, you may need it. Err, so, anything happen while we were away?"
"No a lot."
"But something?"
"Dog came round, barked 'n' growled at the back door."
"Big shaggy black thing?"
"That's Candy, belongs to the family down the road, he's forever getting out."
"Might not come here again, well not for a while at least."
"I opened the door, it came nose to nose with Toothless, he gave him a really good snarl back. Truly blood curdling. Poor thing looked properly terrified, ran off as fast as it could, tail between its legs. Err, you didn't catch a forecast by any chance?"
"No, sorry, been a bit preoccupied, we've now got an audit coming up. Just what you need to hear on a friday morning. We've moved heaven and earth today, should be able to finish the prep on monday."
"Yeah, there's six ton of it in the evidence locker."
"Oh, I remember, the Le Herrisier and Schede case."
"Yeah, it's still on going."
"Any progress?"
"One step forward, two steps back, I've got two tied up on that pretty much permanently. I reckon humping files around came as a blessed relief for 'em, to be honest."
Hermione arrived with a bag of shopping, and spotted the flowers.
"Ron, tomorrow, could you book me an eye test."
"Well, it appears that there's this massive bunch of flowers on the table."
"Nothing wrong with your eye sight."
"Psychiatrist then?"
"I don't think there's much they could do for you, the flowers are real."
"And you bought them Ron?"
"Wow, I don't know what to say."
" 'Thank's Ron, they're really nice.'? "
"Thank's Ron, they are, really very nice! Unexpected, but nice."
"Did you see a forecast by any miracle?"
"Err, no, I take it these two didn't either."
"You take it correctly."
"Well, it's been nice two days running, so I wouldn't be surprised if it rained later. Who fancies what for tea?"
"Salad." Ron said emphatically.
"That's not like you Ron."
"Well Harry, I got a fry up for breakfast, in exchange for running up and down stairs all day and a salad for tea. Might have All Bran in the morning, don't reckon my legs could take another full english. They feel like they wanna drop off, they really do."
"There's a really good muggle Chinese round the corner from my place ..... "
"We could invite Ginny."
"Sure, and they do salad, and sashimi."
"What's that?" Ron looked suspicious.
"Salad, or sashimi?" Harry asked, tongue in cheek.
"Shashimi!" Ron clarified indignantly.
"Basically it's bits of raw fish, with a sauce you dip 'em in."
Ron's expression painted a picture, he wasn't keen.
"I thought Toothless might like to try some."
"Fair enough."
"Takes fifteen to twenty minutes to cook, longer if they're busy. Friday night, pays to get in early."
"I could eat now."
Hermione looked at her husband. Usually she's have made a remark about him always being ready to eat, but this time, she let it go.
"I could eat now. Lunch, such as it was, seems like a distant memory."
"OK, I'll go see if Ginny's up for it, and grab a menu, back in a sec'."
Harry returned moments later with Ginny and the Menu. Oddly, Harry had failed to mentioned Hiccup and Toothless to her.
"What ..... " was Ginny's wide eyed reaction as she stepped from the fire place.
"Oh, sorry, forgot to say, Ginny this is Hiccup, and Toothless." Harry gesturing as appropriate.
"Err, err, err ..... "
"Hi, please to meet you Ginny."
Ginny tore her eye's from Toothless to gawp at Hiccup, mouth still open.
"You might wanna close it sis, you're gonna catch flies."
" ..... err what?"
"He said 'Hi, pleased to meet you Ginny.' "
"Oh, ..... err ..... "
"Don't worry, he's friendly."
"He said 'Don't worry, he's friendly.' "
"Err, err, err, b-b-but, that's err Ber .....  a Ber ..... a Bellua Tenebrus, a err Ter-ter-ter-terrato Noctus."
"What did she say?"
"She said 'Err, err, err '..... "
"Yeah, I got that bit."
" ..... 'that's a Ber, Ber, Bellua Tenebrus, a T-ter-t-ter-ter T-Terrato Noctus.' "
"We call 'em Nightfuries, but yeah. Like I said, he's friendly, and great around kids too."
"What did ..... No, this is hopeless, is there any way you can make us understand each other."
"What's she say?"
" 'This is hopeless, is there any way you can make you two understand each other.' "
"Oh, right."
"What did he say?"
"Hang on, hang on. Mutuus Perceptio." Harry said softly, with a subtle flick of the wand.
Something clicked in Ginny's mind.
"Harry, 'there's the most dangerous dragon known to man attacking Ron and Hermione's place, but it's safe to go round theirs, coz it'll rain later', you said."
"Ginny caught the forecast, it's set to rain pretty much all night." Harry interrupted,
"You didn't say you'd caught it!" Ginny continued.
"Different dragon, we've borrowed Hiccup and Toothless to help out."
"Oh." Ginny said weakly.
"So who's having what?" Harry waving the menu "Meal for four looks good."
There was some discussion, in the end, meal for four, two extra prawn crackers, a number two three eight - chicken salad - with low calorie dressing, and six portions of sashimi were what was wanted. Ginny barely took her eye's off Toothless the entire time.
"Right, I'll go order ..... " Harry began, but Hermione handed him her cell phone.
"Never knew you had one of them!"
"And neither does your dad. Can you imagine if he got his hands on it?"
"And I'd blab, would I?"
"Ron, dear, I know what you're like, sooner or later, it'd slip out." Hermione said with a mischievous smile.
"It's a fair cop." Ron admitted.
Harry called and ordered.
"Twenty minutes. You alright Ginny?"
Ginny was still staring at Toothless. Hiccup took her unresisting hand, spread out her fingers, and gently placed it on Toothless's brow, she looked utterly terrified.
"See? Nothing to be scared of." Hiccup soothed.
"They're deadly." Ginny whispered
"Yes, but he won't be." Hiccup said softly.
"The most feared and dangerous dragon, like ever." Ginny again whispering.
"And for good reason, but he's a friend."
Ginny turned and looked at him in wonder.
"You're Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy, McGonagall was researching you for her book. You snatched him from the air as he flew by and he became your friend?"
"Well, there was a bit more to it than that, but yeah, basically."
"But you died like centuries ..... they ..... " Ginny turned to Hermione "You used a trans-temporal spell?" she said, now no longer whispering.
"A bit."
"We all did sis, it takes three to cast."
"Power of three. But they're like, illegal?"
"S'what I said." Ron pointed out.
"It's true, he did." Harry confirmed.
"Yeah that sounds like my brother."
"Yeah, well, when you're left to look after yourself against an enraged wild Bell', err, Nightfury, I kinda think a bit of leeway's in order."
"Toothless is technically wild, aren't you Toothless? Yes you are." Hiccup coo'ed affectionately.
"He also said we should 'Hide and pray it didn't find us.' which was the official recommendation in one book we turned up."
"Yeah, that's my bro."
"Bravest and most fearless congenital coward I ever met, your brother."
"Thanks, Harry. I think."
"That sounds like our Book of Dragons."
