It took several twists and turns of the maze before Harry came across the first sign of the other competitors. While the maze walls shook and moved around about every ten minutes, it appeared they only had a few configurations.
The burnt and scorched grass ran for several metres down a path. Clearly somebody fought something in this corridor, and probably then proceeded down it.
Harry sprinted along, confident the way forward was cleared by the person in front of him. He occasionally cast the Point Me spell, which tugged his wand north, and took the turns that headed towards where he felt the centre of the maze lay. He was assuming the other contestants would follow a similar plan, but it didn't really matter.
If he could get to the centre first, he could wait there for the others, and stop them from touching the cup.
Suddenly he turned a corner and nearly crashed into a glowing, see-through wall of light. Sliding to a stop he considered going back to a previous turn, but then he noticed the ground at the base of the wall looked churned up, as if it was recently disturbed. It was the same on the other side. It looked similar to the garden beds at the Dursleys after he dug in mulch and manure.
Understanding flooded Harry and he quickly started casting digging spells he learned during Herbology lessons the previous year. The looseness of the ground helped, and he soon excavated enough to make a shallow trench under the glowing ward.
Wasting no time, he crawled under the wall, being careful not to touch it. A fold of his cloak did briefly connect though, and instantly disintegrated.
Sweating as much from nerves as effort, Harry shimmied under the rest of the wall and out the other side. He didn't bother filing in the hole, like the previous person did, figuring anybody coming along behind was welcome to the short cut.
A moment later the hedge on either side shimmered, as if a breeze was rushing through. He could hear movement all around him, despite the noise suppression spells that kept sound from travelling far, and the walls suddenly flexed threateningly around him.
When the movement stopped a second later, the layout was different. Cursing at the inconvenience, but happy the change did not occur while he was under the magical barrier, Harry cast his Point Me spell and chose the path closest to the direction he needed to take.
Further down the new path he found more burn marks, and a strangely frozen small tree. It was encased in ice, and creaked loudly. With a start he realised it was a small Whomping Willow, and it was breaking out of its cold prison!
Harry rushed past; sure he was on the path of a contestant.
Time passed in a blur of twists and turns. Here and there he came across more signs of the others in the form of disarmed traps, and he could tell he was getting closer to the centre where the cup waited.
Passive traps and barriers like ward walls and huge mud pits gave way to more dangerous obstacles such as flying spears and spike-lined pitfalls. Harry never missed his specially charmed robes more than when a burst of flame burnt through a sleeve to scorch his arm painfully.
Even with all of the practice and training of the last few months, and with some of the path already cleared, it was still hard going.
As he jogged forward, a faint wailing sound, completely out of character for the maze, began to make itself heard. Stopping to listen, he realised it was weak crying, like somebody in pain.
He sprinted forward, dashing around the corner to find Fleur laying face down on the ground. Her robes were tattered and bloody, and mud and dirt made the girl almost invisible on the churned up path.
"Fleur!" called Harry, bending down to roll her over.
She was barely conscious, with bruises and welts covering her face, and half of her hair burnt away, again. She stopped crying and groaned loudly as Harry rolled her over. Her arms flayed out, as if she was trying to escape but didn't have the energy to move anymore.
"Hold on," Harry said, digging into his robes for one of the Portkeys. "I'll get you out of here."
Fleur moaned again and let her head loll to the side. Harry grabbed the stone and was about to activate it, but stopped, looking at the tormented girl. He leaned over and grabbed her face between his hands, calling her name and trying to revive her.
Her eyes fluttered and eventually opened. They were glazed and unfocussed.
"Fleur, we got him," said Harry. "We caught the man who murdered Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle?" mumbled Fleur.
Then her eyes rolled back in her head and she lost the battle to stay conscious.
He gently placed the stone on her chest and touched his wand to it. Light immediately enveloped her, and then she suddenly shrank, as if being dragged into the distance.
Harry stood up, and came face to face with the creature that caused Fleur's injuries.
