Yes, I know it's been a while, and it is not a big chapter either, but Harry has infected me and I am struggling to do anything productive! Well anyway, here is the final part of year four. Lets hope it is not another five years for year five to force itself out of my head and onto the page...
"Did you know the paper today has half a page dedicated to why you are a sick pervert and how dozens of Aurors had to rush to the school to stop you from abducting one of the other students for your depraved revenge at having to compete for the Cup rather than just being given it?" asked Sue at breakfast.
"Would that have worked?" asked Harry after a thoughtful moment.
"I really don't see Igor Hunchy agreeing to give you the cup in exchange for a Hogwarts' student, no," said J before hastily adding "Sorry Sue."
"Yeah, I think he is more the kind to give extra points if you offed the other hostages in order to win," agreed Ern.
"No, I mean getting them to give me the Cup and then have a new tournament with just the other three contestants so that I didn't have to actually compete against them?" clarified Harry.
"No idea. Possibly," said Ernie.
"Hmm, should of thought of that. Oh well, live and learn," shrugged Harry returning to his meal only to discover Hedwig had managed to get away with all of his bacon and he now had to wait for more to be fetched by his enchanted spork.
"At least they didn't say you were just trying to get one of them wet," said J smiling.
"Or that you just wanted her tied up," added Ern.
Sue grumbled angrily.
"Oh lighten up," snapped Hannah. "It's not like anybody actually believes this rot. You'd have a to be a total moron-"
"Well, Potter, I must say I am impressed," said Malfoy having approached the table unnoticed. "I didn't if know anybody had explained the 'old ways' to you, but it's obvious you understand them..."
Hannah sighed, while Susan looked even angrier.
Harry just smiled and nodded.
"Harry, you need to come with me to see Hagrid," demanded Hermione.
"Okay," said Harry, instantly dropping his quill and parchment and standing up.
Hermione, caught off guard at Harry's instant agreement, stalled.
"Are you even going to ask why?" she asked, getting over her initial shock and argument derailment.
"I'm sure you will tell me," shrugged Harry, motioning for her to lead the way.
"Yes, well, that horrid reporter who has been writing all that nonsense about you has told the world that Hagrid is a half-giant and he has gone and locked himself up in his cabin and won't come out."
"Bugger," said Harry walking alongside her as she strode purposely along.
Well, as she tried to stride along purposely but then found herself having to slow down and wait for Harry's more moderated pace lest she leave him behind and end up at her destination without him in sight, yet again.
"That's we have had that substitute," continued Hermione. "While she is a better teacher, for the most part, it is just not right that Hagrid should feel he is not welcome simply because his parents aren't what some bigoted idiots-"
"Hang on," interrupted Harry, stopping in his tracks. "So he really is a half giant? Was it his mum or his dad?"
"What possible difference could that make?"
"Are you serious?" he asked. "I mean, how? How can it possibly have worked, with him, and her, if one of them was like five times the size of the other?"
"Harry!" said Hermione, turning slightly red. "How can you think of such a thing at a time like this? Hagrid needs help and support, not people probing into the personal lives of his parents."
"Yeah, but, I mean – oh come on. Don't tell me this sort of thing is common! Surely wizards don't just run about with really good enlarging charms-"
"It doesn't matter," said Hermione, going even redder.
"And if it was his mum who went out looking for a really big –"
"Harry!" yelled Hermione.
"Well all I am saying is the whole thing sounds a bit sus," said Harry. "If he really is a half giant then somebody has a lot of explaining to do because there are definitely areas of magic where our education has been woefully neglected!"
Hargid wouldn't open the door.
"Oh, well," said Harry sadly. "That's that then. Let go."
"We can't give up that easily," argued Hermione, banging on the door again. "We are not going away until you let us in, Hagrid."
"Yeah we can, actually. It's pretty easy..."
"Hagrid, we are going to keep knocking until you let us in so you might as well do it sooner rather than later," called Hermione, banging on the door again as if the last five minutes of it didn't count.