"It is ..... and it's ..... " Hermione ran her fingers over the books on the top shelf  "..... err ..... here."
She took it down and handed it to Hiccup, he noticed the two page markers as he flicked the pages.
"I see the Hungarian Horntail page is marked."
"Yeah, Harry fought one."
"Yeah, you said. You don't appear to have any bits missing, I'm impressed. Or was magic used to put you back together after?"
"Nah, he came out of it with just a couple of minor bumps and scratches."
"Quite a lot of major bumps and scratches actually, extensive bruising, some minor burns and a good selection of splinters, actually Ron. And magic was used to patch me up before the next round. Some of those splinters were quite large, as it go's."
"Next round?"
"Triwizard tournament, it's intended to be a challenge between three wizarding academies, Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Institute. One senior student from each is selected to compete ..... "
"Except someone bewitched the selection process and a fourth, Harry, was chosen. Even though he should've been way too young to enter."
"Youngest ever competitor, by any chance?"
"Err, yeah, I think I was, as it goes."
"Yes he was, by ten months. I looked it up at the time."
"I'm seeing a theme developing here."
"Yeah, well. I'll just go and collect that Chinese now." Harry was a little embarrassed, taking the floo to his own home.
"So how long've you been here?"
"Since monday night." Ron put in.
"And Toothless has been here since tuesday evening." Hiccup elaborated.
"And the dragon attacks?"
"Well, she's a female, same species, and they've fought once."
"And she's not been back since."
"And won't attack while it's raining."
"Can't make fire if their head's wet."

Harry opened the safe, in it was the usual stuff, important family documents, deeds to the house etc. A few hundred galleons in cash and a credit card for muggle currency. He grabbed the card, closed it, spun the tumblers, and went out. Thunder rumbled, he looked up at threatening clouds, the skies were clear over Ron and Hermione's. He ran to the restaurant.
"Kon'nichiwa, Harry Potter san!"
"You do know that's Japanese?"
"Well, me duck, what'd you expect, Yorkshire through 'n' through me, me lad, born 'n' brung up."
Bernard Zhāng, proprietor of The Great Wall, Chinese Restaurant & Take Away, was seventh generation expat, in that time he was the first to get more than twenty miles from the city of York, apart from his brother. He looked plausibly chinese, but as soon as he spoke the illusion was shattered. No native of the PRC would great regular customers with 'Aye up me duck' as Bernard usually did. In strong yorkshire accent. While dressed in authentic traditional chinese attire. Much of it hand crafted in sweat shops by underpaid chinese workers in terrible conditions, and shipped directly from source, three streets away. Most of the under paid and over worked, badly treated workers were regulars at The Great Wall.
Bernard's younger brother is probably worth a mention, as, while not on the same year, he was at Hogwarts, overlapping with Harry.
Bernard handed over the tree bags of food, Harry his card.
"Reet Dowly owt!"
"You can say that again!"
"Reet, well, don't leave it so long next time."
"Bernie, I'm in two or three times a week most weeks."
"Aye well, not this 'un, mind."
"I'm on a mission. Undercover." said Harry, conspiratorially, tapping the side of his nose.
"Oh, I see, anything interesting?" Bernard replied in soft tones.
"Can't say, hush hush. Might bring you back some real dragon scales though, when this ones over."
"Oh well, that'll be reet gradely, look champion, framed on 'wall."
"Mmm, must dash, looks like it's gonna be stair rods out there, any second. So, later's."
Harry held the glass door for someone coming in on his way out, but clicked it past a point in it's self closing, for it to stay open.
"Put wood in ‘ole lad!"
Bernard called out as Harry left, a little too late, he was off and the heavens opened.

Harry returned to the cottage drenched, he dripped as he squelched to the table.
"Raining in town?"
"There may've been some light drizzle." Harry said breezily.
"Why Ketuh Owuh."
Harry dried almost instantly.
"Thanks Ginny."
Ginny waved dismissively.
"Don't mention it."
"Food, I'm starved."
"One salad for Ron, sashimi for Toothless to try, and maybe prawn crackers, rest's for us four."
"Strewth, we'll never eat that lot!"
"Tomorrow's breakfast?" suggested Ron.
"Hmm, not sure it goes with All-Bran."
"I did say that, didn't I?"
"In front of whiteness."
"With good memories."
"Yeah, I get the picture."
They served without further discussion. Well, not beyond Could you pass that one please, and Have you had any of this, and so on. The meal was eaten enthusiastically, Toothless liked the sashimi, but not any of the sauces. Toothless's expression on trying his first prawn cracker was something to see, a memory to treasure for a life time. Cautious curiosity, surprize, amazement and disbelief at the sensation of it's tiny bubbles bursting on his tongue and the roof of his mouth, a moment of utter wonder and joy, followed by the burning desire to experience it again. Toothless now had a new favorite food.
Hermione relented and Ron got a small taster of some of the better left overs, but only on the condition it was salad for lunch on saturday.
"Well that was nice."
"A real treat."
"Yeah, they're really good, how come we never get a chinese?"
"Because neither of us thinks of it, Ron."
"Oh. Hmm, what d'you say they're called 'Arry?"
"The Great Wall, mister Zhāng, the guy who runs it, he's kinda hard to understand, on account of the accent."
"Yorkshire, been a regular a few years now, still no idea what a 'gradely' is." Harry admitted with a shrug.
Ginny smiled knowingly.
The rain started as they were clearing up. They could have used magic, but sometimes the simplest things can be rewarding. A group of friends, a shared activity, quality time. It wasn't long before the weather worsened, rain hammered down, wind gusted and shook trees and houses, not a night you wanted to be outside.
"She's not going to be out in this, you can bee sure of that!" Hiccup, looking out of the window.
Ron yawned.
"Nice to sleep soundly in our beds, then."
"We haven't been disturbed for the last two nights, Ron dear."
"Yeah well, err, coffee anyone?
There were yes's and mmm's and a single I'll try some.
They sat around the fire, which Toothless lit without hesitation or any word of command or encouragement. Two hours slid by, conversation started with dragons and ended in tails from childhoods growing up with Fred and George, stories of dragons, tales from Hogwarts, which usually involved Harry being amazing, and Harry strenuously downplaying his role and pointing out how much he'd relied on his friends. Ron and Hermione made their excesses and went up stairs to bed, Harry and Ginny did the same, leaving Hiccup and Toothless to sleep before the glowing embers, sleep was soon upon all, even Hiccup who'd not slept so well earlier that day.
Hiccup woke as Toothless nudged him purposefully.

Spoiler: Part thirteen"What is it bud?"
Toothless had gone rigid, straining to hear something, all Hiccup could hear was the wind and the rain, the storm was less, but far from abated. He could hear the gutters overflowing, water cascading to the floor. Hiccup strained for any other sound for fully two or three minutes.
"Well I can't hear a thing, goodnight buddy."
