A/N So I know I haven't been here in a while, sorry, I was trying to get my life together. I'm hoping to have a more normal update schedule now that things have slowed down. This chapter might be a little rough, but there's a lot of it so that's a plus. I wrote a lot of it while on vacation, and I left my copy of the Goblet of Fire at home so I was working off of memory mostly, sorry if I messed up the timeline too much. Also, today is the anniversary of when I first published this story, so yay for that. Also, thanks to everyone that updated, and sorry if the first paragraph wasn't as dramatic as everyone was hoping for. It'll get better once fourth year ends.
As always, unbeta-ed, sorry if I miss any errors.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter or Supernatural, or anything belonging to J.K. Rowling or Eric Kripke, I'm just using the characters for fun. I receive no money off of this story. Don't sue me.
Chapter 23: The Third Task
"What?" Panic clawed at her throat. How did they know about the Winchesters? And how had they gotten Dean there? So distracted was she that she didn't notice Cedric, Fred, and George swim up to her, bubbles encasing their heads. When they waved, she shook herself out of her shock, and waved back. Cedric grabbed Cho, and Fred and George grabbed Ron and Ginny, respectively.
'Are you coming?' Fred mouthed, pointing up to where George and Cedric had started swimming. Harry looked back at the hostages, checking the watch on her arm. They only had ten minutes left, and she didn't see the other champions nearby. She looked back at Fred, shaking her head and gesturing towards the floaters. He shrugged, as much as he could underwater, and swam up to meet the others.
Harry turned to one of the mermaid guards, asking what would happen to the hostages in the rudimentary mermish she knew.
Past an hour the prospect's black,
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back.
Her eyebrows furrowed. Surely Dumbledore wouldn't let the hostages die, would he? Well, she wouldn't put it past him for the dramatic effect, but the rest of the board? She chewed her lip, looking at the others worryingly. She wondered how John and Sam were reacting without Dean.
Krum appeared out of nowhere, half his body in shark form. He started snapping at the seaweed holding down Hermione, and Harry rolled her eyes, shooting a severing spell at the restraints before he bit the witch. Shark-Krum grabbed Hermione in his fin-hand, dragging her upwards. It was just Dean and the little girl now, and Harry couldn't see Fleur anywhere.
"Point me Fleur." The wand swiveled and pointed upwards, and Harry let out a sigh, knowing her next actions would be labeled by Hermione as her 'saving-people thing'. Harry moved forwards, cutting Dean out of the seaweed, then moving towards the girl. She was blocked by two tridents crossing each other, and the sound of mermish floating towards her that she translated roughly as 'one'. Harry tilted her head. That wouldn't do.
The witch backed off, pulling Dean inside of the bubble for safekeeping. Only, he woke up as soon as his head passed the barrier.
"What the Hell!?"
"Harry? What's going on?" He looked around, his eyes widening with the appearance of the merfolk. "Am I dreaming, or are those mermaids?"
"You're definitely awake. Now, I'd love to catch up, but I've got a time limit that's about to end and I don't want the little girl there to die on my watch."
"Hush now." Harry rolled her neck, then pulled up her wand, staring at the merfolk in front of her. "Deturbo maximus!" A wave of power was sent out from the bubble, shoving the merfolk away as they were hit with the energy, spiralling away from the statue and the little girl. Harry propelled the bubble forwards, severing the seaweed as she grabbed the girl, pulling her into the bubble just in case her time ran out before she could reach the surface. The girl woke up, babbling fearfully in French as Harry tried to move the bubble towards the surface of the water.
"Harry, what's she saying, what's going on?"
"Où est Fleur? Où suis-je?" The girl's tone was edging into hysteric. Harry continued their ascent, her head turning slightly towards the scared little girl.
"Nous sommes dans un lac." When this seemed to only increase the girls panic, Harry tried to reassure her. "C'est d'accord!"
"Potter, what is going on?"
"Almost there…" Harry broke the surface of the lake, and sped the bubble along the waves towards the stands where everyone was watching. She cancelled the bubble, allowing the two passengers to fall to the ground. Fleur came speeding out from the stands to grab her sister, the two of them speaking frantically to each other in French. Harry turned to Dean, who looked a little sick.
"What. The. Hell?!"
"What do you remember?" Harry asked as Madame Pomfrey grabbed them, dragging them over to a few cots and layering them with warmed towels.
"I was with Sam in a hotel room, and then I was in your little bubble. There's nothing in between."
"Well that's worrying."
"Harry?" Her two soaked best friends appeared, towels and pepper-up charms applied. They were looking questioningly at Dean.
"Oh. Ron, Hermione, meet Dean Winchester. Dean, these two." She flapped her hands at the three of them, making the awkward introduction. Thankfully it wasn't like that for long.
"Dean Winchester?" Ron's head had perked up, grinning as he shook Dean's hand. "I've heard stories."
"You're muggle friend?" Hermione hissed, looking worryingly around the platform, spotting the judges still conferring, the rest of the audience chatting among themselves. "How'd he get here? How'd they know?" Harry shrugged, glancing at Dean to see the confused look on his face.
"Harry, m'dear!" Harry looked over to see Bagman making his way towards the pair. She turned back to Dean, rolling her eyes and muttering to keep quiet before facing the man. "Splendid job! Well done."
"I came in last."
"Yes, well, there is that little snag." He looked over the group of teens, his eyes catching on Dean. "Hello. Ludo Bagman."
"Dean Winchester," Dean replied, uneasily taking Bagman's proffered hand. Harry stepped between him and the older man.
"Mr. Bagman, if you don't mind, do you know why Dean is here?"
"He's your hostage."
"Yes, but… Uh, Dean here is from America, which seems rather far away to choose a hostage from. And of course, there's the breaking of the Statue of Secrecy," Harry said pointedly, trying not to panic.
"Oh but m'dear, you're mistaken. The statue hasn't been broken. Sure, there was the slight chance of jurisdictional issues, but I can assure you it was only your squib friend here who was present at the time of his, well, acquirement."
"What did he call me?!" Dean.
"Oh, silly me, they have a different word in America don't they?" Hermione reached over and pushed Harry's mouth close from where it had fallen open. She gave a nervous chuckle.
"Mr. Bagman, if I could just clarify, my squib friend Dean here, who is a squib and knows about magic, was taken from America without any breach of the Statue?"
"Ah, alright then." Harry could feel a wave of hysterical giggling coming over her. She shoved it back with some effort. "Um, and if I could ask, how exactly were the champions chosen? See, me and Dean haven't seen each other in person since, um, second year, so I can't imagine how you found him."
"Oh, just a bit of magic Albus thought up. It spells out all the magical bonds, like a map of your friends, with the closest ones glowing that much brighter." Bagman frowned. "You know, Albus was particularly intrigued by Mr. Winchester here, along with his family. You haven't seen him in a couple years you say? The names were glowing especially bright."
