I told you all it was going to take four years, and I am a man of my word. Frankly, I am amazed people are still reading and reviewing my stories.
Much of this was written years ago and it has not been finished yet, but I am trying. Also, this is goign to be a lot shorter than previous stories. Sorry, but I expect it is going to be closer in size to my old one-shot stories.
Spread the word - Lazry!Harry is stil determined to not make an effort.
Two hundred miles away from where a war veteran with a decidedly shady past was making himself a late night spot of tea, Harry Potter startled himself awake with a particularly loud snore.
This was rather annoying to the young teen as he had been having a truly vivid dream about being fast asleep.
While that does not sound quite right, for a normal person, it fits perfectly for this boy. You see, Harry Potter was determined to become the laziest person to have ever lived, and he worked at it constantly. Not even the long hours of bed rest he rewarded himself with for achieving milestones in sloth (such as not getting out of bed before lunch time for two days in a row) were spared from his goal.
As a fledgling wizard attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or HoSWiWi as Harry had recently taken to referring to it as (because it felt like he was using less energy saying Hoss-Wee-Wee than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, plus it was sure to annoy Snape), he had some unique opportunities to develop his laziness. The ability to summon object from across the room and then banish them away was a stalwart skill he had been working on for years, and his devotion to learning the subtle and exact art of using charms to bypass manual labour of every kind was becoming legendary (as opposed to the stupidly dangerous, complex and wasteful mess that was Professor Snape's potion making, or "Cooking for Suicidal Idiots", as Harry renamed it).
Currently Harry was using an obscure mental art to try and control his dreams, and was making some good progress. He was getting quite proficient at becoming aware he was dreaming for just long enough to direct his mind towards more satisfying scenarios, such as sleeping in his dreams.
The young wizard's outlook on life would likely have been very different had it not being for his less-than-loving aunty and uncle, and the round blob of lard they called their son. These were Harry's closest relatives and the 'creatures' tasked with raising him after his parents were brutally murdered by a lunatic (who's consciousness was currently apparently residing in a blood splattered glass jar amongst the many nick-knacks in Headmaster Dumbledore's office). This 'family' routinely accused Harry of being lazy, selfish and generally an unwanted drain on their resources, and while it had not been true at first, Harry chose to give them exactly what they wanted, and so dedicated much of his nearly 14 years of existence to proving them right.
Of course, just being a lazy git was not a particularly ambitious goal, so Harry naturally decided he would be the laziest git ever, and do it in such a way that no one could fault him for it.
Last year he 'took a year off' of pushing his laziness, and it had turned out a bit boring (by his somewhat distorted standards). Consequently, this year he was determined to find new and interesting ways to slack off while still getting things done, and so far it was working out brilliantly.
Currently, as he was back at his 'loving' home in Surrey for the summer holidays, Harry was unable to use his wand to perform any of the magic he had been learning for the last three years at HoSWiWi, so he had to make do with specially prepared items and arrangements made before leaving the school for the holidays. Much of this Harry figured out in previous years, such as a trunk full of ready-to-eat food held in magical stasis, and the deal he had with some house-elves to secretly take care of just about every other bit of housework.
In fact, the House-elves were really coming through for Harry this year, and it was causing Vernon (Harry's uncle) to develop an ulcer, and his aunty, Petunia, to turn prematurely grey (and possibly develop a secret drinking habit, if the bottles in the recycling bin were anything to go by).
Dudley-the-lard-ball was too dense to be affected, or to even notice anything for that matter.
Harry's new favourite game was to make sure he was fully in sight of either his aunt or uncle as much as possible after they gave him a task to complete, while the House-elves completed the work in a literal blink of an eye without anybody seeing how or when it was done.
Harry was certain Vernon had never before turned quite the same particular shade of purple as he had the third or fourth time the dishes were done before Harry had even gotten into the kitchen, and Petunia was so desperate to find any speck of dust that she had nearly taken a nasty tumble when she tried running a white glove along the top of the high mantle where her ugly collection of plates with ghastly pictures on them resided, in order to find something to make Harry do.
She was so startled by the glove coming back spotless (and she was also possibly a bit intoxicated at the time) that she had taken two steps forward, completely forgetting she was standing on a chair.
Better yet, when she hit the floor it had bent under her like a mattress, absorbing the impact and saving her from some serious bruising at the very least.
