Harry benefits from the demise of the Warsaw Pact
One Wizard Too Many Ch 7
Cold War Cast-Offs
With a framework of a plan in place to deal with the ‘Dragon Problem’ presented to Remus Lupin, it was time for Harry to return to Hogwarts. He accepted the werewolf’s offer to side-along apparate him to Hogwarts gates, as it was both quicker and more likely to have fewer Aurors hanging about than his method of travel inbound (causing a near-riot at the Three Broomsticks and ‘borrowing’ their floo in the mayhem).
Just before taking harry back, Remus had a question.
“Just how did you know I was an arms dealer in the muggle world? Thought I played that very close to the vest.”
Harry looked a little guilty. “Well, I didn’t know exactly. Something about you seemed just a bit shady and I was playing for a break. If you’d have been a drug dealer or something, I’d have tried to find a way to make that work for me too. Sorry about that.”
Remus laughed. “No worries. I just wonder how you might have used a few kilo’s of pure Columbian to get past a Dragon though!”
Harry didn’t miss a beat. “Easy, either dose the dragon or the crowd. Dragon has a fatal heart attack or gets so stoned she doesn’t notice I filch an egg. Crowd gets higher than a broomstick and I can steal an egg somewhere in the confusion. Easy, really.”
Remus just looked at him for a moment. “I think even old Salazar Slytherin might be taken aback by you sometimes…”
Harry just grinned as they apparated away.
He managed to sneak back to his spot in the Great Hall as Snape was re-enacting Mac Duff slaying the traitorous Mac Beth and the final soliloquies. The student body and staff were all enraptured by the bravura performance. Professor McGonagall even had a few tears in her eyes as the Lord of Mowbray met his end. Harry removed his cloak and winked at a relieved Hermione.
“What happened with Hagrid?” She just had to know.
“Later; brilliant job, by the way. Why Mac Beth though?”
“Why not? It’s culturally important, has numerous wizarding references, we’re in a Scottish castle, and it teaches an important lesson about treachery and revenge. Professor McGonagall seems to love it!”
Harry looked at his Head of House for a moment. She had been strangely quiet since the whole Goblet debacle. “Really expected more support from her…”
He looked at Hermione and gave her a big grin. “Well, it worked perfectly. I even got over to see the mangy mutts.”
“Hmm, I’m not one for divination, but I foresee a long conversation in our future. Care to drop at least a hint for me?” She just could not stand not knowing something. The adorable pout she had made it very difficult to resist.
He didn’t want to worry her, but a Hermione pout was beyond his meager powers of resistance.
“Well, I may consider adopting Saint George as my new patron.”
She looked at him quizzically for a moment, mouthing ‘Saint George?’, before she made the connection. She paled and her eyes went wide. She whispered “Dragons?”
Harry nodded. There was no fooling her.
She was about to say something in disbelief, when Snape finally finished his recital. The spell was complete.
The Potions Professor stood stock still on the table he had appropriated for a stage for a moment, glanced around at the awestruck students, and wondered at what exactly was happening.
Just as he looked toward Dumbledore to give him a hint as to what exactly he had been doing for the past two hours, the Hall erupted in applause. He looked over the crowd with a stunned expression on his sallow face as students rose for the ovation. Upper year students conjured flowers to toss at him whilst the uncouth whistled. Dumbledore twinkled in glee and McGonagall fought back tears to applaud heartily. Even little Professor Flitwick clambered onto a chair to add his approval to the din.
At the Gryffindor table, Nearly-Headless Nick was effusive in his praise: “Even better than the original run at the old Globe Theatre!”
Harry could only give Hermione a grin and a pat on the hand for a job well done. Her face was still pale from the earlier revelation, but she grinned back.
Snape didn’t know what the devil was happening, but he was mortal certain that whatever it was, Potter was behind it!
Once the curtain call had ended and a little forensic work performed, it was discovered that Fred Weasley seemed to be the perpetrator. He of course denied it adamantly, and nearly bellowed in outrage when Snape removed fifty points from Gryffindor for the ‘heinous crime against his person.’ Discovery of the password spell to be ‘Weasleys Rule’ seemed to further solidify the case against the twins. Fred was somewhat mollified when McGonagall gave him one hundred points in recognition of ‘cultural contributions to the school’. (Hermione had shown the twins that particular trick a few weeks ago, against her better judgment. Thankfully she had already worked out a counter to the jinx which prevented its use against her or Harry) Snape took this poorly and stomped off in a huff, refusing all autograph requests as he went. Finally, the tired and culturally enlightened students retired for the evening.
Most of them, anyway.
“Okay Harry, I’ve been a good girl so far tonight. Time to spill. What happened?”
