General Discussion > Books and Literature

The Dragon's Clutch.

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Spoiler: Part six ..... Excluding the entry for Boggart, Bellua Tenebrus was the only species described in the entire book which had no image. Harry wondered why only two dragon species were able to fight a Vagentur Bestia, so he looked up Vagentur Bestia .....

Vagentur Bestia, massive flightless aquatic dragon, diurnal, with cream colored tusks and osteoderm scales, Blends well against it's preferred snow and ice. Black tipped tubercle plates on it's head and back help to break up it's outline.
Widly acknowledged as the largest and most powerful of all dragons, only two species believed to be able to fight against an adult specimens, Bellua Tenebrus and Byrrus Letum.  Adults could exceed five hundred feet in length, and one hundred and fifty feet in height.

Harry glanced at the picture before skipping to the last few lines.

Abilities, does not produce flame but rather ice, swims at remarkable speed underwater, can heard shoals of fish, able to control the actions and perhaps the minds of other dragon species. Impervious to magic cast by a wand with a dragon heartstring core.
Known only from Norse saga's and oral tradition. Universally accepted as extinct, if indeed it truly existed.
Also known the Alpha Dragon, Haesitus Brutum and Ice Spitter.

Harry blinked, and looked up Byrrus Letum, just skimming the entry, he focused on a few sentences.....

Byrrus Letum, largest of all flying dragons, primarily nocturnal, with red colored osteoderm scales, it stands out against in most habitats
Uses armor plated head to demolish
Adults could exceed five hundred feet in length and wingspan, one hundred feet in height.
Covered with massive tubercle spines
wrecking ball like spiked tail.
This, and the considerably smaller Bellua Tenebrus, are the only two species believed to be able to fight against an adult Vagentur Bestia.

Harry looked at his watch, he needed to get going, he wanted to visit Minerva McGonagall before he headed back to Shield Stone Cottage for the night.
"Thank you Irma." Harry said handing the librarian the book, she slid the ledger to him, and he signed it back in.
"May I ask what specifically you were looking for?" she inquired quite as coldly as ever.
"Err, I was trying to find something about the Bellua Tenebrus."
"Accio Skrá Um Drekar."
The book arrived, it was smallish, almost black, and had been lightly damaged by fire at some pint.
"The Norse book of dragons." Irma explained.
"I, err, I've got to go, I wanted to see Minerva, McGonagall, before I head home."
Irma closed her eyes, waved her wand and remained silent, a duplicate appeared beside the Norse book, identical in all but one detail. Where the runes on the cover of the original were, on the replica it read 'Book Of Dragons'.
"Could I borrow it? Take it out of he library, I'll bring it ..... "
"You may keep it, as a gift." the voice was still ice, but there was a just a faint trace of a smile.
Harry was blown away buy this unexpected act of generosity and helpfulness, so out of character, which begged the question, was this the real Irma Pince, or someone using polyjuice potion to impersonate her?
"Err, thanks, thank you very much!"
"You are welcome, give my regards to Minerva."
"I, I, will, I will do. Thank you."

"Professor McGonagall?"
"Minerva, please."
"I am retired, and besides, you now teach at Hogwart's yourself."
"True. Minerva, you're Scottish?"
"I'm glad to see the years haven't dimmed your powers of observation, Harry."
"Err, yeah, well, I'm trying to find it a place called Loch Lanach."
"There is no place named Lochlanach."
"But I understand there was a chief, or king of Loch Lanach?"
"You're trying to fight the dragon then."
"Err, yeah, how did ..... "
"Lochlanach is not where, but a whom. Lochlanach is the Gaelic name for Norsemen, Vikings. I do correctly deduce that you want the man who tamed Ràs Oidhche, or 'Terrato Noctus', don't I?"
"You do, what do you know about him?"
Minerva smiled.
"You'd best come in. I think by sheer dumb luck, you've come to the right place."
"Caithness is a corruption of Katanes, which is a Viking word."
"What's it mean?"
"Ooh, it's 'Headland of the Cat People', or something similar."
"Kind of appropriate."
"Quite. The man you want, visited and brought his two with him."
"Two, he flew in on one and the other was at his side. "
"Yes Harry. Dragons, as you know, can fly. In theory you could ride one. He did. So, apparently, did his entourage, perhaps twenty or thirty Viking warriors on an assortment of dragons, but only their leader rode the Ràs Oidhche."
"What else can you tell me?"
"Well, they arrived, traded and left, but they made quite an impression on the locals, it seems."
"When I was very young, one of the old women of the village would tell me stories, oral history if you like, two of them were about those Vikings. One was of how they came and the locals were afraid of the dragons and hid, but when they saw that they were pitching tents in the lee of some cliffs, and hauling their boats well up from the high tide line, they came a little closer and when they saw they'd brought some of their kids with them, some of the local children snuck off to play with them, and found that most of the Viking kids spoke at least some Gaelic. After that, the rest of the clan went to investigate and discovered these Vikings to be friendly, only there to trade and shelter from a storm that was out at sea, but headed their way. The other happened a few years latter, it involved another storm. This time they were afraid that one of the fishermen would be lost to the tempest, and at the height of it, there was a knock on the chief's door, a soaked and half frozen man stood in the doorway as the wind ripped at his clothing. Cradled in his arms was the half drowned fisherman. The rescuer was the chief of the Viking tribe from before, he and his flying dragon stayed the night, but were already gone before anybody woke in the morning. Apparently the fisherman made a full recovery, went back to catching fish and died in his bed of old age, many years later. Or so the story goes."
"Wow." Harry, slightly awed by the man who's dragon taming secret he would have dearly liked. "Sounds like he was quite a guy."
"If you believe such things. Now, somewhere in my study I have some notes on him, would you like some tea?"
"Love some."
"I'll put the kettle on while I look. Biscuit?"
"Err ..... "
Minerva smiled and raised an eyebrow encouragingly.
" ..... go on then."

Minerva placed the tray on the table, a teapot with a knitted cover, two fine bone china cups with matching saucers, small delicate jug of milk, and a plate and a box of cookies. The box read 'Gilded Opulent Char Biscuits'. Delicately flavored with cinnamon and cardamon, they were covered in thick dark chocolate flecked with small shreds of real gold leaf. Harry blinked, they were seriously expensive. While he could afford them, he only ever had them on a very few, very special occasions.
"Christmas present from my great niece, not really my thing, but I can't bare to just throw them away."
"But ..... "
"There's only a month or two left on their shelf life."
She took from her pocket and laid upon the table before him, a hand written book. Harry read the cover.
Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy, Dragon Tamer. by M. McGonagall.
"I'll not embarrass myself by trying to pronounce it in Norse, but, and you'll no doubt find this amusing, it translates as something along the lines of  'Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third'."
"You're kidding!"
"I'm not, I said you'd find it amusing. Shall I be mother?"
As Minerva poured tea, Harry took a biscuit and nibbled it politely.
"I will warn you now Harry, I never found any details about how he tamed them. There were two dragons and two ways of acquiring. I presumed, but could never conclusively prove, that one tale refers to one dragon and the other, the other. Neither is particularly rich in detail."
"And they were?"
"That he snatched one from the air as it flew by and it accepted him as a friend ..... And he stole one from a Roman arena. While it was fighting gladiators, as part of one of their public games, in front of a sizable audience. Or so my research has lead me to believe. Perhaps rescued would be more accurate. The sources say 'stole', but then they were Roman archives. How he achieved either, is quite beyond me."
"Oh." Harry's disappointment showed.
"But there's a reproduction of the only known representation of him, only contemporary one, I should say."
Their conversation lasted for another hour or more, it drifted to each others news and gossip.
The clock on the mantle shelf chimed. Harry looked up, it would be dark in less than an hour.
"Hell, I need to go."
"I understand."
"Can I borrow the book?"
"I can do better than that."
Minerva produced a phone book, placed it beside her own book and took out her wand.
"Sin amagus, effingo codex."
A swish of the wand left two copies of Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy, Dragon Tamer, by M. McGonagall on the table.
"And the handy thing about this spell, is that to a muggle it's still the phone book. Oddly, some squibs see the duplicate, and a few see an ever shifting mixture, never fully resolving itself into one or the other."
"A rare gray area then."
"Indeed, magical and non magical are less black and white than many suspect. It should last a month or two before it returns to being what it was."
"I wonder if Filch ..... "
"Caretaker emeritus Argus Filch? He sees the never resolving mixture. As far as I know, it's his only magical ability. If it counts, that is. I wouldn't mind it back, when you're done, if that's alright. They're quite handy for library visits."
"Sure, no problem."
"Harry looked out of the window, the sun was low in the sky, casting long shadows and showing the coming sunset.
"I need to be getting back to Ron and Hermione."
"Are they still trying to tear one another limb from limb?"
"Yeah. Wish there was something I could do."
"One of life's hardest lessons, is that sometimes there is nothing you can do. You'll give them my warmest regards though?"
"Will do."
"Harry, before you go, I do have one rather pertinent question."
"How come the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures isn't handling this dragon?"
"Apparently they're all rather busy down in Kent with a major nargal problem. Apparently, Hampton-on-Sea is basically pretty much uninhabitable."
"I see. Well, take care then, all of you."
"We will, and you too. Oh, and Irma said to give you her regards."
"Did she? Thank you Harry."