Luckily she didn't know that Harry had been watching from the outside through the window while pretending to water the garden, or she would have blamed him for her near accident and miraculous injury-free survival.
Well, she would have thought about blaming him, but then probably would have backed off because Harry had another thing going for him this summer: he was receiving regular letters from his apparently insane, escaped convict, murdering godfather.
The letters were a mystery in themselves. Sirius was completely nuts, but very amusing. He kept referring to incidents that had never happened, like them spending considerable time together at Hogwarts when in reality Harry had never seen the man until a few minutes before leaving the school at the end of the year, and every package included several photos of the escapee in various parts of the world putting Ron's old pet rat in potentially lethal situations.
Harry was a bit shocked to see old Scabbers, wearing a tiny collar and leash, precariously hanging out over a ledge in the Grand Canyon, or being dangled from a stick to entice Crocodiles in the Australian Outback to jump out of the water.
A normal person probably would have panicked or gotten worried that the insane murderer who had supposedly betrayed his parents was possibly making death threats with those photos, but Harry was not a normal person. Worrying about something he had no control over was a habit Harry had long ago broken.
He calmly sent the first of the letters and photos with an explaining note to one of his close friends from HoSWiWi, Susan Bones, as her aunty just happened to be somebody involved in magical law enforcement in some way that Harry never really made an effort to understand. From the excited return letter a few days later, Harry gathered this had caused a huge fuss (that he was extremely glad to have avoided) when Madam Bones had taken the photos to Ron's dad to ask something about the rat, and somehow Harry's defence teacher from the year before got a hold of them and identified the rat as a magically transformed former friend of his everybody thought was dead.
It all got very complicated after that, with betrayals and accusations that Harry frankly could not be bothered trying to figure it out. Somebody would explain it to him later, once it was all sorted, but for now all he needed to know was Sirius was not guilty of the murderers he had been jailed for (although he was definitely insane and still on the run), had not betrayed his parents, was not likely to be threatening him with a brutal death, and the rat was an evil git who deserved everything Sirius was subjecting him to.
That was good enough for Harry, and he even managed to find a couple of the photos amusing. Who knew rats could look terrified while magically glued on the front of a crazy looking roller-coaster car?
At any rate, it was all working itself out without Harry having to do anything except forward his letters to Madam Bones after he had read them, and reply to Sirius with one of his many mostly pre-written form letters (that all his friends were again getting this year), so he counted it as a win.
Vernon and Petunia only knew Sirius from the Muggle news where he was still being described as armed and extremely dangerous. It was no accident that they had found out about the letters from Sirius soon after the first one arrived, since Harry well knew how to make the most out of strange situations, and now their fear kept them in check.
All this left Harry with lots of time on his hands, time that he made sure to waste.
Sure, some people would not consider reading highly advanced magical books a waste (and Harry was thinking about Hermione when he considered this), but not Vernon or Petunia. Nothing riled them up as much as seeing Harry resting blissfully outside under the shade of a tree apparently engrossed in book about Magic!
Vernon had tried taking away Harry's books, locking them under the stairs, or in the shed, or even in the boot of his company car, but somehow they kept showing up again. He even went as far as sneaking into Harry's room in order to collect them up and burn them, but the very first one he stumbled upon tried to bite him, and then chased him around the room for five minutes before Petunia rescued him by holding it at bay with a broom until they could slam the door closed. All the locks on their doors had been upgraded after that incident and the bars on Dudley's windows reinforced (although Harry still thought they would be better off locking him in his room rather than trying to keep him out of theirs).
Harry didn't just spend the time reading though. He had a journal he occasionally jotted down ideas in, mainly so that he did not have to try to remember them later. In just the few weeks away from school, he was already half way through the moleskin notebook. Pages were filled with diagrams and outlines of schemes and contrivances that might help make his year (and indeed life) easier. Half thought out new spells and sequences of runes filled the pages between long trains of notes on alterations to the way the world within HosWiWi worked.
Hermione would likely have a fit if she ever saw the disorganised mess, and Sue would likely get confused and possibly even angry at some of his ideas (like the one were House-elves were tasked with scrubbing people's backs in the showers) both images of which actually made Harry smile when he thought of them. Moon-girl would likely add her own dawdles to his pages, possibly improving them but more likely turning them into artworks of creature too weird to exist even in the magical world.
Damn it, he was doing it again.
