Author: James D. Fawkes PM
Harry Potter can see the future, but it's limited to two minutes ahead and never more. No one knows, of course, but what happens when someone figures it out? Suddenly, the future isn't quite so clear.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Supernatural - Harry P. - Words: 10,640 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 151 - Follows: 182 - Published: 11-10-10 - id: 6467139
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By: James D. Fawkes
I: Champions All
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Goblet of Fire, page 268
Harry could not bring himself to eat much of the extravagant feast in front of him; perhaps it was because it was the second such feast in as many days, or perhaps he had finally succumbed to the excitement of the Tournament, as so many of his classmates had. The students of Durmstrang sat in their usual spots with the Slytherins, while Beauxbatons' delegation was seated comfortably with the Ravenclaws, as they had during their first night at Hogwarts.
Students all over the Hall, Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons alike, were craning their necks, impatient expressions painted across every face, fidgeting, and standing to see if Dumbledore had yet finished eating. Harry knew they wanted the plates to clear so they could hear who had been selected as champions.
Harry puffed out a sigh and turned his gaze up at the head table, watching as spectral images of the Goblet of Fire coughed out a piece of paper. Harry frowned a moment, then muttered, beneath his breath, "Krum."
At that moment, the golden plates returned to spotless saucers and the hall suddenly jumped to a fevered pitch in all the excitement. It died a swift death as the Dumbledore stood. Seated on either side of the headmaster, Karkaroff, Durmstrang's headmaster, and Madame Maxime, Beauxbatons' headmistress, looked as tense and expectant as their students. Ludo Bagman, a member of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, seemed to be afflicted with a broad, permanent grin. By contrast, Mr. Crouch looked as though he would rather be elsewhere, as if he were bored.
"Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision," Dumbledore said. "I estimate that it requires no more than another minute. When the champions' names are called, I would ask them to please come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through into the next chamber" — here, he indicated the door behind the staff table with a sweep of his arm — "where they will be receiving their first instructions."
"Delacour," Harry murmured so low that only he could hear. Dumbledore took out his wand and gave it a great, sweeping wave; in response, all but the candles in the carved jack-o-lanterns was extinguished, plunging the Hall into a sort of twilight. The Goblet of Fire became the brightest source of light, the flickering, blue-white flames almost painfully intense. Everyone's eyes were glued to it, watching, waiting. A few people would check their watches every now and again…
"Any second now," Lee Jordan whispered from his seat, only two down from Harry.
The flames inside the goblet flared suddenly to red and sparks flew forth. Barely a moment later, a long tongue of fire leapt out, spitting a charred piece of parchment into the air. Everyone gave a great gasp, holding their breaths.
Dumbledore caught it deftly and held it out so he could read the name printed on it by the light of the flames, once more blue-white.
"The champion for Durmstrang," he said, his voice strong and clear, "will be Viktor Krum."
"No surprises there!" Ron yelled over the thunderstorm of applause that followed and swept around the Hall. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry watched Krum rise from his seat and walk, slouched, up to Dumbledore, turn right along the staff table, and disappear into the next chamber.
Harry's eyes jerked back up to the goblet and his eyebrows knit, then he breathed out a single word, "Diggory."
"Bravo, Viktor!" Karkaroff boomed proudly. "Knew you had it in you!"
Slowly, the clapping and chatter died down. Everyone's attention was once more focused on the Goblet of Fire, which, a second later, flickered to red again. A second piece of parchment was flung outwards, leaving behind a trail of flames, and fluttered down to Dumbledore's outstretched hand.
"The champion for Beauxbatons," he said loudly, "is Fleur Delacour!"
Harry opened his mouth to say something to Ron, but froze before he could get the words out of his throat, paling as his eyes went wide. He stared, unblinkingly, at the Goblet of Fire, transfixed in a horrified manner. The girl who resembled a veela stood gracefully and followed Krum's path, shaking her silvery blonde hair proudly.
"Oh look," Hermione said over the noise, glancing at the Ravenclaw table, "they're all disa—" she turned back to Harry and noticed at once the look of stricken terror on his face. She reached out and put a hand on his arm. "Harry, are you alright?"
Harry didn't hear her, focused as he was on the ornamental cup at the front of the Hall. "Can't be, can't be, can't be," he kept muttering to himself. Hermione shook his arm and called his name again, worried, but he didn't respond. Silence fell once again.
Again, the Goblet of Fire turned red, showering sparks; the tongue of fire leapt once more into the air and Dumbledore snatched the third piece of parchment.
"The Hogwarts champion," Dumbledore called, "is Cedric Diggory!"
"No!" Ron moaned loudly, but no one heard him, not even Harry; the uproar from the Hufflepuff table was simply too loud. Every single person at that table was standing, having jumped to their feet, screaming, and stamping as Cedric made his way past them, grinning broadly, and made his way for the next chamber like Krum and Delacour before him. Harry heard none of it, still staring at the Goblet and muttering denials to himself. Hermione bit her lip and turned to find what had him transfixed, but found nothing to warrant his stare.
"Excellent!" Dumbledore called happily as the applause finally died down. "Well, we now have our three champions. I am sure I can count upon all of you, including the remaining students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, to give your champions every ounce of support you can muster. By cheering your champion on, you will contribute in a very real —"
But Dumbledore stopped suddenly, and Harry knew, with a growing pit of dread churning his stomach, what the cause was, even as everybody else stared and watched for what Harry had already seen. The goblet of fire had turned red once more.
Harry had, since he was a child, been able to see the future, but only two minutes ahead and only when he was involved in some way (and sitting in the Great Hall counted as being involved). He had known he would be sorted to Gryffindor before his name was even called, he had known that Snape was not past that wall of fire, he had known that Dobby would block the barrier, he had known that Lockhart was a fake before the man had even started explaining, he had known that the basilisk's bite would kill him but that Fawkes would save him (and that dodging that last lunge would have sent him into a wall and break several important bones in his body, killing him anyway), and he had known to stab the diary before it had even been set back in front of him.
This foresight had also allowed Harry to do other things, such as engage Quirrell before the Killing Curse could be cast, avoid getting bit by Lupin in third year, save him and Ron from Aragog and his offspring, and, his favorite, blow up his Aunt Marge before she could say what would have actually set him off.
