A/N - Would you believe it if I told you that my major block in getting this chapter out was picking Harry's dragon name?
Chapter 27 – New Name
They headed up to the infirmary slowly. They picked up a few students along the way, some who had been hurt by falling masonry and a few other odds and ends. Their pace was steady as Severus tried to pick out the easiest path to navigate with a half grown dragon at his heels.
At the base of the stairs leading to the Great Hall, Severus saw what looked like a lump sprawled half on and half off the bottom step. Behind him, Harry-dragon started to growl and Severus hurried forward to keep the rest of their group from getting entangled in Harry-dragon's agitated movements.
He kneeled down next to the student sized lump and cast several diagnostic spells before turning him or her over.
"TEDDY!" Severus heard in his mind as he turned over at the unconscious Nott boy.
"He's my friend, Father! He's okay, right?" Harry-Dragon voiced in his mind. Severus looked back to see Harry-Dragon snorting and stomping his feet as those still upright started edging away from him.
"Peace, little snake. He's simply unconscious. Bruised, but not particularly broken," Severus soothed.
Harry-dragon stopped blowing smoke, but he didn't entirely settle down until they were at their destination. Madam Pomfrey immediately placed Dumbledore under a stasis spell in a private room separate from the main infirmary. Then she moved on to tend to the other injured students.
Moody and Severus stationed themselves outside of Dumbledore's door and began to cast wards to keep the hold man in. Harry, in turn settled into the aisle between the beds in the spot closest to his father. Madam Pomfrey helpfully closed their end off with a large sheet that reached from the ceiling to the floor. Severus added to their security by adding a few wards and charms, one of which kept their words from spilling over to the other side.
. . .
It was while they waited for Moody and Amelia Bones to finish that Severus and Harry—to an extent—were able to explain to Poppy what had happened in the hallway.
Every so often, Severus and Harry would have a mental aside in order to clarify some point between them. After the third such of these, Poppy threw her arms in the air and demanded to know what was going on.
"Poppy," Severus said gently as he turned in her direction, "As it turns out, Harry-dragon can hear my thoughts and I can hear his—if we so desire. I haven't the faintest idea why; only that it began shortly after he was transformed by Dumbledore."
"Your thoughts, and only yours, Severus?" Poppy asked, her eyebrows raised in shock.
"Indeed. I suspect it has something to do with what spell Dumbledore used."
"And what spell was that?" She asked, cocking her head to the side as she studied Severus' face.
"You didn't tell her I could hear your words either," Harry-dragon pointed out.
Severus didn't answer him verbally, but he shook his head slightly.
"I didn't hear the actual spell and Harry-dragon's memories are a little confused at the moment. It may be easier to get the information out of Dumbledore."
Harry tuned him out and went back to trying to wrap his tail around Severus' foot. His tail seemed to have a mind of its own, and it was rather possessive of his father.
"We can always move this conversation elsewhere if you don't stop that, Harry." His father's voice rung sharply in his head.
Ashamed, Harry-dragon put his head on the ground and covered it with his forepaws.
"What did you say to him?" Poppy asked.
"How is Mr Nott?" Severus answered instead.
Poppy sighed exasperatedly but answered his question.
"The scans indicate a number of injuries—mostly bruises—that come with a serious fall down the stairs. Harry's magical outpouring rocked the entire castle. It would have been enough to throw a boy of his stature off his feet. Of course, to know for sure, we'll have to ask him when he wakes up."
"Hm," Severus grunted. "Do you think you can change him back?" He added, indicating Harry-dragon with an idle flick of his hand.
"Severus, forced animagus transformations are far out of my specialty. Without consulting with St Mungo's, the best option would be talk with Minerva. Once she wakes up, obviously."
Poppy had been forced to give her a Calming Draught when they had arrived at the infirmary. That, coupled with the shock of the afternoon, had completely done in their colleague. She had fallen to sleep almost instantly. Poppy had been especially happy to find no broken bones in the older woman's body, especially after hearing Severus' side of things.
. . .