"Harry! Tea?"
"Yeah, go on."
"Ron's not back yet. Any luck?"
"Yeah, I think so. Professor McGonagall, Minerva, sends her warmest regards."
"How is she?"
"Fine! Plied me with tea and Gilded Opulent Char Biscuits!"
"Who's her blue eyed boy?"
"They were going out of date."
"Well it's the thought that counts. None here I'm afraid, in or out of date."
"That's OK, they're a bit rich for my taste, if I''m honest."
"So what d'you find?"
Harry reached into a coat pocket.
"Notes, duplicated from everything I could find in library. Including the bit out of the unabridged Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I read that bit. Bit of a worry actually."
"Anything helpful?"
"Nothing jumped out at me, but a second pair of eyes, and all that."
"Anything about this Loch Lanach?"
"I think I landed on my feet there."
"Yeah, It's not a place, it's a people."
"And you'll never guess who's the authority on that chieftain."
"Go on, who?"
Harry placed Hiksti Hrithilegýsa Thrithy, Dragon Tamer, by M. McGonagall before her, and pointed at the authors name.
"Oh wow, should be useful."
"Maybe not, Minerva says she never found any details about how exactly he tamed them."
"Oh." Hermione said with a dash of disappointment.
"I got this though."
"Book of Dragons." Hermione read as Harry flourished it. "Where d'you get that?"
"Does Irma know you've got it?"
"OK, now this is where it gets weird."
"Weird? How exactly?"
"Like, if this was a novel, you'd put it down, and shout 'Deus ex Machina!' weird."
"Go on."
"Irma gave it to me."
"You what?"
"As a present!"
"Irma Pince?"
"Hogwart's librarian, Irma Pince?"
"I know. Weird or what?"
"Are you quite sure it wasn't someone using polyjuice potion to impersonate her?"
"I did wonder, but I think it was actually her!"
"Well I'll be darned!"
They sat in silence, reading. Hermione went over Harry's notes, making notes on a pad of her own while Harry scrutinized Minerva's book. He finished and picked up Book of Dragons.
Inside the lightly charred cover was a hand written note 'Property of The Royal Library of Alexandria, year XXI of Ptolemy XII'
It wasn't in any particular order, as he thumbed it's pages he found Hungarian Horntail.
'This dragon is rarely sighted north of Truso. Slightly larger than average, fast and agile for it's size. Prefers dark caves and caverns. Generally burns it's victims or crushes them with it's heavy spiked tail. Extremely dangerous, kill on sight.'
He didn't find Bellua Tenebrus, Terrato Noctus or even Spell Burner in the book, and tried to remember the other names given to it.
"What else is that dragon called?"
"Hmm? Err ..... Bellua Tenebrus, Aethisgenginn Rathmorthingi, Coruscum Interitus, Heift Nott, Night Fury, Nihtegesa, Nihtréthscipe, Noxt Ve'co, Spell Burner and Terrato Noctus. Acording to your notes."
Harry got as far as Aethisgenginn Rathmorthingi, Coruscum Interitus and Noxt Ve'co before his memory failed him.
"Err, about those ..... "
Harry began, but stopped as Hermione slid a scrap of paper with the list of names on.
"I know what you're like." she said with a knowing smile.
"Thanks Hermione."
Harry looked up Heift Nott, nothing, and then .....
"Bingo, Night Fury ..... Speed, unknown. Size, unknown. The unholy offspring of lightening and death itself ..... Never engage this dragon. You're only chance, hide and pray it does not find you." Harry read aloud, he looked at Hermione, very worried "I don't like the sound of that."
"Every other entry ends 'Extremely dangerous, kill on sight', even the Hungarian Horntail. And this one is so dangerous, it says run away and hide?"
They looked at each other for a moment.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking."
"Well, I'm seriously thinking I might go 'n' hide and pray it doesn't find me. What were you thinking?"
"That we seriously need to have a chat with this ..... " Hermione checked the cover of Minerva's book " ..... dragon tamer guy."
"Yeah, that's probably a better idea."
"I know which one Ron'd prefer."
"Mmm. You don't have a spell for talking to the dead, do you?"
Hermione didn't move a muscle for a moment.
"What if there was a way to talk to him."
"Contact the dead? Necromancy?"
Hermione breathed in slowly, allowing her lungs to fill completely, before leaning forward conspiratorially.
"What if it's a trans-temporal spell?" she said quietly.
"What's a trans-temporal spell?" Ron asked, noisily barging open the front door at that exact moment, his arms full of shopping.
Hermione and Harry both looked startled, neither had heard him approach.
"Err, err, I, err, tea Ron?" Hermione, innocently.
"All right, what's going on?"
"We've found out a fair bit, and the more we find, the worse it's getting. Bellua Tenebrus is about as powerful a dragon as it gets, especially for it's size."
"It's the only dragon the vikings said you shouldn't kill on sight."
"You shouldn't?"
" 'Never engage this dragon. You're only chance is hide, and pray it does not find you.' "
"Sounds like good advice."
"Viking folklore also says it's the 'Unholy offspring of lightening and death itself.' "
"Bloody hell."
"It's worse, it's also known as Spell Burner."
"Yeah, well, we saw it do that."
"Find out why nothing we cast had any effect, and only Harry could touch it?"
"No. Hang on, actually there was something ..... Yeah here, 'Impervious to magic cast by a wand with a dragon heartstring core.', but that's a different dragon."
"Yeah, Vagentaur Bestier, also known as, a, err ..... "
"Alpha Dragon or Ice Spitter. But not a Bellua Tenebrus."
"That's weird, damn weird."
"And there nothing about it being able to talk either."
Hermione and Ron both stopped and stared at Harry.
"Well it said 'Revenge', didn't catch the rest of what it said, kinda muttered it? Either of ..... you..... two ....."
"I didn't hear it speak. It just roared and growled."
"Harry, dragons can't talk."
"I'm not going mad, I know what I heard."
"Harry ..... "
"Guy's, I'm not making this up!"
"Harry. Dragons can't talk. They just can't. Except in muggle stories, fantasy stuff. In the real world, they just don't have the ability."
"I know what I heard."
"If you hadn't lost the ability to speak Parseltongue  ..... "
Harry looked awkward.
"Is there something you're not telling us?"
"You did loose it. Didn't you?"
"Well ..... I ..... I thought I had, but ..... you see ..... Last summer, me 'n' Ginny were having a picnic, nice, romantic, down by the Thames. We were disturbed by a snake, and I told it to go away. What I didn't realize until Ginny said was, I told it ..... I said it in Parseltongue."
"Oh god!" Hermione clapped her hand over her mouth and looked utterly appalled and not a little horrified.
"Yeah, that's what she said."
Ron looked freaked too. There was a long pause, each taking on board that little bomb shell.

