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Boys, Dragons, and Other Mysterious Creatures by LittleMissAutumn
Chapter 1 : Chapter One
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Chapter image done by the lovely Fireheart @ TDA!



My father is a dragon trainer.

Most people think the job is too much strain for a family to uphold, but we like to go against the norms of society. Dad likes to joke that the fires fuel us and it really does, honestly. The first creature I ever touched was a dragon. It was a wee little one and only a few days old, but I remember the day dad took me to work so I could pet it. I had to wear gloves, of course, but the little ball of fire that erupted out of its mouth when it yawned was enough for me to realize how amazing it was. They are fascinating creatures; independent yet loyal to a fault to those that they knew were their own. I named the dragon Batair when I was little and surprisingly, it responds to it. At least I think it does. We’ve grown up in different worlds but on the few times I have been allowed to go with dad, it’s recognized me. I’m the only one it gets close to and is upset whenever I leave. I think he believes I am his own and I feel quite honored to have been taken under its wing—no pun intended.

Mum is a writer for Witch Weekly. The pair met when they were in their young twenties, hitting it off right away. Mum’s always craved adventure and challenges so while interviewing Quidditch star Viktor Krum, she met dad. Dad and Viktor went to school together and have been thick as thieves ever since. I guess Viktor had invited mum to come along for celebratory drinks and that’s what set it all in motion  Dad had been in town to attend Viktor’s match and everything sort of fell into place. Dad was spontaneous and already had burns covering his arms from his training days, while mum was inquisitive and seeking new experiences. They were perfect for each other.

I know they love each other quite deeply, but with dad always away in Romania, they decided it was best for mum and I to stay in Hampstead while he continues to live across the continent. They were never married so divorce wasn’t any issue, and surprisingly they’ve had a great friendship even though I was thrust into the mix. “Just friends”, however, is a loose term for the pair of them. Any blind idiot can clearly see the love they share for the other. I know dad thinks he’s doing the right thing with encouraging mum to follow her dreams so he’s not holding her back “waiting” for him. They used to bicker about it when I was little, but mum caved. The adventure of living in rural Romania may have been a too much to handle with a child so I mostly spend my time in England with her. Our family members live throughout the area so that’s been nice. Dad’s not particularly close with his relatives for reasons he doesn’t talk about, but he and Viktor are basically brothers.

Viktor is still absolutely bonkers about Quidditch and now helps coach the local team after his extensive career. I find it kind of funny how decided to settle down with a wife and son in his hometown instead of moving somewhere else. I asked him about it once, but he said I would understand it when I’m older. I guess when you’re on top of the world, there really is no other place like home. His son, Aleksander, is two years older than me so naturally we were thrown together at the cradle. Since mum and I spent most of my early years in Romania with dad, we would floo to Viktor’s home quite a bit for dinners and play dates. By the time I was eleven, mum and I had already moved back to England so I went to Hogwarts and Alek followed his father’s footsteps in attending Durmstrang. We grew apart for a while during our embarrassing puberty years (who aren’t they bad for though, really?), but we’ve reconnected. The majority of the past three summers I’ve been spending with dad after embracing my own desires to train with dragons. They’re unpredictable and can be fearsome at the best of times, but there’s nothing else I can picture myself doing.

Mum always jokes that dad can’t handle a “civilized” society anymore after wrestling around in the forests with the majestic creatures. She says that I’ve spent too much time with him and he’s untamed me too, but I know she’s secretly proud. The three of us have always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of the unknown.

This summer, however, was quite different from all the others. I normally spend the first month with dad and the second with mum so we can do my school shopping together and recconect before I'm whisked off to school again. Last minute she was offered an assignment to go to America though so we switched the rounds. I barely saw her for a little over a week before she was forced to leave, but it all worked out. I needed space from everything that happened at the end of the term and spending two months in Romania was the perfect solution.  

Hands sunk deep into the pockets of my jacket, I walked along the sandy coast of the Black Sea. The stars were shinning brightly overhead and I smiled to myself at the beauty of it all. There are so many gorgeous places in the world and I can’t wait to explore it all once I graduate from Hogwarts at the end of the year.

