In the Gryffindors 4th year boy's dorm, Harry sat in a chair next to the window, watching the sun set as he stroked Hedwig's feathers.
"Hey, Harry" Neville said as he came up behind Harry.
Harry turned and looked at his fellow 4th year. "Hey, Neville."
"So how are you doing, Harry?" Neville asked before abruptly saying, "I know, I know, stupid question. I mean I know you are suddenly the 4th champion in that stupid tournament. What kind of moron willingly enters a contest that more or less guarantees death?"
"Ron," Harry supplied. "The twins…"
"Most of Gryffindor. Cedric and a number of others," Neville added in. "Pretty much the majority of the witches and wizards in Britain."
Harry snorted. "Pretty much."
"So how are you doing?" Neville asked once again. "I realize that all of this… The tournament, the press, those idiots in the common room. So how are you holding up?"
"I do not have much choice in the matter," Harry admitted. "It is like nobody was listening when I said I did not put my name in the goblet. Besides, having the so-called Boy-Who-Lived in tournament is good press according to those in charge."
"Yeah," Neville agreed glumly. "I believe you. And I know that Hermione does too."
"Huh?" Neville looked at Harry in confusion.
"Hermione believes me for now," Harry clarified.
Neville looked at Harry in surprise. "You think she will change her mind?"
"Not exactly. It is more like what she will be told to do so. I think if the Headmaster or McGonagall asked her to turn against me; and claim it is part of the plan to draw out the person who really put my name into the goblet… I think she would do it," Harry admitted. "If Dumbledore asked her to do something, I think she would do it."
"She is a bit like an apprentice high priestess in the Cult of Dumbledore," Neville admitted.
"McGonagall is the current high priestess," Neville explained.
Harry chuckled. "Can not deny that. She does his job for him, on top of all her other jobs."
"She is either his high priestess or she is in love with him," Neville added in.
"And he uses that to his benefit," Harry stated.
A moment of silence passed between the boys as they digested that.
"So, tell me, Neville Longbottom, why are you speaking to the cheater and liar known as Harry Potter," Harry asked.
"To be honest, I am speaking with you because of something my great-grandfather wrote," Neville admitted.
Harry cast a curious look at Neville.
"This past summer, I read my great-grandfather's journal and to paraphrase since I do not have the book before me. Sometimes in life you have to choose to do what is right or what is easy. And what you choose will not only help you shape yourself it will help you shape your family," Neville explained.
"So, you chose what is right," Harry said.
"Not really," Neville admitted. "I know you were not lying about putting your name in the goblet. It was not a matter of going what is right or easy. There was not a choice."
Harry shook his head. "That is not true, Neville. What would be easy would be to turn against me and join them," Harry nodded to the dorm room door, "or to keep quiet and avoid attention. You are here talking to me, asking me how I am doing. That is making a choice."
"Harry, you have seen how they treat me. The squib. The weakest of wizards. The joke of Gryffindor. They would treat me the same whether I am with them or with you and I would rather support you," Neville admitted.
"You are not weak, Neville," Harry stated. "You are one of the strongest and most honourable wizards I have ever met. And someday they might realize that."
"That day is when I can take up the mantel of Lord Longbottom," Neville said with a smirk. "How does that Muggle saying go, I plan to crush my enemies, drive them from their land and hear the wailing of their women."
Harry was quiet for a moment as a smile appear on his face, "I completely agree with you, Neville the Barbarian."
"Let me explain where that Muggle saying comes from."
Harry laid in his bed, wide wake as night time noise came from the other beds.
"What is right or what is easy," Harry said to himself. "What is…"
Harry suddenly sat up and grabbed his wand. He cast a charm that made it hard for someone to hear what was going-on on his bed.
"Dobby," Harry called softly. "Can you hear me?"
Dobby appeared at the foot of the bed. Bouncing slightly, Dobby said, "The Great Harry Potter, sir called Dobby."
"Shhh. Quiet Dobby," Harry said quickly as he made the sign for silence. "I cast a spell so no one could hear us but I do not want to take any chances."
Dobby snapped his fingers. "No one hears Harry Potter, sir now."
Harry smiled. "Thanks Dobby. Ummm… I know you are still a free elf, Dobby but I was wondering if I could hire you… or if you want to be my elf. I mean you would still get paid and time off and if you felt like you need to be punished, we would talk about it but it would not be anything like what the Malfoys did to you," Harry babbled.
"Harry Potter, sir want Dobby to be his house elf?" Dobby asked cautiously.
"Very much so but only if you want to be," Harry admitted.
Dobby started to pull on his ears while make a soft sound of distress.
"You can not bond with me, can you?" Harry groaned.
Dobby nodded his head. "Dobby is bonded."
Harry's shoulders slumped. "Is it to the Headmaster?"
Dobby shook his head. "Dobby bonded to Harry Potter, sir."
Harry looked at the house elf in confusion. "Huh?"
"Dobby was a bad house elf," the small house elf admitted. "Dobby waited until Harry Potter, sir was asleep and Dobby asked Harry Potter, sir if Dobby could be Harry Potter's house elf and Harry Potter, sir said yes. So, Dobby bonded with Harry Potter, sir."
Harry blinked a couple time as he processed the house elf's speech. "Is that why the other house elves call you a bad house elf?"
"Yes," Dobby cried as he tugged on his ears. "Dobby is a bad house elf. Dobby deserves to be punished. Dobby should iron his hands."
Harry took a breath. "Well since you are my house elf now, then I am the one who will decide your punishment… which I will decide upon later. Right now, I have some things I need you to do… if you can do them."
"Dobby can do them. Dobby is a strong house elf. Dobby can do many things," Dobby babbled.
"Can you take a letter to Gringotts without letting Dumbledore know?" Harry asked.