Nonetheless, the limit was two minutes. There had only ever been one exception to that rule: meeting Hermione. Two weeks before the train ride first year, he had started having that vision of her, busting into his compartment and asking if anyone had seen a toad. For two weeks, he had waited anxiously for that day and, when it finally came, he had had no idea how to deal with it.
His foresight was also a curse, however, because the future changed every time he looked at it because he looked at it. Everyday, he saw all of the possibilities, all of the horrible things that could happen to him, and had since become desensitized by it. He was no longer bothered by the idea of his own death.
Harry had seen what would happen, a future that he could not change. The Goblet of Fire had spit out the names Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory, and he knew what would happen next. And, just as he had seen it, a long tongue of flame shot into the air, carrying another piece of parchment.
Absentmindedly, as though it were an automatic response, Dumbledore reached out and grasped the parchment in a single, long hand. He held it out with something like disbelief written on his face; there was a long pause as he stared at it, and everyone stared at him. Then he looked up at the hall and in a faint voice said the name on the parchment.
Even two minutes after having foreseen it, Harry could not move a muscle. He was numbly aware that every head in the Great Hall had turned to look at him, but he was stuck in a daze, wondering at how surreal the whole situation seemed. Even knowing that it would happen, he could not shake his own disbelief, the feeling that this must surely be a dream.
No applause followed the solemn announcement. Instead, a sort of buzzing, like a swarm of angry bees, was starting to grow, filling the Hall slowly; some of Harry's classmates were standing up to get a better look at him, even as he sat, frozen, stuck to his seat.
At the staff table, Professor McGonagall stood and rushed past Ludo Bagman and Professor Karkaroff, whispering urgently to Professor Dumbledore, who had bent his ear in her direction, a frown tugging at his lips.
Harry took in a breath as multiple futures swept past his eyes and immediately turned to Hermione and Ron; on the periphery, he saw the rest of Gryffindor table, all staring at him with open mouths. He knew he was probably white as a ghost.
"I didn't put my name in," Harry breathed. "You know I didn't."
Both of them just stared at him blankly. In Hermione's eyes, Harry saw surprise, amazement, and a sort of shrewd calculation. With something of a jolt, he realized that she knew, or at least suspected, that he had seen the goblet spit his name out before it happened.
At the staff table, Dumbledore straightened up and nodded to Professor McGonagall.
"Harry Potter!" he called a second time. "Harry! Up here, if you please!"
"Harry," Hermione whispered, her hand still on his arm. He turned to look at her. She gave him a slight push. "Go."
Harry got to his feet and stumbled for good measure, not bothering to avoid the hem of his robes as they tried to trip him. His eyes swept around, watching the different possible futures as he set off up the gap of the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables. The walk felt incredibly, impossibly long; no matter how much he walked, the head table seemed to get no nearer than the step before, and he could feel hundreds of eyes on his back, boring into his body like drills. The buzzing grew louder and louder until it filled his ears and left them ringing. After what felt like an hour, he stood in front of Dumbledore, the stares of all of the teachers burning into his head.
"Well…through the door, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly. There wasn't a single trace of a smile on his face.
Harry opened his mouth to speak, but, when he saw what would come of it, he snapped it shut again and walked along the staff table. Hagrid was seated at the very end. He gave none of his usual signs of greetings, as Harry knew he wouldn't, simply stared at Harry as he passed, just like everyone else. He looked completely astonished. Hesitating slightly, Harry went through the door out of the Great Hall and entered a much smaller room, lined with paintings of witches and wizards. A fire roared in the fireplace opposite him.
The people in the paintings turned to look at him the moment he opened the door. The old witch in one portrait fled to a nearby one, containing a wizard with a walrus-like mustache, and started whispering in his ear.
The other champions, Krum, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory, were grouped around the fire. Harry could not help but feel impressed, even having seen it coming, by their being silhouetted against the flames. Krum, slouched and looking as if he were ruminating on the meaning of life and the universe, leaned up against the mantelpiece, separated slightly from the other two. Cedric stood with his hands clasped behind his back, staring into the blaze. Fleur looked around when Harry walked in and only knowing that she would do so prevented him from being enamored by the flow of her silvery hair as she threw it back.
"What is it?" she asked. "Do zey want us back in ze Hall?"
Harry made to answer her, slightly offended that she thought he was delivering a message, then snapped it shut again and watched the other possibilities play out before him, frowning. He let out a sigh.
"Three," he murmured, drawing strange looks from the others, "two…one…"
The door burst open and Ludo Bagman rushed in, ignorant of Harry's second sigh as Bagman took him by the arm and led him forward.
"Extraordinary!" Bagman muttered, squeezing Harry's arm. It was anything but reassuring. "Absolutely extraordinary! Gentlemen…lady," he added a moment later, approaching the fireside and addressing the other three. "May I introduce — incredible as it may seem — the fourth Triwizard champion?"
Harry rolled his eyes as Krum straightened, his face darkened as he sized Harry up and down. Cedric looked like he thought he had heard wrong. He was glancing from Bagman to Harry as though he could not believe his ears. Fleur, however, tossed her hair back and smiled, saying, "Oh, vairy funny joke, Meester Bagman."
"Joke?" Bagman repeated, blinking incredulously. "No, no, not at all! Harry's name just came out of the Goblet of Fire!"
"Though I wish it were a joke," Harry mumbled to himself.
Krum's thick eyebrows knit together. Cedric still looked nonplussed. Fleur, on the other hand, frowned.
"But evidently zair 'as been a mistake," she said, voice dripping with contempt. "'E cannot compete. 'E is too young."
"Well…it is amazing," Bagman rubbed his smooth chin, smiling down at Harry. "But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. And as his name's come out of the goblet…I mean, I don't think there can be any ducking out at this stage…It's down in the rules, you're obliged…Harry will just have to do the best he —"
Harry scowled. Little boy?
The door burst open again, admitting Professor Dumbledore, Mr. Crouch, Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape. Harry heard the buzzing of the remaining students on the other side of the wall, grimacing until McGonagall shut the door.
"Madame Maxime!" Fleur said at once, striding quickly over to her headmistress. "Zey are saying zat zis little boy is to compete also!"
"This little boy is big enough for you," Harry remarked under his breath crudely. He saw Cedric's lips twitch slightly, threatening to smile, and ignored the glare from his Head of House. No one else had heard but Professor Snape, whose own mouth twitched — though whether it was from threat of scowl or smirk, Harry wasn't sure. There were an equal number of possibilities for both.