Harry-dragon was too big to really move within the confines of the infirmary, but that didn't entirely stop him from trying. He still didn't like the room—or what it represented to his human mind—but he was at least able to cope with being there now. It helped that most of his people were there. His sire—er, father, and his grandfather and his Teddy were all within range of his nose. His nose, or he supposed, his snout now, was so much stronger now. It was hardly comparable to before.
His scent of smell helped make up for his extremely poor eyesight. He could tell that Teddy was unconscious, not just sleeping, but unconscious on the other side of the white curtain that Poppy was using as a screen for the other half of the room.
Unfortunately, his sense of hearing was still just as bad. He supposed that real dragons could hear, but what did he know? He hadn't ever really studied dragons. Teddy had mentioned once that they existed, but he had never seen one, for all that he was now one.
He was shaken out of his musings by the smell of movement in front of him. He lifted his head up and watched carefully as Moody and the woman he didn't know came out of Dumbledore's room.
"Well?" He heard his father ask.
He watched as Moody looked back at the other woman before speaking. Harry growled in frustration at not being able to understand his grandfather's words.
"Peace, little one," Severus mentally said before kneeling down beside his head. His father reached out with a gloved hand and rested it on his head. "I shall relay his words to you."
Harry sighed gustily. He was somewhat mollified, but he hated not knowing what was going on. He just wished his new eyes were as adept at reading lips as his old ones had been. He could see the large items in the room fairly well, but the fine details were lost. He could see Moody and he could smell Moody, but he couldn't see his mouth well enough to understand him. It annoyed him.
"Moody says that Dumbledore was given veritaserum. That is a powerful truth serum that I teach my upper years about."
"And the headmaster can't beat it somehow?" Harry-dragon asked.
"Not my serum," Was Severus' somewhat smug answer.
Harry-dragon grinned a tooth filled smile up at his father.
Severus let Moody talk for a longer time before he translated for Harry. When he did, all traces of humour were gone from his voice.
"Moody says that Dumbledore has been . . . training you to be the ultimate weapon against . . ." Here, Severus visibly shuddered, and Harry-dragon had to butt his head against his father's side to get him to continue.
"He—Dumbledore—believes that the Dark Lord isn't really gone and that he will be—is returning. He has conspired with an old friend by the name of 'Nicolas Flamel,' in order to create a . . . weapon strong enough to fight and beat the Dark Lord."
Harry-dragon could see why his father was upset at the news. He was upset at the news.
Hot dragon tears were beginning to slide out of his eyes and steam on the floor as it sunk in.
"He left you in that deplorable home in order to twist you into something that was more anger and more bitterness than even the Dark Lord could stand. Coupled with the spell that he spoke—."
Severus broke off and asked Moody, "Did we discover the spell?"
Moody answered and Severus turned back to Harry-dragon to continue his explanation.
"Puer ignis can be loosely translated into, 'child of fire.' Moody says that apparently the only controller of a . . . child of fire is its parent. Since your parents are dead, he made himself your magical guardian in order to fulfil that role. In order to control you."
"He . . ." Harry-dragon's claws were scratching furrows in the stone floor of the infirmary, but no one did anything to stop him. "He made me go back to them . . . because he wanted me to be miserable?"
"Anger is a great igniter of powerful magic. The Dark Lord is a prime example of that," Severus answered aloud with a shake of his head and a dark unreadable look in his eyes.
The feelings raging through his body seemed to know no bounds. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to roar or fly or just make everything burn.
Moody said something else, and Severus turned toward him with a stony expression.
"Moody says that Dumbledore thinks the transformation is supposed to be only as permanent as any other animagus form is. You'll need to learn how to meditate on your human form to turn back into it, Harry."
The woman gave a visible start at the mention of Harry's name before saying something.
Harry-dragon butted Severus' shoulder when he didn't immediately relay the woman's words.
"Auror Bones believes that it would be best if we called you something other than 'Harry' while you're in this form. Lest the press gets wind of it."
That threw him off track and away from the boiling anger that was threatening to burn through him.