The last thing he needed was to keep getting distracted by thoughts of the girls of HosWiWi, but it kept happening. It seemed he could not stop his thoughts from continuously drifting back to pretty much every girl he had ever seen, or met, or in some cases, been told about.
Not that he had ever objected to the thoughts of girls, or the idea of spending a lot more time with them during the upcoming year, but he just knew in his very bones that girls were going to be the cause of a lot of work in his life and he felt powerless to stop it.
Damn it, he was still doing it. He had to think of something else.
Luckily, right at that moment, an unusual flicker of movement in darkness outside of his window caught his eye. Putting on his glasses, Harry opened the glass and peered out in to the night.
In the far distance, highlighted by the moonlight, a speck was floating towards him. He stood in front of the window and watched as the speck slowly resolved itself into the shape of a large owl. There was never any doubt in his mind that the owl was destined for him, since nobody else nearby was likely to be getting mail delivered by a bird.
Sirius's letter often arrived by exotic and often beautiful tropical looking birds (although the vulture was a bit of a shocker, and he still could not figure out what the thing that looked like a snake with wings was), but most witches and wizards in England used owls for their post. Often strange and non-native owls, because even conservative British magical folk just could not help showing off, but owls still the same.
As it neared, Harry began to notice something not quite right about it, namely that was flying rather erratically, as if was struggling to make it.
Harry found himself holding his breath and silently urging the bird on as is dipped and swayed and struggled to make it across the last few blocks to his window.
Just as it was about to crash into the wall a few feet below him, it gave a mighty surge, and smashed into the wall to the left of Harry with a dull thump.
"Bugger," said Harry, watching the bird tumble lifelessly to the ground two stories below.
He thought about not going down to collect whatever mail it was delivering, but it seemed a bit cruel to leave its body there for the local cats to have their way with after such a heroic effort. Besides, the package might have something interesting in it.
Quietly, Harry slipped on a pair of magically soft and silent slippers, then snuck out of his room and down the stairs. It took a minute to undo all of the locks and chains on the door leading outside, but soon Harry was searching the ground for the unfortunate bird. It didn't take long to find it, spreadeagled on its back as it was.
"Or was that spread-owled?" Harry thought to himself.
Surprisingly, it gave a weak twitch as he picked it up by a wing, causing him to drop it again as it startled him. Cursing quietly to himself, Harry carefully picked the bird up, attached letter and all, and made his way back to the door.
"What are you doing?" asked Dudley sleepily from the doorway, nearly making Harry drop the bird again.
"Nothing," he replied automatically. "What are you doing?"
"Getting a snack of course. Heard you mucking about and came for a look. What's that then?" he said, pointing with a piece of cake at the bird in Harry's arms.
"I was hungry too, so I grabbed a local owl. They go good with strawberry sauce. Want to try some, or aren't you meant to be on a diet or something?"
Dudley screwed his face up in disgust and Harry fought not to smile too much lest it give the game away. It was a bit mean, but Harry did enjoy occasionally tormenting his intelligence-challenged bully of a cousin. Years of being picked on by the huge idiot motivated Harry to do more than just always ignore the moron.
"Strawberry sauce? That's sick. You can't have a desert sauce with a bird of prey! You'll completely ruin the flavour, especially if you fricassee it the way it is meant to be done."
The smile froze on Harry face as he took a few moments to come to terms with the fact Dudley actually sounded like he knew what he was talking about, or could possibly have been taking the piss - or maybe both.
"Right," he said, making a valiant recovery as he pushed past his cousin and made for the stairs. "I'll keep that in mind then. Thanks Big D."
He was also going to keep a closer eye on Hedwig from now on.
By the time Harry had taken his letter from the leg of the ancient looking owl, it had revived enough to squeeze onto the perch next to Hedwig and not drown in the water dish while it gulped down every drop it could.
Harry unrolled the parchment and read his letter, thankfully banishing thoughts of what the hell Dudley was learning in that private school he was attending.
It turned out to be a letter from Ron, one of Harry's acquaintances from HosWiWi, inviting him to attend some huge Quidditch game or another, which was rather surprising since they were not really close mates or anything. They had shared a bit of an adventure together in first year, and Harry did sort of save Ron's younger sister's life in second year, and there was that whole thing with Harry's godfather torturing Ron's pet rat - but those were just isolated incidents.