Aleksander walked alongside me, pulling a cigarette out and igniting the end with a quick flip of his lighter before placing it back in his pocket. The smoke momentarily clouded the air before the summer breeze whisked it away. I didn’t mind. Tobacco smoke may have a poignant smell, but I’ve smelt burning flesh and there's nothing worse than that.

“I wish there were a few more weeks of this,” I told him, admiring the way the moon reflected off the dark water. Today was the last day of summer and I decided to floo to Alek's apartment in Varna, Bulgaria for a visit before I headed back home. Sighing to myself, I plopped down on the soft sand.

Aleksander grinned with the cigarette between his teeth, throwing an arm around my shoulder as he joined me on the ground. “You can always make up an excuse for an extended stay.”

I laughed. “Yeah, right. 'Sorry Headmistress, I decided I’m extending my holiday instead of studying for NEWTs.' I’m sure that will go over well.”

Alek let out a cheeky grin and exhaled another puff of smoke. “It’s been an interesting summer, that’s or sure.”

I cringed at his words, but he pulled me closer to him. I allowed my head to rest against his chest with his arm securely wrapped around my waist, protecting me from the world. We sat there in silence, basking in my last night of summer freedom before facing the music and boarding the Hogwarts Express that I have been so desperate to avoid.

It has been two months. Two months of hiding near the Black Sea with Aleksander and training with dad in Romania, away from my problems that only they knew about. It was a secret between the three of us and I wanted it to stay that way. Dad wanted to spill the beans to mum—saying it was her duty as my mother to know the truth—but she had just gotten her big break in covering that story of wizards fixing Wall Street that he didn’t have the heart to tell her. She would have ditched her job and arrived here in a heartbeat if she had known.

Closing my eyes as the sounds of crashing waves hit my ears, I relaxed into Alek’s hold. He smelled of cologne and tobacco but it was a familiar scent and one that always brought me comfort. He was my best mate and this summer he saved me after making the biggest mistake of my life.

It was June 18th. The Gryffindors were hosting an end of the year party in their common room. More specifically, it was the party that James and Freddy had been throwing in honor of not blowing up the school after a fluke incident of them testing out some new products for Freddy’s father’s shop. Everyone was buzzing in excitement from the illegal firewhiskey being tossed around and the smell of summer in the air. I had partaken in a couple shots after a truth or dare game with some of my friends before dancing in the middle of the crowd, holding the bottle close to my chest. I loved being lost in the music, feeling the bass pump through my body. I probably looked like I was doing some interpretive dance but a pair of arms still snaked around my waist, my back resting against a firm chest.

“May I join you, beautiful?” came the familiar voice near my ear. My body was tingling and his touch was like fire so I smiled widely, nodding my head enthusiastically. I felt him chuckle, his breath against my neck as he kissed my shoulder.

The rest of the evening flew by in a mad blur. We continued dancing in the middle of the crowd and kept consuming more of the intoxicating liquid until the bottle ran dry. Eventually we both staggered up the stairs to the Prefect’s bedroom. Looking back, I honestly don’t even know how he knew the password since neither of us were Prefects.

“We’re not supposed to be in here,” I giggled, stumbling into the room while he drunkenly fiddled with the door to shut.

“Shhh.” He laughed, catching me as I almost tripped over a trunk on the floor. Turning in his arms, I raised a hand to move his blonde hair out of his eyes. His glazed eyes watched me intently and I smiled. We continued standing there and I believe I even started humming in content before our lips were crashing together. He tasted of fire whiskey and bubblegum candy, but the combination was delicious. Wrapping his arms around my waist, he lifted me up and gently placed me on the bed. I remember giggling as he kissed down my bare stomach with a smile on his face. Soon, we were both entangled in the sheets with our clothes thrust around the floor.

