Chapter 13– Goblet of Fire Denied
"Oh Harry – did you sneak your name into the goblet?" Ginny simpered at the Boy-Who-Lived, who was rolling his eyes.
"No Ginny – I did not. You heard Dumbledore – people die in the tournament. I might be a brave Gryffindor, but I'm not an idiot." Harry pointedly turned away from the fawning red-head.
"Yah – but the money would be a dream" sighed Fred.
"Yes – we could start up our joke shop" agreed George.
"How much do you need?" Harry asked, taking a sudden interest. "I'd be glad to give you a business start-up loan – your inventions are super!"
The three boys started chatting about marketing, capitol, and other things that are boring unless it's your own business you are talking about, when the headmaster started to pull the names out of the flaming goblet. They clapped distractedly as Cedric's name was called, then Victor Krum (to which Ron leapt to his feet and cheered like a looney), and finally Fleur Delacour (to which Ron leapt to his feet and cheered like a looney).
"HARRY POTTER!" Dumbledore yelled in anger. The room grew suddenly still and Harry looked up from the twins in confusion.
"What?" he asked, looking around at the hundreds of faces glaring at him.
"The goblet has declared you the forth champion for the tournament" the headmaster shouted, anger rolling off of him in tangible waves. Harry stared at him curiously, part of his brain thinking just how stupid the man looked with only half a nose. Pomfrey never did find the lower bit to re-attach. "Did you enter your name?"
Harry stood to his feet shakily. "No I did not. I'm too young and I don't want to be in the tournament. Someone is pulling a prank."
"Well, get up here and join the rest of the champions" the headmaster sneered at the boy. This was one way to get back at the Dursleys for blowing his nose off his face three times. He could feel his fake eyebrow starting to slip off his forehead. The students all started to boo the Boy-Who-Lived for his obvious cheating. The fact that 80 percent of the students had attempted to enter illegally evidently didn't cross their minds.
"No sir, I will not" Harry sat back down abruptly.
"WHAAAAAT?" Albus Dumbledore yelled, furious at being ignored. "The goblet is a legally binding contract. You are now a champion!"
"No, sir. I am not. I did not join. I did not enter. There cannot be anything binding about someone else sticking your name in the cup. I am not a champion, I will not be a champion, I am not leaving my seat." Harry glared at the headmaster. He couldn't wait to write his Aunt and Uncle.
Students started to applaud Harry for his backbone. It was obvious he didn't want to be in the tournament, and what the boy said made sense to everyone – everyone but Dumbledore and Cornelius Fudge that is.
Fudge was following Harry around like a love-sick teenager. Ginny was following Harry around like a love-sick teenager. Dumbledore did too, but not as closely - he kept having to glue his eyebrows back on. The adults were desperate to get the infamous Boy-Who-Lived to sign the contract. Ginny was desperate, period.
The next morning Harry ran to Papa's hut to use his floo. He grabbed his Aunt and Uncle Dursley to explain the situation. Petunia went to her kitchen to start working on the next 'howler' for the headmaster, and Vernon took his nephew to see Aunt Marge and find a solicitor that could work both muggle and magic law.
The next day Harry returned to Hogwarts, lawyer in tow. Dumbledore hadn't even realized Harry was missing (though naturally Ginny had). The green-eyed boy marched up to the gargoyle steps and demanded an immediate meeting with the headmaster and Fudge, and surprisingly got his wish.
Two hours later Dumbledore was curled up fetal position under his desk, whimpering. Fudge returned to the Ministry in tears. Harry hugged and then paid his new best friend – the solicitor from Hades. Harry was not a champion for the Triwizard Tournament.
Harry enjoyed the first half of the year. All the attention was on the champions and the veelas – he only had to avoid Ginny. The new DADA professor was really strange – Harry could not understand how he stayed out of Azkaban when he performed the three forbidden curses in front of a whole classroom of witnesses, but at least the man hadn't tried to kill him yet.
The ball was announced, and Ginny was practically hyperventilating trying to get Harry's attention in the great hall. Without a second thought Harry stood and marched over to the Ravenclaw table and asked Luna Lovegood out. She was the one girl in the whole school who never treated him differently once his identity became known.
The second half of the year did not go so well. Besides having to watch Ron make a fool of himself over veelas and Hermione, avoid Ginny the Stalker, and the lack of Quidditch, Harry found himself grabbed and apparated late one night to Voldemort's hideout.
