Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Naruto because if I did things would probably go A LOT differently. Plus I'm not Japanese and I'm not that good at drawing.
(ahaha...forgot to mention that the disclaimer goes for Harry Potter too. Ms. Rowling owns that one, and not me unfortunately.)
Hello, my dear readers. *Add greeting here and move on*
(On another note, I learned that 'Tetra-' is the prefix that we'll be wanting to use to indicate that there are four participants, if we were to follow the whole 'Di-', 'Tri-' trend. Since Kakashi is a ninja, I didn't think he'd be including himself in the wizard count.)
Chapter 14: Confundus and Argumentus
Kakashi was more than a little shocked to discover that the scrawny kid in front of him (they may have been roughly the same age, but Kakashi had earned his recognition as an adult in his own society) was going to be participating in the Triwizard Tournament. A Tournament that was quickly becoming a Tetrawizard Tournament plus one ninja.
However, Kakashi wasn't alone in his shock. Viktor Krum straightened up. His surly face darkened as he surveyed Harry. Cedric Diggory, on the other hand, looked more confused than anything. His head swung back and forth comically as he looked at both Ludo Bagman and the skinny underaged wizard. Fleur Delacour, however, tossed her hair, smiling, and said," Oh, vairy funny joke, Meester Bagman."
Kakashi looked cautiously from the haughty look on the French girl's face to the faces of Harry Potter and Ludo Bagman. He doubted that anyone here was joking.
"Joke?" Bagman repeated, bewildered. "No, no, not at all! Harry's name just came out of the Goblet of fire!"
In reaction to this conformation, Krum's brow contracted further, his look only growing more and more concerned. Cedric was still looking rather confused, though at least his head had stopped swinging back and forth. However, Fleur's smile died a quick death and a frown that looked quite of place on her pretty face took up residence instead.
"But evidently zair 'as been a mistake," she said contemptuously to Bagman. " 'E cannot compete. 'E is too young."
Obviously she was completely ignoring the fact that Kakashi was actually younger than Harry Potter, but he decided to let the comment slide.
"Well... it is amazing," said Bagman, rubbing his smooth chin and smiling down at Harry, seemingly the only one that was completely unfazed and unworried by this sudden turn of events. "But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. And as his name's come out of the goblet... I mean, I don't think there can be any ducking out at this stage... It's down in the rules, you're obliged... Harry will just have to do the best he-"
The door behind them opened again, and a large group of people came in: Professor Dumbledore, followed closely by Mr. Crouch, Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, and Kakashi's sensei. Kakashi took his eyes off the (obviously) bumbling idiot and looked hopefully to the others to see if they would make sense of this situation. Although, looking at the expressions on their faces, it seemed unlikely. Kakashi looked to his teacher for some kind of answer, but the uncharacteristically stern look on his teacher's face worried him more than all the other reactions he had seen put together.
As Professor McGonagall closed the door, drowning out the loud buzz of chatter coming from the Great Hall, Kakashi realized how this would look from his teacher's perspective. He had been sent here on a mission to protect Harry Potter and here he was, suddenly participating in a contest that could potentially get him killed. All of a sudden Kakashi felt very uneasy. Not all was as it seemed.
"Madame Maxime!" said Fleur at once, striding over to her headmistress. "Zey are saying zat zis little boy is to compete also!"
Kakashi idly observed as Harry's face, previously blank with shock, colored slightly with indignant anger. Fortunately, he didn't open his mouth to retaliate, but he sent a brief glare in the direction of the french girl.
Madame Maxime had drawn herself up to her full, and considerable, height. The top of her handsome head brushed the candle-filled chandelier, and her gigantic black-satin bosom swelled.
"What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?" she said imperiously.
"I'd like to know that myself, Dumbledore," said Professor Karkaroff. He was wearing a steely smile, and his blue eyes were like chips of ice. "Two Hogwarts champions? I don't remember anyone telling me the host school is allowed two champions- or have I not read the rules carefully enough?"
