Note: There was some confusion about the timeline, so for the record, the first chapter was the end of third year, the second chapter was during Christmas Break of fifth year, and this is fourth year. Yeah, I know they aren't going in order, but it's more like these are separate occasions where they should have used simple logic.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
"Harry Potter!" Dumbledore called again. "Harry! Up here, if you please!"
"Go on," Hermione whispered, giving Harry a slight push.
"There is no way I'm dealing with this by myself," Harry whispered back, grabbing her arm. "And besides, I really don't know much about wizarding law or about the Triwizard Tournament."
"But...they only called you!" Hermione protested as he started to drag her up with him.
"Hey, I'm a minor; I think I'm allowed an attorney."
"I'm a minor, too!" she pointed out.
"And I'm willing to bet you're at least smarter than Bagman," Harry assured her.
"Miss Granger, what are you going up here?" Dumbledore asked.
"Apparently I'm Harry's legal representation," she answered with a wry smile.
"I see…Well, through the door then," said Dumbledore, frowning a little.
Once they passed through, they saw the other champions gathered around the fire. Fleur saw them first, and asked," What is it? Do zey want us back in ze hall? And why do zey need to send two mezzengers?"
"We're not messengers," Harry explained. "I'm a victim of fraud and she's the only other sane person I know."
Fleur just looked confused by that statement, especially when Ludo Bagman burst into the room and proclaimed that Harry was a champion as well. She made a few cursory protests but was cut off by the arrival of everyone who could have anything relevant to add and Professor Snape. Because as he wasn't a judge or the head of Harry's house, there was really no reason for him to be there.
"Madame Maxine!" Fleur complained. "Zey are saying zat zis little boy is to compete also!"
"First of all, only Mr. Bagman said it, so that's hardly a 'they'," Harry said, annoyed. "Secondly, I'm not competing. And thirdly, I'm only three years younger than you, that hardly makes me a 'little boy'."
"But you are smaller zan me," Fleur explained.
"So anyone shorter than you is automatically a little boy? You know, there are plenty of people who are just naturally short and find your discrimination appalling. Besides, I'm pretty sure I'm only this short because my guardians refused to feed me for days at a time and locked me in the cupboard under the stairs on a regular basis?" Harry turned to Dumbledore. "Is it really any wonder I wanted to go live with an escaped alleged mass-murderer?"
"There was nothing alleged about it!" Mr. Crouch snapped.
"Until there's a trial, the charges are alleged," Hermione pointed out.
"There were witnesses!" Crouch protested.
"You know, they really would have come in handy at his TRIAL," Harry said pointedly. "Besides, Sirius and Pettigrew are both wizards, the witnesses were Muggles. Don't you think it's possible they could have been confused about what they saw?"
"I…That's not the point! We're here to discuss your entering yourself into the Triwizard Tournament!" Crouch deflected.
"Who says I entered myself into the tournament?" Harry asked.
"Well, who else would have?" Crouch asked rhetorically.
Harry stared at him for a long moment. "I'm not going to dignify that with a response."
"Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?" Dumbledore asked calmly.
"No, I didn't," Harry replied. "In fact, I believe that I can have three dozen witnesses attesting to how much I think this tournament is a horrible idea because we can't have Quidditch and how glad I was that I'd not have to risk my life this year because, quite frankly, I'm really getting sick of the Hospital Wing. Why in the world would I enter a competition that KILLS PEOPLE when I don't really need to tempt fate and am not exactly the top of my class."
"Why are you complaining?" Fleur demanded, stamping her foot. "You 'ave a chance to compete, don't you? We 'ave all been 'oping to be chosen for weeks and weeks! Ze honor for our schools! A thousand Galleons inprize money—zis is a chance many would die for!"
"Then let them compete," Harry said shrugging. "Do you know who I am?"
Fleur looked surprised. "But of course."
"Everyone knows who you are," Fleur said, a bit confused.
"And how long have you known who I am?" Harry asked her patiently.
"Almost my 'ole life."
"Hm, okay, I've got 'glory' down, or at least for me. Having Professor Dumbledore as Headmaster pretty much secures glory for the school, plus I go here. As for the prize money…Do you realize how much money my parents left me? I mean, I'm not sure of the exact amount, but I've heard that my parents didn't even need real jobs because of my dad's inheritance. 1000 galleons really doesn't matter to me, and I try not to spend obscene amounts of money anyway because then Ron gets jealous and doesn't speak to me for days."
