Meeting with Hagrid, and assorted other sneakiness
One Wizard Too Many Ch 6
Events of a Clandestine Nature
Sitting still for dinner that evening proved to be a chore for Harry; Hagrid’s request for a secret meeting added another layer to an already very tense situation in the Great Hall. In addition to the possibility of a break in the information blackout regarding the First Task, events surrounding the large gamekeeper/Creatures Professor tended to be much more bizarre and quite a bit more dangerous than one might expect. A lot of this had to do with the sort of company the huge man tended to keep, and it was this fact that had Harry a bit worried. Whenever Hagrid was involved, there was sure to be some be-fanged horror lurking nearby.
In addition to Hagrid’s predilection for incredibly dangerous creatures, Harry had to sit there taking glares from a few of the people he’s ‘dealt with’ recently. Ron was giving him a wide berth for the present, thankfully. But now that his life wasn’t in mortal danger, the glares and general arseness emitted from his seat far down the Gryffindor table. In addition, several ounces of half-chewed victuals were visible to a radius of three feet from the ginger boy.
No one could do both disgusting and rude quite like Ron Weasley.
“Wonder if anyone was paying attention to the clock in the Burrow during Ron’s little ‘swim’? Likely not, as old Molly’d be here now to cosset her little Ronniekins.”
On the Weasley front, Percy seemed to be giving him the gimlet eye as well from the staff table. That could just be Percy being his usual prattish self though. The Twins were up to their usual hijinks; which consisted largely of hijinks, in addition to mischief and tomfoolery. In short, just behaving like immature arses.
“Maybe they’re not too bad to have around though. They certainly do attract enough attention. The headache they give me is enormous, however.”
The last of the Weasley’s, Ginny, sat fairly close to his spot near Hermione and Neville. Her presence may not have been as obnoxious as her brothers’, but was far creepier. The petite redhead seemed to be stuck in a cycle of glancing bashfully at Harry and blushing, before turning away quickly. Her head inevitably inched around to catch him in her gaze, repeating the process. Thankfully, someone had removed all the butter trays from within easy elbow reach of the smitten girl.
Harry sighed to himself. “There’s something off about the whole bloody family!”
Next, Harry’s gaze alit upon the recently re-fanged scion of Malfoy, who was glaring unpleasantly at him. There was really nothing new about that, as Malfoy had begun glaring nastily during First Year and never stopped, except maybe to gloat if the occasion called for it. Something was wrong about that whole situation, however.
“Malfoy seems a bit too undaunted after his appointment with ‘Dr. Feelbad’. Either he’s made of sterner stuff than I thought, or something else is going on here…”
“Hey Neville, could you answer me a question?” He asked the nervous boy across from him. Something in his tone caused Hermione to look up from her plate and listen in on the answer.
“Sure Harry, what is it?” Neville asked.
“When a pureblood with money goes in for treatment for a painful injury, what sort of treatments do they get?”
“Well, depending on the injury received, usually the norm is for a specialist healer to fix the problem; like heal the bones and such. Then they see a pain specialist to alleviate the immediate hurts before they get obliviated of the incident. Most purebloods don’t do pain well, and would rather not remember it.”
Hermione’s jaw dropped. “They obliviate the pain away? Wow.”
Neville continued. “Yeah, Gran wanted me to get obliviated after I broke my arm in First Year, but it didn’t hurt that bad.”
“Good on you, mate. Not very Gryffindor of you to hide from the ouchies, eh?” Harry wanted to boost the twitchy lad’s esteem; he could be a solid ally if only he had a bit more confidence.
Neville smiled at the rare praise.
“From tiny acorns, do the mightiest oaks grow.”
Harry continued. “So it would be safe to say that a certain vain and cowardly Slytherin of our acquaintance, having recently undergone an amateur dental procedure given by an ‘unknown’ assailant, probably would have had his pea-brain wiped clean of the memory?”
“Most definitely, yes.”
