A/N: First attempt at a Harry Potter story, split into three parts. Main focus of this is the Triwizard champions' development, of course with more focus on Viktor Krum and his general outlook on life. I should probably warn you that this Krum is nothing like Movie Krum. He is Book Krum through and through, or at least as close to the Book Krum as I can remember. Book Krum is not handsome, muscular, smooth or charismatic and he is most certainly not an idiot, as the movie made him out to be. He's extremely skinny, 'sulky', duck-footed with a large hooked nose and bushy eyebrows. He was basically described in the books as looking like an overgrown bird of prey, and while I imagine that he wouldn't necessarily be ugly, I'm still pretty sure that he's not as good looking as the actor portraying him. I also imagine him to be a prodigy of some sorts, having been chosen to play for an international team while still remaining in school.
Long note is long to avoid disappointments! Also keep in mind that anything said in italics is being spoken in Bulgarian. I figured it's easier to keep up that way, since I'm dropping the accent and sticking with simple, broken English whenever Krum speaks because I'm just too terrible at writing in accents.
Viktor Krum wasn't very impressed with his potential competitors.
The witches and wizards from Beauxbatons Academy were affected by rain to such an extent that it soured their mood too much to pretend to be the least bit flattered by their host's hospitality. If they thought this is cold, thought Viktor, they really ought to get out of France more often. On the other hand his peers with their brooding stony faces weren't any better, but at least they weren't moaning and complaining and scrunching up their noses at every single plate offered.
One thing he's willing to give them credit for is the graceful way in which they carried themselves despite their shivering, wet, and disheveled state. Their reputation precedes them in that regard.
It's just too easy, too boring. Defeating the Beauxbatons champion would be like taking candy from a baby. He was really looking forward to the tournament. He was hoping for something a bit more challenging and exciting, something different from Quidditch, and granted the students of Hogwarts were more promising than their French counterparts, but they still were not nearly promising enough for him.
For one thing, there were many of them, hundreds of students more than both the selected Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students combined. More students meant more potential competitors, thus endless possibilities, and he thought that it would compensate for what Beauxbatons lacked but when he did a quick scan of the faces within his line of view- all staring back dumbly, admirably, and completely unaware of his judgment. –he hardly found anyone worth challenging. He was probably older than most of them, and most definitely a better dueler than all of them considering Hogwarts' history of shying away from anything to do with the Dark Arts beyond defense charms or counter-curses.
He had heard that Harry Potter, the boy who defeated some powerful wizard as a mere infant, attended Hogwarts. Now he would make an interesting competitor. Viktor marveled at the thought of competing against The Boy Who Lived for the Triwizard Cup and winning, but he then remembered that he himself had been maybe five or six years old when he first heard the story all the way in Bulgaria. The boy, wherever he was hiding in the sea of spellbound faces, was likely too young to compete.
This is child's play, he thought bitterly as he turned back towards the aging Hogwarts Headmaster and his speech. It if hadn't been for the Triwizard Tournament's notoriously dangerous tasks, so dangerous that they have in fact claimed lives in the past, Viktor would've probably changed his mind about the whole ordeal.
He allowed his eyes to wander as the feast commenced. It occurred to him that Hogwarts castle was really, really big. It also had a strange kind of charm. Torches and colorful banners on grey walls felt warm and welcoming, despite the cold and the strange unfamiliarity of the environment and its occupants. It was the kind of warmth he had never felt at Durmstrang.
He was never one for old castles, but ever since he stepped foot in Hogwarts he had to fight the urge to abandon the feast and explore its secrets.
The dinning hall had been cleared of tables and replaced with benches lined neatly on five steps against the walls on either side of the hall, leaving the path from the entrance to the Goblet of Fire clear. The Goblet was placed on a pedestal in front of the staff's table. It's flames were dancing rather gently as they cast a bright blue light all around the hall, illuminating it more so than the dim torches on the walls. It gave Viktor a good cover. He was able to put his name in the Goblet early and retreat to the farthest bench before all the students started piling in. He hadn't been in Hogwarts long, but judging from the students' reaction so far, he knew that he wouldn't be able to observe his competitors in peace without whispers and hundreds of eyes glued on him.