Snape chuckled darkly. "You claim that you don't seek glory, well then why don't you try explaining your track record for the past three years at this school? Dragon-hatching, going after a stone in a corridor that was forbidden to enter on pain of death, flying a car to school disappearing into the Chamber of Secrets, sneaking into Hogsmeade, chasing after mass-murderers and werewolves…"
Krum and Fleur looked a little impressed with his track record while Cedric leaned forward. Listening to Harry's explanations was always entertaining.
"Okay, first of all, if Professor Dumbledore had bothered to check that he was actually needed before heading off to London, or maybe Apparated or used or Portkey, then I wouldn't have had to go chasing after Professor Quirrell, and if Hagrid had more sense than to raise a dragon in his house, we wouldn't have needed to smuggle him out of the country—" Harry began hotly.
"And for the record," Hermione quickly interrupted him. "All of this is hearsay, so don't bother trying to charge either of them with anything." Crouch, who had been taking notes, looked disappointed.
"Thank you, Hermione. Now, if Mr. Malfoy hadn't been trying to kill off the muggle-borns of Hogwarts and blaming it on Ginny Weasley then his insane house-elf wouldn't have had to seal the platform and if Hermione was there, I wouldn't have let Ron talk me into taking the car. I mean, really, I was twelve, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they flew the car just fine when they rescued me from my guardians, who had locked me in the bedroom they gave me, put bars on the windows, and served me cold soup twice a day through a slot they put in the door."
"Must you keep brining that up?" Snape asked, annoyed and slightly guilty due to his role in landing Harry there. He REALLY wished Harry would stop bringing up the whole 'child abuse' issue, especially as there was nothing he could do about it.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Harry said sarcastically. "I'll try harder to only be traumatized when it suits your schedule. But anyway, we wouldn't have NEEDED to go to the Chamber by ourselves if Ginny hadn't been missing and we were running out of time. We could have gone to the professors, granted, but with no proof we weren't sure if they would believe us, and they definitely wouldn't have let me come, and I was the only one who could open the Chamber. As for Hogsmeade, well," he shrugged. "I'm a teenager. What did you expect?"
"We expected you to stay in the castle and not go out and risk your life when a murderer was after you!" Snape told him.
"Hey, you guys didn't know that I even knew about Sirius! And I wouldn't have had I not overheard the Weasley's talking about it before I left for Hogwarts and if I hadn't overheard the Minister talking about it when I snuck into Hogsmeade. And I didn't deliberately go chasing after a mass-murderer, the mass-murderer found us in Hagrid's hut and then Sirius came and kidnapped Ron to get Pettigrew and Remus came later. So believe me, this school nearly gets me killed every few weeks, I REALLY don't need to volunteer to go and get myself killed."
Snape just snorted but didn't respond.
"Be…Be that as it may Harry," Dumbledore said delicately. "I'm afraid you have to participate."
"Why?" Harry asked. "I heard this tournament was voluntary, didn't you Hermione?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Completely voluntary. And it was supposed to be anonymous, so if you weren't chosen no one had to know you entered."
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure all the Slytherin's are going to pretend that they never wanted to be part of the tournament anyway now that a Hufflepuff was chosen," Harry looked over at Cedric. "No offence."
"None taken," Cedric assured him. "And with you in the tournament, they'll come out to support me in droves."
"But I'm not in the tournament," Harry reminded him.
"I'm afraid there is no way around it Harry," Dumbledore said gravely. "You have to compete."
"WHY?" Harry asked again.
"Because the Goblet of Fire chose you."
"I insist upon resubmitting the names of the rest of my students," Karkaroff said suddenly. "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."
"Fair?" Harry laughed. "So having five 17-year-olds against a 14-year-old is fair now?"
"You're plenty experienced," Karkaroff waved off his concern.
"You know, I think I should be offended by that comment," Harry remarked idly. "Perhaps I should press charges. I take enough hits to my reputation, I don't need slander, too."
"What?" Karkaroff echoed, confused. "I—No! You know I didn't mean that!"
"I know nothing of the sort," Harry sniffed. "And you should really be more careful when you speak."