Further down in the letter it came to light that much of the reasoning involved the fact the tickets were from Sirius as a sorry for abducting Scabbers (although Sirius actually stated they were for 'taking such good care of the little #%!# %$ for so many years'), and Ron's mum thought it was only fair to invite Harry along.
Harry wasn't a huge fan of any sport, although he was forced to play Quidditch at school, and the effort involved was a bit daunting, since Ron had invited him to stay over the night before the game because they were leaving early in the morning, in two days time, which was a bit short notice.
"Just how long did it take you get here?" he asked the practically comatosed delivery owl.
The owl gave him a look that showed it clearly did not appreciate his lack of respect for the feat it had undergone.
On the other hand, Harry was quite keen to see a fully magical household and all the labour saving wonders it was bound to hold. He had planned on seeing if he could visit one of his house mates, but hadn't gotten around to making the effort yet. This would save him from that.
Still, he was probably supposed to send a reply, and there was no way the old owl was going to make it back in time. Hedwig could possibly be convinced, but could Harry be bothered?
Faint noises emanating through the wall between Dudley's room and his own decided him.
Obviously his cousin's midnight food excursion left rotund teenager with a bit too much energy to go back to sleep, and Dudley had apparently made some self-discoveries that Harry really didn't want to think about.
Besides, aside from escaping the Dursley's and getting to see more fantastic magic, Ron's sister was a bit cute, when she wasn't secretly stalking him.
Not again, damn it!
Ron's house proved to be quite different from what Harry had expected.
After arriving by fire-place travel, a feat Harry found way too energetic to be enjoyable (although seeing the Dursley's living room half destroyed had been damn funny), the first thing that Harry noticed was how homely Ron's house was.
He guiltily admitted to himself that he had been expecting something a bit grander, since magic was so fantastic and wizards were such show-offs, but the shear warmth and comfort he could feel from every corner of the converted pigpen was magical all in itself.
At first, the crazy architecture of the house gave Harry to some safety concerns, and having to climb several stair cases in order to get to the bedroom was definitely a thing he would change if it was his house, but all in all, the place was just so much nicer than the Dursleys that he instantly forgave all of the minor annoyances, like having to help de-gnome the garden.
"So aside from eating the vegies, they don't actually do any harm, right?" asked Harry as he watched Ron fling another gnome over the hedge.
"They got a nasty bite if they get riled up," answered Ron, watching his projectile tumble away. "But really it's the holes that are a problem. If you leave it get bad enough, you can't even walk on it let alone land a broom."
"Well normally I'd say 'live and let live'," said Harry, "but I guess they are a bit of a problem. Of course, I don't think catching them by hand and tossing them like this is best use of our time though."
Ron, never a fan of chores or work in general, totally agreed with Harry and was fully on board with any plan that involved making life easier.
Once Ron's prankster twin brothers got involved, things did get a bit out of hand, but in the end, and hours after they would have finished if they had performed the job by hand, the first ever 'Gnome-a-pult' was deemed a success.
It helped immensely that the gnomes were just as fascinated with being flung dozens of metres away as the boys who had built the tool. The original idea was to use magic to rewind it ready to fire, with a simple slice of apple as the bait, but Ginny proved it was much easier to teach the gnomes to wind it up themselves and fight for the right to be the next in line.
They really were rather stupid.
Mrs Weasley was dubious about the whole affair, but since it kept the boys busy and out of her hair while still achieving the goal of stopping the pests from ruining her garden, she saw no harm in it.
That night, after a wonderful afternoon of alternating flying, lazing around at the watering hole, and watching gnomes unsuccessfully try to fly via the Gnome-apult and some random feathers, Harry found himself slipping away into his controlled dream state rather contented and quite looking forward to going to the world cup.
Just as long as there was not going to be much in the way of physical activity.
"Who's bleeding idea was it to put the boot on top of a hill out in the middle of nowhere?" complained Harry as they trudged along.
He was enjoying the walk through the beautiful country-side, it was very pretty, especially compared to the dull streets around the Dursley's home, but he felt compelled to protest at the needless waste of energy.
Especially when there was a shed full of brooms back at the Burrow just begging to be used.
"I dunno, mate," said Ron, equally annoyed at not being allowed to fly, "but I can't wait to learn to Apparate like Bill so we don't have to do this sort of thing again."
Harry nodded in agreement, making another promise to himself to do exactly what Ron was saying
... unless it took too much energy of course. Then he would just make sure to always have his broom with him.
