Disclaimer – I solemnly swear that JKR owns everything Harry Potter. Whether or not I am up to no good with her characters is for you to decide.
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A/N – Well, it's been a long time coming, but finally I have gotten around to starting the sequel to Muggle-Raised Champion. If you haven't read that story, I strongly suggest that you click the back button, find it on my profile page and read it first (those who have read it may even want to reread it to refamiliarize yourself with the story as well) – this story simply won't make sense otherwise. Harry Potter: Dragon Whisperer is all planned out and the first few chapters have already been written. The plan is to release a new chapter every two weeks for the foreseeable future, with the alternate weeks being used for posting chapters of a different story. I hope that Harry Potter: Dragon Whisperer is liked as much as Muggle-Raised Champion was.
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Harry Potter: Dragon Whisperer
Chapter 1 – Gone For Good?
Tuesday, 25 July 1995
Front Page Article of The Daily Prophet
Boy-Who-Leaves: Is This The Best Thing For Wizarding Britain?
by Rita Skeeter
Yes, my dear readers, today is the day that you are either dreading or looking forward to. Today is the day that Harry Potter is to leave the British Isles.
Throughout the last month when it became known that The-Boy-Who-Lived was to leave, opinions have been varied. And why shouldn't they be. After all, the boy that we've all been hearing about ever since he did whatever inexplicable magic that caused He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Name'd downfall all those years ago, has been uppermost in our thoughts. Many of our children have grown up reading about our Hero, Harry Potter. He captured our hearts and minds, more so because he disappeared so quickly after saving us all.
And then, as you know, dear readers, he only resurfaced briefly when he was due to start Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when he was eleven. Yes, back then, we were all eagerly waiting for our hero to re-join us. Many speculated on where he'd been, what held been doing, what he'd been learning.
The answer of course, surprised us all for Harry Potter hadn't been learning advanced magic, he hadn't been off having wonderful, magical adventures, being the hero we dreamed that he was. No, my dear readers, Harry Potter had been with his muggle relatives, relatives who forbade his attendance at Hogwarts.
As I'm sure that you'll remember, there was an immediate outcry up and down the Isles when his rejection letter was sent in. Many demanded our leaders do something to counter that, to bring him to us by force if necessary. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be the case. Instead, our oh so wise Leaders decided that they couldn't rescue poor Harry, instead being bound by the very laws that they swore to serve.
Thankfully, our wishes were finally answered eight months ago when, in a bizarre twist, the Goblet of Fire, the ancient magical object tasked with choosing the Champions that would compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament between Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Beauxbatons Academie and the Durmstrang Institute, chose not three Champions, but four! And who should be that fourth? Why, no other than our boy Hero, Harry Potter.
But was this really for the best? One does have to wonder.
For no sooner had young Harry returned to the magical world and Hogwarts, than he began upsetting the natural order of how things in the magical world were always done. Our traditionalists especially, were incensed at some of the things that Harry Potter brought with him. And I'm not just talking about material items either, dear readers. No, I'm talking about his ideas.
This was no more pronounced than at the Yule Ball, held at Hogwarts for the three magical schools to celebrate the Yuletide. We were all suitably impressed when the whispers emerged from Hogwarts that young Harry was to escort the heiress of the Ancient and Noble House of Greengrass, Daphne. But that was until Harry Potter spat in the face of our traditions! Instead of wearing traditional robes to the Ball, Harry Potter decided to wear muggle fashion, an insult to not only the beautiful Daphne Greengrass but to our entire society.
Of course, you, my dear readers are fully aware that this was only the tip of the wand of The-Boy-Who-Lived's many snubbing of our society. The way that he tackled the three Tasks of the TriWizard Tournament provides even more proof.
Ah, yes, the TriWizard Tournament. I have already written countless articles on Harry Potter's so-called attempts at the Tasks (see pages 7, 8, 9 and 11 for a reprinting of those aritcles). But for those of you who have been living under an obscurus curse, let me recap!