"Oh, we write letters."
"Mmhmm," Bagman hummed, trying to sound interested. He looked back to where the group of judges were gathering, startling. "Oh, I believe that's my cue. It was nice meeting you Mr. Windsor."
"Right." Harry watched the man bumble away, turning back to Dean and the others. "Did he just insult me and walk away? What's a 'skib' anyways?"
"Squib, Dean. And it's really ironic considering your family's chosen profession."
"Just get to the point."
"I just woke up under a lake, still breathing, and now I'm surrounded by friggin witches."
"What Harry's trying to say, Dean, is that you're magical. Or at least of magical origins. Squibs are people from magical families, but they have no magic themselves. There must be a witch or wizard in your family."
"Dean, the fact that you're here makes it possible." Harry watched as his jaw tightened as he tried to work through the discovery. "Who do you think it is?"
"No idea. Most of my family is dead." The three of them were quiet for a moment.
"You know, there's a good side of this."
"Our cunning ruse hasn't been discovered by Dumbledore, leading to your probable obliviation and my being sent back to the Dursleys." Dean snorted softly.
"If I could have everyone's attention?" Dumbledore called out suddenly, the buzzing of the crowd dying down as everyone's focus turned on him. Harry watched, trying to decide whether Fleur or herself would get last, as her blatant flagrancy of the rules and time limit surely wouldn't earn her any points.
She tied for first.
A few hours later, when Dean had been deposited back in his hotel to meet a very worried Sam and John Winchester, Harry would laugh harshly while staring up at the curtains of her four-poster while wondering how she had again managed to flout the rules and still make it out on top.
Now, though, she just brought up a hand to her temple and massaged it as Ron and Hermione cheered.
"Well there you go. Moral fibre, gotta love it."
"Yah, thanks Ron." Harry saw a silver and purple figure making its way towards her as the stands emptied, and she groaned once more. "Dean, don't look him in the eyes. The bracelet I gave you might help a little bit with warding off certain charms but it can't help with legilimency."
"Miss Potter, would you introduce me to your companion."
"Headmaster Dumbledore, this is Dean Winchester. Dean, the headmaster." The old wizards piercing blue eyes swept over Dean, who, to his credit, did keep his eyes averted as subtly as he could.
"As much as I would like to allow you a few more minutes to catch up, the hostages do have to be returned. Young Miss Delacour will be returning in the morning with a contingent of some of those visiting for the task. Mr. Winchester, you can come with me." A flare of panic stirred Harry's stomach.
"Oh, no worries Albus. I can take care of it. Got the return portkey with me right here." Bagman showed up once more, taking Dean and Harry by the shoulders and jostling them thoroughly. " Go ahead with the others to Hogsmeade like you planned." Harry didn't know why Bagman was so enthusiastic about helping her or her friends, but in that moment she was glad.
"Why thank you, Ludo." Dumbledore turned away and glided back to the other teachers.
Bagman wrapped an arm around Dean's shoulders. "This may be a bit uncomfortable. If you need to puke, mind the robes." Bagman pulled out a chewed up pen from his pocket, presenting it to Dean. "Grab hold." The Winchester raised an eyebrow at Harry, but took the object when she nodded.
"Bye Dean. Say hi to Sammy for me."
"Wha-" The pen glowed blue, and then he was gone.
"Well, I'll be off. Congratulations again." Bagman left Harry standing there alone, with Ron and Hermione going off to their own saviors. What had just happened?
The next couple days, Harry enjoyed a more relaxed environment, with the castle settling after the second task and basking in the accomplishments of the champions during it, despite the curveball of the Winchester's apparently having squib blood. She should have known it wasn't going to last. She was in the middle of breakfast when Pansy Parkinson stomped past them, pausing briefly to fling an insult and a magazine in Hermione's face, before exiting the hall in a fit of evil giggles. Hermione unfolded the copy of Witch Weekly, her brow furrowed in confusion and then indignation. Harry leaned over her shoulder to read the article she was looking at.
Harriet Potter's Secret Heartache
A girl like no other, perhaps-yet a girl suffering all the usual pangs of adolescence, Writes Rita Skeeter. Deprived of love since the tragic demise of her parents, fourteen-year-old Harriet thought she had found solace in her steady-boyfriend at Hogwarts, Pureblooded Ronald Weasley, and her best friend, Muggleborn Hermione Granger. Little did she know that she would shortly be suffering yet another emotional blow in a life already littered with personal loss.
Miss Granger, a plain but ambitious girl, seems to have a taste for fame, with her best friend being the renowned Harriet Potter, and her recent romantic interest one Victor Krum of Durmstrang and Bulgaria's Quidditch team. Mr. Krum is quite smitten with Miss Granger, even going so far as to invite her to his summer home, stating that he 'has never felt this way about anyone'. One would think that the affections of these two would be enough in her quest for popularity, yet it seems Miss Granger is not satisfied.
Our sources inside the castle have let us in on a scandal of enormous proportions. It is apparent that the adoring relationship between Miss Potter and Mr. Weasley is turning tumultuous because of the actions of Miss Granger, with some students describing loud rows in the corridors between the two, with Miss Granger in the thick of it. Is it possible that she is attempting to split up this lovely couple because her need for notoriety does not coincide with the desires of a lovesick pair, and her jealousy for such a close connection to fame is causing her to go to extreme measures to rectify the situation and return attention solely to herself? One cannot be sure, dear readers, but our information suggests so. And is it possible that her position is not entirely natural in the first place, and her insecurity in the stability of her relationships with Miss Potter and Mr. Krum drive Miss Granger to lengths unheard of?
'She's really ugly,' says Pansy Parkinson, a pretty and vivacious fourth-year student, 'but she'd be well up to making a Love Potion, she's quite brainy. I think that's how she's doing it.'
Love potions are of course banned at Hogwarts, and no doubt Albus Dumbledore will want to investigate these claims. In the meantime, Harriet Potter's well-wishers must hope that, in time, she will learn to bestow her trust in those who have more well-meaning intentions, and that this message finds her and reveals the deception in her midst.
"I told you!" Ron hissed at Hermione, yanking the pages out of her hands and glaring at them. "I told you not to annoy Rita Skeeter! She's made you out to be some sort of-of manipulative mastermind!" Hermione scoffed at that, yanking the magazine back towards her.
"Manipulative mastermind? Ronald, if this is the best she can do, I'm not worried. I mean, it's garbage! And that's not even how love potions work, it wouldn't affect Harry like that!" She stood up from the bench, dragging her bag over her shoulder as she made another noise of derision. Ron followed, exasperated.
"Harry! You agree with me, right? This isn't something to mess around with?" He got up, following the two witches making their way to potions.
"I mean, it's pretty much libel, legally, but I don't see how it could be as terrible as you're making it out to be. It's Witch Weekly."
