TITLE: Fairy Tales and Dragon Scales

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

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The next morning, Severus got Addie ready and dropped her off at his parents' home. Eileen tried to talk to him some more, but he Disapparated the moment he let go of Addie. He did check beforehand to make sure he wasn't caught, but it was a small neighborhood and it was a bit early. He went to his office for only an hour to finish up some paperwork before gathering his things and heading out to the cabin in the forest just around Godric's Hollow where everyone was meeting. He was displeased to learn that he was the first one there and Daphne didn't even seem to be around. Harry was, though. The dragon was laying in front of the cabin, apparently asleep. Severus sighed heavily and headed towards the cabin to let himself in and do some reading before everyone showed up. He stopped, though, with his door on the handle and turned to look at Harry.

It was still strange thinking of this dragon as his Harry. He did miss him, though, and his heart ached looking at his sleeping form. Severus had to look away, feeling tears stinging his black eyes. He had been alone for so long…without love for so much of his life. How could he keep turning away Harry, keep avoiding him this way? Severus was so angry with him…and honestly just angry with what life kept doing to him. He wanted things to be better with Harry and he wanted more than anything to have a happy life with Harry and Addie, but he was scared. When he'd loved Lily she had ended up hating him and then dying, and when he loved Harry he hadn't seen the young man for five years and now there as a possibility he'd be stuck as a dragon forever. It was too hard. Severus had faced the Dark Lord for many years, risking his life day after day to face him and spy for the good, but being in love and having faith in something and someone... That was a lot harder and a lot scarier.

Severus felt his face heat up when he realized purple eyes were open and staring at him curiously. How long had Harry been awake? Severus cleared his throat and looked away. Harry wished he hadn't. He had woken up to find not only Severus there, but Severus looking at him and not glaring in hatred. His heart had swelled hopefully. Even though Severus had looked away, he wasn't as harsh as Harry was used to nowadays. He had to be careful. He didn't want to ruin any progress they might have. Harry raised his head and scooted forward a bit, cautious. "Severus, please… Please don't leave me," Harry begged quietly, though he knew Severus wouldn't understand him. He hoped by some miracle Severus would get him the same way Daphne did… Not through language, but through a deeper understanding entirely.

Severus heard the noise Harry made and knew he must be speaking to him. Severus didn't know what he was saying exactly, but he didn't think it was anything too awful. Nothing he deserved. Severus frowned and hesitantly took a step towards Harry. Harry took the invitation and took another step closer himself. Those purple eyes were focused on Severus intently, trying to read him. Severus didn't know what he wanted. He couldn't just let everything go, could he? But it was becoming so hard to put up this fight against the man he loved.

Severus didn't move again, but Harry stepped closer and closer until he was right in front of Severus and was able to lean forward and down to gently nudge Severus's chest with his nose. His heart raced in anticipation… He listened to Severus sigh. The older wizard could not believe this was happening. He rolled his eyes and reached out and reluctantly stroked Harry's face, closing his eyes as all resistance crumbled down. It was hard hating Harry, being so angry with him when what he really was was happy to have him back and more hopeful than anything that they could find a way to help him.

"You are in so much trouble when you get out of this, Potter," Severus growled, pressing his lips to the nearest area he could, right above Harry's eye.

Harry laughed. "I have a feeling we'll be fighting for months." It wouldn't be easy… Not with the two of them. But they'd be fine… Harry just knew it. Harry would gladly put up with any bullshit Severus gave him as long as they'd be happy in the end and he'd have his lover back and he'd see his daughter again.

"You realize I cannot understand a word you say, don't you?" Severus reminded him with a raised eyebrow. He wasn't sure what all of the noise was, if it was talking or growling or what, but he wouldn't put it past Harry to try to communicate with him, even though Severus didn't understand him.

Harry laughed. "Can't wait to change that."

"It's not much, Severus, only spouting out grand professions of love and adoration and how fit you look in your new robes and how he loves the sound of you threatening to kill him in the morning," Draco said, voice amused as he walked over to them. Severus and Harry both eyed him as he limped towards them.

"You look like you had your brains buggered right out of your skull," Harry sniggered.

"Did something happen, Draco?" was Severus's more tactful question, though he smirked with that same knowing gleam in his eyes.

Draco flushed and cleared his throats. "I tripped and fell downstairs getting rid of some of Astoria's things last night. Landed pretty hard… On one of her heels, you know. God-awful things, they are."

"Right," Harry snorted.