Harry spun around to find it was Professor Moody who had kidnapped him. "What's the deal? Every Defense teacher wants me dead – is that it?" he snipped. Moody grabbed him and tied him roughly to a tombstone. Harry watched in horror as Moody limped over to a basket and withdrew a hideous creature – Voldemort in a temporary body. He was able to speak and move a bit, but he was like a terribly deformed and evil parody of a baby.
The ritual was a living nightmare – Harry had to watch while they cut his arm to collect blood, and the insane Moody cut off his own hand willingly for Voldemort. Then they used a leg bone from his father's grave, and Voldemort was reborn.
"All that magic, and that's the best you could come up with?" Harry asked in disbelief. The Dark Lord was hideous – red eyes with slit pupils, no nose or lips to speak of, and shiny, pink skin. He was not going to grace the cover of GQ anytime soon.
Voldemort merely sneered at the boy. "So brave, Harry Potter. Just like your parents." He walked up to Harry, who cringed – the place his scar used to be exploded with pain. The boy shut is eyes, on the verge of passing out from the agony, until Voldemort stepped back and the pain dulled slightly.
"Come now – we will duel" the Dark Lord licked where his lips should have been in anticipation. "You do have your wand, don't you? Let us see how well the great Albus Dumbledore has trained his Golden Boy." With a gesture of command a hooded Death Eater untied Harry. The group of followers stood in a circle to give them room.
The Dark Lord laughed. "Are you afraid? Come now, Harry. I'll even give you the first shot."
Harry glanced around the group of men. "OK" he shrugged. He reached into his robe and pulled out the .357 Glock 32 that Uncle Vernon had given him and demanded he carry at all times. There were 11 Death Eaters, including Voldemort. His clip held 15 rounds. "Let's see how a Protego works on this" he snarled and shot the Dark Lord right in the chest. Target practice with Uncle Vernon had really paid off.
Voldemort looked down at the gaping wound in his chest in stunned disbelief for a second or two before collapsing dead on the ground. The Death Eaters were in an uproar. Harry ducked behind a large tombstone and picked off the idiots one by one.
When all were dead, Harry stood and looked around. Nagini was laughing over Voldemort's body. "Ha ha ha, you sick puppy! No more milkings for Nagini! No more having to lay around and listen to your sick fantasies! And never again do I have to hear you go on and on about how all-powerful you are !"
"Where will you go now?" Harry hissed at the beautiful snake.
"I think I will sit on the door step of the snake house of the London Zoo and let them capture me" she hissed with pleasure.
"You WANT to be captured?" Harry was stunned. He had assumed every creature wanted to be free.
"Not 'captured', young speaker. Protected. In a zoo I will not be used as a weapon. I will not strike fear into innocent people. It will always be humid and warm. If I have to go through the indignity of having my venom milked, it will be used to help people, not to poison them. I will be fed yummy rodents – not incompetent Death Eaters." If Nagini had lips, she would have curled them. She really hated being fed shrunken Death Eaters. "If I simply disappear into the Forbidden Forest, I will most likely end up dragon-chow, a spider snack, or a hippogriff munchie. I wish to be removed from the food-chain."
Harry stroked the serpent's smooth head. "Well, good luck with that, then! Do you need help getting there?"
Nagini rubbed her head against Harry's hand not unlike a cat. "No thank you, kind speaker. I know the way – I've planned this for years." She turned and slithered off into the brush.
With a last amused glance at the snake's retreating form, Harry walked to the road and summoned the Knight Bus. Glancing at his watch he figured he'd be back in bed before anyone realized he was gone.
Harry woke abruptly the next morning from Ron jumping on his bed. Thrusting a Daily Prophet under his nose, he shouted "Voldemort is dead!"
"I didn't know he was alive" Harry muttered groggily.
"Well, yah – funny thing that" Ron said. "Turns out Professor Moody was really Crouch's son in polyjuice. He snuck out last night and did a nasty ritual to bring You-Know-Who back. But somehow it backfired – Voldemort, Crouch, and 9 Death Eaters were found dead of a mysterious piercing hex at Riddle manor!"
Harry sat up, stretched, and smiled. "Well, see – the magical world didn't need me after all".
The leaving feast was spectacular. Everyone toasted Cedric's win in the tournament, and everyone toasted the defeat of Voldemort. Dumbledore gave Harry many a strange look that night, but it didn't bother The-Boy-Who-Won any. It wasn't as if the headmaster could read minds.
The young Hagrid had no idea how Professor Snape knew, but before climbing onto the thestral-drawn carriage to leave, Uncle Sev tapped Harry on the shoulder. Harry turned around with a friendly but questioning look. The normally dour potions master rolled up his left sleeve and actually smiled at Harry. The dark mark was totally missing – Voldemort was gone for good this time.
