A/N - Hello everyone. After seven and a half months I've finally returned to this story. I said I wouldn't abandon it and I haven't although it is very slow going right now as I've been working on several other things. Also this chapter was very difficult to do and I don't know if I'm really satisfied with it but I still want to post something new for everyone who's been waiting for me to update this tale.
I don't own either Harry Potter or Dungeons and Dragons. They belong to their respective creators. The only things that are mine are the story itself and any original characters I might come up with. Please read and review; I always appreciate feedback. Constructive criticism is welcome, however no flames please.
16) NOT JUST ANYONE CAN RIDE A DRAGON
Dumbledore stood up at breakfast to make an announcement. It was the end of the second week and everyone had settled into their regular school routines.
"Good morning" he said to the students as soon as they were quiet, "I have some news. As you may remember at the welcoming feast I mentioned that this year we would be adding several new magical subjects for you to learn if you so wish. As I said before these will not be graded but you would all benefit from learning at least one of the subjects. Tonight at dinner I will introduce you to a few of the people who will be in charge of these offerings and they will explain all of the details to you. Thank you and enjoy your day."
"Harry" Hermione said to him at the Ravenclaw table, "do you know what subjects are being offered?"
"Yes" said Harry, "my parents told me two days ago but you'll have to wait until tonight to find out. I promised I wouldn't spoil any of the surprises." Hermione huffed a little with impatience but didn't reply.
"You shouldn't tease her like that" hissed a voice at Harry's side. Harry looked over and saw Raja climbing up onto a seat. The young Komodo Dragon had grown just a little bit in the several weeks since he had joined Harry. He would grow to be a lot bigger but it would take years as Komodo Dragons grow slowly. For now he could still fit comfortably on a chair or in Harry's lap if he was so inclined.
"Good morning Raja" hissed Harry, "when did you get up? You were still sleeping when I left our room."
"Right after you left actually" was the reply, "I decided I was done sleeping so I got up and followed you down here."
"Are you hungry?"
"Not right now" said Raja, "I'll have something later, I just didn't feel like staying up in the room if I wasn't going to sleep."
"That's fine" said Harry, "I'd probably feel the same way."
By now no one at Hogwarts was surprised to see Harry speaking Parseltongue and no one was spooked by it. Since he was a dragon not only were people okay with it but they would have been surprised if he didn't speak it. If it had been anyone else speaking Parseltongue the dark stigma attached to it in Britain might have reared its head against that person. Harry's house mates took advantage of Harry's ability to translate for them and began asking Raja questions which the Komodo Dragon was quite willing to answer. They learned that he had originally been hatched in an Indonesian animal sanctuary but had been brought over to Britain within days of his hatching after he began exhibiting signs of being magical. He was brought to a magical creatures expert who evaluated him and declared that if he could be matched to the right person he would flourish. One of his abilities was to be able to remain unnoticed by people unless he wanted them to see him. After being sent to the Magical Menagerie he had used this ability to avoid potential buyers until he found the one he deemed to be right for him. When Harry walked into the store Raja decided that he was the one. He made himself noticeable again and attracted Harry's attention. The rest, as they say, was history.
Harry had the afternoon off that day as his teachers were helping to prepare for the presentation after dinner so he took a walk outside the castle. It was a very nice day so he headed down to the edge of the lake to sit on the grass nearby and relax or maybe skip some stones. When he got down there he saw that someone else had gotten there ahead of him. It was Draco Malfoy and he was alone. Harry looked at him for a long moment before walking up to him.
"Mind if I sit down?" he asked attracting Malfoy's attention.
"Why would you want to do that?" asked Malfoy honestly surprised by Harry's appearance.
"Why not?" said Harry, "it's a nice day, this is a pleasant spot, and you look like you could use some company."
"Why do you care" asked Malfoy with a bit of a sneer.
"Why shouldn't I care?" returned Harry, "I told you on the train that we don't have to be enemies, and we don't. We don't have to be friends either but I would hope that you would at least be civil towards me." Malfoy looked at him for a moment before turning away.
"I would be an idiot not to be civil to a god" he said in a low voice.