"Hush, you," Draco snapped.

"It was Charlie, wasn't it?"

"Malfoys do not get fucked," Draco scoffed.

"Smells like a lie to me," Harry said, grinning and moving closer to Draco, sniffing the air. "You know dragons can smell sex, don't you?"

Draco's eyes widened. "Wh… What?"

Harry laughed and Severus merely looked confused. Before Draco could direct the question to his godfather, someone else approached the group. "Good morning, Draco! Harry… Severus," said Charlie.

"He looks happy," Harry snickered.

"Can dragons tell if someone's had sex recently?" Draco asked.

Charlie eyed Harry. "They do have a keen sense of smell. They'd probably notice it more than any human might."

"Drop the act, Draco," snickered Harry. "You two reek of each other."

"Goddamn it," Draco muttered.

Charlie flushed as well and looked away, scratching the side of his head. "Err… So do we know when everyone is showing up?"

"Mrs. Granger will be bringing Minerva by whenever she finishes paperwork in her office," Severus explained. "Mr. Zabini had a bit of work to finish at St. Mungo's and will bring Miss Clearwater by whenever he is done. He may be bringing Miss Chang with him, as well. I do not believe it will be late, but I thought it safe to be here, since they gave no specific time."

"Yeah, that's why w-I came," Draco said.

"You were going to say 'we'," Harry said.

"Yeah, I know. Shut up, Potter," Draco snarled.

"Did you enjoy yourself?" Harry asked.

"I was drunk," Draco said defensively.

"Wasn't that your excuse for the last bloke you slept with?" Harry pointed out.

"IT'S TRUE!" Draco said, still blushing. He had enjoyed sleeping with Charlie and even though he had been drunk, he remembered it all and knew he had liked it… A lot more than he should have. He also knew he wanted to do it again. He had freaked out a bit when he woke up by Charlie in one of the guest bedrooms on the same floor as the bathroom they had been in, but it wasn't very unpleasant, especially ogling Charlie in his nude splendor until the other wizard woke up. The redhead had been a bit cocky about Draco's staring, but only in demeanor. They never really said anything about what had happened between them. Draco sure as hell didn't want everyone else knowing about it. "So," he said, speaking English and turning to Severus, "what were you two up to when I arrived?"

Severus quirked an eyebrow. "What did it look like?"

"Looked like you were playing friendly for once," Draco said with a grin.

Severus snorted. "I am not friendly."

"At least not out of bed," Harry coughed.

The next two hours went by quickly. Harry, Severus, Draco and Charlie all spent time teasing each other and trying to force the others to admit the change in their relationships until Daphne came out to welcome them and invited them all in. Harry rested outside with his head in the window as usual and watched them. Daphne tried to play the polite hostess, though everyone could see how nervous she was. She was making it hard for Harry to remain calm. He hadn't thought so much about what today would bring until Daphne made her own worries so obvious. She changed clothes many times, apparently not sure about whether or not to dress up or dress in a way to cover her deformity. She straightened up a lot and when she spoke, it was fast and half-hysterical.

No one said anything about what was going to happen.

Harry was ready, though. He found it hard to remain in the window. He was reluctant to leave, should the conversation turn somewhere interesting and especially not wanting to miss all of those glances Severus would shoot him. It was unbearable at times and eventually he would take a quick walk or fly around the cabin to help ease some of his nerves. He knew better than to hope to be human again by the end of today, but he was at least hoping to get some hope for his condition. Things with Severus were starting to look up… He couldn't have them tell him he'd be a dragon forever.

It was eleven by the time Hermione and Minerva arrived. Harry had taken that time to fly and landed back in his place eagerly when he noticed the two women were knocking on the door. Minerva looked surprised and Hermione smiled. "That's Harry, Pro-Minerva."

"Of course," The older witch said, still looking stunned. The door opened and Severus, Charlie, Draco, and Daphne stepped outside. Daphne did her best to hide behind the others, looking hesitant and half-ready to bolt back inside of the house and lock herself up. She was wearing a gray hoodie that covered her face entirely, wearing as much as she could to cover every inch of her skin. "Oh, hello, Severus… Mr. Weasley, Mr. Malfoy… And is that Miss Greengrass?"

"Y-yes, Professor," Daphne mumbled.

"Oh, don't be shy, dear," Minerva said, beckoning her over. "Let me have a look at you. And you as well, Mr. Malfoy."

