A/N: The selection of the champions in HP and the Goblet of Fire never made much sense to me. The idea that anyone could enter anyone else's name into the Goblet and that person would then be required to compete seems rather ludicrous. But taken at face value, you can develop rather fun stories from it. It was done before, but maybe not to the extent I'm doing it here.
This fic is written primarily with humour in mind, but I try to keep things canon-compliant and let the protagonists combine canon concepts with the common sense that the magical world seems to be sorely lacking. As this is the first multi-chapter story I've ever written, any kind of feedback is very much appreciated.
The story starts during Chapter Sixteen of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
A/N 2: I re-edited the story as of Oct 17. There are no major changes, but I corrected a lot of mistakes and added half a sentence here or there, so it should be a slightly more enjoyable read overall now. I'd also like to let you now that I started posting my next multi-chapter story, titled I See No Difference. Check it out if you're interested in a more serious adventure/romance story set in fourth year, where Harry and Hermione run away from Hogwarts and Magical Britain.
This story is a German's attempt to be funny.
Proceed with caution!
- CHAPTER ONE -
How to fool a goblet
Harry and Hermione were sitting on a couch in the Gryffindor common room in front of the fireplace. It was late in the evening on the day before Halloween. Tomorrow, after the Halloween feast, the Goblet of Fire would select the champions of the Triwizard Tournament.
Harry was holding his Potions book, but instead of reading it, he watched the Weasley twins as they plotted how to get around Dumbledore's Age Line and enter their names into the Goblet of Fire. Currently, they were discussing Ageing Potions.
Hermione was reading a thick tome on Arithmancy, but she also seemed to listen in on the twins' discussion.
It was well past midnight, and the four students were the only ones still left in the common room when Hermione looked at Harry, sighed and shook her head in annoyance. "Really, wizards have not an ounce of logic or common sense."
Harry looked at her in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Those two." She nodded towards the twins. "Honestly, the solution is obvious, isn't it?"
This caught the twins' attention, but it was Harry who answered. "Sorry, but not everyone here is a genius like you," he said.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "That's the point: You don't have to be a genius. You just need a tiny little bit of common sense."
"Oh, please enlighten us, O Wise One," Fred – no, George, said as the twins moved towards the fourth-years and sat on the table in front of the couch.
Hermione raised her eyebrows at them. "And why should I help the two of you to break the rules?"
"Name your price," Fred – no, this one was George, said.
Harry looked sternly at the girl next to him. "Hermione, if you didn't want to tell us the solution, you really should have kept quiet. You can't say something like that and then not share your wisdom with us mere mortals."
"Oh, fine," the brunette answered. She tried to act serious, but her eyes twinkled with amusement.
Hermione turned towards the twins. "No pranks on Harry or me, or on any first-years, for the entire school year!" she demanded.
"No pranks on Harry or you, or the first-years, for the rest of the week," George – was it George? – offered in return.
"The. Entire. School year." Hermione insisted sternly. "Take it or leave it."
"Oh, a feisty one," Fred said and shared a look with his brother. "Fine, if this works, you have yourself a deal."
Hermione leaned back on the couch, a triumphant look on her face. "Very well," she said. "Tell me, why are you trying to enter your names into the Goblet?"
"The tournament-," George began, but Hermione interrupted him.
"You misunderstand. Why are you trying to enter your names yourself?"
The three boys looked at her gobsmacked.
Hermione nodded. "Nothing prevents anyone from entering someone else's name into the Goblet. Anyone of age who gets past the Age Line could put your names in it."
"Are you sure?" Fred asked with a frown. "Wouldn't then simply the person who had entered the name be required to compete in the tournament?"
"That would make sense," Hermione agreed, "but it is not the case. Actually, this is not even my idea. This has happened before. Three times, a champion was selected who could prove that he hadn't entered his name into the Goblet: Randolph Plunkett for Hogwarts in 1246, Glover Hawksworth for Hogwarts in 1378 and Corvus Lestrange for Beauxbatons in 1610. Of course, there was no age limit back then, but that's beside the point. It is a fact that the Goblet creates a contract with the person who is selected, no matter whether that person has entered their name themself."
There was a long silence during which the twins looked at Hermione incredulously, while Harry took in the scene with amusement.
"What?" Hermione finally asked with annoyance.
"Don't mind them, Hermione," Harry said. "They are just a bit surprised how much you have read up on the tournament in just a few days."
The twins nodded in agreement.
