AN: Sorry I vanished again. I've been like, super busy since the last chapter. First, I travelled half way across the country to go to PAX East, and then I moved, and that certainly could have gone smoother.
And, of course, whenever I had time to write, writer's block was there to delay me even more.
This is a rather short chapter by my standards, but it's largely transitional, and I just wanted to get something posted before I got busy again.
Among the pandemonium in the stands after Harriet Potter walked out of the arena, no one noticed Daphne Greengrass leave her seat. She dashed down the stairs, and then around the side of the stadium towards the tents set up for both the waiting and healing of the Champions. Daphne knew better than anyone that Harriet would do anything in her power to stay away from the mediwitches, as far too many of the basic diagnostic charms would reveal far too much, given the snake-like half of her biology her had inherited from her familiar.
However, she quickly discovered that Harriet hadn't even made it that far. The dark haired girl was slumped against the wall barely half way down the hallway that lead out of the arena floor, unconscious.
Thanking her own foresight, and Harriet for teaching her by example that there was no such thing as over preparing, Daphne knelt next to the passed out form of the Girl-Who-Lived and rooted through her bag for the healing and restorative potions she had Tracey brew the previous week.
Even as she pulled the potions vials from her bag, Daphne preformed several diagnostic charms, terrified of what they would tell her.
The results relieved and worried her in equal measure. Harriet Potter's magical core was breathtakingly low, and her internal temperature was dropping at a worrying pace. But she was otherwise unharmed.
The first thing Daphne did was cast several Warming Charms, as strong as she could muster, onto most of Harriet's clothes, as the close proximity to dragonfire seemed to have stripped the charms Harriet had cast on them herself that morning. Then came a strong, and Ministry restricted, magical restoration potion, followed by a double dose of Pepper-Up, all of which Daphne had to all but force down Harriet's throat using a spell she had learned in Care of Magical Creatures.
With the emergency first-aid complete, Daphne was about to use a Reenervate to forcibly wake up her up, but Harriet began to stir before she could.
As Neville Longbottom had learned several weeks prior, it was not, generally speaking, a good idea to surprise Harriet Potter.
However, when Harriet woke up to see the tear-stained face of Daphne Greengrass above her, she only smiled.
"I…Thanks, Daph." Anything else Harriet was going to say was cut off rather abruptly as Daphne pulled her into an embrace. If it had been literally anyone else, Harriet would have frozen. Due in large part to her upbringing at the Dursleys, the Potter Scion still didn't handle physical contact well. But ever since first year, even, Daphne Greengrass had always been the exception. And now was no exception, especially since the blonde was quite warm, and Harriet was quickly realizing that she was anything but.
Mentally going over herself, Harriet located the problem. The warming charms on her clothes had apparently very nearly come apart under the strain of the dragonfire.
After a long moment, Harriet pulled away from the blonde, and glanced around to find her wand. Finding it, and noting that it was unusually warm in her hand, Harriet set about charming herself protection from the Scottish November chill.
Seeing what her friend was doing, Daphne made an apologetic noise.
"Sorry, Harriet. The dragonfire stripped your charms and glamours away completely. I tried to reapply the warming charms myself when I found you, but I guess what I'm just not good enough with those, yet." As her own warming charms took effect and Harriet began to feel more like herself, she favored Daphne with a smirk.
"Daph, I doubt that any one in Hogwarts except for Professor Flitwick and Dumbledore could have reapplied my warming charms. I mean, no one else has to deal with being cold blooded, they have no reason to master the charm like I have. You did enough to get me awake again. And that was enough." Rising to her feet, Harriet muttered to herself as she placed her glamours over herself again, hiding her yellow eyes from the world.
Sliding her wand back up her sleeve and grabbing the egg she had nearly died to retrieve, Harriet glanced at her blonde friend again.
"Now, you should probably get back up into the stands, and I should report to the medical tent. The sooner I get in there, the sooner we can all get our scores and go back to the castle." Daphne merely nodded and left the way she came, Harriet following sedately after her.
Harriet Potter entered the medical tent to find the place utterly silent, and everyone present staring at her.
The first movement came from Madam Pomfrey, who broke out of her brief reverie to start scanning the Girl-Who-Lived for injuries. However, Harriet waved her off before she could begin.
"I'm perfectly well, Madam. Low on magic, but otherwise completely unharmed. And I took the liberty of bringing my own potions for such an occasion." With a seemingly careless motion, Harriet tossed her egg onto the nearest unoccupied bed, then hopped slightly to sit on the edge herself.