Madame Maxime drew herself up to her full, and not inconsiderable, height. The top of her head brushed the candle-filled chandelier and her chest swelled.
"What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?" she asked imperiously.
"I'd rather like to know that myself, Dumbledore," Professor Karkaroff said with a steely smile. "Two Hogwarts champions? I don't remember anyone telling me the host school is allowed two champions — or have I not read the rules carefully enough?"
He laughed, short and nasty. Harry bit his tongue; he had decided in the beginning to let this play out mostly without interference. It would be over quicker the less he interfered and then he could go up to his dorm and think over what had happened.
"C'est impossible," Madame Maxime said, her enormous hand resting on Fleur's shoulder. "'Ogwarts cannot 'ave two champions. It is most unjust."
"We were under the impression that your Age Line would keep out younger contestants, Dumbledore," Karkaroff said, his eyes cold. "Otherwise, we would, of course, have brought along a wider selection of candidates from our own schools."
"It's no one's fault but Potter's, Karkaroff," Snape said softly. His black eyes bored maliciously into Harry's, and it was all Harry could do not to retort. "Don't go blaming Dumbledore for Potter's determination to break the rules. He has been crossing lines ever since he arrived here —"
"Thank you, Severus," Dumbledore said firmly, and Snape's mouth snapped shut. Dumbledore turned his blue eyes to Harry's, peering at him with a most solemn look on his face. Harry knew the question that was coming.
"No, sir," he said quietly, knowing that every pair of eyes in the room was now fixed upon him. He turned a very vehement glare at Snape, who made a noise of impatient disbelief a second later, "I did not enter my name, I did not ask an older student, and unless you've got a very restricted magical artifact, there's nothing I can do about the fact that it came out of the Goblet."
"Ah, but of course 'e is lying!" Madame Maxime cried disbelievingly.
"He could not have crossed the Age Line," Professor McGonagall said sharply. "I'm sure we are all agreed on that —"
"Dumbly-dorr must 'ave made a mistake wiz ze line," Mad Maxime shot back, shrugging.
"Professor Dumbledore did not make a mistake with the Age Line," Harry insisted vehemently, "and I did not cross it!"
"Really, what nonsense!" Professor McGonagall agreed angrily. "Harry could not have crossed the line himself, and as Professor Dumbledore believes that he did not persuade an older student to do it for him, I'm sure that should be good enough for everybody else!"
She shot Snape a venomous glare. For a moment, Harry's face turned sour, like he had been force fed a particularly distasteful candy, but it was gone in a flash.
"Mr. Crouch…Mr. Bagman," Karkaroff said politely, "you are our — er — objective judges. Surely you agree that this is most irregular?"
Bagman wiped his face nervously, looking to Mr. Crouch, whose face was half hidden in shadow. He looked eerie like that, giving his features an almost skull-like appearance. Contrarily, he spoke in his usual curt tone.
"We must follow the rules, and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the tournament."
"Well, Barty knows the rule book back to front," Bagman said, beaming, as though that was the end of the matter.
"I insist upon resubmitting the names of the rest of my students," Karkaroff said. The oily tone and smile had vanished and he now wore a very ugly expression. "You will set up the Goblet of Fire once more, and we will continue adding names until each school has two champions. It's only fair, Dumbledore."
"But it doesn't work like that, Karkaroff," Bagman said. "The Goblet of Fire's just gone out. It won't reignite until the start of the next tournament —"
Harry closed his eyes and started counting underneath his breath again.
"—In which Durmstrang will most certainly not be competing!" Karkaroff yelled angrily. "After all our meetings and negotiations and compromises, I little expected something of this nature to occur! I have half a mind to leave now!"
"Hello, Moody," Harry murmured so quietly that no one heard him.
"Empty threat, Karkaroff," Moody's voice growled from the door. "You can't leave your champion now. He's got to compete. They've all got to compete. Binding magical contract, like Dumbledore said. Convenient, eh?"
Moody hobbled into the room, limping towards the fire with a loud clunk every other step.
"Convenient?" Karkaroff asked, his voice disdainful. The clenching of his fists, however, gave him away. "I'm afraid I don't understand."
"Don't you?" Moody asked quietly. "It's very simple, Karkaroff. Someone put Potter's name in that goblet knowing he'd have to compete if it came out."
"Evidently, someone 'oo wished to give 'Ogwarts two bites at ze apple!" Madam Maxime said.
"If only I were that lucky," Harry mumbled under his breath.
"I quite agree, Madam Maxime," Karkaroff said, bowing to her. "I shall be lodging complaints with the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards —"
"If anyone's got reason to complain, it's Potter," Moody growled, "but…funny thing…I don't hear him saying a word…"
"That's more because no one wants to listen," Harry said quietly.
"Why should 'e complain?" Fleur demanded, stomping her foot. "'E 'as ze chance to compete, 'asn't 'e? We 'ave all been 'oping to be chosen for weeks and weeks! Ze honor for our schools! A thousand Galleons in prize money — zis is a chance many would die for!"
"Maybe someone's hoping Potter is going to die for it," Moody suggested.
A very tense silence followed that statement. Harry broke it.
"I don't suppose we could get on with it?"
Karkaroff sneered, but focused on Moody, "And we all know that Professor Moody considers the morning wasted if he hasn't discovered six plots against his life before lunchtime. Apparently he is instilling such fears into his students, too. An odd quality in a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to be sure, Dumbledore, but you must have had your reasons."
"I thought not," Harry said, sighing, "but it was worth a try."
"Imagining things, am I?" Moody growled. "It was a skilled witch or wizard what put his name in that goblet…"
The possibilities unraveled again and Harry had to control the expression on his face so as not to betray the shock of what he had just learned from one of the possible futures.
"And what evidence is zere of zat?" Madam Maxime asked pointedly.
"Because they would have needed a very strong Confundus Charm to hoodwink such a powerful magical artifact into believing there were four schools to compete instead of three," Harry interrupted impatiently. Harry shot Moody a meaningful look that seemed to go unnoticed. "As Professor Moody was about to explain."