Harry considered his options. It would be a waste to go back after coming this far without achieving anything, and he hated waste. Beside, Hermione would hassle him forever if he left. Tiny was a good fellow and had done him a solid with the mermaid translation, so he sort of owed him. It just didn't feel right to let the big guy suffer over something stupid that he really couldn't be blamed for (unlike the whole Dragon egg fiasco, or that time with the unexpected Hippogriff ride).
Setting fire to the door was an option. He had learned at least two different spells for setting fire to things as they had lots of potential uses, but while that would likely get the door open, it wasn't really a nice thing to do. Plus he'd end up having to fix it, although he might be able to convince Hermione to fix it, especially if he pointed out it was her idea to come down and barge their way into the someone else's problems.
He had just convinced himself that a little bit arson was in order when the door suddenly opened and the headmaster walked out.
"See, Hagrid," the old professor said. "It is not only I who miss their teacher, no matter his heritage. Now I expect to see you back taking classes on Monday, no excuses."
"Or I could just wait and let things pan out by themselves," Harry thought to himself.
Somehow that often seemed like the way to go.
"Mr Potter, why in Merlin's name were you throwing Omnioculars off the astronomy tower?" asked Professor Sprout, or Flowers, as Harry usually thought of her before Fleur had come along and made things confusing.
"I can't see why I am in trouble for it. They were mine and I put a sign up on the ground where I was throwing them warning people," said Harry sulkily.
"Did you not consider that people might venture over to read the sign, thus putting themselves into the 'Danger Zone' as you so called it on your warning?"
"Not my fault some people are too curious for their own good," said Harry. "Haven't they heard about that stuff killing cats and all that?"
"You almost knocked young Mr Creevey out, and then summoned him to the top of the tower-"
"Why did he think he was doing, catching my Omnioculars anyway?"
"-then you dropped him!"
"Well I wasn't expecting a second year to come flying up at my face, was I? Startled me he did."
"And you still haven't explained why you were throwing Omnioculars off the astronomy tower."
Harry mumbled a reply.
"Pardon, Mr Potter?" said Sprout. "I didn't quite hear that."
Harry mumbled again, slightly louder.
"Once again if you would please, Mr Potter. This time with some clarity."
"I was trying to teach them to fly," admitted Harry looking down with embarrassment.
"Why would you think you could teach them to fly by throwing them off a tower?" asked his Head of House in an exasperated and confused tone.
"Apparently I didn't quite understand something I read about how evolution works," said Harry, hanging his head.
"Misunderstood evolution? How the devil can you... And why would you want them to fly anyway?"
"I thought it would be really neat for people like Hermione, who doesn't like flying, to be able to see the world from really high up," said Harry quietly. "I tried recording while I was flying on a broom, but it shakes around too much and just made her dizzy again. I figured if I could get the Omnioculars to fly they would be more like Hedwig and give a really nice view of Hogwarts. I tries training her to carry them but she was only interested in eating them."
"Really?" asked Professor Sprout, her tone extremely sceptical.
"Yeah," said Harry. "It's amazing what that owl tries to eat. Hermione's cat is lucky it is as big as she is, and Nev's toad hasn't dared leave the Gryffindor common room since that one time he mistakenly got too close to her at the breakfast table..."
"I meant about your reasoning, not the dietary habits of your spirit animal!"
"Oh, yeah. Hermione's been in a Muggle plane before, but they go too high to really see anything, and they don't fly over Hogwarts or Hogsmeade anyway. Half the school has never been higher than the tower either."
"Mr Potter, I suspect there is a lot more to this than you are letting on," she said.
Harry held his breath waiting for the inevitable punishment he knew was coming.
"But as Mr Creevey was not injured and seems to consider the whole incident a 'terrific adventure', I am inclined to give you just two nights helping the younger years with their homework as punishment for your foolish endangerment of fellow students, and this time you will stick to the Hogwarts curriculum and not teach younger years any of your 'short cut magic', understood?"
