A/N: aaaaaaannnnnnnddddd BOOM!

xx-Kitten.


Let it Burn

By Kittenshift17


Chapter 10: Hellfire


Charlie scrubbed his hands over his face, sighing heavily and staring down at his lap when Hermione was gone. Hell, he hadn't even thought that she might get jealous or be put out that he'd had a thing with Amy in the past and that he'd fucked the wretched bitch in this very bed. It hadn't crossed his mind for a single second, but now he couldn't stop thinking about it. To be honest, he couldn't even be sure that she was jealous, or if she was just bloody furious that he'd stooped so low as to shag someone who was trying to cause her so much trouble.

Sweet fucking Circe, this wasn't going to be easy. Not only was Amy proving to be the biggest regret of his life just because she'd turned out not to be what he needed in a witch, but also because the bitch was messing with his chance at winning over the one woman he'd been more than passingly attracted to in longer than he could remember. And despite not having any fucking clue where he stood with the woman, Charlie was almost hoping she was angry with his life choices for moral reasons, because he didn't think he'd be able to keep from wringing Amy's neck and burning his hut to the ground if Hermione really was jealous over his past flames.

"Fucking stupid, Weasley," Charlie berated himself, standing and stripping out of his come-stained boxers before stalking down the hall and climbing into the shower. He was loath to wash Hermione's scent off his skin, but he knew he'd suffer all day if he didn't bathe after the application of the healing decoction.

He leaned against the wall of the shower under the scalding hot spray and tried not to think about the tortured and lustful way Hermione had looked at him when she'd been caught in the effects of the healing decoction. He tried not to think about the way she'd moaned his name as she'd come, lying there on the bed beneath him and grinding all that heat of her body against his. He tried not to think about how badly he wanted to feed Amy to a dragon before fucking Hermione until he couldn't move. To hell with protocol and to hell with procedure. He'd wanted the witch for bloody years and he wasn't about to let one spiteful little cunt mess it up for him because she was all hung up on him and refused to take even the bluntest of rejections seriously.

Maybe Hermione didn't want him, but Merlin's beard, if there was even a chance that she did, and Amy was going to ruin it, then Charlie would have to do whatever was necessary to fuck the bitch off.

He was going to have to get mean, he realised. He knew Amy was scared of him. Most people were, once they'd seen him lose his impressive and terrifying temper, if he was being honest. Even his fellow Dragon Tamers were wary of drawing his ire and up until now, Charlie had been as nice as he could manage in his attempts to discourage Amy's continued interest in him. He was going to have to get mean, and that was going to make the workplace noxious. He might be able to blame it on being put in charge, and on it being breeding season and migration season, but he suspected that if he let the beast that was his fiery temper loose, he might not be able to contain it to only taking it out on Amy. He never had been very good at it, if he was being honest. He could control it as long as it was completely locked away, but when he let his temper fly, he was as ornery and as vicious as a rampaging dragon.

Hermione would be caught in the crossfire, and Charlie hated himself a little when he it occurred to him the more he thought about it that he was angry with her for turning up in Romania, unannounced, and messing up the delicate balance of his life. Until now he'd managed to juggle his work life and his family life by keeping them far apart and he'd managed his unfortunate and persistent crush on Hermione Granger by keeping his distance and watching from afar without putting the moves on her whenever he went home, no matter how often the thought had occurred to him. It'd been easier when she'd been dating Ron, because for all that he might've coveted her, he could never have betrayed his brother.

But Hermione and Ron had long since parted ways, and she'd stayed on Charlie's radar but largely out of his life when they'd been continents apart. Now she was on his continent, and in his Dragon Sanctuary, and on his bloody team of Dragon Tamers. She was fiery and pretty and too bloody brainy for her own good. What was more, she was fucking tough. He hadn't expected that. The girl he'd gotten to know at the Burrow during his year hiatus from his dragons following Fred's death had been a girl who was pretty and clever and kind and just always around. She'd been good for a chat, and she made a mean cup of tea and the best hangover potion he'd ever ingested, but she'd never seemed like the kind of girl who could be bucked off a dragon, burned with dragon-fire until her flesh sizzled, only to get back up and keep trying to heal that same dragon. She'd seemed to him more like a girl who would be there at the end of every day, unharmed, ready and willing to patch him up and take his mind off things. She hadn't seemed like anything all that special, and Charlie supposed it was his mistake not to have realised that even when he'd thought that she wasn't tough, he'd become interested in her anyway.

