Chapter 1 : Beyond the battle
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All her family were either dead or in hiding, it wasn’t a surprise that he-who-must-not-be-named was going to come after her family but it was still a shock to realise she had no one to turn to and nowhere to go. She started to slow down, there was no way she could go on running. Starting to walk she realised that she could no longer hear any screams or shouts. Was that a good thing? She couldn’t be sure. She wished she knew what going on but she couldn’t have stayed, she was petrified and she knew it was cowardly, that was why she had run into the woods. The words were partially for cover but also she didn’t want anyone to find her, it was too embarrassing.
Susan continued to walk for another 10-20 minutes before spotting a cave up ahead. Cautiously she made her way towards the entrance before peering inside. Pulling her wand out of her bag, she glanced around to check that she was definitely alone.
“Lumos” she muttered under her breath, she had never quite got the hang of non-verbal spells. Her wand illuminated the cave and it appeared to be empty. Slowly walking inside she realised that it didn’t go that far back and it was, as she had first assumed, empty. Placing the little bag that she had grabbed before evacuating the castle on the floor of the cave she sat down and leaned against the wall. Realising how tired she was, she figured this was as good a place as any to stay the night. Emptying the bag of its now 4 items; a foe-glass, a sneakoscope, a sleeping draught and a jacket, she just stared at them. She remembered packing the bag, it had been at the end of her fourth year and she had placed the items she had accumulated off different people into one bag, like a keepsake. She wasn’t sure what had possessed her to grab the bag when she had been leaving but it was the last thing she saw as she left the girls dormitory and it had seemed like a good idea at the time. Placing the sneakoscope and foe-glass next to her, maybe they would come in useful she curled up underneath the jacket.
“Nox,” the cave was immediately swallowed up by darkness and Susan, who was scared of the dark, tried to take her mind off everything. Taking a deep breath she caught the smell of something that she knew but couldn’t quite place. It was a nice smell, almost musky, though it was only faint. Then it hit her. It was Cedric’s jacket, Cedric Diggory’s. She thought back to when she had got it…
She had been in her 4th year and it was the day of the 1st task. It was nearing the end of November and the rain was coming down hard and she had looked all over the Hufflepuff common room for her jacket but it was nowhere to be found. She was close to screaming, the task would be starting in 30 minutes and she really wanted to be a good house member and be there to support Cedric but she couldn’t very well go out in the pouring rain with no jacket on. She was the last one in the common room and was practically tearing it apart when she heard someone descending the stairs. She glanced up and completely forgot what she was doing as she stared up at the face of Cedric Diggory, he was really cute.
“You ok, you look a little stressed?” She was speechless; he was actually speaking to her. Most 6th (and 7th) years didn’t speak to anyone below owl level, especially cute boys like Cedric.
“Oh, well emm, I’m looking for my, emm my jacket” she could feel her face turning an impressive shade of red; it would soon start to clash with her hair. She could have kicked herself, how was she supposed to do anything if she couldn’t even have a normal conversation?
“Oh, well here have mine. It’s not like I’m going to have much use for it anyway.” He then removed the grey jacket he was wearing before handing it to her with a smile. “Your jacket will turn up eventually, I’m sure of it.” He then walked out of the common room, leaving Susan standing there just staring at the door. It wasn’t until she realised she needed to get to the first task that she remembered she hadn’t even thanked him.
She turned over, the cold, hard floor was anything but comfortable but she couldn’t conceal the smile. Her friends had all been jealous when they realised she had Cedric’s jacket, it had made her popular, for a while anyway. The first task, the dragons each champion had to face. It must have been scary for the champions but Susan could only watch, awe-struck as each Dragon protected its eggs. They had fascinated her ever since and she had spent weeks in the library learning as much as she could about them. She had found there blood extremely interesting, there was 12 uses but her favourite uses had to be, oven cleaner, spot remover, ink, the way it could cure some diseases and her absolute favourite, it could be used as incense. She had ordered ink, spot remover and incense the moment she had found out about them and she loved them. The spot cream actually worked, it was great and she had used the ink to keep a diary of everything she found out about dragons, the very first line was ‘my wand: Ash, 12”, springy, good for transfiguration and DRAGON HEARSTRING’. The incense had a lovely smell, it made her dormitory smell heavenly, even the other girls had commented on how great it was. With the memory of the dragon blood incense lingering in her mind Susan curled up and went to sleep.
5 years later
Susan had just woken up. Her hair was a mess and she had fallen asleep in last night’s clothes but she didn’t care. Opening the door that led into the padlock she had built she smiled at the little creature walking around. It was her dragon, a Swedish short-snout. She had only received him a couple of weeks ago but she had been preparing herself for him ever since she had found this place. It had been a couple of weeks after the battle had ended and Susan was cold, messy and needed a place to stay. That’s when she discovered this cottage. It was all but lying on the ground and it had taken her about a year and a half to fix the place up, even with magic. She had thought about giving up, once or twice but she figured that living virtually homeless was a small price to pay for walking out on the battle. Even after she had finished the house she was in a bad place, the guilt was over powering her. The she found out about adopt a dragon. That same day she started to build the pen, it had taken a while because it had to have a lot of different reinforcements to make sure it could hold a dragon. Once it was built she used accio to get a catalogue of all the different types of dragons and managed to narrow it down to four choices; a Chinese fireball, a common welsh green, a Norwegian ridgeback and of course the Swedish short-snout.
“Arahowahoww” the dragon reared its little head before sending a small ball of fire towards a blast-ended Skrewt that had crept into the pen next to Susan. Susan chuckled to herself, the dragon was a bundle of fun and she loved having the little creature about. She had chosen him over the others because he was a runt because when he was a baby someone had used the cruciatus curse on him, repeatedly. It had made him nervous and more jumpy and the leader of adopt a dragon had even tried to persuade Susan’s mind, get her to choose another, healthy dragon. But she was adamant. Jake, named after her deceased dad had lovely blue scales and the biggest eyes Susan had ever seen; it really was enchanting. Shane, the leader of adopt a dragon was supposed to be coming round today, to assess how she was getting on. Quickly running back inside to get changed and have a wash before he came round, she didn’t want him to think she couldn’t cope. Suddenly she heard a sound like gun fire followed in quick succession by three raps on her door. Shoving her long red hair into a ponytail she went to answer the door.
“Hello there, you must be Susan. I’m Shane and I’m here to assess how you’re getting on with your dragon.” He held his hand out and Susan shook it.
“Hello, come round the back, He’s in his pen.” She led the way into the back where Jake was running around, his head occasionally banging his head off the wall.
“Ok, well I’m going to have to perform a sleeping spell on him to check him over, it won’t hurt him.” He reassured her, reaching into his pocket for his wand. She only nodded before opening the gate for him. She left him to it and started walking around the yard cleaning up pieces of stray rubbish as she went.
“I’m finished; he should wake up within the next 5 minutes. You’re doing a great job with him, I must say. I didn’t think anyone would be able to help him but you’re doing a grand job. Keep it up.”
“Thank you, really it means a lot.” She smiled at him before he spun on the spot and disapparated out of there. She made her way back over to Jake’s pen and smiled as she watched him stir.
Maybe things were going to be okay after all.