This is in response to Potter's Place 3's Monthly scene contest Challenge #1 What Would Hufflepuff Harry Do? I've completed the set... Potion Woes and Rock'n and Sock'n are Slytherin (thinking) Harry, Settling Debts featured a Ravenclaw Harry, and now we have a Hufflepuff Harry.
"Hey Cedric, I need to talk with you about something." Harry called out when his housemate entered the common room.
"Sure thing Harry, just let me drop my bag off and we can find an empty classroom or something," Cedric told him. "I need to talk with you as well."
The reigning king of Hufflepuff House was quick to return and they commandeered a room right off the common room, the younger years scurrying to give them privacy. Cedric cast a few privacy charms over the room and they sat down for their talk. Harry opened the conversation, "I really don't know how to ask this so I guess I'll just come right out. The third task is next week, and I wanted to know just how badly you want it. If you really need it, I'll run interference against the other two."
Cedric chuckled and let out an exaggerated sigh, wiping sweat from his brow. "Harry, sometimes you amaze me. I was going to ask you that question."
"But why? Don't you want the cup for yourself?"
"Of course I want the cup, but what you need to realize is that my time is over. I'm going to graduate next month, and I've got a job lined up at the ministry just waiting for me. On the other hand, with me gone Hufflepuff House needs a leader. With the Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and that Sirius Black thing behind you, you're the obvious choice, but winning the Triwizard Tournament will not only ensure the loyalty of the Hufflepuffs, but also get you support across the school. You're bound for greatness Harry, and you've still got three years to help others find theirs too."
Harry looked up at his friend with watery eyes. "I don't know what to say. This really should have been your moment to shine, and you're giving it up for me."
"Just remember me when you become the next Merlin alright?" Cedric conjured a table and a map with what he could remember of the maze from a flyby on his broom. "Now here is what we need to do…"
"Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Let me remind you how the points currently stand! Tied in first place, with eighty-five points each - Mr. Cedric Diggory and Mr. Harry Potter, both of Hogwarts School!" The cheers and applause sent birds from the Forbidden Forest fluttering into the darkening sky as Ludo Bagman worked the crowd. "In second place, with eighty points – Mr. Viktor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute!" More applause. "And in third place – Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!"
Harry and Cedric waved to their friends and family. In the interest of good sportsmanship, they shook hands with each other and with Fluer and Viktor. Everyone lined up at the starting line before the entrance to the maze and got ready for the whistle.
"So ... on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!" said Bagman. "Three - two - one -"
When the whistle sounded, Harry and Cedric ran forward and stopped just inside the maze. The turned towards the crowd and leveled their wands at Viktor, who looked surprised as he figured out their plan. When the second whistle blew, stunners whipped out from both Harry and Cedric. Viktor threw himself to the side and cast a disarming jinx at Cedric. Harry threw a shield in front of his teammate and Cedric felled the Bulgarian with a stunner between the eyes.
Before the last whistle was even finished being blown, Fluer tried to enervate Krum so she would have a chance. Harry threw another shield in the way and Cedric started cursing. With a shriek of anger, Fluer assumed the half avian form that vela are known for. Her feathers must have been resistant to magic because Cedric's first two curses just bounced off of her chest. Fluer snarled and threw two balls of fire from her hands, forcing the Hogwarts champions to dodge. Simple stunners were having no effect on the final champion so they tried a few other curses to subdue her. Harry's body bind had no effect either, but Fluer obviously wasn't overconfident about her abilities because she threw a shield up to block Cedric's cutting curse.
The crowd from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are booing and jeering by now angry at the idea of a de-facto Hogwarts win, while the Hogwarts students are cheering louder than ever. Fluer looses two more fireballs and Harry dove into a roll to avoid them. He came up just in front of her and cast the first spell that came to his mind, a minor blasting hex. With a scream of pain Fluer dropped to the ground as her left knee is reduced to a pulp of bone splinters and tenderized flesh. Weakened by her pain, Fluer reverted to her normal form and Cedric ended her suffering with a quick stunner. Together they bowed to the crowd and walked purposefully into the maze side by side.
