Dragonriders, Part 1
Chapter 1, The Potion
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to J. K. Rowling. The Dragonriders of Pern belong to Anne McCaffery. No copyright infringement is intended and no money has changed hands.
Author's Note: Wow. Where did this one come from? I'm really not sure. But I think I like it. I've been lurking under this pen name for a while, working on stories under another one (and no you may not know what it is) but I thought it was about time to use this account for something other than a place holder for my current favorites list, and when this story popped into my head, I thought it was the perfect place to start. Enjoy, and hopefully review. Flamers will be blocked, so if you have nothing nice or constructive to say, go away. Though I don't really think this one is flame-worthy anyway.
Albus Severus Potter was working on his Potions final for sixth year, a complicated and ridiculously advanced fertility potion that was sure to earn him top marks from Professor Schwinn. It was called Woman's Blossom, and it was among the strongest fertility aids out there. He'd collected his own ingredients,including mail-ordering thirty-two fertile butterfly lizard eggs, and now the potion was less than an hour from completion. He dropped in the lizard eggs one at a time, taking care not to break any. Yolk loose in the potion would ruin it. The potion didn't change color yet, but after forty-five minutes it would become a brilliant yellow and it would be done.
Albus was like his father in many ways. They were both kind and assertive boys and very protective of their friends. Neither would allow an insult to ruin their day. But unlike Harry Potter, his father, Albus loved potions, and he was trying to become a professional Potions Master. His Uncle George kept trying to recruit him into the family pranking business, but Albus wanted to strike out on his own rather than hang on anyone else's coat tails.
He sat back to wait for fifteen minutes, which was when he would have to stir the cauldron, and pulled out a book he'd been reading. He set his clock alarm and opened the book to his place marker in Dragonsdawn, by Anne McCaffrey. Then things started to go wrong.
The Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry was legendary, and some things never changed. Cord Zabini and Gerald Nott, two Slytherins, had decided that Albus was their perfect target, and in their younger years, it really had been easy to pick on him. He'd grown a thicker skin since, and he was usually able to diffuse them with his empathic gift, but engrossed in his book, he didn't see them coming until it was too late.
Zabini took the book out of Albus's hands. "What have we here, Potter?" He turned it over so that he could read the front cover. "Dragonsdawn? Those don't look like real dragons, do they? Tiny little things. And this picture isn't even moving! Reading Muggle fiction, are we? Isn't that beneath even you, Potter?"
Taking a peek at the clock and seeing that he only had a minute before he had to stir the cauldron anyway, he shook his head and stood up. "Why does it matter? It's a good story." He walked over to his work station and picked up the sterling silver spoon to stir once the alarm went off.
Zabini glared at Potter. It was so hard to get him these days, ever since fourth year, when Scorpius Malfoy had started becoming friends with him. How Scorpius could stand the shame of it, Zabini didn't know, but apparently there was some kind of history between the Potters and the Malfoys that allowed it. And Potter had the gall to be good at potions, as well! He smirked. He could do something about that. He tossed the book while Albus's attention was on the potion recipe, knowing that it would be his only chance. Albus was as good a Seeker as his father. But Zabini was a hell of a Beater, and the book landed in the cauldron!
Albus Potter was a fair-skinned person, but when he saw the novel sinking in the cauldron he paled horribly. He whispered, "You fool!" Wary of what could be happening inside the now-ruined potion, Albus looked inside the cauldron. The paperback was not dissolving, as he had at first feared it would. Instead, the words were un-sticking themselves from the pages, line by line, and they were dissolving into the potion, which was quickly turning a murky gray that would soon be ink black. "Run."
Worried, Zabini said, "Why? Is it going to explode?"
"No. Because I'm going to kill you if you don't get out of here. Now!" He wouldn't tell Zabini why exactly he didn't want him in here, but something in his face must have been sufficient. The two Slytherins left the lab. Albus could see the lizard eggs starting to swell, and he had a funny feeling about that. "Guney!"
The house elf, a long-time friend of Harry's who had quickly attached himself to Harry's sons and daughter, popped into the room. "Guney is here, Albus Potter. What can Guney be doing for Mister Potter, sir?"
"I need you to get Professor Schwinn, the Head Mistress and Hagrid. This is really important. Tell them that there's been a potions accident in here and that I need their help."
Guney nodded and popped out of the room.
Albus stared at the cauldron while it continued to work. It wasn't a hot potion, so it wasn't on a fire. He couldn't stop the process by removing it from the heat. And he was really afraid that it was too late to stop it. The eggs were absorbing the ink instead of the potion. And Albus knew that something which had never happened before was going on in that cauldron. He knew it because he could feel it.