Draco shifted uncomfortably and glanced over his shoulder at Daphne. Draco didn't look like he had much wrong with him today, you'd have to look closely to notice the blue tinge around his ears and small patches of scales on his neck. He seemed very self-conscious, but, then, they both did. "Nothing to be ashamed of," Minerva said impatiently. "I'd like to look at you both before I try anything with Mr. Potter."

Clearing his throat, Draco looked imploringly at Daphne who reluctantly stepped up and they walked slowly side-by-side to approach Minerva. "Let me see you both," She instructed, straightening her spectacles and pulling the sleeves of her robes up a bit to shake her hands free. Draco reached shaky fingers up to unbutton his shirt halfway down to show her the scattering of scales here and there. Minerva stepped forward but didn't touch him, only eying the areas a moment in serious concentration. If she was surprised at all by his appearance, it didn't show. She was too busy trying to take mental notes and figure things out to really be bothered, especially since Hermione and Severus had both already warned her of the conditions her old students were in. "Alright," Minerva said, turning to Daphne. "Now you, Miss Greengrass."

Daphne's arm twitched, but she stayed still for a long moment before finally sighing heavily and hastily unzipping the jacket she wore and yanking the hood down and stripping it off to stand in the short-sleeved plaid shirt underneath. It was a particularly bad day for Daphne. Her face was severely deformed where it looked like her face had nearly formed into the beak of a phoenix, her blue-gray eyes smaller and rounder. Red and gold feathers seemed to be overtaking her caramel hair and even the light hair of her arms looked to be turning gold and red. Even more of her skin was shiny and pink, looking like she had burned herself badly. Her hands barely had much use now and the others were surprised she managed to unzip her jacket with how bad they looked. Some of the fingers were half-stuck together, like the beginings of talons.

"Oh, dear," Minerva sighed, reaching out her hand and Daphne hesitantly reached out to place her hand in her old teacher's. Minerva lightly traced the hand with her fingers and stood back, drawing her wand. "I will perform a few tests."

Everyone watched with great anticipation as Minerva waved her wand over the two, murmuring incantations under her breath. The first was to check for the Animagus spell. Another to check for any spells cast upon each of them. One would force an Animagus transformation if there was one, but nothing happened, only maybe causing Draco to have a few more scales and Daphne a few more feathers. She even attempted to check their magical core, though she said she would allow Penelope to go back over it, since she was not especially skilled in that particular area and had only ever used the spell a few times. "It does seem as though some magic is at work here, but I don't think it is an outside source," Minerva said with a frown. "I will do more research, but there is not much I can think to do, I'm afraid. I can teach you a few stronger glamours, but I do not think they would work entirely on very bad days."

"Did they tell you the theory the centaurs had?" Charlie asked curiously. Humans and centaurs rarely got along, but they were truly a wise race.

"Yes, they did," Minerva said. "I do have a theory of my own, though I would not recommend trying anything until we find out how to help Mr. Potter."

"What is it?" Hermione asked curiously.

Minerva smiled. "I would have thought you would have come up with it sooner, Mrs. Granger," Minerva said. "If they are right—and I don't see why bother to question it since we have no other alternate theories—then it makes perfect sense why becoming an Animagus, as Mr. Potter had done, would help the situation. Having that… Ability…allows for an outlet for whatever magic is overwhelming you and morphing your bodies to resemble the appearance of your… 'Ancestors.' It seems that in Mr. Potter's case, however, the magic that had been dormant until now has completely overpowered everything else and that is what is making it difficult for him to change back into his human form. I am hoping I can help bring him back to us and if I can figure out how to do it then it might very well be in the best interest of you both to do the same. I cannot be sure it will work, though, so we'll just have to wait and see."

"So… What… What if you can't help Harry?" Daphne asked quietly.

Minerva frowned deeply. "I honestly have no idea, Miss Greengrass. But rest assured, I will do all that I can to help you all." She then turned to Draco. "Mr. Malfoy… Would you be so kind as to act as a translator for Mr. Potter and myself, if needed?"

Draco shrugged and eyed Harry. "I normally do it anyway, it's not a problem."

"Thank you," Minerva said and moved hesitantly closer to the dragon. Harry blinked down at his old Head of House and tried not to move too much, not wanting to scare her or anything. He felt strange and he wasn't sure if he was excited or terrified. This was it… It wouldn't be long now before they had the answer as to whether or not he'd be able to turn back into a human or not. His eyes flickered nervously over to where Severus stood, staring at him intently. He seemed just as lost and confused about his feelings as Harry felt.