"A magazine that thousands of witches read. Like my mother." Ron blanched, his eyes going wide. "My mother's going to think you're a horrible person."
"You're mum won't believe that crap. Am I still going to murder Rita Skeeter for what she's done? Yes, of course, but I don't see how this exact article is the end of the world like you're making it out. I trust Hermione's judgement." Harry looked back when she saw the other two weren't following her anymore. They both had uneasy looks on their faces now. "What?"
"Harry," Hermione started carefully, "You aren't going to actually, well, murder Rita Skeeter. Are you?" Harry rolled her eyes.
"Really guys? Can I not joke about things?!"
"I never know when you're really joking, mate." Harry shoved Ron lightly, moving forward with a huff as Hermione nodded, reassured.
Later at dinner, Harry speared a green bean on the prongs of her fork, chewing absently. "There's so much going on at Hogwarts this year, I really wouldn't be surprised by a Death Eater conspiracy being added to the mix. Maybe that's why Moody and Crouch are working together, because of the increased presence of former Death Eaters?"
"You mean the one other suspected former Death Eater who came along for the tournament?"
"I agree with Harry."
"She's been right the other times she assumed someone is something."
After yet another day of sitting through one of Moody/Crouch's lessons, Harry came up with an idea on how to gather more information.
"Ron?" The ginger in question turned, almost falling off the side table he was balanced on while trying to recover a quill from Crookshanks, who was nestled safely on top of the cloth ceiling of his four-poster. "Why don't we just write to Percy and ask for more information about Crouch. Where is he all day, you know?"
"I doubt Percy would admit to any of Crouch's failings if he was under threat of cruciatus."
"Still it doesn't hurt to try," Hermione added her support, leading to the three of them spending the next twenty minutes drafting the perfect letter asking about Crouch's daily schedule without seeming too suspicious. Ron signed his name with the quill he had finally managed to retrieve.
"That should do it."
"Let's hope Percy doesn't think we're attacking Crouch's honor. Hogwarts couldn't keep out an angry Weatherby if it tried."
Distracting Harry from the Crouch/Moody business and the Tournament was a letter that arrived the next day. She cracked the mysterious wax seal, finding a missive from Arthur Ketch.
We've found several instances of villages where the ghosts seem to be especially active, with their graveyards becoming dangerous zones. There are muggle and magical graves, meaning this lies in your area of expertise. If you would kindly perform reconnaissance and come up with solutions to any problems observed in these areas, the organisation would be… grateful. Do try and not die.
Harry pulled out a separate piece of paper with the names and locations of five villages written in neater script from behind the letter, letting out a breath at the chance to go hunt some things and get away from the drama of Hogwarts. She finished eating, said bye to Ron and Hermione, then left to change and apparate out to the first location.
The first three villages were pretty calm when it came to the attitudes of the ghosts that were roaming the graveyards. Sure, they were fully formed in broad daylight, but they acted similar to deer in their movement and temperament, so she just put up a spell around the graveyards that would keep muggles from seeing them and freaking out. The fourth villages, however, were anything but peaceful.
Harry's feet landed on the ground with an oomph, her shoes sinking slightly into the soft earth. She trudged uphill until she came to the gates of the graveyard of Orilon. Harry pushed open the rusty gates, walking for a bit until sitting down in the middle of the graveyard. She pulled a wrapped sandwich from her pocket, settling in for what would hopefully be another quiet watch. She didn't even get to take more than two bites when she lost contact with the grass, her body being thrown sideways into a tall grave marker. Harry rolled as she dropped to the ground, her wand coming up first as she spun around, looking for the spectre that had uprooted her. There was nothing, just an eerie wind that wasn't there before. Harry looked down when her trainers made a crunching sound, watching as ice formed on the edges of the grass, the air growing sharp and biting as the temperature dropped.
"Come on, Casper, I don't have all day." Her taunt did nothing to make the ghost appear, but she did feel something grasp her left ankle. Harry looked down just in time for her ankle to be jerked upwards and then back down as her body was slammed into the ground like a ragdoll in the hands of an upset child. Harry scrabbled in her pocket for her shotgun in between concussive blows as she hit the ground on either side of an invisible fulcrum. Her hands finally made contact with the slightly grated metal, and she yanked it out, cocking it and pulling the trigger in less than a second. The salt rounds made contact with something, as she was dropped to the ground once more, her ears ringing. The shade of a little boy appeared in front of her, maybe seven or eight, his eyes darker than the hair plastered on his head from some imagined deluge of water. Harry tilted her head, trying to figure out if he was a magical ghost or not, when she felt the air freezing at her back, spurring her to dive sideways, just missing a spinning chunk of metal that had been ripped from the cemetery fence. There was another apparition behind her, this one a woman with a Victorian hairdo, the cuffs of her dress stained with dirt. She raised her hand once more, and the same metal spire shot towards Harry. The witch willed it to fly in the opposite direction, impaling itself in the dirt several yards away. She pumped another round of salt into the female spectre, turning back to monitor the boy to discover that he'd been joined by a group of other ghosts, varying ages, all staring at her menacingly. Harry was just beginning to think that this might have been a mistake, and she enjoyed a tactical retreat, running for the gates of the cemetery while throwing salt behind her with magic and muggle machinery.
The gate was only ten meters in front of her when another ghost appeared, blocking her way. She raised her shotgun, only to feel the difference of this ghost. It soared straight towards her, passing through her and bringing the feeling of an ice bath with it. She turned, watching the ghost move to face her as well. It was an older man, with a goatee as his only visible hair. He wore breeches and a long tunic, with a cloak on top. It was indistinguishable from any other thirteenth of fourteenth century garb, but Harry had a strong feeling he was magical. He glowed a different way than the other ghosts, and they seemed to gravitate towards him. Harry was suddenly faced with up to twenty ghosts, all of them crowding around the wizard, his aura seeming to strengthen as the others filled with power as well. Harry had a bad feeling that he was boosting the other ghosts. She had to find a way to burn his bones, and then all the others, without being killed by them all.
She focused on his clothing, which was very old, as she wasn't likely to wheedle a name from him during a rousing session of 'kill the witch'. She glanced to her left, towards a pathway that would take her towards the back to the cemetery, where the oldest graves were. The ghosts in front of her were growing restless by the second, seemingly waiting for her to make a move. Well, she wasn't one to disappoint.
Harry turned on a dime, bolting towards the back of the cemetery. She heard an unholy roar as the ghosts behind her flickered in and out of shape, following after her. She cast expulsos behind her after tossing clumps of salt in the air with her left hand, her right hand occupied with clearing the path in front of her. She skidded to a stop after reaching the metal bars at the edge of the cemetery. Luckily, the village had a separate collection of graves for the newer members, with the graves from before the 1600s resting in this one.