Spoiler: Part seven ..... "So what was that about a trans-temporal?" Ron asked eventually, trying to change the subject and lighten the atmosphere.
"Oh, nothing, just theoretically, one would be handy, that's all."
"Oh ..... crap, look, they're ..... illegal. Very, very illegal."
"Yes, they are. And for a reason."
"Thing is, I've no other ideas. None. All out. Apart from hiding and praying it didn't find us."
Ron nodded approvingly, he still liked the sound of that.
"Sounds like a plan."
Harry and Hermione exchanged the briefest of knowing glances.
"I take it you two would rather face the most dangerous dragon on the planet. So trans-temporal spell, highly bloody illegal as it is, then!"
"Only we don't know any, do we Hermione."
She shifted uneasily, scratched at her arm absently.
"OK, look, I found it in Umbridge's office at Hogwarts, after it'd been cleaned out. One of the house elves told me where she hid things, and this was all there was there ..... "
Hermione said, walking to the foot of the stairs, pulled away one of the stair treads, and felt up inside the wall and retrieved something wrapped in a cloth, before unwrapping it on the table. It was a badly damaged book. Hermione flipped the pages until she found the page.
" ..... Trans-temporal spell, sounds really really difficult to do." she added.
" 'Spell for three witches and or wizards.', which is handy, the diagram shows empty hands, no wand, oh 'This spell is highly unusual in that the incantation must be said silently and without wand by all three for it to work correctly. WARNING, splinching of this spell would be most highly dangerous!' "
"Well, you said there was a reason it was illegal."
"Oh yeah! Reason is, you could create a paradox."
"Is it really any different to using a time turner?"
"They're harder to splinch?"
"I'll give you that ..... Got any better ideas? I am open to suggestions, at this point anything! Apart from that, Ron."
Harry and Ron both looked at the floor and shuffled their feet.
"OK, then. Outside the pair of you, I'll be out in a mo'. I can't believe I'm actually doing this."
Harry and Ron stepped into the garden, the hedge and lawn had been treated to a good dose of something and looked better, but they still weren't looking their best. The two looked at the setting sun, partially obscure by red tinged bands of sullen black clouds, it looked deep and brooding. Wind whipped at them, hinting of immanent rain, and a good deal of it.
"Harry, this is illegal."
"You're an Auror."
"Err, yeah?"
"Head of Department!"
"Yes Ron, I know, they put this sign on my office door to remind me of that, for those times when I forget."
Ron gave Harry a reproachful look.
"What's the punishment for using a spell like this? Think we'll get off with just life in Azkaban, or d'you reckon they'll they think up something extra special, just for us?"
"Well Ron, I won't tell if you won't."
"You really know how to put a bloke's mind to rest, mate." Ron, with black humor.
"No problem, any time." Harry, trading like for like.
"Right then," the two guy's turned at the sound of Hermione's voice "here's the incantation." Hermione handed out two copies "I suggest we start with feet apart, and bring them together when we've finished the incantation, then it's the hand gesture."
She was nervous, which didn't settle the slightly spooked Ron, or the equally, but less visibly spooked Harry.
"Stand in a circle about twenty feet in diameter."
"A circle. With three corners. Isn't that technically a triangle?"
Hermione gave her husband one of her very best killing looks, it was probably good for a full on genocide.
"D'you think this is a good idea?" Ron asked
"No. Ready?" Hermione replied darkly.
"As I'll ever be."
"Lets get it done, before it chucks it down."
"What happens if this doesn't work?"
"At best, probably a nice big burned patch on the lawn."
"Another one."
"At worst, the end of all space and time."
"So no pressure there, then."
"It probably won't be as bad as that."
"Ron, let's get this over."
"Feet apart, together when you've finished."
"What's the hand wave?"
"Oh, good point, you reach in, grab the thin air and pull out, all the way to your chest. It's important that both hands touch your chest, preferably at the same time."
Thunder rumbled in the distance. A last oblique shaft of sunlight cast long shadows as they read their incantations, it ended with the Viking's name. Hermione was first to put her feet together, then Harry and Ron a moment later, the three put their hands out and grabbed thin air. Pulling them in wasn't what any of them expected, something was pulling back, and really quite hard. As the last hands touched their chest, a massive blinding light shone around. Brighter than the sun, it was there for fully a second or two and then it was gone. All three blinking, with spots before the eyes, tried to look for any sign of the dragon tamer, but there was none. There was, however, a large patch of freshly burned grass.
"Well that didn't bloody work."
"Well, it's not the end of the world."
"Har, bloody har har." Ron wasn't amused, as he was trying to see round the hole in his eyesight that filled most of his field of vision. "It could have warned about the bright flash."
The rain arrived, gently for a moment before it quickly ramped up into a medium scale down pour, it had soaked them before they reached the back door. Hermione handed out towels.
"Coat. I'll take first watch, got a brolley?"
"Tea? I seam to recall someone offering, I don't see any."
"Thank you dear, that would be lovely."
Ron rolled his eyes.
"Me and my big mouth." he said under his breath.
"Just a thought ..... "
There was a knock at the back door.
"Don't bother, I'll get it." Ron said, resignedly.
" ..... if it had worked, well, I don't speak norse, and he won't speak English."
"There's .... "
"Hello? Can I help you?"
 " ..... a translation spell in the incantation ..... "
"Err, I think that might be the other way round." the tall slim stranger said, rivers of rain running off him, his ginger hair plastered down.
" ..... the four of us would have ..... "
"Can I come in? It's proper cat's 'n' dogs out here."
Ron took a pace backwards and the stranger stepped just inside.
" ..... been able to understand ..... "
"Are you selling something?"
" ..... every word each other said, ..... "
"No, and I'm not trying to convert you to some religion, before you ask."
" ..... not that it worked this time, I wonder ..... "
" ...... what went wrong?"
"I believe you summoned me?"
"No, it didn't work ..... Err, you're not ..... " Ron referred to the much smudged and smeary note "Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third?"
Harry and Hermione's head spun round, stunned looks on both.
"You could have picked a nicer night for it, if you don't mind me saying." Hiccup pointed out politely.
All three just blinked, open mouthed in shock.
"Any chance of a towel?"
Ron meekly handed him his.
"Nice cottage, so what did you want?" Hiccup said, drying himself "I take it you did want me for something, not just because it was raining and you were bored?"
"Err, well, we have a dragon problem."
"Ah, I see. How can I help?"
"You had a pet dragon? Name of, err, it's in here somewhere ..... " Hermione trawled the notes.
"Toothless, and he's not a pet, he's a friend."
"You rode him, like a horse?"
"I ride him like a Dragon. Horses can't fly. That's Pegasi. Not that you get 'em out our way, don't think they like the cold."
"OK then, mister Haddock ..... "
"Call me Hiccup."
"So, Hiccup, we've been attacked by this dragon."
"Same kind as yours, but wild ..... "
"A wild Nightfury attacked you?"
"Yeah. Two times now."
"None, it burned the house down, both times."
"When was it here last?"
"Last night."
"And the night before that was it's first visit."
Hiccup looked around, the cottage showed no sign of either damage or recent repair.
"Err, well, I'm a wizard, so's 'Arry, and Hermione, my wife, she's a witch."
Hiccup narrowed his eyes a fraction.
"And you three want me to stop these attacks."
"I see. There will be a fee for services rendered."
"OK, what?"
"Depends what exactly needs doing to achieve it. I'm not unreasonable, I'm not going to want all your gold. Or your women's folk. Astrid'd kill me, for one thing."
"Under the circumstances, I don't see we have a lot of choice, alright, but no unreasonable demands."
"We still have our wands, you go demanding anything we don't like the sound of, and we're sending you back with nothing!"
"Thank you Ron." Harry agreed with the sentiment, but might have worded it a little more tactfully, they still needed him to deal with the dragon after all.
Hiccup sensed it was time to change tack and get to work.
"Pub?" he suggested.
"Pub, bar, hostelry, ale and porter house, drinking establishment?"
"Err, we kinda need to watch for the dragon, it's ..... "
"It's raining, hard, no dragon attacks tonight, not in this lot."
"They can't make fire if their head's wet."
"Yeah. Pub?"
"We have drinks here?"
"Oh gods, look, if this Dragon's been attacking you, chances are it's been attacking other places as well. A bit of alcohol gets tongues wagging nicely, and we can find out where else it's been. I take it there's one round here somewhere?"
"Yeah, Red Lion, in the village."
"Good, err, is there somewhere safe I can leave this?" Hiccup took off his torc, hooked it on his upper arm and massaged where it had rested. He noticed three pairs of eyes transfixed by it. "You know, I think I'll wear it after all."

The Red Lion was large, a fire burned brightly in the saloon bar's hearth, making it a haven of warmth and cheer on a dark and dismal night. The four sipped their pints, Hiccup tried a few of the beers from a small local micro brewery, and approved of all of them. At last it was closing time, outside it was still raining, Hermione and Ron had picked up reports that it was probably set in till mid morning, discussion on the walk home centered on whether it was worth posting guard. Hiccup had made it clear, that as it had been breakfast time when he'd left, he'd be fine to keep watch, just incase the rain stopped and the Nightfury paid them a visit. They got back, Hermione broke out a map and plotted where 'strange going's on' had happened. A man named Steve Rawlins, had claimed he's seen a dragon set his shed on fire, but then he'd 'seen' a lot of things over the years, most of the locals were a little surprized he'd never claimed to have been abducted by aliens. At least, not that anyone could remember.
Hermione had placed tacks where each had happened along with their own cottage, it quickly resolved into a slightly lumpy circle.
"What's right there?" Hiccup pointed to the middle of the ring.
"Err, a wood and ..... " Hermione peered at the map " ..... abandoned mine workings. Why?"
"It's going to want shelter, a cave ideally, I suppose an old mine'd do. We should check it out, tomorrow evening, before dark."
"Sure you'll be OK?"
"Yep. Go, get to bed, we'll all need to be alert when we see it next. Sleep well."
Hiccup sat in a chair by the window, it rained, it stopped for a few short periods during the night, and Hiccup went outside for a better look at the sky. He saw no sign of it. At last Hiccup heard the floorboards in the room above creak, then foot falls on the stairs.