"Like Potter said," Moody agreed in his usual growl. "I think someone submitted Potter's name under a fourth school so that he'd be the only one in his category…"
"You seem to have given this a lot of thought, Moody," Karkaroff said acidly, "and — "
"And all of this posturing and arguing will get us nowhere," Harry interrupted again. "Can we move on to what we're supposed to do? I don't know about the rest of us, but I'm getting tired of all these carefully veiled insults you guys keep flinging back and forth."
"With which, I must agree," Dumbledore said calmly. "How this situation arose, we do not know. It seems to me, however, that we have no choice but to accept it. Both Harry and Cedric have been chosen to compete in the Tournament. This, therefore, they will do…"
"Ah, but Dumbly-dorr…" Madam Maxime began.
"My dear, if you have an alternative, I would be delighted to hear it."
Dumbledore waited, but she did not speak again, merely glared. Several others were in similar distempers: Karkaroff looked livid; Snape furious; Bagman, however, looked both relieved at the diffusion of the argument and excited by the situation.
"Well, shall we crack on, then?" he asked, rubbing his hands together excitedly. "Got to give our champions their instructions, haven't we? Barty, want to do the honors?"
Mr. Crouch gave a slight jerk, as though pulled from deep contemplation.
"Yes," he said, "instructions. Yes…the first task…"
He moved into the firelight. He looked even more tired than Harry had foreseen, with dark shadows under his eyes and a papery look about his skin that Harry could not recall being there during the Quidditch World Cup.
"The first task is to test your daring," he told the four champions, "so we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard…very important…The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges. The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament. The champions will face the first challenge armed only with their wands. They will receive information about the second task when the first is over. Owing to the demanding and time-consuming nature of the tournament, the champions are exempted from end-of-year tests."
Crouch turned to look at Dumbledore.
"I think that's all, is it, Albus?"
"I think so," Dumbledore said, casting Mr. Crouch a worried look. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"
"No, Dumbledore, I must get back to the Ministry," Mr. Crouch said. "It's a very busy, very difficult time at the moment…I've left young Weatherby in charge…Very enthusiastic…a little overenthusiastic, if truth be told…"
"Come on, Barty, I'm staying!" Bagman said brightly. "It's all happening at Hogwarts, now, you know—"
Harry tuned them out, choosing instead to observe the other champions as they pondered the information they'd been given; Cedric was frowning thoughtfully and Krum still had that brooding look to him, but Fleur was talking in rapid-fire French with Madam Maxime, making wild gestures with her hands.
A moment later, Karkaroff and Maxime beckoned to their respective students and left, Fleur and Maxime still talking while Krum and Karkaroff were silent. As soon as they had left, Dumbledore turned to Harry and Cedric and Harry let out an inaudible sigh of relief.
"Harry, Cedric, I suggest you go up to bed," Dumbledore said, smiling for what seemed to be the first time since the fiasco had begun. "I am sure Gryffindor and Hufflepuff are waiting to celebrate with you, and it would be a shame to deprive them of this most excellent excuse to make a great deal of mess and noise."
Harry spared a quick glance at his fellow champion and both left together.
The Great Hall was deserted. The candles had burned down low, giving and eerie quality to the jagged grins of the Jack-o-lanterns.
"So," Cedric said, smiling slightly. "We're playing against each other again!"
"I suppose," Harry ceded grudgingly. He didn't think he'd be playing so much as trying to keep up. All kinds of different futures were flitting about before his eyes and each one made him that much more weary. "And before you ask, because I know you will, I didn't put my name in. But then, you won't believe that, will you?"
"Ah," Cedric said, looking sheepish, as though he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "Well…see you, then."
Cedric head to the door to the right of the marble staircase and Harry waited a moment before he slowly, dreading every step, made his way up the marble stairs. The revelation he'd been given by one of his possible futures churned restlessly in his stomach, making him feel queasy and sick. But as much as he was sure that what he had seen was real, he had no proof. How would he explain how he knew what he did? It would be impossible.
It's wasn't a particularly useful piece of information, either. His vision hadn't stretched far enough for the minute details, just enough for what he had seen. And what could he do about it? No matter what, it all came down to proof, and his lack of it. Dumbledore might believe it, but he might also just wave it off as paranoia. Harry could do nothing but wait it out and be cautious.
He was jerked from his thoughts by the realization that he was about to reach the Fat Lady and looked up as his feet carried him into her view. Another witch had joined her in her portrait, and she must have run through all of the pictures lining the staircases to make it up here before him. Both women in the picture turned to him with the keenest interest.
"Balderdash," Harry said dully, before they could start.
The Fat Lady, who'd opened her mouth to speak, snapped it shut with a click and swung forward on her hinges, opening the entrance to the common room. The blast of noise that assaulted him was worse than he'd foreseen it to be and it nearly knocked him backwards. A moment later, before he could prevent it, he was grabbed and pulled viciously into the common room by innumerable pairs of hands.
Frowning, Harry unsheathed his wand with a flick of wrist and wrenched himself out of the hands grasping and grabbing at him. He lifted his wand high and from it came a loud BANG that instantly silenced the entire room.
"I'm tired," he announced loudly. "I don't care if you guys keep partying, but I'm going to bed!"
There were shouts of protest as the party began to start again, but Harry ignored them and cast a stinging hex at anyone who tried to stop him. When he reached the foot of the stairs, he climbed them to the dormitory as quickly as he could and, to his great relief, he found Ron there.
But the moment Harry moved to great him with a demand of where he'd been, he saw what was to come and paled, then flushed red with anger. Ron seemed to finally notice him and looked up, a forced, uncomfortable grin on his face, "Oh, hi, Harry."
"Don't you 'Hi, Harry,' me," Harry said angrily. "I thought that I could at least count on you and Hermione to be on my side, but if you're not gonna believe me when I say that I didn't put my name in that goblet, then just — just don't."
The grin dropped from Ron's face, "Fine. I just thought, you know, that you would tell your best friend — that you would tell me—"
Harry leveled a glare at him that immediately shut him up, "Just don't."
Ron's mouth moved but he couldn't seem to talk, so Harry threw himself onto his bed and pulled the curtains closed. Only when he was sure that Ron had left did he let the tears fall and the quiet sobs shake his shoulders.
On Sunday morning, Harry felt no better than he had the night before. The memories from the previous night played themselves before his eyes and started a headache that he was sure would make it impossible to concentrate on his classes. Sighing, but knowing that he couldn't avoid the inevitable, Harry flung open his curtains to find an empty room — which he had known he would find even before he had sat up.
