Disclaimer: My house belongs to the bank, my work belongs to my boss and my money is always confiscated by my wife. And Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling... Damn...
Taking a wrong turn turned out right
FWOSH – he felt a wave of heat somewhere behind his back as he ran for cover.
Harry jumped the trolls back, trying to save Hermione from getting smeared against a wall.
SLAM– the rock he was hiding behind trembled from the hard impact.
Hermione lying to Professor McGonagall to get him and Ron out of trouble.
FWOOOOSH – A long jet of flame licked across the rock, and it's temperature became unbearable.
Hermione setting Snape on fire to help Harry.
ROAR! – the dragon saw Harry running for a different hiding place, and voiced it's disapproval.
Hermione still believing in him, as everybody thought he would eat them alive as the heir of Slytherin.
FWOSH – a well-aimed jet of flame cut off Harry's path, leaving him no other choice than to throw himself backwards, lest be grilled.
Hermione running off to the library, alone, to figure out a clue only she would get.
SLAM-SLAM – The spiked tail tried to squish him onto the rocky ground, as he rolled quickly out of the way, avoiding both strikes.
Hermione petrified, just a small, lost figure in a bed as he visited with her. And still, she had the solution in her hand.
FWOOOOOOSH – a fierce, nearly bluish flame was scorching a line into the ground while Harry frantically skittered into the safety of another rock.
Hermione running at him and hugging him, hard, shouting "You solved it! You solved it!"
CRUSH – some fine dust fell upon the heavily panting Harry as nearly a third of the rock was ripped off by a powerful strike of the dragons tail.
Hermione turning his broom in, to protect him against Sirius Black.
Hermione getting him away from Were-Remus.
Hermione going back in time with him, to save Sirius.
Hermione pressing herself at him while riding on Buckbeak.
Hermione hugging him as they left for Kings Cross.
FWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH – a relentless continuous flame started melting the dragon's side of the rock, letting a small puddle of lava accumulate at the rock's feet.
Hermione staying at his side, when even Ron didn't believe him.
Hermione helping him plan a strategy for first task, practicing with him relentlessly.
"Isn't it funny what thoughts run through your head while you're dodging an angry dragon?" Harry spoke - to no one particular - as he jumped behind a different rock, while the Hungarian Horntail was still being busy melting the previous one.
While the audience still was up in stitches seeing the vicious dragon dismantle the arena, trying to get Harry - who had had just enough time to cast a single spell between entering and the first attack - Harry was counting the seconds till his brooms arrival. 15 so far, and half of the arena was already pulverized or molten to slag.
A summoning over more than half a mile was no small feat, and even if it had worked – 'Stop thinking like that!' he heard Hermione's voice scolding him in his mind – and the dragon didn't incinerate the broom before Harry got a grip on it – 'Honestly, Harry! Why do you always have to be that negative!' – it would take some time to fly that distance, leaving Harry to dodge a dragon while waiting and scanning the sky.
Just as Harry frantically scuttled up a rockslide to avoid a spiked tail swinging in his general direction, he spotted his trusted Firebolt making the descent from the arena walls towards him. He had no time to grab it, as he was forced to hurl himself at it, off the small heap of stones he just climbed, to avoid a jet of fire aimed at precisely the spot he was standing on a few fractions of a second earlier.
While his back was aching with the immense heat he was exposed to, he managed to get the broom under himself and shoot into the relative safety of the sky, just in time before he would have smashed into the rocks that were 12 feet below him.
„What a daring move! Potter has summoned his broom and is trying to out-fly a dragon, ladies and gentlemen!" Ludo Bagman's voice echoed across the arena.
'I bet tomorrow's papers will depict it as an act of reckless bravery and showing off, instead of a simple saving my ass moment', Harry thought as he gained altitude and speed, both essential to avoid attending dinner as a dragon's main course.
He circled the dragon for a while, trying to find an in. He swooped in and out, but the dragon stayed put, and protected her eggs with her body, crouching low above the rocky nest, glaring at him with her vertical slitted pupils.
She gave him a short joust of fire every now and then, but he was just too fast, too annoying, and she was itching to give chase, which Harry counted on. Their – of course Hermione had helped him with that – plan depended on the dragons aggression overwhelming her motherly instincts.
Finally, as he passed the dragon in a relative low pass, it happened, she reared on her hind legs, trying to snatch him out of the air. She missed him by a few inches, ripping a chunk out of his robe, and making him spin. Just when he regained control, he noticed two things.
First, he was headed roughly at the dragons nest, and therefore the dragon itself, at high speed now, which would be bad.
But also, the dragon had thrown herself into her chain to get him, which might had saved his life - but now she was straining against it, which held her up and opened a gap between her and her nest.
Seeker instincts took control, and he sped down at the golden egg, reaching it exactly when the dragon slammed herself back onto the ground. And no Harry emerged.
"Harry! NO!" were Hermiones last words, before she fainted, while around her all hell broke loose.
Just as the dragon handlers were rushing to enter the arena to subdue the dragon, a ripping sound was heard from near the dragon, and Harry, now missing a lot of his uniform, emerged from behind the dragon and flew straight to the exit, a golden egg clutched to his chest.
It took the people five more seconds to shake of the surprise and start cheering.
Now inside the finalist's tent, a stunned audience witnessed the proper way to greet a hero.
"What have you done to yourself this time, Mr. Potter?" a furious Madame Pomfrey scolded Harry, as she mended the serious cuts at his now exposed left arm and shoulder, where his robes hung in tatters.