Hiccup lay down again and was just wondering how long it was until dawn, when he herd it. A hesitant, tentative scratch at the back door. Hiccup's drowsiness left him, he carefully got to his feet, and he could hear several sets of feet tiptoeing on the floor above him.
Hiccup walked impressively quietly for a man on a squeaky prosthetic leg, he opened the back door, four heads looked over the stair rail to see what was up.
Illuminated by a flickering surge of lightening, outside, soaked, spattered with mud and blood was the dragon, she was covered with cuts and scrapes, and stood with a forepaw raised pitifully. She made a soft and almost desperate sound. Harry understood.
"She said ..... 'Please?' "
Toothless approached her, they bowed to each other, and Toothless gestured to Hiccup, and now he and she bowed to one another.
The two dragons sniffed each others noses, then shoulders before parting. It was Toothless who seemingly invited her in. He turned and took the few paces into the middle of the open plan floor, and very hesitantly, she followed.
It was immediately evident that her wounds were more than cosmetic, and she was unable to put any weight on her forepaw, a wound over her back at an angle was beginning to heal, but it had taken from her two pairs of her dorsal fins, She was holding her left wing awkwardly too. Hiccup looked at her feet, they told a story. Dragons, creatures of the air and the Nightfury most accomplished of all. Life on the wing a second home, or perhaps maybe their first home. But, Hiccup could see, she had walked. 'Distressed' didn't really cover it, and yet something had had made her walk, well, limp across miles of open terrain to find one cottage. She had been out in the open, vulnerable, unable to make fire in the pouring rain. She had come, looking for these people. It was the smell of other dragons, first on Hiccup, and then on Toothless. The scent of happy, contented dragons, it had been a scent that offered a chance of hope.
As Toothless regurgitated half his supper, she was overwhelmed, unable to take it in, it was a second or two before she ate, cautiously at first and then with great relief and evident hunger. Harry made his way carefully over and spoke gently.
"Geno Piscia."
Ginny borrowed Hermione's cell, called out before disaperating.
Harry tried something in parceltongue, she looked utterly shocked, she'd understood at least some of what he'd said. Soothing her, he managed to examine her wounded paw, said some incantation under his breath, before stepping back. She gave him a very long look before placing it on the floor, oh so gently. It seemed to hold, she placed a little weight on it, a little more, and then stood almost normally. She down looked at it, sniffed at it, unable to believe the pain was gone, the injury healed. All, Hiccup especially, wondered how long it had been since she'd last been able to stand on it. She looked at Harry with what could only have been a blend of wonder and gratitude for a while, with this, her world was forever changed. Toothless wriggled his wings and rumbled, and she turned to present him her damaged wing. Again soothing her, he examined it, she flinched.
"This is fresh. Well, fresher than the other bullet wounds. I think it's fractured. Episkey."
After a moment Harry, with extreme care, placed a finger tip most lightly on the tender point, no flinch. He pressed a breath more firmly, and still no reaction, he pressed more normally, she noticed and understood, putting it back into it's comfortable folded position. She looked at him, transfixed, but he was not done yet.
"Vulnera Sanentur." he said softly.
Harry pointing his wand at the long deep wound across her back. She froze, tensed at the sensation as it healed, and took a moment to understand what had happened. Now Harry was on a roll. Scrapes and scratches, wound after wound, Harry healed them, one by one. At last there were no more open wounds, but Harry had spotted a bone in her right wing had a kink and a lump, some injury in her past had broken that bone, and when it set, it set crooked. Harry numbed the site, cast something to reverse the healing process back to it's original broken state, and then gave it another Episkey to set it straight and true.
He looked at the deeply tattered tail edge of first one wing and then the other, both received a wave of the wand accompanied by a 'Vulnera Sanentur.'
Harry tidied up the edges on her hind winglets and her tail fins too. As he'd been busy, so had Hermione, a second batch of the same potion used on Toothless's tail. As Harry finished her tail edge, she handed it to him, hot. Dabbing a little on her back where the long deep gash had been, he recited the inaction again, from memory.
"Ni ri ana silim. Ni šur ne asilim ana kappu è Tammabukku ti šudu. Lu imi, tin, ñiš, túg è zu, ùri, esentu, bar." and the missing fins grew again.
Harry now finished, she stood there, center off attention, a pristine specimen of the most deadly lethal dragon ever to grace the Earth. She was stunned, happy, grateful even, but mostly just utterly stunned.
"Geno Piscia."
As Ron cast, Ginny apperated with another two bags of prawn crackers, gaining Toothless's undivided attention. The wild female was very cautious of Ron's fish, it was dead, but it smelled fresh. Her tummy rumbled, she sniffed it again, licked it tentatively before deciding it was safe to eat. She looked at Ron, sniffed at his wand, and he made her several more.
She finished, and licking her lips, she looked around the room, at the people she had previously attacked. They had not been what she had expected, and neither was she what four of them had believed her to be.
At this Ginny opened a bag, gave one cracker to Toothless who's expression was one of utter dragony bliss. Ginny offered one to the female, she sniffed it very carefully but didn't take it, Ginny laid it on the floor. Toothless made encouraging noises. After a moments hesitation, she took it, and hers was the same look of surprize, amazement and disbelief at the sensations. She stood motionless for some moments as they unfolded, before she came back to ask Ginny for a second, which she took from her fingers just as Toothless was doing. The whole bag was shared between them, crumbs placed in two piles on the floor, but the second was stashed in the closet for the morning.
Something fell into place, she'd remembered something, her expression changed, she said something to Toothless that Harry didn't catch.
"I didn't catch that."
Hiccup knew what it meant.
"She said 'Follow me.' "

Spoiler: Part fourteen
" 'Ere we go," Ron rolled his eyes, before casting "Impervius."
Toothless already had a shoulder dipped, and Hiccup was on in a flash, the others grabbed brooms and followed, Ginny on Harry's behind him. They went to the mine, and all followed her inside. It was dark, darkly colored rock walls, and ceiling, and floor, lit only by four Lumos spells. She lead them down deep into the mine, they passed a gallery of long abandoned workings and on. Perhaps it was over active imagination, but did it feel as if it was warmer now as they went? They followed a tunnel that met a natural cave, followed that to a huge cavern with an underground lake, along it's shore line that looked worrying like in was made of rocks that had fallen from the cavern roof. A tight pinch, which both dragons leapt twenty feet up to where it was a little wider, but the humans could squeeze past at floor level, even Ron, if only just.
"OK, I admit it, I need to go on a diet. That or give up spelunky. Hmm, cramped, wet, claustrophobic ..... "
There was a messy splash, rocks had fallen into the lake behind them.
" ..... bloody well dangerous caves, or the odd bacon sarnie now 'n' then? Now there's a ..... What?"
Hermione had prodded her wand tip into her husbands belly in disgust.
They'd stopped in a chamber with a noticeable smell of sulfur. At the far end was a small, but deep and gently overflowing pool, steaming lightly.
between it and them was a single smashed egg. Within it's fragments, lay the small black body of an unhatched dragon, she sniffed at it tentatively before looking back at them desperately.
