A/N I know i promised more on Weremione, but my muse had other ideas. This is a little story i've been working on on the sidelines for a while, hope you enjoy. Thanks again to Zabethou for her beta help.
The Great Hall's occupants watched in shocked silence as the Goblet of Fire spat out a fourth piece of parchment. Soft murmuring began as Dumbledore plucked the wafting slip from the air. The surprise on his face seemed genuine, though it did not reach his eyes. Slowly, he unfolded the parchment and sagged slightly.
At the Gryffindor table, as soon as the Goblet began its dance to belch out a fourth name, Harry's gut dropped. 'No no no no' he muttered to himself, not realizing his mental mantra was said out loud. A gentle hand on his shoulder offered silent reassurance as he stared at the smoking bit of parchment that he just knew was Fate kicking him in the stones again.
"No." This time it was louder, allowing those other than his best friend to hear him. The cold pit that had replaced his stomach froze over as the headmaster turned his gaze towards him.
"Harry Potter!" This time, the headmaster's voice was more forceful. He felt Hermione pushing him gently, trying to get him to stand.
"You'd better go Harry, but don't agree to anything," she whispered to him as warmth spread from where her hand pressed into his back.
Slowly, feeling every eye upon him, Harry stood. He glanced back at the table and his friends to gauge their reactions. Neville, Dean, and Seamus seemed shocked, their expression fixed in amazement and disbelief. The girls of their year were in a similar state; Lavender even had her mouth gaped open. Ron was obviously shocked, but there was something else there, a hint of anger and outrage. He thought it was at the injustice of it, but as their eyes locked the anger flared, and Harry understood that Ron was angry at him. He had no idea why, but having witnessed the infamous Weasley temper often enough, he knew it was definitely the target of his friend's ire.
Hermione was the only one looking at him supportively, just like she always did. Even last year when she'd gone to McGonagall, it had been to help him. 'It was almost as if…' His train of thought cut itself off, like it always did when he thought of Hermione. It had taken some getting used to, but he could never think of Hermione as anything more than a friend, it was like his brain shut off when his thoughts drifted that way. It was annoying, 'because she'd be an awesome…' and it cut off again. At least she was supporting him now.
"Harry, please join the other champions," Dumbledore directed as he approached the dais where Dumbledore and the Goblet stood. Harry started to turn towards the door when Hermione's warning stopped him. 'Don't agree to anything'.
"No." His words were lost in the rising noise as students turned to their neighbors to ask what was going on.
"I'm sorry, Harry?" Dumbledore had heard him, not sure of what he'd actually said.
"I said 'no,' Headmaster," Harry spoke louder this time, turning back to the old wizard. "If I go in there, I'll be accepting that I'm a champion. I am not!"
"Pardon?" Dumbledore's surprised question could be heard across the hall as the noise dropped again. Everyone's attention returned to the dais as the entertainment continued.
"I said I will not join the champions," Harry spoke slowly, his anger evident. "If I do that, I am possibly agreeing to compete. I refuse."
"I'm afraid that doesn't matter," the headmaster's eyes twinkled, as if placating a toddler throwing a tantrum. "Your name came out of the Goblet, therefore you are a champion."
"How can I be a champion? It is the Triwizard Tournament, you already have three champions from three schools. Hogwarts is my school and it already has a champion in Cedric Diggory." Harry felt a shift in the attitude from Hufflepuff House as confusion took over the hostility he could feel earlier. "Besides which, I am underage and therefore ineligible."
"I'm afraid the Goblet doesn't care about age." The headmaster took hold of his arm and tried to pull Harry towards the door to the anteroom, obviously trying to move this argument to a more private setting.
"NO!" Harry jerked his arm from the headmaster's grip.
"Harry, this is your name, you are bound to compete." Dumbledore shoved the piece of parchment in his face, as if seeing his name would make Harry change his mind.
"This was obviously torn from my homework," Harry argued as he took the offending bit of parchment. "I didn't enter my name, I never wanted my name entered. How can something bind me when I never interacted with it? Obviously someone else entered my name, why wasn't that protected against? Could anyone have entered someone else's name?"
"This is not the place to discuss such things Harry," Dumbledore made to grab his arm once more, and Harry stepped back out of his reach… right into the Goblet.
The Goblet of Fire was old, dating back far further than most believed. It had indeed been goblin forged, but it was tens of thousands of years old. It had first been imbued with the powers of judgement when man had barely discovered fire, and as with all magical objects, its magic deepened as it aged. It also gained a kind of sentience, though most of the time it slumbered. As Harry made contact with the Goblet however, it woke.