“It just explains so much… I’ve often wondered why magicals don’t seem to learn from their mistakes. I just assumed it was some sort of collective insanity or something. But the fact is, they just plain don’t remember making the mistake!” Hermione was rarely taken aback so.
Where the intellectual was astonished, the ‘man of action’ was appalled.
“I have to do it all to him again?! I suppose so, since the prat likely doesn’t even remember it! Never thought I’d see the day when torture became a chore!”
At least his Snape makeover would be remembered. He couldn’t see the Potions professor wanting his memories toyed with.
The fact that the current subject of his thoughts was glaring at him with white hot hatred, and has been for two weeks, gave credence to his hunch. Snape never forgot any slight, ever.
“Well, since he already hates me so; and since I need a good diversion to get to that whole Hagrid thing, guess he won’t mind this much…”
Harry nodded to Hermione after catching her eye; the signal he was about to leave for the grounds and his super secret meeting. She returned his nod, and produced a wand ‘borrowed’ from a guffawing Fred Weasley nearby. He wouldn’t miss it, and would most likely approve the use for which it was about to be employed; if he knew about it, that is.
Harry gripped his invisibility cloak under the table and waited. He had to look as innocuous as possible.
Hermione got up from her place and took a few steps toward the exit and the ladies W/C, before kneeling to re-tie a shoelace. From her vantage point, she had a clear shot at Professor Snape, who was focused on a stupidly staring Harry. She took the shot with Fred’s wand. It connected perfectly.
“Hermione Granger: Magical Sniper!” She thought. She disposed of the ‘murder weapon’ discreetly.
Harry saw the spell impact the greasy man, and promptly disappeared from sight. No attention was being paid to the ‘Boy Who Lived’ as he rapidly exited the Hall. No, all available eyes and ears were focused on Severus Snape, who had just climbed atop the Staff table and began to re-enact the “Scottish Play”, or Macbeth, as it’s known to non-theatre people. Re-enact, as in every part in it’s entirety from the beginning. The password protection code of ‘Weasleys Rule!’ would hopefully avert suspicion.
Harry figured he had a good two hours before he was missed.
Hagrid greeted him outside his hut, and promptly hustled the boy inside. After instructing him to stay hidden and follow him, Hagrid met up with Madam Maxine of Beauxbatons and proceeded to lead them into the Forest.
“If Hagrid expects me to chaperone some sort of date of his, he had another thing coming! Tough to chaperone anything if one of the couple doesn’t even know I’m here though.”
They went into the trees a little further, when Harry was struck by a horrifying thought.
“He doesn’t expect me to watch them or anything, right? Oh God! I’m not the cameraman in some sort of huge people porno, right? And I thought walking in on Dudders wanking was bad! I’ve no camera, but they could take the memory or something. I think I might puke…”
When the group reached their destination, Harry realized he would not be tricked into voyeurism by the enormous groundskeeper. He was still left with the urge to vomit, however.
The four dragons in the clearing were majestic beasts. Both beautiful and terrible in their power and fury. Harry’s thoughts on the matter were running in a different direction, though.
“Oh, fuck me! They can’t be serious, can they? If they’re really trying to kill me, this would do it.”
A conversation overheard between Hagrid and a squat, burly redhead with the dragon handlers further illuminated what the task was to be: retrieve an egg from a nesting mother dragon.
Harry figured he’d seen all he wanted to; spying on snogging leviathans was most definitely not on the agenda!
Harry left quickly, but quietly, and headed back to the castle. He noticed the dour Russian, Karkaroff, lurking near the dragon enclosure.
“Hmm, everyone’s on the same page I guess. Except for Cedric; wouldn’t expect a Hufflepuff to be playing dirty.”
Harry considered his situation for a moment. He was out after hours, but he was invisible. He also had another hour on the diversion to avoid being missed. With a snap decision, he changed direction towards Hogsmeade.
