Chapter 22 Third Task

This Harry Potter story was written for fun. All rights belong to the wonderful lady (JK Rowling) who gave the world Harry Potter to read and enjoy.

"Regular conversation."

Printed Word in letters and newspapers.

{Parseltongue conversation}

[Iggy talking with Harry and Neville.]

"The Sorting Hat speaking and pontificating."

On the night of the third task for the tournament, Hogwarts was overrun with visitors from the government of Magical Britain, Magical France and several central and eastern European countries. The 'kidnapping' of underage hostages for the second task set every parent on edge and displeased with Albus Dumbledore and the other headmasters. Madam Maxime had received howlers each day for a month after she permitted 'that Englishman' to use the eight-year-old daughter of the head of the French department of muggle relations in the contest.

Professor Flitwick and Professor Sprout made certain their students (and the Slytherins and Gryffindors) knew where food was available and the castle's house elves were particularly protective of the students with the visitors around for most of the day. Reporters and photographers continually attempted to enter the dormitories and they were all dumped in Black Lake. Several cameras were ruined along with Rita Skeeter's hairdo that day.

Late in the afternoon, Cornelius Fudge arrived with his guards and proceeded to demand that Dumbledore provide him with a portkey to escape from Hogwarts if needed.

"I have information about a credible threat against my person!" he declared. "I must be able to escape back to the ministry if I am attacked."

The Aurors in his personal guard weren't aware of any threats (outside the usual ones) but Fudge had managed to ditch Umbridge for the evening so they did not voice any questions or concerns. With some reluctance, Albus provided the minister of magic with a single use portkey that would take the minister and his guards through the wards around the castle and to any spot he designated.

Harry spent the afternoon with his family and friends. Lord and Lady Longbottom were popular visitors with many students and several girls made a point of speaking to Alice about her howler charm that still manifested on Dumbledore's robes from time to time.

"Witches are just as powerful as wizards," she reminded the girls. "And you have a female mind–put it to use and you can confound the wizards every time."

[Mom is in her element with talking with the girls about howlers,] Neville told his brother.

Harry simply grinned and said, "Help me with this cloak."

Frank shook his head and asked, "Why are you dressed for Halloween? This cloak is all for show and the billowing charm will make it easy for any creature to grab hold of you."

The long cloak attached to Harry's shoulders did billow behind him for almost five feet and it continually alternated colours–green, blue, yellow and red.

"The cloak pulls away if anyone or anything grabs it," Harry said. "And it will wrap around whoever grabs it too. It's all for show letting everyone know that Hogwarts wants me to be her champion."

"That'll tic off Diggory," Neville reminded his brother.

The quidditch pitch had been desecrated by planting a magical hedge across the length and breadth of the space and no one remarked on the remarkable accomplishment by Hagrid to have grown an eight-foot-high hedge in less than two months.

More than one quidditch fan groused, "We could still have had the quidditch tournament and just played the last game in April!"

This complaint was added to the list of items to include in the summary article for the Tri-Wizard Tournament that the Daily Prophet intended to include in the next edition of the newspaper. Since the boring task in the cold of winter, there'd been little if anything printed in the paper about the tournament, the champions, or the three schools.

Ludo Bagman fired off the signal that began the third task and Victor Krum was first into the maze. In second place, Harry Potter entered next five minutes after Krum. Then Fleur Delacour entered five minutes later. In last place, Cedric Diggory entered fifteen minutes after Krum had started. There were cheers from the stands for each champion as they ran into the maze. But then the audience realized there was nothing to watch. Fortunately for the audience, Lady Hogwarts decided that everyone should watch the progression of the champions through the maze and she conjured mirrors above the maze that reflected the actions of the champions.

In his first encounter in the maze, Victor met Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewt and the Bulgarian seeker used a dislocation spell to throw creature into the air and out of the maze. Landing within the wards that protected the maze, the skrewt responded to the attack by spewing out fire continually for the next twenty minutes and setting fire to the hedges along the side facing the forbidden forest. The skrewt moved along the wall of hedges looking for an entrance to return and blast the wizard that attack it, setting fire to even more hedge.