She'd caught his eye in the height of the war, at Bill's wedding, and he'd looked on in silence watching her row with Ron more than once while he'd been living at home. In that sense, he'd seen she had spirit, and even that she was unafraid of the Weasley temper, and Charlie could admit to himself that he'd been fascinated by the idea of a witch like her.

He'd been intrigued by her wild curls and ensnared by the way she wasn't afraid to get in his brother's face and call him seven kinds of stupid when he fucked up or when he spewed his temper over her. Charlie knew that though his little brother – like all of his siblings – had inherited their mother's temper, Charlie's temper came from Arthur. Not often lost, but devastating when it flew. Hermione knew how to handle the tempers of his brother and his sister, and he kind of wanted to find out how she would handle Charlie's temper, too. But Merlin's bloody bollocks, he didn't need to find out now. Not with Amy being an obstinate bitch, and not with Marla out of action.

He had enough stress on his plate stepping up to fill Marla's shoes at the beginning of migration and breeding season. Hermione's question before she'd left, and that mean streak he'd forgotten she was hiding, weren't going to bode well for their working relationship – and that was the only kind of relationship they were permitted to have, right now.

"Got to get Amy out of here," Charlie muttered to himself. "If I don't kill her when I lose my shit, Hermione definitely will."

And he expected she would. The witch he was so intrigued by was cold-hearted to the core when it came to those who got in her way or went against what she believed to be the right thing. He'd heard all about the girl whose face she'd ruined during her fifth year at school, and he'd heard about the things she'd done and the things she'd endured during the war. His little witch was far from being some goody-two-shoes and she was by no means a saint. If Amy annoyed her enough, Charlie knew that Hermione not only could but would plot the bitch's doom and she was smart enough that if anyone was going to get away with murder, it was her.

Not at all looking forward to facing the day knowing Hermione was stewing in her own rage and knowing that just like him, she was fighting the restrained sexual tension as a result of the healing decotion, Charlie twisted off the taps of the shower and dressed for the day, intent on chugging down more coffee than he usually ingested, and then digging into everything in the Sanctum alongside a stroppy Hermione Granger. He'd just have to see what he could do about catching up with Marla at lunch time to get everything sorted and to find out if Amy could be shipped out.

He doubted any of the other Tamers would object should he manage to convince Hermione he was worth a shot, and should they prove they could stand one another. Hell, for all he knew the witch he'd imagined her to be and the witch she really was might be vastly different and the longer he spent with her, the more he might come to realise that maybe they weren't as well-match as he imagined. The point was, he wanted to bloody find out and that would be a whole lot easier achieved if he got Amy out of his bloody hair. The rest of the team were unlikely to stir up any trouble about him and Hermione and he didn't think too many would be bothered by the idea of Amy being gone. Not many of them liked her any more. Not since she'd made such a bitch of herself refusing to take the hint and leave him the fuck alone, and the more time they spent with Hermione, the more they were going to see which witch was meant for him and which one was in the fucking way.

Stomping his feet into his boots once he was dressed, Charlie decided to forgo a home-cooked breakfast in favour of getting to work on time and of getting in more than one coffee for the morning.

He knew he shouldn't be surprised when he arrived at the entrance to the Sanctum to find Hermione already there, shoving her packed lunch into the fridge of the dressing sheds before she stomped across the street to greet Suzy and to get her hands on some coffee, too.

"Hell, boss," Caroline said when Charlie made to follow Hermione before the witch reappeared clutching an enormous coffee for herself and a second, just as large cup. "What? Did you two stay up all night?"

Charlie slanted a less than pleasant look at his friend and Caroline stared back at him stonily, not afraid of his temper in the morning because she didn't realise how close the beastly temper was to the surface.

"No, we fucking didn't," Charlie growled, accepting the coffee from Hermione when she shoved it into his hands without a word before she went to her locker and began ferreting around in it between long chugs on her coffee.

"You sure?" Caroline asked, frowning at the two of them before she suddenly reached out and took hold of his wrist as he lifted his coffee to his mouth.

"I wouldn't," Charlie warned, eyeballing her dangerously.

He realised that she'd spotted the stain of purple on his palms and the look she traced over his face followed by the critical way she eyed Hermione meant her eyes suddenly widened.

