"Detention!" McGonagall shouted. "And twenty points from Slytherin! Wandering around in the middle of the night, how dare you-"
"You don't understand, Professor. Harry Potter's coming - he's got a dragon!"
"What utter rubbish! How dare you tell such lies! Come on - I shall see Professor Snape about you, Malfoy!"
The steep spiral staircase up to the top of the tower seemed the easiest thing in the world after that. Not until they'd stepped out into the cold night air did they throw off the cloak, glad to be able to breathe properly again. Hermione did a sort of jig.
"Malfoy's got detention! I could sing!" (HP1 chapter 14)
"Don't," Harry advised her, not because she couldn't sing, but because if she did they may get caught.
Chuckling about Malfoy, they sat and waited, Norbert thrashing about in his crate oddly making little noise.
After about ten minutes, four broomsticks came swooping down out of the darkness, followed by a larger, darker shape.
Charlie's friends were a cheery lot, as they showed Harry and Hermione the harness they'd rigged up, so they could suspend Norbert between them.
"Now before we set it up fully, was this dragon named, because if so we're going to have a slight change of plans." One of Charlies friends said as they inspected the crate that held Norbert.
"Uhh yeah Hag… our friend gave him a name, it's Norbert, why does the plan have to change?" Hermione replied.
"You see the thing about the Romanian reserve is that they can't take dragons that have been named before they arrive."
"Huh, why would that be?" Harry asked slightly concerned, if they couldn't take Norbert to the Romanian reserve, what would happen to him.
The answer to his question came from over by the dark shape that had followed the four brooms.
Charlies friends had left, for there was nothing that they could do.
"With the way that magic has evolved dragons who have been named have two options, the first is to stay with the one that named them to allow for their natural magic to have mutual benefits, and the second is for the named dragon to be handed over to the current Alpha dragon."
A man had moved from behind the shape and Harry was slightly confused, because one of the man's legs looked different to the other, like it was a fake one. Harry had of course seen people who had lost a limb while doing errands for his aunt but he had never seen one quite like this one, even in the pale moonlight he could tell it was more complicated than others he had seen.
"I'm sorry the Alpha dragon, there's no such thing, if there were it would be mentioned in one of the books on magical creatures."
"Well err-" "Hermione" "Right Hermione, there is a simple explanation for that, and that's because I've managed to keep that information to those who are trustworthy enough when studying and/or working with Dragons."
"Why would you do that?" Harry asked.
"Better yet, How would you do that? that seems like it would take a lot of magic." God bless Hermione and her logic based questions.
"Easily, my buddy here is able to tell who is trustworthy and who is not, and a lot of the people who do find out about the alpha are too scared to tell anyone else." The man answered gesturing to the dark mass, which had just moved it's head and holy shit that's a dragon.
Harry froze, staring straight into a large, slitted emerald eye.
Hermione hadn't noticed continuing to question the man who had, in answer to one of her questions introduced himself as Hiccup.
The dragon had moved closer, smelling the air around Harry, and proceeding to curl up around him.
Yelping Harry found himself falling as the Dragons front legs wound around his torso and pulled him into a warm chest.
Broken out of the questioning of the first year in front of him Hiccup turned around and laughed at the scene in front of him.
Hermione however looked like she was torn between screaming and pulling Harry out of the dragon's embrace, she luckily chose the one that wouldn't call all the teachers up to the tower, however as soon as she made her way towards them the dragon growled.
Hiccup however made no sudden movements as he slowly inched forward pulling Hermione out of the dragons' view. The growling stopped, and Hiccup was able to move slightly quicker over to the two.
"Okay so no need to panic, this is completely normal, he does this to a few of the other dragons back home and he does it to me a lot so we're all good, I'm going to get you out of his grip and then we're going to have to take our leave okay."
Both Harry and Hermione nodded the sooner Harry was out of the dragons clutches the better.
