Ushujaa - Heroism, Bravery
notes: it's been awhile. a year even. been trying to whip up the desire to write this for awhile. Kinda funny how I update all my fics except the most popular ones. :P the recent racist crap in the news pisses me off a lot.
on dragon breeding: it's heavily implied they are very dog-like compared to more 'wolf-like' smaller ancestors, hence the huge variability in domestic varieties, with Temerarie being like a kind of sapient border collie / bred for smarts. I've decided to explore that a bit here. As for any resulting fossils from magic dragons, that would be dealt with the same way wizards deal with anything muggles find they don't like: obliviate.
"I want to bring Chuma - my, ah, owner." Merlin that word soiled his mouth.
"Of course," Leo agreed easily, though Black looked less than pleased.
"A muggle should not own a magical creature," grumbled Black, but didn't stop them.
"Yes," Harry said. "He's dark skinned," he wasn't going to use the n-word, even if other people in this time did, "so he should be easy to pick out from the rest of the captains." Harry bet on their racism against nonhumans, err, their speciesism, being worse than their racism against muggles.
"We can't just let a Horntail roam loose, Black, if a muggle can help tame one he's a miracle worker," Leo Longbottom whispered to his companion, and Harry felt weirdly ambiguous about his triumph. What should he think? Ha, I was right, they're jerks? That wasn't exactly something to be happy about. He could not entirely blame them in this instance though: unlike, say, house elves, he knew Horntails were genuinely vicious tempered. Although, he'd been trying to steal the egg of the one he'd met, and he'd also only ever met one, so maybe he was prejudiced? He'd keep an open mind if he met any more of 'his' kind.
The ministry aurors mounted broomsticks, one brought out a very confused looking Chuma, and then they rose into the air, beckoning Harry to follow.
"Who are you?" Chuma asked worriedly.
"I'm Taurus Black, this is Leo Longbottom," Black introduced, and managed to answer zero percent of the question Harry guessed Chuma actually wanted to ask, which is 'where and why are you taking me and who the hell do you think you are?'.
"Don't worry Chuma, I know these people, sort of. They're wizards, and I'm a wizard dragon."
"You know, that actually explains quite a bit about you," said Chuma slowly, with a far greater deal of calmness than most people would possess in the same situation. Even as they rose into the air, he didn't seem too spooked.
Harry was uncertain where they were going, beyond somewhere Wizarding, and thought it might be the Ministry.
He was, in fact, dead wrong.
Instead, he found himself traveling to Hogsmeade. It was incredibly weird, both recognizing it and not recognizing it, and being so close to his old beloved Hogwarts. In fact, he'd even gotten a peak of it. It seemed times were very different, and maybe it was an alternate universe after all, because he spotted some other dragons on a training ground. Hogwarts, training dragon riders? What a strange thought!
"Intelligent magical dragons are rare. Why?" asked Harry, honestly kind of confused about this point. The dragons he spotted were all 'small', like him, too. They didn't seem very friendly, either, growling and snarling as they passed by.
"Because we never bred them for intelligence and tameness like muggles did," Taurus answered. "You must understand there are far fewer wizards than muggles. We could never have afforded, like they did, to have numerous several ton beasts each bonded to a full crew devoted to their care. Instead, we killed them off, as a threat to us, before we came to realize our mistake and that the muggles were beating us by a long shot in their taming. We've frantically tried to fix things in the last few years, but I'm afraid it's probably too late." Then he got a mischievous look that reminded him far too much of Sirius. "But perhaps you could help. You're one of the most intelligent dragons I've ever met, you would be a big boost to our stock."
Big boost, how-? Oh no! No! "I'm not going to be some breeding mare for you," Harry flatly refused, outraged at the very idea. He especially wasn't going to breed tamer slaves for them!
"Alright, alright!" Leo placated. "You don't have to. We'd just like it if you stuck around, helped us with Loxias, and maybe, IF you see a pretty female dragon you like, you could settle down with her if you wanted."