"Yes, mam,"said Harry. "But I have to say, Professor Lupin agreed with me, fire really is the solution to most Defence Against the Dark Arts issues."
"Never the less, you will not encourage any students to learn the Fiendfyre spell, understood?"
"Not even the seventh years?"
"Especially not the seventh years – they might actually be capable of casting it!"
"Okay," agreed Harry.
"Now about teaching Omniculars to fly, I would suggest you ask Madam Pince for books by Jareth Hobart regarding the Levitation spell. I dare say that will be much more fruitful than throwing your possessions off a tower and hoping they learn to fly through trial and error."
Harry left the professor's office, careful not to allow the smile he was struggling to contain come out until he was well away from his Head of House.
Some people may have considered it a lot of effort to go to, but after many hours spent in the library with Hermione, Harry knew he could very easily have gone down an endless rabbit hole looking for a way to map out the maze that was growing where the Quidditch pitch used to be. Flying over it was prohibited and it was obscured somehow so you could not see it from a distance, so he needed something that could fly and record.
All of his enquiries to normal sources had proven fruitless, with many of the suggestions being if not totally useless, not what he was trying for at all (throwing the Omnioculars off the tower had actually been a suggestion made to him, rather than his own idea, but Harry was not afraid to steal a good idea when it fell into his lap) so he knew he had to ask someone who had a much better clue than his normal sources, a professor preferably, but in a manner that did not violate the rules of the tournament.
Of course it would be amusing to see if Hermione got sick watching the recordings he would make during the test flights, and Lockhart already indicated there would be a small market for them too, if he could figure out a way to make the flying smooth and controlled.
Harry really liked it when a plan paid off multiple times. It felt like less work that way.
Unfortunately he would end up being extremely disappointed after discovering the maze changed shape frequently, but at least his efforts did not completely go to waste.
Harry kept waving to the audience and smiling as he casually walked towards the entrance to the maze, apparently not the slightest bit nervous or anxious despite starting so much later than the other competitors by virtue of his scoring (or lack of more precisely) in the second task.
The other contestants had all sprinted the moment the canon went off for them, determined to squeeze the most out of every extra second and not lose a precious moment. Harry was also determined to squeeze every second of his life for every bit of value, but his idea of what made good value was considered a bit skewed compared to his peers.
For instance, it was not every day that he would allow himself to be paraded in front of several hundred people, and definitely not likely they would all be cheering for him so exuberantly. True, many here were just urging him on in the hope of seeing something horrible and violent happen to him, but their actions were still basically inseparable from those who were honestly wishing him good luck.
For the first time, Harry actually appreciated why Quidditch stars might work so hard to get to the top of their sport, and that sort of scared him, since he could apparently very easily became the greatest seeker the world had ever seen, at least until someone worked out why Snitches seemed to have such an obsession with him.
Still, he was here, the crowd was here, and he was loving the momentary bit of adoration and attention that he would never again go out of his way to seek, so why rush in?
Giving a final wave of his wand to the cheering throngs, Harry stepped into the maze and was instantly completely cut off from the noise of the crowd. The eerie silence and low light set the scene for an incredible spooky experience that Harry really appreciated for its artistic merit, but did not particularly like as a personal experience.
With no reason to pick one way over the other (except that he might have noticed Floor going to the left, making that direction and the prospect of following behind her very tempting), Harry stood just inside the opening to the maze and waited patiently.
A few moments later the bushes rippled and bent, twisting and turning into a new configuration that would, by Harry's estimation after watching hours of recordings, last for the next few minutes; slightly less than the time before. After four times it would reset to a longer interval and then start decreasing again.
It was one of the very few useful things he had gotten out from his illicit recordings.
Years of trying to work out the system of moving staircases and secret passages inside of Hogwarts to shorten the amount of effort it took to get to classes on time had honed Harry's ability to see patterns in random seeming chaos. While he had still not completely mastered the castle, he had become pretty good at timing it all.
