Chapter 1 : The Things You Do for a Friend
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Susan was having one of those moments.
She was having one of those days.
She had tried to be a good friend and look at where it had landed her: traipsing through the forests of who knows where, her braid glued to her neck by sweat and her boots constantly getting stuck under one or another of the overlarge roots that seemed to run rampant through the woods. It wasn’t that she was adverse to physical activity, per say, but she desperately wished that she had a clue about what Hannah had gotten her into.
But she couldn’t be too angry with Hannah – after all, it was her wedding that was happening in just under a week and she had too much on her hands to have to worry about the crazy schemes of Neville’s friends. It was why she had been stuck supervising Luna and her male friend since she was “responsible”. She was under orders to ensure that they did nothing to endanger themselves or anyone at the wedding – Susan hadn’t realized exactly how difficult this task would be when she had accepted it.
From what she had been able to ascertain in her encounters with Neville’s friends, Luna’s friend was named Rolf and she had met him on one of her excursions to find a crumple-horned snorkack. Their desire to find the elusive animal had been put on hold for the moment and Susan had found herself being dragged along in their quest for an animal that was all too real for her to be able to relax.
They were going after a dragon. Susan had yet to figure out why. She looked over at the slim girl, who was bent over a ratty brown bag, and decided to once again announce her concerns.
“A dragon is a very dangerous creature.” Susan thought frantically of all the information she knew about dragons. She had to convince them to stay far far away from them! “The Hebridean Black is very aggressive – more aggressive than any other dragon in Britain. The Hungarian Horntail—” Here Susan gulped “—is considered by experts to be the most dangerous animal in existence. It’s vicious! What’s more is that the Peruvian Vipertooth is venomous and it feeds on humans! We should not be seeking these animals out!”
“Nonsense – they’re just misunderstood.” Luna stood, pulling a long, golden rod from her bag and brandishing it in front of her. “Besides, we’re looking for an Antipodean Opaleye – they’re very gentle and beautiful. They only kill when they’re hungry.” Susan didn’t feel very comforted by this – to a hungry dragon anything could be considered food, even her.
As she watched Luna’s excited face as she discussed dragons she was reminded of Hagrid and his love for hazardous animals. His Care of Magical Creatures class had been another moment where she had questioned her judgment – one of his blast-ended skrewts had nearly taken off her hand when it had stung her in fourth year. She had only taken that class because her aunt had told her that her father had been interested in magical creatures and she had wanted to have a common interest. After that incident, though, Susan had switched her primary interest to healing. She was currently in her final year of training to become a Healer.
She was slightly startled to see Rolf suddenly appear at Luna’s shoulder.
“Any luck?” he asked and Luna shook her head. The blonde allowed the long rod to fall into the dirt as she stuck her hand into one of the various pockets adorning her dress. She pulled out a round top that Susan recognized as a sneakoscope and handed it to her boyfriend. Seconds after that the golden rod was once again hovering in the air and Susan was feeling left out. What were they doing?
She was surprised when Luna answered her unspoken question – they were using the secrecy sensor and sneakoscope to find a dragon.
“People think that the devices are only good to detect Dark wizards. They don’t realize that they pick up on the characteristics people have assigned others. Since most people associate dragons with danger and darkness, these devices are perfect! We’ll find these dragons soon enough – we just have to keep on walking. My daddy and I have been searching for the crumple-horned snorkack for years and we still haven’t given up. It’s just very shy.” Luna looked totally serious throughout her explanation and Susan could see Rolf nodding his head in the background, so Susan didn’t argue about the devices’ use. At worst (or perhaps best), the devices wouldn’t work and they would leave without finding a dragon.
Susan still didn’t want to go anywhere near a dragon but since she had promised Hannah that she would do her best to keep them safe until the wedding (and Susan never broke her promises), she could do nothing but follow them as Rolf held the sneakoscope gently in his palm and Luna waved the golden rod back and forth in front of her.
It was a few minutes later, after they had walked past many trees with long, overhanging branches and Susan had tripped over three more roots, that Luna commented that an angry dragon would surely attract the attention of their devices.
She was looking puzzledly at her rod while Susan looked at her, aghast.
