Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Harry Potter universe - all rights to Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling.
The passages from
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in this fanwork have been used for the sole purpose of enjoyment and the author of the fanwork takes no credit for the words of J.K. Rowling.


Socks, Skrewts, and Spectators

"You sure you know how to do the Impediment Curse?"

"Yes," Harry grumbled. He was staring at his full plate, not having touched his breakfast.

"And Expelliarmus . . . well, no, you've got that one. The Reductor Curse, then?"

"Yes."

"Alright, what about –"

"Hermione!" Ron interrupted my tirade. "You were there when he learned the spells; if anyone would know what he had or hadn't mastered, it'd be you."

I brushed my hair out of my face impatiently, frowning at Ron. "Ron, this is serious. The third task is tonight and if Harry didn't know any one of these spells –"

Ron wasn't the one who interrupted me this time; I was cut off by the arrival of the post owls. I was expecting my usual subscription of the Daily Prophet – and a new article from that Skeeter woman. She hadn't stuck her quill in anyone's business for awhile.

Harry got an owl first, though, drawing my attention to the small, grey bird that held a folded piece of parchment in its miniscule beak. Harry took it and unfolded it before a smile spread across his face.

"What is it?" I asked. I leaned in, not wanting to be overheard. "Is it from Snuffles?"

Instead of answering, he showed Ron and I the unfolded parchment. It was blank but for a single muddy paw print.

I was suddenly nipped on the finger. Whipping around, I noticed for the first time that the owl carrying my morning Prophet was standing in my porridge. The owl flew off as soon as it was free of the paper, showering me in speckles of breakfast. Sighing, I set the paper down to wipe at the spots now dotting my robes in a way that would make people believe I had Spattergroit. I shot a glare at Ron, who was doubled over laughing across the table.

Now moderately free of porridge, I unfolded my paper as I took a drink from my goblet. When I'd caught sight of the headline, however, I nearly choked on my pumpkin juice and spat it out.

HARRY POTTER

"DISTURBED AND DANGEROUS"

"What?" Ron and Harry both asked at the same time. They were staring at me in surprise as I finally regained the ability to breathe.

"Nothing," I said quickly, grabbing at the paper and attempting to shove it out of sight. Ron, however, snatched it away from me before I could put it away. I watched as he scanned the article, eyes growing wider the further he got. "No way. Not today. That old cow."

"What?" said Harry. "Rita Skeeter again?"

"No," said Ron, and he tried to push the paper back to me so I could put it away.

"It's about me, isn't it?" asked Harry. Ron and I exchanged a glance.

"No," Ron said, in an entirely unconvincing tone. Harry opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by the loud voice of Draco Malfoy from the Slytherin table.

"Hey, Potter! Potter! How's your head? You feeling all right? Sure you're not going to go berserk on us?"

Malfoy was waving a copy of the Daily Prophet in the air. The entirety of the Slytherin table was sniggering, trying to gauge Harry's reaction to the article.

"Let me see it," Harry said. "Give it here."

Ron reluctantly slid the newspaper to him. Harry read through the article, face expressionless throughout. I glanced nervously at Ron, not wanting the horrid words of that Skeeter cow to get to Harry before the task.

"Come off me a bit, hasn't she?" said Harry lightly as he handed the paper back to me. I wasted no time stuffing it into my bag, eager to be rid of the thing.

"How did she know about your scar hurting in Divination?" Ron asked, toast halfway to his mouth as his brow knit in confusion. "There's no way she was there, there's no way she could have heard –"

Harry thought a moment. "The window was open. I opened it to breathe."

I sputtered into my pumpkin juice, almost failing to keep it in my mouth again. "You were at the top of the North Tower! Your voice couldn't have carried all the way to the grounds!"

Harry turned to me, letting out an exasperated breath. "Well, you're the one who's supposed to be looking up magical methods of bugging! You tell me how she did it!"