The laughter that fell from his lips with short and nasty, exactly the kind of fake laughter that Kakashi hated. He had endured it several times already since many self-important clients in positions of power liked to use it when they made those little backward jokes that weren't meant to be funny in the first place. Kakashi just thought it made them sound stupid.
"C'est impossible," said Madame Maxime, whose enormous hand with its many superb opals was resting upon Fleur's shoulder. " 'Ogwarts cannot 'ave two champions. It is most unjust."
"We were under the impression that your Age Line would keep out younger contestants, Dumbledore," said Karkaroff, his steely smile still in place, though his eyes were colder than ever. "Otherwise, we would, of course, have brought along a wider selection of candidates from our own schools."
"It's no one's fault but Potter's, Karkaroff," said Snape softly. His black eyes were alight with malice. "Don't go blaming Dumbledore for Potter's determination to break rules. He has been crossing lines since he arrived here-"
"Thank you, Severus," said Dumbledore firmly, and Snape went quiet, though his eyes still glinted malevolently through his curtain of greasy black hair.
Kakashi eyed the greasy teacher with some distaste. He obviously had some kind of grudge against Harry for some unknown reason. Although he hadn't known the young Gryffindor for very long, he didn't seem like the kind of person to go about deliberately making trouble. In all honesty, from what Kakashi had read and heard about Potter's past, trouble seemed very determined to find him. The situation that Potter found himself in now only seemed to prove that point further.
Kakashi made a mental note to learn a bit more about the unpleasant Professor. Obviously, he would need to see how deep this resentment went because even though he seemed to enjoy slandering Harry Potter, the boy that his teacher (and by extension, himself) was obligated to protect, this Professor Snape also seemed to genuinely respect and work for Headmaster Dumbledore, the person who had hired them in the first place. It was certainly an interesting conundrum. A glance at his teacher told Kakashi that Minato was thinking something similar as he glanced curiously at the sneering Potions master.
Professor Dumbledore was simply looking down at Harry from behind his half-moon spectacles, his expression unreadable.
"Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?" he asked calmly.
"No," said Harry. The boy glanced at everyone cautiously as he gave the answer that no one seemed to like. It caused Snape to make a soft noise of impatient disbelief from the shadows he was lurking in.
"Did you ask an older student to put it into the Goblet of Fire for you?" said Professor Dumbledore, ignoring Snape.
"No," said Harry vehemently.
"Ah, but of course 'e is lying!" cried Madame Maxime. Snape was now shaking his head, his lip curling.
"He could have not crossed the Age Line," said Professor McGonagall sharply. "I am sure we are all agreed on that-"
"Dumbly-dorr must 'ave made a mistake wiz ze line," said Madame Maxime, shrugging.
"It is possible, of course," said Dumbledore politely.
"Dumbledore, you know perfectly well that you did not make a mistake!" said Professor McGonagall angrily. "Really, what nonsense! Harry could not have crossed the line himself, and as Professor Dumbledore believes that he did not persuade an older student to do it for him, I'm sure that should be good enough for everybody else!"
She shot a very angry look at Professor Snape, although he did not look in the slightest bit apologetic about his earlier words.
"Mr. Crouch... Mr. Bagman," said Karkaroff, his voice unctuous once more, "you are our- er- objective judges. Surely you will agree that this is most irregular?"
Bagman wiped his round boyish face with his handkerchief and looked at Mr. Crouch, who was standing outside the circle of the firelight, his face half hidden in shadow. He looked slightly eerie, the half darkness making him look much older, giving him an almost skull-like appearance. When he spoke, however, it was in his usual curt voice.
"We must follow the rules, and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the tournament."
"Well, Barty knows the rule book back to front," said Bagman, beaming and turning to Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, as though the matter was now closed.
Kakashi wondered what kind of special idiot this one had to be to miss all of the things that were simply wrong here. In fact, not only did all the seriousness of the situation fly over his head, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Kakashi wondered why natural selection allowed this man to still be alive and hoped that he hadn't had the chance yet to reproduce.