A few hours later I woke up from my drunken stupor and gazed around the room. His arms had been wrapped around me with my head nestled on his chest. He was warm and comfortable and for an insane moment, I debated staying there until I realized what I had just done. Glancing down, I looked at his sleeping face before shooting out of the bed like my ass was on fire. Hastily, I collected my clothes and almost fell over when pulling up my jeans. The party was finished downstairs but most of its guests were passed out drunk on the conjured up chairs and couches. My head was spinning as I stepped over the sleeping masses and made my way out the door and to the Ravenclaw common room. I couldn’t believe it. I lost my virginity to Louis bloody Weasley! The long walk from the Gryffindor Tower to the Ravenclaw common room was definitely one of shame. Despite the adrenaline rush I felt earlier, it was quickly coming down with questions swarming through my head.

What was I thinking? What was he thinking? Had we even used protection?

The answer, I soon found out, was that we had not.

*

The following day I boarded the train home for King’s Cross, curled up in the corner. My arms wrapped around my legs while my head rested against the cool glass window. It was throbbing, but after taking a sobering potion, I knew the headache wasn’t from a hangover. My bottom lip was bleeding with how much I was biting it, but I didn’t care. I needed to be home and away from here. Why wasn’t the train moving yet?

Students were making their way through the corridor of the train, searching for their friends and empty compartments that they could enter. I ignored them, staring at the platform outside until the door slide open. There was a female giggle and I turned to see a blonde haired girl with a cat in her arms and the person I least wanted to see. I stared at him, wondering if he remembered what happened last night. The girl turned around and I recognized her to be Delilah Everson, a sixth year Hufflepuff.

She was still giggling at whatever Louis had said, but looked surprised to see me. “Sorry, Patil, didn’t see you there. C’mon, Lou, let’s go find another one.”

My brain couldn’t muster up any coherent sentences so I turned my gaze back out the window. I felt a pair of eyes on me, but within moments the compartment door was shut and I was left to my thoughts.

*

I was stoked for mum when she told me about her latest assignment and I couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm. I debated telling her about what happened, but I didn’t really want to have the “girl talk”. Besides, everything seemed to be fine during those first two weeks while I was still with her. It wasn’t until I was in Romania with dad that the morning sickness kicked in. Dad thought I was ill and took me to the doctor, but it didn’t take a genius to figure it out.

I was pregnant.

Dad froze when he found out. A family of trolls could have came toppling through the hospital and destroying everything in their path, yet he still wouldn’t have moved. He could deal with dragons that spit balls of fire at him and tried to fry his existence into oblivion, but learning that his daughter was pregnant was not under that list. Hell, I didn’t know what to think of it. I had considered it a possibility, but it really hit me that it was real. After the initial shock of everything and the pamphlets given to us by the doctor, I already knew what I was going to do. Dad tried to be encouraging of my options, expressing that despite whatever I did, he would support me. I appreciated that—I really did—but I’m not ready to be a mum.

Aleksander supported my decision when I told him after he flooed to visit me. Apparently my letter saying I need you was enough to put him on edge and he wouldn’t leave my side until I told him what happened. Even after the reactions, he stayed with me and volunteered to come to my doctor’s appointment. He held my hand the entire time, despite his irrational fear of physicians, and made sure that this is what I wanted to do.

“We can keep it, if you want.” He murmured, brushing my hair behind my ear. I looked at him like he grew a second head, but he continued. “I have a flat and a decent paying job. The bloke doesn’t have to know if you don’t want him to. It could just be us. I’ll take care of you, Nali.”

My eyes watered and I hugged him, but I wouldn’t accept it. Aleksander was a great guy and the best mate in the entire world, but I couldn’t burden him with my problems. I already knew my decision.

The nurse smiled at me as she escorted me into the back with Alek still in tow. I was gripping his hand so hard his knuckles must have been turning white from lack of circulation, but he didn’t say anything. He just squeezed back, reassuringly.

“Please change into this and sit on the bed here, Miss Patil.” She smiled warmly, handing me the thin gown I was supposed to put on. I nodded in thanks and held it close to my chest. Turning, she looked at Aleksander. “Excuse me, sir, but I must ask you to leave for privacy unless Miss Patil wishes you to stay. Only family and—“

“I’m the father,” he spoke, making me look at him with wide eyes. He was sitting up straight, hand still in mine, and spoke each word with such conviction that I momentarily had to remind myself of the truth.