The Blast-ended Skrewt was considerably larger than the last time Harry saw it during one of his visits to Hagrid. With armoured chitin shell, and huge scorpion-like pincers, it was half a ton of nightmare, and it was coming straight for him.
He had no time to think of a plan, he knew running wasn't an option, not when the creature could shoot forward on a blast of flame like a rocket ship. Not many of the spells he knew would penetrate that armoured hide either, making killing it a huge, if not impossible, job.
The levitation spell was the safest way to overcome it, if a person was powerful enough to lift such a huge beast, but Harry panicked and didn't even try.
"Imperio!" he cast, waving his wand wildly in its direction.
Immediately he was involved in a battle of a different sort.
The simple but fierce mind of the Skrewt was nothing like that of the creatures he practiced on. Angry dogs had nothing on the sheer rage of the monster. It hated him, just for existing, with a passion greater than anything Harry imagined the ugly brute was capable of.
He clamped down on the rising tidal wave of the beast's anger, then mentally dug his heels in and fought to control it. It fought back, mindlessly and with great fervour, but Harry had too much to lose to give in. The stubbornness that sustained him since the start of the tournament rose to the fore, fortifying his will against the pure hate of the Skrewt, bracing him as he threw everything he was into the battle.
Slowly he gained the upper hand, forcing his mind and magic into the fight, holding nothing back.
Slowly the beast gave ground, its anger starting to dim in the light of Harry's determination.
Slowly he took over the Skrewt, bending it to his will, mastering it.
With a last brutal heave, he completely dominated it.
Opening eyes he did not remember closing, Harry was treated to the unfortunate sight of a close up view of one of the most horrid creatures ever to grace Hogwarts. It stood, pincers raised ready to strike him down, not two feet away. Obviously it had managed to keep moving forward during their struggle, and would only have needed a second more to have cut him to pieces.
Harry yelped and slid backwards, almost losing control as the shock distracted him. The Skrewt raised it pincers higher, but stopped as Harry reasserted his control. Mentally, he ordered it to walk backwards and lower its deadly claws, giving him some breathing space to contemplate what to do now.
Originally he acted on instinct, casting the most powerful spell he knew, and it probably saved his life, since very little else could have stopped the Skrewt as effectively. A rush of pride in his accomplishment filled Harry. It had, after all, apparently overcome the Beauxbatons champion without suffering any visible damage, but he had beaten it with one spell.
Then again, maybe that's why it was so angry. Maybe Fleur did hurt it, before it finally got her.
Now Harry had the tiger by the tail, and wondered what to do with it. The answer was so obvious he didn't see it at first. Standing stupidly as the seconds ticked away, he considered sending it into one of the many traps he had passed so far. Hopefully one would incapacitate it. The danger was that the Skrewt would simply waltz through the trap and then come back looking for him.
That was when the answer finally came to him.
It could lead the way, springing and disabling any traps and driving away any other creatures. It was hard to imagine anything else in Hagrid's menagerie that could challenge the armoured behemoth. With the Skrewt leading him, he could easily catch up with any other champions.
Grinning stupidly, Harry ordered the Skrewt to turn around, then realised the danger of walking behind a creature that could rival a Dragon's breath with emissions from its behind. He had little choice, since it was almost as wide as most of the corridors of the maze, and climbing up onto the scaly back was not an option.
Ordering the Skrewt forward, he took a position as far back as practical. There might be a hiccup or two, but Harry was fairly certain that the race to the centre of the maze just got a whole lot easier for him.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry cursed himself for his stupidity.
His Skrewt trail breaker was working better than he hoped, many creatures scrambling out of the way as soon as they caught sight of the rumbling mass loping towards them. Most of the traps and tricks shattered as soon as they came in contact with the creature, barely gaining its attention for more than a second or two. Even deep pits crumbled when the weight of the Skrewt stood on one of their sides, and its scrambling to get out the other side dug long ramps that Harry could easily climb up.