"Just how big is this camping ground?" he asked after ten minutes of wandering around the over- crowded field.
The fascinating array of magical tents was worth the walk, but once again, he could not help feel there had to be a better way than walking. Maybe a flying carpet shuttle service or something? They could charge a Knut each way (a Knut per nut seemed pretty fair).
Still, he got to see a few of his housemates during the stupidly circular trip to the tent Mr Weasley had procured for the event, so that helped (since it meant he wasn't going out of his way to see them and still got the benefit of appearing friendly).
Now he just needed a way to find out how to get to the top of the stadium where their seats were without having to climb all those stairs!
The game was surprisingly exciting. It was so much faster and more brutal than the games they played at Hogwarts, it was like comparing riding a pushbike to motor racing.
Omnioculars got Harry excited even before the game started.
"These are exactly what I need to record classes with!" he exclaimed, lamenting the lost time spend developing the memory spheres with Lockhart.
Then again, that whole endeavour came with its own advantages, namely the 'extra-curricular' content that was making him a pretty penny as well as providing hours of entertainment for his reoccurring preoccupation.
When the Veela mascots took to the field to hypnotise the male portion of the audience, it was only the fact Harry was dutifully recording the whole thing that stopped him from joining Ron and the other boys in making fools of themselves (because it was way too much work to record and do something impressive for the Veela at the same time).
Then he missed a large portion of the early part of game watching the replay trying to reconcile the visions of loveliness he recalled with rather alien looking females in the recording.
In fact, it wasn't until he found something snuggled up inside his pocket that he stopped going back to the replay and really took note of the scoring.
"er, Ron," he asked timidly. "Is there some sort of penalty for a spectator interfering with the snitch during a game?"
"Anybody stupid enough to do that would probably find themselves inside Azkaban!" said Ron, not taking his eyes off the game.
"Oh," said Harry, almost crushing the snitch in his pocket.
Luckily he was able to throw the damn thing away without anybody seeing him when everybody was jumping up and down because of another score, and Victor Crum caught it before it could make its way back to Harry, although he nearly crashed into the boy-who-lived in order to get it before his rival.
Harry wondered if that was the reason the star had such a sour look on his face, or maybe it was the chocolate that had melted in his pocket where the snitch had been huddled.
Either way, Harry was glad he would never have to explain to the grumpy looking fellow why the chocolate covered thing seemed to be behaving so strangely.
"I am not running all the way to some bloody forest in the middle of the night just because some morons are causing a riot," announced Harry as the explosions got closer. "I mean this sort of thing is pretty standard at premier league football matches, so what's the big deal?"
"Now is not the time to be stubborn," said Charlie, Ron's oldest brother as he tried to start shuffling them out the flap of the tent.
"I'm not being stubborn, I am being sensible," said Harry. "Running around in a riot in the dark is madness. What if there are more of these nutters hiding in the woods waiting for scared, defenceless kids to run to and be captured, horribly tortured, and then violently dismembered?"
"I think you spend way too much time thinking about this sort of thing," said B1, who Harry was pretty sure was Fred, but it didn't really matter since they were fairly interchangeable.
"Nevertheless, if you want to get us out of here, make another port-key," suggested Harry.
"We aren't allowed to make Portkeys without proper Ministerial permission," protested Percy, Ron most 'stuck-up' brother.
He was so stuck up, Harry had to continuously refrain from calling him 'Stick' out loud.
"Like anybody is going to care about that right now," said Harry. "Just make one and get us and the tent out of here. Blame it on trying to protect the boy-who-lived if you have to – I don't mind."
A brief but heated discussion ensued, but all Harry really cared about was not having to run if there was a viable alternative.
Finally the decision was made and sanity prevailed, with Harry and co taking another gut-wrenching journey back to Ron's house while holding onto the central pole of the tent that had become the port-key.
"Well that was pretty exciting," said Harry, preparing himself for bed a few minutes after untangled himself from the inevitable human pileup that occurred on landing.
Portkeys were not one of Harry's preferred methods of travel.
"You are just going to go to sleep?" asked Charlie incredulously. "Just like that?"
"Not much else to do," pointed out Harry, "and seems like such a waste not to use the beds, with them all being made up and such. Besides, I'm sure you adult folk will be running around doing all sorts of noisy things like arguing about who is responsible and who is at fault, so it'd be much better if us lot stayed in here out of the way and undisturbed, right?"