They looked on in silence, and felt inadequate for a moment.
"Dragons don't lay just one egg, they lay several, someone's been here and taken the others." Hiccup, breaking the silence.
"That's what she's saying, 'Others.' "
Toothless lead them back the way they'd come.
Outside the rain had eased to merely a light drizzle, but a glance at the sky told them it would likely be a brief let up. The wind hadn't died any.
Toothless sniffed the wind, too many trees blocked his vision, the wind howled. What a dragon might smell in the storm, no human could tell. Toothless jolted, almost as if hit by an electric shock, he turned to the female before beckoning to Hiccup, dipping a shoulder as he approached.
As Hiccup seated himself, they went. Toothless flew to a remote cottage, flew there as straight as an arrow. It was a little outside the ring of dragon damage, by maybe a mile or so. All was quiet, but there were lights on inside.
They landed in the lane outside, took the short garden path to the front door. Hiccup knocked on the door politely, no reply. He kicked it firmly with his metal foot.
"What? Who is it?" a male voice from within called out.
Door bolts slid noisily back, a security chain skittered and the door opened. A bloodshot eye looked out to see Hiccup, backed up by four others, behind and flanking them were two large black reptiles, wind tugged at hair, clothes and black folded wings. Illuminated by lightening, and unmistakably sore about something.
The eye became a pale, slightly haggard face. The dressing gowned resident looked at Hiccup and spoke.
"The eggs explode." he said quietly.
"The eggs explode." repeated Harry.
"Yeah, they do that." Hiccup sympathized.
"Yeah, they do that." Harry repeated.
The owner of the face looked puzzled, and might well have asked why Harry had translated the words of the leather clad tall skinny guy, but merely repeated his. He was interrupted as two very small but lively dragons burst from behind him and tumbled out into the water logged garden. Looking jut like baby Nightfuries, they went unhesitatingly to the female, who regurgitated for them. They wasted no time, and attacked their mothers first meal for them, with great gusto and species specific table manners. The female looked up and made a growly rumble.
"And?" Harry asked, pointedly.
"That's it, just two, no more, the pair of them, that's it."
"Oh really?"
"The other egg, it never hatched, My aunt kept chickens, many of the eggs ..... "
"Do they look like chickens? Well, do they? To you?" Hermione demanded, in her best angry mother voice.
"I'll get the other one."
The humans followed him in, they hadn't actually been invited, but, it was the way things were going.
Hiccup held it to his ear.
"Water, hot water, now! Right now!" Hiccup said, pushing past him for the open kitchen door, Hiccup took a large pan from a hook in the ceiling.
"I'll get this." Harry taking the pan, running the hot tap for a moment before filling it. Hiccup placed the egg in reverentially, nothing happened. Harry put his wand tip under the surface.
Sparks flew from the wand, swirled round in the water, it went from hot to the touch to too hot to put a hand in. The egg glowed faintly, and then cracked, no explosion, not this time. Hiccup scooped it out quickly and, working on the floor, tore a chunk from the egg and the baby fell almost motionless into his lap. It blinked at him, but couldn't even lift it's head for more than an instant, the man hadn't noticed the two dragons enter, not until Toothless regurgitated. Hiccup wiped up a little on a finger tip and held it to the dragon's lips it was two or three seconds before it licked, Hiccup gave it a second, then a third and a forth, strength creeping in by tiny amounts with every mouthful, a fifth and then a sixth, but there was no interest in the seventh, none what so ever. It closed it's eyes and fell asleep, half heartedly curled, but worryingly limp.
"It's asleep, it's belly filled with it's first meal, but it is so weak. I cannot tell if it will wake, or if that was all it will ever know of this world." a tear rolled down Hiccup's cheeks as he spoke.
"Come on, outside." Harry said, shepherding him and the others out.
Hermione was left alone with the man and Hiccup heard her say 'Obliviate' but didn't catch what she said after that.

Hermione arrived home a little after, looking mildly troubled.
"He won't remember a thing. What he thinks he remembers, is a bout of gastric flu. The full works, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, palpitations, hangover like dehydration headaches, cramps, aching limb muscles and a fever. Hundred 'n' three. Taking BRAT and fluids, err, bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast, plus lots of water and herbal teas, oh and paracetamol. Absolutely no dragons, none what so ever ..... After all, everyone knows dragons are purely fantasy creatures, found only in fairy tales and fiction." Hermione added with subtle sarcasm and a smile.
"Yeah, muggles'll believe any old cobblers."
"Well, they will if you use a memory modifier, Ron."
All turned now to Hiccup.
"It didn't exactly happen the way we expected, but, thanks in no small part to you and Toothless, the threat of imminent dragon attack looks to be over."
"Dragons are peaceful and friendly. If you allow them to be. I wonder how long Dragons lived there before they were disturbed."
"I guess we'll never know."
"Since before man built machines that flew."
"So that's before Stringfellow and Henson, eighteen forties or fifties. I think. Dad'd know. Right up his flight path, that."
"I was thinking more about the nineteen teens, when there went from almost no aircraft to lots. Well, relatively."
" Err, Harry, how'd you know that?"
"S'what she said, while we were in the mine."
"Oh. Right."
"You said there'd be a fee."
"I did, didn't I?"
"You said you weren't unreasonable?"
"Not going to want all our gold and women's folk."
"Yeah, well, the women's folk, Astrid would most likely kill me. Slowly if I know her, very slowly, And very creatively, I expect."
"So gold then?"
"Nah, I've got gold back home, but there is something I would like."
"And that is?"
"You know you fixed Toothless's tail for him?"
"You'd like your leg fixed."
Hiccup looked down at it for a moment, before looking back with a wry smile.
"I have another dragon, Bjorgi ..... I'd like you to fix her wing."
Not the request they'd expected, but there was no doubting Hiccup's sincerity.
"Not another bleedin' trans-temporal?"
"In for a penny, in for a pound."
"I suppose it's not going to make terribly much difference at this point, doing it again."
Two resigned but slightly reluctant looks from Ron and Harry.
"Still got the incantations?"
"Think I can remember it."
"Yeah, me 'n' all. Had enough bleedin' practice by now."
Ginny watched the others trail into the garden, take their places once more, none looked crazy about it, at least the rain had eased some.
"Ginny, there's a blindingly bright flash ..... "
"I'll look away."
"OK. Right. Well ..... shall we?"
"No." Ron said, and was ignored. He was pretty fed up.
"Yeah." Harry said, also pretty fed up.
They recited silently, reached in and pulled out, there was the flash of light. For which Hiccup, Toothless and Ginny had turned away. They turned back, the three casters opened their tightly screwed eyes. In the center of the latest patch of burned grass, was a rather startled Nightfury. The rain arrived.