The only problem was that it was still taking too long. Without the assistance of furnace-hot blasts from its rear end, the Skrewt was actually quite slow. It was not build for long distance travel at any pace above walking speed, and the maze was proving quite difficult to navigate. He knew he had half circumnavigated the maze so far, but had still not seen any of the others.
The sight of his monstrous companion blundering into a corner and tearing a large chunk of foliage out, started Harry's self-berating. There was a much quicker way, and he hadn't thought of it until now.
Ignoring the path ahead, Harry ordered the Skrewt to aim directly towards where he thought the centre of the maze lay, and then push its way through the barrier. It was slow going at first, the magical plants proving more resistant that any normal bush should, but then the Skrewt began hacking and slashing with its pincers, using them like giant shrub trimmers.
The hedge immediately started repairing itself, new shoots darting out across the gap and leaves sprouting almost as fast as the Skrewt demolished them.
Harry leapt through the rapidly shrinking hole before it became too small, and fell onto the ground of the path just in time to see his Skrewt plough through the next wall, and then the one after that. It had the hang of it now, and was moving almost as fast as it did without obstructions.
Catching a flash of light out of the corner of his eye, Harry turned to see what caused it, and was thus saved from the majority of the curse's effects.
The bludgeoning hex slammed into him, spinning him around and knocking him down. Harry hit the ground painfully and lost his wand. He tried to roll away, but pain and dizziness made it an impossible task.
Victor Krum's foot came down on Harry's hand as he reached for his wand, pinning it in place.
"You 'af done vell to get this far," said the Bulgarian, in barely understandable English. "But this is vere you stop."
His robes were barely dirty, and showed no signs of damage beyond a torn pocket on one side. Harry figured he wasn't the only one who thought to prepare his robes before the task.
Krum raised his wand.
"Do not vorry," he said, mistaking Harry's look as fear for whatever spell he was going to cast. "I vill not stun and leave you. I shoot sparks into air vith your wand after you sleep."
"Wait," croaked Harry. "It's a trap."
Krum hesitated and Harry pushed on, hoping to convince the older boy.
"Somebody, a Death Eater pretending to be a professor, rigged the cup to explode. It'll destroy everyone in the maze. If you make it to the middle, don't touch the cup. Tell the others."
Krum frowned, and Harry wondered if his English was up to the task of understanding Harry.
"It's true," he said, slowly sliding his other hand into a pocket as he talked. "Fire sparks up, nobody will come."
Krum hesitated and lowered his wand a bit, possibly considering the motive behind Harry's words.
"No," he finally said.
"Please," begged Harry, his hand closing around one of the smooth rocks Dumbledore gave him. "You've got to warn them. Don't touch the cup, just wait for somebody to come and take you to safety."
As Krum raised his wand again, Harry brought out his hand to drop the Portkey into the torn pocket, giving him a push at the same time. Krum swore and grabbed at the rip, but suddenly disappeared in a similar flash to the one that took Fleur earlier. The last Harry saw of Victor's shrinking face was a look of absolute incredulity.
Harry wasted no time. He grabbed his wand and scrambled to his feet, but he was too late. The hole in the hedge had disappeared, leaving him with no shortcut.
Swearing, he set off in a limping trot, heading the same Krum was before they met. Hopefully, the famous seeker was onto something when Harry blundered across his path.
No sooner had made his decision than the wave of change again passed through the maze, moving everything around again.
Swearing even louder and more energetically didn't affect the greenery at all, but it did make Harry feel slightly better.
There had to be a way to get through the maze quicker, a spell that would let him blast through the walls like the Skrewt was probably still doing. He tentatively fired of a few cutting curses, putting more and more power into each successive cast, fuelling them with his growing desperation.
The branches grew back as fast as he could cut them.