Charlie's look was clearly unbelieving, but that didn't matter to Harry.
The boy-who-lived-to-sleep was nothing if not practical, and he was supremely confident somebody would eventually get around to sorting it out and telling them what it all meant.
Harry ended up staying with the Weasley's until it was time to return to school. Mrs Weasley was so incensed at the thought that his Aunty and Uncle would, if anything, be disappointed that he had not been murdered during the incident at the World cup, that she simply refused to let him return home. It was his own fault for honestly answering her questions about letting them know he was okay after the attack.
Despite not being able to return to his routine, Harry still found himself with lots of time on his hands, and an amazing world of magic that he would never get to see at school. Mrs Weasley absolutely loved his modern mandolin slicer, and already owned a Snape-Stirrer without realising it was his invention. She introduced him to the art of cooking with magic, mistakenly thinking Harry was there doing his bit to help out when in fact he was just intrigued at the many shortcuts using magic introduced into the chore.
Ron was less impressed, but happily let Harry distract his mum. While the twins tried making fun of him, Ginny somehow managed to either be angry at him for his less than stellar prior treatment of her, or reverted to her overly shy original treatment of him. He was fairly sure she was often spying on him too, but he wasn't going to go to the effort of finding out.
Mr Weasley had some truly interesting ideas about Muggles technology that Harry enjoyed hearing, but his discussions with Stick about work at the Ministry of Magic set Harry teeth on edge.
"So, can somebody tell me why they don't just use magic to report and record when an illegal spell is cast?" he asked. "I mean, the trace reports when we do magic outside of school, so why not just use that to record if people cast spells like this giant-floaty-skull thing and issue the fines and notices automatically, instead of having every department running around trying to figure out what happened? And can't you use sneak-o-scopes or something like that to sort out which of these buggers are lying about the damages they are claiming?"
The sheer amount of redundancy and repetition made by the ridiculous bureaucracy was nothing short of criminal. Mr Weasley and even Stick had been working non-stop since the fiasco, despite the fact neither of them were directly involved in anything to do with the cup.
Stick was positively outraged at the thought something could be done in a better way that was not suggested by a person already in the government.
Harry silently vowed to have as little as possible to do with the whole mess that was the Ministry.
"Spells like the Trace are not that precise," explained Mr Weasly. "They can't really tell who has cast a spell, just that a spell was cast in the general area where the trace was placed. A bit of guessing goes into all of it, and it would take a witch or wizard to follow up and make sure it really was an underage person who cast it, especially when it happens in an area where a lot of magicals are, and there just aren't ever enough people for that."
Suddenly the room, that just prior to his statement was awash with several conversations, went deathly still as all of the underage Weasley children turned to stare at their father.
"What, like the family home of a magical family perhaps?" asked one of the twins with an innocence Harry was surprised either of them could fake.
Mr Weasley's face froze as he realised what he had inadvertently let out of the bag.
"Oh dear," he said, just before Mrs Weasley took a deep breath in order to 'lay down the law', but it was too late and the twin's faces were already sprouting huge grins.
For Harry, that was just the icing on the cake of what had quickly become his best holiday ever.
It took barely any convincing to get Ron to make sure all of his gear was ready to go the night before they had to leave. Once Harry found the Pack spell in one of his many household charms books, they had a great deal of fun practicing it.
Well the spell itself wasn't that much fun, but unpacking and throwing their stuff around in increasingly random and spread out ways in order to 'get the most out of the learning experience' certainly was, especially since it usually ended up in 'clothes war'. He was pretty sure the twins had started the first one, but Ginny definitely contributed to the chaos, somehow managing to get her underpants over Harry's head several times (which oddly did not upset him as much as he made out).
Ron's mum was less understanding about their newfound desire to practice magic, but was fairly easy to get around, since they had opted to stay in the magically expanded tent rather than return to Ron's more cramped room.
Ginny's cat also didn't appreciate their skill when it accidentally got caught up in one casting and ended up buried in Harry's trunk and nearly eaten by the Monster Book of Monsters.
Still, when the morning came, Mrs Weasley was certainly suspicious of her children all being ready on time without her direct involvement, but grateful nevertheless.
"Here, Harry," said one of the twins passing him a bag of lollies. "We really owe you for finding out about the Trace."