The nurse smiled at our conjoined hands and nodded. “Of course. I apologize for the confusion. The procedure requires a few spells from the doctor and you’ll be out of here in no time.”

We watched her leave the room, but I didn't move. I was staring at the hospital gown in my hands until Aleksander stood up and gripped my shoulders. “Are you positive about this? This is what you want to do?”

“Yes.”

Aleksander looked in my eyes, searching for any ounce of doubt, but he wouldn’t find any. Eventually he nodded and turned to face the wall so I could have some privacy. Slowly, I pulled off my top and jeans, replacing them with the thin fabric that ended at my mid-thigh. I tried my best to keep my breathing steady, understanding what the procedure would entail already. It wasn’t an abortion, but it was similar to muggle in-vetro. The doctor was going to take out my fertilized egg and give it to a potential mother on the waiting list who had difficulty producing children of her own. They would insert it into her and perform some spells, changing the genetics of the DNA to resemble the surrogate mother more than me. There were no guarantees that the baby wouldn’t end up having similar characteristics to my own physical appearance, but I’m happy that another woman could experience the joys of motherhood with my egg.

The nurse had been right and within an hour we were leaving the hospital. Dad had been in the waiting room for us and threw an arm around my shoulder, kissing the side of my head. I could see the tears in his eyes but I know he was relieved. We both know that I fucked up and yelling wasn't going to do anything to fix the situation. Others might judge me for not owning up to my own responsibilities, but I wasn’t going to be the one to bring a child into this world. My mistake would become a blessing to another and I really wish the both of them happiness.

I made the correct decision.

*

Aleksander finished his cigarette and rubbed the butt of it into the sand, arms still around me.

“You’re the bravest girl I know,” he whispered, resting his head on top of mine. I scoffed.

“If I was so courageous then I wouldn’t be debating to take up your offer of extending my holiday.”

His chest rumbled in silent laughter and we watched the waves roll in. “This year will fly by, don’t you worry. The Prophet’s asked me to do a couple shoots for them within the upcoming months, so I can come visit you during one of your Hogsmeade trips if you want.”

Aleksander's a professional photographer and is quite well known in the publication community. Despite the multiple offers he's received, he prefers being freelance and picking up work whenever he wants. It's not like he needs the money with his father being Viktor Krum in all, but he chooses to make ends meet on his own without help to further his independence. I admire that. In the beginning of his career last year, he worked with mum on a few of her articles to add to his portfolio. The images were splendid really and it’s been nonstop work ever since.

Standing up from our position on the sand, I whipped the sand off my bum and held a hand out to help him up. He rolled his eyes, but accepted it. Putting my arm through his, we walked back towards the city lights.

“Of course I want you to visit me, you muppet.” I teased, knocking my shoulder against his. “I don’t know what I would have done without you this summer.”

He was silent and looked down at me, a small smile on his face. “Anytime, Nali. Or…well, not anytime. If I hear about you getting knocked up again then I may have to tell your father to sit you down for counseling to express your needs in other ways. Perhaps you should take up knitting? I heard it helps, at least that’s what my grandmother says.”

“Shut up!” I growled making him laugh. We didn’t stick around for much longer and I walked him back to his flat before flooing home with dad. Tomorrow we are taking a port-key into the outskirts of London and apparating the rest of the way to King’s Cross.

The time for hiding is finished and there's no reason for me to delay my time in going back. My goals are to continue as planned. Several more months of school and then I can take off with the endless possibilities of my future. All I need to do is remain focused on my studies and then it will be over. There will be no distractions. Absolutely none.

That is, of course, unless I run into Louis. I highly doubt he even remembers me though. Sure we share the same House and say a greeting in the halls every now and then, but we've hardly had any interaction other than that night—that one stupid night. There were no letters (not that I expected any) and his presence on the train ride home spoke volumes. He had moved on and so did I.

With that in mind, there’s no reason to feel guilt. It was just a drunken shag and nothing more. Right?

Right.


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