AN: Sorry everyone, I wanted to have this out DAYS ago but work has been murder recently. I work in the insurance field and after Hurricane Ida came through I haven't had a moment to breath while on the clock.
A Chance Encounter
Humming to himself smugly, Dumbledore gazed out around at the hall, the students of the three schools gathered for the Halloween feast, waiting for the naming of the three champions. Apart from having to spend most of his early day away from the school, things had been going fairly well. He'd met up with Lord Moon in the morning to start negotiating a Marriage Contract and while things were going somewhat slow, he was confident at a successful resolution. Less satisfactory was returning in time for the feast to find that Harry was aware of the contract being formed, Lord Moon having apparently told his daughter what he was doing who happily brought the matter up with Harry after getting the letter. While Harry and the Delacours could protest his right to be the young Man's appointed Magical Guardian, now that they were aware he still was anyway, but it would take at least a few days for them to be able to get the ICW to schedule such a meeting to protest. Granted, he'd have to speed up his negotiations with Lord Moon and likely wouldn't get as good an arrangement as he'd prefer, but things would still go in his favor as even if they got him removed after the contract was signed, negating a signed and agreed upon marriage contract was far from simple, all parties needing to be in agreement at the very least to even start.
Ignoring the feel of Madame Maxime glaring at his back, Dumbledore noted the fires of the goblet turning brilliant cerulean "The Goblet is prepared to make its decision!" Dumbledore called out, drawing the attention of any who'd been focused on the remaining food from the feast. Waving his hand dramatically, he dimmed the torches and fireplaces till the Goblet was the primary source of light in the hall, all eyes upon it as the flames started to turn Gryffindor red. A stream of fire shot towards the ceiling before fading, a piece of round paper drifting down slowly for him to catch "The Beauxbaton's Champion is…Fleur Delacour!"
He saw several of his Gryffindors cheering for Fleur genuinely, likely Harry's influence, as the lightning scared boy himself gave the girl a proud grin as he clapped. "Well done my dear." Madame Maxime smiled at Fleur, the blonde brat ignoring him to shake her Headmistresses hand before going into the trophy room off to the side.
Noting the flames turn red again, Dumbledore reached out to grasp the rough and ragged piece of falling parchment "The Durmstrang Champion is…Viktor Krum!"
"Yes!" Karkaroff cheered loudly, the man's smug aura palpable as Krum strode up confidently, this Champion at least shaking both Dumbledore's hand as well as Krum's own High master.
Looking eagerly, curious if his assumption on who would get picked was correct, Dumbledore stared as the fire turned red for the third time, his school's champion finally being chosen "And the Hogwarts Champion is…Cedric Diggory!" so he wasn't correct, curses.
Letting the boy get to the Trophy Room, Dumbledore smiled genially to the gathered students "Well done everyone, well done. Now we have our champions so I'd…like…to-" his speech drew to a close as he saw the Goblet's flames turn crimson once again. A scrap of paper shot skyward with a loud whistling cry "Harry Potter." Dumbledore muttered before clearing his throat and looked up "Harry Potter!" his shout echoed as a single word ran through Dumbledore's mind.
Striding into the trophy room, Harry's mind was awhirl with what he knew and could deduce after all the lesson from Mr. Delacour, the three champions looking up surprised "Did they need us back in the hall?" Cedric blinked confused as Harry held up his singed slip of paper, the ink clearly old and partially faded but his own signature, probably torn off an old essay.
"Fourth year coming to this castle, fourth year someone's tried to kill me here." Harry groused as the three champions stared wide eyed, the thundering footsteps of various faculty and government officials heading down the hall echoing "Think if I get to five there's a free sandwich in it for me?"
"That iz not funny 'arry!" Fleur snapped, slapping him upside the head as the various adults entered the room.
"HARRY!" Dumbledore grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him into a stand of trophies "Did you put your name in the-!"
"Get off me!" Harry snarled, throwing off the admittedly taller but much frailer old man, wand in hand and between Snape's eyes the moment the greasy bastard started to open his mouth "Not one word out of you Snivelus."
"Mr. Potter!" Ludo Bagman gaped at the action, most others in the room seeming just as stunned.
"Albus Dumbledore just manhandled me. And Snape there ahs a history of slander, abuse of power, and mind rape. Not to mention his past history with certain groups." Harry scoffed, holstering his wand as he noted the one-eyed Defense teacher having a wand aimed between Snape's shoulder blades "Why is Snape even here anyway? I get the headmasters. I get Crouch and Bagman. But why is the greasy bat of the dungeons here instead of…oh, I don't know, the head of Hufflepuff!" he nodded to Cedric who gave a confused but appreciative nod in return.
"Back to the question that Dumbledore should have been asking." Crouch gave dry tone as the man worked to get the conversation back on track "Mr. Potter, did you enter your name into the goblet of fire?"
"No." Harry shook his head, holding up the paper again "And with how faded the ink on this is I'd guess someone got their hands on an old test or piece of homework and tore my name off."
"Your ministry gave their word 'zat protections would be put into place!" Madame Maxime gave a displeased glare at the Ministry officials a glare that makes the two grown men gulp nervously, "Do not worry young 'arry. I will do all I can to see you removed from this."
"No." Harry shook his head as everyone looked confused.
"I…I'm sorry I'm fairly confused." Bagman scratched his head "You didn't enter but you don't want to be removed?"
"Albus Dumbledore is using a legal loophole to try and force me into a marriage contract." Harry happily threw the old bastard further under the bus as Fleur growled angrily at the reminder from that little discovery made today, "And if I'm not mistaken then there are ICW regulations to emancipate Minors who get entered into competitions or positions for of age Witches and Wizards, at least until the matter is completed is it not?"
"Yes, this has happened before." Crouch nodded, the matter probably being why those trying to kill him this year were as confident as they were that it would work.
"So, if I'm emancipated then he can't write the contract. And it gives me plenty of time to work with the ICW to have any authority he retained over me stripped no matter what the loophole." Harry smirked dangerously at his declaration.
"Well," Fleur gave a mock arrogant huff "at least now I vill have some actual competition."
"Oi!" Cedric grumbled "Them's fighting words!"
"Indeed." Viktor grunted before smirking amused "Zis tournament does indeed promise to be most interesting."
"Um…yes." Bagman coughed before putting on his attempt at a winning smile, "Well to our champion's four I offer congratulations! The first task shall take place on November the twenty fourth. Little over three weeks as you must work and prepare for the unknown!" the man was bouncing in place like a giddy schoolboy "A test of bravery and skill, let's see what you make of this!"
AN: I'm curious, how okay would everybody be if I got creative and made original tasks? For at least some of the events.