"Yeah, we got so much done after we found out we could cast silencing spells," said the second one. "Be careful with those though. We're pretty sure the effects are only temporary, but until we can get a few more test subjects, you can't be too certain."
Harry accepted the bag, noting their plans for opening a joke store based around a range of magical lollies with interesting effects were a lot further along than anybody realised.
The plan to take Muggle taxi's to King's Cross after Mr Weasley was called away on some urgent business involving a mad bloke with one eye, was quickly aborted when Harry explained they would not normally be used to transport so many large trunks or live animals like his owl.
In truth he didn't really know it would be an issue, but he was rather hoping to convince Ron's older brothers and mother to Apparate them there instead. They could take the knight bus, but he was eager to try this new (to him) form of transportation.
Mrs Weasley reluctantly agreed, since both of his brothers and herself could take more than one person and one trunk at a time.
Unfortunately, Harry found out it was only slightly better than a Portkey, and still nowhere near as much fun as flying a broom. He was pretty sure he could get used to the feeling of been squeezed through a rubber tire, but the landing sucked just as bad, with him somehow ending up on his bottom, yet again.
But at least it did save them a long, uncomfortable trip in a couple of boring old taxis.
"So Potter, going to enter are you?" asked Draco, standing at the door to the compartment where Harry was once again unsuccessfully trying to sleep.
Ron was off catching up with his Gryffindor mates leaving Harry to bear the brunt of Hermione's interrogation about the events at the World Cup. Likewise, the twins and Ginny had all gone their separate ways.
Sue and Hannah had joined him first, with Hermione joining them just after he finished telling them about it all. She insisted he recount everything yet again, and kept digging in for more details and explanations than could reasonably be expected of him. He just couldn't see anything wrong with his first explanation of "Yeah, somebody was apparently causing some trouble so we left before it got near us."
Then Justin and Ernie joined them and added in their own versions of what happened, and were subsequently interrogated almost as much as Harry. At that point he wondered if he should have just written it all down.
No, Hermione at least probably would still have demanded a verbal retelling.
"Probably not, Slick," said Harry casually, for once grateful to see the Slytherin. "You?"
Draco was a bit taken aback by Harry's answer.
"What? Why not?"
"Too much trouble," said Harry. "It hardly seems worth it, does it?"
"No, I suppose not," said Malfoy, smiling. "At least, not for you, right? I mean a thousand Galleons is hardly worth getting out of bed for, and fame isn't everything, is it?"
"Don't I know it," agreed Harry, smiling ruefully.
Draco, nodded his head to other occupants almost respectfully and then left, somehow avoiding looking at Hermione.
"What a git," spat Hermione as soon as the door was closed. "What is he talking about Harry?"
"No Idea," said Harry shrugging.
He probably would have admitted to not knowing what Draco was talking about, if it had been anybody except Draco. Slick was the sort of arrogant idiot that ended up being more work the more serious you took him.
"Something big is happening this year," Sue told them. "My Aunty was always going on about it, giving me all of these little hints and clues, but not outright telling me."
"How annoying," said Justin.
Harry agreed, although he was quite interested, since last year had turned out to be so boring that he promised to get into something this year.
"Well, whatever it is, it involves possibly winning a thousand Galleons and becoming famous," said Hermione.
"Or more famous, in Harry's case," pointed out Ernie.
"Sounds interesting," said Hannah, to the general agreement of all.
"Just so long as it's fun," said Harry. "And easy - Not interested if it involves anything like real work."
Harry's loud cheer was decidedly out of place.
"What?" he asked, looking around at all the whispering people in the great hall.
"Mate, you are not meant to be happy that there is no Quidditch Cup this year!" whispered Justin.
"You're not the one that would normally be looking at a having to drag yourself out onto the pitch several times a week come hail or shine to practice plays that have nothing to do with you!" snarled Harry in response.
Dumbledore cleared his throat.
"As I was saying," he said, smiling at the sea of students before him, all of whom were still gazing transfixed at Harry, "we are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held for over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year."
Whispers quickly rose in volume to the point where Dumbledore had to clear his throat again to quieten everybody down before he could continue telling them about the tournament.
It was all reasonably interesting to Harry until he reached the bit about the death toll being the main reason it was cancelled.
"Bit of a deal breaker, that," Harry whispered to Sue, who unsuccessfully smothered a giggle.
