He'd been the most surprised of all.
He didn't want, didn't need to put his name in the cup.
Now the whole school seemed to have turned against him.
Harry found himself hiding in the domain of Hermione; the Library with a huge old text book that Madam Pince had been surprisingly helpful in assisting him to find.
Harry wanted to cry out the unfairness of this.
Instead he found himself sitting contemplating something he didn't think he ever would.
It's not something a Gryffindor should think; to run away.
But everyone seemed to be turning against him, even who he thought was his best friend.
He'd sent a letter to Sirius, or tried, Hedwig had returned with her letter undelivered.
Now he sat with this huge law book before him. It was complicated and contradictory.
There were a few choice words that made some sense 'expert advice should be sought in all contracts' and 'safe haven must be found if one finds oneself in a magical contract...'. The latter gave examples of powerful wizarding families, lawyers and large companies as being able to offer safe havens.
Harry had briefly wondered who he knew at Hogwarts qualified as a 'powerful wizarding family'.
After the way Ron had treated him he'd considered in the moment when he wanted to cry out going to the one person no one would think he'd go to.
But Harry was sure that he couldn't trust Draco Malfoy or his family. Not at all.
That just left his second option.
And that, he was quite sure would get him in trouble.
But he was also quite sure that he would end up dead or gravely injured.
The age line was there for a reason, and he'd had enough danger in the past at Hogwarts.
-/ - \\-
Hermione turned the letter over in her hands, scared to open it.
Ron and the others in the boys' dorm had found Harry's bed stuffed with sheets after he'd missed all of his classes.
She'd found the letter inside Hogwarts: A History the copy she'd left in the common room.
Everyone was out looking for Harry.
She'd already checked his trunk, he'd taken his cloak and his few possessions dear to him. She knew what he'd take, what to look for.
I guess you and the others have realised... It wasn't so much an ellipses, more a smudge of ink. Hermione wanted to believe he trailed off, thinking.
Then Ron came through into the common room.
"Hermione? Why aren't you with the girls team looking for him?" He asked, angry. Hermione wasn't sure, not now, with Ron whether he was angry at her, at Harry or...what.
"Sorry I was just..." Hermione began, distracted.
"How can you think about homework now?" He asked spying the history book on her lap.
"I..." She wasn't sure what to say, crumpling the letter into her pocket she quickly left the common room.
"Ex...excuse me Madam Pince?" Hermione asked her. She smiled at her in her own way. "Was Harry in here recently and did he look at any books?"
Madam Pince gave her an almost conspiratorial smile and put three books on the counter.
Sitting down at a table in the almost empty library Hermione looked at the three books.
One was the Diagon Alley directory.
The second was a history of wizarding games, performances and tournaments.
The third 'sealed the deal', it was a very large book of wizarding law.
"Oh Harry, what have you done?" She whispered.
I didn't put my name in the goblet Hermione. I don't know who did.
But you know, from the past couple of years that it can't be good for me.
I think, if you go to your favourite place in Hogwarts you'll work out what I've done.
I almost considered asking for help from Malfoy.
Hermione stared at this sentence. "What would make you do that Harry?" She whispered.
I might sound paranoid. But I haven't left a note with anyone else. I've told Hedwig to only listen to you.
She didn't like it much. I think she understands.
I hope I'll be able to come back soon.
-/ - \\-
Harry sat at a large table, there were windows on one side looking out onto muggle London.
Getting the floo powder and getting to the Leaky Cauldron had been relatively simple enough.
Finding Lock, Flint & Scythe and getting a meeting with them had been a little more complicated.
But he'd mentioned all the things he had; money and problems.
A man came in, he was dressed in a regular suit, although with a wand in what appeared to be a deep front pocket.
"First Mr Potter Lock, Flint & Scythe offers you safe haven and all protections and associations that follow from this offer," he said in a formal tone.
Harry nodded. This had been in the law books. "I accept Lock, Flint & Scythe's offer of safe haven and its protections and associations," he exhaled.
"My name is Lyle Lock," he said. "You have something of a problem for us. It's been a while since we've had to deal with a magical contract, especially one you didn't enter into."
"What next?" Harry asked then admitted. "Aside from finding you and that acceptance I don't know much about this," he let out a breath he didn't realise he was holding. "I didn't know what I was going to do, when I saw my name come out of the cup."
Lyle Lock smiled warmly. "That's what you now have lawyers to worry about," he opened a file. "Firstly we need your permission to send out letters to make Hogwarts aware of your request and acceptance of safe haven."
He must have caught Harry's look of concern. "It's perfectly legal and fine for you to be here Mr Potter," he paused. "However, under British magical law they will need to be informed, and as you are underage, you will need to continue your magical studies."
Harry's eyes widened. "At Hogwarts?"
Lyle shook his head. "No, until the magical contract is resolved you will not be able to set foot on Hogwarts' grounds. We're currently investigating, as this is a Ministry sanctioned event whether that extends to Ministry buildings as well," he paused. "We can organise tutors and other capable individuals to school you."
Harry nodded numbly. "I suppose a place to stay as well."
Lyle smiled warmly. "It will all be at hand Harry," he paused. "You've made the right decision. Remaining, especially at your age could have been fatal."