The temptation to rush in, trying to make his way to the centre where the trophy waited as quickly as possible was difficult to resist, even for him. Despite his natural inclination to let things work themselves out and only worry about the things he could affect with the minimum of effort, he was determined to take a more active hand in fate this time.
He wanted to wipe that smug superior look off Floor and her massive Headmistress's face. He wanted Krum to have a real reason to look as sour as he always did. He wanted Ceddy and the rest of his house to be forced to recognise Harry could accomplish more with less effort than they could working as hard as they possibly could. He wanted the rest of the school to realise he was more than just an average student.
He wanted to win.
So he stood perfectly still, his wand casually held in front of him ready to deal with anything that might unexpectedly pop up from the maze.
Like Cedric, who suddenly appeared around a corner; his wand ablaze with light. He hesitated when he saw Harry, but then swore as he noticed the entry to the maze and realised he was back at the start after having already spend ten minutes navigating around in circles.
"What are you doing?" Cedric asked as he jogged up to Harry. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," said Harry, appreciative of his housemate's obvious concern. "Just waiting for a bit."
Cedric looked confused, but nodded, not really that interested in what Harry was planning to do, or not do, as the case may be. "Keep an eye out for the golden mist - it flips you upside down."
"Thanks," nodded Harry as Cedric raced off to the next turn.
The maze rippled again, pretty much exactly on time, but this time closing off the huge opening where he and the other competitors had entered. It was now impossible to differentiate it from any other sections of the hedge wall.
A few metres to the side of where he stood, an opening appeared leading inwards. Harry walked towards it, forcing himself not to rush; his wand still held warily in front of him. He really wanted to cast a spell to light up the area, but that would mean keeping a spell going the whole time, plus it would make him stand out literally like a beacon, attracting who knows what attention.
His night sight was pretty good, despite the fact he needed glasses to see, but the maze somehow felt like it was really dark when he could actually see quite a lot more than he should have been able to. Whatever the reason, and it was obviously something magical, he could see another opening heading the way he wanted to go, so he carefully navigated his way to it, conjuring a small mirror on a stick to let him see around the corner to make sure there was nothing waiting for him on either side before he walked in.
Hopefully there weren't any vampires in here that would not show up in the mirror's reflection.
Since it looked clear, he moved through the opening, and then walked back along the hedge wall so that he was standing in line with his original entry to the maze and its centre.
"Point me," he cast, his wand spinning around several times before settling down and showing him the way north.
Satisfied he was as close to exactly the right place as he was going to get without putting in a huge amount of effort, he settled down and waited. It was a simple strategy, one that was not guaranteed to work, and was likely going to be very slow, but Harry understood enough about magic to know it stood at least as good a chance as running around blindly fighting off who knows what monstrosities Tiny let loose, while also avoiding sinister traps or having to trying to solve clever puzzles in order to move forward.
A few minutes later, Cedric ran past again, looking slightly worse for wear this time.
"How the hell did you get in front of - no, don't tell me," he said, breathing heavily as he made way further down the corridor. "Look out for the Acromantula – it's a big spider, a really big one, and it is not friendly at all."
"Thanks!" called Harry as Cedric's light faded away.
Floor came past next, her wand alight and warily pointing in Harry's general direction. She watched him suspiciously, waiting to see what he would do. Her hair had come slightly undone and face was smudged with dirt, a fact Harry really wanted to point out to her.
"You've got a little bit of something," he said in a polite friendly voice, pointing to his cheek, "right there."
She suddenly looked offended and let out a snort of annoyance before putting her nose in the air and walking past Harry, ignoring him, just like she had every other time he or any other Hogwarts student had been near her.
Cedric came past again heading the opposite direction just as the hedge moved, another opening appearing near Harry, heading in the direction he wanted to go.
"How did you do that?" asked Cedric as he followed Harry into the new corridor. "Did you know it was going to open there?"
"Magic," said Harry smugly.
"Bull," said Cedric, laughing. Then he turned and headed off, waving absently to Harry, only to stop as Floor came around the corner he was heading towards.