It's a very rare thing for one such as Viktor Krum, to be sitting in the middle of a large crowd and not have his personal space invaded or his choices questioned. He savored such moments. If he hadn't loved playing Quidditch so much he would've probably quit a long time ago.
One after another, his peers placed their names in the Goblet, each more determined than the last. The Beauxbatons all did the same as well, smiling rather smugly, as if putting one's name is enough to win the tournament. Hogwarts students were taking it far too lightly.
The ones younger than seventeen were trying to push each other into the Age Line, laughing and jeering like monkeys, while the older students made a big show of putting their names in and being stung by the Goblet and then falling rather dramatically back onto their friends. He would've found it comical had it not been what it is, and would've probably joined in the laughter their antics incited, but their lack of competitiveness aggravated him too much.
Was he doomed to compete against a princess and a buffoon?
A pair of twins with long, bright red hair and freckles caught his attention. They were announcing rather triumphantly that they have successfully brewed a potion that will deceive the Age Line and allow them to put their names in the Goblet. They bickered briefly with Harry Potter and his friends, whom Viktor hadn't noticed sitting on the lower benches until now. The smaller boy with the red hair, whom he assumed to be the twins' younger brother, was doubtful of their success just as much as the girl with the bushy hair and the open thick volume on her lap. Harry Potter seemed mildly amused.
The twins downed the potion. Viktor leaned closer, now very much interested and wondering if the twins really were a lot more powerful than they appeared ,because only a particularly powerful wizard and potion master could deceive an Age Line especially drawn by none other than Albus Dumbledore himself.
He doubts that even Igor Karkaroff or Olympe Maxime would know how to deceive it.
He caught Albus Dumbledore walking in from the corner of his eyes. He turned back towards the twins and their crowd of admirers, but they seemed to be completely oblivious to their Headmaster's presence. Dumbledore was not regarding them with anger and distaste, as Karkaroff would have, but with a curious smile. He seemed just as interested as Viktor was of the outcome, and didn't look like he was about to put a stop to it.
He was either too curious to care about the Ministry's laws or too confident with his own abilities to worry too much.
The twins jumped over the line and placed their names in. Viktor felt the same surge of excitement rushing through him when he first heard of the tournament. If one of those young wizards, or hopefully both, get chosen by the Goblet-
His thoughts were cut short when the flames from the Goblet erupted and turned into a bright, angry shade of red, eliciting gasps and screams from the unsuspecting crowd. The twins were roughly hurled back over the Line and nearly crushed onto the pile of occupied benches. They groaned as they struggled to get back up on their feet, rubbing their heads and backsides, and when they turned to face the crowd the entire room erupted into laughter. Their smooth chins were now covered by long, bushy white beards that clashed horribly with their red hair. They stared at each other with identical gaping mouths, before one shoved the other and blamed him for this blunder. The second twin replied in kind, and soon enough they were scuffling on the ground again, each insisting that it was the other's fault, causing more and more people to laugh.
"I did warn you," said Dumbledore, finally announcing his presence. There still wasn't a hint of anger in his voice.
The twins eventually left the hall for the hospital wing, still shoving and calling each other names. Unbeknownst to himself, Viktor was smiling.
Viktor Krum had underestimated his competitors.
He was able to detect that Fleur Delacour, the pretty, frail looking girl with silver blond hair, blue eyes, and a bewitching smile was actually part Veela. He was certain of it the moment he felt the familiar yet faint tug when she briefly cast her eyes on him. She wasn't as pure or strong as his team's mascots but she had just enough allure to benefit her in perhaps one or two tasks, should her challenger be weak enough or unaware or previously unexposed to her kind.
