Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related licenses and indicia are property of J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, and Scholastic Press.
“Yeh all are dead set on gettin’ each other inteh trouble, aren’t yeh?” Hagrid asked as he put the kettle on for tea. Sitting at his table were Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Draco, as well as his bodyguards, Crabbe and Goyle. All looked very muddy and in a foul mood.
“Hagrid, I can explain…”
“Shut up, Potty, you couldn’t possibly believe that bumbling idiot would actually believe us.”
“Don’t you dare call Hagrid a bumbling idiot, Draco!”
“What are you going to do to me, Granger? Call up your little horsey friends?”
Silence fell. Hermione and Draco shot poisonous looks at each other, and Hagrid turned around in surprise. It was finally Harry who spoke.
“Considering where we were, Malfoy, I think Hagrid will believe us.”
“He is in the room, you know,” Ron said. If anyone looked thoroughly disgusted in that little one-room hut, it was he. His face, which was as red as his hair, wore an expression that looked as though he were trying to stop himself from yelling.
“Try me,” was all Hagrid said in reply. Draco snorted condescendingly while Harry began his story.
“It was Hermione who told Ron and me about something she had seen during biology. I don’t remember what exactly it was—you explain it, Hermione.”
“While the three of us were working on collecting pus from a bubotuber, I saw a flash of color out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and saw what appeared to be an unusually large bluebird (outside of the greenhouse, of course) flying toward the Forbidden Forest. Well, I thought nothing of that; some Hogsmeade children probably got a hold of one of their parent’s wands and performed a simple Engorgement charm on the poor thing. I told Ron and Harry about it, but when they turned to look, it was gone; how was I to know they’d be so curious about it?”
Here, Ron interrupted: “For the last time, we didn’t go out there of our own volition, Hermione! Just like you, we got letters that were supposedly from Hagrid,” at this point, he looked meaningfully in Draco’s direction, “and they told us to wait for him at the entrance to the Forbidden Forest at around eight that evening, as he had something to show us.”
“I didn’t send yeh any letters, Ron,” said Hagrid, looking a bit puzzled.
“I know you didn’t. It was Malfoy who did.”
“A rather ingenious idea, if I do say so myself,” Draco sneered.
“Oh, shut up.”
“Make me, Weasley!”
“Fine, if you’re so ruddy smart, you tell the story!”
“Alright, then I will. Those three did just what I had hoped they’d do. I had Crabbe and Goyle here dress up as werewolves so they could jump out at them from behind some nearby bushes. I was there, waiting to give them the signal, and Potty, the Weasel, and the Mudblood…”
“Watch yehr mouth, Malfoy,” Hagrid growled.
“Well. As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, Potty, the Weasel, and the Muggle-born were to wait there only to be pounced upon by werewolves! Luckily, I had my camera with me. And sure enough, the fools showed up.” Draco began to snicker.
“You’re one to laugh, Malfoy,” Harry said, “While we were waiting for you to show up, Hagrid, we heard some rustling in the nearby bushes. Thinking we might be in danger, we hid behind a few trees and saw, to our great surprise,” here he grinned maliciously at Draco, “two ‘werewolves’ ride out of the forest backwards on two large, brightly colored winged horses, one red, the other a deep blue.”
“O’ course, I can explain that to yeh,” said Hagrid, “A flock of ‘em always stops by here for a few days when they migrate. They’re real protective of their territory.” He sighed. “Beautiful, aren’t they?”
“Anyway, when we heard the werewolves yelling out, ‘Draco, help,’ we learned that they were Crabbe and Goyle, so we figured it was Malfoy who had sent us the letters. We knew he wouldn’t be far behind. And sure enough, he came running out after them just seconds later, carrying a camera and followed by one of the winged horses. It was awful—chartreuse, I think….”
Hermione continued the story. “Well, Ron had something to say about that. He said, ‘Well, that’s a horse of a different feather.’ Harry looked at him a bit strangely, but I knew what he was talking about. He had mixed his metaphors, confused ‘That’s a horse of a different color’—literally—with ‘Birds of a feather.’ The only thing was, it actually fit, considering the circumstances, and it was rather amusing, in my opinion.”