Hermione rolled her eyes and turned back towards Fred and George.
"Well, anyway, now you simply have to find an of-age student to enter your names for you. I'm sure you'll be able to convince somebody somehow," she summarised.
The twins smirked at that.
"Kenneth is of age, his birthday was a few days ago," George said.
"I'm sure he also wouldn't mind if we stopped pranking him," Fred continued.
Hermione tried to look at them disapprovingly, but the twitching of her mouth's corners betrayed her amusement.
After a pause, Hermione straightened up and started to talk again. "Okay. Great. Now that the first part is solved, the second part actually requires a little bit of more advanced magic."
"There's a second part?" George wondered.
"Honestly," Hermione sighed. "Obviously, the ultimate goal here is not your names to enter the Goblet. But your names to exit it. Wouldn't you agree?"
The twins stared at her with amazement.
"You can help with that as well?" Fred asked excitedly.
"I might," Hermione answered with a smug smile. She then continued in her lecture mode. "While enchanted objects or artefacts such as the Goblet are useful as unbiased judges, they can be very easily manipulated. Just think of the Hogwarts sorting of 1832."
"Uhh, what?" The twins and Harry said simultaneously.
Hermione huffed in annoyance. "Am I the only one who has ever read Hogwarts a History?"
"Yes," was the three boys' instant answer.
Hermione sighed. "In 1832, all new first-year students were sorted into Hufflepuff. Later it turned out that a seventh-year prankster had confounded the Sorting Hat into thinking that Hufflepuff was the only Hogwarts House. It caused quite a scene. Especially because it couldn't be undone afterwards."
Hermione paused for a moment and then continued to explain. "You see, the Sorting Hat is very good at what it does. It selects students for Houses, just like the Goblet selects the champions for the tournament. But at the same time, such artefacts are much more susceptible to manipulation than a human judge would be. They can be targeted with spells just like a human, but they cannot defend against it. They also lack the level of self-awareness to recognise and fight against mind alterations once they have been applied."
"So, anyone could cast spells on the Goblet and change the criteria of the selection?" Harry asked.
"Make it think that anyone named Weasley should be chosen before any others?" Fred suggested with glee.
"Well," Hermione started hesitantly, "it would be very difficult to change the core functions of an artefact. Only a wizard with the power-level of Professor Dumbledore could make the Sorting Hat think that brave people should be sorted into Slytherin and cunning people should be sorted into Gryffindor. Because the sorting criteria are just too ingrained into the Sorting Hat. Instead, you have to find a way around this, like making the Hat think that there is only one Hogwarts House."
The three boys nodded in understanding.
"For example," Harry began, "you could enter your name under another school name, and make the Goblet think that there was no limit to the number of participating schools?"
"Exactly," Hermione said with excitement. "And that's a great idea, Harry!"
There was a pause, during which the girl slumped back down into the couch and got a contrite expression. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure whether we could learn the Confundus Spell in time. I have only read about it, but never tried it out."
The twins grinned at that.
"A good thing that we are already quite adept at the spell, then," Fred said.
"It really is a spell that any decent prankster should know, after all," George elaborated.
The twins stood up from the table they had been sitting on.
"Please excuse us," Fred said. "We have to blackmail-"
"Politely ask," George interrupted.
"-politely ask our dear friend Kenneth to get up and join us," Fred continued without missing a beat.
With that, they exited the common room and ran up to their dormitory shouting for Kenneth.
Left in the common room, Harry eyed Hermione suspiciously.
"All right, spill it," he said. "Why are you doing this?"
"What? I am allowed to get up to some mischief from time to time as well, am I not?" Hermione replied defensively.
Harry raised his eyebrows at her.
"Fine!" Hermione huffed. "Age Line or not, it is completely irresponsible of the organisers to use the Goblet, seeing how easy it is to enter someone else's name into it. You know that there is a good chance that your name will come out of the Goblet tomorrow, especially considering your usual luck on Halloween?"
Harry blanched at hearing this, and Hermione continued to explain, "I see this as a form of protest, or civil disobedience, to encourage the ones responsible to be more careful in the future. If some names come out of the Goblet tomorrow that shouldn't, that would make this point quite well. And it would take the heat off you, too, if you really get chosen."
And as an afterthought, she added, "And honestly, is it so hard to believe that I might want to get up to some mischief occasionally, too?"
"No, of course it isn't. And I have to say you're even quite brilliant at it," Harry answered with a chuckle and then hugged her briefly. "But thank you for doing this for me. Partially at least."