There was nothing special about Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory. He was handsome for sure, handsome enough to have Fleur's hungry eyes following his every move, but not so much that he could use it to his advantage in any task. Until his name was called, Viktor had never heard it being whispered in the hallways or during mealtimes. He noticed that Cedric wore the yellow and black colors of that one house with the rodent mascot that goes by the name Huffles or Bubbles. Viktor was never good with foreign names, but in his short stay he was briefed on the four houses and their slogans, and that of Cedric's house included fierce loyalty. He can't see it helping him during the tournament. Unless, of course, if that were his strategy.
It's devious, but smart. Cedric could pretend to be friendly and useless and drop the act when it suits him, and then slip right under their noses and grab the cup when they least expect it. He didn't look like the devious type, but that could be a part of the act. Not everything is what it seems, after all, and Viktor himself can testify to that. People are still astonished to see him sporting only a broken nose and the occasional black eye after getting repeatedly pounded by Bludgers.
He couldn't have hoped for anything better.
Things got even more exciting when Hogwarts' second champion joined them. Harry Potter.
Naturally, everyone was in an uproar. Madam Maxime and Karkaroff were for once on the same page, the first insinuating foul play and the second point blank insisting that it is, and that they ought to have the chance to enter a second champion from their own schools to tie the scores. That one minister was beside himself with shock, while the more colorful one was beside himself with absolute joy.
Viktor and Cedric were the only quiet ones in the room. He was wondering if Cedric's line of thought was similar to his own.
The scarred Hogwarts professor and apparently Karkaroff's adversary, Alastor Moody, had said what they all feared. Someone else had put Harry Potter's name in the Goblet of Fire, without his knowledge or consent, and that someone likely did so to get him killed.
Like many others Viktor had heard the stories of the snake-like dark wizard, and of his several attempts at disposing of Harry Potter. He didn't need to be told in plain Bulgarian that the person who put Harry's name in the Goblet is likely one of that wizard's followers.
A rat in the castle, he mused.
He then looked at the fourth champion. It didn't occur to him just how young Harry truly is. He had to be- what, twelve? Fourteen? He wasn't even close to being a man, not by a long shot, and from the anxious looks his green eyes kept throwing at the multiple faces around the room Viktor could tell that he himself is terrified enough.
Whatever the headmasters, professors, ministers, and contestants believed, Viktor decided that the boy is being honest. He did not put his name in the Goblet of Fire. It wasn't out of kindness or pity from Viktor's part, of course, but simply the fact that the boy didn't look like he had what it takes. He's not one to question Harry Potter's celebrity status, but he does question his overall ability to perform as a decent wizard under dangerous circumstances, and from one look he found that they boy lacked the necessary set of skills to get him past the three tasks unscathed.
He decided to avoid Harry Potter in the future. The boy, innocent as he believes him to be, is still a liability. Viktor can't afford to be distracted by dark English wizards and decade-old vendettas. He came here for one reason only, and that is to bring home the Triwizard Cup.
Viktor was surprised to find that Harry was being ostracised by his own peers. He had expected it from his own and from the Beauxbatons lot, and they did not disappoint, but it still came as a shock for him to see Hogwarts students spitting insults and accusations at the boy whenever they saw him and wearing badges with hate slogans directed towards Harry Potter in support of Cedric Diggory.
He briefly wondered if Cedric was behind this.
The boy in question appeared by his side, leaning on the rails next to him as they watched a flushed looking Harry shove past a group of students pointing their badges at him, sniggering and hurling more insults at his back.
"Bet people aren't this harsh in Durmstrang," said Cedric, staring after Harry with concern. "Even if he did cheat his way in, that doesn't exactly make him the scum of the Earth and warrant this kind of treatment."
Viktor snorted. If the tournament had been hosted in Durmstrang Harry would be hexed for this. Still, he nodded in agreement with Cedric. They were behaving rather childishly. Either hex the boy into oblivion or leave him be.
He was suddenly aware of how close and friendly Cedric was being.