I ran a hand through my hair, feeling thoroughly frazzled. I hadn't had time, what with helping Harry practise for the task and getting the occasional study time in for the upcoming exams. "I've been trying!" I said, thinking of the one time I went to the library to do just that. "But I . . . but . . ."

A sudden thought came to me then, making me forget I had been the one who was speaking. Bugging. A rush of memories flooded my mind then – McGonagall's lesson on Animagi, the impossible circumstances that Rita Skeeter always seemed to breeze over, the ever-present beetle. . . .

I ran a hand through my hair again, thinking on the second task. There had been, as Viktor said, a water beetle in my hair after the ordeal in the lake.

"Are you alright?" said Ron. I turned to look at them slowly, still deep in thought. They were eying me with a mixture of confusion and concern.

"Yes," I breathed, growing surer as I thought on the past year. Running my hand through my hair again, imagining I was swatting the beetle away, I remembered Malfoy's actions from a few days before. Harry had thought he looked as if he was using a walkie-talkie – though of course that was ridiculous. I held my hand to my mouth as Malfoy had done, imagining a small beetle cupped in my hand; it was the perfect means of acquiring information inconspicuously.

Choosing to ignore the glance Ron and Harry shot at each other, I stood up and grabbed my bag, hoisting it over my shoulder as quickly as possible. If I hurried, I could make it to the library before History of Magic. "I've had an idea," I said, gathering the rest of my things in a rush. "I think I know . . . because then no one would be able to see . . . even Moody . . . and she'd have been able to get onto the window ledge . . . but she's not allowed . . . she's definitely not allowed . . . I think we've got her! Just give me two seconds in the library – just to make sure!"

I left them gawking after me at the Gryffindor table as I made a mad dash up the staircases. I already had a list of books that I'd need to look at to prove my theory, and I made a mental note to check the registry for Rita Skeeter's name – though I doubted I would find it.

~*~

"I knew it!" I said loudly, startling the second-year sitting at the same table as me. Madame Pince glared at me from her desk, tapping her mouth with the tip of her wand. I blushed as I gathered the books splayed out on the table in front of me and found their respective places on the shelves. Then, clutching my bag over my shoulder, I walked out of the library.

I glanced at my watch as I hurried down the flights of stairs; I was five minutes late for my History of Magic exam. Cursing, I quickened my pace until I yanked the doors to Professor Binns' classroom.

~*~

By the time the bell rang to signal lunch, I was practically bouncing in my seat. I had kept part of my mind on what I'd discovered in the library all day; though Ron's incessant questioning about it did put me off the subject throughout History of Magic.

Instead of heading down to the Great Hall, I decided to make a detour to the girls' dormitories. I'd had an idea after I'd finished double-checking my Charms exam.

I opened my trunk, rummaging through its contents for several moments before I found what I was looking for: a small, lidded jam jar. I'd used it to keep Crookshanks' treats in – the box they'd come in had been too large, and he had a certain ability to pry boxes open; he had not yet learned to open the jar.

I emptied the jar's contents onto a piece of parchment, hoping Crookshanks didn't choose that moment to saunter into the dormitory. I uttered a spell and poked my wand at the small treat pile, turning it into a sock. I lifted the sock and tentatively took a sniff, drawing back immediately; the sock smelled of cat treats. Sighing, I tossed the sock onto my bed (I'd deal with it later) and made my way down to lunch.

As I walked into the Great Hall, I was surprised to see Mrs. Weasley and Bill sitting with Ron, Harry, Ginny and the twins. They must've come up to watch the tournament and wish Harry luck.

Ron looked up as I reached the table, and I could tell by the look on his face that he was going to begin his interrogation again. "Are you going to tell us –?"

I shook my head in warning, shooting a pointed glance at his mother. He frowned but thankfully dropped the subject.

"Hello, Hermione," Mrs. Weasley greeted me, voice stiff. My thoughts darkened as I thought about the Witch Weekly article.