"Oh, hell," Caroline muttered, releasing him and stepping back. "For fuck's sake, Weasley. Really?"

Charlie glowered at her whilst skolling his coffee even though it was hot enough to scald his throat. He downed the entire thing in long pulls without taking his eyes off Caroline and she stopped looking quite so amused and began to look a little bit worried.

"For fuck's sake," she muttered again, turning away when she couldn't take any more of his staring.

"Oi!" Gerald suddenly arrived on the scene – one of the Tamers who tended to work the night-shift in the Sanctum manning the radios to make sure no calls or owls came in to indicate that trouble was afoot while everyone else slept.

"What?" Caroline asked when Charlie looked over but didn't stop skolling his coffee until the cup was drained.

"We got trouble, you lot," Gerald said. "Just got this."

He waved a scroll of parchment, upsetting the screech owl that was perched on his shoulder.

"What now?" Charlie growled.

"The Hebridean Blacks are on the move in Scotland. A bunch of them were seen flying over the Channel yesterday at dusk," Gerald said, reading the letter again.

"Headed where?" Jason asked, arriving on the tail end of the conversation.

"Here," Charlie growled. "The Sanctum was originally set-up here because most of the world's dragon population congregate here every year. They're breeding grounds are typically those mountains in the distance."

Charlie pointed away to the North.

"They'll have to pass the Ridgebacks to get there," Jason frowned, and Charlie had to remind himself that until last year, Jason has been stationed at the Egyptian Sanctuary.

"Their migration route takes them directly over Germany. I'm more worried about the Horntails than the Ridgebacks," Charlie muttered. "If they were crossing the channel at dusk yesterday they're probably somewhere near Slovakia by now. Fuck! They'll be here by nightfall."

"Exactly," Gerald said. "And I had this from the lads in Russia just yesterday."

He handed it to Charlie.

"Oh, for fuck's sake!" Charlie snarled, his fists clenching before he thrust the letter toward Jason.

"Razorscales have been seen flocking in large numbers toward the Ukranian border," Jason read aloud. "What, really?"

"Razorscales?" Hermione interrupted, frowning and moving closer.

Charlie watched her, his temper bubbling under the surface now not just because of the mess his personal life was becoming, but because things were about to get very messy in the world of dragons.

"Razorscales usually aren't allowed to leave Russia," Caroline explained when Charlie – too angry to explain – turned away and began digging out his flame-retardant gear that he usually only bothered with when he was sent on a retrieval mission out of the country.

"What do you mean, they're not allowed to leave Russia?" Hermione asked.

"I mean that if they attempt to leave the country in a small group or singularly, they're driven back or brought down," Caroline told the younger witch grimly.

"They're shot out of the sky?" Hermione asked, aghast, and Charlie supposed he ought to be proud of how bloody scandalized she sounded by that very idea.

"You have to understand, Granger," Jason piped up. "Razorscales are the most vicious breed of dragon known to the wizarding world. They're the biggest, the meanest, and the most dangerous dragons in the world. If they're leaving Russia during breeding season, something is probably wrong and anyone who gets in their way is going to be roasted alive."

"Wrong?" Hermione asked. "What do you mean something is probably wrong? What would be wrong to drive the beasts out of Russia?"

"This says they've been leaving en masse – in numbers too large to be brought down at the borders. They only flock like that if something is going wrong. Maybe it's too cold in Russia this year. Maybe it was too hot in the summer. Maybe a natural disaster is going to strike. No one knows, and no one will know until the cause of the evacuation is made clear."

"Well, where will they go?" Hermione asked.

"They'll come here," Charlie said. "There's something in the mountain range to the east that draws the lizards here from around the world. If the Razorscales are leaving Russia, I expect we'll get word soon that the Fireballs are migrating west, and maybe even the Australian Bladehorns will migrate here. Something big must be unsettling the lizards, which might explain yesterday's Horntail mating the Ironbelly queens. Something in the magic of the earth is going wonky and things here are going to get very messy in the coming months. Jace, that supply order you put in?"

"Yeah, boss?" Jace said.