"I will go now," he said, eyeing Cedric suspiciously before turning from him. If Cedric had noticed Viktor's discomfort he didn't show it.
"Alright then," he said, smiling and waving as Viktor ascended the stairs. "See you around, mate!"
Later in the afternoon a teary-faced girl with bushy hair ran so fast past him she nearly knocked him over. She was covering her abnormally large and still growing front teeth with both hands, though that didn't help much as they'd already grown past her chin.
Perhaps, he thought, Hogwarts really wasn't that different from Durmstrang.
It didn't take long for Karkaroff to discover the first challenge. Then again, said challenge was massive and loud and breathed fire not too deep into the Forbidden Forest.
"Dragons!" said Karkaroff, his arms outstretched in the air, his wide smile displaying rows of rotting yellow teeth. "Four of them- a Hungarian Horntail, Chinese Fireball, Swedish Short-Snout, and a Common Welsh. Fully grown. I've seen Dragon Keepers so I highly doubt they'll ask you to slay them."
Viktor nodded. "They must be guarding something."
Karkaroff laughed. "A damsel in distress? That's perfect, you have the qualities of the fairytale knight already! Unless if she's a muggle- Dumbledore loves them. He'll likely sneak one in to try to get you to fail. "
Viktor resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "I was thinking more in lines of the exist."
Karkaroff cleared his throat, having finally felt his champion's annoyance. "Ah, yes, of course. You'll have to get past them."
He decided to explore the library in hopes of finding something that could refresh his memories on dragons. He had written the names of the four breeds in a small piece of parchment in Russian letters to avoid getting caught ("excellent thinking, Viktor!" Karkaroff had exclaimed.) and scanned the towering shelves for their respective titles. He was disappointed to find that none of the dragons had their own volumes, but were rather grouped together with several other breeds in many different books.
He grabbed a few thicker volumes intended for sixth and seventh year students and found himself an empty chair and table. He opened one and was immediately assaulted by long English words he's never seen or heard before. He understood, of course, when putting two and two together but he figured now isn't the time to be working on his English language skills. He took out his wand, tapped it on the page and muttered an incantation he learned from one of his language professors. The old letters on the page slowly reshaped themselves from English to Russian. Satisfied with the sight of more familiar words, he leaned back on his chair and started to read.
When he opened the second book a deafening roar erupted from its pages and hot flames nearly singed Viktor's face, had he not moved back fast enough and slammed the book shut. He stood up and leaned forward with his palms pressed tight against the book, making sure that whatever that was it stayed in the book. In Durmstrang students dueling and wrestling beasts back into their pages was common sight, but he wasn't very familiar with the rules at Hogwarts and didn't want to get disqualified from the tournament for burning the school's library and injuring its students.
It took him a while to realize that the creature within the book wasn't struggling to get out. Frowning, he slowly sat back down. He hesitantly lifted the cover. A thin flame licked his thumb. He slammed it shut a lot harder than he did the first time.
"Do you mind?" a very irritated, feminine voice hissed at him. He looked up and saw that it was Harry Potter's friend, the bushy haired girl whose teeth were hexed not too long ago, glaring back at him.
Her table was considerably messier than any other table he's ever seen. It was littered with parchments, half fully scribbled on and half scrunched up. A single dripping quill was balanced between her ink-stained thumb and index finger. She was surrounded by not one, but several piles of thick books, piles so tall she could've used them to create a fortress of her own. Her robes were cast on the chair beside her, and the sleeves of her grey sweater were pushed all the way to her elbows.
The light streaming from the windows caught a few tangled knots in her hair, probably due to being pulled and twirled for hours, and a thin streak of ink on one cheek. It made her glare look a lot less menacing than she intended for it to be.
Whatever workload she had it seemed to be three times the amount of seventh years'. Viktor doesn't recall seeing anyone that cared that much about education and schoolwork.