"Umm… Good morning, everyone," said a voice not far from them. Harry looked up as everyone else turned around to face the new group that had arrived: Blaise Zabini, Cho Chang, and Penelope Clearwater. Penelope was the one who had spoken, standing beside the couple with a bag draped over her shoulder in the same colors as her St. Mungo's uniform with the name and symbol of the hospital.

"Oh, good morning, Miss Clearwater," Minerva said. "Mr. Zabini and Miss Chang. I have already looked over Mr. Malfoy and Miss Greengrass if you would like to go ahead with them."

"Alright, thanks, Professor," Penelope said. She turned to the two, surprise clear on her face. "Well, why don't we take this inside?"

Daphne nodded, her face looking redder than normal as she turned and shuffled back into the cabin with Draco behind her and Penelope following. Blaise and Cho took each other's hands and walked closer, standing to where they had a good view of what was happening inside of the cabin through the open door and what was going on with the group outside and surrounding Harry.

Draco and Daphne sat side-by-side on the couch while Penelope pushed the coffee table to the side and pulled the chair forward so that she could sit in front of them both. "How are you both feeling today?" Penelope asked while digging around in her bag.

"Mortified," Daphne mumbled.

Penelope laughed. "Physically?"

"Same as usual," Daphne replied. "Umm… A bit feverish, nausea, mild headache… A bit of soreness and irritation where everything is… Sprouting feathers," she muttered.

"Mhm," Penelope said. "Mr. Malfoy?"

"'Bout the same," Draco replied.

"Anything else? I noticed you were walking with a bit of a limp," Penelope said, glancing up in time to see Draco's face burn bright red. Daphne eyed him questioningly. They could hear Harry the dragon laughing outside… Though to the humans it sounded a bit odd, but Draco knew what it was. Draco gritted his teeth and glared out of the window where he could only see Harry's tail. "Shut it, Potter!" He called out. He then sighed and turned back to Penelope. "Just a bit sore, nothing to do with my condition."

"Well…Alright, then," Penelope said. "If you're sure—"

"I am," Draco said.

"Okay," said Penelope. "Let me see…"

"Clearwater," Severus said from the doorway. "Minerva would like me to remind you to check their magical cores…She did herself, but she figures a healer would be able to determine any disturbances better than she."

"Okay, thank you," Penelope said. "Let's go ahead and do that, then, shall we?" She brought out her wand and performed the quick spell that gave both of her patients a strange glow and another that brought forward a circle of light in front of their chests. Instead of the pure white that most normal, healthy cores showed, they were slightly different. Most disturbances in magic would show an off white color or even very pale yellows or blues or greens. Nothing was "tainting" their magic, though. There was only another colored circle seeming to twist and braid into the white circle. The one around Draco's was a very vivid purple color while Daphne's was a very beautiful crimson color. It was unlike anything Penelope had ever seen. "Charlie!" Penelope called out to her boyfriend's brother.

Charlie Weasley walked into the room a few seconds later. "Yeah?"

"You've seen a dragon's magical core, haven't you?" Penelope asked.

"Yeah. Sometimes if something's really off we'll get a healer in to check things… Why?" Charlie asked, moving forward. "Oh wow," he said, spotting the circles.

"Is that the color of a dragon's magical core?" Penelope asked, motioning to Draco's.

"Y… Yeah… It is," Charlie asked, staring dumbfounded at it.

"Wow," Penelope said, shaking her head. She scooted her chair closer to get a better look. The purple glow stood out strongly. It was nothing more than a projection, a little test that showed what the magical core inside of someone looked like. To be showing some physical changes to resemble a dragon was one thing, but for him to have two different cores warping together like that? Penelope had never even heard of this… But Hermione and Severus had both assured her that it was a strange and unique situation. Shaking her head, Penelope leaned in closer to Daphne's. "And I suppose we can assume that red is what the phoenix's would look like… There doesn't seem to be any taint or disfiguration other than… That," Penelope remarked. "I'll run a few more tests, but I'm pretty sure that's all we really need to know. I don't think anything else will give us more than that."