He moved onto bludgeoning spells like the one Krum hit him with, and had better success. With a few precise blasts, he made a hole just barley large enough to squeeze through. Fighting through took too long though, and the hedge tangled his already injured foot as he fell out, twisting it painfully.
Cutting his tangled foot out took a long time, and Harry knew he wasn't going to get far this way. Just as he finished, the maze moved again, a new wall springing up directly in front of him.
He swore rather loudly, again, but it had even less affect than last time.
There was another spell, one that was too powerful for Jim to demonstrate, and too unsafe for Harry to practice often, and never indoors.
It was called Fiendfyre.
Ridiculously difficult to control, it summoned the element of pure fire and gave it form. Properly used, it could scythe through the hedges like they were butter, but if he made a mistake, it could just as easily turn on him and reduce his unprotected body to a pile of ashes.
It was the only thing Harry could think of.
Casting the Point Me spell and peering at the stars to make sure he was facing the right direction, Harry paused a moment to gather his concentration. He mentally grabbed his aches and pains, his fear and anxiety, and his uncertainty and worry, and pushed them from his mind, burying them under a layer of calm that he required for control. This was one spell he didn't need a lot of emotion to interfere with, not if he wanted to keep it small. As soon as he felt ready, he raised his wand and prepared to begin the incantation.
The voice startled Harry so badly he nearly dropped his wand.
Cedric stood near a corner, obviously having just rounded it to come upon Harry. He looked a bit worse for wear, with robes as badly beat up as Harry's, but appeared uninjured, if worn out.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
Harry took a second to find his voice.
"Cedric! Thank Merlin," said Harry, rushing forward.
Cedric's wand brought Harry up short.
"That's close enough," said Cedric. "I've already been blindsided once tonight."
"Krum?" asked Harry. "He nearly got me too. Let me guess, he stunned you and left you behind?"
"Petrified," corrected Cedric. "He apologised and fired sparks into the air with my wand, but nobody came. I managed to break the spell, but it took ages."
"Cedric, the maze is a trap. A Death Eater, the same one that killed Gabrielle, filled the cup with Erumpent fluid. If anybody grabs it, it will explode and level the maze, killing us all."
"You're kidding," he said.
"I wish I was. That's why nobody came to collect you; the wards are keeping everybody out. Professor Dumbledore and the others are trying to take them down, but nobody knows how long it is going to take," said Harry, searching his pockets. "He gave me some Portkeys we can use to get out, but we've got to stop Harry, the other Harry. He's the last one."
"What about Viktor and Fleur, and why is the other Harry in here?"
"I've managed to get them both out, and the Death Eater tricked the other Harry into taking my place," Harry answered, digging into his other pockets.
Harry suddenly stopped.
"What's the matter?" asked Cedric, seeing the frozen expression on Harry's face.
Harry slowly withdrew his hand from his pocket. There were only two stones in it. He lost the other ones somewhere, possibly during his tangling in the hedge, and there was no way he could hope to find them now.
"I've only got two Portkeys left," he told Cedric. "And there are three of us."
"That's all right," said Cedric, surprisingly appearing to accept Harry's word for everything. "One Portkey can take more than one person, so long as they are both touching it or holding onto each other. Besides, if worse comes to worse, we can get to Harry, stop him from touching the cup, and then we all just wait it out, right?"
"Right," agreed Harry, trying to sound confident. "That's what we'll do."
Cedric nodded and looked around at the newly reconfigured maze.
"So," the older boy said. "Which way?"
Harry had little practice working as a team, but Cedric proved to be resourceful and skilled. Between the two of them, they managed to bludgeon through the walls of the maze, conjuring bracing to keep the hedges back long enough for them to both to cross through, and surprisingly quickly made their way to the centre. It was only a few walls away from where they met.
Cedric stepped through the final gap first, simply because he was less injured than Harry and was better able to help him through from the front.
The clearing was quite large, and in its exact centre stood a black marble pedestal. On top of it sat the Triwizard cup, filling the clearing with a bright silver glow. It was a magnificent and welcome sight.