He flushed, suddenly embarrassed at having disturbed her when she was neck-deep in what appeared to be a really important assignment. He opened his mouth to apologize but was immediately cut off by barely-muffled, girlish giggles behind him, followed by a collective hiss from what he assumed to be more girls. Looking back at the girl he realized that she wasn't glaring at him, but at something behind him. Curious, and partly nervous, he turned around in his chair and saw them.
Fangirls. He tried really hard not to groan.
They were a rather large group, all very pretty, and they squealed and giggled even more when their eyes met his. He kept his expression solid as that of a professional Quidditch player but his insides were churning. Too many questions flooded his mind. How long have they been there? How long have they been following him?! Had they been on the ship? Did they overhear any of his conversations with Karkaroff? It wouldn't matter, he reasoned with himself, not unless one of them understands Bulgarian.
He couldn't tell them to leave, as much as he wanted to. They were his fans. They loved him unconditionally, however blind and illusional that love may be, and it's an unspoken, unbroken rule for any celebrity to accept that love. It's a small sacrifice in exchange of fame and glory, and he did learn to accept it and tune it out when necessary, but with all the hate and attention being directed towards Harry Potter and away from him he couldn't help but get a little too comfortable with the sudden and unexpected gift of silence.
He heard an exasperated sigh from the girl. He turned back in his chair to apologize and to excuse himself, but found that she had already gotten up and stuffed her parchments rather angrily back into her bag, grumbling under her breath as she grabbed the remaining books that wouldn't fit in her bag and stacking them on top of each other. He contemplated offering his help but by the time he made his decision she had already stalked away from him and towards the exit.
He contemplated following her. Hushed giggles from the shelves behind him gave him enough reason not to. Still, he was a gentleman through and through. He couldn't let it go. He had to apologize.
The girl was as hard to find as it was hard to shake off his horde of admirers. He could be imagining things, but somehow they seemed to have multiplied since he left the library. A part of him- the Durmstrang student, Bulgarian Quidditch Seeker, Triwizard champion part. –told him to forget about her, that she's not worth the trouble and that he's got more important things to worry about. The other part of him, the Viktor Krum raised on concepts of nobility in their purest form, told him that he was a better man than all those titles and cold medals and empty cups.
He found her many hours later, after finally shaking off his giggly stalkers, but still she was out of reach.
She was sitting on a stony bench on the opposite end of a partly emptied courtyard, her scrolls and books once again littered all around her. She had a single sheet of parchment paper laid flat on one book and a quill in her hand. She was slightly hunched over her parchment, scribbling away and stopping only to dip her quill in ink. Her rosy bottom lip was caught in her teeth and the tips of her eyebrows looked like they were about to touch.
She was so deep in thought, so caught up in her own work, that he couldn't will himself to disturb her a second time. So he waited, and the longer he did the harder it felt to draw breath.
The sun was revealing different streaks of brown on her hair. It was mostly chestnut but he caught rare, thin wisps of gold. She absently tucked strands behind her ear, exposing the pale skin of her cheek, her delicate jawline, and a thin smooth neck.
He tugged at the collar of his shirt. It shouldn't be hot. They were nearing mid-November.
Had she always…looked like the way she did? If so, how could he have not noticed? To be fair he had never really properly looked at her before. His mind was too preoccupied with the tournament and his competitors to pay attention to their companions.
Just another pretty face, he tried convincing himself. No need to loose his head over it. She's probably not that different from all the other girls he's been with. Maybe a little smarter, but hardly any different.
All he had to do was apologize and get it over with. It's not the first time he spoke to the opposite sex, and it's certainly not the first time he apologized to anyone, and yet he can't seem to be able to do anything with himself besides standing still and watching her from across the courtyard.
She leaned back, her eyes scanning the parchment for any mistakes. She placed it neatly on the pile next to her when she didn't find any, her lips curled into a satisfied smile.
He felt the heat rising to his face. He closed his eyes and forced himself into a calmed, collected state. He shouldn't be feeling this way, not right now, and especially not towards her. He didn't even know her name to begin with.
