I blame Jurassic World for this plot bunny. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Hagrid and the children eagerly awaited the birth of what they all thought to be a dragon's egg. Hagrid hadn't been able to tell what type, but he had been able to keep it warm through judicious use of his kettle and blankets.
The egg had been rocking for over an hour now, and they were all waiting to see what sort of dragon Hagrid had won in his game.
A claw broke out...then a larger chunk fell off. Harry, who was the closest to where it was cracking, came eye-to-eye with the creature.
For a moment, time itself seemed to stand still as the thing blinked, never losing eye contact with the wizard. Then the moment passed and the shell started to develop larger cracks until the beast was full out.
Immediately, Harry knew for a fact this was no dragon.
Hagrid was disappointed, Ron and Hermione were confused.
"Hagrid...where exactly did the man who you beat at poker get this 'dragon'?" asked Harry slowly, his grin never leaving his face.
Hagrid had no reply. He was too disappointed the thing wasn't a dragon.
"What is that thing?" asked Ron.
"I know one thing it isn't," said Harry.
"What's that?" said Hermione.
"I know it's not banned by the ICW. I'm more interested where he got this egg," said Harry.
"So...what are you going to name it?" asked Ron, changing the subject.
"I was thinkin' Norbert," said Hagrid proudly.
"Talon would be a better idea," said Harry.
Hagrid apparently agreed, and since Harry seemed to have an idea of what this was he decided to ask the boy for advice.
"This is primarily a meat eater...and when it gets bigger I'd keep Fang and the students away from it, unless we can train it to avoid humans. It's also a pack hunter, and very intelligent," said Harry, his eagerness obvious.
Harry went and got some rare meat, and started feeding the thing. It was voracious, and seemed to watch Harry's every movement with disturbing attentiveness.
Hermione felt threatened by the creature, and didn't understand why.
Harry came over every day, always bringing meat with him. Talon seemed to regard Hagrid as the caretaker...but she regarded Harry as her alpha. At least for now.
Weeks turned into months, and Hagrid's new 'acquisition' garnered some interest. Fortunately Harry made a point to be on hand whenever some idiot came too close to Talon.
She particularly disliked the Malfoy family. She always made a series of barking sounds that Harry had learned meant 'attack', 'prey' and 'hunt'.
So far he was having marginal success in mimicking her enough that she understood not to attack just yet.
Hermione found it very disturbing to watch Talon eat her food.
Once the Ministry confirmed it wasn't a dragon, but some species of 'bird' (that came from Harry), they pretty much ignored Talon's existence.
She wasn't a banned pet, just an exotic one.
Finally Hermione couldn't take it anymore.
"Harry...what the bloody hell is Talon?"
"Um...a creature that should be extinct, but somehow isn't? What I want to know is why no one's said anything about it still being around... I mean if one of them is around then why not the Tyrant Lizard as well?" said Harry, muttering to himself. Hermione's wand sparked impatiently.
"Harry. What sort of creature is Talon?"
"A raptor," he said absently.
"That thing is not a raptor or a bird."
"Actually it is. Scientists have conclusively proven that they're more closely related to birds, despite looking like lizards. It's why they're so fast. And raptors are particularly dangerous, as some have speculated that if they hadn't gone extinct, they'd be the dominant species instead of us."
"Their translated name means 'swift raptor' for a reason," said Harry.
"Harry. What. Is. Talon?" she demanded. That thing gave her the creeps.
"Raptor," repeated Harry. If she couldn't identify a velociraptor on sight, it wasn't his problem. And the irony was that he wasn't lying about what Talon was, just using the accepted abbreviation for it's name.
"Talon is from the family Dromaeosauridae, suborder Theropoda."
"AGH! Forget it! Just don't bring that creature near me anymore," said Hermione, throwing her hands up in frustration.
"Ron doesn't seem to mind it."
"Actually mate, I'd rather not be near that thing either," said Ron, queasily. It always seemed to be sizing him up...and from the way it looked at him, he'd have to say it was planning to make him dinner.
"Suit yourselves. I think Talon likes me better anyway," said Harry.
Both his friends shivered. Talon creeped them out.
The Alpha was back. While the caretaker was big, he was about as dangerous as a half-grown Tall One with none of the killer instinct. He was a threatening to the one called Talon as Plant-Eater-Prey.