“Angry? You’re looking for an angry dragon? Why in Merlin’s name would you go looking for an angry dragon?”
It was Rolf who answered her, for Luna was too busy examining her rod. “An angry dragon is likely to have been fighting and, since dragons hold nothing back when they fight, they will probably be injured.”
“Injured?” The word came out more like a squeak than Susan had hoped. Injured dragons were still dangerous and angry dragons would lash out at anyone. The words “Nothing is more foolhardy than approaching an enraged dragon. They will not care who you are and will strike to kill. They look only to survive and they will you as a hindrance in this goal” filled her mind.
Actively seeking an injured dragon went against all of Susan’s instincts and she had to force herself to continue walking after them.
Rolf didn’t seem to notice her concern and carried on talking.
“Yes. Once we find the injured dragon we’re going to heal it and hopefully, in gratitude for our help, it will willingly give us some of its blood!”
“Blood?” she squeaked and flushed – she sounded like a chipmunk!
“Yep—we’re going to give the blood to Luna’s friend, Neville!” Rolf had returned to intently watching the sneakoscope and so didn’t see Susan slow in her pace. Susan, who hated to think negatively about anyone, could no longer deny that Rolf and Luna were strange.
Still… Maybe if she knew exactly why they wanted the blood she could convince them that this wasn’t a good idea.
And, based on the slight shiver that was working its way up Luna’s rod, she had to convince them fast.
“Um… Why do you think that they would like dragon’s blood as a wedding present?” Her voice was shaking and she was glancing nervously at the woods around her. She was suddenly all too aware of the amount of sound they were making – they’d be sitting ducks for any dragon they came across.
“Their blood produces a fine, red ink that is supposed to be excellent for legal documents.”
“Um…” Luna’s answer had surprised her and Susan wasn’t quite sure what to say – they had come all this way for ink?
But it seemed that Luna wasn’t done listing all the possibilities dragon’s blood could be used for.
“It can be a potion strengthener, if one has enough money to buy it. It’s said to be able to cure all manner of diseases and, if you are completely covered in it, to be able to stop the Avada Kedavra.” Luna’s eyes suddenly seemed too serious, as though she had tried some of techniques and they had failed her. Susan wouldn’t have been surprised if she had – the war had driven some to desperate measures as they tried to protect themselves and their loved ones.
The moment was broken by the high-pitched squealing of the sneakoscope and Luna was back to her usual bubbly self. She raced ahead, after Rolf’s disappearing form, the golden rod bobbing in her limp grip, before Susan was quite aware of what had happened. Cursing her promise to Hannah, Susan ran after them.
She noticed, as she ran, that some of the trees that she passed were splintered, as though something huge had slammed into them. Muttering a desperate wish that they would only find one dragon instead of two, Susan increased her speed.
Unfortunately, just before she reached the pair, her boots once again caught on a root and she fell past them, her face slamming into ground. She rose, grumbling, before freezing as she saw why they had stopped. There was a dragon right in front of them!
She heard Luna cooing “Oh it’s beautiful!” behind her and wanted to argue that this was a dangerous creature… But Luna was right. Its small body was lined with pearly scales and its eyelids drooped low over its multi-coloured eyes in an expression of what Susan thought to be pain. She could remember many patients from her internship who had fallen unconscious from the pain of their injuries and she could see that the dragon was curling awkwardly around its hind leg.
Though Susan was still very much aware that the dragon was dangerous, her concerns faded as she realized that it was hurting. She had become a Healer so that she stop others’ pain and the fact that this dragon was an animal, not a human, didn’t change her desire.
She put out her arm to stop Luna from rushing past her and asked her, “Do you have a Sleeping Draught?” She frowned when Luna shook her head. From what she had seen, the dragon’s hind leg had a long, jagged wound running down its length and she wanted to put it to sleep so that she could help it undisturbed.
Extremely wary of the dragon’s eyes following her every move (she was ready to run if the dragon showed even the slightest indication of breathing fire), she slowly raised her wand and cast a sleeping spell. Unluckily, since the dragon was a dragon, it required several more sleeping spells before it was soundly asleep and Susan’s hands were shaking badly. The dragon had looked like it had wanted to attack them…
However, since it was now unconscious, Susan had no reason not to approach it.