Harry got dressed and had made it halfway down the spiral staircase before he saw what was coming and groaned, but forced himself forward anyway. The moment he set foot in the common room, those who had already finished breakfast broke out into applause.
Knowing what awaited him otherwise, Harry strode straight to and out the portrait hole and came face to face with Hermione. She smiled and held up a stack of toast, "I brought you this…want to go for a walk?"
"Thanks," Harry said gratefully.
They went down the stairs and crossed the entrance hall as quickly as they could without going faster than a walk, and, moments later, were striding across the lawn towards the lake. Durmstrang's ship was still moored, reflected in the black water. The air was chilly, so they didn't stop to sit, munching on their toast as they walked. Harry explained the events of the previous night, smiling as he did so because he knew Hermione believed him.
"Well, of course I knew you hadn't entered yourself," she said when he'd finished. "The look on your face when Dumbledore read your name! But the question is, who did put it in? Moody's right, Harry…I don't think any student could have done it…they'd never be able to fool the Goblet, or get over Dumbledore's Age Line."
"I suppose Ron still thinks I entered myself?" Harry asked glumly.
"Well…no, I don't think so…not really," Hermione said awkwardly.
"Oh great, then he's jealous, is he?" Harry asked. Sometimes, foreknowledge was useful, but others, it made it quite easy to get irritated before people even said what would upset him. "He wants to make a prat of himself in front of the whole school, does he?"
"Look," Hermione said patiently, "it's always you who gets all the attention, you know it is. I know it's not your fault, I know you don't ask for it…but, well, you know, Ron's got all those brothers to compete against at home and you're his best friend and you're really famous — he's always shunted to one side whenever people see you, and he puts up with it, and he never mentions it, but I suppose this is just one time too many…"
"Great," Harry said bitterly. It was hard sometimes, he thought, to wait for people to finish when he already knew what they were going to say. "Spectacular. Well, I'll swap him anytime he wants. You can tell him he's welcome to it…people gawking at my forehead everywhere I go…"
"I'm not telling him anything," Hermione said shortly. "Tell him yourself. It's the only way to sort this out."
"I'm not running around after him trying to make him grow up!" Harry growled. "Maybe he'll believe I'm not enjoying myself once I've broken my neck or—"
"That's not funny," Hermione said quietly. "That's not funny at all." She looked anxious, chewing her lower lip nervously. "Harry, I've been thinking — you know what we've got to do, don't you? Straight away, the moment we get back to the castle?"
Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"Yeah," he said, "yeah, I know. Write Sirius and tell him what's happened."
He took a bite from his last piece of toast and, deciding he couldn't stomach the rest, threw it into the lake. He and Hermione stood and watched it float for a moment, then a large tentacle rose, dripping water in great torrents, and dragged it below the surface. They returned to the castle after that.
"He told me not to use Hedwig again," Harry said as they ascended the steps. "A school owl, then?"
"Or you could ask Ron to—"
"I'm not asking Ron for anything," Harry said flatly.
"Borrow a school owl, then," Hermione said. "Anyone can use them."
They entered the Owlery in silence and Hermione handed Harry a piece of parchment, a quill, and a bottle of ink, then left him to observe the owls while Harry slumped down against the wall and wrote his letter.
Dear Sirius, he wrote.
You told me to keep you posted on what's happening at Hogwarts, so here goes — I don't know if you've heard, but the Triwizard Tournament's happening this year and on Saturday night, I got picked as a fourth champion. I don't know who put my name in the Goblet of Fire, because I didn't. The other Hogwarts champion is Cedric Diggory, from Hufflepuff.
He paused a moment, frowning as he thought. He wanted to write about the weight of anxiety that pressed against his chest that had been growing steadily since the events of the night previous, but couldn't figure how to articulate exactly what he felt, so he dipped his quill in the ink bottle and finished with:
Hope you're okay, and Buckbeak — Harry
"Finished," he said as he stood, brushing straw from his robes. Hedwig fluttered down and landed on his shoulders, but Harry regretfully told her he couldn't send her. "I can't use you, Hedwig. I've got to use one of the school owls."
Hedwig hooted loudly and took off so abruptly that her talons dug into his shoulder. Her beautiful white back was turned to him as he tied his letter to the leg of a large barn owl, and, after it had flown off, Harry started to reach for her, but frowned when he saw the results.
"First Ron, now you," Harry said angrily, his fingernails digging into the flesh of his palm. "This isn't my fault!"
Harry had not thought that things would get better once everyone had gotten used to the idea of him being a champion, though he had hoped they might; the following day sent those thoughts right out of his head. Though he wished he could avoid the rest of the school, once classes resumed, he could not — and it was abundantly clear that, like the Gryffindors, the rest of the Houses thought he had entered himself. Unlike his housemates, however, they were not as enthusiastic.
The Hufflepuffs, who were usually rather friendly with the Gryffindors, turned rather cold to Harry's House. It was clear they thought Harry was trying to steal their champion's glory, which could not have been made better by the fact that they rarely got any and that Cedric was their pride and joy. Even the ones with whom Harry usually got along very well were giving him the shoulder, which, combined with Ron's unwillingness to talk to him, made Harry rather miserable.
Under normal circumstances, his class with Hagrid, and seeing his first ever friend, would be a bit of a relief from all the glares and general displeasure sent Harry's way, but Care of Magical Creatures meant seeing the Slytherins — the first time he would since becoming champion.
As was Harry's luck, Malfoy arrived at Hagrid's cabin with his usual sneer pasted with a permanent sticking charm to his face.
"Ah, look, boys, it's the champion," he said to his two goons the moment Harry was in earshot. "Got your autograph books? Better get a signature now, because I doubt he's going to be around much longer. Half the Triwizard champions have died…how long d'you reckon you're going to last, Potter? Ten minutes into the first task is my bet."
But Malfoy had to stop there as Hagrid came out of his hut, carrying with him a tower of teetering crates, each of which had a rather large Blast-Ended Skrewt. Which, it turned out, the class had to take for a walk to relieve "pent-up energy". Malfoy, to Harry's relief, was completely distracted and whining as he was prone to do.
"C'mere, Harry," Hagrid said as the rest of the class started with their Skrewt, "help me with this big one…"
Though it was a completely transparent plot to talk to him alone, Harry was, nonetheless, grateful. Once everyone else had set off, Hagrid turned to him and said, very seriously, "So — yer competin', Harry. In the tournament. School champion."