He then rose from the couch and ran up to his dorm to fetch his Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder's Map. He didn't want to miss the fun. And he had some further ideas on how to prank the tournament, for which he needed to grab a few additional supplies.
When he returned, the twins and Kenneth Towler, their fellow sixth-year Gryffindor, were already waiting in the common room. Kenneth, wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown, didn't seem to be thrilled to be there.
To Harry's delight, Hermione was apparently determined to join them, too.
Harry then checked the map for any professors patrolling the corridors. Luckily, there were no movements between Gryffindor Tower and the entrance hall where the Goblet was situated. That was not surprising, considering it was almost two o'clock in the morning by now.
All professors and Filch seemed to be in their respective quarters. The map showed McGonagall in her private chambers close to Gryffindor Tower. The same was true for Snape, Sprout, Flitwick, and the other professors. Hagrid was in his hut. Moody was in his chamber, together with Barty Crouch.
Harry did a double-take at seeing that. Then, shuddering, he quickly folded the map together. Moody and Crouch? He would have been happier not knowing that. He really didn't mind what other people were getting up to. It was their business. But really? Moody and Crouch? He shuddered again.
"Are you all right?" Hermione asked worriedly. "You suddenly look so pale. Are the corridors clear?"
"Wha- yeah, yeah, everything is fine. We can go," Harry muttered.
Together, the five Gryffindors left the common room.
A few minutes later, Harry, Hermione, Fred, George, and Kenneth Towler stood in the Hogwarts entrance hall close to the Age Line that encircled the Goblet of Fire.
Fred and George aimed their wands at the Goblet and simultaneously yelled, "Confundo!"
For a brief moment, there was a weak glow around the Goblet, signalling that the spells had taken hold.
"Well done, now the Goblet will select one champion for any number of schools," Hermione said with excitement.
The twins then handed two pieces of parchment to Kenneth. One read 'Fred Weasley, Mahoutokoro School of Magic' and the other 'George Weasley, Uagadou School of Magic'.
Kenneth passed the Age Line and slowly walked towards the Goblet. Hesitantly, he held the two slips of parchment over the blue flames of the Goblet and let loose. He jumped back as the parchments fell into the Goblet, but apart from a flash of the flames, nothing unexpected happened. Apparently, the plan had worked.
The Weasley twins cheered and ran towards Hermione. They almost toppled her as they engulfed her in a strong hug.
"Let go of me, you rascals!" Hermione shouted, but laughing at their antics.
The twins stepped back and theatrically bowed before her.
"My slightly less handsome brother and I will be forever in your debt," Fred stated solemnly.
"If there is anything my slightly less intelligent brother or I can do for you, never hesitate to ask!" George continued.
"Oh, shut up," Hermione said with amusement.
The banter was interrupted by Harry.
"Shit!" he exclaimed while looking on the Marauder's Map. "Snape is coming this way!"
He unfolded his Invisibility Cloak. "Hermione, get under the cloak with me! Boys – RUN!"
The others didn't hesitate. Harry threw the Invisibility Cloak over himself and Hermione while the older boys sprinted out of the entrance hall back towards Gryffindor Tower.
Hermione clearly expected Harry to follow the others, but he didn't move.
"Harry, let's go," she whispered while tugging his arm. Harry couldn't help but laugh at her panicky expression.
"Harry, stop it! Be quiet! We have to leave!" Hermione whispered, now becoming agitated. Understandably so, as Snape was the last professor anyone would want to be caught by when breaking curfew.
However, Harry only smiled in response. "Don't worry. Snape is nowhere around," he revealed.
He chuckled while he lowered the cloak, folded it and put it back into his pocket. "I only wanted to get rid of the others."
"What?" Hermione wondered. "What for?"
"Well, as good as a prank it will be on the tournament organisers to have Fred and George's names come out of the Goblet, I think we can make the prank even better. But the twins might not like it, as it would steal their thunder," he explained.
"Oh," Hermione said with an arched eyebrow. "And how would we do that?"
"Well, first, I wanted to ask you if you would like to participate in the tournament?" Harry said.
"ME?" Hermione exclaimed, utterly flabbergasted. It was apparent that the thought had never entered her mind. "I might be near the top of our year, but I'm only in the fourth year. And book-smarts will only get you so far, and-"
"Hermione!" Harry interrupted. "You are not near the top of our year. You are at the top! Moreover, you are the most brilliant student in this school! I have no doubts that you would do great in the tournament. And I think you would really deserve the recognition. You have faced more dangerous situations than any other student in this school, apart from me maybe, and we have always prevailed."