"Triple it," Charlie told him. "Gerald, I need you to respond to the lads in Russia and let them know we're going to need reinforcements here, in addition to as many supplies as they can spare. If their dragon population is about to wreak havoc in my sanctuary, the Russian ministry is footing the bill for it. Hermione send a letter to the DRCMC. Let them know what's going on and see if you can get Kinsley's ear about reinforcement Tamers and as many supplies as he can spare. Caroline, I need you to rally the troops. Drag their sorry arses out of bed. With the Hebrideans and the Razorscales on their way, the Sanctuary is on full alert and I need every able-bodied Tamer out of bed and on the ground. We've got to get the local dragons tagged and inoculated before these other bastards get here. Jace, if you've still got the ear of anyone in Egypt or the greater African continent, I need word on their movements and any assistance they can offer."

"Got it, boss," Jace, Caroline, and Gerald all replied in unison.

Hermione was frowning at him, but Charlie didn't spare her a second glance, knowing that whatever questions she had she would ask them.

"Move," Charlie clapped his hands at all of them. "I've got sixty hungry and wounded dragons to deal with and I'll bet there will be more on the way. Jace, when you send for more supplies, order whatever you can to get some lads here and working on expanding the Sanctum. We're going to run out of room fast. Hermione, in your letter to Kingsley, I need you to request that he dedicates several teams of builders to Dragonsmeade. This place is about to get the upgrade it's sorely needed for the past ten fucking years. Caroline, when you drag the other bastards out of bed, swing by Billy Trick's office and let him know we need more enclosures, more nests, and more huts springing up all over Dragonsmeade as fast as he can build them."

"You know he's going to ask who'll be footing the bill," Caroline asked.

"Tell him the Russians are covering it," Charlie smirked. "I'll put in a word with the Russian Minister myself, and I'm sure Saskia will sweet talk her Dad into whatever we need to get by without any additional danger to her life, yeah?"

"You're going to blackmail him with Kia?" Caroline smirked.

"And the man won't say no when I lay it on thick about protecting his little girl. Get her over here as soon as you can. I need a word with her," Charlie nodded and when he stopped speaking the three Tamers he'd been commanding jumped to do his bidding.

He might not often step into the leadership role around the Sanctuary – he preferred not to because he hated the politics of kissing up to the right government agencies just to keep them afloat, but he'd always done well under pressure. Charlie almost smirked as he raked his eyes over Hermione when she eyed him, clearly waiting to see what he planned to do. Everything was about to go to hell in a handbasket if the Razorscales really were crossing the border, but it did mean one thing. His position in the Sanctuary had just elevated from temporary Head Tamer to Emergency Ministry Representative and as such he had the power to quadruple supply orders, demand the constructions of better, additional buildings, and even to demand recruits, funding, and just about anything he wanted from every Ministry body governing every continent of wizarding folk.

With dragons on the move the encounters between wizards and dragons skyrocketed, and the number of muggles who spotted dragons went through the roof. Considered nothing less than an international emergency, every Ministry would go on high alert.

"Alright, Hermione," Charlie gave her a wicked little grin. "I'm going to need you to come with me."

"Where are we going?" Hermione asked.

Charlie pointed toward a solitary toward that looked rather like something out of a Tolkien novel.

"What's that?" Hermione frowned at him, having noted the tower when she'd arrived, but forgotten to ask about it when there were other things to focus on, including the enormous Sanctum and the state of the art hospital.

"That's Headquarters," Charlie told her. "The Ministry big-wigs usually hang out there when they come to do their annual inspections. That's the place where I can send out an SOS worldwide to get this mess in hand before the world starts to burn."

"Why am I coming with you?" Hermione asked, frowning at him. "You said you needed me to write to the Ministry and to Kingsley."

"And I do," he nodded. "But we're going to do it from there. Come on."

"What about the dragons?" Hermione asked, gesturing toward the Sanctum.

"They'll keep," Charlie told her. "Come on, love. If we don't get some help here, and fast, those dragons in the Sanctum will starve to death because the few Tamers on the ground here will be flooded with call-outs and injuries the likes of which you've never seen."

"Things are going to get very bad here, aren't they?" Hermione asked quietly, falling into step beside him when he strode in the direction of the tower.

Charlie looked down at the curly-haired witch beside him, scanning his eyes over her seriously.

"You remember, during the height of the war, the amount of terror people felt?" Charlie asked. "The horror of the names read out by Fred and George on the radio daily of who was dead and who was missing and the state of things?"

Hermione nodded, gulping.