"One of them," Harry reminded him.
"No idea who put yeh in fer it?"
"None," Harry said, keeping his suspicions to himself.
And that was the end of that topic. For the rest of the class, they watched the other students and talked a little awkwardly about the skrewts.
The following days were some of the worst in Harry's life, at least since he had become a wizard. He felt that it would have been almost simple to cope with the rest of the school if only Ron were on his side, but Ron wasn't, and that was what made things so difficult. He couldn't help thinking, however, that it would have been a lot worse if Hermione had been against him, too.
Sirius, meanwhile, had not yet sent a reply, Trelawney was predicting his death every class, with more fervor, too, and Harry could not seem to master the Summoning Charm Professor Flitwick had started teaching them. Hermione, of course, had managed it rather quickly and was calling things to her from across the room all lesson.
"It's not really that difficult," she told him, trying to sound reassuring. "You just weren't concentrating properly."
"Wonder why that was," Harry said darkly, glaring at Cedric Diggory as he passed, flanked by a large group of simpering girls, all of whom sent a glare twice as venomous Harry's way. "And Double Potions to look forward to this afternoon…"
Double Potions was always something to dread, but it had become nothing short of torture since Harry had been named champion, something that Snape and the Slytherins seemed determined to punish him for; he had already survived a Friday's worth, with Hermione hissing "ignore them, ignore them, ignore them" under her breath, and couldn't bring himself to imagine his next class would be any better.
The Slytherins were waiting outside Snape's dungeon as Harry and Hermione descended to it after lunch, each and every single one of them proudly wearing a badge on the front of his or her robes. Harry could not totally suppress the scowl that lit across his features.
Support CEDRIC DIGGORY — The REAL Hogwarts Champion!
"Like them, Potter?" Malfoy asked loudly. "And this isn't all they do — look!"
He pressed the badge into his chest and the message upon it twisted and morphed until it read: POTTER STINKS.
The Slytherins broke into great, howling laughter, each one pressing their badge until they all read the same message, shining brightly in the dank dungeon. Harry's wand slipped into his hand and rage flashed into his eyes. He lifted his wand, intent on cursing Malfoy for something he had been about to do but had not yet done.
"Harry!" Hermione said warningly.
"Go on, then, Potter," Malfoy said, drawing his own wand with a small flourish. "Moody's not here to look after you now — do it, if you've got the guts…"
Part of Harry wanted to cast one of the more powerful, combat-level curses he had been practicing, and only recently mastered, since he'd found that book in the Restricted Section First Year, but when he spoke his spell, mirrored by Malfoy, the curse that broke loose was much less serious.
"Furnunculus!" Harry yelled.
"Densaugeo!" Malfoy countered.
Two jets of light shot forth, clashing and ricocheting off each other in midair. Harry's curse hit Goyle, whose face began to break out in boils, while Malfoy's hit Hermione. Harry took only the amount of time necessary to confirm that Malfoy's hex had hit Hermione before he began his next curse, this one not quite as friendly.
At the last, second, however, he jerked to a stop as Ron called out to Hermione. He hurried to her, her front teeth were growing at an alarming rate, while Harry quickly shoved his wand away, and not a moment too soon.
"And what is all this noise about?" Snape's voice asked softly.
The Slytherins clamored to him, all shouting and trying to tell the story. Snape pointed one long finger at Malfoy. "Explain."
"Potter attacked me, sir—"
"Then why is your wand out, fool?" Harry murmured. Snape and Malfoy heard him, because Snape shot him a sharp look and Malfoy's white cheeks colored to a pale pink.
"— and he hit Goyle — look!"
Snape peered at Goyle, whose face looked more like something that would be at home in a book on poisonous fungi than a human.
"Hospital wing, Goyle," Snape said calmly.
"Malfoy got Hermione!" Ron shouted, forcing the girl to show Snape her teeth— it was not difficult, since their size made them now impossible to hide. The Slytherin girls were all doubled over, giggling silently and pointing at Hermione from behind Snape's back.
Snape peered down at her coldly, "I see no difference."
Hermione whimpered, then spun on her heel as tears broke free and she ran, ran all the way down the corridor and, presumably, to the Hospital wing. For a moment, Harry felt numb, then anger exploded in his gut again and he rounded on Snape, screaming obscenities and all sorts of things. It was fortunate that most of what he said was lost because Ron was screaming, too.
Snape stood there calmly, unperturbed but delighted, it was obvious to see, that he would get to punish two of his least favorite Gryffindors. It did not help Harry's anger that Snape was so calm and stoic, and the various futures that could be and would not be flashed past his eyes so quickly that he could hardly see them. One, however, stuck out.
"She'd be ashamed of you!" Harry said at last, breathing heavily as he stopped his rant. He watched Snape's eyes widen, as he knew they would, and his thin lips curl into a snarl so furious that Harry had never before seen it in person.
"I don't know what you know," Snape said dangerously, "or how much you know, Potter, but never mention her in front of me again! Fifty points from Gryffindor, and detention, Potter, for both you and your little weasel friend! And you'd better get inside before I make it a week!"
Harry walked quickly through the room and to his seat, barely noticing as Ron sat down with Seamus and Dean. He was still angry, angry that Hermione had been treated like that, but he also felt that he had crossed a line he should not have crossed. It gave him a weary feeling, as though — how did the saying go? — someone had stepped on his grave. He paid Malfoy no attention, who was flashing his POTTER STINKS badge from across the dungeon.
"Antidotes!" Snape snapped as the lesson began, a bit more forcefully than necessary as his black eyes glittered coldly. "You should all have prepared your recipes, now. I want you to brew them carefully, and then, we will be selecting someone on which to test them…"
As Snape's gaze turned to him, Harry was well aware that he would be that test subject, and was thinking of several unpleasant things to do to the greasy Potions Master. At that moment, however, there was a knock on the door and Colin Creevey edged into the room, grinning. He walked straight to Snape's desk, who looked down his nose at the boy.
"Please, sir," Colin said, "I'm supposed to bring Harry Potter upstairs."
"Potter has another hour of Potions to complete," Snape said. "He will come upstairs when this class is finished."
"Sir — sir, Mr. Bagman wants him. All the champions have got to go — I think they want to take pictures."