Back indoors, and now with three adult and three baby dragons, Shield Stone Cottage was feeling a bit full. Harry, Ron and Hermione watched as Bjorji bowed to Toothless, and to Hiccup, Toothless gestured with his head to the Nightfury mother, and Bjorgi bowed to her.
"Err, how do we get back, by the way?"
"That's the easy bit, any one of us can recite the return spell and all three of you go back together. Probably accompanied by another blinding flash, but I cant be certain."
"We don't really want to do it in the house, do we?"
"No Ron, absolutely not, I'm not having that in the house! It can wait at least until stops raining. So ..... let's have a look at this wing then."
Hermione was keen, but teasing out the wing was a non starter, with dragons all over, filling the entire first floor, and babies getting into everything, it just wasn't practical. They waited for the rain to ease off again, but it didn't oblige. At last Ron and Hermione gave up and went to bed, Ginny had fallen asleep on the couch, and Harry wrapped her in a blanket before falling asleep beside her. Toothless lay near the fire, leaving space for Hiccup, Bjorgi lay next to Toothless, the mother next to Bjorgi and her babies with her, Hiccup laying the weak and still unconscious one by her head very tenderly.
"Good luck little one, may you still be with us in the morning."
He lay down in the spot left for him, and sleep took him.
Hermione woke first, cast a spell for her to make no accidental sound, and got up. From the top of the stairs, she saw the impressive scaly black heap of sleeping dragons, with Hiccup tucked in among them. Toothless had draped a wing protectively over him as he slept.
The rain had stopped and the early morning sun was shining brightly outside, the thin cottage curtains barely taking the edge off. Hermione put the kettle on for some tea. When she turned round, there were six pairs of yellow green eye's watching her. Six noses had given her away, silent spell or not.
Hermione beckoned them to the back door and they followed her out. She allowed each dragon to sniff her, she knew many creatures found it soothing.
"Geno Piscia."
Hermione incanted, providing Nightfuries their breakfast.
She teased out Bjogi's uninjured wing, and fixed a couple of nicks in the edge, and as she did so noticed each and every membrane had a scar that ran from root to edge. She checked over the rest of her, apart from the one wing, she was in good shape, but the many long healed scars that told her that this had not always been the case. Hermione correctly guessed that the scar around one hind leg had been caused by a manacle she'd been chained up by. There were scars too on her neck and throat, correctly guessed these might be from removing her fire glands. She now knew that it was Bjorgi who Hiccup had rescued from the arena, and made a mental note to ask him about it. Finally she teased out the damaged wing, something or more likely someone had made a real mess of it.
"Accio pan, camping stove and Sumer healing potion."
She very carefully took off the wing prosthetic, leaving the concoction on the stove to reheat again, and wondered how many times it would take reheating before it degraded and ceased working.
"Accio Sumer healing incantation book."
The book fell open at the still marked page beside the camping stove. Bjorgi watched intently as Hermione smeared on the mixture, all the dragons did.
"Ni ri ana silim. Ni šur ne asilim ana kappu è Tammabukku ti šudu. Lu imi, tin, ñiš, túg è zu, ùri, esentu, bar!"
She watched transfixed, as the long lost piece grew again.
"Any chance you could do her fire glands too? Scars ..... "
"Throat and neck? I guessed that's what they were."
"Yeah. Please?"
More potion smeared on, and again the incantation.
Bjorgi coughed, a little flame, she was stunned, not daring to believe it. At first she didn't want to try again, for fear of disappointment, but after a moment she summoned the courage for another little flame, and the joy in her eyes was something to behold. She threw back her head and tossed a jet of flame thirty or fourty feet in the air, followed by a blue, almost white fireball which exploded perhaps sixty feet up. She stood there motionless for some time just looking up, before she looked back at Hermione. Padded softly over too her and hugged her with forepaws and wrapped both wings around her tightly. It was a while before she released her, and promptly regurgitated half a partly digested fish for her.
"That's as deep and heartfelt a thank you, as a Dragon can give. I'd like to thank you too."
"I ..... I don't know what to say."
"Then make me a promise, you're going to be sending us home ..... "
"You don't have to go right away. We need to figure out what to do with a family of Bell', err, Nightfuries."
"But when the time comes, I expect you're going to wipe my memories of this."
"Umm ..... yeah. Knowing too much about the future is dangerous. Look, there's something called a 'Paradox', it means that .... "
"I know what a paradox is."
"So, I'd like you to be the one who does it. I'm gonna need a false memory too, to explain how Bjorgi got her wing and fire back."
"And Toothless his tail."
"Actually, I'm fascinated to see what happens there."
"It's not the first time it's been replaced, so he didn't need a rider, clever prosthetics. He's chosen me over that before, but this is different as it's an actual flesh and blood tail this time, not ..... you know."
"Rods and leather."
"And what about your leg?"
"What about it?"
"Well, I could fix it, just say the word and I will, potion's hot, book's open on the incantation."
Hiccup took a very deep breath.
"That's tempting, and I thank you for the offer, I mean it."
"But the answer's no?"
"It is."
"You don't want to think about that?"
Hiccup turned to her, and she could see the tear welling in his eyes.
"I can see it means a lot to you, but can I ask why?"
Hiccup cleared his throat.
"This isn't the first time it's been offered to me. Or to Toothless. Last time he said no, and I made the same choice."
"But you'd go without a foot, even if he chose to keep that tail?"
"It doesn't hold me back all that much, and I'm used to it, though I'll admit it'd be nice to give it a good scratch again. Toothless's tail is a whole other thing. I know now just how much it holds him back. A lot."
"I see. I think."
"It's part of who I am, part of what brought me to where I am now. And it's a good place."
"And you don't want to muck it up."
"Something like that, I guess."
"What about Astrid? What are her feelings going to be?"
"When she finds out I said 'no' to having my leg back, I'm going to be sleeping in the Dragon barn for like a month."
"Sure you wouldn't like to change your mind?"
"Well, should you change your mind, or want more time to think about it ..... you only have to say. I mean, you said there'd be a fee, and when it came to it, you asked for something for someone else. That's pretty selfless."
"I have a wonderful wife, well, when she's not pissed with me, we have great kids, and the most amazing friends I could ever wish for, especially Toothless, we have a nice home and the kingdom is at peace. And there's a whole heap of gold that's there, if I can be bothered to dig it up. I even get to do some blacksmithing from time to time. Admittedly, not as much as I'd like, but you can't have everything."
"Umm, what happens now? With the dragon, I mean."
"You could set her free, but she's made contact with humans, so she'll never be quite wild again. Not in the same way. Oh, she can still hunt, provide for her young and stuff, but she's interacted with us, even came to us for help."
"We have a friend named Hagrid, I think you'd like him, he's a fan of dragons too. Even had one, briefly. A baby. He named it Norbert."
"What happened?"
"Reluctantly, he sent it to live at a dragon sanctuary in Romania, to be with other dragons. He goes and visits, now and then."