“Luna, what else do you have in your bag?” With any luck she would have bandages; if not, they would have to be transfigured. She breathed a sigh of relief when Luna nodded her head and reached into her bag to retrieve them.
She hurried to the dragon’s injured leg and crouched beside it, very aware of the fact that she was kneeling with a dragon’s limbs surrounding her. With trembling fingers, Susan raised her hand for the bandages and wondered how Luna and Rolf could be so calm. They didn’t look to be the least bit nervous and Rolf went to the other side of the dragon’s leg without hesitation.
Susan adjusted her grip on her wand and wondered if helping a dragon with a wand whose core was a dragon heartstring (something that one could not remove from a dragon without killing it) was odd. Suddenly the twelve inch, springy ash wand seemed foreign in her hand and she stared at it, wondering if she should ask Luna to borrow her wand. Luckily she quickly realized that her thoughts were foolish, though, and focused once again on the task at hand, tightening her grip on her wand.
She cast a spell that would strip the wound of any excess blood and another that would disinfect the wound, spells that were second nature to her after all her years in training. Quickly, she unwound the bandage and started to wrap it around the dragon’s leg, nodding her thanks at Rolf who held its tip in place.
The dragon’s leg was thicker than she was accustomed to and she had barely enough bandage to cover the entire wound before it ran out.
Finally, holding her wand gingerly since her hand was covered in dragon’s blood, she cast the spell to secure it to the leg. She knew that the dragon would most likely scratch it off but she hoped that the wound would be healed before then.
Signaling that she was done and backing away from the dragon, she asked, “How did you want to go about collecting the blood?” Susan wasn’t eager to interact with a conscious dragon but it was what they had come there for and Susan wouldn’t stand in their way. She just didn’t want to be involved in the interactions as, even though she had healed a dragon, she still thought that they were dangerous creatures and she longed to be far away from it.
“No need,” Rolf said, smiling broadly and holding up a small vial filled with the dragon’s red blood. Susan felt a wave of relief crash over her and almost stumbled with its intensity. “I filled it while you were staring at your wand before. It’s just the blood that had already left the dragon from the wound – it won’t miss it.”
He passed the vial to Luna and turned to pat the dragon’s head. Susan presumed that he was saying goodbye.
Susan hesitantly approached Luna, very aware of the dragon that was sleeping between the trees. With the amount of time that had passed since they had cast the sleeping spells, it was entirely possible that the dragon could wake up at any moment and she wanted to be far away when it did. “Luna, why are you going to give them the dragon’s blood?”
Luna, her robes now red from the dragon’s injury and her hair dirty from wandering through the forest all day, looked at her and smiled. “It’s for good luck – with its blood comes all of a dragon’s ferocity and strength. With it they’ll be able to face any future challenges.”
Luna carefully secured the vial in her bag and pulled out a portkey, which would return them to Luna’s home. Susan reached for it happily – though she had survived this moment, she still just wanted to sink into her soft chair at home. She was not made for adventures, she knew that for certain.
Hopefully the rest of the week would be calmer now that Luna had her gift.
For some reason, she doubted it.
A/N: This was written for the first task of the 2012 House Cup. The actual story is 2492 words long and it includes the following prompts:
- features your House’s Champion (Susan Bones)
- mentions at least 4 specific breeds of dragon (Hebridean Black, Hungarian Horntail, Peruvian Vipertooth and Antipodean Opaleye)
- mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse (Avada Kedavra)
- mentions a Blast-Ended Skrewt
- features a dragon (Antipodean Opaleye)
- 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 (ink, potion strengthener, cure diseases, block killing curse, bring good fortune to owner)
- mentions at least 2 of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, or Probity-Probe (15 points)
- features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity (Susan overcoming her fear of dragons to approach and help one)
- mentions the details of your Champion’s Wand, as provided by your Head of House (Ash, Dragon Heartstring, 12", Springy, good for Transfiguration)
Thanks to the HPFF staff for doing such a fantastic job with the House Cup!