The First Task. For this, the Champions' ingenuity, magical prowess and cunning were tested as they fought their way past a dragon to retrieve a golden egg. Cedric Diggory of Hogwarts, Fleur Delacour for Beauxbatons and Victor Krum of Durmstrang all proved that they were indeed worthy of their titles of 'Champion', performing admirably. But Harry Potter? No. Our so-called 'hero' chose to mock the Task by deciding to paint a picture of the dragon! And if that wasn't enough, he then proved that he has command of one of the darkest skills imaginable: parseltongue. Yes, my dear readers, Harry Potter talked the dragon into handing over the Golden Egg.
That brings us to the Second Task. For this Task, a hostage, someone special to each of the Champions was placed in an enchanted sleep and hidden at the bottom of the Black Lake for them to retrieve. Do you think Harry Potter used a bubble-head charm like Mister Diggory or Miss Delacour? Or perhaps transfiguration like Mister Krum? No, he did not. Instead, he went fishing and bribed one of the merpeople into retrieving his hostage for him.
Finally, we have the Third Task. A maze filled with magical enchantments and creatures to truly test the Champions. Not that Harry Potter lasted all that long. No, at the first opportunity, he fashioned some type of footwear to walk over the top of the maze before jumping out.
After hearing all of that, I'm sure that, like me, you are thinking 'good riddance' to The-Boy-Who-Lived. Someone like that should be cast from our society for the way he acts and treats our traditions and up-and-coming children.
Ah, but here's the bludger that you didn't see coming: Harry Potter is indeed as powerful as we all imagined that he could be, a fact that he proved on his second day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where, without any formal training under his robes, he was able to demonstrate wandless magic the likes of which hasn't been since in the British Isles since the great Merlin himself!
With that sort of talent and power, surely we want to keep The-Boy-Who-Lived here with us, if nothing else to merge his bloodline with the rest of us. Surely, he could be taught his place and to respect our society and traditions?
Unfortunately, that decision has been taken out of our hands. And by who, I hear you ask? Why, no other than the combined Dragon Reserves of the world. Inexplicably, they value his parseltongue ability! In fact, they want to use it! Thus, they have offered Harry Potter as a 'dragon consultant' and have even agreed to pay for him to complete his education!
Which brings us to today. Today is that fateful day when Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, will leave our shores to take up his post with the Dragon Reserves. I leave it to you, dear readers, to decide if this bodes well or ill for us as a society and for the Wizarding World as a whole.
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Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witcraft and Wizardry, dropped his copy of The Daily Prophet on to his desk in disgust. Savagely, he spun his chair about, away from the offending paper, almost overspinning away from the calming view that could be seen from his window and back to face the paper once again. A judicious hand, flung out to the side to catch the edge of his desk, was enough to stop his momentum and to turn him back to the direction that he'd originally intended.
He had been dreading this day, a day that he had never in his wildest dreams – nay, not dreams nightmares – would ever come to pass. Harry Potter leaving England! The very thought was absurd. But apparently, despite his best efforts, the boy was indeed leaving.
"You are the child of the prophecy, Harry. And it is time that you began to ready yourself to fulfil your destiny. When Voldemort returns, it will be here, in Britain, and you will be needed here."
Albus remembered saying those very words to young Harry right here in this very office not so long ago. In hindsight, his thoughts on how that meeting went were greatly in error.
He'd thought that he'd gottren through to the boy. He'd even told him of the prophecy, the one that bound Harry and Tom together. At the time, it'd seemed that Harry, however initially incredulous, had understood: Harry and Tom were entwined in fate, that nothing either did would prevent it and that here, at Hogwarts, was Harry's very best chance to prepare.
Even that, getting Harry to Hogwarts in the first place had not been as easy as he'd first thought. Indeed, like countless children, Harry's place at the greatest school of witchcraft and wizardry had been ensured, written in the book when he was born. A letter had been sent to him at the appropriate time, inviting him to attend when he was eleven.