"Oh." Hiccup was sad about that "Dragon's are great, they're naturally house trained, in the wild they never 'go' in or near their caves. They don't accidentally set fire to the house either. Well, not often. And they'll relight an extinguished fire for you."
"Or light a laid but not lit fire."
"Err, well, in his mind, he was just being helpful."
"I guess she should go and live with Norbert."
"If they don't already have an alpha, she'll be running the place within a day or two."
"They aren't all put in together, each has a habitat and lives there, usually they try and have naturalistic family groups together. Breeding programs run for most species, with efforts focused on healthy genetically diverse populations."
"And quality of life for the individuals?"
"They take that seriously too."
"How often are they allowed out to hunt and fish?"
"Err ..... "
"How often do they get to just fly free?"
" ..... umm ..... "
"How much time do they get to interact with friends of different species?"
" ..... I'm not really sure ..... "
"So much for quality of life, then."
" ..... They're well looked after, a permanent staff veterinary specialist wizard keeps careful eye on their physical health and well being."
"And their mental health?"
"Ah, well, umm ..... "
"Exactly. So what about this 'Hagrid'?"
"Oh, he's a really nice guy, warm, sensitive, kind hearted, endlessly patient, with a real love for all magical creatures. Especially the wild ones, admittedly, tame ones are less interesting to him. But anything that's a bit dangerous, is right up his street."
"And what does he do?"
"He's the game keeper, keeper of keys and grounds. Oh, and professor for Care of Magical Beasts. At Hogwarts."
"Ah, that's the British school for witches and wizards, a converted castle, actually. He lives in a cottage in the castle grounds."
"What's it like?"
"Err ..... well ..... it's a large and rambling castle with lots of towers and things, the grounds are extensive. It's in Scotland, it's surrounded by mountains with a large lake, well, loch, practically on the doorstep."
"Fresh water or sea loch?"
"I've no idea."
"Far from the sea?"
"A couple of miles. There's also a Quidditch Pitch, and the forbidden forest. Oh, and an owlery."
"Any caves in the mountains?"
"There are some, but that's about all I know about them."
"I don't suppose there's and hot springs anywhere there?"
"Not that I know of, mind you, I didn't know there were any round here, either. You're thinking she should live with Hagrid, aren't you?"
"I can tell you don't want her here. Or her kids. Which is a shame, they're amazing to have around. And great with children, too. Are you a keen flyer?"
"On a broomstick?"
"I'm not in the same league as Harry, he's a really great flyer. A born natural, that much was obvious from the moment he first rode one."
"That wasn't what I asked, but I think I can guess. You're highly competent, but not a devotee."
"That's about right. Why do you ask?"
"You should go for a ride on a Nightfury."
"You're trying to convince me we should keep her."
"To let her stay with you."
"The cottage is too small for all of us and four dragons, we'd manage with three babies, but how long before they're full grown?"
"Don't know about Nightfuries, but other dragons of similar size, between about three 'n' five years. Dragons generally don't live in the house, they'll want a barn or something."
"There's too many people round here, they'd be seen. And if we made them invisible to muggles, there might be an accident, someone could collide with them. In a car, a plane, or something. In Romania, they've a huge area for them to be safe."
"So, what's Hagrid's cottage like?"
"Larger than it was, he's added a bedroom. It used to be one room, open plan, like the downstairs here, well, kind of. Only taller, it needs to be."
"Hagrid's tall then?"
"Umm, well, you could say that."
"I'd love to meet him."
"I guarentee he'd love to met you too, and the dragons. Very much the dragons, actually, knowing him."
"Morning!" Harry whispered hoarsely from the kitchen.
"Morning Harry."
"Morning Harry."
"Please! Kettle might have boiled by now."
"Has. You fixed the wing then?"
Harry gesturing with a teaspoon to the now redundant prosthetic.
"Umm, yeah, well, I woke up early. I did try not to wake anyone, dragons included, it wasn't altogether a success."
"Ron's still asleep."
"So's Ginny."
"No, she's not." Ginny whispered hoarsely from behind Harry.
"Morning Ginny."
"Morning Ginny."
"Morning Ginny."
"Morning sis." whispered Ron "Why are we whispering?"
"We're trying not to wake Ron up." Hermione whispered back, tongue now firmly in cheek.
"Good idea, you know what he can be like in the morning. 'Specially when he's got ruddy All Bran for breakfast." Ron, playing along. "How are the dragons?"
"All fine, the little one we were worried about, has made an impressive recovery. Full of energy, just like their two siblings."
"Yeah, better than I dared hope for. Dragons, you live with them for years and years, and they never cease to amaze you." Hiccup sounded proud.
"So, what happens today?"
"Well ..... "

Spoiler: Part fifteen - Epilogue
Charlie Weasley looked harassed, and not a little embarrassed. If, hypothetically, the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures were, for what ever reason, unable to deal with a dragon, it was established policy that a representative or delegation from the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary would handle it. There had been a message sent by owl to the sanctuary, and a very helpful junior assistant had handed it to a senior wizard, who in turn had very helpfully left it on Charlie's desk, along with a small pile of mail and other paperwork. A two week trip to a private facility in the US to discuss the following years breeding program, had seen him return to that pile. He'd worked his way from the top down down, to the letter about the alleged Bellua Tenebrus sighting, and it's location. He'd taken the Floo to the Ministry of Magic in London, England, where he'd been told that no one was officially dealing with it. Charlie hadn't been impressed. He was even less impressed when the only person to be found in the offices of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, was one of the cleaners. He strode purposefully across the green tiled floor of the main foyer to the two banks of green tiled 'fire places'.
"Shield Stone Cottage." He said resolutely.
He emerged in the fireplace of his brother and sister in law's, and looked round, it was still intact, which was a relief. He heard someone talking in the garden.
"It's Charlie, I'm here to take charge, there'll be a team here before sunset, we'll have a specially made containment cage here" Charlie stepped out into the garden "and ..... " he stopped and stared.
There was a stunned silence which Hagrid finally broke.
" 'Ullo Charlie. Bit late, if you don't mind me sayin'. "
"That's err ..... "
Hagrid, sitting cross legged on the grass, was having his hand nuzzled by the still as yet unnamed female for another fish, which he duly produced. She took it as delicately from his fingers as a kitten.
" ..... Bell ..... ua ..... Ten ..... "
Words ran out, as three babies ran over to playfully investigate him.
"Apparently, they prefer to be called Nightfuries."
"Err, they do?" Charlie said quietly.
"Well, so 'Arry say's."
"He does?"
"They speak summut that's just like parceltongue enough, for 'Arry to make out a few words. Who'd've thought it?"
"Where ..... "
"Gone for a fly round, should be back in a bit. Weren't gonna go far."
"Oh. That's a Bell' ..... " and words failed him again.
"I always said dragons was seriously misunderstood."
"Err ..... yeah ..... you did."
"Mmm, turns out I was even more right than I thought! Oh, 'ere they come."