"Hey Toothless, I know you've taken an interest but we have to let the kind boy go,"
The limbs loosened around Harry.
"That's a good boy there we go, now we're going to be taking little Norbert here back home with us okay"
The dragon, Toothless, looked at Harry and made a sound in the back of his throat, kind of like a warble.
"No bud, we can't take the boy with us, he has to stay here okay."
The whole time Hiccup was talking he was slowly moving closer to Toothless' snout finally placing one hand on it fully calming him down.
"Okay you two, those four before showed you how to rig up that harness, yeah, so let's do this"
They helped buckle Norbert safely into the harness and then with a handshake Hiccup climbed onto Toothless' back and they were off.
At last, Norbert was gone, Harry and Hermione watched until the three were nothing more than a speck in the sky before they turned and left.
Absentmindedly Harry picked up the invisibility cloak off the ground and hid it under his pyjamas, thank god for them being bigger than he was, it was late enough that he doubted anyone was up this way other than them so they wouldn't need it.
Harry was still slightly shaken from what had happened with Toothless, that he barely even reacted when Filtch appeared out of the darkness.
"Oh dear we are in trouble".
Filtch lead the two down to a study on the first floor, where Professor McGonagall was seated writing out what seemed like detention notices.
"I would never have believed it of any of you. Mr Filch says you were up the astronomy tower. It's two o'clock in the morning. Explain yourselves."
For once in her life, Hermione seemed reluctant to answer, Harry however had a flimsy but viable excuse ready.
"I'm sorry professor, Hermione was only out of the tower because of me, I was sleepwalking, it's not the first time it's happened but it is the first time that it's taken me out of the tower." And it was true, nobody would mention it outside of the dormitory but harry did occasionally sleepwalk, well it was more like sleepclean, a habit he had gained only after he had come to Hogwarts and he didn't have to clean a house top to bottom every second day.
"And what, were you doing up so late anyway Miss Granger?" It looked like McGonagall believed it but Harry was still unsure.
"I was doing some self-study for history, I figured I would get it done while it was quiet and no one would ask me questions, I actually found an amazing piece of information on the Goblin revolution of 1569, where Ragnar the red-" Hermione cut herself off at McGonagall's raised hand.
"If this is the truth, why did I have both Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom in here earlier claiming that you two were involved in smuggling a dragon out of the castle?"
"A dragon…. Oh do you mean the stuffed dragon that I accidentally brought with me, it was a Christmas gift for my cousin that I forgot I had in my trunk professor, I sent that off earlier today, Ron got a bit overzealous and wrote a note to his brother, thinking it was a real dragon, but we were able to send another letter to tell him it was a misunderstanding, we got two notes from him the first was to set up a clandestine meeting and the other to acknowledge the mistake and that the first was to be ignored, sadly we lost the first note, which Ron had wanted to keep, as it showed that his brother would do something like that for him if needed." Hemione was a life saver, Harry was so glad that she was able to play along and come up with her own tales.
"Well as it was a case of misunderstandings and sleepwalking I will still have to take 10 points from you Miss Granger for not alerting anyone to Mr Potters leaving, and I'm going to have to give you both detention, because sleepwalking or not the astronomy tower is still out of bounds, now off to bed with the both of you."
"Yes ma'am." The two left.
"How were you able to come up with a lie that quickly?" Hermione asked as they ascended the stairs.
"Well the best lies are the ones based in truth, and it is true that I do sleepwalk, and that you sometimes do self-study really late at night where no one can bother you, so lie based on truth. I however am more impressed with yours about the dragon." Harry replied knowing that none of the teachers would find out due to the painting-less hallway.
"Well, I did get my cousin a plush dragon, and I did forget to give it to her, and I did send it off earlier today with a post owl so even if they check they'll see I sent off some post to my parents."
"Huh… okay and can we both agree not to tell anyone what happened with me and the big dragon earlier, cause I don't think it needs to be known."
"Agreed, now let's get to bed."