Spoiler: Part eight .....Hermione was first to appear.
"Morning, sleep well?"
"Yeah, best I've slept in days!"
"So what's your story?"
"I get the impression that you and your husband's relationship is, well, strained these days"
"Yeah, you could say that. So what's your story?"
"I think this M. McGonagall has that covered already."
"You read that?"
"I picked out a little."
"OK, how did you capture your dragon?"
Hiccup took a deep breath, and looked suddenly strained.
"Oh boy! Here we go. When I was young, we were at war with Dragons. Attacks were a frequent and regular occurrence. Unless it was raining. Which was quite a lot as it happens, I guess that's what made life possible at all, back then. I was a bit of an inventor, and a bit of a misfit, dad had me apprenticed to the village blacksmith from a young age. I made stuff ..... I made a thing that threw a bolas, I tried it out, hoping to catch a Nightfury, looking back I hadn't a hope in the realm of Hel herself."
"You missed?"
"No, I hit it! Total fluke. That was early that night, in the morning I went to see if I could find it, spent hours and hours looking, and eventually I found him, still tangled up in the ropes."
"It was still a different world at that moment ...... I was going to kill him. I was gonna take his heart to my father, as a trophy. In my mind I'd've been a hero for that. Respect of the whole village and everything, and ..... I couldn't do it, I couldn't look him in the eye and murder him."
"I looked into the eye of the most feared beast we knew of, and what I saw changed me. Though I fought it at first, I was changed. More than anything else, I faced my demon and realized it was nothing of the sort. I went there to show I was a man, and right there and then, that's when I actually became one."
"Then what?"
"I cut him free, what else could I do? He flew away, and I figured that'd be the last I'd see of him but, next day, curiosity got the better of me and I went back. I heard something in the distance. I went to check it out and I found him, trapped, unable to escape. I'd rendered him unable to fly, properly. In the weeks that followed, we bonded, and I made a replacement tail fin so he could fly again. A saddle followed and after an initial bit of uncertainty, we took to flying together. Since then, we've saved each other's lives more times than I care to count. We've had a few close calls over they years. Even fought a Bewilderbeast."
"A what?"
"Bewilderbeast. Ice spitter, romans call it a Haesitus Brutum."
"Also know as an Alpha Dragon?"
"Well, any species can be an alpha, in theory. Although I've only actually seen four."
"Any species?"
"Even a Nightfury?"
"Yeah! Toothless is Alpha for our colony."
"Well that explains a fair bit."
"Mmm, me 'n' Ron have wands cored with dragon heartstring."
"And your spells had no effect."
"That's right!"
"Now we know it's the alpha of a nest."
"Not necessarily all that many Dragons in a nest. Perhaps just a few. Real question is, what made it go from being a shy, retiring creature who avoids man like crazy, to attacking them."
"Any ...... particular ..... reason why you'd say that?" Hiccup sounded uncomfortable.
"Harry said it said revenge."
"It said revenge? Dragons are good communicators, but when they're attacking, what you generally get, is mostly just pure violence and aggression."
"Harry's what they call a Parselmouth."
"He can talk to snakes? Well, I guess snakes and Dragon's are both reptiles."
"Err, yeah, err, how come ..... "
"I'm a blacksmith, the unbridgeable chasm between those with magic and those without, we're kinda sorta in between. There's a kind of magic in the forge and a blacksmith absorbs just a little. As a consequence, magical folk are a little bit more willing to talk trade talk with you."
"Oh. I never knew."
"What about your local blacksmith?"
"We don't have one."
"Huh? What do you do when you want a cauldron, or a bolt, or nails, armor, knives, swords, and so on?"
"We don't need armor, or swords."
"I guess that's magic."
"Not really, there aren't wars in the same way, and when we want something you go to a store, They have pots, pans, nails and everything else you could possibly want, plus lots and lots you don't. Then there's mail order, the internet and shopping channels on TV."
"Oh." Hiccup sounded sad, inside he couldn't get his head round it, no blacksmiths? How did that work?
There was a creak, and footfalls on a different piece of floor above, a few moments later Harry appeared on the stairs.
"Morning Harry."
"Morning Harry."
"Anything happen last night?"
"Not a lot, so you can understand what a Nightfury is saying?"
"One word, I could tell there was a language, but so far, only one word I could make out."
"OK, well, revenge makes sense, .....
More floorboard creaking signaled the impending arrival of Ron.
" ..... but revenge for what?"
"Good question."
"It feels wronged by man. I wonder what was done. And by who."
"And by who, what?"
"Morning Ron."
"Morning Ron."
"Morning Ron."
"I was just about to make breakfast. Who'd like what?"
"Fry up?"
"Fry up!"
"I don't suppose you have porridge?"
"Sure, one porridge, one fry up and what are you having Ron?"
"Fry up."
"I'm sorry Ron, I didn't catch that."
"Fry up."
"Well I guess it's what you feel comfortable looking like that's important."
"Alright, I'll have the ruddy cereal."
"An excellent choice, may I recommend the beetroot juice?"
"At this rate, I'm gonna be the healthiest stiff in the mortuary." Ron muttered darkly.
"Sorry dear, I didn't quite catch that." Hermione, a picture of innocence.
"I said 'Beetroot juice, how lovely, how did you know?' dear" Ron said with unconvincing enthusiasm.
Breakfast was eaten, Harry left first, taking the floo network to the ministry of magic, Hermione left next the same way.
After she left Ron turned to Hiccup.
"Err, you'll want somewhere to sleep."
"Couch'll be fine."
"I'm sorry about earlier."
"Me 'n' Hermione are going through a bad patch."
"Don't worry about it, me and Astrid have been know to throw things at each other on occasions. Like last tuesday."
"Cups and saucers?"
"Axes, daggers, throwing knives, hammers, maces, pan of boiling water, poker, shovel . Whatever comes to hand really."
"Yeah. Trouble is, she's a really good aim.'
"Blimey, and I thought I had it tuff."
"Want my advice?"
"Why not, everyone else is pretty free with it these days."
"Look, I wasn't just a blacksmith ..... "
"You were a blacksmith?"
"As well as chief, or whatever."
"Exactly. My point is, people come to me with their problems, from arguments over who fishing nets belong to, who has to repair who's hut, who's turn it is to clear out the midden, and sometimes its marriage guidance counseling. Once or twice it's been talking people out of slicing their partner into strips with an axe."
Ron looked horrified.
"Well, that's Magnus and Hildigard for you. So, want my advice?"
"Go on then."
"Communication is vital, tell her this diet is getting you down, and come up with an alternative, long romantic walks holding hands, or not, dance lessons can be good, sport?"
"Martial arts? Hmm, or maybe not."
"Where do you work?"
"Diagon ally, number ninety three. Why?"
"Lots of stairs?"
"Yeah, loads, it's on six floors."
"Try to use them as much as possible, good way to shift pounds that. What do you do there?"
"Manager, I help run it with my brother, George. Fred, his twin, used to, but he died in the war with Voldermort. George was struggling on his own so I gave up working with Harry to help him out. He's a blinder at spells and magic, but he's hopeless at keeping the books straight."
"Do you two have any interests on common?"
"Err ..... Yeah, arguing. What about you and your misses?"
"Dragons, we both fly. Mind you, she's very competitive, I really just want to immerse myself in the joy, the utter bliss of flying, there really is nothing like it."
"Harry's the flier, broomsticks. We've all got 'em, but he's a natural. Something really special. Was from the very first lesson."
"Yeah, youngest Quidditch player in a century, youngest seeker in Hogwarts' history."
"You feel like you're in his shadow?"
"No ..... Yeah. He's bloody brilliant, he really is." Ron sounded miserable "and rich, not forgetting famous, 'The Boy Who Lived', and the bloke who defeated Voldermort!"
"But .... ?"
"That's how the world sees him, well, the wizarding world. He wrote a book, about the war. In it he was pretty honest, down played his role if anything, made it very clear that it wasn't all him, and that hundreds of others did their bit, a good many died doing it, loads of innocent bystanders too. He tells the truth and everyone sees him as just being modest. It just reinforced his reputation. He's an Auror now, youngest Head of Department since records began. Nine BC, before you ask. And he's a really nice bloke, there's nothing he wouldn't do for his mates, generous,  modest and a perfect husband ..... God I hate him sometimes."
"Ah, err, OK. And you're a business man?"
"Yeah, well, partner with my brother in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes ..... And there I have Fred's reputation to live up to, but since 'im 'n' George were flipping geniuses, that can't really be done."
"Go to work, have a long think, what are you good at, I mean really, really, epically good at. Also what can you do to loose weight that doesn't involve dieting. You keep the books, right? How did they manage before?"
"They muddled through. Muddle being the operative word. God it was a mess!"
"And now it's not?"
"Well, it took me a month to get it sorted, but no, now it's pretty ship shape."
"Running better now? More profitable?"
"Yeah, reorganized the payments, fixed the accounts that were behind. You think I should become an accountant?"
"Nope, I was thinking more of a business advisor, or maybe a consultant?"
"I dunno."
"Consider it?"
"No, Ron. The answer I wanted was 'I will think hard and deeply about it.' "
"OK then, I'll think about it."
"Look your hearts obviously not in it, so I don't want you to think about it."
"Err, OK."
"Have a good day at work."
"Yeah, you too."
Ron took the Floo and was gone, Hiccup was alone in the cottage, he sat down again with Minerva's book, and tried again to read it. This time, understanding much more on it's first page than he had before.
Hermione was first home that evening, Hiccup was sitting at the table, Minerva's book open.
"Get any sleep?"
"Yeah, most of the time you were at work."
"Get much out of the book?"
"Some, your language is based on a mixture of two Norse languages, with Latin and some Greek influences. Plus some words I recognize from other languages, Gualish, Frankish, Gaelic, And others, too."
"Your story is odd, Minerva tells of the conflicting tales about you, the Saga's about you say one thing, what is I guess your autobiography tells a very different story. There is even a saga of how you saw the death of all dragons, they become extinct, and you lived to old age, and you died. Because you died of old age, you passed into hell. There you found dragons had an uprising against the goddess of that realm, and in return for you calling them off, you negotiated that you would live your life again, and that dragons would not go extinct?"
"Yeah, and?"
"But how can there be two totally different accounts of your life?"
"I lived it over. I really did have to negotiate with Hel, that's the goddess's name, her realm is Helheim. Wasn't easy."
"Oh, err, right. You don't look like your picture by the way."
"You were expecting the big guy."
"Err, well, err, kinda, yeah. Sorry."
"That's my dad. From a very young age, Dragon slaying was his thing, until I got him to see them differently. After that, he became a fan of Dragons too."
Harry arrived in the hearth, clutching his trusty broomstick. A limited edition broom called a Firebolt Fulmination.
"Hey Harry."
"Hey Harry."
"So, what did I miss?"
"Not a lot, I only just got back my self. Apparently Hiccup lived both the lives in the book."
"I negotiated with the goddess Hel to live my life over, just like it say's in the book."
Harry just looked shocked.
"OK, so what do we do about our dragon?"
"Pay it a house call."
Harry and Hermione looked at Hiccup doubtfully.
"What if it doesn't appreciate us being there?"
"We go now, well before night fall, it'll be asleep until dusk."
"About the Nightfury? Pretty much, might be other Dragons, which could be awake, but I doubt it, a big nest wouldn't stay secret for long."
"Do we wait for Ron?"
"When will he be back?"
"Could be any time, any minute now, or another hour or two."
"Sooner we get there, the more time we have to look round."
"I'll write Ron a note."
"What do you hope to find there?"
"Not sure, I'm hoping I'll know it when I see it. Perhaps a clue why it wants revenge?"
"Broomsticks?" Hermione suggested.
Hermione made for the back door, and waited for the two guy's to follow.
"We can fly there on our broomsticks." Harry said, holding his out in front for Hiccup to get a good look at.
"Oh, right."
"Harry's a really great flyer, out flew a Hungarian Horntail."
"Yeah. Nearly killed me, a couple of times actually, but I eventually ditched it."
"A Nightfury can fly rings around any Dragon I've ever seen."
"How'd one compare with, say, a welsh green?"
"Fly rings round it, way faster and way, way more agile. There's nothing to touch a Nightfury in the air. Nothing I've ever seen, anyway."
"Yeah?" Harry sounded worried.
"Toothless lost part of his tail, my bad. When we fly together, I operate his prosthetic tail fin. I hold him back, I know that, but we can still fly rings around every other Dragon we've ever met."