Without acknowledging any of her competitors or the mediwitches, Harriet removed a potion vial from her right sleeve, and then another from a hidden pocket on her left leg, drained them both of their contents, slipped the empty vials into a pocket on the breast of her jumper, then merely closed her eyes to wait for the inevitable call from the stadium for the champions to return for their scores.
The other occupants of the tent had no idea what to think. While they hadn't seen what Harriet Potter had actually done in the arena, they had heard Bagman's commentary. How had she summoned the egg? And everyone knew that dragonfire couldn't be shielded, even by dragon handlers. So how had a fourteen year old witch managed it?
However, before anyone gathered enough of their wits to ask Harriet Potter a question on the subject, a harried looking Ministry worker stuck his head through the tent flap.
"Ah, if the Champions could come back out to the arena floor, the judges are ready with your scores."
The four champions didn't acknowledge him directly, but all stood with varying degrees of difficulty and followed him out of the tent.
Between Harriet's own physical and magical exhaustion and both Cedric and Fleur's slight limp, it took several minutes for the four champions to move from the tent to the arena floor in front of the judges. It took several more minutes to quiet the crowd down after the competitors reappeared. However, eventually, Bagman stood and began to speak once more.
"Our first competitor today was Cedric Diggory, of Hogwarts, against the Welsh Green. He used Transfiguration to distract the dragon, and escaped the arena in eight minutes and forty seconds. The judges award him 42 points of the possible 50." The Hufflepuff and Gryffindor sections of the stands broke into raucous cheering, and most of the rest of Hogwarts joined in, but several of the judges noted that the applause was distinctly quieter that when the Head Boy had left the arena.
"The second attempt was made by Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons, against the Swedish Shortsnout. Fleur managed to enchant her dragon to sleep, and escaped in six minutes and twelve seconds. However, her enchantment also put a large section of the crowd to sleep. The judges award her 34 points of the possible 50." Most of the stands, the visiting French students included, merely clapped politely.
"The third attempt was Victor Krum, of Drumstrang, against the Chinese Fireball. He managed to curse the dragon several times before he escaped after nine minutes and fifty-six seconds. However, the dragon also crushed many of its own eggs. The judges award him 38 points of the possible 50." Unlike their French counterparts, the Drumstrang students, and many of the Quidditch fans in the crowd, regardless of school, veritably exploded into applause.
"And, finally, the fourth contestant today was Harriet Potter, also of Hogwarts, against the Hungarian Horntail. She managed to summon her egg, display a mastery of the levitation charm, and even shield dragonfire, all before she left the arena a mere two minutes and forty-nine seconds after she entered, the fastest time by far. The judges award 45 points of the possible 50." The sound that came from the crowd was deafening. After several minutes, and multiple attempts by Bagman to speak again, Harriet turned slightly to face the crowd and made a small downward motion with her hand. Almost immediately, the noise level dropped to where Bagman could easily speak over it.
"So, the final results of the First Task are as follows: Fleur Delacour in fourth place, Victor Krum in third, Cedric Diggory in second, and Harriet Potter in first. The Second Task will take place on the 21st of February, and the hint in hidden within the golden egg the Champions retrieved today. Good Luck, Champions."
Without waiting for anything else, Harriet Potter turned away from the judges and towards the crowd. Knowing that those that needed would see, she raised a single fist, flicked four fingers towards the sky, then swept her hand downwards and to the side as she turned and left the arena.
After lunch, during which Harriet Potter was conspicuously absent, three Gryffindors, a Hufflepuff, three Slytherins, and a Ravenclaw made their way to an old storage room on the sixth floor that housed unused common room furniture.
In the corner, curled up on a Slytherin loveseat, was Harriet Potter, in all of her tournament gear, sound asleep.
Blaise made an executive decision. Not saying a word, he beckoned the other six to a group of chairs in the opposite corner, and raised a privacy bubble around them. Only once he was sure he wouldn't wake his best friend did he speak.
"Ok, I'm reasonably confident I know why Harriet called us here, and in the interest of letting Harri sleep, I'm taking control over this meeting. Harriet expected to survive the first task, not win it. Now her plans have to change. First things first, Tracey, Daphne, Susan, how did the other champions take it?" Susan, despite still being visibly caught off guard being in the same room as a sleeping Harriet Potter, spoke up first.