A moment later, two Nightfuries appeared over the garden hedge, each with wings thrown full spread as air brakes. The two dropped softly the five feet or so to the ground. Harry arrived a second or two later on his broomstick, as Ron, Hermione and Ginny dismounted, all looking utterly blown away by their experience. Charlie gawped at what he was seeing.
"Hey bro, nice timing, only like a week late." Ginny teased.
"Umm, sorry about that, only got the message this morning. Err, you seem to have things under control?"
"Yeah, thanks to our new friend."
"What did he say?"
"Let me guess, he just said 'What did he say?'." Hiccup said with an air of having been here before.
"Hang on! Mutuus Perceptio!" Ginny incanted.
"OK, can you understand me now?"
"Err, yeah, perfectly. I'm Charlie."
"Hiccup. This is Toothless, and that's Bjorgi, they're with me. She isn't, and doesn't yet have a name. That's the Dragon who was attacking, by the way. As you can see, not violent, not aggressive, not dangerous. So long as you know how to interact with them."
"Charlie works at the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary."
Hiccup's eye's narrowed.
"Oh, them. I'm not sure it's the best place for her, or her babies."
"We ..... " Charlie began.
"Yeah, I heard." Hiccup interrupted, sounding pissed.
"Hang on, you're Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy." Charlie said with fresh wonder.
"The Viking dragon tamer professor McGonagall was researching a few years back?"
"That's me." Hiccup said, with mild despair "Her book's inside."
"Right, so what we gonna do with these 'ere dragons?" Hagrid, dragging the conversation back to the black scaly matter in hand.
"Err, well, they need to go to Romania."
"I disagree. They need wide open spaces, where they can feel the sky under their wings and be free, while having the friendship of humans to enrich the lives of all."
"Free? Free to attack villages and stuff. No they need to be at the sanctuary, where they and everyone else can be safe."
"You thought they'd been extinct for centuries ..... "
"Since fifteen eighty two, June nineteenth." Hermione elaborated.
" ..... they were just busily minding their own business, and avoiding human contact. Dangerous? Not in the least!"
"As long as you don't go taking potshots at them with guns." Hermione pointed out.
"Or nicking their kids." Ron added.
"Or murdering their mate." Hiccup, who'd not forgotten the body they'd found in the woods near the old mine.
Charlie looked around him, six contented peaceful dragons, and six people who didn't think of these dragons as the apocalyptic menace as they were normally portrayed.
"Well, if not Romania, then were do you suggest?"
"Nice part of Scotland, Hogwarts is in." Hagrid pointed out. " 'S'all ready got a bunch of incantations on, to protect it from nosey muggles 'n' such."
"Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus?" Charlie, reciting the school's moto.
"I weren't planning on ticklin' 'em. Not when they were asleep, at any rate."
"They actually quite like a tickle, when they're awake." Hiccup pointed out.
"And what would the school governors say?"
"I'm fairly sure someone could talk 'em round."
"Don't look at me! They haven't forgiven me for, well, among other things, not just giving the elves their freedom, but a pretty attractive employment package too."
"Most of the old 'uns 'ave gone 'Arry, quit mostly, for this 'n' that. More 'n a few 'o' the current lot were there in the fightin'. Some of 'em was even in Dumbledor's army! I don't reckon you'd find the same attitude as there were nineteen year ago, not now." Hagrid said, he could feel that Hiccup alone felt he should look after this dragon, even Harry wasn't especially keen.
"No, it's out of the question! I mean, how much experience do you have of the practicalities of day to day dragon husbandry?" Charlie said to Hagrid.
"How much experience do you have of looking after Nightfuries?" Hiccup said, pointedly.
"Err, well, none with this particular species, but we have a dozen species of dragons, and each have their own unique requirements and characteristics."
"This one will take over and run it. She's an alpha."
"Alpha dragons, aka Vagentur Bestia, Haesitus Brutum and Ice Spitter ....." Charlie began.
"No, you've misunderstood, as far as I know, any species can be an alpha. Toothless is ours."
"Hmm, look, you can't really be serious, not if you have their best interests at heart. We look after dragons from across Europe and beyond, we know how they tick and we treat them as well as they can be looked after."
"You keep wild Dragons locked up?"
"They have stimulating and life enriching habitats and ..... "
"So thats a 'Yes' then. This family, this single mom and her children, they need care and nurturing, they need a territory, they need space, they need somewhere to find food, sky to be free in, to feel the wind under their wings in. They need somewhere to be free, and they need friends."
"We keep interaction with humans to a minimum, because our dragons aren't pets."
"You lock them in cages and however nice those cages might be, you are still their jailer."
"We look after them, we tend their every need, we keep them ..... "
"Locked up. They go with Hagrid, and that's my final decision."
"It's not yours to make. Look, I'm a qualified keeper and dragonologists, I've studied centuries of wisdom and observations, going right the way back to the great Norse dragon tamer himself, Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy! What qualifications have you got?"
"I am Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy! And if you think you're looking after them the way I recommend, then you are seriously mistaken."
Charlie froze, then sighed deeply.
"OK, OK, fine. Hagrid their yours, if you need anything, or you change your mind ..... "
"I won't."
" ..... there'll always be room for them in Romania."
"Now, I don't wish to sound ungrateful, but that really won't be necessary."
"OK, so, now that's settled, I, we, err, we really should be getting back home, I miss the kids, and Astrid as well. And everyone else. Err, Hermione?"
"Oh, yes! Now?"
"No time like the present, except I'd like to say thank you all for making us feel so welcome. Good luck in all things. And remember, if you need us again, you have the incantations." Hiccup said with a smile "Oh, and Charlie, bond with your dragons, you won't regret it."
Toothless seemed to sense something was immanent, got to his feet, trotted over to he garage and barged open a door.
"Where's he going?"
Toothless emerged a moment later, saddle in mouth, dragging the harness and tail fin between his legs. He laid it gently at Harry's feet. Toothless looked very deeply into Harry's eyes before looking down at the Viking tail fin. He looked back at Harry and spoke one word in parceltongue 'Please?'.
"What did he say?"
"He wants his tail prosthetic back?"
Hermione stared disbelieving at Hiccup, she wasn't alone either.
"Well, he can take it, 's'not like we've got a use for it."
"Err, no Ron, What he means is, he wants it instead of his own healed tail." Harry explained,
Hermione stared still disbelieving at Harry, she wasn't alone in this either
She looked back at Hiccup.
"You said he might."

Ollivanders Wand Shop was quiet. It had to be said, they were only really busy just before christmas and the week before Howarts school year began. The rest of the year, things just kinda ticked over. The door bell jingled, and the old man looked up from a ledger on the counter.
"And what may I do for Hermione Granger, no Weasley, this afternoon?"
"Good afternoon Mr Ollivander, I heard you'd retired."
"You heard correctly, I'm just covering for my nephew, he's having a spot of lunch. So ..... what'll it be?"
"Umm, well, this is going to sound ..... silly, but, I'd, appreciate your expert opinion on ...... this."