"If those Razorscales reach Romania and don't nest elsewhere, and if the Hebrideans are all on their way here – if we're about to be swamped with an international dragon migration, things here will be even more dangerous than Britain was during the war. What's worse is, the last time there was a migration on an international scale like this was when disasters like Chernobyl, and Fukushima took place. Before then, it was when devastating natural disasters were going to occur. If all the dragons are getting out of dodge, something very bad is going to happen in the world. If they're congregating here, it means whatever is happening will likely hit somewhere near the North Pacific Ocean or the Arctic Ocean, or along the coastlines of those countries that border it."

"Why would the Hebrideans come this way if that's the case?" Hermione asked, frowning up at him.

"If it hits the Arctic, it explains the Hebrideans and the Russians," Charlie shrugged. "If we don't hear anything from the Chinese or the Australians or the Africans, it might not be as bad as I'm thinking it's going to be, but I don't reckon we'll be that lucky. The declining populations and then a mass migration tend to foretell unsettled magic in the ley-lines."

"What do you need me to do?" Hermione asked him seriously. "Other than writing to Kingsley."

Charlie pulled a key from the pocket of his jacket and slotted it into the door at the base of the tower when they reached it, unlocking the entrance and nodding Hermione in ahead of him.

"You remember yesterday, when I said I'd need you to hit the ground running and to figure out the Sanctum as fast as you could?" Charlie asked of the witch quietly.

Hermione nodded, her eyes fixed on him.

"I'm going to need you to hit it sprinting and I'm going to need you to figure out how to run it as fast as possible, Hermione," he told her seriously. "We're about to get a whole lot of help, I hope, but we're about to be flung into a state of international emergency. With more people flooding this place, I don't have time for holding your hand and walking you through everything, you got me? You've got the biggest brains of anyone I've ever met, and I need you to put them to use. You're used to functioning when everything around you is chaos and I'm going to rely on that in the coming months. With Marla out of action, all of this shit is going to fall on my head and if it fucks up then I'll have to wear the consequences. You think you can handle it?"

Hermione bit her lip, looking worried by his direction.

"What if I can't?" she asked quietly as they rode the lift up the tower toward the control room at the very top.

"Then go home, Hermione," Charlie said seriously. "If you can't do it, then you'll just be in the way and you'll get yourself killed. You're a fast learner, and I think that you'll be invaluable to keeping Dragonsmeade – keeping me - afloat in the coming months, but if you think you're going to be dead weight or you're going to drop the ball, go home and be safe and pick a profession that doesn't involve bargaining with twenty tonne beasts for another few minutes of life."

"You just want me in charge of the Sanctum?" she asked. "Not out in the field."

"You're not experienced enough for the field, love," Charlie told her, striding out of the elevator and into the control room at the top. The place was deserted thanks to the early hour and the fact that there hadn't been an emergency in Dragonsmeade of this magnitude in decades.

"I can handle myself alright," Hermione protested, and Charlie spun on her fast.

He took hold of her shoulders, gripping her tight and forcing her backward step by step until her back hit one of the control desks that looked out over the Eastern Mountain range.

"You can't even fight me off, Hermione," Charlie told her in a low, dangerous voice. "You might learn to handle keeping injured and sick dragons alive when they're locked in cages and they're tired, ill, or hurting and just wanting to be left alone, but out there, in the field, the dragons want to eat you alive. You're nothing more than a tasty snack to them. They want to roast you alive and they want to gobble you up. Their horny and hungry and mad with the urge to fight for mates. The females will all be getting pregnant even as we speak and then they'll want to nest and out there in the wild there is nothing more dangerous than a female trying to build and defend her nest. Out there you've got to be on your game all the time. The others told you the Sanctum is harder because the dragons are sick and cranky and you've got to make sure they're fed and make sure the enclosures are cleaned, but if you're in there you won't be clambering up the back of a twenty tonne beast and digging into his flesh while he thinks about eating you just to jam a tracker into his skin and you won't be trying to bargain with a crazed balaur in his musth and driven mad to fuck everything in sight."

Hermione narrowed her eyes.

"You think I can't do it?" she asked, daring to defy him and Charlie almost smirked.

"I think you could, if I had time to train you," he nodded. "But right now, you're green. Fresh from behind your desk, and you might be tougher than I dreamed and braver than I thought, and you might've handled yourself like a champion with Azreal yesterday, but that was one dragon, Granger. In that cage we had one rampaging dragon to focus on. Out there, there'll be hundreds. Thousands of the fuckers, and if you're not watching the whole lot of them, three will distract you while the fourth eats you."

