Thank you all for your patience with my Dyslexia and poor grammar. I'll be working on updating the existing chapters with the proofread chapters over the next few days.
~See end for Notes and Disclaimer~
"Harry Potter!" Dumbledore called again.
Harrys stomach sank, and he thought his dinner was going to come up. Just like first year all over again. Malnourished, half starved and the shortest on in his year, he had always struggled with the rich Hogwarts feasts.
Harry stared horrified around the hall lit only by the blue flames of the Goblet of Fire. It was dead silent, Ron was gaping at him, and Hermione was frowning slightly, as the noise rose to a dull angry bussing, like hornets.
She poked him in the ribs.
He jumped and couldn't hold back a flinch. He growled mentally at himself in irritation. It was always harder after the Dursley's. Even after being back for 2 months, with food, company and relative kindness, it was still hard to get used to being back to normal. To get used to not having to be hungry every minute of every day, not having to be on the lookout for the next blow, not having to over analyse every single little thing anyone says, for a potential threat.
"I didn't" he stuttered dumbly.
The hall sounded like a dull roar, now, people standing up and training their necks to get a better view. Someone dragged him up and pushed him towards the head table. He squirmed out of their reach. He didn't like being touched, even by his friends.
He looked at Dumbledore imploringly, half hoping...
"Up here if you please Harry" Dumbledore said and Harrys hart sank, of course not.
Just one year, he thought, just one year, I want a normal school year, where I can actually study, and not have something try to kill me.
It felt like a very long way from his spot at the end of the Gryfindore Table, up the head table
"Through the door," Dumbledore repeated when Harry reached him. Harrys heart sank, he didn't know why he had hopped Dumbledore might have dismissed him, he should have known better by now. But his heart still sank.
They're going to make me compete anyway. They going to sit back while this thing, for older wizards and witches, for adults, tries its level best to kill me. Again! Just like they have done every single year here while something tries to kill me.
He walked though the door but didn't really hear the other champions question him or complain while Bagman explained. All he could think of was how much taller they were. All of them, he was only fourteen and yet was still the size of a first year, and he may be a closet bookworm but they knew so much more then he did, they probably also had the advantage of growing up around magic.
He was dimly aware of Professor Moody saying "some one was hoping he'd die," and of Mr Crouch saying "he has to compete," all the while Harry was shaking his head and saying, "I didn't do it," and getting ignored.
He didn't remember how he got back to the tower, but was bowled over by the wall of noise and people. It took him an age to escape, by the time he did, not a hint of Ron or Hermione, he was sweaty and shaky with anxiety, and just wants reassurance of Ron or Hermione's friendly face and to go to bed.
He finally made it upstairs and was released to see Ron lying on his bed in the otherwise empty dormitory. He looked up when Harry slammed the door behind him.
"Where've you been?" Harry said.
"Oh hello," said Ron in an odd strained sort of voice.
He was grinning, but it was a very odd, strained sort of grin. Harry flopped down on his bed and pulled Dudleys old too small shoes off.
"So," Ron said, "congratulations."
"What d'you mean, congratulations?" said Harry, staring at Ron. There was definitely something wrong with the way Ron was smiling: It was more like a grimace.
"Well. . . no one else got across the Age Line," said Ron. "Not even Fred and George. What did you use - the Invisibility Cloak?"
"What? The Invisibility Cloak wouldn't have.. I didn't..." said Harry slowly.
"Oh right," said Ron. "I thought you might've told me if it was the cloak. . . because it would've covered both of us, wouldn't it? But you found another way, did you?"
"Listen," said Harry, "I didn't put my name in that goblet. Someone else must've done it."
Ron raised his eyebrows. "What would they do that for?"
"I dunno," said Harry, not wanting to sound melodramatic and say, "To kill me," and not wanting to say it out loud, to make it real.
Ron's eyebrows rose so high that they were in danger of disappearing into his hair.
"It's okay, you know, you can tell me the truth," he said. "If you don't want everyone else to know, fine, but I don't know why you're bothering to lie, you didn't get into trouble for it, did you? That friend of the Fat Lady's, that Violet, she's already told us all Dumbledore's letting you enter. A thousand Galleons prize money, eh? And you don't have to do end-of-year tests either. . ."
"I didn't put my name in that goblet! I didn't! I wanted a quiet year without someone trying over and over again to kill me!" said Harry, starting to feel angry, "I didn't do it, I want nothing to do with this stupid tournament!"
"Yeah, okay," said Ron, in exactly the same sceptical tone, "only you said this morning you'd have done it last night, and no one would've seen you..."
"What? I was joking, I didn't mean it! I want nothing to do with this stupid thing! You have to believe me!"
"I'm not stupid, you know."
"You're doing a really good impression of it," Harry snapped finally.
"Yeah?" said Ron, and there was no trace of a grin, forced or otherwise, on his face now. "You want to get to bed, Harry. I expect you'll need to be up early tomorrow for a photo-call or something."
He wrenched the hangings shut around his four-poster, leaving Harry standing there by the door, staring at the dark red velvet curtains, now hiding one of the few people he had been sure would believe him.
He grabbed his things and slipped into the bathroom a hollow sensation in his gut. He was so sure Ron would believe him Ron and Hermione were the only people who had always been there. The only people he could trust, his first ever friends.
Sure; Ron could be hot headed and talk without thinking, sure he could get jealous and persuasive sometimes. Sure, he teased Hermione endlessly about her dedication to study in such away that had Harry long ago deciding it was safer not to show his own love of book and learning, he didn't want to loose his first ever friend, not over something so silly as his passions. Sure; Ron always tried to distract him from doing his homework, but he had always been a good friend. Hadn't he?