"You—!" Karkaroff growled.
"I wouldn't advise threatening me," Harry said blithely. "You're going to be in enough trouble with the Ministry and the Daily Prophet as it is."
"Harry," Dumbledore said gently. "The Goblet of Fire?"
"Ah, right, that," Harry said casually. "Hermione?"
Hermione, who had been staring unabashedly at Viktor, jumped slightly and turned red. "Well, to begin with, it seems that it's important for the potential champions to enter themselves in the competition, right? Otherwise why have them do it whenever they feel like it during a 24-hour-period when they could just give their names to someone specifically appointed to the task, such as Madame Maxine and Professor Karkaroff from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang respectively and perhaps the heads of houses for Hogwarts and then they could submit the students' names that they received. It's much more orderly and would prevent…misunderstandings…like this from happening.
"And why wasn't there someone standing guard over the Goblet of Fire? It was only for a day and the guard could have rotated. Another security measure. And as for all this talk about how Durmstrang and Beauxbatons want another champion, think of it this way, Harry isn't entered under Hogwarts and he's three years younger than the other champions. As such, the age difference is kind of like three fourths years against a first year. Hardly fair, right?"
"Well, perhaps it's not exactly a fair contest, but then he shouldn't have entered his name in the first place!" Karkaroff insisted.
"Didn't Harry already go over this?" Hermione asked with a sigh. "But just to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, let me see that parchment with his name on it." Dumbledore passed it to her and she studied it briefly before exclaiming triumphantly, "There is no way Harry wrote this!"
"How can you tell?" Professor Moody asked, limping into the room and looking a bit disconcerted.
"It's legible," came the simple response.
"Makes sense to me," Snape put in.
"You think someone entered Potter into this tournament?" Moody asked thoughtfully. "Yes, that would make sense…"
"Didn't you once smash a gift you received to pieces because you thought it was a cleverly Basilisk egg?" Karkaroff asked contemptuously.
Moody shrugged. "You can never be too careful."
Hermione stared at him. "You know, I can't believe I'm about to say this, but yes, yes you can. First off, there's no such thing as a Basilisk egg. It's a chicken egg that's hatched beneath a toad. Basilisks don't lay egg. Secondly, the egg of a Basilisk is not fatal. You could have opened it to see whether or not it really was one before destroying it. How do you even confuse a clock for a Basilisk egg in the first place?"
"Yeah, and can't your magic eye see though wrapping paper or boxes or whatever it is the clock came in?" Harry added.
Moody looked distinctly uncomfortable and decided not to answer.
"Hey, I've just thought of something. Because I didn't enter, I'm not obliged to compete. Does that mean that whoever did place my name in there has to do it instead?"
Now Moody looked distinctly uncomfortable.
This time, Dumbledore noticed. "Is there a problem, Alastor?"
"N-No problem at all, Albus," Moody said, fumbling for his flask. Unfortunately for him, his nervousness caused him to drop the flask. And spill it all over Professor Snape's robes.
"Ah! Look what you've done you-" Snape trailed off, sniffing his robes. "Is that…Polyjuice?"
"O-Of course not, why would it be-" Moody trailed off as he started to transform into a young blonde man with a pale, freckled face. "Oops."
"Who the hell are you?" Harry asked.
"Barty Crouch Jr.?" Karkaroff asked in disbelief. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?"
"My Master will rise again!" Crouch Jr. started laughing maniacally.
Snape, who had been looking accusingly at Crouch Sr., finally had the presence of mind to stun the young Death Eater.
"Good work, Severus," Albus said calmly. "Now, let's take him up to my office. You had better come, too," he told Crouch Sr. "I'm sure Amelia Bones and Cornelius will be VERY interested to hear how a supposedly dead prisoner escaped Azkaban."
As they left, Harry called after them, "Does this mean I don't have to compete?"
"And is anyone going to explain what just happened?" Hermione asked.
"I need a drink…" said Professor McGonagall as the three Triwizard champions began pressing her for an explanation as well.
In the Gryffindor Common Room that night
"You should've told us you entered!" bellowed Fred; he looked half-annoyed, half deeply impressed.
"How did you get it without getting a beard? Brilliant!" roared George.