Harry didn't have time to manually dig, or even individually dig each plot from the 1500s and before, so she just directed her hands towards the ground, willing the dirt from almost a hundred plots to compact and rise, with huge blocks of earth rising into the air around her, ghosts held back only momentarily by a thick circle of salt she'd spelled around her. The dirt flew to the sides of the plots, Harry taking part of it and transfiguring it to salt, taking another portion and transfiguring it to lighter fluid, with an even blanket of both lowering itself over the area. She felt lighter fluid splash over her, being in the spell's radius. Harry cast the quickest tergeo on herself that she ever had, before launching a jet of fire towards the ground around her with a panicked 'incendio'!
Flames shot up from the ground, licking the grass as they spread out along the layer of lighter fluid, finding their homes in the hastily emptied graves. Harry watched from inside her fraying salt circle as two or three of the ghosts burned, crying out. Her eyes found the wizard, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she realized he too was a victim. Harry was chilled by his acceptance of his fate, the dark eyes never leaving her own as he shriveled, until he was gone. The witch straightened, her shotgun held before her as she prepared for a second wave with the rest of the non-magical ghosts. She wondered how she was going to repeat her performance with the rest of the graves, when the specters seemed to pause. She watched as their threatening statures relaxed into more static ones. They all seemed to shimmer, and almost trickle away like a reflection on a ripple of water. A moment went by, and Harry was alone in the cemetery.
She waited another few seconds before slumping in relief, her weapons dropping as she fell to the ground. She sincerely hoped the last village was peaceful. She really didn't want to deal with another case of what seemed to be a magical ghost's power mixing with a muggle ghost's tendency towards violence. She was already going to have to have an uncomfortable discussion with Madam Pomfrey, no need to add to it.
A day or so later in her increasingly busy week, Harry was interrupted from buttering her morning toast by a peck of owls separating from the usual rush, and heading directly towards her. They stopped in front of Hermione, bowling over a jug of juice and stepping in the tureen of beans, eager to deliver their letters.
"What?" She squeaked, as several of them extended their legs for her to remove the mail, while others just dropped packages from their talons. Just as she managed to free the birds of their burdens with the help of Harry and Ron, more would come in to drop new letters on top of the growing pile. Hermione reached in to open one, her jaw dropping as her eyes scanned the letter.
"What's it say?" Ron asked, receiving an answer in the form of the letter being brandished under his nose as Hermione worked through her shock.
You are a vile, evil girl undeserving of the opportunities presented to you. Harriet Potter deserves better than the likes of you trampling over her trying to grasp fame. I hope you are well and truly ashamed of what you've done to those people.
The letter ended without a postscript. Harry looked up at Hermione, unsure of how to feel. Ron had no trouble announcing his own outlook.
"I knew this would happen!"
"Ron, maybe now isn't the best time-"
"She's gone and made you this evil person and now everyone thinks it! It's hate mail, Hermione!" That seemed to bring Hermione out of her shell.
"I understand that Ronald!" She reached forward, picking up another one to open. "It's all so stupid! Why would anyone care enough to write me about an article in Witch Weekly?" She unfolded the parchment, crying out in surprise and pain when a thick yellow substance sprang from the letter. Harry looked closer, recognizing it from their last Herbology lesson.
"It's undiluted bubotuber pus." Hermione whimpered, looking at the letters in a new light as they piled up in front of her. Harry glared. She waved her wand at the pile, vanishing it.
'Come on, let's get you to the hospital wing." She grabbed Hermione's arm, helping her up from the table. Pansy Parkinson appeared in the opening to the Great Hall justy as they were stepping through.
"Got some fan mail Granger?" She sneered, inane giggles interrupting her attempt at intimidation. Harry kept walking, stomping hard on her foot as she passed, eliciting a yelp from the pug-faced girl.
"Sorry," She threw backwards, without the slightest bit of sympathy.
Harry managed to get Hermione situated with wraps in the hospital wing, something which took some time, giving her an opportunity to plot her revenge on those that thought it would be alright to send a teenager such dangerous mail. She spent most of the time turning her frustrations on the women behind it all, however, and a plan began to shape in her mind. Rita Skeeter would get her comeuppance. Harry would make sure of it.
The night after the hate mail had first come in, another letter arrived. It was Percy's response to their questions about Crouch.
"Well, there you go," Ron said, exasperation tinging his voice.
First of all, may I commend your interest in the Ministry. Maybe more than one of us will make it after Hogwarts. I have to be honest, I thought Ginny would be the one, with the twins and their antics, and your involvement in some of the more scandalous conspiracies put you off the path of the noble order and power of a ministry career.
As for your interests in Mr. Crouch's daily life, he is a very private person and it would not behoove me to reveal anything to you. Wherever he goes when he is away from work does not concern you, and you should be secure in the knowledge that I run the everyday functions of the office through the instructional letters he sends me.
Percy Weasley, Assistant to the Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation
"Well, that's about what I was expecting."
"At least we know that he's been out of his office and it isn't just a fluke by the map."
"The map doesn't lie, Hermione. We figured that out in third year when Pettigrew was in fact alive and kicking at Hogwarts."
"Yes, well, it's good to check your sources."
"With Percy basically doing Crouch's job, he's not likely to give up any information that might put Crouch under investigation. He has all the power right now."
"You don't think he knows what Crouch is doing at Hogwarts, do you?" Hermione asked.
"No, I think he's just drunk on responsibility."
"Back to square one." Harry sighed, nodding along to Ron. They had nothing.
Tuesday night in the last week of May found Harry walking down to the Quidditch Pitch with Fred, George, and Cedric. Ludo Bagman, once again making an appearance, gestured for them to join Krum and Fleur, and brought them into the stadium.
"What've they done to it?!" Cedric asked in horror. Fred and George could only stare. All across the pitch, there were uneven growths of leaves and vines. They formed misshapen walls, twisting and criss-crossing across the field. Harry just shook her head at the lengths the tournament had gone to screw with her life. Destroying the Quidditch pitch? That was a new low.
"Why would anyone mess with perfection? What is this?" Fred and George seemed to have gotten over their shock. Harry bent down to examine one of them.
"They're hedges." She muttered, the realization dawning on her. Bagman brightened at that.
"What do you think? They're growing nicely aren't they? Give them a month and Hagrid'll have them twenty feet high. Don't worry," He grinned at them, "You'll have your Quidditch pitch back when we're done." He bounced back and forth on the balls of his feet. "Now, can anyone imagine what we're using them for?" No one spoke for a moment and then-
"Maze," Krum grunted. Bagman was ecstatic.
"-and the champion to reach the cup first receives full marks, and quite possibly wins the whole shebang!"
"We just have to get through ze maze?" Fleur asked. Harry was on the same level. It seemed too simple.
"There will be obstacles, of course." If she had to fight another dragon- "Hagrid is providing a number of creatures-" Yep, two dragons probably. And maybe a three headed dog for good measure.