"So you believe it now?"
"After seeing you turn into your dragon self" said Malfoy, "I have to believe it." He gestured for Harry to sit and Harry did so.
"You're right of course" said Harry, "it is a bad idea to anger a god."
"Is that a threat?" asked Malfoy turning to look at Harry.
"No" said Harry calmly, "just stating a fact although it's not really in my nature to go in for that whole 'divine punishment' stuff. Maybe when I'm older but you'll have to really, really make me mad first." Malfoy didn't say anything to that so they sat in silence for a while.
"It must be nice" Malfoy finally said.
"What?" asked Harry.
"Having a family that actually cares about you" said Malfoy.
"I'm sorry?" asked Harry a bit taken aback.
"You saw what my father did" said Malfoy, "does that ever happen to you?"
"No!" said Harry, "my parents would never do something like that. They would be appalled at the mere thought."
"Count yourself fortunate" said the acid reply.
"Does he do that a lot?" asked Harry not liking what he was hearing, "I know that's really none of my business – "
"No, no" said Malfoy waving away the concern, "I'm the one who brought it up. How often would you say 'a lot' would be?"
"I don't know" said Harry, "but it seems to me that once is way too often."
"You're right" said Malfoy, "of course I'm biased since it happens to me and I could do without it. I'm sure my father would disagree."
"What about your mother?"
"I don't know" said Malfoy, "she's never raised a hand to me but she hasn't stopped my father either."
"Maybe she can't" said Harry, "does he hit her too?"
"I've never seen him do it" said Malfoy, "well isn't this a cheerful conversation we're having?"
"You said it" said Harry, "I have something that might help you feel better."
"Oh?" said Malfoy, "what?"
"You like to fly, right?" asked Harry.
"So?" said Malfoy, "first years can't bring brooms, remember?"
"Brooms?" said Harry getting up, "what are those?" He moved some distance away from Malfoy and changed into his dragon form.
"What are you doing?" said Malfoy in surprise. Harry crouched down as low to the ground as he could.
"Climb up on my back" he said, "right here at the base of my neck is a good place to sit. I'll take you flying."
"What?" said Malfoy, "are you serious?"
"No, he's my godfather" said Harry, "well, what are you waiting for? I don't give rides to just anyone you know."
"Um, okay" said Malfoy sounding a bit tentative but he did as Harry asked. It took some doing for Malfoy to pull himself up on to Harry's back as the young dragon god was definitely not small but eventually he did it. Once he was sitting in the designated spot Harry stood up which caused Draco to give a gasp of surprise. Harry turned his head and looked at him.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"No, no" said Malfoy, "it's just, you're big."
"No, I'm not" said Harry, "if you want to see really big dragons you should meet my parents. They are big. You should ask Professor Snape some time. He met them over the summer."
"Oh" said Malfoy. Harry looked at Malfoy and said something that the boy couldn't hear. A warm feeling passed through him.
"What did you do?" asked Malfoy.
"Just a sticking charm" said Harry, "now no matter what happens you can't fall off of me, even if I fly upside down. Let's go!"
Harry launched himself into the air and quickly gained height before soaring away from Hogwarts at a fast speed. For a few seconds Malfoy was too stunned by what was happening to react but once he got over his surprise he let out a huge "whoop!" of enthusiasm.
"Oh you like it?" Harry called back to Malfoy.
"This is wicked!" yelled Malfoy to Harry.
"Isn't it though?" said Harry with a grin. "hang on real tight now because we're going to go a lot faster."
Harry sped up and was soon barreling through the air at almost lightning speed. Malfoy could feel the wind blowing back his hair quite strongly but he didn't care. He was having a blast riding on Harry's back up in the sky. He didn't know how far they flew. He thought he saw the sea below them at one point. At another time they passed over mountains. But it all went by so quickly that he was never sure of exactly where they were.
"Have you given rides to anyone else?" Malfoy shouted to Harry who turned his head back briefly to look at Malfoy.
"Neville's had a few" he said, "also my godfather Sirius and my uncle Remus. That's about it – oh, and once to a girl named Luna Lovegood. Like I said, I don't give rides to just anyone."