Alas, the fact that Albus had had to send Hagrid to personally deliver Harry's letter when it became obvious that none of the others were reaching the boy's hand should have been Albus' first clue that there could be some problems in his grand plan for the Greater Good of the wizarding world.
And then had come the letter that had stunned not just Albus himself, but Magical Britain as a whole. Harry Potter's relatives declined the invitation! Oh, it wasn't unheard of, muggleborns rejecting the invitation to Hogwarts. But for The-Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter to decline via his muggle relatives, was completely unexpected.
The matter had even made its way to the Wizengamot, where, despite Albus' best efforts, his hands had been tied by the very laws that governed the world: the wishes of the guardians must take precedent. Oh, how Albus rued the day that he'd left young Harry with his last living family.
It took three additional years for Albus to manoeuvre events into place to ensure that Harry would finally be able to attend Hogwarts. Thus had come about the TriWizard Tournament, albeit with a slight alteration on Albus' part. Even today, Albus was still surprised how much power he had had to pour into his confundus charm in order to get the Goblet of Fire to choose not three Champions as it was supposed to, but four. Of course, with Harry Potter's name being the only one submitted for that fourth school, it was assured that Harry would come to Hogwarts or lose his magic.
And come he had. There'd still be challenges, the boy being more headstrong and stubborn than Albus had expected but the main thing was that Harry was at Hogwarts. He'd been sure that with a year at the prestigious school, making friends, learning about magic, that Harry's place at Hogwarts would be assured for years to come.
Alas, that wasn't to be. The boy had openly defied him! Him, Albus Dumbledore! And, even with the knowledge that Albus had been forced to share with the boy, he'd simply left! Without even letting anyone know that he was leaving the school.
That had been a month ago and, try as he might, Albus had been unable to locate the boy since. He'd even suspected that he'd already left Britain altogether before this. Again, however unexpectedly, Albus was proved wrong.
No, today was the day that Harry was leaving Britain and Albus was forced to, once again, begin searching for a way to get Harry Potter to the one place that he needed to be: under the roof of the greatest school of magic in the world and under the tutelage of its venerable Headmaster.
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Augusta, the Lady Dowager Longbottom, paused in the entry to the small dining room of Longbottom Manor and observed her grandson. Neville had changed over the course of the past year away from home at Hogwarts. He'd lost much of the baby fat that he'd been known for as a child and was beginning to grow into his looks. And, as much as Augusta hated to admit it, there was more than a touch of his mother in his face.
As Neville had grown, she'd been tough on him, striving to instil in him the qualities that Augusta saw in his father. Frank had been an auror, full of power, loyalty, strength and determination to do what was right. He had excelled at Defence and Transfiguration, both necessary skills in his line of work. But, try as she might, young Neville had always disappointed her, showing barely a hint of what made his father, her son, such a great man.
No, Neville seemed determined to follow in his mother's footsteps. Herbology and Charms, the soft subjects. Those, as much as she hated to admit it, he had an affinity for. And it was for those subjects that young Neville had been chosen this past year to become a peer tutor to Harry Potter. Augusta could only assume that Neville's rise in confidence was directly related to the friendship that he had made with Lord Potter.
That thought was enough to cause Augusta to frown.
Harry Potter should still have been exactly like Neville, a fourteen, nearly fifteen year old boy, not an adult through emancipation. That adulthood had been bestowed upon him with the best of intentions, as a way to entice young Harry back to the magical world so that he didn't lose his magic, was understandable, however lamentable.
But the ramifications for the Potter line, ramifications that effected not only the Wizengmot of Magical Britain but also the Board of Governors, both of which Augusta was a member of, continued. Currently, both of the Potter seats within those bodies were being held-in-trust by Elphias Doge, an appointment that had been made by Albus Dumbledore, someone who should have had no say in such things.
Even now, Augusta was uncertain whether Harry Potter even knew of the responsibilities that he had within Britain. Theoretically, Sirius Black – and there was another who was shirking his duties as far as Augusta was concerned – should have told the boy but whether he had done so or not was anyone's guess.