Hahaha... big fat no never ever. He didn't like how being a dragon seemed to warp his instincts, make him more bloodthirsty, even mute his attraction toward humans (he hadn't felt a twitch toward one romantically once his entire time here) but he wasn't so far gone he was suddenly going to decide breeding with another species while in captivity no less was a bright idea.
"Am I expected to come here, or stay here often?" Harry asked, eying the place. While he didn't mind visiting again, it was rather difficult to browse the shops when you were too big to fit in them anymore, and he imagined that having his time torn between two places would make things difficult with the muggles who would be wondering where he kept flying off to. "The muggles might accuse me of being a spy."
"Don't worry about that, we have plenty of experience drafting up fake official business for muggles to goggle over," Leo assured. "All we want is for you to periodically check in for missions and to report on their success, rest up if you need to or take healing from mediwizards if you get hit by spells, though I don't expect a dragon to suffer too badly from spellwork, and maybe socialize a bit with our dragons."
"Do we get paid?" asked Chuma very hesitantly, like he was afraid they'd curse him.
Taurus blinked, jumping a little like he'd entirely forgotten Chuma existed. "Ah, I suppose we must," he said scornfully.
"You'd better," Harry growled, feeling bad for Chuma's sake. He didn't really care about money much, it was more a respect issue to him. Dragons, he supposed, were very sensitive to status. Humans, too.
"Alright, we'll, ah, hand you what we know of Luxias," Leo's hand trembled a little as he extended papers toward Chuma. "You can read, right?"
"We can," Harry affirmed a little scornfully.
"There's a house for the both of you, over there," Leo pointed. It had a pen full of sheep, which was rather nice, but it occurred to him that they were quite obviously trying to tempt him away from the muggles. After all, they hadn't given him a house, or been so eager to offer him personally pay. "Read it, think the whole thing over."
Then the two wizards left. Harry sighed and, no longer being watched, decided to talk to Chuma honestly. "I suppose you are full of questions."
"A few, but in actuality I have something to confess," Chuma said, taking in a sharp breath. "I knew all along. I'm a squib, Harry."
Woah. Wasn't expecting that. Harry blinked, and, hiding behind the house and double-checking again they weren't being watched, shifted back into a man, then entered in the back door for a quick look around. "How in the world did you end up in the muggle world, then? If I were in the Wizarding world in a time where my kind of people are harrassed and looked down on outside of it, I'd do my absolute best to stay in it."
"Oh, but my people are oppressed here, Harry," Chuma said, and then at his look of confusion clarified: "Squibs, Harry. Blacks may be safe, as you say, but anyone nonmagical is not. I'm surprised you don't know this already."
Harry could slap himself. "Well, ugh, okay, fine. Chuma, I have something else to confess. Not only am I a wizard, but I'm a time traveler. Most slavery, except of house elves I guess, is illegal in my time."
The normally pretty calm Chuma looked taken back. "Time travel? That's serious business, Cap - I mean Harry."
"I didn't do it on purpose!" he exclaimed. "In fact, it's gotten me really worried. I want to do more about slavery, but I know that in the future, it's going to end anyway. I think I vaguely even remember something about Britain stopping the taking of slaves during the Napoleonic war, which is in its early stages right now. What if all I do is muck it up and make things worse? What if I accidentally make it permanent somehow by altering the future? Maybe it's best I just don't meddle and become a hermit somewhere."
Chuma's mouth opened, speechless, then closed. They both stood deep in thought for awhile.
"Harry," Chuma finally said. "Is everything really perfectly okay in your time? Is there no way that it could be better? If everyone was freed tomorrow, it wouldn't undo all the harm. all the beatings, all the murder. Why, imagine you owned nothing but the clothes on your back, and someone said to you, 'Hey, you are free now! Guess what? The only person who will hire you is your old master! Have fun!' would you say that everything had been fixed?"