"So I'll learn on the job," Hermione said stubbornly, raising her chin and hold his gaze and Charlie could tell she wasn't frightened in the slightest. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised. This was a witch who'd faced off against werewolves threatening to rape her and eat her. She'd endured the Cruciatus curse for hours beneath the wand of perhaps the most vicious witch to have lived in the last century and she'd survived with her brilliant mind intact. She was made of tougher stuff than to be afraid of his threats, and Charlie thought briefly about kissing her defiant lips.

"Stick close then, angel," he said quietly. "Stick real close, and pay attention to every move I make."

Hermione nodded her head and Charlie nodded his in return. When neither of them said anything else he slowly released her, his eyes lifting to a flash of movement behind her that caught his attention.

There, far in the distance, a thick glinting cloud of writhing, flapping wings and scaly bodies was slowly drawing closer and Charlie's eyes widened at their numbers before he reached past Hermione for a button on the control panel that would alert every Ministry in every wizarding community across the globe that Dragonsmeade was about to play host to the world's dragon population.

"What does that do?" Hermione asked frowning when the button lit up before the entire control room began to whir and glow with magic.

"Alerts the world of our problem," Charlie said.

"Isn't that a bit pre-emptive?" Hermione frowned at him and in response Charlie turned her in his hold, pointing in the direction of the Eastern Mountain range as their number increased to almost completely block out the eastern skyline above the mountains.

"Those are the Razorscales," Charlie told her. "And they're moving fast."

He heard Hermione gulp and felt the way she stepped back just a little until her back was pressed against his front. Charlie wondered if she was afraid.

"There are so many," she whispered, sounding awed. "And they're so big."

Charlie nodded, his eyes on the dragons as fireplaces around the room began lighting up, Ministries from across the globe making contact almost instantly.

"What is the meaning of this?" an angry wizard with a thick African accent demanded through the Floo and Charlie turned, stepping away from Hermione and facing the fireplaces.

"Who pressed the panic button?" an Australian accented voice wanted to know.

"Gentleman…. Ladies," Charlie stepped forward, holding up his hands and drawing their attention.

"Charlie?" Kingsley's deep voice asked.

'Hey Kings," Charlie winked at him. "We've got trouble, old boy."

"Trouble?" Kinglsey asked.

"Minister Shacklebolt, these are your people?" the Australian Minister demanded.

"We're governed by the British DRCMC, but stationed in Dragonsmeade Romania," Charlie said to all of them, moving forward and standing with his hands behind his back, the stance of a soldier. "Two nights about Marla Romanov – the Head of the Dragonsmeade Dragon Tamer team was taken out of action by a dragon in our Sanctum. My name is Charles Weasley and I am her second-in-command. I've contact each of you because we've just received intelligence overnight of the entire colony of Hebridean Black dragons migrating here, and yesterday we received information that the Russian Razorscales had mobbed the Urkanian border and were also on their way here. The bird must've been slow in reaching us because even as I stand here the entirety of the Razorscale colony is bearing down on Dragonsmeade. It's migrations season. It's breeding season, and if my suspicions are correct many of the colonies of dragons in your countries will shortly begin their migration here, as well. We're in a state of International Emergency, ladies and gentleman and I need your help."

"You're certain of this?" the African Minister demanded.

"Come on through as see for yourself, Afolabi," Charlie invited.

A few of the Ministers narrowed their eyes before doing just that, Kingsley among them. Hermione looked on as the Ministers from across the globe all stepped through the Floo network to congregate in the small tower control room.

"My god!" Afolabi, the African Minister, exclaimed when Charlie pointed in the direction of the Razorscales in the distance.

"As you no doubt know, this will mean that the Obliviators are about to be run off their feet and we need all the supplies and reinforcements we can get. I already have fifty-nine dragons in my Sanctum, either injured, nesting, or permanently contained for the safety of all. She only holds eighty, and I need supplies and men to upgrade the Sanctum to hold the many new dragons that are going to be housed there just as soon as those Razorscales land and start viciously attacking the other species. In addition, our Sanctum isn't built to house anything bigger than the Horntails, Ridgebacks, and Ironbellies. If any of those Razorscales need medical attention, I don't have enclosures big enough to hold them. I need Tamers on the ground, and I need huts to house them. We've also reached the point where the trackers for the European dragons are all due for replacement. Innoculations are necessary, especially with so many species congregating here that usually don't mingle."