"So, do we call it a draw?" asked Cedric, smiling.
"I'd race you to it," laughed Harry, "but if either of us gets there, neither of us wins. I've heard Erumpent fluid tends to leave a mark."
"What do we do now? Just wait?"
"Got a better idea?" asked Harry, starting to slowly limp towards the cup. "Harry will show up, sooner or later, then we can convince him not to touch the cup, and all go home."
"Don't get too close," he warned, when Cedric came up next to him. "Just get somewhere Harry will see you if he gets here, and make sure he doesn't touch it or do anything that might set the Erumpent fluid off. Stun him if you have to, but I don't think it'll come to that. Once he sees me he'll stop, because he thinks I ran away before the task started."
"You are going to have to explain all of this while we wait," said Cedric.
A horrifying roar from the direction of one of the four entrances to the central clearing startled both boys.
"I hope whatever that is doesn't decide to come visit," said Cedric.
"I think I've met him," said Harry. "He took out Fleur before I managed to get control. I had to use the Imperius curse."
Cedric looked startled at Harry's casual mention of the unforgivable.
"Trust me," said Harry. "It's the only reason I am here now."
"That's pretty Dark," said Cedric. "But I can understand it, so long as it wasn't on a person."
"Don't worry," said Harry. "I have no intention of going through all of this just to end up in jail. Hey, I was about to use Fiendfyre when you stumbled onto me. I was going to burn my way through to the centre. That's a fairly Dark spell too, but doesn't involve any laws I know of."
"That," said an unexpected voice from the empty space to their left, "is possibly the most suicidal idea I've ever heard. Brilliant, but suicidal."
Both boys turned to see the real Harry Potter suddenly shimmer into view. He was obviously able to cast the Invisibility spell Golem-Harry and Hermione failed to get working.
"Harry," said Cedric in relief.
"Harry," said Golem-Harry at the same time.
"Harry, Cedric," said Real-Harry. "That's going to get real confusing, real fast."
"Well don't even think about calling me Garry," said Golem-Harry, getting a confused look from both of the other boys in return.
Real-Harry looked almost as good as Krum, his robes having survived everything the maze threw at him with barely any damage. His hair was messed up, and some dirt smeared his face, but he looked well.
"The cup-" began Golem-Harry.
"I heard," said Real-Harry. "I was right behind you as you came through the last wall, but I wasn't sure it wasn't some sort of trick."
"Moody was a Death Eater," said Golem-Harry.
Cedric looked shocked.
"Knew he was hiding something," said Real-Harry. "So how do we get out of here?"
"I've got Portkeys," said Harry, reaching into his pocket for the final Portkey.
Cedric already had the other one and beat Harry to the draw, holding out his stone for Real-Harry to see.
"Everybody grab on and let's get out of here," the older Hufflepuff boy said.
Before either Harry could do it, a loud roar erupted from one of openings, and a Skrewt lumbered into the clearing. All three boys spun and pointed their wands the creature, temporarily forgetting the Portkey.
"Wingardium Leviosa," they all shouted at the same time.
The Skrewt let out an undignified squeak as it was heaved up into the air and span around wildly. Unfortunately, its automatic reaction was to let rip with a tremendous blast of fire from its nether regions.
Fire belched from the Skrewt's back end, bathing the clearing in flame and overpowering the levitations spells. The boys threw themselves to the ground out of the way, cowering under the superheated blast of flame shooting overhead.
The Skrewt rocketed into a wall and bounced off, rolling to where the boys lay. Real-Harry leapt to his feet and fired off a spell, but it deflected off the Skrewt's armour without slowing it at all. Cedric scrambled to get away, but was caught in the continuing blast of fire pouring from the rolling beast.
He screamed as the flame touched him, and then suddenly disappeared in a muted flash of light.