He embraced her and looked into her eyes. "I really think The Brightest Witch of her Age could win the Triwizard Tournament," he said softly but with confidence.
"Oh, Harry, thank you!" Hermione whispered and hugged him with less force but somehow just as tightly as she normally did.
"But even if I was willing to participate," Hermione began as they finally separated, and Harry smiled widely at hearing that, "even if, how would we even enter my name? Kenneth is gone, with the twins, if you haven't noticed."
Harry smiled mischievously. "I don't think we need him. I have some common sense as well, you know," he answered.
"Is that so?" Hermione asked playfully. "And what exactly is your easy and obvious solution?"
"I won't tell. But I could show you, if I had a parchment with your name on it," Harry replied.
"I don't even have any parchment and-" Hermione started, just as Harry pulled some parchment and a self-inking quill out of his robes.
"You planned for this?" Hermione asked in surprise.
Harry smirked in response. "I might have," he said as he offered her quill and parchment.
Hermione took the supplies and walked towards a nearby table to write down her name.
A moment later, she looked down on the piece of parchment that read 'Hermione Jane Granger, Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry'. Her excitement and anticipation was evident on her face.
"Okay, what now?" she asked Harry as he moved to stand next to her.
Harry smiled and aimed his wand at the parchment on the table. "Wingardium Leviosa," he cast.
The parchment rose into the air, and Harry levitated it past the Age Line, over the Goblet and let it fall into the blue flames.
Hermione watched on with an incredulous look on her face and shook her head in annoyance when the flash of the flames signalled that the name had been entered successfully. "Wizards are just so stupid. Not an ounce of logic or common sense!" she exclaimed with exasperation.
Harry couldn't help but chuckle over her irritation and nodded in agreement.
"How about entering some more names?" he then asked. "Maybe someone to make you look even better in comparison?"
Hermione smirked at that. "Malfoy?" she suggested.
Harry thought about it for a moment. "Maybe," he said, "but being selected as a champion would only stroke his ego... You know who we should enter? His bookends!"
Hermione burst into laughter. "You're right. And that's brilliant!"
Harry then quickly filled out two more pieces of parchment, with Hermione supplying the names of the magical schools.
He cast two more Levitation Charms, and the parchments for 'Vincent Crabbe, Koldovstoretz School of Magic' and 'Gregory Goyle, Castelobruxo School of Magic' soon found their way into the Goblet.
"All right, I think we pranked the tournament enough now, haven't we?" Hermione asked.
"I think we have," Harry agreed. "Let's go, before Snape shows up after all."
Together, the two Gryffindors left the entrance hall and walked back in the direction of their common room. But after a minute of walking silently, Harry suddenly stopped and grabbed Hermione's arm in excitement.
"Does it have to be a student?" he almost yelled at her.
"What?" Hermione asked in surprise.
"The Goblet. How does it know that a name entered is the name of a student? Could we enter someone who's not a student? Could we enter a professor? Could we enter any random adult wizard?" Harry questioned at a rapid pace.
Hermione's brows furrowed as she contemplated the question. "I'm not sure, but I think we could..." she said hesitantly.
Harry was almost jumping up and down in excitement. "Let's go back!" he exclaimed. "We have to put in more names! Who should we enter?"
"How about... Barty Crouch?" Hermione asked as they made their way back into the entrance hall. She still disliked the guy for what he had done to his poor elf Winky.
"NO, not Crouch!" Harry shouted immediately and very loudly.
Hermione looked at him quizzically. "Why not?"
Harry shuddered. "Not Crouch! I don't want to think about Crouch! End of discussion."
Harry was thankful that Hermione shrugged and didn't follow up on that.
"How about Professor Snape?" she asked instead.
"Or Dumbledore!" Harry suggested.
"You know he would easily win, right?" Hermione replied and frowned. "Come to think about it, Professor Snape would, too. As much as we don't like him, he is a capable wizard."
"Right, only pathetic wizards should be entered." Harry agreed. "No fun otherwise."
There was a slight pause.
"Cornelius Fudge!" both teens then called out at the same time.
"Okay, that's great," Harry said, and Hermione nodded in agreement. "Who else?"
"Too bad Lockhart lost his memory," Hermione muttered.
There was another pause before Hermione gasped.
"How about settling some personal debts?" she suggested. "How about Wormtail and Voldemort?"