"I had word yesterday that my Fireballs were seen taking flight en masse and heading west," the Minister for China, Pangfua, spoke up, her feminine voice seeming at odds with her powerful presence.

"I believe we're on the brink of another natural disaster," Charlie said seriously to the Ministers. "But that will be for your governments to handle. I need supplies, funding, and able bodies on the ground here and I need them now or we run a very real risk of entire breeds of dragon being wiped out permanently. Just yesterday we had a huge Horntail mating outside his species, seeking out Ironbelly females and mating with all of them. Things are headed to hell in a handbasket fast and I don't care if you haven't budgeted for it, we need your help. Now."

"You're the one who put through the order for quadruple the supplies, aren't you?" the Russian Minister for Magic asked, eyeing Charlie critically.

"I am," Charlie said. "And I have my men ordering even more as we speak to cope with the strain Dragonsmeade is about to be under. If we don't act now, the consequences will be dire."

"It's in our budget to handle this kind of mess," the Russian Minister nodded. "Housing Razorscales and knowing the damage they can cause, I have budgeted for emergencies such as this. With all of my dragons here, I have no use for Tamers at home. I will have them all pack their bags and relocate immediately."

"We can't take the strain of so many so soon without help," Charlie admitted. "There aren't enough huts to accommodate everyone, and the food-stores won't cope."

"We have budgeted for this too," the Russian Minister nodded, smiling and stroking his moustache as he regarded Charlie. "We will have men here within the hour to begin construction."

"I've already got a large team on the ground building as fast as they can," Charlie nodded. "And I told him you'd be footing his bill."

"Billy Trick, no?" the Russian Minister asked. "Yes, my Saskia keeps me well informed. You will ensure my daughter's safety and you will have your supplies and your Tamers and your huts, Charles Weasley."

"My thanks, Grigori," Charlie nodded, shaking hands with the Russian Minister and being pulled in for a backslap.

He hadn't expected anything less. With his daughter living in Dragonsmeade, Grigori spent much of his time calling on them and had kept the Sanctuary here afloat more than once only for the sake of his daughter and her love of dragons.

"We'll have as many supplies and Tamers sent over to you as possible, Charlie," Kingsley spoke up next. "Money. Food. Trackers. Medicine. You name it. No one builds a pub like the British, so I'll get some men onto it right away, yeah?"

Charlie chuckled.

"We're going to need Healers and Magi-zoologists, too," Hermione spoke up from behind him and Kingsley looked over at her.

"Of course," the Australian Minister nodded, looking her up and down. "No use sending men and building more enclosures if everyone is dropping like flies, eh? Who are you, if you don't mind my asking?"

"My name is Hermione Granger," Hermione told the man, lifting her chin proudly.

"Potter's friend?" the Australian asked.

"That's right," Kingsley nodded. "Merlin, Hermione, you picked a bad time to do your training here, didn't you?"

Hermione laughed. "I wouldn't say that," she said. "You know I love a challenge, Kingsley."

"We will send supplies, too," Afolabi spoke up after a moment, his eyes still fixed on the dragons drawing ever-closer. "Word has reached me that the Egyptian Sanctuary has been emptying of late. I fear those dragons are also headed this way."

"Thank you, Minister," Charlie said, shaking hands with each of the Ministers in turn as they pledged funding, men, and supplies to Dragonsmeade.

Hermione looked on, surprised that so many governing bodies could so quickly and so easily pledge so much to one emergency before it occurred to her that without dragons, eventually the magic in the world would fizzle out. Without them, more squibs would be born, and more of the magic that ran through the ley lines of the earth would dry out. Without dragons, the magical world would cease to exist, and no governing body needed to vote on or debate of the importance of the continued protection of dragons and those who kept them.

"Right, we will adjourn, then," Kingsley said. "And begin making the arrangements. Until accommodations to house everyone can be built, any beds you can spare will be greatly appreciated by the construction workers, I'm sure."

Charlie nodded. "I'll have everyone who can do so begin bunking in wherever they can to free up some huts."

"Good man. You're in charge here, Weasley," the Australian Minister said, clapping him on the back. "We Ministers might have the political power, but you've got the know-how when it comes to dragons so everyone we send will defer to you. Anything you need, you Floo or you get word out and we'll get it sorted. You just get these lizards under control without them killing muggles or wiping each other out, you hear?"