Thus, why Harry had groaned.
"Very well, very well," Snape snapped. "Potter, leave your things here. I want you back down here to test your antidote."
"Please, sir —he has to take his things with him. All the champions—"
"Fine!" Snape said. "Potter — take your things and get out of my sight!"
Harry, who had seen what would come anyway, was already out the door by the time Snape had finished, his bag slung over his shoulder.
"It's amazing, isn't it, Harry?" Colin asked the moment the door finished closing. "Isn't it, though? You being champion?"
"Yeah, really amazing," Harry said. "I get to have my face plastered over the front page of the bloody Prophet. Exactly what I need, more publicity."
"Good luck!" Colin said as they reached the right room.
"I'm going to need it," Harry said, knocking once on the door and then entering.
The classroom was fairly small; all but three desks had been pushed to the back of the room. The three that weren't had been placed end-to-end in front of the blackboard, a length of velvet draped over them. Five chairs were set up behind the desks, and Ludo Bagman sat in one of them, talking to a witch in magenta robes whom Harry had never seen before.
Viktor Krum, as was his tendency, stood in a corner brooding silently. Cedric and Fleur were holding a conversation, and Fleur looked leaps and bounds happier than he had ever seen her; she threw her long, silvery hair back every now and then and the paunchy man carrying the smoking black camera watched out of the corner of his eye.
Harry had to bite back another groan as Bagman spotted him and stood, bounding towards him.
"Ah, here he is! Champion number four! In you come, Harry, in you come…nothing to worry about, it's just the wand weighing ceremony, the rest of the judges will be here in a moment."
"Wand weighing?" Harry asked, feigning ignorance.
"We have to check that your wands are fully functional, no problems, you know, as they're your most important tools in the tasks ahead," Bagman said. "The expert's upstairs now with Dumbledore. And then there's going to be a little photo shoot. This is Rita Skeeter," he gestured to the woman in magenta robes. "She's doing a small piece on the tournament for the Daily Prophet…"
"Maybe not that small, Ludo," Rita said, eyeing Harry hungrily. Harry had a rather ominous feeling about this woman. "I wonder if I could have a little word with Harry before we start? The youngest champion, you know…to add a bit of color?
"Certainly!" Bagman cried excitedly. "That is — if Harry has no objections?"
"Oh, but I do object," Harry said. "Vigorously."
"Lovely," Rita Skeeter said, as though she had not heard him, and, in a second, her scarlet-painted fingernails were dug into the sleeve of his robes as she dragged him out of the room and to a nearby door.
"We don't want to be in there with all that noise," she said. "Let's see…ah, yes, this is nice and cozy."
It was a broom cupboard. Harry, who had given up trying to free himself when his robes had threatened to tear, stared at her. Even after seeing it coming, he couldn't stop the feeling of incredulousness at her choice of location.
"Come along, dear — that's right — lovely," Rita said, perching herself on an upturned bucket and pushing Harry down onto a cardboard box. She shut the door with a bang, throwing them into darkness. "Let's see, now…"
He heard the distinctive snap of her crocodile handbag open and, moments later, she had lit some candles and sent them floating into the space around them so that they could see what they were doing. Harry absently wondered if she realized what this cupboard was usually used for.
"You won't mind, Harry, if I use a Quick-Quotes Quill? It leaves me free to talk to you normally…"
"A what?" Harry asked, honestly confused.
Rita's smiled grew wider. She pulled out an acid-green quill and a roll of parchment that she stretched out on the crate between them, whose contents Harry could not make out in the dim light. She sucked on the tip of the quill for a moment, then placed it upright on the parchment, where it stayed, balanced on its point.
"Testing…my name is Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet reporter."
Harry did not need to look down to know what the quill wrote.
Attractive blonde Rita Skeeter, forty-three, whose savage quill has punctured many inflated reputations—
"Lovely," Rita said again, ripping off the top of the sheet and stuffing it into her handbag. Turning her attention to Harry, she leaned forward and asked, "So, Harry…what made you decide to enter the Triwizard Tournament?"
Again, the quill wrote: An ugly scar, souvenir of a tragic past, disfigures the otherwise charming face of Harry Potter, whose eyes— and that was all the farther he saw before future-Rita told him to stop looking at the quill.
"I didn't," Harry said. "I don't know how my name got put into the Goblet of Fire, but I had nothing to do with it."
Rita raised a single, heavily penciled eyebrow.
"Come now, Harry, there's no need to be scared of getting into trouble. We all know you shouldn't really have entered at all. But don't worry about that. Our readers love a rebel."
"I hate repeating myself," Harry murmured under his breath. "I didn't enter—"
"How do you feel about the tasks ahead?" Rita asked. "Excited? Nervous?"
"Not really," Harry said, shrugging. "Whatever happens, happens, right? C'est la vie, yeah?"
"Champions have died in the past, haven't they?" Rita asked briskly. "Have you thought about that at all?"
Harry suppressed a snort, "If it's half as safe as everyone says it's going to be this year, then I don't think I have to worry."
"Of course, you've looked death in the face before, haven't you?" Rita asked, watching him closely. "How would you say that's affected you?"
Harry suddenly stood, but it was from the question she was about to ask about his parents, not from the one she had just posed. His fists were clenched tightly.
"Sod this," he said. "I don't know you, you don't know me, and I don't have to answer anything you ask, especially not about my parents! I'm out of here."
He slammed the door open — only to come face to face with Albus Dumbledore. Harry faked surprise.
"Dumbledore!" Rita cried delightedly, but Harry noticed her quill and parchment had disappeared and that she was hastily snapping her handbag closed. "How are you?" she asked, standing and offering a hand out to Dumbledore. "I hope you saw my piece over the summer about the International Confederation of Wizards' Conference?"
"Enchantingly nasty," Dumbledore said. "I particularly enjoyed your description of me as an obsolete dingbat."
Rita didn't look even remotely ashamed.
"I was just making the point that some of your ideas are a little old-fashioned, Dumbledore, and that many wizards in the street — "
"I will be delighted to hear the reasoning behind the rudeness, Rita," Dumbledore said, smiling pleasantly, "but I'm afraid we will have to discuss the matter later. The Weighing of the Wands is about to start, and it cannot take place if one of our champions is hidden in a broom cupboard."