The abandoned mine was lost among trees. Not manicured, photogenic woods, but densely packed with a mix of old dead brambles, clumps of mostly dead bushes, fallen trees. There was other stuff too, man had treated this place as an illicit garbage dump. Old tires, construction and demolition waste, including a deal of unwanted asbestos. Abandoned vehicles, furniture, fridges, washing machines, a veritable smorgasbord of debris and detritus. And there were nettles, huge swathes of them, filling any space they could find. The site was perhaps a mile by a half mile, an oddly shaped, asymmetric oval, when looked at form above, and ringed with an old barb wire fence, with signs that read 'DANGER! Site subject to sudden collapse subsidence!', 'DANGER! Deep Excavations', 'No Fly Tipping', 'Trespass on, and Un-Authorized Access to this site subject to prosecution under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), with a maximum fine of £5,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months.' and others. It wasn't very inviting. Harry landed with Hiccup, Hermione landed beside them. The fence and the gate looked old, but the chain and lock were new.
"Fly tipping is an offense under the environmental protection act nineteen ninety, offenders may face up to a fifty thousand pound fine and or a prison sentence." Harry read "Remind me not to tip my flies here, then." Harry finished, trying to lift spirits.
Hermione gave Harry a pitying look.
The lock clicked open, and the three were soon inside.
The lock clicked shut.
This was an old access track, it had once been busy, but it looked as if it had last seen vehicles decades before, grass grew over most of the surface, and bushes grew up the middle, even one small tree. The wood wasn't all trees, there were patches of grass, some of them a few hundred feet across and it was near the edge on one of these that they made their first find, a carcass. The large black scaly creature had died there perhaps a few days before.
"Male Nightfury, about eighteen. The one visiting your cottage might have been his mate, a parent, sibling or just a good friend. Dragons can form very deep friendships."
Next to the body was a much trampled patch of scorched undergrowth. Something had lain beside, perhaps not understanding or simply unable to accept that they could be dead. They spread out. It was Harry who found the entrance, the large robust steel grating, which presumably had once prevented anyone from entering, had been destroyed. The ends of the bars bore witness to being hit with extreme heat, solidified splashes of once molten steel, were rusting in the dirt for distance inside the tunnel.
"I don't recommend going in there." was Hiccup's softly given expert opinion.
They spread out once more. Perhaps it was appropriate that Hiccup was the one to meet it, he worked carefully around a rocky outcrop, and there was the dragon, seeing him immediately. Hiccup bowed slowly and carefully to the dragon, not breaking eye contact. They stood maybe fifty feet apart each watching the other closely, neither moving. Hiccup tried his luck and held out a hand in friendship, hoping that as Toothless had done before, this dragon could be friendly. He turned his head to the ground, closed his eyes and prayed this would work. Teeth closed on his lower arm, powerful jaws ready to tear off living flesh.