"I didn't," Harry said. "And I'm not even—"
But Angelina had now swooped down upon him; "Oh if it couldn't be me, at least it's a Gryffindor—"
"You'll be able to pay back Diggory for that last Quidditch match!" shrieked Katie Bell.
"Oh honestly!" Hermione huffed. "Even if you refuse to believe me about Quidditch being only a game, at least you should remember that it wasn't Cedric's fault that he didn't notice the Dementors and that he tried to get a rematch but Madam Hooch didn't want to have to referee an extra game if she wasn't going to be paid extra for it."
"We've got food, Harry, come and have some—"
"But-" Harry began.
"Let me handle this," Hermione told him, casting a Sonorous on her throat. "While I'm sure that Harry appreciates the sentiment that is causing everyone to party at the thought of him as a Triwizard champion, I regret to inform you that he is not, in fact, a champion."
"But…his name came out of the Goblet of Fire!" Ron pointed out, emerging from wherever he had been hiding and sulking.
"So?" Harry shrugged, able to be heard now that everyone had quieted down. "I didn't enter, and Hermione, who is seriously, like, the most amazing person ever, got me out of having to compete because of that."
"But…why?" one of the twins asked.
"Because I don't really relish the thought of making a fool of myself and possibly dying in front of the entire school and some foreign students all for fame, which I already have enough of, considering I haven't had to introduce myself in over three years now, and fortune, which I inherited," Harry explained.
"But…Gryffindor!" the other twin protested.
"What about it?" Harry asked. "Do you really want us to be horribly disgraced when I died a horrible painful death in an extremely embarrassing manner going up against a full-grown dragon?"
"Dragons? Is that the first task?" Angelina asked eagerly. "How do you know that, I thought it was supposed to be a secret."
"It was," Hermione affirmed. "But that kind of slipped out when Professor McGonagall was explaining to us how a Death Eater who had infiltrated the school and was impersonating Professor Moody could use the tournament to kill and/or kidnap Harry and try some rather idiotic and far-too-complicated plot to revive You-Know-Who."
Of course, that stared a whole new round of questions.
Roughly Seven Months Later
Cedric eyed the Cup in front of him warily. Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour had taken each other out, leaving him with a clear path to the cup and a very big problem. He remembered what Harry had said earlier when he pulled him aside before the third task.
"Look Cedric, I know that Crouch Jr. was caught early on and so Voldemort" (Harry had rolled his eyes when Cedric flinched) "was left without an ally in this school, but I somehow doubt he's going to give up so easily just because his initial plan failed. He's had seven months to sneak in another agent, possibly even using Polyjuice Potion again. Be careful."
"But I thought he was only after you?" Cedric had asked, confused.
Harry shook his head. "He said that he wanted me in particular, but that any wizard would do. This is as perfect an opportunity now as it was when they thought I would be a contestant."
"How do you know all of this?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"I think I may be some sort of a Seer. Granted, it's very limited and I can only see things about Voldemort and when I'm asleep, but either way, it doesn't hurt to be careful."
Now Cedric had a very serious choice to make. He could ignore Harry, chalking it up to the paranoia that Harry was rumored to have developed (although all things considered, it would be surprising if he hadn't). In fact, so famed was Harry's paranoia that students had labeled Harry Moody's protégé.
On the other hand, Harry could be right. He seriously doubted it, but no one was around to see him make a fool of himself and it was better to be safe than sorry. Feeling a bit silly, Cedric picked up a rock and lightly tossed it at the Cup. It promptly vanished.
I'm not sure what I want to do for the next chapter. I mean, I want to have Harry realize he can contact Sirius via the mirror he gave him at the end of fifth year and NOT go head off to get the Prophecy. I also want to do two soul-bond chapters, one where Hermione explains to Harry that while he may be thrilled at being soul-bonded to Ginny, after the Chamber of Secrets he's only 12 and she's 11 and he may have some difficulty when hormones kick in and the other where Harry comes back in time after Voldemort destroys everything and Hermione explains that while Ginny may have a crush on Harry, it doesn't mean she's prepared to deal with him loving her and wanting to marry her considering they've never really spoken. Those two aren't canon, but I've seen a LOT of fics on those…Oh and I want to do one where Harry gives Hermione a Lockhart intervention…Oh the possibilities…