Instantly their wands pointed at each other, and Harry also found himself pointing his own wand at the French beauty without even thinking about it. She glanced at Harry quickly before returning her attention to Cedric, no longer looking quite as self-assured as she normally did. Seconds ticked by as everyone tried to work out what to do next.
"Let's not anyone get too excited," said Harry, breaking the silence. "I figure we've all got enough to deal with in here without adding to it, all right?"
Floor spared him another glance before nodding and lowering her wand slightly. Cedric too lowered his wand, and then moved to the side of the corridor, allowing the maximum room possible for her to walk past.
"Mademoiselle," he said, nodding and gesturing with his free hand to indicate she was free to walk by.
"Merci," Floor said, standing up straighter before striding past with a slight smirk bending the corners of her mouth. She barely glanced at Harry again, but he noticed a definite sway in her walk as she past him and once again felt that almost irresistible pull on something deep inside of himself.
He was starting to suspect it was fear, or maybe indigestion. Either way, it did nothing good for him.
As the woman ducked around the far corner, he let out a breath he did not know he was holding and turned to look at Cedric, who obviously had also been watching her.
"Trouble, that one," said Harry.
Cedric smiled and nodded in agreement, and then continued on his way, leaving Harry alone once again.
As time dragged on, it took a bit of willpower to stick to his plan. Harry easily fought off the urge to do something stupid or wasteful and patiently waited until openings appeared heading in the direction he wanted to go. Sometimes he had to wait multiple changes in the maze before it happened, but it always did, eventually.
Cedric came past a few more times, looking more and more beat up and wore out, and more determined. He didn't say a word to Harry the last couple of encounters, just nodding as if to save his energy.
Floor ran past too, stopping in startled surprise as she recognised Harry, before mumbling darkly in French and running back the way she came. Harry smiled to himself, hoping she thought that he hadn't moved and she had returned to the same place she had met him before.
Then he nearly bumped into Sour-puss-face when the maze opened up a path directly to the stout foreigner.
"Evening," said Harry, smiling like a loon. "Nice night for a walk, eh?"
Krum did not look happy, as well as looking quite dirty and even a bit burnt in places, and for a moment Harry thought his third task might be over as Krum's wand pointed at him, but eventually the international Quidditch star snorted in amusement and lowered his wand before nodding in acknowledgement at Harry and then heading off in another direction.
Eventually Harry's luck ran a bit dry and the shift in the maze opened up to a corridor that was not empty. A thick golden mist filled the whole length of the path in front of him. The path in the other direction turned a corner, heading in a direction away from the line he needed to return to.
Harry walked to the edge of the mist and poked at it with his wand. It didn't feel any different. What did Ceddy say, it flipped you upside down? Probably not difficult to get through then, but he could just wait for the next change and hopefully get around it all together.
A noise from around the corner startled Harry. He half expected to see one of the other champions again, but the shape that loomed out of the darkness as it stepped around the corner was not anything he expected, or hoped, to ever seen in Hogwarts.
"Well you've gone and done it now, getting expelled, as expected," said Harry's Aunt Petunia angrily. "You can look forward to a future working for your uncle in his factory now that all that magic nonsense is behind you."
"Riddikulus! Riddikulus! Riddikulus!" screamed Harry, waving his wand frantically.
He had never really been much good at defending against Boggarts despite all of professor Lupin's personal tutoring, mainly because the panic he experienced always seem to wreck his ability to visualise something funny to force the Boggart into. "Oh screw this," he said, abandoning his attempts to defeat the creature pretending to be his aunt. "Accio," he cast, pulling it towards him with a speed and force he would normally be proud of.
He barely had a moment to duck aside as the faux Petunia flew at him, screaming about his uselessness and doomed future, but the moment it was level he cast the next spell.
"Depulso," he yelled, hitting the creature as it went past, sending it spinning into the golden mist.
Immediately 'Petunia' let out a wretched scream and shot off into the sky, disappearing into the distance well above the massively tall hedge maze walls.