Spoiler: Part nine ..... Hiccup's head span round, and the dragon saw his expression. In rage and in fear it had attacked, but where it expected to see fear and pain, Hiccup's face showed only betrayal. It froze, not biting any harder, not releasing either. He could feel the hot breath, smelled the subtle smell of Nightfury. At the same time, another's sense of smell was working overtime, there was his scent, but here too were other scents, the scents other dragons, more dragons than it had known in it's whole life, but what captivated was the scent of Nightfury, two of them, a male, and a female. What was more, these were the scents of happy, contented dragons. No fear. No rage. Just ..... peace.
He found himself looking from one eye to the other, and realized the dragon was doing the same, each trying to read the other. There they stood as statues, neither knowing what would happen next. The rain came, big heavy drops. soaking them both. Hiccup watched as droplets rolled off ink black scales, it watched as his hair and clothes became drenched. Perhaps two minutes passed, perhaps ten. Then suddenly, it released his arm, some decision had been reached, but quite what Hiccup could not be sure of. It turned to fly away, but before launching, it half turned it's head and gave him a small clipped growl.
Hermione and Harry found him not long after, arm still held out.
"Let's get back, before we get any wetter. We can look for it another time."
"I found her."
"I found her ..... Now lets get in the dry."
Amid a sudden eruption of green flame, Ron appeared in the fireplace.
" 'Ullo! I'm back."
No answer. Nothing. Nothing to suggest anyone else was in the house.
"I said ' 'Ullo! I'm ..... "
Ron found the note.
" ..... Oh."
Ron took it in hand to read it, and it was that very moment that Hermione appeared at the back door, utterly drenched.
"Hi Ron, been home long?"
"No, just got back. Haven't had time to read your note. You're soaked!
"It's raining outside."
"Been anywhere nice?"
"So that's two no's and a yes. So, no wins by a simple majority. Where ya' been?"
"Middle of the ring."
"You went to look for the dragon's lair?"
"We found it's mate, dead. I guess that's why it wants revenge."
"And we found her."
"You did?"
Hiccup pulled up his sleeve, showing where her teeth had been, bruising was just starting to show.
"It nearly bit your arm off!"
"So, Hiccup, what d'you think it'll do next?"
"I don't think she knows that. Keep out of the rain for now, that's for certain, but after it stops? I don't know."
"Think it'll come back here?"
"She might."
"Well, she'll either come here to be friends ...... "
"Not bleedin' likely."
" ...... You're probably right. Either way it'd be a good idea to have Toothless here. She could smell him on me and probably a whole load of other Dragons as well."
"You want your dragon?"
"I think it would be a very good idea if he was here. Extremely. Oh, he'll need to have had his tail fixed. To keep up. If it comes to a fight, or a chase."
"I'm sorry, but that magic is illegal."
"Didn't you bring me here with that same magic?"
"Err, well, technically, yes, but ..... "
"I'm not seeing the distinction."
Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at one another, three unhappy faces said it all.
"Still got your incantation?" Hermione said to Ron and Harry resignedly.
"No, destroyed mine, wasn't going to leave a paper trail."
"Have mine, I think I can remember it. Soon as the rain stops, we do it."
"Yeah. Meanwhile, I'll put the kettle on."
"Yeah, good idea Ron, I could do with a brew."
"Me too, Hiccup?"
"I'll try some."
"Relashio. So, did you three learn anything else up there?"
"It's been popular with fly tippers for a while."
"Nice. Find anything hazardous?" Ron said with dark sarcasm.
"Yeah, an angry dragon. I think that counts as pretty hazardous."
"They're not really that hazardous, most of the time. As long as you know how to behave around them, they're friendly. They're seriously misunderstood creatures."
"Could've bitten your arm off!"
"But she didn't."
"It ..... "
" ..... She almost did!"
"To be honest, it was my fault. I wanted to show I was her friend, but I was too quick, she wasn't ready for that. I didn't get the right cues and I pushed my luck. Too much fear of the creatures who murdered her ..... mate?"
"Tea." Ron placed a cup before Hiccup "It's hot, do you take sugar?"
Ron slipped two into his mug before Hermione had a chance to object.
"Ron!" she said accusingly "Try it with out, if you feel it need sugar, you can add some, but it's tricky to take out afterwards ..... "
"Yeah, it is." Ron sounded triumphant.
" ..... but not impossible if you know the right spell."
"It goes like this, Dulcor Exu ..... "
"Oh no you don't!" Ron cradled his tea protectively and turned sharply away, spilling some in the process "ARRGH!"
" ..... mai." Hermione finished.
Two spoonfuls of bone dry sugar crystals landed on the floor beneath Ron's cup, white and sparkly against the slate floor tiles. She looked smug.
"One sugar."
"Alright! I s'pose it's better than none."
Hiccup sipped his piping hot tea, it was odd, but OK.
"Well what?"
"How's the tea?"
"Err, slightly odd, but not unpleasant. It's ..... OK ..... I guess."
"Plan of action?"
"We need a spell to fix a damaged tail?"
"His left tail fin's completely gone, the prosthetic one needs a rider, usually me, to operate it. It's tricky, needs practice. Latest one's slight improvement on the last, it's the ninth so far. It's far from perfect, and, even with the practice I've had, it's a pretty poor substitute for his own tail."
"You say he's an alpha?"
"So that's Ron and Hermione out, and some spells have little or no effect anyway."
"Mmm. I'll hit the books, see if I can find a selection of spells to try. Should be something that'll work." Hermione went to the chair next to the book case and began researching. There was an ornamental pail full of assorted book marks and strips of paper - for when they needed a note - they soon came in handy.
Harry tried a few books too, while Ron put the shopping away. Hiccup picked up a pen and Harry's note pad, sketching Hermione, her chair and the background, then worked up Hermione's face in a little more detail.
"Rain's pretty much stopped." Ron pointed out.
All four trailed into the garden and gathered about the scorch mark left from Hiccup's summoning.
"Same as before, legs apart, together when you complete the incantation."
"Err, Hiccup, you need to know, there's a silent inaction, we put our hands in and pull out." Harry demonstrated "And there's a really bright flash."
"Yeah, no kidding, my retina's still funny."
"Should've said, I used Episkey at work earlier. Self administered, so no awkward questions."
"Yeah me too."
"Well that's nice, I've been slaving over six floors of retail pandemonium, and I could hardly see anything, all day! George was as sympathetic as usual, wish I never told the p*ss taking sod."
"You told George?"
"Relax, Hermione, I never said how I got spots before the eyes. I just said it was a bright flash, not where it came from. I ain't stupid, you know."
"I'll take your word for it."
"Guys, my Dragon? Like before it starts raining again, or your Nightfury shows up?"
Three stood facing in, feet apart, silently recited the words, put feet together. Harry was last, just behind Ron, they reached in, Hiccup turned away in time as there was indeed a flash that lit up the garden and hill beyond as brightly as any summer's day.
Hiccup turned back to see his friend, looking a little surprized. Toothless looked round, saw Hiccup, they bowed to each other, and then he jogged amiably for the cottage's open door, leaving the four humans at a loss for words.
"He's a casual one." Ron commented as they followed back inside.
Toothless had made himself at home, curled up in front of the blazing fire.
"He's settled in nicely."
"And lit the fire, I see."
"Yeah, well, he's a Dragon, you see. They, err, they do that." Hiccup trying to sound casual and apologetic at the same time.
Toothless wasn't sure about having his tail prosthetic taken off, even if it was by Hiccup. His whole body language changed abruptly as he found the scent of the local dragon. He sniffed Hiccup all over, visibly stiffening as he found Hiccup's badly bruised arm, spending quite a time sniffing it.
"That's bad."
"They're coming up nicely."
"I've had worse." Hiccup looking pointedly at his prosthetic leg.
"Maybe, but no visiter to my home has to put up with those!"
"I see it's different if you live here."
"Ron! Do you want to sleep in the garage again?" Hermione scolded.
"Episkey." Harry said.
"Ow. OW. OW!"
"The burning sensation's normal."
"Thanks for the warning."
"Err, yeah, I should've maybe mentioned that, sorry."
Toothless watched transfixed as the marks disappeared from Hiccup's arm, a cautious exploratory sniff quickly told him he still smelled the same.
"Tail, please?"
"No problem." Harry began "I hope." he added, remembering that this species was immune to some magic.
no effect.
Hermione handed him a book, open at a page.
"Harry read aloud the spell, waved his wand diligently giving no change to Toothless's tail fin. Hermione handed him another book, with the same results. More books followed, and one after another, spells had no effect. Toothless's stomach rumbled.
"Someone's hungry, what does he eat?"
"Fish, salt water very much for preference. But not eels, they don't go down well, not with most Dragons."
"Geno Piscia." Hermione incanted, producing a succession of fish, which Toothless eyed suspiciously for a moment before evidently deciding they were safe and downing about twelve or fourteen.
"Don't go crazy, he'll gorge himself silly, if you let him."
"OK. Finite Incantatem."
Toothless looked disappointed the supply had suddenly dried up, he sniffed hopefully at her wand, but no more appeared.
"And that's the lot." Harry said despondently closing the last book.
"Ministry library?"
"I'm not cleared for medical stuff, that's a bit specialist."
Hermione paused, thinking.
"Actually, there is one more."
"There is?" Harry looked at the books, every spell had been tried, he was sure, and none had worked.
"Yeah, I'll have to dig it out, it's one of the weirder spells, a hybrid potion and incantation one. If memory serves me correctly. I'll have a look, I think I remember it having some unusual ingredients in the potion, not sure. Might take a while."
"We've been through the all the books, I didn't see ..... "
"There's couple of grimoires in the loft." Hermione admitted.
"Oh yeah, the flakier ones, as I recall." Ron remembering them.
"Flakier. You know what I mean."
"No Ron, do tell ..... "Hermione invited dangerously.
"Book of Potions, by Zygmunt Budge? The Hyslop Grimoire by Helixa and Syna Hyslop? Incantations by Uric the Oddball? Eawald Spangles' history of Unfathomable Magicals? Or how about Dawsie deLune's treatise on The Obscuriatus Obseletia? It's a flippin' who's who of fruit loops and crackpots!"
Hermione sighed.
"Yeah, they're in there as well." unusually, there was a hint of defeat in her voice.
"As well as ..... what?"
"My copy of the Cinoti Panda."
"You kept that one quiet."
"The what?" asked Hiccup.
"It's a seriously old book, full of magic that was old when it was compiled. Trouble is, some of it, no one knows how to use any more, some of it's superstitious mumbo jumbo clap-trap, some of it's incomplete, and some of it's anyone's guess!"
"Thing is, if it worked, it'd still be in use."
"And some of it's powerful but long ago forbidden stuff. Plus some older stuff that's been superseded, but still works."
"Mmm, well, some, maybe."
"Well, fun as this is, I'm going outside to watch for the dragon ..... The other dragon, that is."
"We'll be there in a moment." Hiccup, reattaching the prosthetic tail fin and untangling the control thongs.