“If I hurry, I can see Mooney and Padfoot, and maybe find a way out of this cluster fuck!”
Harry ghosted into the crowded Three Broomsticks pub and made for the floo. A whispered bludgeoning hex towards one of the larger and more unruly patrons was enough to cause a diversion large and loud enough that no one would notice the floo fire activating. The fists, hexes, and flying chairs would cover his trail nicely.
One spinny floo ride and face plant on the parquet later, Harry was being helped up by a surprised Remus Lupin.
“Harry? What the devil are you doing here at this hour?”
“Moony! I don’t have much time. We need to talk.”
Remus may have wondered at the hows of Harry’s sudden appearance in his parlor, but he knew the whys would be very important.
“Let me wake up the mutt, and then we can have that chat.”
Ten minutes, a roused Sirius, and a cuppa later; Harry’s urgency was fully transmitted to the remaining Marauders.
Sirius was angry. “How the fuck do they expect Harry to fight a dragon! The magic involved in such an undertaking is far beyond NEWT level. And they think I’m crazy!”
Remus was thoughtful. “You don’t have to slay it, just avoid it. Getting the egg would be daunting, but not impossible. What’s needed is a plan.”
Harry, having ruminated on the situation the longest, and also having the unique position of being the one to actually have to do something about it, was trying his best to think outside the box.
He remembered a movie he’d seen once at the Dursley’s. His muggle relatives tended to watch fairly shallow films that at times were more about the special effects than concerned with plot. Where Petunia preferred romantic movies with well built male leads, Vernon and Dudley liked shoot-em-ups and actioners. Overkill was the name of the game there; what a bullet could do, a rocket could do better.
“Remus, before you came to Hogwarts last year, what is it exactly you did for a living?”
The Marauders ceased their argument about the best way to handle a dragon and looked at Harry. They were uncharacteristically silent.
“Well Harry, you know as a werewolf, I didn’t exactly have a lot of job offers coming my way.”
“Well, okay. Wizards are assholes, we all know that. And terminally stupid too not to hire you because of your ‘furry little problem’. But what did you do?”
“I don’t see how that’s really germane to the discussion, Harry.”
“Remus, just trust me on this one. Where did you work for all those years?”
“Yeah, what were you up to while I was vacationing at ‘Club Azkaban’?” Sirius joined the conversation with a vengeance.
“Sirius, please. Remus, no one’s accusing you of anything. I just have to know what your ‘alternative skills’ might be. I have an idea here.”
“It’s like pulling teeth! Well, actually pulling teeth wasn’t all that bad…”
Remus was hesitant. “Well, I worked in the muggle world for a while.”
“Doing?” Harry prompted. If this kept up, Snape would have to start on Hamlet soon!
“I was… I worked in muggle munitions.”
“Yes!” “Like manufacturing and such?” Harry was the face of innocence.
“No, like sales; and re-sales. Of an illegal and unregulated nature.”
“You were a gun runner? That’s it? Here I was worried you were a gigolo or something!” Harry theatrically wiped the sweat from his brow.
“Him? A Giggolo? Bwah haa haa!” Sirius was somewhat amused.
“I’m not proud of it! It’s illegal, and immoral.” Poor Remus with those pesky morals!
“Remus, listen to me. You are the coolest uncle a lad could ask for! You turn into a wolf once a month and you used to be a shady arms dealer; do you have any idea how awesome that is?” Harry beamed at the embarrassed werewolf.
Sirius was still carrying on, unable to stop braying in mirth. A silencing spell at least made it marginally less annoying.
Harry hoped for the best. “Do you still maintain any of your old contacts?”
“A few, for old time’s sake.”
Harry’s grin was positively Slytherin in its deviousness.
“Moony, I’m going to have a shopping list for you. Lots of stuff that goes boom will be on it.”
Remus’ grin was equally as devious, if a bit more feral.
“I think the judges are in for a bit of a surprise.”
“Yes they are, Moony. Yes they are.”