A small nod of Augusta's head confirmed that she would add those concerns to the next visit that she had with Amelia Bones, after all, the two of them had much to discuss and strategies still to decide upon based upon the letter that Harry had sent to Amelia via young Susan.
The soft breeze blowing through the open window caught the edge of The Daily Prophet, flapping the paper and catching Augusta's attention. While she couldn't read the headline from this distance, the picture of Harry Potter on the front page was clear to see. And that, combined with the morose look on Neville's face, reminded her of what the date was: the day that Harry was to leave Britain to become a dragon handler of all things.
As she took her place at the head of the table, Neville began pouring her tea for her, just as she liked it and she nodded approvingly.
"Thank you, Neville," she said, inclining her head. Seeing that the boy barely acknowledged her, she did something that she rarely did – she reached out and patted his hand. "I am certain that your friend will write to you."
Neville looked up and a smile appeared.
"Harry did promise that he would," Neville replied. "He even said that he'd send me some magical plants from around the world!"
"That's very nice of him," Augusta acknowledged. "Make sure that you thank him properly if he does."
"Yes, Gran," Neville nodded and Augusta could see Alice shining in those eyes.
Perhaps it was time that she acknowledged her daughter-in-law in her grandson more instead of just trying to make Neville into a man like Frank was? It was something that Augusta decided to think more on.
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Daphne Greengrass woke from a dream that felt so real that she automatically touched her lips with the tips of her fingers before she'd even opened her eyes. Unfortunately, she was forced to admit that it'd been nothing but a dream. Still, at least she'd experienced the real thing. Twice, even.
The first time that they'd kissed was just before the start of the Third Task of the TriWizard Tournament. Then, it'd been she who'd initiated it, catching the boy by surprise. It'd been worth it, though, feeling him respond, his hands coming to rest on her hips even as she cupped his face and kept him close.
The second time had been a mutual kiss. This one had lasted longer but had meant so much more. Their kiss had been filled with words that neither had been able to say, out loud or even, at least in Daphne's case, to herself. The one thing that she most definitely did not want that kiss to say, was 'goodbye'. Even if there was definitely an element of it in there.
No, saying goodbye to the boy who she'd come to care so very deeply for was not something that she was ready for. Back then or even today. Not that she would get a chance to today.
To be perfectly honest, she never expected to fall for him the way that she had. The very idea of him, of Harry, had intrigued her when Professor McGonagall had approached her to be one of his peer tutors. The-Boy-Who-Lived. The boy who never came to Hogwarts, instead remaining in the muggle world.
She'd expected him to be arrogant and uncouth, steeped in the muggle life with no idea of how to act within magical society. 'Culture clash', Harry'd called it. And indeed, there'd been quite a bit of that and it had led to some very intense discussions with Harry.
The first inkling of it had been the day after he'd arrived, when he'd called Malfoy on his ideas of purebloods being better, magically stronger than half-bloods and muggleborns. And there was no doubt that Harry'd been right – birth meant nothing in terms of magical power. Even Professor Snape had been forced to concede that point.
No, thinking back, Daphne realised that she was wrong there. The first inkling of Harry's naivete of magical culture was when he blurted out the fact that he was a parseltongue with no regard for how witches and wizards with such an ability were viewed in magical society within Britain. And then, even after the warnings to keep his ability secret, what did the great lump go and do? Talk to a dragon using parseltongue in front of the entire school, journalists and magical Britain as a whole!
But the biggest 'culture clash' that the two of them had encountered was at the Yule Ball. Daphne's dream had come true when Harry'd asked her to be his date to the Ball. What she hadn't been expecting, was for him to turn up in a muggle tuxedo instead of proper wizarding robes. She'd had to endure the ridicule and embarrassment of his appearance, not to mention the argument that followed between them for weeks. Even her own parents had weighed in, demanding that she distance herself from Harry.
Somehow, they'd managed to work their way through it, to gain a greater appreciation for each other and the culture that they came from. In fact, they'd come to such an understanding and appreciation for each other that they'd become more than friends. Not that Daphne could define exactly what they were. Regardless, what they were was all but over. Harry was to leave for the dragon reserve soon.