The Goblet felt the magic of the boy touching it and cringed. There were so many spells on this boy… wait… was that its chosen? The boy was holding his selection for the fourth school. Fourth school? The Goblet wreathed itself in emerald flame as it burned the magics that had befuddled it while it slept. Harry, still touching the Goblet, was wreathed in flames too.
Palpable anger swept through the Goblet as its fire roared high into the hall. The Goblet was pissed. Someone had tried to trick it into harming this boy, this beacon of magic caged in layers and layers of spells. It was time to change that.
Gasps were heard and those closest to the Goblet cringed as the flames turned purple and burned hotter. Only one person dared to come closer. Hermione stood and stared, staggering as she tried to help Harry. By the time she had made it halfway to him, everything had seemed to slow around her. She figured it was the adrenaline, the fear spiking her reaction times, but then she saw how slow everyone else was moving.
The brilliant lilac flames flared at Harry's feet, and a ring of fire began to work its way up his body. Harry felt the warmth climb, but it never hurt. In fact, his body felt amazing below the slowly rising line of fire, even old injuries that never properly healed stopped aching. As it reached his chest, black rings became visible. As each was consumed by the flames, Harry could feel a weight lifting itself from him, as if someone trying to smother him had released him. A small flame stayed over his heart as the rest continued. It paused at his shoulders as branches traced down his arms, only to consume the parchment he still held in his hand and heal old hurts. The fiery ring continued up then, and fog cleared from his brain as a scream was heard and his scar throbbed.
Hermione was probably the only one still moving, albeit slowly. Everyone else seemed to have frozen. She watched in horror as the purple flames reached Harry's scar and it burst open. A sickly black puss slithered down his face before the fire consumed it before a black cloud emerged from Harry's scar. The flames shifted red and engulfed the shadow, giving it nowhere to hide, burning it with light until it too was consumed.
The Goblet hated the dark, and that...that thing inside the boy had been extremely dark. There was something else though, something its fire had found. A connection, obscured and denied by spells and potions, yet still thriving. It was something good the fire could restore, and this boy deserved any good he could get after those spells had been over him.
The single flame that had stayed against Harry's chest began to move. It didn't grow much, but both Harry and Hermione watched as it seemed to burn darkness away from a thin silvery thread, moving out from Harry towards Hermione. The more the thread was revealed, the better Harry felt, and the more he felt towards his best friend. When it finally reached her, he felt her faith and reassurance blast into him. He felt love and devotion, and any questions he had over the truth of those feelings disappeared as their eyes met and their connection flared.
The same flame that had cleansed Harry also cleansed her, removing any influence of spells and potions affecting her. Then, once she felt as clean as Harry, both felt the Goblet's focus shift. The darkness that had infected the boy like a disease was gone, but the Goblet could still feel its connections. There were other parasites of that same darkness out there, it could feel the tendrils still. It was time to cleanse them from this world, and the one who attacked this boy.
Time seemed to resume for the rest of the crowd as six crimson orbs rose from the purple flames. Five shot away, one upwards and the rest in varying directions, but mostly southerly. The final orb struck Mad-Eye Moody squarely in the chest. The blast exploded, wrapping crimson chains around the struggling man. The Goblet had judged him, for it was he who had entered the boy. No, not this man, but the man within.
Everyone in the hall stared as Moody seemed to melt, his skin consumed by the flames. His creepy magic eye popped out and his wooden leg clattered to the ground as real body parts replaced them. Everyone stared at the transformation until another man stood before them. Dark haired and snarling, the much thinner man struggled and fought, but could not escape his bindings. He screamed as the fire flared, and a pale blue mist left his mouth. As the last vapors exited, the man sagged, falling like a sack of potatoes. The mist traveled deliberately towards the Goblet, where it too was consumed by the flames.
Harry felt an invitation in a corner of his mind and knew it was from the Goblet. He trusted the object, it had freed him from so much, and knew it would keep him safe. On the other hand, he was also sure he wouldn't be safe at Hogwarts. A tingle traveled up his arm as Hermione's hand took his, and he glanced back at her. Her smile was all he needed to make his decision.
There was no fanfare or flash of light this time, the fire of the Goblet simply went out. The chalice was empty, no explanation was given. And when the fire disappeared, so did Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.