Here, Ron started talking: “Yeah, until we were attacked. Three of the things—black, dark green, and yellow—grabbed each of us by our shirt collars and tossed us onto their backs, then took off after the other three. Let me tell you, we had a hell of a time trying to stay on. All six of us were carried deeper and deeper into the forest, and then they stopped at that—that—awful place….”
“He means Aragog’s web,” Hermione explained, “And you know how he hates spiders.”
Draco started snickering again. “Oh, Mum, help me, it’s a big, hairy spider, it’s going to eat me, help, help!”
“Shut up, Malfoy,” Ron growled.
“Well, luckily for me, my father owns many horses and taught me how to ride even those wild ones.”
“Actually,” Hermione continued, “Luckily for all of us, you know how to ride. As soon as the horses reached the edge of the web, they bucked us off, and we landed in this huge mud puddle, which explains our clothes. We didn’t see Draco anywhere…”
Here, Ron interrupted again: “Not that we actually cared.”
“…so we figured he’d fallen off somewhere along the way. Then the spiders started closing in, clicking those awful jaws of theirs and whispering to each other. We knew they were going to eat us, and Mr. Weasley’s car wasn’t anywhere around. Then we heard hoof beats, and all of a sudden, Malfoy rode that horrid horse—what color was it, Harry?”
“Right. So, he rode that thing into the clearing and performed a simple charm—just made some harmless green flames come out of the end of his wand—but the spiders backed off. He told us all to get on. Well, naturally, not all of us could fit on that one horse, and I pointed that out to him, so he said…”
“Granger, do you have to include all the details?”
“Yes, I do, Draco. Anyway, he said, ‘Potter, you and your friends take the horse. I’ll try to hold the spiders back.’ So we flew straight out of there, back to the forest’s entrance, and then Harry took the horse from there.”
Harry continued the story. “I flew back to the clearing. I knew Malfoy couldn’t hold the spiders off forever, and—as much as I hate to say it—I didn’t want him to get hurt, even if we hate each other’s guts.”
“Potty, you just knew you’d get in trouble.”
“Shut up, Malfoy. Anyway, I got there, and I took Crabbe and Goyle back to where Ron and Hermione were waiting, then I went back for Draco. I brought him back, and that’s where you found us, Hagrid, just after that horse left.”
Draco muttered, “This had better not get around school.”
Harry, exasperated with Draco, raised his voice a little: “Well, I don’t know what made me save you, just be glad I did. Let’s leave it there, shall we?”
“I won’t tell if none of you do.”
“Tha’s one heck of a story,” Hagrid said, awestruck. “O’ course, yeh’ll all be in trouble…”
“Leave that to me, Rubeus,” said a familiar voice. Everyone turned to see just who was there, and there was Professor Dumbledore, standing in the doorway to the hut.
“How much of that did you hear?” Harry and Draco asked together.
“Enough to piece together what happened and work out a few calculations. And I did quite enjoy it. It would make a lovely story….” He paused as the students exchanged puzzled looks and shrugged. “Now, as to points: minus thirty points to your houses for each of you for sneaking out so late at night again, and I’m sure Mr. Filch needs some help polishing trophies.”
“Also, sixty points to Slytherin forMr. Malfoy, that’s ten for each person he saved tonight; sixty points to Gryffindor for Mr. Potter—thirty for each time he returned to the ‘danger zone,’ shall we say—and five points to Gryffindor for Miss Granger, who spotted Mr. Weasley’s slight grammatical lapse…. Yes, that should do it. Good night, everyone.” And with that, he started walking back up to the school.
As they left, Harry stopped Draco. “I just wanted to say thanks. I don’t know why you’d have wanted to save us, but I’m glad you did.”
“Yes, well, don’t make a big deal of it, Potty. Things haven’t changed, you know.”
Harry got the message, but he could have sworn he actually saw Draco smile for a brief moment before they went their separate ways.
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