"Hello," I said, voice quavering a bit as she looked at me. I had hoped that she would have filed the article away by now.

"Mrs. Weasley," Harry said quickly. "You didn't believe that rubbish printed in Witch Weekly,did you? Hermione's not my girlfriend."

"Oh! Well – no, of course not!"

~*~

The afternoon exams went by as quickly as the morning had, if not quicker.

Ron and I had or Defense Against the Dark Arts exams last, so he trudged along with me to the Great Hall. I was pleased to find that, due to the increasing excitement over the third task, he had either given up or forgotten to question me; I guessed the latter.

"D'you know, I think Harry might just win this," he said, nodding vigorously.

"Honestly, Ron," I chided, hitching my bag up so it sat more securely on my shoulder. "The task is dangerous, and have you forgotten about Cedric and Viktor?"

Ron's expression darkened as he scowled. "Vicky is far behind Harry and Diggory. There is no chance that he will win." Glowering at the floor, he nearly walked through the Grey Lady – something she didn't fail to notice; she sent Ron a glare to rival his own as she floated down the hall and out of sight.

I let out a breath of annoyance. Ron really needed to drop this mood he had about Viktor. It was growing old. I ignored his low mutterings as I pulled the doors to the Great Hall open, walking over to sit next to Harry. Ron plopped down across from us, scowling at his empty plate.

Dinner was quieter than lunch had been. I noticed that, once again, Harry had hardly touched his plate. He kept shooting anxious looks at the ceiling, checking the time. As the sky darkened and dinner was swept away (I tried not to grimace at the elves' expense), Dumbledore rose to address the Hall.

"Ladies and gentlemen, in five minutes' time, I will be asking you to make your way to the Quidditch field for the final task of the Triwizard Tournament." He looked at each table in turn. "Will the champions please follow Mr. Bagman down to the stadium now."

I watched, a sudden nervous fluttering in my stomach, as Harry stood up to join Cedric, Fleur and Viktor. I attempted to clap with the rest of the Gryffindor table as he made his way down, but stopped very quickly, feeling sick. I thought back on the night Harry's name had come out of the Goblet of Fire, how absolutely shocked he had looked. I couldn't shake the feeling that the person who had done it hadn't enacted their plan yet. Then again, as Ron and Harry told me, I did dwell on things a bit too much.

When the five minutes had gone by, the Great Hall emptied out through the large double doors, the entire school making its way to the Quidditch field. Ron chattered animatedly with Dean and Seamus about the outcome of the tournament, while Ginny walked beside me, toying idly with the hem of her shirt.

"Honestly, you'd think Harry'd already won the tournament," I said, narrowing my eyes at Ronald.

Ginny followed my gaze to her brother and his excited chattering. "Worried?"

"Yes, of course I am," I sniffed. "But it would seem that I am the only one."

She didn't say anything as we entered the stadium and took our seats in the stands. I looked at what had been, just weeks before, the Quidditch pitch; giant hedges encompassed the grassy stretch of field. From my vantage point, I could not see into the pathways of the maze - only the walls and a small snippet of ground before another hedge took up the view.

There was one entrance at the head of the field, directly in front of my seat. Standing at the entrance where the four champions and Ludo Bagman, who was looking as excited about the task as Ron, if not more so. As I watched, he put his wand to his throat, mouthing a spell that I couldn't hear.

"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 for first place, with eighty-five points each – Mr. Cedric Diggory and Mr. Harry Potter, both of Hogwarts School! In second place, with eighty points – Mr. Viktor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute! And in third place – Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!"

The applause that greeted Bagman's words was deafening. The cheers intensified as he turned to Harry and Cedric, raising a small, silver whistle. "On my whistle, then, Harry and Cedric! Three – two – one – "

The whistle blew; Harry and Cedric dove into the hedges and out of sight. I could see the brush moving as they tore through the maze, and occasionally I could spot Harry as he meandered on. I couldn't see anything particularly nasty in Harry's path, but surely there were things hiding in the hedges. Hagrid had supplied some creatures, after all, and he wasn't about to provide a unicorn or something without fangs. The last Skrewt was probably burning its way through one path.