Harry and Cedric made good use of the four points spell to help them navigate the maze, and stopped at every intersection to mark their path with a paint blob spell. The obstacles were not too difficult for the two of them but Harry imagined that if he were alone it would have been quite challenging. A strange mist blocked their path; stones that were conjured and thrown into the mist seemed to fall up. The two veteran Quidditch players had no problem working out a plan of attack for this one. Running full tilt, Harry jumped as he entered the mist and flew upwards at a fair angle. He left the mist on the other side and hit the ground rolling to prevent injury.
Not long after, the pair came across a rather deep pit whose bottom was covered in stakes. Harry wanted to conjure a bull whip and swing across after grabbing a tree branch, but Cedric called him a show off. With a simple wave of his wand, Cedric levitated Harry across. Harry returned the favor but grumbled that they ought to be having some fun in this stupid tournament, if only to give the crowd something to watch.
Soon enough, the pair of young badgers (Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers! Sorry…) found their way blocked by a majestic looking androsphinx. The sphinx had the body of a lion with the head and chest of a woman. Her midnight black hair hung gracefully down her back like a living curtain and her eyes held the spark of knowledge and power. Harry however noticed none of that and showed his maturity by staring and losing focus. Cedric slapped him on the back of the head and he managed to catch the last part of the sphinx's speech, "…but since there are two of you, each of you must answer on your own."
"We accept." Harry said without thinking or removing his eyes from what currently held his focus. Beside him Diggory groaned in disappointment.
"Very well, here is your riddle," The sphinx crossed her arms over her chest and adopted a sage expression. "Passed from father to son, and shared between brothers, though its importance is unquestioned, it is used more by others."
Harry was thankful he was no longer distracted as he thought it over. What does a father give to his sons that can't be shared by his daughters? Used mostly by other people, but important… "Is it his name?"
"The family name is correct, you may pass." The Sphinx turned to Cedric, "Are you ready?"
"I am ready, ask me your riddle."
"With flashing sword and booming cry, with darkness staining land and sky, the army comes prepared to die. Soldiers fall in glistening dress, as battles are joined without egress, save comfort in the earth's caress." The sphinx sat back on her haunches with a smug expression.
Cedric thought it over for a few minutes, muttering to himself under his breath. "Riddles have never been my strong suit; we will find another way around."
"Very well, I wish you luck."
Harry and Cedric put their heads together for a minute to decide their strategy. Harry insisted that he knew the answer, but he wasn't allowed to help. After only a few moments, they came to a decision about how to proceed. Drawing his wand, Harry cast a reductor curse at the hedgerow beside him and they passed into the adjacent corridor. Once there they walked forward until they were past the sphinx and blew another hole to get back on the right path. They waved to the sphinx and went on their way.
Just around the bend Harry and Cedric found themselves staring at a blast ended skrewt that had to be six feet long. From experience, Harry warned Cedric that most offensive spells would just bounce off of their armored shells. To get around this, one levitated the beast into the air and the other banished it into an adjacent pathway. Next they discovered a great stone doorway with gigantic runes on either side blocking the way.
"Cedric, you any good with runes?" Harry looked at the door uncomprehendingly.
"No, I took Muggle Studies and Arithmancy. You?"
"Creatures and Divination, think we can just blow it up? We haven't done nearly enough of that in this stupid maze."
"You little pyro!" Cedric teased with a smile. "No, I'm pretty sure that would be catastrophic, we don't know how much magic would be released. I guess we need to go back to the last intersection and find another way."
"Bugger that, the cup is just beyond the door! Reducto!" Cedric threw himself to the ground and covered his head as the curse sped towards its destination. There was a muffled thump that Cedric felt through the ground, but no loud explosion. Then he heard Harry's voice again. "Little help Diggory? Reducto!"
There was a second dull thud and Cedric felt clods of dirt raining down on his back. Looking up he saw a dirt covered Harry aiming his wand at a hole near the base of the door. "What are you doing?"
"I refuse to go back. The only way out is forward, and if I can't go through this obstacle I'll go under it. Reducto!" Another geyser of dirt flew into the air. Cedric joined in and soon their tunnel was taking shape. After only a few minutes, they were able to squeeze themselves past the thick stone door. They had made it to the center of the maze at last, the Triwizard Cup sitting on a plinth just meters away. The two champions dusted themselves off and shook hands before approaching the cup together.