"I insist upon resubmitting the names of the rest of my students," said Karkaroff. He had dropped his unctuous tone and his smile now. His face wore a very ugly look indeed. "You will set up the Goblet of Fire once more, and we will continue adding names until each school has two champions. It's only fair, Dumbledore."
"But Karkaroff, it doesn't work like that," said Bagman. "The Goblet of Fire's gone out- it won't reignite until the start of the next tournament-"
"- in which Durmstrang will most certainly not be competing!" exploded Karkaroff. "After all our meetings and negotiations and compromises, I little expected something of this nature to occur! I have half a mind to leave now!"
Kakashi and Minato were quietly watching this argument increase in fervor and both of them were the only ones (besides Snape, surprisingly) that noticed when the door opened and the limping figure of 'Mad-Eye' Moody crossing the threshold.
"Empty threat, Karkaroff," growled a voice from near the door. "You can't leave your champion now. He's got to compete. They've all got to compete. Binding magical contract, like Dumbledore said. Convenient, eh?"
Everyone in the room flinched a little when they noticed the grizzled ex-Auror turned teacher (besides those that had already known he was there) and he limped toward the fire, and with every right step he took, there was a loud clunk.
"Convenient?" said Karkaroff. "I'm afraid I don't understand you, Moody."
Kakashi noted that Karkaroff's disposition was now drastically different from just a few seconds before. Where before he was thoroughly in the character of indignant, slighted foreign Headmaster of an illustrious school of magic. Now, however, a new sheen of paranoia seemed to be glossing over his original persona and it highlighted him in a rather unsavory way. Unfortunately for Karkaroff, Moody noticed as well.
"Don't you?" said Moody quietly. "It's very simple, Karkaroff. Someone put Potter's name in that goblet knowing he'd have to compete if it came out."
"Evidently, someone 'oo wished to give 'Ogwarts two bites at ze apple!" said Madame Maxime.
"I quite agree, Madame Maxime," said Karkaroff, bowing to her, some of his previous dignity returning to him. "I shall be lodging complaints with the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards-"
"If anyone's got reason to complain, it's Potter," growled Moody, "but... funny thing... I don't hear him saying a word..."
"Why should 'e complain?" burst out Fleur Delacour, stamping her foot. Kakashi raised an eyebrow at this. Really? Did she think that stamping her foot would make her argument more believable or something?
" 'E as ze chance to compete, 'asn't 'e? We 'ave all been 'oping to be chosen for weeks and weeks! Ze honor for our schools! A thousand Galleons in prize money- zis is a chance many would die for!"
"Maybe someone's hoping Potter is going to die for it," said Moody, with the merest trace of a growl.
An extremely tense silence followed these words. Minato's face was still steely in its impassivity and Kakashi was sure that this had already occurred to his teacher. It was also sure to make their jobs here much more interesting. The fact that Potter was participating in a life-threatening competition was one thing. That someone intentionally entered him into the contest so that his life was going to be threatened was something else entirely. There job here had just become infinitely more interesting in just one night.
Ludo Bagman, who was now looking very anxious indeed, bounced nervously up and down on his feet and said, "Moody, old man... what a thing to say!"
"We all know Professor Moody considers the morning wasted if he hasn't discovered six plots to murder him before lunchtime," said Karkaroff loudly. "Apparently he is now teaching his students to fear assassination too. An odd quality in a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dumbledore, but no doubt you had your reasons."
"Imagining things, am I?" growled Moody. "Seeing things, eh? It was a skilled witch or wizard who put the boy's name in that goblet..."
"Ah, what evidence is zere of zat?" said Madame Maxime, throwing up her huge hands.
"Because they hoodwinked a very powerful magical object!" said Moody. "It would have needed an exceptionally strong Confundus Charm to bamboozle that goblet into forgetting that only four schools were going to compete in the tournament... I'm guessing they submitted Potter's name under a fifth school, to make sure he was the only one in his category..."