Golem-Harry raised his wand and managed to hit the underside of the Skrewt with a blasting curse. The less armoured side of the beast wasn't able to deflect the spell as well as the upper side. It let out a definite grunt of pain and stopped rolling, teetering on its side legs.
Real-Harry fire off another barrage, trying to push the thing onto its back, but the Skrewt managed to get its legs under it and righted itself.
"Move," yelled Real-Harry, dashing to the side of the Skrewt so that they were separated.
Golem-Harry scrambled to his feet painfully, just in time for one of the huge pincers to slam into him. He felt at least two of his ribs crack and his arm went numb from the blow, but at least the open side of the sharp claws didn't catch him.
Head spinning and almost completely out of breath, Harry fought off the blackness of unconsciousness to watch the real Harry Potter enter into battle.
If he was ever in any doubt about the tales of the boy's skill and power, there was now no way he could refute any claims.
Real-Harry ducked and darted, avoiding pincers and rocket powered charges by the enraged beast. An almost continuous stream of spells flew from his wand, even as he moved. Most of his spells had no effect, but every now and then one would dig deep into a joint or weak spot of the creature, eliciting a bellow of pain.
Slowly but surely, Harry potter was wearing the Skrewt down, all by himself.
Watching the amazing display of skill, Golem-Harry began to believe that Real-Harry was going to win, but then a second Skrewt suddenly rushed into the arena.
He had no time to shout a warning.
The second Skrewt dashed in at rocket speed and clamped Real-Harry in its claws. Caught by surprise, Real-Harry screamed as the pincers crushed him. They couldn't cut through the magically enhance robes, but that wouldn't matter if he was squeezed to death.
Golem-Harry did the only thing he could think of; he summoned the Fiendfyre.
A massive burst of volcanic flame burst from his wand, growing larger with every passing second. Harry threw it towards the Skrewt crushing Real-Harry, roughly aiming for the base of the pincer holding him.
The flame mutated into a rolling wave, changing shape as it flowed onwards. Ethereal shapes took form in the leading edge, Dragons and unicorns forming and fading away before the flame struck.
Despite being made particularly fireproof, the magical fire cut cleanly through the pincer and continued on, passing through the front of the Skrewt without slowing, killing it instantly.
Real-Harry fell to the floor, no longer screaming, and likely unconscious.
Then Golem-Harry lost control of the spell.
The flame turned back on iself, again slicing through the corpse of the Skrewt it had already slain and spreading out to twice its original size. The second Skrewt dashed away, only catching the very edge of the expanding wave of fire. The force of the magic lifted it into the air again, tossing it over like a leaf in a breeze.
Golem-Harry tried to stand, but his injured leg throbbed and refused to take his weight.
The fire rolled onwards.
He got his hands and one good leg under him and half crawled, half leapt out of the way. The heat burnt his leg as it passed by, and the ground under him ruptured in a fountain of dirt, sending him flying into the air, just as it had the Skrewt.
Harry landed painfully on his wand arm, and clearly heard the unnaturally loud snap of his wand as it buried itself into the ground, still gripped in his hand.
The fire hit the wall of the maze, but didn't continue through. It almost seemed alive as it writhed against the hedges, setting them alight in bursts of light and small explosions of sap, then it rolled off the now black, partially destroyed wall and picked up speed.
Heading directly for where unconscious Harry lay, still caught in the grip of the decapitated pincer.
Golem-Harry couldn't do anything, not without a wand. Real-Harry was going to die, killed by the very flame Golem-Harry cast to try to save him.
He couldn't let it happen.
With a below, Harry tore his pocket open, grabbing the last Portkey, and dredged up every ounce of his strength.
"Safety!" he yelled, throwing the stone at the unmoving figure a few metres away.
The stone struck its target scant feet in front of the Fiendfyre, and Harry Potter disappeared in a flash of light.
The Fiendfyre rolled onwards, climbing into the air like it was a rearing horse, then abruptly began folding back down on itself, dimming as it dropped. By the time it reached the ground again, it was nothing more than a dull glow that quickly faded out completely.