"Thank you" he said softly so nobody else could hear.
The two muggles and Harry sat in the Headmaster's office across from Dumbledore and Fudge.
"I'm sorry, but you have no choice in the matter, Petunia" Albus twinkled his eyes with a condescending look. "Harry must return to Hogwarts in the fall."
"Must, Dumbledore?" she screeched at the man. "I think the decision is up to Harry."
"But Harry gives hope to everyone because he is the Boy-Who-Lived" Fudge simpered, reaching across to pat Harry on the head. Harry ducked and gave him a look that could neuter a Chinese Fireball. "He simply can not leave the magical world."
"Harry has had enough of your world, Minister" Vernon growled. Harry knew not to mess with his Aunt and Uncle when they used that tone of voice, but evidently Fudge and Dumbledore were not that bright. "And don't give us any guff about Hogwarts being the safest place in all of Britain – our boy's life has been in jeopardy every year since coming back."
"I'm sorry, Petunia, Vernon" Dumbledore frowned, "but I would never have let Harry come to stay with you if I knew you were going to poison his mind against his true home."
"Don't I get a say in this?" Harry glared darkly and stood to his feet. "I do not want to come back. You people are nuts. I want to live a normal life – my Aunt and Uncle provide that. I don't miss the fleas, the broken bones, the insane defense teachers trying to kill me, and nutters like Ginny Weasley and the rest of the girls following me everywhere. I'm done with Hogwarts!"
"Now Harry, leave this discussion to the adults…" Fudge started in, but Harry interrupted him.
"Fine" Harry snapped. "Aunt Petunia – can I borrow your cell phone?" He whipped a business card out of his jeans pocket and laid it on Dumbledore's desk. It was phone number for the Solicitor from Hades.
Fudge and Dumbledore immediately broke into a sweat. Fudge started to tear up.
"We will be in touch with you later – give yourself the summer to consider" Dumbledore pleaded, gesturing them out the door.
"Come along, Harry" Petunia grabbed her nephew and husband by their elbows. "We are in a hurry."
Albus was saying goodbye to the Minister. They were not pleased how the meeting went. Fudge glanced over at the empty chairs the Dursleys had occupied. "Isn't that Mrs. Dursleys' purse?" he gestured.
"Why yes, Cornelius" Albus smiled. "She must have forgotten it in her haste. Well that guarantees they will be back!" He rubbed his hands together with glee.
"Why is it ticking?" Fudge pondered.
The two wizards blinked and looked at each other through the smoke and rubble of what used to be the headmaster's office.
"Don't fret, Cornelius" Dumbledore sighed in defeat. "Poppy is real good at re-attaching those.
The summer ended without another word from Hogwarts. They had finally got the message. Harry didn't cut off all ties – he still delighted in visits from his Papa, Aunts Minny and Poppy, and Uncle Sev. He still hung out with Ron and the twins (who started a very successful gag shop with his loan), and kept in touch with Luna and Hermione. But he was really looking forward to Smeltings and Dudley showing him the ropes of a normal life.
It was the last day of holiday. Petunia had cooked a marvelous meal and everyone was sitting back contentedly.
"Now, Harry – we have a gift for you from the three of us." Vernon and she smiled warmly at their nephew. "You are under no obligation to accept it."
Puzzled, Harry took the envelope from his Aunt's hands and opened it. It was a certificate of adoption to officially make him Harry Dursley. All it needed was his signature.
"Do you have a pen?" he begged, flashing his ever-powerful puppy-dog eyes at his beloved mum and dad.
Author Notes: I really wanted to use the 40cal Glock 27, as it is my absolutely favorite pistol, but I figured it would weight too much for young Harry to carry around fully loaded. Hey – a Glock is sweet no matter what the caliber, and a 357 will do the trick too. My son wanted Harry to use an Uzi or other machine-type gun, but I had to convince him that it would be hard to keep concealed – even under Hogwarts robes. And shooting automatic weapons is no where near as easy or fun as it looks in the movies.
Does anyone else wonder why Moody/Crouch didn't just kidnap Harry in GoF? Why the big involved plot with hiding as the defense teacher from two mind readers, tricking the cup to put Harry in the tournament, having to keep a 4th year student not only alive during the tournament, but winning, and get to the trophy to turn it into a port key – weird and totally unnecessary. Make some polyjuice, wait in Hogsmeade next student weekend and kidnap any random student to get their hair, go back into Hogwarts disguised and grab Harry, portkey in hand. Simple. Rowling must be related to Rube Goldberg.