"Cedric was more impressed than anything else, honestly. At this point, he considers Harriet actual competition." Gred and Forge glanced at each other.
"He's a Hufflepuff."
Susan glared at the twins. Tracey rolled her eyes.
"Krum, for his part, is officially intrigued by Harriet Potter. He made it a point to sit directly across from me at lunch, and spent the whole time needling me for information, and I ended up telling him basically everything I can for free. On another topic, he challenged her to a Seeker duel." Blaise felt his eyebrows rocket towards his hairline.
"Wait, arguably the best Seeker in the world challenged Harriet? She's going to have a field day with that. Say nothing about it until Harriet says otherwise, like hell am I going to answer that call out on her behalf. Daphne, what about Delacour?"
When he didn't get a response immediately, Blaise turned to look at the blonde sitting next to him.
Daphne, for her part, didn't seem to be paying attention. Instead, she was turned towards the opposite corner, watching the sleeping form of Harriet Potter. The twins just shrugged. Tracey ducked her head to hide the grin that threatened to break out. Neville and Hermione both raised eyebrows, Hermione's gaze was flicking back and forth between Harriet and Daphne, and far more calculating than Neville's.
Blaise just sighed, and snapped his fingers in Daphne's ear.
"She's fine, Daphne. Harriet knows how to take care of herself. Now, what did you hear from Delacour at lunch?" Daphne blushed at being caught out not paying attention, and cleared her throat.
"Fleur made it a point to correct herself, actually. Apparently, right after Harriet was announced as the fourth competitor, Fleur's first instinct was to say that Harriet was just a little girl. She maintains she was right, physically, seeing as Harri is roughly the same height as Fleur's twelve year old sister, but freely admits she was wrong on every other level. She has nothing but respect for the way Harri handled herself in the arena, although she still claims shielding dragonfire is impossible." As Daphne spoke, Hermione nodded along, confirming she heard the same things.
"Delacour is correct, actually. Shielding dragonfire is impossible. Harriet didn't shield it, she was able to exert a small force on it, and redirected it around her." And, just like that, Hermione had the full attention of the other five conscious people in the room. "You see, Harriet acquired a copy of Flames of the Deepest Places. So, Harriet and I spent the last few days in Location Zero studying and practicing with various very dark and illegal forms of magical fire in as controlled of and environment as we could. I'll never have the affinity for fire that she does, and I still can't muster the proper hate and rage to conjure Fiendfyre, but Harriet has neither of those limitations."
As Hermione spoke, she watched the color rapidly drain from the faces of her friends. Susan, raised by Aurors as she was, looked absolutely horrified. Tracey and the twins looked grim. Even Blaise's dark skin was noticeably pale. Neville looked about ready to mess himself.
After a long moment, Susan shook her head to clear it.
"I'm not even going to ask how she acquired that book. I don't want to know. And I'm going to do my best to forget she has it. I mean, I know it isn't the only thing that would get Harriet Potter tossed into Azkaban, but it is the only thing I know of that could get her Kissed." The room was awkwardly quiet for a moment, then Blaise cleared his throat.
"Right then, moving on. Obviously, no one says anything about any of that. Now then, without Harriet awake to make decisions right now, I'm going to go ahead and end this meeting here. For the moment, we all just keep doing what we have been. I'll stay here and brief Harriet when she wakes up, and you all should have new instructions by tonight. You all go ahead and leave, and stay quiet as you do." Blaise finished with a meaningful glance at the opposite corner, and the others nodded seriously, then left with as much stealth as they could muster.
Blaise, for his part, collapsed the privacy bubble, and moved to a desk. He pulled out the notes he took during the task and a roll of clean parchment, and set about copying them into something far more legible to Harriet Potter.
For the next several hours, the only sound in the room was the scratch of quill on parchment.
AN: Yeah. Short, but hopefully it will tide you all over until I get the next actual chapter out.
Anyway, as always, questions, comments, cries of anguish, pleas for more, aspirations you may wish to cast upon the legitimacy of my birth, recommendations for items to add to this list, poorly formatted profanities, heartwarming sonnets extolling my virtues, painstakingly crafted hate mail, snide jokes comparing this to the resurrection of Christ, unrelated witty limericks, love letters, constructive criticism, prompts for Tales of Emerald and Silver, and semi-creepy internet proposals (as applicable) may be submitted directly to me via the big box below.