Hermione laid a crudely carved stick on counter.
Garrick Ollivander looked at it for a second, then looked up her, curious.
"What specifically would you like to know about it?"
"It looks new, and someone left it behind, at our house."
"I agree, it looks freshly made, in the style of an early Norse wand, a bit rustic, and rather hurriedly made. Is it functional?"
"We haven't tried it, but we suspect so."
"Hmm, eight and a half inches. Lignum vitae, a rare wood for a wand, tricky to work with. It has, to the touch, a rather ..... distinctive ..... feel."
"I noticed."
"Any idea what the core might be?"
"Not a hundred percent, but I think it's dragon heartstring."
"Lignum vitae and dragon heartstring. Hmm."
He took a compass from bellow the counter, ran it along it's length, the needle swung to point at a place in the handle.
"A speck of iron, a spark from a blacksmith's forge?"
"Umm, possibly?"
"Norse wand makers would, sometimes, include one. Lets see ..... "
Garrick pick up the wand, and sensed something.
" ..... Oh my. There's some power in this."
"Yeah, I felt that too."
He stood and turned away, taking the wand with him, he took several paces towards the back of the store before turning to Hermione.
"Well, come on then."
Hermione followed, it was definitely larger inside than the outside suggested, at the back was a staircase which lead to the basement.
It was a long room built from large stone blocks, it was perhaps forty feet in length, around eight feet wide and barely six feet from flagstone floor to the ancient looking timbers of the floor above. At the far end was a strange contraption, polished brass and crystal orbs that looked slightly cloudy. It was strongly reminiscent of an orrery, all be it far, far more complicated and more three dimensional than any muggle had ever seen. Garrick waved the wand, and pointed it directly at the machine.
"Anima Revelare."
A burst of light that was white tinged with a hint of blue flew, the machine exploding into tiny fragments amid an impressive fire ball. Hermione was somewhat startled.
"It does that, sometimes. Male. Nightfury?"
"Err, yeah."
"I fear, it died relatively quickly, but I regret to say, in some pain. They were thought to be extinct, I see that wasn't the case."
"He died leaving a mate and three offspring."
"Romanian Dragon Sanctuary?"
"Hagrid's looking after them."
"Is he now, well, he always did want a dragon. Nightfuries, a good deal more challenging than a Norwegian Ridgeback."
"Actually, you'd be amazed how gentle Nightfuries are, when they're not trying to kill you. Which took us by surprise, to say the least."
"I see. Lets have a look at this in the light. Repario." Garrick waved his own wand at the shattered machine fragments.
Hermione followed Garrick as he lead back up stairs, she got a good look at the steps, old and worn wood planks laid over ancient and extremely worn stone steps beneath. Looking at it, an earlier set of wooden replacement treads were under the current ones.
"How long have you been here?"
"The family, since three eighty two. BC. We came over with the Romans, you know."
"But they didn't invade till later, err, forty three AD?"
"Invasion was indeed forty three AD, but there'd been countless trading expeditions before that. Himilco of Carthage explored along the coasts of Britain and Ireland on the fifth century BC, and he wasn't the first. Tartessians had long established trade routes, from what is now Andalusia in Spain. After Tin in particular. It's rare in Europe, but it'd been mined in cornwall for thousands of years. You can't make bronze with out it."
Garrick lead the way to more stairs which lead to the unexpectedly large attic, it was like an artists studio, with the whole of the back half of the roof glazed for natural light. Here there were tightly spaced back to back racks of wooden wand blanks, a large set of shelves loaded with jars and boxes containing mostly of phoenix feathers, preserved dragon heartstrings, and unicorn hair. There were, however, others, with labels such as hairs from Ahool, Colocolo, Encantado, Kelpie, Manticore, Melusine, Phouka, Sphinx, Thestral and Veela. There were whiskers from Chimera, Formicaleun, Ichneumon, Kneazle and Troll. There was Coral, Dittany Stalk, Djinn Smoke (crystallized), Dropbear Venom Ducts, Dryad Eyelash, Sea-Bat Wing Bone and Wolpertinger Velvet Slivers, and many others. Hermione stared at them.
"Mostly for wilt repairs. People get used to the feel of a certain core, I have to remind them that no two cores are ever quite the same."
"I occasionally have requests for the unusual. I'm working on a nine inch Iroko with Qilin Spine core at the moment." Garrick gestured to the work bench as he passed it.
He took one of three large, thick and similarly bound books from a large and over filled book case, laid it on a book stand on the dark wooden desk and placed the wand beside it.
He murmured something, and the pages turned, opening on what looked like a drawing of the same wand.
"Was the someone who left it, a blacksmith, by any chance?"
"Err, yeah, I think he was, among other things."
"Other things including ..... dragon tamer?"
"Umm ..... "
"His name wouldn't be Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy, would it?"
Hermione blushed and looked round avoiding eye contact, but did not answer.
"Trans-temporal spell, naughty. Does your friend Mr Potter know?"
Hermione scratched the back of her neck.
"I see that he does. I take it he was helping you out with the Nightfury then, I heard one'd been spotted down near you. I doubt you could've found anyone better, all things considered."
"He was brilliant! Modest, capable, brave, reminded me of Harry, well, a bit, maybe a bit more academic than Harry. Bit of an artist too."
"Here we are." he turned the book stand round for hermione to reed the entry.
It was written in small font size, and six columns across the over size page, she skimmed over it.
"Oh wow ..... There's details on how he caught Toothless! ..... "
"Of course."
" ..... And rescued Bjorgi! ..... "
"There are."
" ..... made wands ..... "
"Yes, rather prolific, for a muggle."
" ..... over a hundred wands?"
"Mostly with local woods, pine, spruce, birch, alder, willow, poplar, oak, yew, larch, but occasionally from more unlikely woods, guindo, firebush, ramulosa, xanthorrhoea, sequoia redwood, cacao, ginkgo, monkey puzzle, palm, mangrove and a few of others. There is one listed as being lignum vitae with a Nightfury heartstring. All that's known of it, was that it was 'given to friends', that would be you, then?"
"Err ..... I guess so ...... There's pages and pages about him."
"Nine in total."
"Minerva McGonnagal didn't come and talk to you, about Hiccup, err, Hiksti, did she?"
"No? Should she?"
"She's written a book about him, but there's just so much here that's missing from it."
"I'll get in touch."
"Please, don't mention the trans-temporal, I don't think she'd be too impressed."
"Very well. You asked for my expert opinion. Well, it's not much to look at, a bit short and well, stubby. However, lignum vitae symbolizing life and the heartstring symbolizing death, and a Nightfury heartstring at that. Potent is what it is, misses Weasley, potent. I'd keep it somewhere safe, if I were you. I'm impressed, it may not be fantastically pretty, but he certainly knew what he was doing."

That's all folks!

The events and persons depicted in this work, may or may not be real and factual.
I'm not telling you which.


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