"Hmm, fancy that," mumbled Harry to himself. He threw a couple of summoned rocks into the mist while he waited for the maze to change again, watching them shoot off upwards. It'd be interesting to know where they came back down, he thought. Hopefully that Boggart wouldn't end up in a Muggle house or something. Could a Boggart survive in outer space?
Eventually the maze changed and an opening in the direction he wanted appeared. A couple more times Harry again encountered obstacles on the path in front of him, but he managed to avoid the temptation of engaging whatever fascinating thing he saw and just waited until the maze moved enough to make it possible for him to bypass whatever it was. In one instance there appeared to be a half bird half human creature with really large, er, wings, waiting near the end of the corridor. That one really tested his determination.
He did start to use a branch he pulled from the hedge to poke at anything that looks suspicious, like bits of ground that looked a bit muddy or burnt, and took up throwing rocks at places he could not see clearly, but generally he was able to avoid everything that might have caused him any significant inconvenience or effort.
It wasn't exactly boring, since the atmosphere had him bordering on panic the whole time, but there was a certain lack of direct excitement that left Harry feeling a bit disappointed at the same time as he was relieved.
Cedric ran past again, the back of his robes on fire. Harry thought about hosing him down as he passed by, but figured if Cedric wasn't worried, then it wasn't something he needed to do. He was pretty sure Ceddy hadn't even seen him and it would not be a good idea to startle the poor boy in his exhausted state.
A few maze changes later Krum strode by in the distance, looking very angry. He was using what Harry first mistook for a large furry branch as a walking stick. It took a few minutes for Harry to realise it was a big spider's leg; a really big spider.
"Well that's one less thing to worry about then," said Harry warily keeping an eye in that direction. He didn't think Krum had actually seen him, since he still had not lit his wand up and had taken to standing with his back to the hedge wall only occasionally casting the Four-Point spell to keep on target, but he suspected things might start to get nasty as they had to be closing in on the centre by now. It even seemed to be getting darker, although that could have been his imagination.
Harry had never moved more than a dozen metres away from the line he had plotted to the centre, and had a rough idea of how far he had to go, but he wasn't foolish enough to be absolutely certain.
Things tended to get strange once you got magic involved.
Still, he had a plan and no reason to change it, so he stuck to it, patiently waiting for the right openings. He only decided to cast a charm on himself to be less visible after seeing Krum and his new walking stick go by again and realised the spider-leg-walking-stick was half as long as it had been the first time.
The Disillusionment was a tricky bit of magic, and Harry wasn't sure he had cast it right, but Floor didn't seem to notice him as she wandered past looking seriously beat up with Cedric following meekly behind her like a doe-eyed puppy, apparently enthralled or something.
Harry thought about interfering, but caught himself before he did something foolish that would reveal his presence and endanger himself, and probably end up costing a lot of energy and effort to get out of. Instead he waited until they were almost out of sight and then cast a tickling charm on Cedric. He had no idea what it would do, if anything, but it was likely to mess something up and he could always honestly admit he had tried to help his fellow house mate.
After all, it was really hard to concentrate on anything when you were being tickled, so maybe Cedric would break free. Then again, he might just be able to ignore it, the way some people could not be tickled.
After an eternity the maze changed and an entry into a large almost empty square opened up; almost empty, aside from the glowing Tri-wizard Tournament cup sitting right in the middle on a waist high pedestal.
Harry almost couldn't help himself. He wanted to run and grab the cup, putting an end to this whole terrifying ordeal, but running for no reason was definitely not something he would normally do.
Hell, walking was an activity he normally avoided if possible.
He considered summoning the cup, but figured that would be a waste of time since if the egg in the first task was protected from that, it was unlikely the finally object in the challenge would be too.
Boy, he would feel really silly if it turned out all he had to do was stand at the entry of the maze and summon the cup to have won.
Nothing sprung up out of the ground or leaped out of the shadows as he slowly and carefully made his way over to the pedestal and its glowing prize. No pits opened or cages fell from the sky; no invisible barriers barred his way or twisted space and time to move him further away, and within a matter of a minute he was standing right in front of the trophy.