Harry hurried around magical mists, and advanced toward the centre of the maze. Fleur got lost in a dead-end and had to back track. In her frustration, she transformed into her vela form and was able to run much faster, dodge a few creatures, throw fireballs at another creature, and make progress. Everyone watched Cedric Diggory cast a spell that allowed him to track and follow Harry Potter.

[Harry, Diggory is tracking you and Iggy,] Neville informed his brother. [Dad is warning Mr. Diggory now that if Cedric purposely harms Harry there'll be reprisals.]

[Is Mr. Diggory throwing back the line that 'champions allowed to do anything they want'?]

[Yep,] Neville replied. [Dad just frowned and went all Lord Longbottom on the man. He told him the hit wizards would wipe out the entire Diggory clan in one afternoon in a blood feud if Cedric attacks Harry. I think Mr. Diggory wet his robes.]

Iggy chuckled, [My training is paying off. You are both growing up into wizards who won't take crap off people.]

In the maze, Victor encountered the sphinx and her riddles were difficult for the Bulgarian. He was forced to move in another direction and passed the vela who ran along, heading toward the sphinx. There, Fleur transformed back into her beautiful human form and had a pleasant conversation with the sphinx who enjoyed talking with another woman for a time.

Now, Harry turned a corner and came face to face with the large boggart that Hagrid had placed in the maze. Confidently, the boy-who-lived pointed his wand at the creature, waiting for it to transform into his biggest fear before he cast the ridiculous spell to neutralize the boggart.

But this boggart recognized 'Harry Potter'–the wizard who destroyed the dementors with invisible fire the year before–the creature knew this wizard could destroy the boggarts with that spell. And then the boggart transformed into its greatest fear–Harry Potter. The mirror over the maze reflected the transformation of the boggart and now there were two Harry Potters. As quickly as possible, 'boggart Harry' bounced away, trying to escape from its greatest fear.

Iggy said, [Let's go invisible for a while.]

In the magic mirror displayed for the audience, the real Harry Potter grinned and shouted, "Long Live Lady Hogwarts!" before he vanished. The magic mirror over Harry's last position moved around quickly and focused on the figure of Harry Potter bouncing along a path in the hedge. 'Boggart Harry' bounced higher and higher as it tried to escape from its greatest fear and soon it was bouncing above the top of the hedges. Then 'boggart Harry' began leaping over the hedges, moving away from the fire that raged along one side of the maze and toward the audience.

When 'boggart Harry' landed outside the maze, a seemingly inattentive Cornelius Fudge rushed forward, grabbed the arm of his target and activated the portkey Dumbledore had given him. The two figures disappeared from the quidditch pitch.

Seeing his son–the figure of his son–disappear with the Minister for Magic, Frank Longbottom rose to his feet to begin yelling about Cornelius Fudge kidnapping his son as the Auror security party began casting spells to track their. Neville pulled on his dad's arm and shouted in his ear, "That's not Harry! Harry is still in the maze with the other champions!"

Just then, Victor Krum did reach the centre of the maze and grab the Tournament Trophy! All four champions were magically transported to the winner's stage where the judges stood and waited. The hedges (that were not on fire) began to disintegrate, releasing all the creatures into the stands where the audience sat. There were attempted apparitions and then growing spell fire against the giant spiders, the blasted end skrewt, and the sphinx. The sentient sphinx turned and ran along the edge of the fire and into the Forbidden Forest, from there she would apparate back to her home, cursing all wizards for another thousand years. Hagrid attempted to rescue his spiders and skrewt but the witches and wizards had made mincemeat of the creatures before he could intervene.

Harry and Fleur applauded along with the rest of the audience as Albus Dumbledore named Victor Krum as winner of the Tri-Wizard Tournament and handed him the bag of galleons. Cedric Diggory pouted and plotted to attack Harry Potter before his father snatched his wand from his hand and growled at his son about blood feud and death. The few people who could see Harry Potter saw that he vanished completely after just another minute of applauding for Krum. Having not seen Harry since he stepped into the maze, Albus Dumbledore wondered, 'Why would Cornelius kidnap Harry Potter? Fudge isn't strong enough to be a death eater.'

'If I rescue Potter, Lord Longbottom will return my wand!' he decided and planned to begin hunting for the politician and missing student as soon as the award ceremony concluded.