"A different name?" Harry-dragon asked tentatively, his claws finally still. He didn't see Moody waving his wand and fixing the stones underneath him, but he did taste the magic. His head jerked up and he had the distinct feeling that Moody was apologizing.
"Something like Sharpclaw or Silver," Severus relayed.
Harry-dragon scowled. He didn't want to be called Silver. That reminded him too much of that black and white show that his cousin used to watch on the telly.
His cousin . . . his thoughts slid to a complete stop.
"Did they ask Dumbledore if he knew anything about what happened to my—to the Dursleys?"
"I don't believe so," Severus' brow was furrowed and a scowl was beginning to break across his face. "Auror Bones, we need you to investigate Mr Potter's previous home. His relatives live—lived at Number 4, Privet Drive in Surrey. Lupin went there to inquire about Mr Potter and he claimed that they were all . . . dead."
Harry-dragon saw Moody and Auror Bones glance at each other, but it didn't seem as though either of them said anything.
Poppy stood up then and bustled off toward the other side of the curtain.
"It seems that Mr Nott may be waking," Severus noted, watching the small woman leave their side of the room.
Harry-dragon tasted the air and agreed with Severus' words. He clambered to his feet and tried to follow Poppy. The feel of Severus' hand on his flank stopped him, and he growled back without thinking.
"Sorry, father," He said contritely when he realised what he had done.
"It's no problem, child. We simply need to keep you from further frightening the other students."
"Can we bring Teddy over here?" Harry didn't know why, but he wanted all of his people to be nearby.
"It is possible. Poppy has the final say though."
. . .
"Can you ask Teddy if he has any ideas about my name?"
It was somewhat later. Auror Bones had left to gather a few other choice aurors before investigating the Dursley home. Teddy had been brought up to speed and though somewhat taciturn, seemed to be in fairly good spirits. Of course, it wasn't everyday one's best friend got turned into a dragon either, but that was hardly the only strange event about their day so far.
Severus relayed Harry-dragon's message and then turned back to Moody.
Teddy's face scrunched as he thought about what Severus had asked for Harry. He started to say something, but realised that his head of house was talking to Moody. It would get pretty tiresome for his professor to keep telling Harry things for him. Maybe he could make a list?
Aware that Harry-dragon's bright green eyes were watching his every motion, he reached for the side table next to him and found some parchment. With a whispered word to Madame Pomfrey, he got an old textbook to use as a writing surface and a slightly mangled self-inking quill. He turned briefly to give an encouraging smile to Harry, and then set to writing several ideas.
About fifteen minutes later, he put the quill down and tried to massage his aching hand. It wasn't just his hand that hurt, but really all over. He had fallen down the stairs after being surprised by the rocking of the stones underneath him, and had pretty much banged up his entire body from head to toe. Pomfrey had given him some pain potions, but he suspected they were starting to wear off.
"Sir?" He spoke to get Severus' attention.
"Are you in pain, Teddy?" Severus asked in a quiet voice from the foot of his bed.
Teddy smiled goofily, absurdly pleased that his head of house had called him, 'Teddy.'
"No sir—well, sort of, but that's not why I called you."
"Oh?" Severus asked, stepping over to stand next to him and pulling out a vial of something from his inner robe pocket.
"Can you talk these over with Harry and see if he likes any of them?" Teddy asked, pressing the list into Severus' hand.
"I can. Will you swallow this pain potion like a good little snake and take a nap for me?" Severus asked with a half-smile.
Teddy scowled. It didn't hurt that bad.
"Fine," He said, when it seemed like neither of them would do anything.
"Good lad," Severus said, handing over the pain potion.
Teddy knocked it back with a grimace, but before he could ask for a glass of water, he felt his eyes closing.
"That's . . . cheating," He managed to slur. He felt a long fingered hand on his forehead and sighed at its comfortable warmth.
. . .
They had gone over Teddy's list and had finally decided on a name for Harry: Singe. As long as he was a dragon, he would be called Singe. It made sense to Harry and it worked for his form.