Just before he grabbed it, winning the tournament, he thought to himself "Well, that was actually rather easy," and then his hand closed on the handle of the cup.
"Bugger," he said sourly as a familiar twisting began.
The gut wrenching feeling of the port key gripping him was the last thing Harry felt before being whisked away.
"Sees, I told you Mr Harry potter would wins, just like the prophersies said," yelled an elf excitedly. "Winky's said the young master's needs must comes first and so he dids!"
"Yous also says the Great Harry Potter will gets get exploded, set on fire, or turned into a newt," argued another elf.
"Those were falsie prophecies for unbelieverers," said the first elf.
The small gathering of elves watching from the roof of the Ravenclaw tower all nodded in agreements.
"Good thing I puts his name in the goblet then!" said another obviously trying to claim credit for helping one of Winky's ramblings match their interpretation.
"So did I!" yelled another.
"Mees too!" yelled a third, "and mine was the ones that came out!"
"Was not," cried the first of the elves balling its fists angrily, ready to defend its claim.
"Silly Elvies. I was the one to make silly Goblet pick Mr Harry Potter sir's name," said another elf looking smug.
"Liar," screamed the other elf, leaping at him.
The ensuring brawl proceeded along normal lines with the added excitement of possibly getting tossed off one of the tallest towers in the castle, but Dobby had finally had enough.
All the craziness generated by increasingly wild interpretations of Winky's mumbling had been getting to him, and learning the elves were the ones who had made Mr Harry Potter sir compete in the tournament finally pushed him too far.
Enough was enough and there was a feast needing to be made merrier than he could on his own.
So when everyone else busy trying to pummel the other elves, he snuck into Winky's room and cast the sobering spell the Malfoy's had kept secret for many generations. If she really was in a trance and not just falling down drunk as Mrs Malfoy on the weekends, nobody would know, but if he was right, all this nonsense would go away and the elves could get back to proper workings.
Instantly Winky lost her 'mystical' glazed look and blinked, looking around clearly for the first time in a very long time.
"Oh dear," she said, blinking again. "The masters is going to be really angries with Winky. Winky knew she's not meant to have two butter beeries in a night, but she's was just so caught up in the Quidditchy World games things. Oh dearies, dear me. I must get back to young master before he sneakiess off again!"
Dobby snuck away, happy to have fixed that mess.
Harry was standing on the winner's podium holding the trophy above his head. The crowd was cheering wildly. Dumbledore and all the professors, even Snape, were clapping and cheering loudly. Floor, half naked from having her clothes mostly burnt off was looking at him with unbridled admiration. Sour-puss face was clapping and agreeing with Ceddy, who was completely naked for some reason, that they had never really had a chance against Harry.
It was glorious.
"Potter! Wake up!"
The harsh voice harry vaguely recognised as his Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher cut through his dream and roused him to semi consciousness. "What?" he mumbled.
"I said wake up," yelled the professor. "Get up and present yourself!"
Hands grabbed Harry and lifted him upright as his eyes fluttered open.
"Are you all right, my boy?" asked Professor Dumbledore.
"What happened?" Harry asked, slowly becoming more aware of his surroundings.
"He's okay!" called someone.
A band started paying loudly and the crowd started cheering, although not as exuberantly as in his dream.
"You took a bit of a tumble and knocked yourself out after you were portkeyed here," exaplained Madam Pomfrey, running a wand up and down all over him. "But you are remarkably unscathed, apart from a rather large bump on your head."
"Hang on," said Mad-eye taking his wand out. With a series of quick slashes of his wand and angry sounding spells, Harry was suddenly a lot dirtier and even had what appeared to be the multicoulored blood of several creatures splashed over his robes.
"Alastor moody!" yelled Pomfrey. "What do you think you are doing?"
"Can't have the lad look like he walked to the middle of the maze and picked up the cup without trying," chuckled the nut-case as he shoved Harry towards the podium.