"Sorry, Madam Pomfrey, how could I know that that stupid beast would step on my sleeve, just as I made my turn. Could you check my shoulder? Something popped in there when she slammed the brake on me."
Just as the Nurse took her wand to have a look, the tent's flap was thrown open and a stretcher was floated in. Harry took one look at it while it floated towards an empty bed and jumped up to rush after it. There was a bushy strand of hair dangling from the edge.
"Mr. Potter! Im not finished yet!" Pomfrey yelled, grabbing him at his right arm.
"Let me! Whats wrong? Did she get hit by fire? Tell me!" he screamed, trying to wrestle himself free while Madam Pomfrey was trying to hold him back.
All the commotion managed to wake Hermione, who recognized the voice at once and sat up straight, scanning around. With a yell of "Harry! You're alive?", she jumped off the stretcher and hurled herself onto Harry, injuring his shoulder even more - just to faint again in his arms. Harry quickly followed.
As people rushed to pick them up, Poppy stepped between, already waving her wand at them. "Let them be. At least they'll hold still right now. Merlin knows, that's a first for Mr. Potter."
* * * * *
As Harry woke up with a start, his first thought was to jump up and call for Hermione, but he found himself unable to rise and his voice silenced. While pondering his predicament, a blurry shape stepped into his limited range of sight. His medical history ensured that even his blurry sight identified Poppy at once.
"Mr. Potter, Miss Granger! Please calm down. I have silenced and stuck you to your beds to ensure you both do not react like you both would have, since I didn't wanted to dose any of you with calming potions unnecessary," the nurse explained his current situation, indicating Hermione was going through similar treatment right now somewhere near him.
"You know, I told you I'd have to resort to something like this one of this days, Mr. Potter," Pomfrey chuckled. "Ok, please behave and do move slowly, I'll take the charms off both of you now. Finite Incantatem! Finite Incantatem!"
"Harry?" Hermione called. It came from his left side.
"Right here, Hermione, I'm fine!" he answered, while he fondled for his glasses on the nightstand.
"That could mean everything from health to crippled, but alive, knowing you," she retorted, which caused a tiny snort to escape Hogwarts's resident Healer, earning her Hermione's attention. "What happened?"
"Well, long story short, Miss Granger, while Mr. Potter did his usual death-defying things, you seem to have fainted from shock as the dragon supposedly crushed Mr. Potter. Yes, supposedly, Miss Granger," the matron avoided the looming interruption.
"As you were unconscious, you did not witness him emerge a few seconds later, with a badly torn robe, some cuts, a dislocated shoulder and that stupid egg. The dragon merely stepped on his robes when it came down, stopping him, hard. When you were carried into the tent where I was tending to his cuts and was just starting to look after his shoulder, Mr. Potter saw you and rushed to you, to the point of nearly fighting me as I tried to stop him to finish treatment. You awoke, rushed at him, and promptly fainted again due to simple getting up too fast. You fell onto Mr. Potter, who caught you and fainted, too, because of your impact on his shoulder. You were both then put into hospital wing until I woke you both just a few minutes ago."
"I've hurt Harry even more?" Hermione asked, shooting a scared and pleading glance towards Harry.
"No, it was just from pain, you couldn't do any worse than a 30 ton dragon as it stepped on Mr. Potters sleeve as he was speeding by at full speed." Madam Pomfrey tried to calm her, in vein, only made her worry even more.
"You know, Doc, I knew I shoudda 'ave taken a right turn somewhere over Eggnestay, instead!"
"Harry! Honestly!" Hermione groaned, "You didn't just throw, of all things, a Bugs Bunny joke into THIS conversation, did you?", while still not able to keep the grin off her face completely.
"No, certainly not." Harry said, before pausing for a second, and addressing the nurse again. "So, what's up, Doc?"
Madam Pomfrey had seen a lot in her life, but she never ever had patients laughing so hard in her infirmary after one of them nearly had gotten squashed by a dragon. She instantly checked them again for concussion.
The next day, both of them were released for breakfast. The walk to Great Hall showed that his days would be easier from now on, first, most of the "Potter stinks" badges were gone, only Malfoy and his Slytherins were still wearing them. Harry mostly ignored them, but made a mental note of everyone.
Second, Harry and Hermione were thick as ever. Something had changed between them, but none of them wanted to acknowledge it, at least for now. Sure, they walked a bit closer than usual, but they did so all year long, ever since Harry got isolated after Halloween. And certainly, no one would complain about good friends holding hand, wouldn't they?
They separated at the last possible moment before entering the great hall and sat at their usual spot at the table, right next to Ginny, who greeted them enthusiastic.
"Hey, you two! You really scared us out there. First Harry crashes into that dragon and then you got knocked out in the commotion, Hermione. Nobody knows who exactly had hit you, as everybody was jumping up at the same time, there was so much pushing and shoving."
"Yeah," Neville interjected, "I nearly got thrown into the arena by some Hufflepuffs behind me. Barely grabbed a hold in time," he shivered.
"Yeah, got some bruises, too" Fred quipped in, and George continued, "So don't be ashamed, Hermione, that could have happened to anybody."
"By the way,"
"great job, Harry,"
"Being tied for second with Diggory is no small feat,"
"considering that you are two years behind him!"
Finishing their daily show of twin-pong, the twins set off for Jordan and the Chaser girls, leaving confusion and well hidden pranks in their wake.
This little morsel hit me out of nowhere while I was working on a larger fic. I deny watching cartoons while writing. Seriously, I don't! Well, at least, not all the time…
On a side note, I'd need a beta(native speaker and British would be perfect, since I'm neither of those) for a 100.000+ words HP fiction...