"That was my worry," Harry admitted.
-/ - \\-
Hermione wasn't sure what to do, the Headmaster was out of his office, supposedly he'd received some important owl post about the tournament. The search for Harry had ended in the afternoon.
"Come in," Professor McGonagall's voice came through the door.
"Miss Granger," she looked up from whatever she was doing.
"Professor," she said walking up and taking the offered seat the Professor waved at. "I think I know what Harry's done. And where he's gone."
Minerva turned the letter over in her hands.
It was carefully written.
"Your favourite place Miss Granger?" She asked her student.
"The library Professor," she said slightly nervously. "Madam Pince gave me the books Harry was looking at."
"Which were?" Minerva asked. She was somewhat surprised at the titles.
In light of what Potter had written, especially in reference to Mr Malfoy's name she understood what Harry Potter had done, and the thought to have considered it. To leave Hogwarts in the dead of night, and to find his way to London showed considerable forethought and wisdom, and some stupidity.
"You think Mr Potter has sought safe haven with a law firm in London?" She asked Miss Granger.
She nodded. "Yes Professor."
Then her fire flared. "Minerva could you join me in my office?" The Headmaster's voice said.
"Go back to your dorm Miss Granger," Minerva paused and passed the letter back to the girl. "Say nothing of this to anyone," she said in a firm voice.
Granger nodded and left her office quickly.
"I believe Harry is in London, in the company of lawyers," Dumbledore said.
Severus was already in the office when she came in.
"I know." This earned her a look from both men.
"You know Minerva?"
"What has Potter done?" Severus asked in an irritable tone.
"He left a message for Miss Granger."
"Granger?" Severus repeated.
Minerva recounted what Granger had told her.
Severus had an unreadable expression. "Potter is not as stupid as I first thought. To consider the Malfoys was however."
"He must be returned to Hogwarts, where it is safe," Albus was saying.
Minerva fixed two men with a look. "He was accepted in safe haven from one of the best lawyers in the muggle and wizarding worlds. Potter will no doubt have declared that he did not put his name in the cup to them Albus. You know he cannot return while the contract is in play," she said calmly.
Albus passed her a letter from his desk. "I received this, explaining just that Minerva."
Minerva took the page, it was written on very fine parchment and was pressed with the formalities of the legal profession's information.
It stated what she had surmised from Miss Granger's information.
Harry Potter had indeed sought safe haven with lawyers.
A smart move, considering the circumstances he found himself in.
She did briefly consider the somewhat incongruent concept of Mr Potter seeking sanctuary with Mr Malfoy and his family, of whom he did not exactly see eye to eye with. To put it lightly.
"At least he intends to continue his schooling away from Hogwarts," she finally said.
"That is all you have to say Minerva?" Snape asked curiously.
Minerva looked at the younger man. "You think I would decry Mr Potter not being present at Hogwarts Severus?" He inclined his head ever so slightly. "He has sought a legal professional's assistance. That is better than the alternative."
"He would not have been in any danger, had he participated," Albus said softly.
"You would have ensured your favourite student was safe Albus?" Severus asked rising from his chair. "Potter is safe, I must attend to my house," he said and strode out of the office.
-/ - \\-
Hermione looked up as the Headmaster rose from his chair.
"I am sure you are all aware of Mr Potter's absence from Hogwarts over the past few days." The Headmaster began, seemingly in an uncomfortable tone. "Mr Potter has vacated Hogwarts following his name appearing the Goblet of Fire. He has" The Headmaster paused. "Requested assistance from law professionals in London concerning his entrance into the Triwizard Tournament."
"What sort of assistance?" Shouted someone from Hufflepuff.
The Headmaster looked like he wasn't going to answer, then he coughed briefly. "Safe haven."
There was instantly noise predominately from pureblood wizards around the Great Hall.
"The tournament will continue as planned." The Headmaster sat down.
Then Hermione felt someone sit themselves down next to her. It was Ron. He hadn't talked to her much since Harry's name had turned up in the cup.
"Did you know Hermione?" Ron asked.
She decided to counter his question. "Do you know what it means?"
He shrugged. "I've heard dad mention it once. It's some lawyer thing." He wrinkled his nose. "Did you know he was planning this Hermione?" He pressed.
"I suppose Harry thought he couldn't trust anyone with this, given the reaction he got from almost everyone," she reasoned calmly, still not answering Ron's question. She didn't know why she didn't just give him a straight answer but...she didn't.
Ron got bright red and looked at her. "But Hermione...he..." He trailed off. "He was serious about it if he's done this," he screwed up his face. "He should have just gone through with it. We could have worked something out."
"Could we?" She wondered.
"What?" He looked to her.
"I went looking into wizarding contracts," she left the statement hanging.
"They're right bad." Suddenly George interjected.
"Remember dad talking about them Ron?" Fred asked.
Ron just looked between them and shook his head. "He should've gone through with it, that's what I would've done," he muttered.
Both brothers winked at her as Ron got up away from the table.
-/ - \\-
This idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while. In part it came about when I was writing 'Detectives & Lawyers, Prophecies & Horcuxes' (the sequel to 'Dames & Broads, Witches & Wizards').