"Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow." Hermione ran her hands around in her bag, but she couldn't see through the tears and the snarling mass of her hair hanging in her face. She was cold, wet, and her hands were blistered. She wanted a cup of hot tea so badly she could cry.
But there was no time for either. Everybody would be looking for them now. Breaking out of Gringotts on the back of a dragon. Oh boy.
"Accio Dittany." At the shout from behind her the tiny bottle flew out of her bag and by her ducked head. A rough hard boned hand snatched it out of the air, Ron uncorked the bottle, "Hold out your hands."
Seeing the stubborn set to his chin, she held her hands out and allowed him to attend her. He swabbed the burns. His much larger hands blistered hands gentle.
"Thanks." It was a rough croak Her throat sore from all the screaming she did while falling from the dragon's back and into the lake she'd just slogged her way out of.
"Welcome." Ron's voice was strong as ever. He dabbed his own burns and tossed the bottle to Harry who was sitting on the ground soaking wet and wincing.
They needed shelter a place to hide and get dry and warm. She searched the landscape for shelter, but there was nothing. Nothing but open fields and distant mountains and one huge lake. Oh, Merlin's beard she wanted a cup of tea and a biscuit. One with chocolate. Oh chocolate.
"We got lucky, mate."
She would have laughed at Ron's assessment, but she was too tired. Lucky?
But it was his "Oh Bugger." That made her wat to sit on the ground and have a good solid screaming cry. And she never cried.
A sudden shadow over their heads had all thoughts of indulging in tea chocolate and or a screaming fit out of her head. Ron grabbed her arms shoving her behind him, with some command she couldn't hear over the deafening roar.
"Don't be ridiculous, Ronald." She shoved at him, but though she could out-spell either of her friends when it came to physical strength they had her.
That strength wouldn't do a thing against a hungry dragon.
"I'm thinking they didn't feed him very well." Harry said from behind her. She felt his back against hers. They were trying to protect her. Idiots.
"Niiiiice Dragon." Ron said, holding out his hands.
Oh brilliant. The dragon would eat them as a before and chomp his way up Ron's arms for the main course.
"It's not a dog Ronald. Get out my way." She shoved at his beefy shoulder, but he'd grown a great deal over the last year. She raised her wand to blast him out of her way when the earth rumbled. There was an explosion of light and both of them were blown off their feet.
Ron shook the dancing dots out of his eyes. Jumping to his feet and inserting himself between the new threat and Hermione. But when the dancing dots dispersed, he questioned what the blast had done to his brain. He was used to weird things. It was the wizarding world and his best friend was the boy who lived, but this. "Do you see them?" He asked that boy now.
"If by "them" you mean three ladies standing between us and the dragon and bickering like mad then yeah, I see them." Harry answered, pushing his way in front of Hermione and absently rubbing his scar.
"That's good. I think." He returned his attention to the three women between them and the dragon's big teeth. They hadn't noticed them yet. They were too busy arguing. A blond a brunette and a redhead. All three were tiny. That dragon could eat them in three bites. One bite each. And still be hungry.
"Dammit, Allie." The brunette shouted at the blond, "You nearly overshot us. I told you I had it."
"And I told you," The blond crossed her arms over her chest and tossed her head, "I don't like smelling like rotten eggs.
"It's sulfur and it's only for a second…." The brunette turned enough to catch sight of the dragon. "Oh shit, that thing's big."
"It's not a thing." The redhead stuck her hand out palm up and cooed, "Poor baby."
"BABY? Lady, are you barmy?" The words were out of Ron's mouth before he could call them back.
The one who thought the dragon was a baby spun around. Huge blue eyes blinked at him. He heard an uh-oh then the girl waved, "Uh…Hi!"
The other two spun to face them. The blond with an "Oh no". The brunette with a string of words his Mum would have washed his mouth out for even thinking.
"Um, you're not supposed to be here." The redhead said.
"Uh…okay." Ron wasn't about to argue. Experience had taught him arguing with crazy got you nowhere.
"Dammit, Mac is gonna be pissed." The brunette shoved her hand into her hair.
"Don't mind us." The one who didn't like eggs smiled. Ron blinked. The sun shone bright. Warmth radiating from her angelic face, "We just came to check on the dragon."
"Blimey, the Vela have nothing on her." Harry muttered. Ron agreed, but since Hermione was right behind him, he kept his mouth closed. Experience again.
"You're American." Hermione side-stepped around him. He side stepped in front of her. She shot him a very cross look.
He didn't care. "No closer." He grabbed her arm. The dragon had stopped roaring and was sniffing out the newcomers - aka lunch.
She rolled her eyes, but didn't move. He'd get a talking to later.
"Um, right.. you guys can go on about your business and um… you know… whatever." The redhead said, then her eyes growing even bigger, she pointed over his shoulder, "Uh… I think your friend is having some kind of fit."
"HARRY!" Hermione ran to Harry's side. Good. It took her in the opposite direction of all those teeth. Not that he wanted Harry to have a fit or anything but it might as well be useful. And he was obviously already having the fit, rolling around on the ground holding his scar. His groans turning to screams. Ron stayed where he was. His wand held at his side. No way was he taking his eyes off three mad women and one hungry dragon.
"Um, do you think you could wake him up?" The redhead asked, "Dragons have sensitive ears and poor Pippin has been through so much already."