Resurrection ++***++ CHANGE SCENE

'We are almost ready,' the Dark Lord thought. Struggling to take another breath, the body of Elmer Gantry continued to weaken as the spirit possessing his mind and body used more of his magic to maintain the proper temperature for the potion in the cauldron. 'I would be stronger if I had snake venom to drink this year, but there wasn't time to find and bond with a giant viper. And a homunculus form would have been better than this wizard.'

The Dark Lord knew this resurrection had to succeed. All but one of his 'treasures' were destroyed or dead and he would use the piece of his soul in the Gaunt family ring to combine with him from the locket to give a reborn Tom Riddle a portion of his previous magical strength. Using potions, he would regain his previous strength and conquer Magical Britain–in a year or two…or five.

Caught off guard by the appearance of Cornelius Fudge and Harry Potter, the Dark Lord jumped back and then blushed remembering that Barty Crouch, Jr. had used Polyjuice to take Fudge's place at the Tri-Wizard Tournament third task. His single remaining loyal Death Eater had returned with an important potion ingredient–the blood of his enemy.

Quickly casting a stupefy spell on the boy, Crouch tied Harry Potter to the gravestone bearing the name Tom Riddle, and then apparated Elmer Gantry to the nearby shack that was the home of his Gaunt relatives. Elmer stepped forward, casting spells that often failed but Crouch followed behind, casting more spells and clearing the path for Gantry to enter the ruins. Standing over the floor far from the door, the dark lord's current vessel levitated boards out of the way and then levitate a small box from the ground. Vipers crawled out of the opening in the floor and hissed at Gantry and Crouch until the dark lord hissed at them causing the vipers to curl up and die.

Clutching the box closely, Gantry allowed Crouch–who still looked like Fudge–to apparate them back to the graveyard. Just after they arrived, the Polyjuice potion wore off and Barty Crouch, Jr.'s figure took the place of Cornelius Fudge.

"Hurry, Barty," the dark lord said. "I can feel Gantry failing."

Crouch added the final liquid ingredients to the cauldron, stirred it twice, and then summoned the leg bone of Tom Riddle from the grave and dropped it in while saying, "Bone of the father!"

Then he stirred the cauldron once in the opposite direction from the previous stir. Then taking a pair of snips, he cut off a pinkie finger and added it to the potion, saying, "Flesh of the willing servant."

He stirred three times before windlessly casting a healing spell on his bleeding finger, and then approaching the sleeping form of Harry Potter. Watching his servant with a knife in his hand, the dark lord ordered, "Use a jug and get a lot of his blood. This body is weak and I need more of his power." the dark lord ordered his servant.

Transfiguring a bowl from a rock, Crouch took a quart of blood from the form of Harry Potter and then poured it into the cauldron, saying, "Blood stolen from an enemy."

Now stirring the cauldron four times, Barty turned to his master and levitated the box over, pulled the lid off and dumped the contents into the cauldron. Quickly firing a piercing hex at the wizard standing beside him, Gantry fell dead, and the spirit of Tom Riddle rose from the corpse to slide into the cauldron where he sought the company of his 'brother'.

Crouch began to slowly stir the cauldron while chanting, "Rise Voldemort! Rise!"

++***++ SCENE CHANGE

At Hogwarts, with the danger of the creatures handled and the fires put out, the reporters began speculating about the 'kidnapping' of Harry Potter by the Minister for Magic. More Aurors arrived from London with interesting news–Cornelius Fudge and his undersecretary, Delores Umbridge, had been found in a closet in the minister's office, both bound with rags stuffed in their mouths.

"Someone subdued the minister and then just left him there!" the Auror announced.

Another Auror explained about the minister being at Hogwarts for the past two hours of the tournament and Frank Longbottom announced, "Polyjuice. The attacker wanted the hair of the minister to take his form and kidnap my son, Harry Potter!"

Dumbledore sighed, drew his wand and began a long incantation to trace the portkey. "I shall rescue Harry Potter."

"But that…" Frank Longbottom began to explain, but before he could tell Dumbledore that his son had not been kidnapped, the headmaster left by apparition.