"Now, the champions who are leading on points will enter first, and so on. I believe the order is currently Miss Potter, Mr. Diggory, and Messrs. Weasley tied for first, then Mr. Krum, and lastly Miss Delacour. The order doesn't determine who will win, however, and everyone has a fighting chance."
Harry nodded, her mind straying to other matters. It was coming up for her annual dose of death, and she didn't really want to go out because of another Aragog or maybe a friendly troll.
"Well, if you don't have any questions, we can go back up to the castle, shall we? It's a bit chilly." He shivered exaggeratedly, and moved through the crowd on his way back up the hill. Harry turned to do the same, when Krum approached her.
"Could I haff a vword?" She raised her eyebrow, waving on Fred and George when they paused.
"Yah, ok." Bagman looked a little put off.
"I'll wait for you, Harriet."
"No, it's fine." She smiled. "I think I can find the castle on my own, thanks. She turned away to follow Krum, distancing herself from a still troubled-looking Bagman. They walked for a while before pausing in the shade of the trees just behind the paddock that Beaxbatons used for their horses.
"I don't vont to be overheard," Krum said by way of explanation. Harry shrugged.
"So, what did you want to talk with me about?"
"I vont to know vot is between you and Herm-own-ninny." Harry blinked, surprised.
"I'm sorry?" He just glowered. "Nothing. We're friends."
"The papers do not think so." And Harry suddenly understood.
"Look, Rita Skeeter is a bloated old cow who wouldn't know the truth if it hit her upside the head with a block of wood. Anything you read in the papers by her or her associates is just drivel that shouldn't be listened to."
"Herm-own-ninny talks about you very often," Krum said, still squinting suspiciously at her.
"Yes, because we're friends. I'm not stepping on your turf, alright? I encouraged your relationship with Hermione." Krum stared at her a moment more.
"You haff never… you haff not…"
"No." He nodded, looking a bit happier.
"You fly very vell. I vos votching at the first task." Harry grinned.
"Thanks. I saw the Wronski Feint at the World Cup. You really-" Harry paused, stiffening at the sound of movement just beside them. The trees rustled slightly.
"Vot is it?" Harry shushed him, squinting in the direction of the noise. She drew her wand when the eaves moved again, pulling Krum backwards and aiming just as something came flying out of the trees.
"Wait!" She called, just as Krum was going to cast. She recognized the ragged man stumbling out of the forest. It was Mr. Crouch. He trudged forwards, his dirty robes catching on the sticks jutting out of the ground. His knees were bloodied, and he looked like he hadn't eaten in days, which didn't make any sense, as Harry had seen him at dinner in his Moody disguise yesterday.
"Mr. Crouch, are you alright?" She leaned closer warily, trying to catch what he was mumbling frantically.
"... and when you're done with that, Weatherby, owl Dumbledore asking if he's approved the increased number of Durmstrang students attending the tournament. Karkaroff wants to extend the limit by another ten."
"Mr. Crouch, can you hear me?"
"... and then send an owl to Madame Maxime, because she might want to up the number of students she's bringing now, too."
"Vosn't he a judge?" Krum asked, edging closer and waving his hand in front of the man's unfocused eyes. "Vot is wrong with him?"
"I don't know." Harry looked around, trying to see if Hagrid or someone else was around in the darkening light. "Listen, you go get someone and I'll stay here to watch him. Maybe-"
"Dumbledore!" Crouch was suddenly manic. He grasped at the edge of her robes, falling to the dirt and scraping his already bleeding knees. "I need… see… Dumbledore!"
"Okay, if you stand up, we can go see him together," Harry tried to rationalize, but Crouch had a crazy look in his eyes, and would not be deterred.
"I've done… stupid… thing," Crouch breathed, spit flying from his lips, "Must...tell...Dumbledore!"
"If you come with me, I'll take you to Dumbledore!"
"I'm Harriet Potter, I'm a student at the school."
"No." She didn't know who he was, but his behavior was beginning to freak her out. He was almost possessed.
"Warn Dumbledore!" Crouch shouted, as far as his shredded vocal chords allowed him to. "Warn...him...Dumbledore!"
"I'll go get him if you'll let me go!" She yelled, trying to knock some sense into him. And just like that, he snapped back, his posture falling loose once more.
"Thank you, Weatherby, and when you're done with that, send a letter to my wife reminding her of our luncheon with the Minister. She should be arriving soon with my son." It was amazing how Crouch could hold such an engaging conversation with a tree. Harry was well and truly on edge, with his sudden appearance and attitude.
"You stay here with him, I'm going to grab Dumbledore." She started to run towards the castle, before turning back quickly. "Be careful, you never know who's out here." Harry sprinted for the castle doors, jumping up several staircases and taking all the shortcuts she knew. She was rounding the corner on the sixth floor when Snape appeared, blocking her way.
"Ah, ah, Potter. No running in the corridors," He tsked.
"Look Professor, I'm sorry, but I really don't have time for this right now." She moved to run around him, making it twenty feet before he froze her where she stood. "It is disrespectful to ignore a teacher, Potter. Twenty points from Gryffindor."
"Professor Snape, Barty Crouch is currently sitting on the ground at the edge of the forbidden forest having an avid conversation with a tree. He just had a mental break and gave me a bruise in his insistence that I warn Dumbledore because he's done a terrible thing. Please let me go and accomplish my task!"
"Ministry official Barty Crouch… is talking to a tree?" He asked, the syllables falling over his sardonic tone.
"Yes, sir." Snape rolled his eyes, releasing her from the petrificus.
"Show me." Harry let out a breath of impatience, turning to run in the direction she came, just catching the edge of a silver creature that Snape shot off, presumably to Dumbledore. She sprinted back towards the stairs, taking them several at a time, impressed somewhere in her mind at how Snape was keeping up without seeming to break a stride. She burst through the doors of the castle, running towards where she left Crouch and Krum. Her feet skidded in the dirt as she reached the spot, but there was no one there.
"Potter, the use of practical jokes does not amuse me." Harry searched frantically for the pair, gasping shortly when she saw a foot poking out from behind a tree. Snape swept down, casting a spell to lift Krum onto a stretcher. He shook his head as she started to go deeper into the forest in search of Crouch, leaving her to stand by Krum as he swept forwards. Dumbledore arrived a moment later, listening to a short explanation of the situation before following Snape. Harry crouched down, murmuring a 'rennervate'. She watched as Krum blinked heavily, squinting as he lifted his head from the coarse ground.
"Krum? Hey, are you with me buddy?" She waved her hand in front of his eyes, waiting as he sat up and rubbed the grit from his face.
"That's what I was going to ask you. Do you remember anything?"
"I vos standing there. Someone attacked me." His brow furrowed in anger. "Vere is Crouch?"
"We don't really know. He's just gone."
"He attacked me."
"Or he was attacked by the same person who attacked you." The two shared a look, broken only by the reappearance of Dumbledore and Snape.