"Victory," Cedric breathed, "Just like we planned, a Hogwarts victory, a Hufflepuff victory, and best of all a personal victory for both of us."
"On three. One… Two… Three…" They grabbed the handles of the cup together and felt the tell tale jerk of a portkey activation.
They had left the Hogwarts grounds completely; they had obviously traveled miles - perhaps hundreds of miles - for even the mountains surrounding the castle were gone. They were standing instead in a dark and overgrown graveyard; the black outline of a small church was visible beyond a large yew tree to their right. A hill rose above them to their left. Harry could just make out the outline of a fine old house on the hillside.
"Anyone mention the cup being a portkey to you?" Cedric asked. Seeing Harry's head shake in the negative, Cedric made the decision. "Wands out then."
"Yeah," said Harry, glad that Cedric had made the suggestion rather than him. They pulled out their wands. Harry kept looking around him. He had, yet again, the strange feeling that they were being watched. "Someone's coming," he said suddenly.
Squinting tensely through the darkness, they watched the figure drawing nearer, walking steadily toward them between the graves. Harry couldn't make out a face, but from the way it was walking and holding its arms, he could tell that it was carrying something. Whoever it was, he was short, and wearing a hooded cloak pulled up over his head to obscure his face. And - several paces nearer, the gap between them closing all the time - Harry saw that the thing in the persons arms looked like a baby ... or was it merely a bundle of robes?
Harry lowered his wand slightly and glanced sideways at Cedric. Cedric gave him a determined nod and they trained their wands on the approaching figure.
It stopped beside a towering marble headstone, only six feet from them. For a second Harry, Cedric, and the short figure simply looked at one another. And then, without warning, Harry's scar exploded with pain. It was agony such as he had never felt in all his life; he was having a hard time standing and he could barely see anything at all; his head was about to split open.
From far away, above his head, he heard a high, cold voice say, "Kill the spare." A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: "Avada Kedavra!"
Harry clenched his eyes against the pain and bright green light, and threw himself to the side crashing into Cedric. The pair scrambled apart and Cedric returned fire without bothering to get up. Cedric threw the most powerful cutting curse he knew, and Harry's bludgeoning curse was not far behind. The shorter man erected a shield against the cutting curse, but he lowered it to fight and Harry's bludgeoning curse slammed the bundle of rags into him and knocked him back. Harry and Cedric kept firing and forced their opponent to hold a shield. The pain in Harry's scar began to ebb as the curses rained down. From the Champions' view, the Killing Curse clearly showed the tone of the fight. There would be no mercy and no surrender.
Suddenly their opponent's hood fell back and Harry got a look at his opponent. "Wormtail! Keep cursing Cedric!" His teammate obeyed without question, sensing this was one of those times where Harry knew best. "Peter Pettigrew, I call on you to repay the Life Debt you owe Harry James Potter. Surrender to us immediately!"
The shield dropped and the curses stopped flying for a moment. The other voice came from the bundle of rags, weaker than before, "No you fool! Obey your master and kill the spare! You must not fail!"
Harry summoned the three wands Pettigrew had while he was still trying to fight the magical compulsions that warred for control. Cedric seemed unsure of what to do, so Harry took the logical step. He aimed at the bundle of rags he knew contained his arch nemesis and poured all his strength into his spell, "Reducto!"
There was a sickening crunch as the spell hit the stationary target and the pain in Harry's scar dropped dramatically but not completely. Pettigrew was knocked back when the spell hit, throwing him to the ground. Harry ended the internal struggle by stunning and binding Pettigrew and the twisted doll like thing Voldemort was inhabiting.
"What part of 'Keep cursing' was unclear?" Harry rounded on Cedric, but soon though better of it. "I'm sorry. I'm just a bit tense, that thing Pettigrew had with him was Voldemort. He tends to make me a bit cranky."
"Don't worry about it, I can understand why. Harry, that man tried to kill me and if you hadn't knocked me over he would have succeeded. Thanks for saving my life."
Harry smiled and waved it off. "It's no problem. What kind of Hufflepuff would I be to let my friends die? Let's grab those two for the Aurors and get back to Hogwarts. We've got a victory party to get to and prize money to spend."