"He left without taking anyone with him! How are we supposed to help him?" demanded one of the Aurors.

"Dumbledore always believed he didn't need help," commented Professor Flitwick.

++***++ CHANGE SCENE

From the cauldron of bubbling potion, a strange figure rose–a combination of a wizard and lump of clay that opened its mouth to curse Barty Crouch.

"What did you do wrong? This feels all wrong!" Lord Voldemort yelled, startling Barty and the awakening Harry Potter still hanging from the gravestone.

Gazing at Barty Crouch, Jr. both figures picked out the greatest fear in the Death Eater's mind and transformed into an angry Barty Crouch, Sr. with a wand pointed at the son. Seeing the figure opposite him transform into the father of his loyal follower, Lord Voldemort realized that now he had the blood of a magical creature in his body. He was less than a mudblood now!

"This is ridiculous!" he declared aloud and despite not having a true wand in his hand, the spell flew across the space to strike the figure tied to the gravestone. While not the correct pronunciation of the spell, Tom Riddle's intent was sincere and the boggart transformed into another form–once again, it became 'Harry Potter'.

"What is happening?" Barty Crouch asked, watching the dark lord growing angrier by the second.

A dreaded voice came out of the darkness as Albus Dumbledore stepped into the light of the fire underneath the cauldron and asked, "Tom, what a mess! When are you going to come back to the light and begin to…?"

Dumbledore froze: the sight of 'dead' Barty Crouch, Jr. and the strange composition of Tom's current body, left the old wizard speechless for a moment. Not certain if this was the real Dumbledore or another boggart, Tom turned toward the wizard and shouted "Ridiculous! Ridiculous!"

The spell shot out of Riddle's hand and impacted the old wizard but the only affect was that his robes began spitting out teddy bears, baby dolls, toy soldiers and cherubs again.

"Harry, my boy are you alright?" inquired the headmaster just before Barty Crouch, Jr. reached out to grab the strange looking new body of Tom Riddle and apparated away with him.

The figure tied to the headstone started at the headmaster for a moment before it transformed into a teenage girl who struggled to breath as she lay dying from a careless curse.

"Brother…" she called before sinking back and lying still in death.

"No, not again!" shouted Dumbledore as he backed away. The headmaster apparated away leaving the boggart to return to its natural form. The magical creature began to wiggle out of the ropes before bouncing away from the graveyard. There was a house nearby with magical residue where it could reside for a few weeks to gather its strength before venturing back to Scotland.

++***++ Change Scene

At Hogwarts, the Aurors and professors regained control of the crowd after Dumbledore vanished. The photographers made pictures of the ruined quidditch pitch and several members of the Wizengamot grumbled about the Hogwarts budget that would be presented without doubt to arrange the repair of the field.

Lord and Lady Longbottom collected both boys and prepared to apparate home when Dumbledore suddenly reappeared and declared, "The dark lord has returned! Harry Potter was taken to a graveyard and made a part of the resurrection of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! Lord Voldemort is back!"

Lord Longbottom appeared opposite Dumbledore and argued, "Harry was not taken. He is here!"

Motioning toward to one side, Harry, Neville and Alice reappeared.

Professor Flitwick called out, "Harry, what was your summer assignment in Charms?"

The boy answered correctly (each rising fifth year student received unique assignments in charms to prepare them for the year they had to study for their owls).

"But I saw Harry Potter…and Bartimus Crouch, Jr. and Tom Riddle sitting in a cauldron!" insisted Dumbledore.

++***++ Change

In the deserted home of Bartimus Crouch, Sr., his son appeared with the messy form of the Dark Lord.

"Where is my wand?" the Dark Lord asked and the loyal servant produced the wand from a pocket and handed it over immediately. Without hesitation, the furious Tom Riddle cast Avada Kedavra and killed his only Death Eater.

Moments later, Tom Riddle felt the curses from the Gaunt family ring rip through his magical body. He'd forgotten to remove the curses from the ring before he added it to the resurrection potion. Glancing at a mirror and seeing his form, Tom Riddle transformed into the thing he feared most–a corpse. And the boggart-dark lord never returned to his form but simply disintegrated into a goo that spread across the floor of the deserted house.

++***++ END SCENE