Penelope ran a few more tests checking for human illnesses and even consulted a book she brought with her to check for any diseases dragons or phoenixes could have. While she did that Minerva stood outside performing many of the same tests she had run on Draco and Daphne. When she finished those and confirmed that Harry had performed the Animagus spell she did what she could to try to force him back into his human form. There was a spell that could force Animagi to return to their human form, but the bigger the form or the greater the change the harder it was, and as Harry not only changed into something more than ten times his human size, but a magical beast, it was extremely hard. They did notice some change, such as his eyes looking a little less purple and a few of his spikes seemed to flop over a bit, looking like they might turn into hair, but that was the extent of things and Minerva was left stumbling back, steadied by Hermione and sweating and out of breath.

"Would it help if a large group of people attempted the spell at the same time?" Hermione suggested. "Or would it do more harm than good?"

"While it might help get more of a change, I wouldn't risk having too many try it. Too many spells cast upon one person can do damage to them. Even if it is nothing particularly dangerous."

"That's what I thought," Hermione said, sounding disappointed.

"The fact that we saw any change at all is a good sign," Minerva promised her. "It's only going to take a lot more than I had hoped."

"Are you certain, Minerva?" Severus asked quietly.

Minerva blinked in surprise at her old colleague. Obviously she didn't know of Harry and Severus's relationship. "One can never be entirely sure, but I have the utmost faith that we will succeed… One day."

One day. Somehow it didn't seem very promising to them.

"I do have a few ideas… I'll see if I can work them out a bit more with this new information," Minerva went on.

"Maybe I can help," Penelope said, walking out of the cabin with Draco following her. Daphne was still sitting on the couch looking hopeless. "Do you mind if I check Harry's magical core really quick?"

"Go ahead," Minerva allowed with a nod, backing up. Penelope stepped up and performed the spell, bringing forward the circle. It was a perfect circle with the same braiding the others had shown, only the white of his wizard's magic looked stained, hints of very pale purple mingling in with it. The braid also seemed tighter and the white almost overwhelmed by the purple.

"Draco and Daphne's looked similar," Penelope explained to the group. She stepped forward to give them a better view of the circle. "See this? A normal, healthy wizard or witch would have a perfect circle and it would be pure white. Disturbances can occur within the color or the shape," Penelope explained. "It would take too long to explain what the color and shape represent, but… What this is showing for all of them is two separate brands of magic and they are wrapped around each other like this." She wove her hand in and out of the circle, her arm passing through the glow easily, as it was just for show. She moved her finger around, motioning to the twirling. "The white in theirs is their human magic. Part-humans have something similar," Penelope explained. "That might be our ideal. Anyway, a part human would have the white circle, and just around it you would see a different color outlining it, which would represent the other 'part' of them. I believe to have the two colors doing that, with one outlining the other would be the preference. The white would have to be the inner circle. The fact that the two different magics are merging is showing up in the core by showing this. How to undo it… I have a few ideas. But in Harry's it is showing where his human magic is being changed by the dragon magic and how powerful it is, which is probably why he's stuck this way. We're going to have to work at cleaning up his human magic and then on separating the cores… It's going to be very complicated and a long process, but… I do have a few ideas. Maybe we can discuss what we both had in mind, Professor?"

"Of course," Minerva said. "I was thinking a routine of having a few individuals at a time performing the Relinquo Animagus spell every day might be enough to undo the Animagus transformation eventually. I also hoped to coach him through how many people go about changing into and out of the Animagus transformation, as well."

"Good," said Penelope. "That sounds brilliant. We should do that but I also want to coach him through mediating and giving him potions that are designed to help the magical core. The biggest factors are the magical core and the Animagus transfiguration. I find myself rather skilled when it comes to dealing with magical core healing, though I'll need to consult some books in animal healing, as well… But I think if we can focus on all of that we might actually pull this off."

"And once we help Harry we can help the others," Hermione said brightly.

"Exactly," Penelope and Minerva said at once. They then began speaking with one another about setting up daily exercises and such things for Harry and the prospect of having to teach the others a few things to get their help. It involved a great deal of different things, including some very powerful and complicated magic, but the two women were excited and hopeful that they had what it took to pull it off. Hermione even came up to join in the conversation after following it for a few minutes, offering what she could to the discussions.

Everyone else was quiet, taking it all in. It seemed like so much they would have to do and some of them didn't even fully understand what they were talking about. Harry didn't understand anything other than the fact that he was going to get help. Severus understood a bit about both Transfiguration and magical core properties, but didn't have the mastery the others did and was too caught up in his own mind to focus on their conversation. They might actually help and he might actually get his Harry back… And it seemed too good to be true. Charlie felt a bit lost, as he didn't understand much about what they were talking about, and felt a bit useless for not being more help. He was a bit excited that they were apparently going to be able to help everyone… That was it, right? They did say they were going to be able to do this. Draco felt terrified and thrilled at the same time. They might help Harry, yes, but it was going to take a long time and a lot of work and what if they failed anyway, despite their hopes?