Harry looked at Hermione in shock. For several long seconds, he didn't say anything before he broke into a broad smile.
"Hermione, I love you!" he exclaimed, embraced her and kissed the surprised girl fully on her lips. Before Hermione could react, Harry had pulled back and was now filling out parchment slips. In his euphoria, he didn't realise what he had just said and done.
"Does it have to be magic schools?" Harry asked.
"Wh-wh-what?" Hermione muttered.
"The schools. I don't know any more magic schools. Can we submit names for Muggle schools?" Harry inquired.
"Yes, yes, sure, no problem," Hermione replied absentmindedly.
A few moments later, she watched on as Harry levitated the parchments for 'Cornelius Fudge, Little Whinging Primary School', 'Peter Pettigrew, Smeltings School' and 'Tom Marvolo Riddle, St Brutus Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys' into the Goblet of Fire. Three flashes of the flames signalled the acceptance of the entries.
Harry then turned back towards Hermione, who for some reason he couldn't understand seemed to be a bit befuddled.
"Let's go!" he said happily and took her hand as they left the entrance hall for the second time that night.
Harry had a wide grin plastered on his face and a slight spring in his step as he and Hermione made their way back towards the common room. If their plan for the next evening was successful, Voldemort would no longer be a threat. Who would have thought that all you needed to defeat a Dark Lord was a piece of parchment and an enchanted goblet?
Unnoticed by him, Hermione also smiled contently as she glanced down on their interlinked hands.
It wasn't until they were back in the now completely abandoned common room that Hermione broke their silence. "So... that kiss...?" she said gently as she guided them both towards 'their' couch.
Harry followed along as his euphoric expression gave way to a confused look.
"Kiss? What kiss?" he asked with bewilderment as they sat down, facing each other.
"The kiss you gave me a few minutes ago," Hermione answered nervously. "I think we should talk about it."
"I- I didn't-" Harry protested as he tried to recall his actions in the entrance hall.
Then, his eyes widened in horror. "Oh, Merlin! Hermione, I'm so sorry!" he exclaimed. "I didn't mean it! I was just so excited, but I know that's no excuse. Please, please forgive me!"
Hermione lowered her gaze to the floor. "You didn't mean it?" she asked with a hitched voice.
Harry had no idea what had suddenly changed, he only knew that he didn't want to see Hermione sad because of him.
"Please, Hermione, I'm rubbish at this," he pleaded. "You seemed to be happy. And now I apologised, and now you're not. This is confusing. Are you mad at me for kissing you? Or something else? Please, help me make it all right."
Hermione seemed to calm down a bit and turned back towards him. "Tell me, did you really mean what you said? Do you like me as more than a friend? Or did you only say it because you were excited?"
"I did say it because I was excited," Harry began and immediately saw in her sad brown eyes that this was the wrong answer. "But that doesn't mean that I didn't mean it. I do like you. Maybe more than I should as a friend."
Her smile was back, and Harry cheered inwardly for a good save. Even better, all of this almost sounded as if Hermione might actually fancy him a bit, too.
He had never allowed himself to entertain the idea of having any relationship with his best female friend beyond mere friendship. But now that he thought about it, and saw that it might indeed be possible, he realised that he very much wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with the brilliant, pretty and amazing girl who had always been by his side.
Deciding that Gryffindors charge ahead, he gathered his courage. "So, uhh, Hermione... willyoubemygrlfrnd?"
Hermione blinked. "What?"
Harry took a deep breath. "Will you be my girlfriend?"
Instead of answering, Hermione lunged herself at him. Unlike their first kiss, the kiss that followed wasn't short and wasn't chaste. But it was perfect.
It was followed by some more kisses, but soon the tired teens just cuddled together and held each other tight. They didn't talk about what had happened or what would happen. With a content smile on their lips, they both fell asleep in each other's arms on the couch in the Gryffindor common room.
In the early hours of the morning, a disillusioned figure sneaked into the Hogwarts entrance hall and crossed the Age Line.
A piece of parchment appeared over the Goblet of Fire. Written on it were the words 'Harry Potter, Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry'. The flames flashed as the parchment fell into the Goblet.
Then, a voice muttered, "Ilvermorny is participating in the Triwizard Tournament. Confundo!"
A brief glow engulfed the Goblet, and the invisible figure mumbled, "Oh, I'm looking forward to the selection of the champions in the evening. The fools will have no idea what hit them."
The figure left the entrance hall, not knowing how right they were.