The clouds were showing signs that they might clear. Which, under the circumstances, was a cause for concern.
They listened to the sounds as Hermione climbed the ladder into loft and dragged stuff about.
"There." Hiccup said quietly, and was gone. Dragon and rider as one. Almost.

Spoiler: Part ten ..... Harry waited, wand poised, as he scanned the sky for anything. Clouds blew in blocking out the stars with the promise of yet more rain, it wasn't long before it arrived. A little after that, Toothless arrived back, exhausted. Hiccup all but fell from his saddle, they slipped and slithered in the wet muddy grass to the door, and staggered inside.
"Tell me you have something. Please?"
"You know what?" Hermione looking up from her book "I think I just might. I hope the rain holds on, this'll take a while."
"Composite charm, like I thought, potion and incantation together. I think I've got everything we need."
Hermione stood up, went to the kitchen and hunted in the closets and drawers for various things. She placed a small cauldron on the stove, put in red wine, clay, some sawdust grated from the end of one of a bundle of sticks and snipped small pieces of cloth into it with the scissors from her manicure set. As soon as it boiled she took it off the heat.
Hermione held out the book, keeping it open with a thumb.
"Harry, you'd might want to practice this, my wand's no good on an alpha."
Harry took it and began practicing. Hermione watched the thermometer in the potion closely. A few minutes passed.
"OK, It's now or never. If this doesn't work, I'm all out of ideas."
Hermione began painting on the potion as Hiccup was once again unstrapping the prosthetic.
"Oh well, here goes. 'Ni ri ana silim. Ni šur ne asilim ana kappu è Tammabukku ti šudu. Lu imi, tin, ñiš, túg è zu, ùri, esentu, bar'."
"Hmm, Sumerian." Hiccup said to himself, and as he did so, it began to take effect.
Toothless was spooked at first, then mesmerized as he watched it grow back, they all watched it, and missed the warning sounds.
The far side of the cottage disintegrated in an explosion of masonry, timber and thatch, flames licked suddenly skyward and the black streak shot past over head. Toothless followed, leaving Hiccup holding the prosthetic.

Thunder rolled, lightening lit the skies, as rain marched relentlessly across the countryside toward them. Hiccup wondered how many of the flashes of light were truly lightening, and how many were from the battling dragons. He hoped Toothless would be OK, he knew how capable he was, he was a Nightfury after all, but she was an unknown quantity. She too was an alpha, as well as a Nightfury. The rain came, bringing temporary safety for the cottage. Ron and Hermione hastily repario'ed their home back together. It was becoming routine.
"Hang on, Impervius!"
The rain stopped, at least on the four, for the rest of the garden, nothing changed.
"Well Ron, I see finally your education paid off."
They stood and watched as the rain became harder.
Toothless landed, torrents of water streaming off him, he tried to shake himself dry as a dog might, but it was hopeless in the deluge. He headed for the back door, he extended his wings out backwards for the water to run off as he crossed the threshold. The floor inside was still covered in water as they entered.
"Why Ketuh Owuh." Hermione said with a subtle swish of her wand.
The floor dried, pools shrinking and disappearing, it was maybe six seconds for the largest to be completely gone.
Hiccup looked Toothless over, the saddle and harness were badly damaged, but it had saved him from a massive slash across his back. It wasn't all good news, Toothless was bleeding from multiple wounds, she'd put up one hell of a fight. Some of the wounds had been cauterized, presumably from attacks with flame and plasma fireball. Harry looked him over too.
"They don't mess around, do they?" he sounded subdued, and not a little in awe.
"No. I wonder how bad she is."
"I hadn't thought of that. You really do care about dragons, don't you."
"Mmm, someone has too, they'd all be gone forever otherwise, cosigned to history. To myth and legend."
"People would find their remains, and ..... "
"And declare it a dinosaur. Or some such."
Harry looked appraisingly at him for a moment, before returning the dragons wounds .
"Tergeo. Hmm, that works. Err, Vulnera Sanentur." Harry tried "Hey, that works too, good. Excellent." Harry said, as the deeply clawed slashes healed.
Toothless watched as they closed up, wide eyed in wonder.
"That's useful."
"Mmm, I love magic."
"Looks pretty set in, does that rain."
"Yeah, I have to agree, you three might as well get to bed, me 'n' Toothless can keep watch, if it stops."
"I'm too tired to argue. Good night."
"Me 'n' all, night."
"Will you two be OK?"
"We'll be fine, get some rest while you have the chance."
"Night then."
"Good night."
Hiccup listened to the sounds as they went to bed, then it was all quiet bar the sound of the rain and the occasional rumble of thunder.

Hermione was first down in the morning, she found Hiccup and Toothless fast asleep in front of the fire's last glowing embers. They looked peaceful, Hermione tip toed to the fridge without waking them, opened it as quietly as she could, took a bowl from the drainer with great care to make no sound. took a spoon with just the softest of metallic clinks. Cereal was noisier, but she silently cast a Muffliato spell to silence them as she poured herself a portion.
There was a loud thud from upstairs.
Ron was awake. So, coincidentally, were Hiccup and Toothless now.
"Stupid bed sheets!" Ron grumbled loudly.
He appeared on the stairs a little while later, yawning and rubbing his eyes. Harry had beaten him downstairs, and looked way more refreshed too.
"Morning Ron."
"Morning Ron."
"Morning Ron."
"Morning. I miss anything?"
"Well, from the sound of it, a small moon landed on the floor upstairs and two herds of stampeding elephant chased each other round our bedroom for a bit. You didn't happen to see them, did you?"
"Har, bloody, har har!"
"Breakfast Ron?"
"Dry bread and water?"
"Your wish is my command, dear husband."
"You know what? I fancy some hot buttered toast."
"Oh, I'm ever so sorry, I had an accident with the butter, so I'm afraid we're out, again."
"I'll bet. I'll see if there's still any of that moly grease in the shed, shall I?"
"There's low fat spread."
Ron appeared to consider this carefully.
"Hmm. Dad may've borrowed the grease for the Anglia, thinking about it." Ron, pretending to be heartbroken.
"Does Toothless have a fishy breakfast?"
"Err, yes, if that's OK?"
"Yeah, no problem at all, how many?"
"About ten or twelve if they're like last nights."
"Size can be a bit variable. Geno Piscia."
Again fish appeared from the end of Hermione's wand and Toothless devoured them noisily, with no hesitation this time.
"Any plans for while we're at work?"
"Yeah, sleep. We went for a little fly around, in the breaks between rain last night. Historically, up to now, I don't think I've ever been so far from the sea. Berk's only a couple of miles across and none of the islands there abouts, is much bigger."
Harry's watch alarm sounded.
"Got to go, meeting I can't be late for. See you all later. Sleep well, both of you." Harry said, walking to the fire place, he took a generous pinch of powder from the bowl "Ministry of Magic." and disappeared in the green flames.
Toothless looked unsure, but curious. He went and sniffed at the fire place, which made him sneeze.
"Well, you wanted a cute and cuddly Bellua Tenebrus, Ron."
Ron gave Hermione a momentary blank expression before responding.
"I did, didn't I?"
"Well I'd better be going, cases to read, process and such. See you later, sleep well Hiccup, Toothless." Hermione took the powder "Ministry of Magic." and vanished just as Harry had.
"What do you make of her?"
"Your wife?"
"Smart, ambitious, loyal to her friends I think, brave, has a complicated relationship with her husband. There is still love there, and time to fix things yet, I suspect. Don't blow it. Did you think about what I said yesterday?"
"I'm still thinking about it."
"It's a start. You'd better be going too."
"Mmm. Ninety three Diagon Ally."

