One Shot. What might have happened if at the first Task of the Triwizard Tournament Harry's Firebolt didn't show up?
There were hundreds and hundreds of faces staring down at him from stands that had been magicked there since he'd last stood on this spot. And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half-furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly, black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, heaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a great deal of noise, but whether friendly or not, Harry didn't know or care. It was time to do what he had to do... to focus his mind, entirely and absolutely, upon the thing that was his only chance.
He raised his wand.
"Accio Firebolt!" he shouted.
Harry waited, every fiber of him hoping, praying... If it hadn't worked... if it wasn't coming... He seemed to be looking at everything around him through some sort of shimmering, transparent barrier, like a heat haze, which made the enclosure and the hundreds of faces around him swim strangely...
Well this is bad. Harry fought to keep from vomiting. Ok Boy who is about to be flash fried, think of something.
Crap. What were the odds that Dumbledore would allow a competition that would kill the competitor's dead? It seemed unlikely. A thought occurred. Dragons were more or less reptiles. Could it possibly be that simple? At worst he'd probably get hurt real bad, and then have (hopefully) a graceful way out of this insanity.
The Horntail maintained unblinking eye contact, still guarding her clutch of eggs.
Ok, lets get this over with. Hesitantly he strode out toward the Dragon.
He had covered almost half the distance between the tent entrance and the Horntail, when he saw the beast gulf a large breath. Preparation for breathing fire? Oh God.
He bowed deeply toward the Dragon maintaining eye contact. He then hissed in parse tongue.
"Please do not kill this insignificant one"
"What trickery is this?" The Horntail blinked "How can one of the small annoying ones speak the Noble Tongue? You speak with the dialect of the serpents."
"Very few of my kind are born with a minor grasp of your magnificent language oh Giver of Life"
"What is the meaning of this? Why were I and the lesser breeds brought to this place with our unborn?"
"It is a contest to prove the superiority of our schools" Harry explained. "I am being forced to take part because some unknown enemy caused me to enroll" The Horntail's eyes flashed angrily. "My task is to remove the false egg from your nest without allowing you to kill me and without damaging any of your unborn"
"And how are you, so tiny, weak, and insignificant supposed to do any of these things?"
"I was planning to summon my broom, to swoop in and grab the false egg as quickly as I could then get out of your range before you killed me." He saw the look on the suddenly expressive face of the Dragon "I know, I know. An insane plan, but it's an insane contest I'm forced to take part of."
The Horntail stared at him. Harry was sure that the Dragon was looking into his soul. The Horntail turned to her clutch of eggs, and took the golden egg into her mouth; she then placed it on the ground in front of Harry.
"Take it and go. Tell our keepers that our patience is at an end, and we do not wish to be part of anymore of your kind's insane games. We wish to be returned to our nesting grounds."
Harry picked up the egg, and bowed deeply again. "Thank you for the aid you have given this insignificant one, oh Giver of Life."
Harry turned on his heel and started to walk to the enclosure entrance where Madam Pomfrey, and the other Champions were standing looking at him open mouthed. The stands were absolutely silent.
"What?" he asked.
Then he heard it, he whirled about and saw what was coming. He reached up and snagged his Firebolt.
Well Crap. Next time accio faster!