No, not soon.
Rolling over, Daphne buried her face in her pillow, unsure whether she wanted to scream or cry. In the end she did neither.
She'd known that this day was coming. And as much as she willed it otherwise, it was always going to come, which was a large part of why she'd kissed Harry in the first place, because she knew that if she didn't, that she'd always regret it, always wonder what it would have been like.
Sure, they'd exchanged a couple of letters already since Harry'd left Hogwarts and there were promises that letters would continue back and forth. But really, she had to wonder at the reality. Could they keep even a friendship alive over such great distance and time apart?
Instantly, Daphne threw back the covers, slid from her bed and padded across to her desk. The only way to ensure that she remained connected to Harry was to connect with him, to keep writing to him and hope that he kept writing back.
Pulling a sheet of parchment to her with one hand, she grabbed a quill with the other and dipped it into the inkwell.
Dear Harry …
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The dragon tooth continuously spun in his hands as he fiddled. His eyes remained fixed on this singular object. It wasn't all that large, measuring just a little less than half the length of his hand but what it represented … that was another matter altogether.
"You ready, pup?"
Instantly, Harry's head whipped up and around even as his fist closed around the tooth and gripped it tightly.
"Yeah. Yeah, I am," he replied.
But even with that answer, he remained seated on the lounge. The way that Sirius' expression morphed from one of excitement to something softer, gentler, one of concern told Harry that all of his own doubts had come out in his voice.
"What's up?" Sirius asked as he moved across the room to sit beside him, a large hand coming to rest on his back.
"I dunno," Harry shrugged.
And that was the truth. He really wasn't sure why he was suddenly feeling apprehensive when, for the last month, he simply couldn't wait to go, to leave England, to start this new adventure, to see and talk to dragons again.
"Hey, it's alright to be nervous," Sirius said softly. "This is a big change. You're leaving everything you know to go to a brand new place that you've never been to before. But you survived when you left Surrey to go to Hogwarts. And it's not like you're going alone, and won't know anyone there."
Harry looked up from the floor and attempted a smile for his godfather.
"You're sure that you want to come with me?" he asked. "You're still getting your life back in order after all those years … away."
"We've been through this, Pup," Sirius reminded him. "England and Magical Britain can go hang as far as I'm concerned. You are the most important person in my life; where you go, I'm going too."
Harry made a face at him.
"Not everywhere, I hope."
"Yep, everywhere!" Sirius emphasised with a nod and a great grin. "You're never going to get rid of me. I'll even be there when you go on dates."
Instantly, Harry's face fell. Dates. Just the word was enough to bring to mind a certain black-haired girl that had filled his mind – both waking and sleeping – for quite some time now. And there was the crux of the matter. As much as Harry was looking forward to leaving England and going to the Dragon Reserves and the amazing adventure that it would be, she was the one thing, the one person, that he was reluctant to leave.
The decision though, had been made long ago and they'd parted on extremely good terms. Of course, that didn't stop Harry from wondering what the future may have held if he stayed, if they could have become something … more.
"You can still write to her, you know, every week or day, if you want. And there's nothing stopping us from coming back every now and again for a visit," Sirius said.
Harry looked up at his godfather, surprised that he'd been able to read his thoughts, and nodded.
"Yeah, you're right," Harry replied. "I can write. And visit. And not just Daphne but all my friends – Nev and Hermione and Susan."
"Exactly," Sirius agreed, slapping him on the back. "Now, do you have everything?"
Harry patted his pocket where his trunk containing everything in the world that he owned was safe and secure, including Hedwig.
"In that case, we better go; don't want to arrive late and Romania is two hours ahead of jolly old England."
Together, the two stood and Harry held out the dragon tooth to his godfather. With both of them holding an end of the tooth, Harry took a final deep breath.
"Ramaranth," he said.
Instantly, the two were whisked away in a flash of light, leaving the shores of England, destination: the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary.