Feliciano couldn’t help but wonder if he would die. He knew he would if he ran, and if he went through with it, his chance for survival was very slim. He didn’t have the slightest idea if him not even being human would change his chances. All he could think of to do was send an update to Arthur. He took a paper, quill, and ink, and started writing. “Arthur, I don’t know what to do! (Ludwig told you about the Goblet of Fire right?) It picked three champions like planed, but then everyone started to freak out, including me, when Harry Potter’s and MY name came out of the fire! I tried to run away, but Professor McGonagall said that I already signed a contract by putting my name in the goblet. I DIDN’T EVEN PUT IT IN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! The first task is only a few weeks away. I’m so scared! Should I test my few survival skills with a chance of dying, or drop out with a guarantee of dying. I DON’T WANT TO DIE! Please help me! Feliciano :'(” He rolled up the paper, borrowed Gilbert, and sent him out with the letter in his beak.
He waited anxiously for some hint on whether waking up the morning of the first task would be worth it, or if he should call in sick. Harry left to answer a call from Hagrid about the first task. Feli decided he should go with him to see for himself. He hid under the invisibility cloak behind Harry. His eyes filled with horror when he saw a flash of orange light. “Dragons!” Harry exclaimed. “That’s the first task?!” Feliciano didn’t even bother to make sure he still had the cloak over his head before he was gone in a trail of dust clouds. “Feliciano! Wait!”
“Why would I?” Feli called. “I’m going to die anyway!”
“Get back here!” Harry called again. “Acio Italian!” he chanted as he whipped his wand out and Feliciano tripped and was magically pulled back. Harry pulled him up and held him in place. “You are NOT going to die,” he promised. “not as long as I have a say.” Feli stopped squirming and listened to Harry’s words, letting them sink in. “I will do all I can to help you in these tasks.” he promised. “The only way you will die guaranteed is if you run away from it, but you still have a chance if you face it.”
“It’s not much of a chance.” Feli sighed. “I don’t want to do this.”
“You think I do?” he asked the Italian. “I don’t want glory like everyone thinks I do. If I could, I’d give back the glory I already have.” It was silent as they stood in the dark. “Come on.” Harry finally said. “We have some research on dragons we should do.” They walked back to the castle and into the library, searching for everything they could find on the dragons they saw. It was very well known that there’s a chance they would get any one of those five dragons.
Feliciano met with Professor McGonagall every day for an hour. “What are your strengths?” she asked.
“I can make a white flag in three seconds.” he answered as McGonagall hung her head. She definitely had her work cut out for her.
She put on her serious face, and explained what she meant. “Mr. Digory can turn a whistle into a watch and have it sing the time, Ms. Delaquore is as much a princess as Professor Moody, Mr. Crum…heaven knows what that boy is capable of, and Mr. Potter can see a ball this size,” She demonstrated how small the Golden Snitch is. “moving at blinding speed from a mile away and have it in the palm of his hand in minutes.” This knowledge only scared Feliciano even more. “You can bet galleons that they are playing off their strengths. What are your strengths?”
He now understood what the professor meant and shook his head. “I’m not good at anything!” he sobbed. “I can run,”
She nodded. “I heard, but this is more than that.”
“I can…” he thought harder. “make…pasta?” McGonagall shook her head. “I’m a quick study.”
The professor twitched a smile at the one thing she can work with. “In that case, let me teach you some more advanced spells.”
The day of the first task came sooner than Feliciano hoped. He woke up that morning on the couch of the Gryffindor common room so Ludwig could have easy access if he needed “encouragement” to go down to the field. Feli opened his eyes, wondering why he was there instead of the Ravenclaw common room like he got accustomed to waking up to. Then, he remembered as he threw himself under the blankets again, trembling.
“Come on Feliciano,” Ludwig sighed as he walked up to the couch. “Let’s go.”
“I’m sick!” he claimed. “I have a terrible fever!” he stated, sounding strained and coughing.
Ludwig looked skeptically at him. He walked around to the front of the couch to see the shaking blob of blanket. He pulled the cloth off and felt Feliciano’s forehead. “That’s not a fever,” he instructed. “if anything, your face is colder than usual.”
“Did I say fever?” the boy asked. “I meant…uh…stomach ache.”
Ludwig tried to think of anything that would make him feel better. “I got a letter back from Arthur last week.” he stated. Feli looked up, cuddling with his cat. “He said that you should go through with it. Professor McGonagall won’t let you die without a chance.” he stated. “With the skills she’d teach you to stay alive, you should be a surviving machine. You can do this, but you don’t give yourself enough credit. What he said for you to do was to think about what you can do instead of what you can’t.”
Feli smiled and got up. “I-I can do this!” he stated confidently.
As the Italian walked away full of confidence and spirit, Ludwig smiled at his sudden change of heart. Seconds later, the smile turned from a kind smile to a strained smile as he realized something. “He’s gonna die.”
Feliciano trembled in his prep area. While everyone else geared up for facing unknown dragons, the Italian had to work hard not to disappear in a dust cloud. Ludwig came in to give support, but there wasn’t much he could say. They both knew the truth of the matter.
“Champions, gather around.” Dumbledore called as all the friends left and the champions huddled the professor. He held a bag that released steam when it opened. “Ms. Delaquore,” he offered. The French slowly put her hand in the bag and pulled out a miniature dragon. “Welch Green.” the professor named, then went around the circle naming the dragons as he went around. “Chinese Fireball. Swedish Short Snout. Hungarian Horntail.” Then, it was Feli’s turn. He shakily put his hand in the bag and screamed when he felt a claw climb up his thick glove. “Ukrainian Ironbelly.” he named as the grey reptile looked Feli dead in the eye and blew a blast of fire at his face (because of small size, though it heated his face by a number of degrees, the fire didn’t reach his face).
“These are very real dragons, each with a golden egg to protect. Your objective is to collect the egg.” the professor informed. “With in each egg is a clue to your next task.” He then turned to Cedric. “Mr. Digory, you will start at the sound of the-” A large BOOM interrupted and the professor left, giving Cedric the cue to start as he heard the crowd cheer his name.
Not long at all, Feliciano was alone in the tent. Judging from the cheers, he guessed that Harry just bested his Horntail and got his egg, possibly much easier than he would have it. “Four of our champions faced their dragons!” Dumbledore called. “Now for our fifth, and final contestant!”
Feli forced himself to go out there as he heard cheers of, “Vargas! Vargas! Vargas!” He recognized one voice yelling, “Let’s see if you like being the favorite now!”
“I hate it.” he grumbled to himself to answer the challenging, singled out voice.
Seconds later, the crowd was dead silent as Feli spotted his egg. He started to walk towards it, but a blast of fire blocked his path. His dust trail lead behind a rock as cries were heard. “I CAN’T DO THIS! I CAN’T DO THIS! I CAN’T DO THIS! I DON’T WANT TO DIE!”
“Remember your lessons!” Ludwig yelled over the crowd. “You know what to do!”
“Si.” he answered. “RUN AWAY!” He started to run back where he came, but the entrance was barred. There was no other exit. It was just Feliciano and the chained up, pissed off Ukrainian dragon.
The dragon blasted fire and a single cheer was heard “Go dragon!” in an Italian accent. Feli knew who it was, but first he had to survive the day before he cried to him for being so cruel.
As fire blasted in his path, only one spell he learned came to mind. “Incindeo!” he chanted, and it worked as a shield. The fire faded as he looked at the glistening egg. He waved his wand and chanted, “Windgodrium Leviosa!” He watched in amazement as the spell started to work and the egg levitated, but a grey claw pushed it down with such force, it cracked through the rock.
“RUN ITALY!” Ludwig yelled. Feli heard the command and was happy to fulfill it as he ran in circles around the field.
All the running around made the dragon dizzy, and the Italian got an idea. He ran so fast, he was running on the wall. The audience strained to stay in their seats as Feli started a tornado. He felt proud of himself as he ran on the wall until something was suddenly in his way. He tripped on the dragon’s claw and fell on its leg.
The Ironbelly teased the boy, throwing him between its claws and smacking him in the air again with its tail. He dodged fire blasts while he was juggled in midair until he finally had enough. He started to run away in midair.
He came up to the egg and chanted, “Depulso dragon claw!” and the claw was magically removed from the egg. Feli started to reach for it, but a wall of fire surrounded the rock nest. “Potrificus Totallus!” he chanted as he whipped his wand at the dragon and the creature froze tensely.
The crowd erupted in cheers of, “Vargas! Vargas!” as Feli walked up to his egg. It was too deep to pull out manually, so he remembered a spell he heard Harry use earlier. “Acio dragon egg.” he panted the chant as the egg flew to him so fast, it knocked him to the ground. He then held up the egg in victory in one hand, and a “thumbs up” in the other, indicating he was alright.
That night, in the Ravenclaw Tower, Feliciano was treated like royalty by the other Ravenclaws. He was sitting on shoulders as the egg was being kissed by the classmates and passed throughout the room. “Come on Feliciano!” one of them stated. “What’s the clue?” the student asked as he tossed the egg to him.
Feli barely caught it and smiled. “Who wants me to open it?” he asked as the cheers from the room were heard from the Slytherin room under the lake. “You want me to open it?” he teased. More cheers told him to do it.
As he turned the knob sealing the egg, the golden shell broke into three parts to reveal a screaming voice, like nails on a chalk board.
Feliciano quickly closed the egg once again as he was lowered. “What the hell?” he heard an unmistakable Italian voice from the tunnel entrance. Feli weaved his way past the sea of blue and black uniforms to see a single red dot in the dark hall. As the red got closer, into the light, brown hair shined in the fire light and brown eyes looked at his full of seriousness and sorrow. The single hair, longer than the rest of his hair, curled to his right side made his identity as well-known as his accent.
The brothers looked at each other for a moment. “How did you know the password?” the red head asked.
“That girl, Luna I think her name was, let me in.” Lovino answered.
“I heard your cheers,”
“…for the dragon.”
Feli forced Lovi to look him straight in the eye. “Why do you hate me so much that you’d cheer on a dragon for trying to kill me?”
The older brother looked shameful. “I know I shouldn’t have, but at least Ron and I warned you about the dragons.”
The young brother looked confused. “Hagrid warned Harry and me about the dragons.”
Lovino shook his head. “Don’t you remember?” he asked. “I asked Ron to tell Hermione to tell Harry to tell you that Pervarti told Seamus who told us that Hagrid was looking for you two.” Feliciano looked dumbfounded. “So it really was Ron and I all along.”
They looked at each other for another moment, then hugged each other tightly. “I love you, big brother!” Feli cried as he sobbed tears of joy into his brother’s uniform.
In the Gryffindor Tower, the Gryffindors were still cleaning up after their Triwizard Party for Harry. Ludwig walked around the room, wiping down the tables from cake icing when Hermione came up with a curious expression. “…Ludwig?”
“I couldn’t help but notice one of your cheers for Feliciano today.” she stated.
Ludwig closed his eyes and sighed. “Yeah, Feliciano is like a baby brother to me.”
“I just have one question.” The German looked at the girl, offering her to ask away. “Why did you call him “Italy”?”
Ludwig froze as he remembered. Did I really slip up? he asked himself as he then turned back to the expectant girl. “That’s just his nickname.” he answered nervously. “It runs in our family and friends to give each other nicknames of our native country.” he lied. “Sorry,” he backed away from Hermione. “I need to…uh…feed Gilbert.” and he was gone in a dust cloud.