It was strange, the things that go through ones head in the face of impending doom. In the case of young Harry James Potter, he could only wonder why he thought the dragon would be more impressive. Sure the Hungarian Horntail was a large and intimidating sight, at fifty feet long, with its jet black scales, bronze horns, and deadly spiked tail. Yet to Harry there was something missing, something that he felt was crucial for it to have for him to even consider the beast before him a dragon. But then again even if the Horntail was missing something, it looked like she could still kill him dead if she wanted to, and that would be counterproductive to him winning this whole tournament. Sure he only got in on a technicality, but really he wasn't complaining he intended to win this whole damn thing. After all he had tried to enter on his own merits, hoping that crumpling the paper and throwing it in would work out for him.
That was probably why people had been unwilling to believe that he hadn't tampered with the cup somehow and cheated his way into the tournament.
But if the whole school turned on him, it was no big deal… well it did hurt when Gryffindor turned their backs on him, but he could manage. He'd done crazier things with a grin on his face, just ask the troll, Fluffy, Quirrelmort, Aragog, the Basilisk, and the hoard of Dementors. Those had been adventures he'd been proud of. Challenges that had pushed him to the very limit of his ability, and brought out more and more of him in order to conquer them. Harry had loved every second of it, much to his friends' horror, and now here stood a new challenge to push him even further. This dragon wasn't going to do what any of the other beasties he'd gone up against couldn't. He'd figure this out and walk away with a satisfied grin on his face… Right after he came up with a better plan than "running away and not dying in a fire."
Really, it was the only sensible plan he had at the moment since his other plan of "charge it and kill it with your fists" was stupid, reckless, and suicidal.
'Not that I haven't been accused of being any of those things before,' Harry thought as he ran for cover, barely escaping the gout of flames sent his way. 'But, come on, even I know that I can't do that here. This thing isn't Dudley.' Harry thought furiously as he hid behind the rock, waiting for the gout of flames to die down so he could run for the next bit of cover, though he was briefly reminded of the very first time he socked his cousin in the face, and then having to fend of his gang of friends. Harry had discovered something that day, two things really, that he was much better at fighting than a group of six large bullies, and that adrenaline thrilled him. Even now with a dragon bearing down on him with flames, tooth, claw, and tail, Harry was quickly finding this to be one of his more exciting adventures.
Then the rock turned red hot and started to melt, forcing him to risk the flames, or die as both molten rock and fire killed him. It was a calculated risk he took by throwing a rock to the left, the movement catching the dragon's eyes, and thus her head turned towards what she thought was Harry breaking cover. The flames of course followed, letting Harry dash to the right and find cover behind yet another rock.
"Okay now, think Harry, what are your options?" He whispered to himself, ignoring the commentary of his running completely. 'Magic's an option but what could work on her?' he thought as he peered out from his cover to look at the nesting dragon, only to have to scamper back as she caught sight of him, and once more released a gout of flames in his general direction. 'Not much, not much at all really… well maybe my Patronus could distract her.' Harry thought idly as he considered what spells he knew.
'Or I could just charge in and punch her in the throat,' a rebellious part of his brain thought, which again made absolutely no sense to Harry's conscious mind.
That small distraction delayed him enough that he realized that he had to move again, lest he get killed by molten rock. Throwing another rock to the side he waited for the fire to follow it, but was rather surprised when the flames went left instead of right. 'Well, that can't be good,' Harry thought as he followed after the rock, barely dodging as the mother dragon's tail whipped towards him, the spikes digging a trail into the rocks as he hurried to find cover, all the while he had to keep telling himself that running away from the 5 tons of death was the smart thing to do rather than running towards it.
'Though considering how often that's worked in the past… No, this is different, Harry. You don't have a sword like with the Basilisk, or friends at your back like with the troll, just your wits and wand… Damn it, now charging sounds like a good idea!' Harry mused as he finally managed to find suitable cover, though it was a little closer than he'd like, the commentator seemed to think he was trying to stealthily make his way to the egg and win the match without casting a single spell.
'Okay, just calm down, Harry. Think happy thoughts, fun thoughts. Like that time I punched Uncle Vernon in the dangly bits when he tried to take a cricket bat to my face for breaking Dudley's nose, or that time I caught the snitch in my teeth after falling off my broom, or the dueling club when I got to break Draco's arm to disarm him and Snape couldn't do a thing! Now go out there and fight that dragon…' "Dammit!" Somehow or another in his attempt to find a good memory to channel his Patronus into, Harry had instead managed to pump himself up and was now more than ready to try the whole 'suicidal charge' plan he'd come up with earlier. Even if his conscious mind knew that it was a bad idea, his instincts kept on telling him to go for it, and while usually he was inclined to listen, this was one of the few times he'd actually been able to think whilst in a life or death situation, and all his knowledge told him that the plan would lead to his death.
Thus Harry once more settled into trying to find a happy thought capable of conjuring a Patronus to distract the dragon so he could make a run for the egg. This time though he tried to focus less on the memories of him getting into a fight of some sort, which actually severely limited his list of happy thoughts. 'The night I save Sirius, conjuring up my Patronus for the first time, the sight of it laying into the Dementors and… the night Hermione started to fear me. Damn it!' Harry cursed as his eyes caught sight of Hermione, reminding him of just why she had followed the crowd.
Hermione hadn't distanced herself from Harry over anything to do with the Tournament. Rather she had distanced herself from him because he unnerved her. At her core, Hermione was a peaceful person who often sought nonviolent solutions to conflict, her immediate go-to being to involve a teacher. Harry knew for a fact that actual violence scared the bookish girl, and Harry was far too comfortable on the battlefield for her. What happened next shocked Harry the core. Since he was comfortable with that which Hermione feared, that fear had started to attach itself to him. He'd overheard her in the hospital wing after everything had been over and done with on that night he'd lived twice, talking to Madam Pomphery. 'People shouldn't feel at home in a fight, people shouldn't seek conflict like that, and the way he acts sometimes, it's almost inhuman. Could there be something wrong with him, some side effect of the Dementors or maybe the curse You-Know-Who used?'
It had hurt to know that the one of the people he thought could almost always count on to help him out had looked at him that way. More than that, he didn't know why she feared him for being himself? He'd always been the way he was. Just because his Patronus was capable of killing a few Dementors and was big and intimidating, didn't mean he was suddenly different. She was his precious friend, what could he possibly do to her?
'Doesn't she know I would go to hell for her, for any of my friends?' Harry thought quietly, almost forgetting the impending doom looming over him. Yet the sudden roar did wonders to remind him that he had a dragon to conquer.
Yet it was in his moment of melancholic distraction that Harry made a critical mistake. Not even throwing a rock or casting a spell, Harry dashed from his cover. Fire surprisingly didn't consume him, rather it was the dragon's forelimb that struck him. Luckily for Harry, the claws just barely missed him. Instead, he received what amounted to a slap as the palm of the dragon thundered into him. Flying like a ragdoll Harry was briefly aware of two things. The first was that the blow had forced him to drop his wand. But the second, and vitally more important fact, was that the dragon was inhaling deeply. It was quite the shock to Harry that he realized that it was over, the moment of his death was imminent. There would be no getting out of this, as soon as he collided with the ground, her fire would consume him.
He'd never see his friends again… but at least he'd finally get to meet his parents, right?
'No!' Harry resolutely thought, even as the ground started to grow closer. 'I don't want it to end like this! There's still so much I want to do, so much I haven't seen! I haven't ever left England, and there's a whole damn world out there and I am not ready to end this here! Voldemort couldn't kill me, the Basilisk couldn't kill me, Zeref couldn't kill me, and like hell will some shitty excuse for a dragon kill me!' Harry thought as he tumbled across the rocky ground, somehow landing on his feet by means unknown to him, right as the dragon was about to let loose her breath. Harry was completely ready to move, to run for cover, but that is when something occurred to him. 'Who the hell is Zeref?!'
If Harry hadn't been distracted at that critical moment, he would have very likely managed to dodge away from the flames, roll behind cover, and make his way to the egg as the nesting mother assumed that he hadn't survived. There he would have retrieved the egg and made a mad dash to the medical tent before collapsing. He would be treated and then receive a total of thirty-seven points for the sheer chutzpah of completing a task without casting a single spell. He would go on to be greeted by a sorrowful and heartfelt apology by Hermione and Ron, eventually winning the tournament and witnessing the death of Cedric Diggory and the second rise of Tom Marvolo Riddle A.K.A. Lord Voldemort, and eventually after a long drawn out conflict, that would cost many good people their lives, Harry James Potter would master the Deathly Hollows and conquer death herself to defeat the genocidal monster. Harry's sleeping power would remain just that, asleep, eventually growing so distant that Harry would have no hope of ever using it.
However, in this case, the flames smacked into him, the heat blistering his skin and destroying his clothing. Harry screamed the scream of dying agony as he could feel his feeble magic attempt to save him from the wrath of a dragon. Powerful though the barrier keeping him tied to the mortal coil was, it was quickly depleted and overpowered by the force present in a dragon's fire. His magic next to nothing, his core empty, save for the barest sliver of power Harry felt the oddest sensation, and a sudden desire.
His brain had always made the oddest connections between certain things. Such as Ice wasn't just cold, but also a pervert who really needed to learn to wear pants. Metal was hard and lightning was fast, but they were both dicks. Water soothing and wet, but was way too obsessed over ice. The sky vast and beautiful, but was also a cute kid. Giants, despite their size and power, were really short and often drunk. Strange things that always made no sense when he really thought about them. Just feelings he had towards certain things that could only be translated as he had. Yet the thing that had always drawn his curiosity was the connections he made with fire. Fire was more than just warm, but also fatherly, powerful, his strength, and most of all: tasty.
'Well, I'm likely going to die anyway, so what'll it hurt? Might as well see why I think you're tasty!' Harry thought in his semi-delirious state. And so with instincts long since buried, Harry began to inhale.
It was in that moment as an empty vessel, devoid of magic and desperate for survival, Harry reached out with those last tendrils of his magic and accomplished something that had last been seen over fifteen thousand years ago. The fire began to move in an unnatural fashion as it was absorbed into his lungs. Slowly at first, Harry realized that not only was he still alive, but that the fire no longer hurt as it should. But somehow more than his relief at surviving the impossible, Harry realized that the fire, still passing down his mouth and into his stomach was so completely and utterly…delicious!
'More!' he thought with a primal intensity, as his magic reacted to his desire, drawing in yet more of the precious immaterial ambrosia. Warming his body and curing his ails. He could feel his ribs, which he was sure had shattered into tiny little fragments, snap and mend. He could feel his exhaustion disappear as energy flooded into him. Most of all, his magic swelled and burned with energy he could hardly believe. While before he'd always had a sense that he had power locked up, now it felt as if he was practically brimming with power, and that power demanded to be used. And as the last of the fires around him were consumed he saw the perfect target for his ire.
The so-called dragon that stood before him, and this time he knew what she was missing.
The beast before him dared claim the title of dragon! No, he could not accept it. Something like her didn't deserve the title! Not when so many more worthy than she had worn it. In comparison, her fires were pitiful, her roars were mere squeaks, and her presence was that of a dog barking for scraps! She had no right to bare similarities to those that came before. And so He would tear her down, would show her what real fire felt like, what a real dragon roared like, and just what a Real Dragon's presence felt like. He could do that much for his father.
With his resolve renewed, Harry rose from the crater he'd landed in, he cared not for the gasps and murmurs that his survival caused. He cared not for the sharp intakes of breath that the audience breathed in surprise that reached his ear as he opened his eyes to the world, it was all just noise to him as he stood across from his foe. Gazing into her eyes Harry could almost pity her, but the rage he felt at her insult burned everything away as sure as a growl started to roll through his throat. A growl that was inhuman and growing in intensity, its deep scratchy baritone rolling through his throat until finally he released his rage in an unrepentant ROAR!
He could see it now, instinctive and animalistic though she was, the dragon understood now. He was no mere prey, no mere boy wizard to be slaughtered. Harry was a predator several sizes larger than her, and she had managed to annoy him. With a predatory smirk, Harry knew that he'd accomplished two of his goals, with a true roar his presence was known. Now he just had to show her what real dragon's fire was like.
He knew the crowd gasped as fires burst to life around him, he knew a few people screamed in terror, he could even hear that one lone voice inhale and breath out his name in fright. But as the true fires of a dragon gathered in his hand, all Harry could care about was the moment. The moment that he let loose and showed the world just what it had forgotten, just what he was. With a roar, Harry let the world know the name of his technique.
"Karyu no Tekken!" and as Harry's fire encased fist connected with the jaws of the nesting mother he could only think.
'This'll be one hell of a fight!'