"Ah, Mr. Krum. Tell us, what happened here?"
"I vos votching him. I turned, someone hit me."
"Crouch?" Krum shrugged. "Well this is quite the conundrum. We will of course need to perform a more organized search, I did not see any signs of him or anyone else within the area." Dumbledore turned, addressing Snape directly. "Severus, find Alastor. I would like him to lead the search."
"No need." Harry jumped as Moody appeared from the thicket, red faced and breathing heavily. She raised an eyebrow, wondering if it was him or Crouch this time. "I was walking by the forest edge and heard what happened. I'll start looking, Albus." Moody thumped forwards, further into the trees.
"Report back to me when you've finished, Alastor. Severus, Mr. Krum, Miss Potter, follow me please."
Harry paused for a moment, watching as Moody walked away, wondering if she just watched Crouch get recaptured by a suspicious business partner, or if Moody really had cracked for real this time. She sighed, turning to follow the others as they headed back to the castle. An hour later, and a thorough looking over by Madame Pomfrey, and she was free to go spend her time wondering about the situation in the Common Room as opposed to the Hospital Wing. Whatever had happened, it was a big development in her investigation into the Defense teacher, and she was sure the morning would bring revelations.
Harry spent the next week looking for transcripts of trials from the war, a resource which seemed scarce within the school library. This, paired with her workload in class and the extra 'studying' she was doing with the twins and Cedric for the first task meant that she had almost no free time. She stopped looking for trial transcripts after the fifth time she read through a three hour trial and found almost nothing except some more blatant miscarriages of justice. She relied on letters to Sirius from then on, which led to him expanding on their last discussion of Crouch, and her learning about his son's imprisonment and death on the island.
"Crouch is a total tosser."
"Ron!" He gave Hermione a look, and the already weak protest fizzled out. "You're right of course. He treated Winky horridly, but his own son?" Hermione turned away, writing her essay with a slightly more angry hand.
"What did he go away for?"
"I'm not sure. And Sirius was already in Azkaban when he was brought in, so he doesn't know either." Harry put down her book on botany, marking the magical hedges section. "There's almost no records in the library that go over trials or similar events. It's disappointing."
"What, that the library finally failed you and Hermione?"
"Yep." Harry flipped a page. "I only have two weeks left until this tournament comes to an end, then I can focus on the other conspiracies."
"If someone doesn't kill you before then."
"Love the enthusiasm Ron."
Harry had been so worn out by studying and preparing for the third task, along with her side projects, that she fell asleep during her arithmancy lesson. Her head slumped, leaning against the window as she fell asleep.
She was on the back of a giant eagle, soaring through the night sky. The eagle swooped down, over a town, cutting across a wide lawn as it moved towards the decrepit house covered in ivy. It flew through a window, into a dark passageway. Everything was silent except for the rush of air past the eagle's wings.
The eagle slowed, flowing into a darkened passageway, the moonlight blocked by a board nailed over the window. Then the eagle was an owl, leaving Harry on the ground in the dark room and flying to the back of a chair turned away from Harry.
Harry turned at the sound of whimpering, noticing two things on the floor. There was a man, lying on the ground shaking, and a large snake. The man turned, allowing Harry to catch sight of his face. It was Wormtail.
" Be thankful that my agent has done his job well, Wormtail, as he has made sure that you're blunder hasn't ruined everything after all." The high voice came from the chair, the owner turned away from Harry. "Even so..." Harry watched as the tip of a pale wand poked over the arm of the chair. "Crucio!" Wormtail writhed on the ground, screaming.
Harry came awake immediately. She was breathing heavily, the eyes of her classmates on her as she tried to calm down and remember the nightmare. The images were slipping through her grasp quicker than water.
"Miss Potter, are you alright?" Professor Vector asked, her face tightened in concern.
"Harry," Hermione half whispered, "You were screaming."
"I was?" She looked at the scared faces around her. "Sorry, must have been a nightmare." She swallowed heavily. "I'm alright, sorry about that."
"Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital wing?"
"No, Professor, sorry. I've just been pretty worn out by the tournament, I didn't mean to fall asleep." The professor still looked hesitant, but she had more review material to cover.
"Alright then." She turned back to the rest of the class, who were settling back into their seats after her outburst. "The magical properties of the number 'seven' are utilized in a number of fields…" Harry tuned out the lecture, pulling out a sheet of parchment and noting down all the elements of her dream.
Wormtail tortured (probably Voldemort?)
Voldemort has a body?
Big house on edge of village
She couldn't remember much else, but she had a bad feeling that the dream was another sign of Voldemort's imminent return, along with the signs from the ghosts. Time was running out, and she didn't think she was ready.
The day of the third task had come. Harry woke up early, feeling much calmer than she probably had the right to. She went on a morning run, heading into the Great Hall once the majority of the students started trickling in. There was an increased presence today, and Harry spotted more people in Beauxbatons' silks and Durmstrang's furs. McGonagall swept down to meet her once she sat down.
"The Champions have the option of spending the day with their families, as the attendance requirement for their lessons has been waived for the day. Harry nodded, going back to her toast. "Miss Potter, if you'll follow."
"What?" Surely the Dursleys weren't visiting the castle. Harry'd be slightly more shocked that they would visit her, but the meaning stood. She stood, following McGonagall into the antechamber that she had gone into when her name was first called for the tournament. Upon entering, she saw Mr. and Mrs. Diggory hovering near Cedric, a short man and a tall blonde woman with Gabrielle standing around Fleur, two serious looking people with dark hair and sharp noses talking to Krum, and-
"Harry!" She was dragged into a hug by Mrs. Weasley. "Oh, I hope you don't mind but we thought we'd fill in as your family. We didn't think those people would be interested in coming." Well wrapped up in the ruse of her living situation, Mrs. Weasley had the measure of the Dursleys. Fred, George, and Charlie walked up behind the mother ginger.
"Don't suffocate her Mum. Don't want any unfair advantages, do we Fred?"
"Maybe just some, George." Harry rolled her eyes.
"Nice to see you Harry."
"Hey Charlie." The five of them talked for a few minutes before gravitating towards the Diggory's.
"Ah, Harry my girl! I heard Cedric and you were tied!" Mr. Diggory clapped a meaty hand on her shoulder. "You know, this is the type of thing you tell your grandchildren. 'I beat Harriet Potter in a quidditch match, and then the tournament!' Even if it was with two pranksters."
"Now, now, Amos. Fred and George may have entered under the wrong circumstances, but they've done well in the tournament, haven't they?" Mrs. Weasley smiled, grabbing her sons' shoulders with some difficulty, considering the height difference. "And Harry too!"
"Thanks Mrs. Weasley."
"No problem, dear."