Glad for an excuse to escape Rita Skeeter, Harry rushed back into the room with the other champions and sat down in one of the chairs next to Cedric. Four of the five judges sat behind the velvet-covered desks — Karkaroff, Madam Maxime, Mr. Crouch, and Ludo Bagman. Rita Skeeter sat down in a corner and pulled out her materials again.
"May I introduce Mr. Ollivander?" Dumbledore said as he sat in his seat at the judges' table. "He will be checking your wands to ensure that they are in good condition before the tournament."
"Mademoiselle Delacour, could we have you first, please?" Mr. Ollivander asked politely, and it was only his foresight that prevented Harry from jumping in surprise as the old man appeared. Fleur swept over to him and handed over her wand.
Ollivander examined it with great care but even greater scrutiny, murmuring things about its specifications — nine inches, rosewood, inflexible, with the hair of a veela, plucked, according to Fleur, from her own grandmother's head.
He caressed it delicately, looking for flaws or scratches in the wood, then flicked it and said, "Orchideous!" A bouquet of beautiful flowers burst from the tip.
"Very well, very well, it's in fine working order," Mr. Ollivander said, handing both the wand and the flowers to Fleur. "Mr. Diggory, you next."
Cedric stood as Fleur sat.
"Ah, now, this is one of mine, isn't it?" Mr. Ollivander asked rhetorically as Cedric handed his wand over. There was much more enthusiasm in his voice than before. "Yes, I remember it well. Containing a single hair from the tail of a particularly fine male unicorn…must have been seventeen hands; nearly gored me with his horn after I plucked his tail. Twelve and a quarter inches…ash…pleasantly springy. It's in fine condition…You treat it regularly?"
"Polished it last night," Cedric grinned. Harry had to stifle a laugh at the implication.
Ollivander sent a stream of silver smoke rings across the room, announced his satisfaction, then said, "Mr. Krum, if you please."
Again, he examined the wand presented to him, calling it a "Gregorovitch," which Harry assumed was the wand maker in Eastern Europe. "Hornbeam and dragon heartstring….rigid, ten and quarter inches…"
Ollivander flicked the wand, "Avis!"
There was a bang and a number of small birds shot from the wand's tip and fluttered out the open window.
"Good," Mr. Ollivander said, handing Krum his wand back. "Which leaves…Mr. Potter."
Harry stood and walked past Krum, handing over his wand.
"Aaah, yes," Mr. Ollivander said, his pale eyes gleaming in a way they had not for any of the other three champions. "Yes, yes, yes. How well I remember."
He examined Harry's wand for much longer than anyone else's, a smile twitching at, but never stretching across, his mouth. Finally, however, he shot from it a fountain of wine and pronounced it in perfect condition, handing it back to Harry.
"Thank you all," Dumbledore said, standing from the judges table. "You may go back to your lessons now — or perhaps it would be quicker to just go down to dinner, as they are about to end."
"Photos, Dumbledore, photos!" Bagman cried excitedly. "All the judges and champions, what do you think, Rita?"
"Yes, let's do those first," Rita Skeeter said, her eyes focused once more on Harry. "And then perhaps some individual shots."
The photos took forever; Rita wanted more of Harry and the cameraman wanted more of Fleur. Madam Maxime was too tall to fit in the frame, and so had to sit as everyone else crowded around her. Krum skulked — which was only mildly surprising — and Karkaroff twirled his goatee. After the group photos were the individual shots. At last, though, they were free to go and Harry wasted no time in high tailing it to dinner, where he ate alone. Hermione, he surmised, was still in the Hospital wing.
Afterwards, he trudged up to the Gryffindor common room and into his dormitory, where he found the school owl he'd sent out waiting for him. It carried Sirius' letter and it was all Harry could do to wait to close his bed curtains before tearing it open. He was so desperate for some good news or some support and friendly words that he ignored his visions and read it through himself.
He went to bed with a smile that night. A face-to-face with Sirius — he couldn't wait.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
To be continued
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
This is largely a rewritten version of Goblet of Fire, with my changes interspersed where they are relevant and branching off in several areas. It may seem as you remember it, but there are a number of things changed, a number of important things.
One of my pet peeves about Harry Potter fanfiction is how so many take it upon themselves to open the story like the books. Unless you're doing something completely AU, this is not only unnecessary, but very cliché and troublesome. I hate navigating that.
Another pet peeve for HP Fanfiction is how people use Veritaserum as a Deus Ex Machina. It is not infallible, people. Veritaserum only works as effectively as we see it when the person is unaware they've imbibed it, hence it is useless in court when a witness or defendant offers to take it. When they're aware they're taking it before they take it, it loses potency and they can actually lie, or at least avoid telling the truth. All of this is stuff that JK herself said. While I may bend her rules a little, there are definitely some I refuse to break.
One of my biggest pet peeves is that people tend to ruin the mysticism of Harry Potter, which is half of what makes it so great, by giving a sort of scientific explanation to it — namely, inventing this so-called magical core. That really irritates me. Nearly as much so is when people give Harry the name "Harold" or "Harrison," when his name is just Harry. In fact, in the first chapter of Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone, Vernon thinks something along the lines of "Besides, he wasn't even sure his nephew was Harry. It might have been Harvey or Harold". JK puts this in SPECIFICALLY to clarify that his name is JUST Harry.
So, you will see none of those things in this fic.
One last thing. I've considered adding Toothless, the "Egyptian Night Fury", into the story, another sort of mini crossover. His role wouldn't be too significant, but it would have an effect on the story. I want to know what you think.
Excalibur Challenge: Harry comes across Excalibur at some point, doesn't matter when or where. Excalibur must have a blade made of gold and a hilt of silver (or vice versa) with the words "Take me up" written on one side of the blade and "Cast me away" on the other.
Pairings: preferably Harry/Hermione, but Harry/Luna and most other Harry/girl pairings are acceptable.
Powers: Excalibur's powers are up to the author. However, it must be capable of cutting normal steel (NOT goblin steel) and destroying Horcruces (or Horcruxes, whichever you subscribe to).
Time at start: Whenever, the condition being, however, that Harry stumble across it by accident.
Optional: Harry finds Arondight, Lancelot's sword, as well as or instead of Excalibur.
Category: Harry Potter
There drew he forth the brand Excalibur…
J. D. G. A. F.
J. D. G. A. F.
James Daniel Godric Alan Fawkes(Signature best viewed in size 24Wendy Medium font style)