After the weighing of the wands ceremony...

..and dragging Harry into greater prominence. Then she insisted on separate shots of all the champions. At last, the were free to go. That was, until Dumbledore called Harry back. "Harry," he started, after he'd turned around, "Sirius is waiting for you outside, shall I send him in?" but it was less of a question, and more Dumbledore telling him what was going to happen. Harry nodded, and Dumbledore left.

When Sirius entered he looked more worried than Harry could remember. "Sirius, what's wrong? Why are you here? I told you I didn't enter, so don't yell at me."

"No, Harry, that's not why I'm here." Sirius furrowed his brow. "Listen, Harry-"

"Because seriously, I've had a crap week. Ron isn't talking to me and Cedric; no one believes I didn't enter the tournament; people sneer at me walking down the hall...That horrible Skeeter woman just harassed me."

"Those are the least of your problems, Harry!" Karkaroff, Harry, he was a Death Eater. He was caught, he was in Azkaban, but he got released. I'd bet everything that's why Dumbledore wanted an Auror at Hogwarts this year - to keep an eye on him. Moody caught Karkaroff. Put him in Azkaban to begin with.

"Karkaroff got released?" Harry said slowly - his brain seem to be struggling to absorb yet another piece of information. "Why did they release him?"

"He did a deal with the Ministry of Magic." Sirius paused and wrapped his arms around Harry. "Harry, he's a dangerous man. He cannot be trusted. This entire situation smells fishy, and I don't want you in even more trouble than you are now."

Harry shook his head, "Sirius, I've told you this before! I don't go looking for trouble, it just finds me." After Sirius released him, he added, "It's not like I could do anything about Karkaroff anyway, he's a judge! And as much as I didn't want any part of this, I don't want to lose."

Sirius sighed, and shook his head. "Please just concentrate on not getting too bloodied up. I don't think I can take much more of you going to this bloody school!"

Harry smiled. "Would you rather I be home schooled and be up your arse, twenty-four seven?"

"Alright, so I take that back," Sirius checked his watch, "Well, I have to go, I've got to transport a bike; but, promise me something! Promise me you'll be careful. If you insist on your usual antics, have someone with you. And the map. And the cloak." Sirius frowned and grabbed him into another tight hug. "These tasks were built against you, Harry. Don't take them lightly. I know you hate it, but do as much research as you can."

"Promise," Harry said, grimacing. Harry hated making promises to Sirius, he always ended up breaking them. "Hermione's still talking to me, so I know she'll help. And Cedric's always up for a trip to the library...but I don't think that any amount of research is going to make me ready for this, Padfoot."

"Don't worry, Pup, I'm sure you'll find something out. You've got the top boy and girl in your year helping you out."

"I think my problem is that I don't have anything to take my mind off of all this. I've always had Quidditch to take my mind off things, but, with the Triwizard Tournament, they've canceled it."

Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Do you want me to send you your sketching supplies? That always cheers you up in the summer, when you need something to do."

Harry contemplated, "Actually, Padfoot, I think that will help."

Only one couple were still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatix's jet of red light: He was laughing at her. "Come on, you can do better than that!" he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room.

The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.

The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his yes widened in shock.

Harry released Neville, though he was unaware of doing so. He was jumping down the steps again, pulling out his wand, as Dumbledore turned to the dais too.

Harry was oblivious to all of his surroundings. He didn't see or hear anything that wasn't Sirius falling into the ragged veil hanging from the arch.

He didn't hear the spell Cedric shot towards Sirius. It was like a giant hand had erupted from Cedric's wand, reaching out to grab Sirius, just as the fringe of his hair broke into the calmness of the veil.

It was only when he made sure Sirius was safe, unconscious, but safe in Remus's care, that Harry shot after Bellatix, breaking free of Cedric's steady grip.


They were in the hospital wing. Harry was sitting next to Cedric on his bed and they were both listening to Hermione read the front page of the Sunday Prophet. Ginny, whose ankle had been mended in a trice by Madam Pomfry, was curled up at the foot of Hermione's bed; Neville, whose nose had likewise been returned to normal size and shape, was in a chair between two beds; and Luna, who had dropped in to visit clutching the latest edition of The Quibbler, was reading the magazine upside down and apparently not taking in a word Hermione was saying.

"He's 'the Boy Who Lived' again now, though, isn't he?" said Ron darkly, from his spot in his own bed. "Not such a show-off maniac anymore, eh?"

Cedric sighed, bumped Harry's shoulder with his own. Harry discreetly pushed his three middle fingers into Cedric's wide palm and smirked at Ron's dark humor. They had decided to keep what ever this thing that was between them just that, between them. Though, they had had a slight argument about that after Cho cornered Harry after the last DA meeting before Christmas.

The only reason the argument had been slight was the fact that neither of them wanted to label the...relationship.

Harry grinned widely and put himself back into the conversation passing him by.

It wasn't until he's gotten home, that he was able to see Sirius again. Tonks, Remus, and Moody had picked him up at the train-station, for extra protection.

"Harry, how's Cedric? Ron? Hermione?" were Sirius's first words. He looked pale, tired in ways Harry could never remember him looking.

"They're all fine. Ron's got permanent scaring, so does Hermione. Cedric's hand has been properly aged. He's kind of happy about it really, as he doesn't have that scar from first year, anymore."

"Good." Sirius turned back to the window he'd been facing when Harry had entered the room.

"Sirius, what was that archway? It-I could hear voices coming from it. And Cedric-He reacted as though you wouldn't just fall through to the other side..."

Sirius looked over his shoulder to where Harry stood. "It's death. They use to execute people in that room. Cedric saved my life."

Harry blinked rapidly. "But-But, it's just an archway. You-" Harry realized why Sirius looked so pale. "That's why you're sick, isn't it? You didn't fall in, but the magic still touched you."

Sirius nodded, grimacing. "It seems to have sucked some life from me. Haven't even been able to work on the bike recently commissioned." Sirius paused for a moment. "Moony said you and Cedric looked pained to leave each other." Sirius smirked, mirth filling his eyes, "Now, why would that be?"

Harry blushed fiercely and looked to the wall, spotting a picture of the Weasleys from the Quidditch World Cup. "I've no idea what you could possibly be talking about."

"So, it wasn't Cedric you were talking about in your letters?"

"So, you'll be better soon?"

Sirius grinned widely, "Yeah, I'll be better soon, just a week or two of rest and I'll be back to bouncy, ageless self."

A/N: so, hope ya'll are enjoying this! the next (and last) part will be up soon. (just as soon as i decide what to do with HBP). :)