Harry spent the rest of the day with the twins, Charlie, and Mrs. Weasley. They went around Hogwarts, discussing how things had changed. After listening to several stories about Hogwarts in the past, and a thorough perusal of the grounds, Harry and the Weasleys sat down for lunch. Harry left with the twins after lunch for their final preparations before the third task. Soon enough, it was time to go to the field.
"You'll do great Harry!"
"Yah, don't sweat it mate." Harry nodded at her friends' assurances, focusing on what she would face in the next hour or so. The hedges had grown considerably, now looking intimidating stretched along what had been the quidditch pitch. She glanced over to see the other champions with their own family and friends, psyching themselves up for the final part of the tournament.
"Champions, take your places!" Harry looked to Ron and Hermione, grinning briefly.
"See you soon." She turned, walking to the opening of the maze with the others.
"You will enter the maze in the following order when I blow my whistle, with ten minutes in between each whistle blow," Bagman instructed, his usually jaunty attitude stifled by the seriousness of the last task. Harry nodded when he gestured for her to join Cedric and the twins. She stepped on the place marker, nodding to the others when she saw that they too looked nervous. Bagman counted off, the sound of his voice a buzz in her ears among the roaring of the crowd.
Then whistle blew, and Harry darted into the maze. She cast the point-me spell, walking through the hedge-lined paths as quickly as she could without giving up her awareness of what was around her. She was just behind Cedric when he stopped abruptly, the hedge splitting into two paths.
"Dibs on the right," Harry called, moving forwards."
"See you on the other side, Harry!" Harry waved as Fred called out, splitting off from the trio. She jogged through the maze for a good ten minutes with nothing blocking her path. She heard the faint sound of a whistle blow, and knew that Krum had entered the maze. She turned another corner, just wondering at the lack of obstacles, when she almost ran straight into a dark mass.
Harry backed away frantically, casting a lumos to bring light to the monster. The hulking form of a full-grown Blast-Ended Skrewt lay before her, it's stinger turning menacingly.
"Impedimenta!" She yelled instinctively, watching as the Skrewt was slowed slightly in its course towards her. She swept out her hand, casting a stunning spell, only to duck as it bounced off the skrewt's armor. She ducked the beam of light, shoving a stronger wave of magic into the skrewt. Harry watched as the creature slowed to a stop almost immediately, unconscious. She stepped around it, quickening her pace as she cast another point-me.
After ten more minutes, judged by another whistle blow, Harry was well within the maze. She ducked around the corner, her eyes coming up to sweep the path in front of her in an effort to avoid another skrewt, only to come screeching to a halt. There was a puddle of liquid darkness on the ground in front of her, pooling together to allow a figure to rise out of it. She watched in horror as the figure coalesced, turning around to face her. Harry swallowed in fear as she looked upon a murderous expression on her own face, but shrouded in a dark cloak instead of the red champion uniform. A sarcastic smirk made its way onto the figure's features, contrasting horribly with the death in its eyes.
"Hiya Harry. You woke me up again." Harry stumbled backwards, pulling out her wand to cast a riddikulus. The other her batted it aside with a swipe of her hand. "Tut-tut, you know that won't work Harry."
"You're a boggart."
"Well, yes, but I'm not a regular one am I? Your fear gives me power. Who's to say I'm not just the real thing, called here by you?" It stepped forward quickly, making Harry step backwards. "Boo!"
"I already told you, that won't work!" She stepped forwards again, and Harry leaned back. Only then did she realise her mistake, as she leaned right back into the leaves of the hedge wall. The stems immediately began wrapping around her wrists, immobilising her hands, leaving another step to wrap around her neck and pull her backwards. She was flashing back to first year as she fought against the stems and the fear as her boggart came closer.
"You're not real."
"Of course I'm real. I'm real, and you're going to come right back to me. Those leaves don't look very friendly, do they? How long can you hold your breath, Harry?" The witch pulled against the stems, panic overtaking her common sense. "That's right. Choke. Just get it over with so that I can go back to sleep!" The figure was right in front of her now, murderous smile back in place as she let a finger trace down Harry's reddening cheeks. Harry's instincts took over, and a burst of accidental magic exploded outwards, throwing the other Harry backwards and blowing a hold in the shrub that was trying to suffocate her. She fell to her knees, gasping in air while the other Harry got up, stumbling over a root in a very unintimidating manner. Harry looked up, angry now at herself and the boggart.
"You are just a boggart. Real big-bads don't trip."
"You're just fooling yourself into believing-" She cut off the sneering voice of the boggart by focusing on dementors, and how they make her relive her worst fear. The creature shifted into a dementor, and Harry shoved an especially strong riddikulus at it, one that the boggart now couldn't deflect. The dementor was pantsed, pink heart boxers showing as it's scaly hands tried to cover the patterns. Harry let out a single unfeeling 'ha' and the creature exploded into dust. She took a deep breath, gathering herself, before hurrying on in the direction of the point-me spell.
She shook off the feelings that had overwhelmed her at the sight of the boggart, moving forward into the maze. She had a feeling she was getting close, when her thoughts were interrupted by a loud scream.
Harry jerked around, listening, when another scream broke the silence. She ran in the direction of it, thinking of how it sounded far too painful to be caused by anything within the maze. She reached a dead end, and stopped. Harry turned, listening hard for another noise, but all she heard was the whistle of wind through the hedges. There were no sparks lighting the sky.
Uneasily, Harry turned back down the path she'd been travelling, hoping that Fleur was alright. She jogged steadily for a few minutes, skidding in the dirt when another yell broke the air, this one far more familiar.
"Fred!" She started running again, this time towards what had to be Fred and George. She flew around a corner, catching sight of George writhing on the ground, with Fred and Cedric lying unconscious beside him. Forgetting magic altogether, Harry flying tackled the figure aiming his wand at George, hitting the ground roughly and knocking the wand out of reach. George stopped yelling, breathing heavily as Harry wrestled with Krum, who was surprisingly easy to overpower. She only caught a glimpse of the vacant look in his eyes before she stunned him, casting an incarcerous before standing and hurrying to George.
"Ennervate," she muttered, pointing her wand towards George and Cedric while checking Fred over for any physical injuries.
"Blimey, that hurts."
"Fred? Are you alright?" He groaned, sitting up slowly.
"'M fine." He turned to look at Krum's prone body. "Git."
"Yah, I definitely didn't call this one. Although somethings not right here."
"Yah he just bloody tortured me."
"Fred?" George sat up, glancing between his brother, Harry, and Cedric. "What happened?"
"Krum knocked us out is what happened. It's not fair play."
"Well, now he's knocked out, so that issue's done with. Not that it happened before he cast crucio-"
"He what?!" Cedric and George yelled at the same time.
"The hell you are-"
"-So let's get this show back on the road. Harry, thanks. Now kindly move aside so we can get on our way and beat you."