Finally Harry began to slow down. Malfoy, thinking they must be back at Hogwarts, looked around but didn't recognize any of the scenery.
"Where are we?" he asked Harry.
"Nowhere important" said Harry, "it's where we're going next that matters."
"There" said Harry gesturing ahead with his head to where a large portal was forming in the air. Before Malfoy could say anything else they flew through the portal and the next thing Malfoy knew they were descending towards the terrace of a very, very large building. On that terrace, looking up at them as they approached, were two dragons who both had to be at least three times as large as Harry. It didn't take a genius to figure out who they must be.
"Potter" Malfoy said in a small voice, "are those – ?"
"Yes" said Harry as they landed on the terrace, "welcome to my home. These are my parents King Bahamut and Queen Daranni. Father, mother, this is Draco Malfoy. I have brought him as you asked."
"Thank you Harry" said Bahamut before looking at Malfoy, "would you feel more comfortable if we took human forms?"
"Please" said Malfoy. Bahamut nodded. A moment later James Potter and Lily Potter appeared in front of Malfoy while Harry also returned to human form.
"Now" said James, "we have something to discuss and not all that much time to discuss it in."
"We do?" asked Malfoy.
"Yes" said James, "welcome to Mt. Celestia. Harry made us aware of your situation and we asked him to bring you here. We would like to help you if we can."
"What do you mean?" asked Malfoy, "help me with what?"
"We know about what your father did to you" said Lily, "I imagine many people know about it since it happened in front of the whole school and I'm sure a lot of students told their parents about it."
"You're almost certainly right" said Malfoy, "a lot of the students are looking at me funny. Some seem to want to laugh and a lot are looking at me with pity. I don't like either of those looks."
"I'm sure you don't" said James, "well if you can stand to accept help from outsiders we would like to help you."
"Why?" asked Malfoy bluntly, "I wasn't nice to Harry when we first met."
"We know" said Lily "but you have to understand something. My mate is the king of the metallic or "good" dragons. It's in his nature to help people if he can. As his queen I'm the same way. So is Harry."
"It's tempting" said Malfoy, "but what's the price?"
"There isn't one" said James, "except that you try to become the best person you can be. Open yourself up to a wider world than just your narrow pureblood circle. Stop looking down on other people just because of their blood status and try getting to know them for who they are as individuals. I think you'll become a lot happier that way. The simple fact that you were able to come to Mt. Celestia at all is proof that you are fundamentally good at heart. If you weren't you wouldn't have been allowed to come here."
"You would have stopped me?"
"Not me specifically" said James, "there are a lot of powerful beings who live here. Some are even more powerful than I am. All of our powers together help guard the plane. You could say that Mt. Celestia itself would have stopped you."
"But where exactly is here?" asked Malfoy, "I know it's called Mt. Celestia but where is it and what is it?"
"Good questions" said Lily, "the simple version is that we've brought you to another plane of existence. You're currently not on Earth but don't worry, we'll send you back when we're done here. If you want to learn more you can ask Harry later or do some research on your own."
"Anyway we don't have very long" said James, "as both Daranni and I need to get to Hogwarts for the evening's presentation. So what do you say? Do you want our help?"
Malfoy had to think the 'price' over. On the one hand it seemed to go against everything he'd been taught about pureblood supremacy by his family, especially his father. On the other hand would it be such a bad thing if he expanded his horizons? His social circle was quite narrow. All of his friends were purebloods from old families. Was his world too small? He had already been thrust into an unexpected situation when he was sorted into Gryffindor. Would it be such a terrible thing if he broke away from his father's teachings, began to make his own way, and choose his own friends? No, he decided, it wouldn't be. He didn't want to grow up to be like his father after all, not if it meant treating his children the way Lucius often treated him. He looked back at the Potters.
"Okay" he said, "I accept your offer. What happens now?"
"That depends on you" said James, "what do you want to happen?"
Malfoy thought long and hard before finally saying what he wanted.
"Well first of all" he said, "you can call me Draco..."
(To Be Continued)
A/N - That's all for now. See you in the next chapter (whenever that is).