"Yes, sir," Charlie nodded, and the Ministers began to disburse once more.

When only Grigori, Kingsley, Charlie, and Hermione remained, Charlie looked between all of them.

"How bad are things going to get, Charlie?" Kingsley asked seriously.

"Really bad," Charlie sighed. "Supplies and money and men will help, but every Tamer on the planet won't be able to keep up with this many dragons. Not with the Razorscales converging here."

"They will not give you so much trouble, I think," Grigori shook his head. "They are vicious, but my dragons they are… how you say… assured of their rank. Challengers will be quashed and nesting will take place. Maybe, with luck, the nests will survive this year."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked sharply, stepping forward a little a frown marring her brow.

"Last year in breeding season many eggs were laid, but it was so cold that most froze and did not hatch. Every year less eggs hatch and while my dragons are many, their numbers are not what they once were. No babies are being hatched. I fear that mother Russia is too harsh when they are so confined to our borders. Perhaps, this year, more eggs will be hatched and more dragons will grow."

Charlie nodded his head slowly, knowing the declining populations were a big issue.

"We'll do what we can, Grigori," Charlie promised. "Saskia works miracles in the Nursery here. Numbers will grow, I hope."

Grigori nodded, smiling proudly at the mention of his daughter's work.

"Be safe, Charles Weasley," he commanded shaking Charlie's hand and then Hermione's and then Kingsley's before he too departed with promises of supplies and men within the hour.

"Well, I'd best be off too," Kingsley sighed. "I do hope you kids will be alright here. If there's anything you need, Floo or owl me directly and we'll get it to you."

"Thanks Kings," Charlie nodded. "We need to be getting back. Emergencies like this one don't stop the lizards from getting hungry, yeah?"

Kingsley chuckled. "No, I don't suppose they do. We'll have men here within the hour to begin construction of more dwellings and upgrades to all the services and supply houses. This village will soon be a bustling city, I imagine."

Charlie shrugged his shoulders.

"I doubt it," he confessed. "It'll become a collection of Villages first, spread out across Romania close to the colonies."

Kingsley nodded and shook Charlie's hand before pulling Hermione into a hug.

"I'll be seeing you," he told them both before he left.

Charlie looked over at Hermione when they were alone once more, shooting her a grim smile. She returned the expression, her eyes straying back to the dragons bearing down upon them.

"So," she said. "What happens now?"

Charlie ran a hand through his hair. "Now we get back to work, running the Sanctuary first thing and then heading out into the field, handling whatever needs handling."

Hermione nodded, and Charlie slid his eyes over her for a long moment, weighing his options before he opened his mouth one more time.

"Since we're going to be needing all the space we can get," he began, wondering what she'd say when he made his offer. "And since we've co-habited before, and with you having spent all your nights here so far in my bed instead of yours… how do you feel about moving in with me, Hermione?"

She tore her eyes off the dragons to stare at him, blinking in shock as her mouth opened a little.

"We just… this morning…" she began, frowning at him.

Charlie held up his hands. "No one is going to pull us up on it if you move into the spare room in my place," he told her seriously. "You'll still have your own space, and it's not like we haven't lived together before, even if it was at the Burrow with everyone else. And anyway, I think we might have more on our plates to worry about than bloody Amy. She can't get your fired when we're in a state of International Emergency. We need everyone we can get. Which means I can't have her transferred, but it means we've got bigger things to focus on than her petty complaints about impropriety. I'm not suggesting you move in and start shagging me or sharing my bed every night unless you want to, but I'd rather live with you than any of the other Tamers I know, Hermione."

"Really?" Hermione asked, frowning at him.

He nodded.

"I…" she frowned, looking like she wasn't sure what to say and Charlie wondered if he'd sprung it on her too soon. He had just confirmed that he'd fucked Amy in his hut whole bunch and if she'd been asking because she was jealous, she was hardly going to jump at the chance to move into a house where he'd fucked another woman.

"Why don't you think about it?" Charlie said. "We've got dragons to feed and tag and inoculate today, so we can't even start thinking about having you move anywhere just yet. Think on it today, and let me know, yeah? But keep in mind that we do need the space to fit in as many extra hands as we can get with all these extra lizards turning up, yeah?"

She blinked at him before nodding slowly and Charlie grinned just a little bit, thinking that his temper might be wrestled back into submission if he could convince this sexy little witch to move in with him in short order.