Harry was back first, Hiccup was giving Toothless a massage on the lawn, or maybe he was giving him a scratch, either way Toothless was very evidently loving it. Toothless Spotted Harry, almost closed eyes opened wide, and was that a smile on the reptile's mouth?
"Hi Harry."
"You two look you're enjoying yourselves."
"Yeah, Dragons love a good massage."
"Do they get fleas? Ticks?"
"Intestinal worms occasionally, but you'd have to be a very determined flea. Water and fire proof. I've seen mosquitos have a go from time to time."
"Yeah, always a fatal mistake."
"Yep! You'll probably find a one or two scales on the lawn, I've picked most of 'em up, but I expect I'll've miss a few."
"What do you do with them?"
"Depends, they're very good heat insulation. Drop one in the forge and before long one side's hot enough to melt lead, but the other's still cool to the touch. Did you want some?"
"They're used in some potions."
Hiccup held out a hand and dropped a good few into Harry's hand.
"Umm, thanks." Harry said weakly, they weren't cheap or easy to get, even with a brother in law working at a dragon sanctuary. There was usually a wait to get them too.
"That's OK, there's hundreds of Dragons on Berk, leave scales all over the place. They get everywhere!"
Harry was about to say something, but a sudden clatter from the cottage, followed by an impressive selection of loud curses, distracted all three. Ron and Hermione had arrived at the same moment and both had ended up on the floor, knocking over the fire dogs and an ornamental canal barge style kettle. Something that Ron loved, but Hermione had tried to loose in the loft. More than once.
They were dusting themselves off and giving each other accusing looks as the three joined them from the garden.
"You OK?"
"Yeah, thanks."
"I'm fine, thank you for asking."
Hermione waved her wand at the fire dogs, which returned to their original position, Ron buffed the kettle on his sleeve and placed it back by hand.
Hermione opened the Daily Profit on the weather forecast page.
'Fine dry night across the country, with temperatures dipping to seven or eight in places. Light breezes across the south and west, stronger in the north and Scotland. Possibility of isolated showers in west Wales.'
"Dragon attack, pretty much a dead bloody cert." was Ron's interpretation. "I call first watch, if no one has any objections."
"No need, remember? That's why we're here?" Hiccup reminded.
"Oh yeah."
"Honestly Ron, it's a wonder you remember your own name, sometimes."
"Well, at least you don't have to live with some one like you."
"No, I have to live with someone like you!"
"Well I'm not forcing you to stay, woman."
"Given that I put up the deposit, and the mortgage is in MY name ..... "
" ..... it won't be be me that moves out, dear ..... "
Hiccup shouted, finally getting everyone's attention. Even Toothless was looking at him in surprise. Hiccup put a hand one shoulder of each of the waring couple, and shoved them rather firmly into their chairs, took away the newspaper and produced two small bottles, placing them on the table between husband and wife.
"I believe these are yours?""
"I suspect the brightly colored, highly decorated one is yours Ron, and the subtler one is yours Hermione. Am I right?"
"It is."
Both sounded like naughty school children, both had hesitated before answering, neither knew where this was going. Neither wanted to argue with a man who had his own dragon, a Nightfury at that.
"I think we all know what's in 'em. So, take your own."
They looked at him, open mouthed.
"Now would be good."
They both drank, there was suddenly something compelling about his voice.
"Come on Harry, bring a broom, we're going for a fly around. Give these love birds some space."
Hiccup lead, and Harry closed the door behind Toothless's tail.
"We want to invisible to muggles, if we're doing this."
"Haudquaquam Animadvortex."
"And what does that do?"
"Now no one can see us."
"Err, I hate to mention this, but .... I can still see you."
"We can see each other, and we can see the rest of the world just the same, but no one else can see us."
"Oh, handy."
"Yeah, it is. I get to use it a fair bit, in my line of work." Harry said as he mounted his broom.
"Yeah, Ron Mentioned you were an Auror."
Toothless bobbed down, almost to the floor, Hiccup swung his prosthetic over the unsaddled neck.
"Haven't done this done a while."
"Err, really?"
"Not ridden bare neck, I haven't."
"Oh. Got anywhere in mind?"
"Nah, just a safe distance."
"In case one of them falls in love with one of us rather than the intended."
"I'm not worried about that."
"You should be, love potions can have unexpected results."
"You wait till they find out what I did to the potion."
"Why? What did you do?"
"Chucked them down the sink and filled them with water."
"You what? They're gunna go nuts! You know that, don't you."
"They'll get over it, it's a demonstration of how much they actually still love each other."
"And what if they've killed each other?"
"Well, at least they're not still fighting?" Hiccup said in his defense. "Ready?"
"Race you to five thousand feet."
"Your on!"
Toothless hunkered down, wriggling himself into position for launch, Harry gripped his handle tightly.
Both launched, Hiccup was shocked, he'd ridden Toothless countless times over the years, and felt he knew his dragon well. This, however, was an uninjured Nightfury, nothing to hold him back. Apart from the dead weight of a rider. Hiccup's ears popped uncomfortably over and over, until finally Toothless leveled off, Hiccup was amazed, he really had been holding him back all this time. A lot!
"Well, that's nearer seven thousand feet." Harry said, catching them up a second or so later "But what a dragon, this is the fastest broom I've ever owned, and you pulled ahead, easily!"
"Yeah, that was faster than I'm used to ..... Err ..... Ever tried free fall?"
"Free fall?"
Hiccup slid off, streamlining himself into the dive, Toothless following barely behind.
"Oh, you gotta be kidding me!" Harry said and dived after them, unmounted, but tightly hanging on to his broom.
He pulled along side, after a boost on the broom. Hiccup was loving every second, Toothless patted his friend, causing Hiccup to rotate slowly. Then patted Harry the same way, causing him to rotate in the opposite direction. Hiccup had been right, this wasn't just fun, it was amazing, exhilarating, this was bliss. If slightly terrifying, Harry still gripped the broom handle tightly. Hiccup looked so relaxed, peaceful, it was almost as if he was asleep and then he stirred. Toothless scooped him onto his neck, legs sliding into position, arms wrapped around, as Toothless pulled out at around ten feet above the wheat growing in the fields. They sped along, skimming the crops, only pulling up for hedges and dodging between the tall tree's. They flitted over a road, over the field gates, yet under the low hanging branches above. Toothless pulled a perfect loop the loop, passing under the same power line two times. A couple of gentle barrel rolls, he hadn't forgotten Hiccup was merely holding on, not tethered as he usually was. Toothless skimmed as low as he could, his wash pushing the crops down and aside as he passed. A flick and they cleared a hedge. Throwing his wings full spread, he stopped for an instant mid air, before folding his wings and dropping lightly the six feet to the grass below. Hiccup slid off, and Toothless wrapped a paw around him as they nuzzled affectionately together. Harry touched down a few seconds later, breathless, and a little in awe.
"Wow! You two!"
"Not this time. Me, I'm just a passenger."
Harry placed a hand reverentially upon Toothless's neck, with fresh respect for the beast.
"You really are one heck of a dragon, I've read a lot about you in books just lately. They just don't do you justice."
"What do they say?"
"That they're the most terrifying and deadly dangerous dragon on the planet."
"To their enemies, they are. The secret is ..... to be their friend."
"I can see that." Harry was still in awe, and it showed "Shall we go in, see how they're getting on?" he added, after a while.
"Mmm, should be good for a giggle."
Ron and Hermione had quite evidently put aside their differences, they were entwined on the couch.
"We'll come back later!"
Hermione gave that a thumbs up, there was no other sign that either had noticed them.
"More research?"
"Something like that."
"I've got a better idea, stay here. Oh, err, does Toothless drink beer?"
"Yes, but it's not a good idea to give him more than two or three of pints. He's not a heavy drinker."
"No? I feel there's a story there."
"Yeah, well, a couple of Dragons, and Toothless was one of them, got into a barrel. A smallish one, and it wasn't full. And they got drunk, Very drunk. Which I have to admit was kinda amusing at the time. In the morning they all had hangovers, they were grumpy and looked like crap most the morning."
Harry couldn't suppress a smile at the mental image of a drunk dragon.
"Right, I'll be back."
Harry disapparated, he was gone for a couple of minutes before returning, a deep tray in his hands with four glasses lightly overflowing a frothy honey colored liquid.
"Butterbeer. On each and two for Toothless."
Sat at the garden table, Hiccup and Harry watched Toothless sniffed his two pints cautiously, a tentative taste was followed by much enthusiastic lapping. It wasn't long before the tray was emptied. As he licked at the sides, it slid across the lawn until a firmly placed paw stopped it moving.
"Well, he likes it!"
"Is that good stuff then Toothless?"
But Toothless was too busy to respond.
Hiccup tried a sip, it was very different from anything he'd had before, but he was impressed.
"That's pretty good. I can see why Toothless likes it."
"It's not that alcoholic, much less than most muggle beers."
"Yeah. Oh, there's some pretty potent wizard drinks too, but this is really for quenching thirst, more than anything else."
"Unusual flavor."
"Mmm, most people describe it as a bit like butterscotch, only a lot less sickly sweet. I'm not totally convinced, I mean, I can see what they mean, but .....well. OK, I can't put my finger on exactly what I think it tastes exactly like, but, I don't know ..... OK, so, forecast's for a fine night tonight, clear skies all night, likely to be cold. Tomorrow's set to be hot and humid."
"So we can expect an attack tonight, Toothless's fixed, she won't be, he should have an advantage."
"I wonder how much he beat her up?"
"Dragons are into equal opportunities, no special treatment that way. None I've ever seen. Except between mates."
"So her injuries are likely to be much the same as Toothless's?" Harry yawned.
"I expect so."

Harry felt a hand on his shoulder rock him most gently.
"You nodded off."
Harry looked at the early morning light.
"What time is it?"
"Time you went to bed, sun's up. Perfect night for an attack, and she never came."


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