Pippin? Ron risked a look over his shoulder. The way he figured, it was time for them to leave the dragon to the crazy ladies behind, but Harry was still rolling around and all Hermione's attention was on him. "Sensitive ears?" He asked absently trying to catch Hermione's eye. She was the only one who could disapperate with all three of them.
"Oh yes. Very."
"Right. We'll get right on that….Crikey." He turned back around to see the barmy barkin mad redhead who might be crazier than Hermione walk right up to the sniffing dragon and rub his nose like it was a puppy. And the dragon? It flopped its big body down on the ground and let her.
"Do you think she's related to Hagrid?" The question was weak gruff, but it was Harry's voice. Deciding if there was ever a safe time to turn your back on a dragon this was it, he faced Harry.
"What happened?" Hermione held out her hand. Harry gripped it and struggled to his feet, "He knows."
"SHITE!" Ron jumped around. The rasping confirmation came from right behind him, "Another one."
"Yes, Another one." A fourth woman stood in front of him. Taller than the other three, her eyes nearly level with his were a green so dark had she not been standing so close he'd have thought they were black. A cool breeze pulled her hair across her face. Shoving the long strands out of her face with a grimace, she turned to face the other three women who'd gone completely silent and very still. All three wearing the same expression. Ron had seen that same look a lot growing up. It was identical to the one Fred and George wore when their Mum caught them up to no good.
"That must be Mac." Hermione offered.
"Well?" Was all the Mac woman said and the silence broke in a flurry of lady babble.
"…wasn't my idea…"
"….Christy was concerned…"
"… they kept him in chains in the dark."
The newcomer looked pained. She rubbed her temples, muttering under her breath. Ron thought she might be praying. After minute of muttering and rubbing, she lowered her hands and faced the redhead. "Christy, sweetheart, we can't take a dragon home."
"But he's sick and blind and he's not indigenous to this area." The huge blue eyes got all sad and pleading, "It's too warm. Our Mountain is perfect for Pippin."
"Pippin?" The Mac woman breathed, her head dropping like a stone. She mumbled under her breath some more, sighed and when she looked back up, her attention turned to the cursing brunette, "How long have you been here?"
"A minute," The Brunette shrugged, "Maybe two."
"And she named him already?"
"He looks like a Pippin." The redhead explained.
"Uh-huh." The Mac suddenly looked very tired.
"If she's anything like our Hagrid, you're wasting your breath." Harry said, his voice stronger, "Who are you?"
The woman they called Mac raised her head and, "No one you're supposed to know about. You need to get moving. Time's running out."
An answer that wasn't an answer and a subject change. The ladies had secrets and wanted to keep them. so Ron was not surprised at the Mac woman's reaction when Hermione said, "And that's one thing you can't give us, isn't it, time?"
Mac whirled on the other three, flinging an arm in Hermione's direction. "You see? This is why I said you absolutely could not could not be seen. She's like a walking encyclopedia of magic."
"Sorry Mac." The blond apologized, her eyes sad. Clouds rolled over the mountains blocking the sun.
"Sorry Sis." The redhead mumbled. Still petting the dragon. Its blind eyes were closed in bliss, low rumbling sounds rolling out of his chest as a steady stream of smoke rolled from its nostrils.
"You can't tell Christy no either." The brunette crossed her arms over her chest, looking sulky.
One long audible sigh was Mac's only response as she shifted her attention back to Hermione, "Miss Granger…"
"We won't say anything." Hermione assured her.
"Say what?" Ron broke his silence, "A funny thing happened on the way to Hogwarts. We met these barking mad women who wanted to adopt a dragon?"
"See, you know us so well." What might have been humor flickered over the woman's pale face, but the gaze that settled on Harry was somber, "He doesn't understand love. He never has. It will be his undoing and it is your greatest strength."
"You sound like him." Harry's words were rough from the screaming.
"Albus Dumbledore was a friend." The woman answered the unasked question, a small sad smile lifting her lips. Then, taking a deep fortifying breath she faced her sisters, "Alright, it's time to get the Dragon home."
"He's not coming inside." The brunette was still sulky.
"But they live in caves and our home is a big cave…" The redhead's big sad eyes got bigger.
"Christy, I'm not sleeping with a dragon in the house…." The brunette was holding strong, but Ron's money was on the Redhead.
"Lena can carv out another cave for him nearby…" The blond offered with a smile that had the sun coming out again.
Lena, the brunette, didn't ecare for that. "Oh, thanks for volunteering me. It's work you know."
"Pooh, you could do it in one afternoon…." The blond flicked her hand at her and a trail of white. Flew at the other girl's face. She ducked so the skimmed across her black hair."
"Dammit Allie, no snow throwin."
"It was barely a flurry."
The women were still arguing when Mac waved her arm. A frigid wall of wind and rain swept them up and of them including Pippin, the Dragon disappeared.
Ron walked forward and felt the ground. It was bone dry, "Just what in the hell was that?"
"You should pay attention class, Ronald." Hermione stuffed the dittany back in her handbag.
"Pay attention? In class? Hermione, there was nothing about barking mad ladies who live in mountains and collect dragons."
That came from Harry. Ron faced his friend "Blimey, there aren't supposed to be any left."
"They were hunted down and exterminated, Ronald." Hermione held out her hand, "If you could command the elements, live anywhere you'd stay hidden as well."
"Huh. Guess so." Ron took her hand, small and soft, in his own, "Can't believe they took the dragon."
"Elementals have a way with beasts." Hermione explained right before Harry grabbed Ron's arm and the world was sucked away.