This is a work of fanfiction using characters from the Harry Potter World, owned by JK Rowling. Excluding all original plot and character content, all of the Harry Potter characters, settings, etc. are the property of JK Rowling. I am not associated with JK Rowling or any creators/producers of any previously copyrighted material. No profit is gained. This story is purely for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended. Thank you to JK Rowling for producing such a wonderful base to imagine from.

Chapter One: Express

Daphne sighed as she boarded the train, sliding open their usual compartment to find Blaise was the only one who had arrived. Daphne greeted the young italian boy with a tired smile, causing him to raise his eyebrows in a look that was clearly questioning.

"Daphne, are you alright?" Blaise said concernedly, his forehead creasing into a slight frown

"Yeah" Daphne rubbed her tired face "Draco's trying to push that Black contract through" she sighed "and The Dark Lord is still recruiting so..." her face pinched with worry as she thought about her parents. They had made arrangements to go stay with some family members in Greece while the pressure from both the Dark Lord and Malfoy's were both present.

Blaise looked at his friend in concern. "How long do you have?" he asked, knowing the contract was probably trying to be pushed through on a schedule. Daphne sighed, unsurprised by his perceptiveness.

"I'm not sure, they'll be furious when they know mum and dad left -part of the reason they didn't want to, with Astoria and I at school and all…" she drifted off, worry swimming in her crystal blue eyes at the thought of her younger sister in danger.

Astoria was quite different from her older sister, and it only started at their opposite appearances. Both girls were beautiful, but in very different ways. While Daphne had inherited her mother's graceful body, long golden locks and her father's piercing eyes, Astoria had inherited more of her father's side as she had dark hair and a slim, but curvy body and Daphne knew she'd grow into a beautiful young woman in the next few years.

The differences didn't stop there. As Heiress to the House of Greengrass, Daphne had plenty on her plate and had always kept a wary eye out for young men attempting to use her for her position. After she'd been sorted into Slytherin and adapted to the house politics, she had kept the persona she'd created on the way to Hogwarts. The very same mask she wore at all the pureblood events when she was growing up.

The Slytherin Ice Queen, as it had been dubbed last year when one of the older boys had tried to get fresh with her and she'd frozen his bits off. She'd continued with that pattern and had earned quite the reputation, causing boys to become wary. Perhaps that was why Draco was having Daddy Dearest take care of the contract - the little coward.

Astoria had grown up among pureblood customs, sure, but she was a carefree spirit and her position as a younger daughter of House Greengrass allowed her that freedom. She was a mischievous little witch ever since she was a child, while Daphne had grown into adulthood quickly - especially over the last summer when she felt the remaining pieces of her childhood slip away as the pressures from House Malfoy had begun.

Blaise interrupted her train of thought, before it could head down the rails into a darker place regarding the Heir of the obnoxious, but admittedly dangerous, house.

"We'll stick together just to be safe, even though you are rather formidable with your wand" Blaise teased, trying to circle the conversation back to a lighter note

Daphne smirked, the corner of her mouth twitching as her mind travelled back to the last time Draco had tried to force himself on her. He had been too embarrassed to say anything to students or staff and Daphne had known exactly that when she'd leveled her wand at him. Blaise shook his head at the look on her face, the bugger had probably already guessed what she found so amusing.

An hour later they were all in a compartment with Astoria and her best friend, Tracy Davis, along with Luna Lovegood, who was in Astoria's year - Daphne noted that the two got along splendidly from the beginning- when the train screeched to a halt.

It was so sudden that Daphne's hands flew out to brace herself against the wall of their compartment – although she had time to spare a smirk when Blaise's arm slid around her best friend's waist as he hung onto the back of the seat to keep them both from falling.

Daphne's eyes narrowed as they swept across her sister, who had tumbled face first into the squishy cushion of the seat opposite to her, to her friend who still sat reading the Quibbler upside down. Daphne shook her head and wondered, not for the first time, if Luna had seer blood running through her veins. She certainly had been prepared for the abrupt halt of the train.

Daphne and the others withdrew their wands, glancing at each other nervously. Luna continued reading, unperturbed by her surroundings "We can't already be there" Tracy mused, her voice sounding on edge as she glanced out the windows

"Oh, no" Daphne said as she saw the windows freezing over and the dark shapes moving outside

Astoria paled, her eyes wide, as she whispered "dementors, what are they doing here"

"There are a couple hundred at least" Blaise said tensely "did any of you happen to learn the Patronus Charm over the summer" he bit out sarcastically

"We won't be needing it" Luna murmured mildly, her eyes not drifting from the newspaper she held in her hands.