So between the age restriction and the real possibility of death, Harry figured he would be looking somewhere else for his excitement this year, although there was bound to be enough stirred up by the tournament that he would not have to put too much effort into finding something distracting to do.
He thought his wish was answered when the Beauxbatons contingent arrived.
The extraordinary site of the flying horses and carriages was spectacular, but the insanely pretty female half of the foreign school's students were much more interesting.
"Beautiful," whispered Harry to himself as he faithfully recorded the whole spectacle on his Omnioculars.
Of course he wasn't silly enough to have them on him were a professor or over-zealous prefect might think they were inappropriate. Not only would that possibly get him a detention, but carrying them around and holding them up to his face all the time was too much like work.
It hadn't taken any effort at all to find a tripod and get a couple of older, more proficient students to help him set it up to record the general areas he was looking at. True, the spot they had picked on top of one of the towers would not give the same point of view as what he was seeing, but it should get a pretty good recording of the event anyway.
"Are you talking about the Abraxans, or the girls?" asked Sue from next to Harry, a slight edge to her voice.
"Since I don't know what Abraxans are, I can't really answer that," said Harry, not really paying attention.
"That's the name of that type of flying horse," explained Han.
"Oh, cool," said Harry, feeling slightly dazed as the students walked by.
"So which was it?" asked Sue sounding less than really interested.
The sudden ominous feeling that came down on Harry finally shook him from his contemplation of the girl walking next to what he assumed was a professor. The professor was least as big as Hagrid, but just did not seem to attract his attention quite as much as her average sized student.
"Can't it be both?" he asked, not sure what the right answer was, but now certain he was somehow in trouble.
He was saved by something suddenly poking up out of the lake.
"What's that?" he asked pointing dramatically, successfully turning Sue's attention away from him.
It turned out to be the mast of a large sailing ship that rose up out of the lake to dock at the school.
Luckily for Harry, the arrival of sour-puss-face Victor Krum, the famous international Quidditch player, grabbed the attention of the girls enough to have them forget whatever it was he had done wrong before.
For now at least.
"Harry, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?" asked Professor Dumbledore calmly.
"No," said Harry honestly.
He had gotten a seventh year to put in half a dozen other names, paying the girl a sickle for each one and in turn charging a galleon from the owners of those names (although a couple he had put in just for a lark), but had never actually gotten around to putting his own name in.
Of course it would have been funny as hell if Peeves' name had come out.
"Ah, but of course 'e is lying!" cried Madame Maxime.
Snape was now shaking his head, his lip curling.
"Potter is far too untalented and lazy to have entered," the surly bastard said. "Although I would not put it past his arrogance."
Harry wanted to object, just on general principles, but there really wasn't any point.
"Well it's not all bad," said Harry. "I know half the house thinks I am a git for stealing Cedric's thunder, and the rest of the school believes I am too untalented and lazy to have entered, but think of it this way – I do get out of end-of-term exams!"
Hermione just clutched her hands to her head harder, all the time mumbling to herself in a despairing voice.
"It's okay, Hermione," reassured Harry brightly. "I'm sure I'll find something good to use my powers for one day."
Harry didn't really care for the press. They always seem to be trying to work people up into a frenzy about something or another. Sure, it was good to know what was happening around the world, but did they always have to make everything out to be so dramatic? Vernon used to get so upset by just the headlines that he would often throw the newspaper out without reading the actual articles, although Harry suspected the stupid bugger could not properly read anyway.
Of course Harry had some excellent personal experience of examples of over-dramatising something, with his cousin Dudley supplying an amazing variety of over-acting scenes for him to work with. Getting Dudley to do something he did not want to do, especially in a public place, was practically an invitation to a stage show.
"Bad touch! Bad Touch!" he screamed as Rita Skeeter grabbed his arm and tried to shove him into a cupboard for an impromptu interview. "Help – nasty woman is touching me!"
"Did you know the paper today has half a page dedicated to how being struck with the killing curse has resulted in your unfortunate mental retardation?" asked Sue the next morning at breakfast.
"Could explain a few things," agreed Harry, fighting Hedwig for a piece of bacon she had taken from his plate. There was plenty more on the table, but neither he nor his over-sized pet wanted to have to reach over to get it.
"Did you really have to make a scene practically accusing her of attempting to molest you, just because she wanted an interview and you didn't?"
"That's nothing. You should have seen what happened when that creepy old bugger, Oli-whatever, tried to get a hold of my wand!"