The whistle blasted again and Viktor entered the maze, taking the same path Cedric had. I watched him until he was out of sight, then turned back to Harry. I panicked for a second before finding him; he still hadn't met up with anything, and I was beginning to worry as the whistle sounded again and Fleur began maneuvering the maze.

There was a sudden disturbance on the path next to Harry's; a flash of fire erupted over the hedges, casting an orange glow that illuminated the stands. Next to me, Ron was craning his neck in an attempt to see the source of the flames. A moment later, however, and everyone knew what had caused the fire – one of Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts. It was enormous, its tail curving over the top of the hedge as it stood up. The armor-like skin glinted in the moonlight as it made for whichever champion had been unfortunate enough to meet it.

Our attention was drawn away from the Skrewt as another light burst through the pathway a little off from it. As I watched, a brilliant white light streaked from one end of the path to the other, vanishing as quickly as it'd come. The light had come from Harry – I was almost positive, having seen it up close, that that had been his Patronus. Surely there weren't dementors in the maze? Even under the circumstances, I couldn't see Dumbledore allowing them on the grounds again.

Several minutes went by; we sat there, with bated breath, watching the flashes of spells and the movements in the maze. Then, quite suddenly, a piercing scream tore through the pitch – a scream that must have come from Fleur. Heads swiveled to try to locate her among the hedges, but we couldn't see her. What had she run into?

After ten minutes, it seemed as if Fleur was no longer in the running. As I began to search for Harry, there was another blast of fire that burst skyward from near the centre of the maze – directly in Harry's path. The gigantic, armored tail of a Skrewt curved over the side of the hedge, stinger glinting fiercely. A bolt of red light ricocheted off the Skrewt's armor, blasting into the wall of the maze. Harry must've tried to stun it; several more jets of bright spells shot toward the Skrewt until it gave an almighty lurch, stopping in its tracks as if frozen. I silently applauded Harry and his Impediment Curse.

Several more minutes went by; I felt so anxious that I had taken up twisting my hands together in my lap, worrying my bottom lip. Suddenly, several tortured yells ripped through the labyrinth, startling me; my teeth slipped on my lip and I tasted blood. I whipped around frantically, searching for the champion who was still screaming in agony.

The screams cut off abruptly, though left an echo that lasted a few moments afterward. As I looked around, a stream of red sparks shot into the air and flared to life like a firework. The staff patrolling the perimeters of the maze moved inward, casting a spell I couldn't hear, allowing them to walk into the thick of the maze toward the source of the sparks. Two returned clutching a stunned Viktor between them, and another carried the trembling Fleur Delacour. They were led to a bench at the foot of the stands, where Fleur sat down shakily and Viktor was propped into a sitting position before being revived. He blinked a few times, brow knitting in confusion as if he didn't understand how he had gotten out of the maze. Glancing at Fleur, he muttered a few words to her – only to have her recoil as if he'd slapped her. This seemed to unnerve him greatly and he turned away with a worried expression on his face.

"What happened?"

I turned to Ginny, whose eyes were narrowed as she stared into the network of hedges. "What d'you mean?"

She shook her head, still scanning through the field. "There were a few spells shot into the air, then nothing. Listen; there isn't anything. No noise at all."

I strained my ears to hear the slightest noise, but there was nothing; the air vibrated with the sudden ringing silence. There wasn't even a rustle of foliage as someone brushed past a hedge, as there had been since the champions entered the maze. I caught sight of the patrolling wizards' sudden tense stances. The odd absence of noise had caught their attention and was bothering them; it was like the remaining two champions were no longer present.

"D'you reckon someone got the cup?" Ron was leaning forward in his seat, eyes wide. "Is that why they've stopped?"