It was a lot for everyone to take in.

"So… We're going to be okay?" Harry asked Draco.

"They seem to think so," Draco replied, though he didn't sound so sure. His lack of confidence brought Harry down a bit and he frowned as he watched the three women talk.

"Are you sure you even want to change back?" Harry asked teasingly, hoping to lighten the mood for them both. "Charlie likes dragons."

"Shut up, Potter," Draco growled, face burning bright red.

"So how did that happen?" Harry asked curiously. He felt so excited still by the idea of getting things fixed, but it wasn't doing him good trying to listen in on the women plan everything out. He didn't get half of it anyway. He was so anxious and he really needed something else to focus on to calm down… Pestering Draco about Charlie was sure to do the trick.

"Why should I tell you? We're not friends, Potter," Draco snapped.

"We could be," Harry said easily despite himself. Draco wasn't so bad, Harry had learned, and he wasn't worried about looking weird to the other man. He felt confident that they could get along okay… They hadn't really fought since their first few days being able to communicate this way. "Besides, you could use someone to talk to… That can't tell anyone else. Unless you're worried about the other dragons gossiping about you."

"All of the other dragons were taken back to Romania anyway," Draco reminded him, face a bit pink. "Fine, we got drunk and we fucked in my bathtub. Happy?"

"No. Where are the details?" Harry demanded.

"You don't need details. I'm afraid to know what a dragon's like when it's randy," Draco said with a smirk.

"I am not an 'it'," Harry scoffed. "And what makes you think thinking about you and Charlie will get me all worked up?"

"It's sex and you've been without for five years," Draco reminded him. "Wait… You have been without, haven't you?"

"Of course! I wouldn't betray Severus that way… Besides, it's not like I have… ANY options," Harry reminded him dryly.

Draco chuckled. "Of course."

"So… What about Severus?" Harry asked quietly, glancing to the man in question. Both Severus and Charlie had their attention on Harry and Draco. Draco flushed at the realization and was glad that only he and Harry could understand this conversation.

"Haven't you asked this question before?" Draco asked. Harry gave him a look and Draco sighed. "Severus hasn't dated anyone. He didn't even screw around until recently. He just got so mad at you he started screwing everyone he could. He was hurt, though, and angry, so don't get mad at him."

"I'm not," Harry said, though the knowledge was like a punch to the gut. He felt sick at the thought of Severus with anyone else and he knew whoever they were, he wanted to rip them to shreds and knew he had the actual ability to do so. He was tempted to ask for names. "I get it… Just one of those many things we're going to have to talk about and work through once everything is… Right again."

"Do you really think they'll be able to fix you?" Draco asked.

"I hope so," Harry said. "I trust McGonagall and Hermione. I know Penelope's pretty smart, too… I have faith in everyone who is working to help me… A lot of very talented and very smart people. I may not know much about anything they're talking about, but… I don't know. I'm sure they'll find something."

"You Gryffindors have too much faith in people," Draco laughed.

"And you Slytherins need to have more faith in people," Harry shot back. He frowned and looked to Severus. "You don't suppose he'd like to go for a fly, do you?"

Draco barked out laughing at that one, imagining his godfather riding a dragon. "I don't know," he said, then turned to Severus. "Severus! Harry wants to know if you want to go for a ride on him."

Severus blinked and looked slowly from Draco to Harry, staring deeply at his lover for a long moment. Harry swallowed hard and shifted around nervously. Of course, this made a lot more ruckus and gathered a lot more attention than it had when he was human… But the very Harry action made Severus smirk. He really was his Harry.

"I don't think that would be wise," Severus said after a few minutes. He frowned and slowly backed away. He didn't like the way things were going now, how much his feelings were changing. "I should probably go back to the office."

"Oh, no, you don't," Hermione said, breaking away from the conversation to beckon him forward. "We need you. Sorry, Harry, but this is for you."

Harry nodded, though he felt a bit hurt by Severus's rejection. Severus frowned, but nodded curtly and walked over to join the group in their discussions. Draco frowned, too, and watched his godfather a moment before stepping closer to Harry and patting him awkwardly on his front leg. Charlie slowly approached them and did the same from his other side, more skilled at soothingly stroking the dragon's scales.

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A/N: Please review!