thanks to B Bennett. Your input, as always, is invaluable.
skidded to a halt in the Gryffindor common room, garnering several startled
looks at her sudden entrance, all of which she ignored. She looked around
frantically for her brother. “Ron?” she called again.
looked up from the fire at which he’d been moodily staring. “What?” he asked
rushed over to him. “Ron, you have to tell Harry—”
him yourself,” he interrupted.
be silly. He wouldn’t believe me. Now listen; this is serious.”
looked back at the fire.
lowered her voice. “I was heading over to Hagrid’s cottage and I heard Charlie.”
Who are you—you mean our brother?” He looked over at her. “You’re sure?”
And he and Hagrid were talking about dragons.”
rolled his eyes. “If Charlie’s there, and if he’s talking to
Hagrid, then dragons are bound to come up, Ginny. Think about it.”
would Charlie be doing here, though? And why’d he visit Hagrid instead of us?”
go find Fred and George and go see—”
pulled him closer. “Listen. Their first task is dragons.”
she was on the receiving end of startled looks.
she hissed. “Dragons. I don’t know exactly what, but—you have to warn him! I
mean, he’s gonna be facing—”
I caught that.” He stared back at the fire, then shook his head. “I can’t.”
stared incredulously at him. “Swallow your pride and help him. Don’t be
it’s not that. He wouldn’t listen to me. You tell him.”
won’t believe me.”
didn’t even,” she scoffed.
couldn’t deny it. “But if I told him, he definitely wouldn’t believe
on. You’re his best friend.”
But he’s not going to make up with me now—that is, if he ever would have.”
do you mean?” Ginny asked, but she was dreading his answer.
went off somewhere last night. After a while, I went looking for him. He was,
well, right here, actually. Anyway, it ended up with him throwing one of those
at me.” Ron gestured to one of the POTTER STINKS! badges lying around.
really not sure. I didn’t start it—that time.”
you won’t even tell him?”
aren’t listening! He won’t believe me. If I told him dragons, he’d
prepare for...newts or lizards or something.” He sighed. “Besides, he’s Harry
Potter. He probably already knows.”
glared at him. “Ron! What if he doesn’t? You’re just going to throw him to
d’you suggest we tell, then?” he retorted. “‘Oh, by the by, it’s going to be
dragons; you wouldn’t mind telling Harry for us?’”
can tell—” She broke off and they stared at each other a moment before
exclaiming, “Hermione!” together.
go check in girls’ rooms and you check the library,” Ginny ordered.
okay,” Ron agreed.
separated. Ron was so caught up in his search that he didn’t notice the figure
in front of him.
actually stopped breathing when he realized he’d hit Mad-Eye from behind. Maybe
he’ll only turn me into a ferret, he thought hopefully. And if
McGonagall will stop him again…
like an elephant coming down that hall, Weasley,” Moody growled. “You can’t
sneak up on people tromping about like that.”
felt weak with relief. Better to be called an elephant than be a bouncing
ferret. “I wasn’t trying to. Sneak, that is. I’m trying to find Hermione,
actually. Have you seen her, Professor?”
and Potter went outside about half an hour ago.”
never find them,” Ron groaned.
in a hurry to be friends again?” Moody inquired.
mean, yes—I mean...” He trailed off.
boy? Say what you mean.”
eye was very unnerving. “I have to warn him,” Ron blurted, then mentally
eyes narrowed. “Warn him? About what? What do you know?” he asked
Ron couldn’t think of a convincing lie, especially not with that eye fixated on
him. “I just—I know that—that they have to face dragons. The Champions do. In
the First Task.” Stop babbling. He took a steadying breath. “I need to
find Harry. Harry needs to know that little piece of information a lot more
than I do.”
he repeated. “Because Hermione’s the spell whiz. Harry’s just good at Quidditch.”
One of Moody’s eyebrows raised and Ron hastened to elaborate. “Well, he’s good
at more than that. I just mean...come on. Is that what they have to do? Play Quidditch
against the dragons? Unless there’s a Snitch for him to find—”
eyes lit up a little. “Go find Miss Granger,” he interrupted and thumped away.
stared at his teacher’s back for just a moment before hurrying off, to
obey—very glad he wasn’t an amazing bouncing animal.
an hour of searching, though, he had to give up. He made his way back to the
common room, where Ginny nearly tackled him. “She said they already know!
They’ve been working on it. They—well, he, anyway—he found out last night.”
How—never mind. Should’ve known he’d have known. He always does.”
bit her lip. “Hermione said thanks,” she offered.
to you, I hope. Not like I did anything.”
Mum say that trying isn’t worth anything?”
she started, then, as he left his chair, “Where are you going?”
going to...go be somewhere else.”
turned away and headed for the door.
touched his arm. “I bet he’d be glad to make it up,” she said. “If you just
apologize...he won’t hold a grudge.”
rolled his eyes. Lovestruck girls, he thought scornfully as he made his
way to the lake. But he couldn’t get those dragons out of his mind. Sure, the
contestants would be supervised, but he remembered well the consequences of the
bite he’d received from Norbert—and Norbert had been only a baby.
finally went back to the common room, in a completely foul mood.
still grumpy by the time Divinations rolled around the next day. Professor
Trelawney was rambling on again about Harry’s death, but as Ron now knew how
possible that could really be, he found it in no way funny.
that’s good,” Harry said loudly, making Ron blink. “Just as long as it’s not
drawn-out. I don’t want to suffer.”
glanced over at Harry, a small smile on his face, but Harry looked away,
intensely preoccupied with staring at the table.
supposed he deserved that and kept to himself. But then, all too quickly, it
was time for the Champions to face the dragons and Ron just couldn’t take
couldn’t stop a huge grin from crossing her face when he asked if she knew where
Harry was. “Well, finally,” she said briskly. “But he’s already in the
tent and really nervous about the dragons. Besides, I don’t think we’re allowed
to talk to him, but then, we wouldn’t want to throw his at him right now,
anyway. We’ll wait until after and then make it right.”
felt suddenly nervous. “What if—” he started.
looked suddenly grim. “If you two want to keep your health, you’ll be friends
again by dinner,” she told him with a voice hard as rock. She turned and glared
at him. “What are you laughing at?”
Nothing at all,” he assured her. “Let’s go watch.”
long A/N because I’ve gotten questions from this story:
At the end of GoF, Moody!Crouch explains how he tried to help with the merpeople
and the Third Task, but it doesn’t say anything about how he got the idea
to have Harry summon his Firebolt against the dragons. Could he have come up
with it on his own? Of course, and that’s probably what happened. But what
fun would that be? I decided to have Ron unintentionally slip him the idea
with his “unless there’s a Snitch to catch” comment. In my world, Crouch was
going to do something else, but after Ron mentioned the Snitch, he decided that
would be better. After all, in his “good, general advice,” he says, “You’re a
damn good flier from what I’ve heard.” So I had Ron be the one who told him
Thanks, and please review.