"You seem to have given this a great deal of thought, Moody," said Karkaroff coldly, "and a very ingenious theory it is- though of course, I heard you recently got it into your head that one of your birthday presents contained a cunningly disguised basilisk egg, and smashed it to pieces before realizing it was a carriage clock. So you'll understand if we don't take you entirely seriously..."
"There are those who'll turn innocent occasions to their advantage," Moody retorted in a menacing voice. "It's my job to think the way Dark wizards do, Karkaroff- as you ought to remember..."
"Alastor!" said Dumbledore warningly. Kakashi could only assume that this was the name of the one-legged old wizard. Moody fell silent, but it was obvious by his smug look and the burning in Karkaroff's face who exactly had one this confrontation.
"And what does Professor Namikaze think?" Moody tentatively continued. "We've heard extensively from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, but what does Konoha think?"
Apparently the others in the room were interested in hearing this and turned their attention to the two shinobi in the room. Kakashi looked up at his teacher and Minato shifted on his feet a little from the attention he suddenly found put on himself.
"It seems that..." Minato began carefully, "either Harry put his name into the Goblet of Fire, meaning that he was able to confuse, if Professor Moody is correct, a very powerful magical object. In that case, I think that he'd be more than qualified to participate in the Tournament. However, if someone put Harry's name into the Goblet themselves... I think that we should show a bit more caution in the upcoming months. There is someone dangerous who is going unnoticed in our presence...
"But either way though..." Minato looked at the pale Harry Potter, "it looks like we don't have much of choice, do we? In the case of fairness, I'm sure that my student will do just fine despite the extra contestant. I just hope that this isn't something anyone will actually die for."
"Well said, Professor Minato," said Dumbledore. "I could not have worded it better myself. Seeing that both Cedric and Harry have been chosen to compete in the Tournament, they must do so..."
"Ah, but Dumbly-dorr-"
"My dear Madame Maxime, if you have an alternative, I would be delighted to hear it."
Dumbledore waited, but Madame Maxime did not speak, she merely glared. She wasn't the only one either. Snape looked furious, Karkaroff livid; Bagman, however, looked rather excited.
"Well, shall we crack on, then?" he said, rubbing his hands together and smiling around the room. "Got to give our champions their instructions, haven't we? Barty, want to do the honors?"
Mr. Crouch seemed to come out of a deep reverie.
"Yes," he said," instructions. Yes... the first task..."
"The first task is designed to test your daring," he told Harry, Cedric, Fleur, Viktor, and Kakashi, "so we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard... very important...
"The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges.
"The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament. The champions will face the first challenge armed only with their wands. They will receive information about the second task when the first is over. Owing to the demanding and time-consuming nature of the tournament, the champions are exempted from end-of-year tests."
Mr. Crouch turned to look at Dumbledore.
"I think that's all, is it, Albus?"
"I think so," said Dumbledore, who was looking at Mr. Crouch with mild concern. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"
"No, Dumbledore, I must get back to the Ministry," said Mr. Crouch. "It is a very busy, very difficult time at the moment... I've left young Weatherby in charge... Very enthusiastic... a little overenthusiastic, if truth be told..."
"You'll come and have a drink before you go, at least?" said Dumbledore.
"Come on, Barty, I'm staying!" said Bagman brightly. It's all happening at Hogwarts now, you know, much more exciting here than at the office!"
"I think not, Ludo," said Crouch with a touch of his old impatience.
"Professor Karkaroff- Madame Maxime- a nightcap?" said Dumbledore.
But Madame Maxime had already put her arm around Fleur's shoulders and was leading her swiftly out of the room. The two of them could be heard speaking in very fast French as they went back to the Great Hall. Karkaroff beckoned to Krum, and they, too, exited, though in silence.
"I'll see in class, Harry," Minato told Harry kindly. The boy simply gave the two of them a jerky nod and both Minato and Kakashi followed after the others.
The two of them walked in silence towards their shared sleeping quarters. There was a lot to discuss and plan for the upcoming Tournament. Not for the sake of Konoha's reputation in this strange foreign land, however, but for the sake of one young boy who seemed to need their help more than they had originally thought.