Harry sighed in relief, and then noticed movement from the other side of the clearing.
The Surviving Skrewt rolled over, scrambling to get upright on the remainder of its crushed legs. Harry automatically raised his broken wand and tried to cast a bludgeoning curse at the creature before it could make another run at him, if it could, after the enormous damage caused by the Fiendfyre.
A weak spray of sparks fluttered from the shattered holly.
Harry groaned. The pain from his toasted leg was becoming unbearable, and the odd angle of his other foot foretold its inability to carry him anywhere. Desperately still clutching the useless wand, he started dragging himself toward the scant cover of the pedestal holding the explosive filled Triwizard cup.
Another movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention. Scurrying through one of the many holes burnt through the hedge, the enormous spider-shape of an Acromantula distracted Harry from his pain. It paused just inside the clearing, as if surveying the area for likely prey.
Behind it, Harry caught the shape of a Dementor gliding along, possibly drawn to the commotion, or more likely, attracted by his despair. He didn't know there was one of those in the maze, but at least he wasn't feeling the numbing aura of fear, yet.
There was no help coming, no timely rescue by concerned parents and guardians. The real people were safe, whisked away to safety by Dumbledore's Portkeys; the urgent and immediate need to break the wards no longer existed.
The Skrewt bellowed in rage and pain, temporarily gaining the attention of the massive spider and its silent companion. One incredibly painful inch at a time, he continued dragging himself toward the centre of the clearing.
Ever since he started believing the only way he could gain back at least a semblance of dignity and respect was to win the tournament, he had driven himself like never before. The days of non-stop researching, the weeks of forcing himself through physical training bordering on torture, the months of relentlessly practicing spells both powerful and subtle, all came down to this: minutes from death, crawling brokenly towards the feeble protection of the pillar the cup rested on.
Completely out of place, he suddenly caught a whiff of a flowery smell he unconsciously associated with Hermione. Despite the masses of burning material around him, including much of the robes themselves, he again smelled the lavender-like scent. It was oddly comforting, like she was there with him, as she had always been.
The glow of the cup lit the nightmare scene eerily, bathing the monsters in its glorious glow and promise. It was scant feet from him, at chest height, if he was standing up, but just like his hopes and dreams, it was completely out of reach.
Fierce rage exploded in him. There was no way he was going to die on his knees. No overgrown spider or stupid beetle was going to finish his story.
With a titanic effort of will, Harry dragged himself upright, and lurched to his feet unsteadily. Ignoring the tentative steps the spider was taking towards him and the rumbling of the dying Skrewt as it started another pain-maddened charge, Harry shakily stretched out the remains of his wand.
He refused a fate of being shredded by beasts or dissected by the Ministry. He refused to leave this world quietly and forgotten. He was a Triwizard Champion, and they would respect that, if nothing else.
"Accio Cup!" he cast, putting as much effort into the spell as he could.
The Triwizard Tournament trophy flew straight towards his waiting arms. Reaching for it, he smiled -- victorious at last.
The explosion levelled most of the maze and lit up the sky over Hogwarts, bringing a bright false dawn to herald the passing of the thing once called Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived.
Eternal glory indeed.
A/N - Yes, it is complete. It was always planned to end here, something like this. Depressing, I know, but you should have expected it by now, if you are at all familiar with my stories (the twists, mainly).
I will likely post a separate story of the omakes and cut bits, so don't despair if you really hated this ending, there might something there you can use instead.
Blame the guys at AFC for encouraging me to make this bunny into a full-blown fic. Their help was invaluable.
Boy Who Lived and Chosen One are not neccessarily the same person. The prophecy didn't say when the chosen one would be marked, or how, and it might not even be true. Hell, since I never gave you the prophecy for this AU, you don't even know exactly what it says (although it would be silly to change it and not tell you. Silly, and cruel :) )