Albus was an empath, which normally meant that he could sense and manipulate emotions. He'd had to learn how to erect mental shields around his mind so that those emotions didn't overwhelm him, but he'd learned from an old family friend long before coming to school at Hogwarts. He'd also learned control so that he didn't inadvertently mess with anyone's minds or manipulate people with his gift. But right now, he was feeling nascent emotions from the eggs in the cauldron, and they were swelling up. Something very magical was happening in there, and somehow it was connecting to his gift.
The eggs soon got too big for the cauldron. Albus wasn't sure how his gift would react to the eggs being harmed since they were now alive, so he thought quickly how to save them. He took out his wand and started levitating them out of the cauldron and onto cushions that he transfigured out of the classroom desks. All thirty-two were out of the potion and sitting on cushions by the time the professors got there.
Professor McGonagall was first to respond to the sight that met them when they entered the potions lab. "Good heavens! What has gone on in here, Mr. Potter?"
Albus looked up at her from the dais, where he was sitting and watching the eggs as they continued to expand. "I was working on my final, Woman's Blossom, when a couple of students that don't really like me came in here. The potion was in the final stage, the butterfly lizard eggs were in and coming up on their first stir. He was taunting me about the book I was reading to pass the time in between stages, for it being Muggle fiction. I was trying to ignore him, and it was almost time to stir the cauldron anyway. I looked at the recipe to double check myself and while my attention was diverted, he tossed my book into the cauldron."
"I see. And this was the result?"
"Yes ma'am. I'm not really sure what to do. I don't want to kill them, you see, not if what I suspect about these eggs is true. But—" He sighed, not quite knowing how to put his thoughts about this into words.
Professor Schwinn asked him, "What do you suspect, Mr. Potter?"
"I saw the words dissolve into the eggs, not the potion. And I've read that book probably twenty times. It has an empathic signature. I don't think I'll get individual characters from the book, but the species? That, I'm almost sure of."
Hagrid asked the next obvious question. "Wot species is tha'?"
"The Pernese Dragon."
Hagrid said, "I ain't never heard o' tha' one."
Albus smiled, knowing well how Hagrid loved dragons. That was one of the reasons he had wanted the half-giant to be a part of this gathering of teachers. "That's because it's the invention of a Muggle author's mind. They aren't real, or they weren't until this happened."
Professor Schwinn nodded slightly. "You believe that the dragons in the story will hatch out of these eggs?" Albus agreed. "You know that dragon breeding is illegal."
"Yes. That's why I had Guney get all of you as soon as it happened. The Ministry will try to destroy these eggs, or have them sent to a preserve. But if they are exactly as they were written, and I don't see any reason why they would not be, all that would serve to do is destroy thirty-two sentient dragon children. These dragons are not like natural dragons at all. Even in the story, they were engineered from a much smaller and less intelligent creature in order to help fight a mindless enemy known as Thread. They were made to need humans throughout their lives. People take the place of the mother, feeding the hatchlings, bathing them, oiling their skins when they start to develop dry patches. In turn, those humans who take on the task are bound to that individual dragon for the rest of their lives. They never want again for love or friendship with a dragon in their minds."
"In their minds?"
"Yes. It's an empathic and telepathic relationship."
Professor McGonagall looked down into the cauldron where the accident had taken place. "The book is actually still in there." Albus took a set of long-handled silver tongs and donned his dragon-hide gloves before reaching into the cauldron with the tongs and pulling out the soggy remains of the book. The front and back covers were still intact, but all the pages within the book were now blank, soggy pulp paper. McGonagall looked at the image on the front. "Those are the original creatures?"
"Do you have a picture of what these dragons will look like?"
"Yeah, I do. But I don't have the other books with me. They're in my trunk."
Hagrid asked excitedly, "'Ow big d' they ge'?"
Albus grinned. "They're not all that big, really, not compared to natural dragons. These are first generation, so they won't be much bigger than horses full grown." Albus then thought about that. "Oy. What are we going to do with them? Where in the world are we going to find a place to start a Weyr here on earth?"
That was when James and Lily got to the room. Seeing the eggs that were occupying the room, James just started laughing. Lily smiled, far more kindly, and said, "You always told me that anywhere a dragon calls home is a Weyr. I'm sure you'll figure something out, brother mine."
Albus glared at his siblings. "I guess I'd better write Mum and Dad before you two do it for me. I'd hate to see what you'd tell them."
McGonagall took control of the conversation back. "Who was it that threw the book into your potion, Mr. Potter?"
Albus pursed his lips. "I don't think this was what they meant to happen, Professor. They were just trying to—"
"Ruin your final?" Albus looked down. He hadn't really wanted to get those two idiots into trouble. He just needed help in dealing with the aftermath. "I want to know who it was, Albus. They need to know just how serious this could have been, that instead of creating life, they could have taken it."
"Cord Zabini threw in the book. Gerald Nott just watched and laughed."
"All right. Now, how do we take care of these eggs and how do we safely get them out of the dungeons?"
Well? Tell me what you think!