The Alpha had been firm though. He was not Prey, and neither was the odd smaller creature called Fang.
That was alright...Alpha let Talon hunt the big ones with many legs when night fell...and he ran with her allowing her to hunt. The many-legged things were crunchy, but didn't have as much meat as she liked.
The hairy one and the gluttonous one annoyed her. They didn't deserve to be part of the Pack, and the Alpha was content to put up with them for now.
The one that concerned Talon the most was the old one. She disliked him more than she did the two weaker pack mates that didn't belong. Good thing Alpha let her hide in the forest to observe him without having to put up with him.
Even if Alpha had to hit her hard enough to remind her of her place in the pack.
Harry did not like this detention, even if Talon was with him the entire time. She had grown at a rapid pace, and was now almost to his shoulder in a few scant months.
The weirdest thing though, was her eyes. They had at first been a golden orb, but since her hatching she had started to develop a shade of green he only ever saw in the mirror.
From what little he could find in the library, this was a sign of a familiar bond forming. Certain animals could 'bond' with their owners/masters, and develop physical characteristics to signify that bond.
Eyes were the most common sign.
Harry had looked for it in Hedwig, but despite being a very clever owl, she didn't seem to have developed that special bond with him.
Oh well...at least he didn't have to worry about some idiot Ministry official trying to get Talon's loyalty. Because he had been the first one she saw, he was her Alpha and as long as he remembered to respect the claws and teeth, they'd get along fine.
Pity he couldn't take Talon home with him.
Back to the forest though.
Harry felt alive in a way he couldn't explain as he and Talon stalked through the dense forest looking for the injured unicorn. Harry hadn't needed to explain to Talon that unicorns were off-limits. Like all the other predators in the forest, she smelled 'bad meat' whenever she was near them, and thus didn't hunt them. The centaurs had also made it clear they were not to be trifled with, as a few arrows had convinced her hunting them wasn't worth the trouble.
At least not while the pack was limited to just her and Harry anyway.
The giant spiders, however, still remained very much on her menu. At least the smaller ones anyway.
Harry paused when he found the unicorn. It was either dead, or about to be dead in short order.
Talon growled in her throat, clearly wanting to attack this interloper. She had smelled his weak scent in the forest before, but Harry had managed to teach her not to attack anything without his order.
After the first time he demonstrated the pain the sticks could cause her, she was naturally wary of anyone who had one in hand. He never used the stick on her...but he had used the weak red one as a way of teaching her without harm. She had understood the message.
Ron had just been pissed off that Harry used a stinging hex on him for no reason. He didn't even know Harry had done it in full view of Talon to warn her of the danger.
The sad fact was, Harry trusted the bloodthirsty dinosaur over the humans.
Harry tensed as the thing rose up after killing the unicorn. Whatever it was, it was about to come face to face with a hungry raptor and a vengeful Harry.
Right as he was about to issue the order, Fate intervened.
A centaur appeared and shot at the creature, and Harry felt pure hatred aimed in his direction.
His anger rose in response, and he could feel Talon was balanced on the edge of a knife, ready to lay waste to whatever he told her to.
Sadly, it was not in the cards.
The centaur eyed Talon with wary respect.
"So you are the one that commands the Ancient Hunter. Do not abuse such a gift, Harry Potter."
Harry nodded in acknowledgment of the warning.
"I shall give her the respect her species commands, but I will not let her run the show," he replied evenly.
Firenze looked at him with approval. Clearly the wizard child was smarter than his elders, who only showed caution for the teeth and claws, but not for the mind within.
Only an idiot would dismiss the Ancient Hunter for anything less than a sentient being capable of ripping you apart at the slightest provocation. The fact the Potter boy knew this, and was able to restrain the instincts within, was even more impressive.
Since he knew better than to tempt fate with the Ancient One so close and spoiling for a kill, he lead them back to Hagrid.
Harry was not in a good mood. For one thing, his 'friends' were more interested in some rock than they were about Talon killing everyone she could get her teeth into.
So what if it turned things into gold and extended life? From what he saw in the forest, it wasn't that big a deal.
Yes, it was a bad thing if Voldemort got his hands on the stone, but quite frankly the Dark Lord didn't even compare to Talon and the fact she was very much alive.
They just didn't understand his fascination with an animal.
Then again Hermione would undoubtedly become even more annoying if she knew the impossibility for Talon to exist in this day and age. She might even try to hand his friend over to muggle scientists because they were authority figures.
Quite frankly if it came time to chose between Hermione and Talon, he'd pick the carnivore.
Seeing the gleam in Hermione's eyes, Harry sighed.
"Hermione, explain to me in simple words so even Ron can understand why it's OUR problem?"
Hermione went on a spiel about how they were the only ones who could stop You-Know-Who from getting the stone. Harry patiently listened.
When she ran out of steam, Harry shook his head.
"Okay Hermione, now explain to me in a concise, short rant why it's the job of three FIRST YEARS to fix the mess that the adults made?"
"Because they won't DO anything!" she said emphatically.
"Right, I bet I could take care of the third floor in one easy step. Would that shut you up about it?" he asked calmly.
"Give me five minutes and I'll have plenty of teachers on the third floor...just for the wrong reasons."
He told the twins to disappear for a few hours while he played a prank on the teachers and made them fear for what they planned for the last feast of the year. Then he went and lied to the head boy and girl about the twins planning to prank the third floor and release some dog that Hagrid had there. A quite determined pair of twins, being avid dog lovers and feeling sorry for "Fluffy", who they learned about from Hagrid.
Then he went back to the common room and looked smug.
"What did you do?" said Hermione.
"Told the Head Boy and Girl the twins were planning to let Fluffy out of the Third Floor because they felt sorry for him," said Harry flatly.
"Well McGonagal won't believe us, but she WOULD believe the twins were up to something nefarious and keep an eye out for the Third Floor."
Her mouth opened and closed like a fish.
"You lied to a teacher?"
"Hermione, please come out of that bubble you seem to live in. We TRIED to tell her the truth. She didn't believe us. For magic's sake, she sent us into a forest with something attacking UNICORNS. So I gave her a threat she can believe and made sure she was sufficiently warned enough to do something about it. If the stone still gets stolen, then the worst I did was lie about a prank. Not exactly detention worthy and takes all blame for the theft off us," said Harry.
"I used some misdirection and common bloody sense to get out of something that is NOT our problem," explained Harry.
Later that night Professor Quirrel was chased away from the Third Floor after McGonagall and Snape busted him in the room with the dog. They got a nasty shock when the turban fell off during the fighting and found Voldemort on the back of his head.
Needless to say McGonagall tracked down who told the Head boy and girl the twins were planning to set the Cerberus loose and called Harry in.
"Mr. Potter...why did you see fit to lie to the us about the twins planning to set the dog loose?"
Harry gave her an incredulous look.
"Because adults, for some reason, seem to think first years can't display common bloody sense and you refused to take us seriously? You dismissed us out of hand when we tried to warn you directly, so I figured the easiest way to shut Hermione up about the stone being taken was to lie and have you there for a different reason. If nothing happened, then no harm done," he said like he was speaking to a four-year-old.
"And lets not forget the fact you sent three first years into the FORBIDDEN FOREST with something attacking unicorns!"
"Coincidentally what are the laws about owning a familiar?"
"Ask Professor Flitwick."
Professor Flitwick gave Harry the basic laws of familiars, and what their masters were obligated to do.
Upon finding out the lizard outside had bonded to Harry, the boy could almost feel the man's relief.
Apparently Talon worried the teachers as much as she worried Hermione and Ron.
"So...can I take her back home with me? I mean I can't say I'm entirely sure Talon will stick to the forests if I'm not around. And she's been giving some people speculative looks."
"I'll speak to Hagrid and in the mean time we'll get you a modified trunk that you can keep with you."
"Like a mobile doghouse or something?" asked Harry, cocking his head.
"Something like that. We'll need specifics about her habitat and the like, though at least you won't have to worry about the Ministry coming down on you because she's not a magical pet."
They had run extensive tests on Talon and she was definitely a non-magical pet. So keeping her in a muggle neighborhood should be safe.
Harry once again thanked whatever gods there were that wizards had no idea what Talon actually was. And that the few muggleborns who might have a clue automatically assumed she was some magical species that just happened to resemble a raptor closely.
Harry was going to have fun, even if Vernon found out they weren't allowed to use magic on the holidays. Talon would keep them from bothering him.
Hagrid was somewhat disappointed, but he at least knew Harry would treat Talon right and knew how to care for her properly. Well, that and sometimes he felt like Talon was sizing him up for dinner.