"Yeah, thanks for that," grumbled Harry, spitting out foul liquids that had managed to somehow get in his mouth.
"The winner of the Triward Tournament is Harry Potter!" pronounced the ministry stooge, holding up one of Harry arms and clapping Harry on the back, forcing him to pose for pictures from an armada of photographers.
After a seeming eternity Harry managed to get down off the stage and started to make his way through the crowd of strangers all wanting to shake his hands and congratulate him, until his friends finally pushed their way through to him.
Surrounded by people he actually valued enough to make an effort to care for, Harry finally felt a true smile come to his face.
"I knew you could do it," said Hermione, enveloping him in a massive hug despite his Moody-created state of uncleanliness.
"Bulldust," he laughed before getting crushed by Susan and Hannah.
"I thought the Wrackspurts had you at the end," said Moongirl dreamily. "It would have been sad to end the year with a funeral instead of a celebration. Unless it was a wake I suppose, but I don't think I'd like that as much. People tend to be a bit morbid at wakes."
"True," agreed Harry, not really knowing but happy to believe the strange girl's convictions.
Harry looked around again, momentarily taking a break from the excitement and adrenaline.
He had wanted a more exciting year, and while this was way more than he had been aiming for, it had been a pretty good one really. Nothing had really gone how he had expected, and he had strayed from his path quite a distance, but all in all, he felt he had definitely achieve maximum effect for minimum effort.
"Come on Harry, get up to the dorm and get cleaned up. There's a huge party in the Great hall!" said J.
"Mate," Harry said, looking pointedly at them, "I'm the winner here, you really think I'm going to walk all that way? Nah, you want me there, you can carry me!"
Surprisingly, they did just that without argument, hoisting him up onto their shoulders just like he wanted, and they didn't drop him, not even once.
In dark Gaveyard behind a decrepit house, not far from where the old world war two veteran was peacefully snoring, deeply asleep while dreaming about stabbing people with a bayonet, a crazy wizard waited anxiously near a large cauldron that was boiling away, noxious vapours pouring over its rim and spilling onto the mist covered ground.
Suddenly there was a gust of wind and a figured appeared ten feet in front him, dropping to the ground in a tangled heap.
A second figure appeared a second later, rending the quite night air with a loud crack.
"Stupify!" yelled both wizards at the same time.
Red beams shot out and struck the figure, dropping it back onto the ground from where it had been trying to rise.
"Yes!" yelled Barty Crouch junior excitedly.
"I told you," said Peter Pettigrew. "That lunatic Black would not stop going on about their secret hide out. For months I had to listen to him rant and rave about all the time they spent there and how there was a cave that lead to the forest. All I had to do was sneak in and throw a portkey at him."
"Tie him up and get his wand", said Crouch.
"You get his wand," said Peter.
Crouch instantly turned his wand towards Peter.
"Okay, I'll get his wand," whimpered Peter, scrambling over to the prone figure. He tried to hold his wand in one hand and search the strange robes with the other. "Come on Harry, where's your wand then? Oh look, it appears he broke it in the fall."
Suddenly a hand shot out and grabbed his throat in a crushing grip.
Peter dropped both his wand and the broken wand to grab at the hand choking him, trying to scream as the figure stood, lifting the small man off the ground.
"Get out of the way!" yelled Barty pointlessly as he tried to get a clear line of sight. "Ah to hell with it. Avada Kedavra."
A green light shot out of his wand and struck the statue near the figure holding Peter up, causing a spray of stone shards to burst out, pelting both figures and nearly knocking them down.
Peter fall from the death grip on his throat and whimpered in terror. In the blink of an eye he turned into a rat and began bolting away, only to scream as a knife flashed out as nearly cut him in half.
Barty Crouch excitedly fired off another killing curse, this time hitting his target right in the robe covered chest.
There was a pause, a moment when the world stood still as the spell hit. The silent figure slumped slightly, then stood up straight and turned its head towards Barty.
And Larry's eyes glowed with a deep green light.