The familiar and unexpected voice of Cedric Diggory shook him out of his revere. He turned around just as his competitor caught up with him, followed closely by his group of friends and a jovial Fleur clinging to his arm. The human-Veela very briefly regarded Viktor before turning her attention back to Cedric.
"We're taking Fleur to Hogsmeade," he said, giving him the same friendly, inviting smile. "It's a village not too far from here. She's never been, and I'm assuming you haven't either."
Viktor didn't say anything. He waited for him to continue, and tried not to look too impatient about it.
"He's wondering if you'd like to join us," said Fleur, her thick accented English dripping with irritation at having to say the words herself.
Viktor ignored her. He glanced at Cedric's group. They were preoccupied with each other a few paces behind Cedric and Fleur. They seemed far enough and out of earshot.
"Who is that?" he said, nodding towards the girl on the bench, now talking to two Indian girls that must've joined her at some point when he was being distracted. "The one with all the books."
"Oh, that's Hermione Granger," replied Cedric. "She's a close friend of Harry's. She's pretty notorious on her own around here, though, being the smartest witch in Hogwarts and all."
He nodded. Smartest witch. It all made sense.
"Hermonin Granger," he muttered, trying the foreign name on his tongue.
Cedric chuckled. "No, Krum, Hermione."
"Err, not quiet. Here, try this: HER-MY-OH-KNEE."
"Her…her…" Viktor hesitated, suddenly too aware of his broken English. Fleur raised perfect blond eyebrows expectantly. Cedric nodded encouragingly. "Her-Hermione." He allowed himself a small triumphant smile. "Hermione Granger."
"See, all you needed was practice," said Cedric. He grinned. "So I take it you fancy her?"
His smile dropped instantly. "No."
Fleur rolled her eyes. She tugged at Cedric's arm gently, indicating that she really wanted to go and could care less about Viktor Krum's love life, but Cedric was so happy with his discovery that he didn't notice.
"It's alright if you do, mate. She's brilliant." He said, chuckling and clamping a hand over Viktor's shoulder. "Don't worry, your secret is safe with me."
"I'm not your mate," he growled, shrugged Cedric's hand off his shoulder.
"Enjoy your horse meat," he said, his mood now too sour for pleasantries, faked or otherwise.
"It's.. it's Hogsmeade…actually…" Cedric trailed off as Viktor gave him his back and walked up the stairs towards the entrance of the castle, easily cutting through his friends. He looked at Fleur, still confused with Viktor's sudden change in manner. She shrugged, still uncaring.
"I was just trying to help…" he said, more to himself than anyone else, clearly upset at having failed to help.
Fleur turned back towards Viktor, now a good few steps ahead of them but still within earshot. She released Cedric's arm and cupped her hands around her lips. She called, "hey, don't forget her name!"
A satisfied smile crept over her face as she saw his ears reddening instantly, and she knew it had nothing to do with the cold. He glanced over his shoulder, his expression barely visible but deadly and threatening still. She scoffed and flipped her thick yellow hair over her shoulder, clearly unaffected.
Cedric was more taken aback, either by Viktor's sudden hostility or Fleur's boldness. "Fleur, that really wasn't necessary-"
"Honestly, Krum," she added, ignoring Cedric, "watching you struggle was painful. Try not to forget, yes?"
Viktor's hand itched for his wand. Had he had free reigns they'd be dueling till nightfall. He had never held anything against Veelas in general but he absolutely hates this vain little halfwit. He could hardly wait to see her face when they announce his name as the Triwizard Champion.
"I will not forget," he said slowly, scowling down at her.
"Good," she said, flipping her hair again and taking Cedric's arm. "We'll be in Hogsmeade if you change your mind."
"I don't care about your horse meat!" He muttered angrily as he marched towards the lake where Durmstrang's ship was docked.
Two hours later, he forgot the girl's name.