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Task One Challenge: Fighting your Dragon through the Darkness by American Ginny
Chapter 1: Within the Darkness
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I walked down a dark hallway that led to the forbidden area of the Ministry of Magic. The building had been abandoned hours ago, and I was only here because it was my shift to Guard the Ministry of Magic. After all the stunts Voldemort had pulled during his attempts to take over the wizarding world, Kingsley had assigned each Auror a night every two weeks to guard the Ministry. No one was dumb enough to break into the Ministry any more as the Aurors were allowed to use any method to stop the perpetrator. We could transfigure them into a ferret or use a simple sleeping draught on them. The only thing we were strictly to take as a last precaution is the killing curse. It did little to help us figure out what they wanted, and it would simply put us one-step closer to being like Voldemort.
The building had been quiet all night, and I was very close to falling asleep. I need to get some coffee if I am going to stay awake for the rest of the night, I thought sleepily. I turned towards the elevator to retrieve some caffeine before I continued on my route.
WOOOSH. Something moved out of the corner of my eye. I whipped around with my wand wielded out in front of me. A nice, smooth Mahogany wood with Phoenix feather for the core and measured at 13". It was a great wand. Though it was inflexible, it was good for defensive spells, which was a great benefit when it came to my line of work. Being an Auror was not always fun and games when it came down to business.
I walked around the corner. I knew where the perpetrator was headed, and I dreaded the idea of returning to the place I had so long avoided. No one liked being back there, not even the workers, and anyone that didn’t have to go back there stayed away. I do not think I had an option this time.
I stood looking at the door that led to the Department of Mysteries. It had been almost a decade since I had entered this department, and I had not been planning to return this soon. I reached into the pocket of my jacket and tightly held onto the Sneakoscope that Harry had handed me the night I graduated Auror training. If there was danger lurking near-by, it would tell me. I trusted that.
I placed my hand on the door handle and opened the door. I walked into the room of doors that led every which way to this department. The strange thing is they all but two- the entrance and another door- were marked with a red “X”, but unlike when Hermione had casted a spell in year 5 to make the “X”, these dripped almost like blood.
Oh, come on! Not tonight! I cannot deal with a murder tonight!
I walked up to one of the doors marked with an “X”, hoping that I would find it is nothing more than a little paint. There was only one way to figure it out though. A way that Harry had taught me while at school. I reached my hand out, touched the “X”, and brought it to my tongue.
It is sweet? I thought, this must be dragon blood. Weird…
While Dragon’s Blood had various uses like oven cleaner, ink, potion strengthener, and curing diseases, using the blood as a marker on wood was definitely the oddest I had seen. Then again who was I to judge how someone used Dragon’s blood, I use it as a sweetener for my coffee. It just adds the right amount of oomph to the bitterness.
I looked around deciding that if all but two doors were marked with the “X” one of the rooms unmarked must lead to what the perpetrator is looking for. The room spun around me as I asked for the exit. An unmarked door landed in front of me. This left the unmarked door to my right as the only option.
I reached for the handle and froze. How was I ever going to do this? I was by myself and anyone that is dumb enough to break into the Ministry of Magic has to be stronger than me.
I looked at the handle and thought back to my 5th year at Hogwarts. I thought back to the battle with the Death Eaters then. We had nearly destroyed every Time Turner known to the wizarding world. Not to mention, we had ruined 20 foe-glasses, 50 Sneakoscopes, and about 100 other unidentifiable objects in the single room. We had been getting our butts-kicked until the Order had showed up. How was I ever going to beat anyone in this section of the Ministry if five of us could not beat anyone back then?
I looked down at my hands and saw the scars that resided there from when I was a fourth year. I had received countless burns on my hands from those awful Blast-Ended Skrewt that Hagrid had made us raise for the final task of the Tri-wizard tournament. Then again, that was the year Harry had been entered. He had nearly lost his life so many times that year, and I was not even willing to open a door to face whatever may lay behind it.