"Surely there would've been a way for us to know if someone had gotten it?" I asked worriedly, not taking my eyes off of the expressions the patrolling staff wore.

Ten minutes went by and still nothing happened. After fifteen minutes, the patrol was conversing at the entrance to the maze with Ludo Bagman and Dumbledore, all wearing sombre expressions. At a nod from Dumbledore, the patrol cast the same spell as before and walked into the hedges. Dumbledore walked over to the bench where Fleur and Viktor were still sitting, Madame Maxime with her large hand on Fleur's shoulder, and began speaking to them. Fleur raised her head and spoke quickly, casting glances over at Viktor, who was listening to her. Then, looking serious, Dumbledore looked to Viktor and spoke to him. Krum shook his head as he answered the headmaster, still wearing a look of utmost confusion. Dumbledore stood, placing a placating hand on Viktor's shoulder as he walked past him to meet up with Moody. They talked quickly, Moody's eye whizzing around in its socket, Dumbledore's expression growing darker as the conversation wore on. When Moody walked off to speak to the now returning patrol, Dumbledore joined him.

"I don't understand," I said, voice hitching in worry. "The patrol would've found Harry and Cedric if they'd been in the maze, and Moody can see through the hedges. Why didn't they bring them out?"

"Maybe they're still competing?" said Ron, voice betraying his thoughts.

"Did you see Dumbledore's face? If this was part of the plan, I highly doubt he'd look so worried."

"You don't think something happened to them, do you?" Ginny asked, looking at me.

I bit my lip, not having an answer. It was very obvious that something had happened. The judges and patrol wouldn't be so riled up if there was nothing wrong. Nearly twenty minutes had gone by since the field had gone quiet.

Suddenly, there was a rush of wind and a thud as something hit the ground full-force. I turned quickly to the entrance of the maze, where a bright glow emanated from the Triwizard Cup clutched in Harry's hand. I let out a breath of relief before taking a closer look; Harry wasn't moving, the hand grasping the Cup tight as if his hand was glued to it, and he was laying across Cedric, who was also still as death.

My hands flew to my mouth in horror. Harry wasn't . . . surely he hadn't . . . I couldn't even bring myself to think it. Next to me, Ron let out a strangled noise and Ginny inhaled sharply. Screams tore through the stands as the onlookers saw the immobile champions lying in the unnatural positions they'd fallen in.

There was a swish of robes as Dumbledore hurried forward, closely followed by the other judges and Cornelius Fudge. Dumbledore kneeled by Harry and grabbed him, turning him over to see his face. His eyes were closed and his robes torn and bloodied, the leg of his trousers unrecognisable and dark with blood. As Dumbledore spoke to him, he slowly opened his eyes, blinking as if somewhere else entirely. I dropped my hands, breathing a little easier now that I knew he was alive.

Harry snatched Dumbledore's wrist and mumbled something to him, letting go of the cup but still gripping Cedric. Fudge ambled over to them, twisting his bowler hat and looking aghast. He said something, and the words were spoken so loud that they were caught by the bottom row of spectatours and passed through the entire stadium.

"He's dead!"

"Cedric Diggory! Dead!"

Screams and cries echoed around the pitch as everyone took in the news and stood from their seats. People began to push inward, trying to move toward Harry and Cedric. Ron, Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Ginny and I were pushed close enough to hear what was being said.

"He'll need to go to the hospital wing!" Fudge was saying. Harry had been helped to his feet by Dumbledore and was swaying dangerously. "He's ill, he's injured – Dumbledore, Diggory's parents, they're here, they're in the stands. . . ."

Mad-Eye was suddenly at Dumbledore's shoulder, one hand on Harry. "I'll take Harry, Dumbledore, I'll take him –"

"No, I would prefer –"

Moody's magical eye swiveled toward the stands. "Dumbledore, Amos Diggory's running . . . he's coming over. . . . Don't you think you should tell him – before he sees – ?"