But the more Harry thought about it the less convinced he was. He was quick to start fights, especially with Malfoy, he was judgmental. Was he really a good friend? Or was Harry blinded by his sheer desperation and relief to have a friend that he didn't see Rons faults?
He got into the shower, and sat down on the floor letting the hot water flow over him. Washing away the sweat and tension that pooling like dread in his gut.
And Hermione brilliant hermione. She was brilliant, and he envied her easily expressed passion and love of books and knowledge. But she could be bossy, and sometimes he felt she looked down on them. She would order then around like she was their mother or a teacher, she would scold and scorn them for not studying but when he did well she got jealous. She always assumed he was stupid.
Sure, he actually liked books, he loved them, hiding in the library had kept him safe as a child, nicking Dudly's unwanted books and reading them in the gloom of his cupboard has been his only entertainment as a child, they had been his only, solace, his only friends and companions, his only escape from his own living hell. But it had just been so ingrained by the Dursley's to dumb himself down - to keep himself safe from his relative's rathe - that by the time he realised he could learn and read as much as he wanted while he was safe at Hogwarts, the teachers thought him stupid. He has made a tentative friendship with Hermione who prided herself in getting top marks in everything. He hadn't wanted to jeopardise that. He'd tried to pick up his grades but between Ron always trying to get him to skive off, and Hermione's look of disappointment when he got a spell first, or did better on a test, (not to mention Snape accusing him of cheating,) he quickly realised it was safer and more peaceful just to keep dumbing himself down here too.
So he put off his homework, and did ruff shod jobs of it with Ron, and stayed up late in the safety of his bed curtness to read and study alone late into the night by wand light, where his intelligence was safe and hidden. Was he so desperate for friends that he made himself into someone he was not. Was he really prepared to let himself and his education suffer, and potentially die for it, for just for a friend or two who if they honestly cared for him, would support him. He wasn't sure anymore.
He remembered back in second year when choosing electives, Hermione's had been so happy to go over her notes on all the different subject with him that she even held off Ron's teasing of them. When she talked about them, they all sounded so good, even muggle studies sounded interesting, when she talked about it like that. But when he said maybe he would ask Mcgonagall if he could take them all to she'd rounded on him and said, "now harry, you barely pass your classes as is, don't you think you'd be better off with one or two?"
"Are you saying I'm too stupid to handle it Hermione?"
"No! No! Not al all its just..." But she trailed off, as Ron cut in, "you can't take all the classes mate, I need you to take divination and care of magical creatures with me, so we can have a free ride and play chess in all our breaks! You can't take them all."
He had felt so cowed by it it took him till the last day of term to muster up the courage to ask Professor McGonagall to take them all, ever since the incident in first year, when she had dismissed him over and over again, he hadn't felt he could talk to her.
But the more he thought about it the more he desperately wanted to try all the electives last year, especially Runes, Arithmancy and creatures, but McGonagall has said he wouldn't be able to handle them all, and even so Dumbledore had insisted he take divination and creates so he could only pick one other.
"You don't manage nearly as well as Miss Granger Potter, it just wouldn't be a good idea."
He left her office fuming, and cursing himself for needing friends enough that he let himself play dumb. He had got the same books as Hermione's though and studied them at night.
He'd even managed to use them to embed the runic magic into this trunk to get it to shrink at the tap of a wand, to be feather light, so he was able to keep his school things with him last summer. he was working on an invisibility charm for it too, but hadn't finished it yet, or the lock picks he was working on. He really should do some extra work on the warding book bill had recommended over the summer, if someone was trying to kill him. He got out of the shower and got dressed. Resolving to write to Bill and Charley for advice in the morning, and serious. He had enjoyed meeting them over the summer. He'd enjoyed hearing them talk about their jobs and their interest's, and they'd even recommended some good books on the sly, and told him to write. Their knowledge would be useful this year. He should write to Sirius too. And Professor Lupin. He may not have contacted harry at all since leaving Hogwarts last year, but he was a friend of his parents, maybe had some advice, he had been an exigent fence against the Dark Arts Teacher.
He'd work something out, he'd survived until now with little but his own wits, he'd manage. He didn't want to die.
Blanket disclaimer for whole work: If you recognise it, it's JK's and therefor not mine.
Added amendment: It has recently been pointed out that this disclaimer is not quite specific enough and that some of you may have missed it. Please allow me to be more specific.
None of the recognisable, characters, dialogue, plot points, places or names belong to me. They are the property and copyright of JK Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing (there are more publishing houses that do her work internationally, but thats the one she publishes under down on my end of the globe)
Some bits have been taken from the original (and brilliant) books. Mostly from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but also on occasion I will reference or quote the others as well. (But nothing has been intentionally taken from Cursed Child or the Fantastic Beasts screen plays, as I haven't actually read those ones)
I am not going to individually quote and reference every one as I am not profiting in any way, and this disclaimer should cover it. That and a lot of the bits I have included from the original work have been tweaked a little or expanded on a little, leaving some bits in ittalicks and every few words not in italics is to irritating to the reader.
This is just a little sneak peek of something I've been working on, I'm pretty excited about it! More to come later, I'm too tired to edit any more tonight, unless you all want to be subjected to my unedited Dyslexic spelling.(No I don't mean it as a figure of speech I really am Dyslexic)