Suddenly I was in the stands looking down as Harry fought to stay alive. Ron sat beside me telling me everything about the dragon, “That there is a Hungarian Horntail. Charlie says they are the most dangerous dragons known to wizard kind. The other dragons have been a Chinese fireball- which is feisty, a Common Welsh Green- that one is a joke, and a Swedish Short-Snout. All of those would have been easier than the Hungarian Horntail. Man, Harry has really got rotten luck. He has got to be mental to have signed himself up for this…”
I had tried to calm my mind down all those years ago when I thought Harry had died, but before I knew it, Harry had raised the golden egg above his head with the dragon safely away from reach. Harry had not been ready for the battle that day. He had nothing on the other champions, but he had faced the task laid before him even if it could have costed him his life.
I placed my hand on the handle and opened the door. I walked into the room that opened up into a bigger room that was made for what looked like trials except that a single archway stood in the middle of the room. Voices filled my head but I had to push through them. I may not be ready for what laid ahead of me, but I was going to face it either way. Voldemort had once considered me an enemy, and this time I am going to prove why I was ever a threat.
I walked down to the archway. Nothing seemed out of place or out of the normal. I looked around the room. Nothing…
Strange. I thought. Then I heard it, a quiet whimpering behind the arch. I raised my wand and cautiously proceeded around the arch. There on the ground sat none other than the-boy-who-lived. “Harry? What are you doing here? It isn’t your shift.” I quizzed him.
Harry looked up at me, and what I saw…who I saw was not Harry. There was no longer a bright green eye boy that had had a hard life but had people he loved. No, only a man of hate and anger sat in front of me. “Neville, you aren’t supposed to be here. It is time for your coffee break leave me.” He growled.
I tightened the grip on my wand as it hung by my side. “Harry, you aren’t supposed to be down here. Go home, Harry, before I have to do something we both will regret.”
“Neville, go back to your shift. It’s okay. I talked to Kingsley earlier today. I’m allowed to be here. I’m here for Sirius.”
Harry’s eyes became flushed, and I felt sorry for him. I began to turn away when I saw it. His hand clenched around his wand, and there hidden in his coat was a prophecy. A prophecy no one but I knew about. One that no one was ever supposed to hear.
I raised my wand and pointed it at Harry, “Harry, give me the prophecy and leave. Don’t ever come back here, and I will forget that this ever happened.”
Harry laughed, “Neville, you of all people should know you can’t beat me. I’m the boy-who-lived. What are you going to do about it?”
He was right there was no way I was going to beat him. I did not have the strength. I did not have the power. I did not have the courage.
There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
The words resounded in my head. Dumbledore’s voice was booming around the great hall as I won the final points for the house cup that year. He was right. My enemies in this job were easy. I did not have a second thought when I had to fight them, but now I did. I wanted to just let Harry go, but that was not my job. I could not let him go. This was my Hungarian Horntail, and it was my turn to beat my dragon. I was going to win even if it cost me my life.
Harry was thrown back against the stands. His wand and the prophecy had arch up into the air flying back at me. I let his wand hit the ground and caught the prophecy. I looked down at the glasses orb, and it rang out in my ear:
“The-boy-who-lived will follow in the footsteps of one in his past and either lives for right or wrong…”
Not today, I smiled and wiped Harry’s memory. This event would only ever be remembered by me. Harry had enough on his plate. He did not need time in Azkaban after all he has done for our world. I took the orb and carried Harry to his office. He will simply think he worked late, I smiled. I walked to my desk and hit a simple button hidden under my clock. A drawer dropped down from below the desk and placed the orb in it hiding it for the years to come.
No one ever had to know about this. I had overcome my dragon, but Harry had just become overcome by the grief and stress in his life. It was simply a lapse to his feelings after they had been caged up for years. It was simply a response to the darkness within, and I had a feeling he would not be relapsing any time soon…
A/N: I think I accomplished all of these tasks:
-features your House’s Champion , mentions at least 4 specific breeds of dragon, mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse, mentions a Blast-Ended Skrewt , features a dragon, mentions a Sleeping Draught, mentions 2 of the following types of magic: a transfiguration spell, a sleeping spell, the conjunctivitis curse, the summoning charm (accio), includes mention of at least 5 of the 12 uses for dragon's blood, mentions at least 2 of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, or Probity-Probe, features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity, and mentions the details of your Champion’s Wand.
I would say flourishing in the face of adversity is a broad topic and up to your definition, as is featuring a dragon.
Hope everyone enjoyed the story! Had fun writing it!