Dumbledore looked to where Moody's eye was pointed. "Harry, stay here –"

When Dumbledore'd left, Moody put both hands on Harry's shoulders and steered him away. "It's all right, son, I've got you . . . come on . . . hospital wing . . ."

When they'd gone, I turned to Ron. "Should we follow him?"

Mrs. Weasley, whose eyes were filled with tears, sniffed. "He's off to the hospital wing. Let's go sit with him, the poor dear."

We'd hardly turned toward the school, prepared to leave the horrid scene, when Dumbledore streaked past us, robes billowing behind him. Professor McGonagall and Snape followed him, walking briskly toward the castle. I looked at Mrs. Weasley.

"Where are they going?"

She was watching path the headmaster had just taken. "I'm not sure."

Bill placed a shaking hand on his mother's shoulder. "C'mon, mum. Let's go up to the castle."

~*~

"What do you mean we can't see him? Dumbledore said he would be here. Where is he? Is he alright?"

Madam Pomfrey looked at Mrs. Weasley, looking thoroughly hassled by the questions she'd been asking since we'd walked into the hospital wing. Ron, Bill and I stood next to Mrs. Weasley; we occasionally joined in the questioning when Madam Pomfrey grew irritable with her.

We were confused; we'd come in to an infirmary empty of Harry, only to see Madame Pomfrey and Professor Snape levitate an unconscious Moody into one of the beds.

Our harassment was interrupted when the doors to the hospital wing opened. Dumbledore strode in next to Harry, who looked considerably worse for wear.

"Harry! Oh Harry!"

Mrs. Weasley started toward him, but Dumbledore stopped her by standing between her and Harry.

"Molly," he said, looking at her, "please listen to me for a moment. Harry has been through a terrible ordeal tonight. He has just had to relive it for me. What he needs now is sleep, and peace, and quiet. If he would like you all to stay with him, you may do so. But I do not want you questioning him until he is ready to answer, and certainly not this evening."

Mrs. Weasley nodded, looking pale. Then, as if we'd ignored Dumbledore's warning and made noise, she turned to us and hissed, "Did you hear? He needs quiet!"

It was then that I noticed the black dog sitting at Harry's feet. Of course Sirius would want to be with Harry after tonight.

Dumbledore left then to speak to Fudge and Harry was led to a bed by Madam Pomfrey. We followed them, stopping beside the screens that surrounded Harry's bed as he changed into pajamas. When he'd gotten dressed, we sat in the chairs on either side of him; Sirius jumped on Harry's bed and curled up near his feet.

Harry looked up blearily and caught our worried stare. "I'm all right. Just tired."

~*~

"You knew very well the risks of bringing one of them into the room!"

"Honestly, Minerva – there were certain security precautions to be considered! I couldn't very well walk into a room with a madman without some sort of protection!"

"Security precautions? Security precautions? The man was bound and stunned! And now your security precautions got rid of him!"

"They'll wake him up if they don't shut up!" Ron growled, looking at the door.

I glanced between Harry and the door. "What are they shouting about? Nothing else can have happened, can it?"

Mrs. Weasley stood from her seat. "That's Fudge's voice," she whispered. "And that's Minerva McGonagall's, isn't it? But what are they arguing about?"

It sounded as if they were running toward the hospital wing; the voices of Professor McGonagall and Fudge were growing louder as they shouted at one another.

"Regrettable, but all the same, Minerva –"

"You should never have brought it inside the castle!" yelled Professor McGonagall, sounding livid. "When Dumbledore finds out –"

The doors burst open; Fudge walked in, a furious McGonagall and Snape were at his heels. When Fudge noticed our group gathered around the bed that was obviously Harry's, he turned to Mrs. Weasley.

"Where's Dumbledore?" he demanded.

"He's not here," she answered angrily, glaring at Fudge. "This is a hospital wing, Minister, don't you think you'd do better to –"

Dumbledore opened the door then, cutting off Mrs. Weasley's words.