Daphne opened her mouth to question Luna, but was interrupted by Tracy grabbing her arm with a gasp as she pointed out the window. Daphne swiveled her head in the direction of her friend's shock before she could question what the eccentric girl meant.

"Is that a…" Daphne gasped as she watched the enormous Storm Dragon dart of the train, beating it's powerful wings at the dark creatures, but she never got to finish her sentence as everyone watched with open mouths as the Patronus came into contact with the first dementor…and pulverized it.

The Storm Dragon was shining so bright it was keeping a basic shield around the whole train, but when Daphne's eyes adjusted and she looked more closely she saw that the light from the Patronus was not just shielding, it was, in fact, trapping the dark creatures.

"He's…he's not driving them away" she said in bewilderment as her friends looked on curiously from the safety of their compartment. Astoria had gained some of her colour back when the Patronus had appeared and was now pressing her face against the ice cold window to get a closer look at the unusual scene unfolding before them.

Blaise had an impressed look on his face as he watched the Storm Dragon simply destroy the dark creatures as they exploded into bits of black matter, screeching horribly, but Daphne thought she'd take that over getting her soul sucked out any day

Soon a few others joined: Daphne saw a strong looking wolf and buffalo, and a less bright Otter and Terrier, although they simply corralled the foul creatures near whoever had the Storm Dragon and he would throw them in his neck, slash them with his claw…whatever it was, they were gone fairly quickly, a shocked quiet settling over the train

Daphne snapped her mouth shut.

That simply should not have been possible.

There was nothing known that could kill a dementor. And Daphne was a well versed student and heiress, not some ignorant student. At the heart of the charm, the Patronus was a protector. All the Patronus Charm did was herd and protect, that was the best one could hope for, but apparently not. Daphne loved a puzzle. In fact, it was even more unusual to have a magical creature as a Patronus, Daphne thought, especially something as powerful as a Storm Dragon. Everyone recognized the rare breed from the books, although they'd been declared extinct many years ago.

The train started moving and Daphne thought she imagined a collective sigh of relief from the student body as they moved closer to the safety of the castle.

Daphne's mind whirled around the ownership of the Patronus. She had no idea who the other animals belonged to, so it was rather difficult to guess at the wizard or witch behind the rather powerful Storm Dragon.

Daphne started in surprise as an elf popped into the room.

"Dobby bees offering chocolate to Slitherey friends' ' the elf squeaked, staring up at them, a tray cluttered with steaming mugs of hot chocolate floating beside him.

"It helping with the effects' ' he said wisely, his head bobbing up and down, his big eyes almost popping out of his head.

The corners of Daphne's mouth twitched as she fought down a giggle at the adorable little creature.

Daphne took the steaming cup gratefully, before recognizing the house elf. "You're Dobby! You're Malfoy's elf" she said looking at Dobby in surprise. And then narrowing her eyes suspiciously at the cup of hot chocolate.

"Dobby not with bad masters anymore" Dobby announced brightly before popping off

"Did you see his uniform" Daphne asked the small huddle in their cabin, "I've never seen a house elf dressed so nicely…I mean, we don't treat ours like the Malfoy's do, but they just wear clean towels, not uniforms" she said, her eyes betraying her curiosity as she kept her eyes trained on the spot where he'd vanished, casting a multitude of detection charms on her steaming mug, before declaring it safe enough to drink

The others nodded, exchanging glances in bewilderment, sipping their hot chocolate as they relaxed, waiting for the train to reach Hogwarts.

As Daphne disembarked the train she noticed Professors Moody and Lupin both with their wands out, watching over the children as they moved to the carriages. She felt a lot of the anxiousness disappitate from her body as she knew they were both plenty capable should something happen before they reached Hogwarts Grounds. She'd hazard a guess they were the ones with the Patroni as well; she knew Lupin was a werewolf after Snape had let that one slip and she found a buffalo fit Moody quite well. But who was the Dragon? Maybe one of their auror buddies? But surely they would have heard of the Patronus Charm causing dementor deaths before.

Daphne found she had quite a few puzzles to work through by the time she reached the gates to Hogwarts. The school year hadn't even officially started!