The pair was on their couch in the common room and ensconced within a silencing charm. Hermione was looking at Harry intently; her ‘tell me now, or else’ expression firmly in place. Harry could only sigh.
“Hagrid led me down to the mysterious enclosure hard by the forest. Basically, it’s a dragon pen. There are four very big and angry mamma dragons that are to guard a golden egg we have to get, somehow.”
Hermione looked horrified. She squeaked and hugged him, hard.
“Oh Harry, this is ridiculous! How can they expect you to fight a dragon?”
“I know, Hermione. I know.” He rubbed her back to soothe the distraught girl.
She spoke from the vicinity of Harry’s chest. “What did Padfoot and Mooney have to say?”
“Well, their reactions were similar to yours. Less hugging, though.”
She sat up, looking the teeniest bit embarrassed.
He took her hands as he continued. “Paddy was just angry, but Mooney may have helped me come up with a plan of sorts.”
“Well, it’s complicated, and it involves something Mooney may have left off of his CV. But rest assured, you have a critical role to play in it.”
“Ah, the usual hare brained scheme that requires you to do something insanely dangerous and me to pull your chestnuts out of the fire again, correct?” She was a bit scared, but game.
“Wouldn’t be a ‘Harry Potter Masterpiece’ with out that, now would it?”
“Only you, Harry.” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “By the way, how did you contact Sirius and Remus?”
Harry began to look just a little shifty. “Snuck through the floo at the Three Broomsticks, but that’s not important.”
“Really, that far off the grounds? How did you get through it unnoticed?”
“Hermione, dragons! Let’s focus on the dragons.”
“How, Harry?” Hermione was practicing her ‘stern prefect’ look for next year. It didn’t need much work, really.
“Well, I mighta started a tiny little bar fight, or something.”
“What? You started a bar brawl?”
“It worked really well! Nobody would’ve noticed the floo going off what with some big guys slashing at each other with broken butterbeer bottles!”
Hermione just rubbed her eyes tiredly. “I should really learn to expect these sorts of things.”
Harry continued. “The crash of breaking chairs definitely helped hide the floo sound, but things really got crazy when Madam Rosmerta got involved. Who knew she kept a shotgun behind the bar?”
“Harry, would it matter if I told you to never do anything like that again?”
Harry looked contrite. “I’m sorry; I don’t want to cause mayhem like that. It just seems to happen.”
“That’s okay dear, that’s okay.”
The next morning, the duo resumed their discussions. Since a large part of the plan revolved around what Remus could ‘acquire’, Harry decided to ask Hermione to teach him the summoning charm. She of course was happy to help, but wanted to know what he might be summoning.
Harry was conflicted. “I never hide anything from her, but if she knew exactly what I’d be summoning, she might freak. Do I lie? What to do?”
He decided to be as honest as he could.
“Hermione, I’m not totally sure what I’m going to use, but I know you might not like it.”
She turned slowly to look at him.
Calmly, she asked. “What might I not like, Harry?” Too calmly.
“Well, that depends. How do you like dragons?”
Hermione sighed. She tended to do that a lot.
“Harry. I can see where this is going. You do know you’re probably not supposed to kill them, right?”
“Well, they’re not supposed to try and kill me, and that doesn’t seem to be stopping them!”
She walked to him and put a hand on his arm. “I know. It’s not fair. But you have to be careful when it comes to this whole violence thing, it just gets out of control too easily.” She took his hand. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Harry sighed. “Look, I don’t know what sort of goodies Remus might come up with, but my plan here is to go all muggle. In fact, I’m going to try to use mostly mundane methods throughout this stupid tournament if I can. Teach those morons to look down on us muggle borns!”
Hermione looked at him a moment. “Okay, I see what you’re doing and I can give it my ‘provisional’ approval. Just please try not to kill too many people or animals, please?”
Harry grinned. “Moi? You seem to make me out to be a psycho killer or something?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, where would I get that idea?”
Two days later, Harry received a note from an unknown owl at breakfast. The message was short and to the point.
“Have that new bludgers you asked for. Managed to get a used Russian set, real cheap. Should make quiddich practice very interesting. See you soon.” Remus.
Looks like Harry was about to reap some ‘Dividends of Peace’. Might not be too peaceful for Hogwarts, though…
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews! Never fear, more mayhem is coming soon. This is more of a ‘connecting chapter’, to get the plot up to the first task.
BTW: a ‘Peace Dividend’ was a phrase tossed around in the early 90’s and meant that the NATO and former Warsaw Pact nations could safely downsize their militaries with the end of the Cold War. All that extra funding was supposed to create a better world, or something. Wonder what happened?