"In your dreams, Weasley." Fred stood up, stretching his arms with a pained groan, before moving forwards with George and Cedric. They moved forwards together on the single path, turning a corner ahead, only to freeze simultaneously at the sight of a glowing cup at the end of the row. At once, their eyes flitted to each other, and then they broke into a dead sprint. George and Cedric were pulling ahead. This, however, stopped them from seeing the spider before it was too late.
"Wait!" They couldn't slow themselves in time, and the two of them slammed into the giant arachnid that had moved in front of the cup, blocking the path. The spider skittered forwards, barely missing George's chest with one of it's long, spear-like legs. Harry stopped, her feet sliding in the dirt as she backpedaled, shooting curses at the acromantula.
"Back, go back!" Fred ran away from the advancing monster, shooting beams of light over his shoulder. The spells did nothing to the monster, reflecting off of its body into the hedges around it. Cedric rolled to his feet, running to George to grab him and drag him backwards from the creature. "Get the legs!" Cedric, Harry, and Fred all aimed cutting hexes at the spider's legs. Harry and Fred missed, the spindles moving too quickly, but Cedric hit the mark. The acromantula turned quickly, now heading straight for George and Cedric. The pair yelped, running faster. Harry ran towards the spider, trying to think of a curse strong enough to cut through the thick outer layer. Too slow in their escape, the spider reached Cedric and George, the pincers striking out and catching George by the leg. He cried out, his body lifted into the air.
"George!" Harry rolled as she reached the edge of the spider, shoving her hands upwards and casting the strongest cutting spell she could. The curse cut through the underbelly of the monster, slicing all the way through and rendering the creature in two. George dropped from the open pincers, hitting the ground roughly. He rolled weakly, managing to get out of the way of the spider parts as they fell, shaking the ground around them. Harry let herself fall backwards onto the ground, in between where the two halves of the spider's body had fallen, breathing heavily. She looked over to where Fred and Cedric were hovering around George, attempting to mend the large rip in his leg. She stood, heading over to them.
"Everyone good?" George grimaced, poking at the edge of the wound in his leg.
"I think there's a numbing agent in that thing's venom. My leg is going kinda tingly." He struggled to stand, leaning on George.
"Well that's not great." She looked to the end of the row, the cup still glowing bright among the carnage.
"So what now?" Fred asked, glancing in between Harry and Cedric. George was breathing heavily into Fred's shoulder, shifting as Cedric came to help support him as well.
"You guys should take the cup. I would have been taken out by the spider if not for you."
"That's ridiculous Harry! You would've destroyed that thing. You did!"
"I wasn't focused. There was a boggart and, well… I just wasn't on my best game, and if not for your's and George's distraction, I would've been out." She crossed her arms backing away from the cup. "I'm not taking it."
"Well, then I guess we are." Fred shifted to move forwards, but Cedric's other arm moved to block him.
"No! Harry should win, she killed the spider and is the least injured of all of us. It's only fair." He gave her a smile, but she was way too tired to react according to her crush.
"Just take the bloody cup. Oh god, I've resorted to Ron's vocabulary." She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Just take the thing and we can get out of here."
"What if we all take it?" Cedric propositioned. She tilted her head.
"Well, it's still a Hogwarts victory, and we'd all win. It seems right." Fred nodded.
"All right. George?" George hummed.
"Well, I guess it'll be a good story." Harry agreed, stepping forward with her hand hovering over the polished metal. "On three?" They nodded.
"Three!" Their hands darted forward to grab the cup, and the metal glowed blue as they were pulled away from the center of the maze. But instead of landing in front of the crowd like Harry had expected, they fell to the ground in the middle of what appeared to be a graveyard. The cup bounced away, rolling across the dirt.
"Is this part of the task?" George mumbled as they got to their feet, his arms being thrown over Cedric and Fred's shoulders again. The Hufflepuff in question was looking around at the decrepit stones, his brows furrowed in worry. Recognition scratched at the back of Harry's mind, and she suddenly had a terrible feeling. She was turning around to face the boys when her scar twinged, and panic flooded through her as she whipped back around. A cloaked figure melted from the shadows, carrying some sort of bundle.
"Get back to the cup." Her voice was firm, urgency tingling at her control. Cedric gave her a confused stare as the other two caught sight of the same figure Harry had.
"Kill the spares."
Meep: The ghosts at Hogwarts are pretty grounded because the castle has so much magic, so they'll just act slightly off. So there's still no answer as to whether or not Dumbledore knows about Harry. And yah, I have plan to have Harry stick up for Luna more than book-Harry. I don't think this would affect Amara, at least I don't plan to include her at this point in the story. I don't have a concrete idea about how long Crowley and Harry's partnership will last either, just random scenes that I've plotted out. I think by becoming a more active hunter at a younger age, Harry already has experience with becoming harder and stricter in her hunting, so I see her as more of a grey character doing light work, you know. She might grow to feel more sympathetic towards the demons that she tortures, although I think I remember writing something in about her torturing those who have already experienced mortal wounds, meaning the vessels are gone for anyways. I don't know if Harry has considered the idea of angels, because all that she's had to deal with comes from the other end of the spectrum. I don't know about Luna at the moment, I haven't fully developed her character in my notes yet. There are a lot of different opinions on what the wizarding world believes when it comes to religion, but I think they probably have a mix of the older religions surrounding Norse and Greek or Roman mythology, as well as some of the newer traditions like Christmas, but still grounded in holidays like Yule and Samhain. The cup is a portkey, so you'd have to touch it. I have not finished season fifteen, I haven't really had time for the same reason I haven't had time to write this story. I'm working on it. I have some ideas about Harry in the show, but a lot of them have sort of gone out the window with the more story being more developed in the early years than I had imagined. Dean was more confused and in shock than anything, which made it difficult to play along to her schemes. I imagine she's going to get an earful when she goes back over the summer. If I said something about them meeting Dean in seventh year, I guess that's not the case anymore. Honestly, it was a spur of the moment decision, and now I have to deal with the consequences, which I feel is more my writing style than anything else. No that's not the big change. And Voldemort didn't have much hold over America, he mainly stayed in Europe. I don't know if that is going to change. Harry was much too worried to make jokes out of Dean this time around, but I like the idea eventually. The hair is in the handle of the knife, like the core of a wand, yes. I don't know how involved I plan on having Harry in Teddy's life, especially since I haven't decided whether or not Tonks and Remus will die, or if they'll get together at all. Harry is all those things that you mentioned, and likely to have mood swings between unaffected and sassy, and then emotional and more 'normal' because she is a teenage girl. As for getting your attention again, I'm glad. It was probably much too anticlimactic for you in this chapter, with the resolution, but it will be expanded upon over the summer. Thanks for the review, you always have great enthusiasm.
maybzyanne24: Happy birthday! And sorry for the near death experience.
DaughterofHalt: I hope it wasn't too disappointing with the anticlimactic resolution, but more on that will come during the summer.