"No," Harry admitted. He honestly had to admit he'd never thought any further than 'free the slaves'. He'd never thought about what would happen after. He'd always assumed unconsciously that after, everything would be just okay. "I guess racial violence and inequality even in my time never fully stopped. There were a whole bunch of riots about discrimination and white on black violence. I'm not sure white on black violence ever fully stopped, though it got a lot better; I don't think people get lynched anymore? I think? Hope, anyway." Harry really found himself wishing he'd paid more attention to history and the muggle world now. "My neighborhood was about as white as it got - but there were poorer neighborhoods that I remember with black people in them, so they didn't all just go back to Africa somehow. I think if they tried to move into our neighborhood my Aunt Petunia would have demanded Vernon move, she never liked anyone different." Oh, Merlin. He'd never really thought about it, but if many of them were poor, how many freed slaves ended up working for old slave masters again because they held all the jobs, like Chuma had suggested? The thought made him kind of sick.
"So, there's still a lot worth fighting for, right?"
Harry thought about it, and nodded his head. "I guess things could still be a lot better. And things could have changed sooner. Okay, I guess that's worth risking history for," he reasoned to himself. "So I don't have to be a total hermit."
"I'm glad," said Chuma. "I've grown fond of calling you my comrade."
Harry flushed. "Aww, thanks. That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me in this timeline."
There was a knock on the door. With alarm, Harry slid out the window into the back yard and quickly shifted back into a dragon. What could they want now?
"Hello, my name is Mr. Potter," the newest wizard introduced himself to Chuma, as Harry eavesdropped. "Master Chuma, I want to see your dragon... Harry Potter."
Oh, I'm an idiot, Harry scolded himself. I should never have assumed this was an alternate universe and used my real name as a bloody dragon! He can't possibly think a fire breathing dragon is related to him just for sharing a last name, can he? And would it be so bad, if he did meet a new family member? Hadn't that been what he'd dreamed of for ages?
"Of course. And who is this?" Chuma asked. Oh, there was someone else? Harry got the urge to peek through the window, but resisted.
"Ah. That would be my slave, the Malfoy's squib."
"Nobbins is very thankful to master. Master is so kind to Nobbins, agreeing to keepsies him rather than kill wretched poor Nobbins outright for being a stain on wizard kind," a voice very like some bizarre parody of Draco's sounded. If Draco had somehow been turned into a house elf and lost all dignity over night.
His ancestor was a slave owner!
cliffhanger note: oh come on. Pureblood wizards find muggles and squibs sub-human, do you expect me to say they never took the opportunity to enslave any of them?
and I know some of you are thinking 'but light wizarding families would neveeer enslave someone' hahahahaha you do know even 'good' people have been slave owners, right? Just look at how much everyone doesn't care about house elves. Next chapter will probably finally get on to 'more cheerful' war scenes. I'm sorry how terrible and short this chapter is, really, I just kind of wanted to get it done with.
I probably barely have any readers now after such a long time, but... I just want to speak out against the horrors that are going on right now in the U.S (Britain isn't saintly either, but as far as I know they aren't currently experiencing the same level of violence). More than five black churches have been attacked and burned down to the ground in a recent spat on violence, certain media outlets are trying to claim it's not racial just 'an attack on Christianity' even when attackers outright say they hate blacks and felt 'hesitant because the black churchgoers were just so nice' but still shot them anyway. Small children were run over in a car chase when police refused to stop chasing a suspect that wasn't even armed. A black woman got arrested for taking down the confederate flag (and a white supremacist rally had a black man put it up again). Over 300 people have died this year from police violence, at a rate of nearly 1 black person killed per day, about 1 in 5 completely unarmed. It isn't just black people getting killed by police, but blacks are being killed twice as often. They are also more likely to get shot if they are unarmed: 37% for POC versus 12% for whites. And, personally (although this should not make a difference to any sane human being, because #BlackLivesMatter), may I also add as someone who nearly had their little sister die because of racial white-on-black violence that it isn't just black people who end up in the crossfire when some maniac decides to go after blacks- if you happen to be nearby and you're white, you can die from that bullshit too. Fire and bullets don't care what race you are.
The plight of trans black women is worst: they have higher rates of being murdered (by anyone, not just police) than any group in the country.