"What happened?" he asked sharply. "Why are you disturbing these people? Minerva, I'm surprised at you – I asked you to stand guard over Barty Crouch –"

"There is no need to stand guard over him anymore, Dumbledore!" she shrieked. "The Minister has seen to that!"

As the argument continued, I tried desperately to find out what had happened. It was incredibly difficult, especially when I was missing so many pieces of this puzzle.

"When Harry touched the Triwizard Cup tonight, he was transported straight to Voldemort," said Dumbledore. "He witnessed Lord Voldemort's rebirth. I will explain it all to you if you will step up to my office. I'm afraid I cannot permit you to question Harry tonight."

I clutched at the bedclothes without looking at them. You-Know-Who was back? And Harry had seen it all? I smothered the sob that threatened to escape.

"You are – er – prepared to take Harry's word on this, are you, Dumbledore?"

Sirius sat up on the end of the bed, growling at Fudge as Dumbledore spoke again. Fudge eyed Sirius anxiously while Dumbledore talked, though kept a strange smile on his face.

"You are prepared to believe that You-Know-Who has returned, on the word of a lunatic murderer, and a boy who . . . well . . ."

"You've been reading Rita Skeeter, Mr. Fudge."

We all jumped at Harry's voice. We hadn't realised that he was awake and listening. We listened to Fudge and Dumbledore as they talked, and as the heated argument wore on, my opinion of the Minister changed dramatically. I'd never been in his presence as often as Harry, but I had always thought he seemed the cheery, good-natured type.

After Fudge had left, tossing Harry's winnings onto his bedside table, Bill went soon after, closely followed by the other teachers, Sirius, and Dumbledore. When they'd gone, Harry fell back against his pillows, sighing. We sat looking at him for a few moments, no one speaking.

Mrs. Weasley broke the silence by urging Harry to take the rest of his potion. They spoke to each other quietly, and I walked over to the window, feeling like I was intruding on something. I looked out, feeling the breeze ruffle my hair, trying to organize my thoughts. It was then, while thinking on the day's events, that I looked down at the sill and spotted a fat beetle.

I stood staring at the insect, mouth open slightly, as it perched on the sill. Then, without thinking about it, I smacked my hand over the bug, sliding my hand until I caught it in my waiting palm, clamping my other hand over it tightly.

Harry, Ron, and Mrs. Weasley were looking at me, surprised. "Sorry," I said quietly, hand on the trapped beetle.

~*~

I hurried up the staircase, beetle still in hand. I'd left the hospital wing as soon as Harry had fallen asleep, bidding Mrs. Weasley goodnight.

I told the Fat Lady the password breathlessly, struggling somewhat to maintain my hold on the now furious insect. I climbed through the portrait hole and dashed up the staircase to the girls' dormitories, stopping at my discarded schoolbag.

I dug into my bag until I found the empty jam jar, having trouble opening the lid with one hand. Finally, I managed to pop the lid off – just as the beetle bit my hand.

I yelped, dropping the bug into the jar like a hot coal, smashing the lid on the top before it could fly out. I drew out my wand and pointed at the jar, casting a quick Unbreakable Charm on the jar – didn't want her changing back to break the glass, did we?

I smiled slightly, rubbing the bite on my palm. It was then that I noticed Crookshanks, who was sitting on my bed. His face looked strange and, frowning, I walked over to have a closer look.

His head was stuck inside a sock – the sock that, just that morning, had been his cat treats.

~*~

Author's Note - This is by far the longest one-shot I've ever written.

I feel I need to explain my choice to give the spectatours such limited visibility. You see, when I was reading through the fourth book, I realised something. During the third task, Harry casts his Patronus to ward off the "dementor" (boggart). Yet, in the Hog's Head during the scene in Order of the Phoenix when they're organising the D.A. and talking about the things Harry's done, his Patronus is brought up and they're all surprised that he can cast one. Now, why would they be surprised if they'd seen it the year before? S'my assumption (excuse), anyway.