Beyond the Pale
I said it wasn't abandoned.
Neither Neville nor Luna were entirely sure about how to react to Harry informing them he wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts. Hermione could see how he would find Ispwich to be the better choice, she had already made arrangements to continue her education at Beauxbatons instead of Hogwarts, she claimed that while Hogwarts boasted a grand history and Dumbledore and a record of being the best that Europe can offer, it just simply wasn't true. She preferred Beauxbatons who taught a variety of magics that the Pureblood Reign in England had labelled forbidden simply because they weren't British, not to mention the fact that some of them had been created by so called 'Mudbloods'. But she was getting off topic, she could understand how he would prefer to remain away from Hogwarts which had thus far proven to hold nothing but bad memories for him.
Meg just shrugged and told him that it was his choice, her mother was already planning to continue her Home Education as she wasn't pleased with Hogwarts thus far. Her Divination Skills were on the up and her mother was determined to bring out their family gift in her daughter, one that tended to skip several generations at a time, the power of Foresight.
Neville would definitely be returning to Hogwarts no matter what he had to say on the matter. His Grandmother would not allow him to go anywhere else – Harry felt that the woman was emotionally abusing her Grandson by trying to turn him into a carbon copy of his Father with a vague nod in his mother's general direction. He wasn't sure if he liked Augusta Longbottom all that much, she reminded him too much of an older Petunia.
Luna wasn't sure if she wanted to go back to Hogwarts if so few of her friends were going to be there, she didn't like being on her own and Ravenclaw would be particularly horrid to her now that Harry was no longer there to offer her shelter. As such, she was contemplating joining Hermione in Beauxbatons, her French was passable though she was more comfortable with Swedish.
Hidden away up in the Tower of Harry's room which he had turned into a hide away library for them all, Harry shared out the Diaries that he received for Christmas so that they could keep in contact even at the different schools.
A week after receiving their confirmation letters of acceptance into Ispwich Boys' Academy the Wizengmot gathered and a new Law was passed that made Lily screech in fury, startling the four boys at the table, Dudley ended up knocking his bowl of cereal onto the floor while Charlus and James's hands immediately leapt to their wands and Harry inhaled his milk instead of drank it.
The red haired woman was seething, her hands gripping the paper as her Magic visibly sparked around her, all the glasses and tableware beginning to rattle violently. It looked as though she were underwater with her hair floating like that, full of trapped energy. The paper in her hands tore under the vicious pressure of her fingers.
"Lily-flower?" James ventured cautiously, getting up from the table. Charlus quickly pushed his cutlery, plate and glass away from himself and took refuge under the table, odd and worrying behaviour for a fifteen year old who was better at Defence Against the Dark Arts than most Aurors. Dudley glanced at Harry before following his elder cousin's actions, the Ravenclaw deciding to follow suit – Charlus must have taken cover for a reason.
"That... that..." Lily Potter was practically inarticulate with rage, "that Lemon-drop addled, bureaucratic, demeaning, overbearing, senile, fossilized, manipulative old GOAT!" she screamed, tearing the paper into confetti as every glass and plate in the room exploded with the force of her anger, James quickly following his children's examples and taking cover under Protego.
Charlus winced, "She's really hacked off," he noted, rather needlessly in Harry's opinion.
Dudley gave him a wide eyed look of disbelief, "No duh, Captain Obvious!" he squawked.
"Lily-flower? What's wrong? What's Dumbledore done this time?" James asked, lowering his shield once he had established that there were no more glasses or dishes for his wife to explode, even her hair had calmed down, lying flat, if a little ruffled.
She was grinding her teeth and fisting and unfisting her hands, "He's put a new Law through the Wizengmot, all students who start a Magic School cannot transfer, cannot leave and must finish their education at the same establishment they started unless expelled or told otherwise by the Headmaster." Which meant that their enrolment in Ipswich Boys' Academy was now illegal. No wonder she was upset.
Charlus lunged for the backdoor when the glass and porceline shards on the floor began to rattle, "Dad's gunna blow!" he yelped, pulling both Dudley and Harry out after him. They barely made it out into the garden when they hard the unmistakeable sound of an explosion – not the shattering of the shards, but an actual roar of fire and concussive energy. The three of them were blown off their feet, landing roughly on their fronts on the grass, feeling heat licking at their backs.
Rolling over, Harry stared with wide eyes at the charred doorframe to the kitchen and then back to his brother, Charlus grimaced, patting Dudley on the head as the larger teenager trembled and clutched at him, paperwhite and terrified at the overt display of destructive magic.
"Da's usually pretty good about his Magic, its only when he gets really, really, really angry does he kinda... explode. Literally. Um, we're probably not going to have anything to eat or drink out of until they go shopping. Ma could've fixed the broken stuff but... Dad's kind of melted it all together now so its impossible," he explained uncomfortably under his little brother's wide eyes and his cousin's terrified whimpering.
Harry wasn't sure he wanted to explode if he got angry.
Supposedly there was going to be some kind of World Cup event in the Summer, Charlus was desperate to attend, he claimed that as a Chaser for Gryffindor and its future Captain he needed to witness and take notes about how Ireland's Chasers – widely reputed to be the best in the business – functioned and played so he could better amend his performance in the air and coordinate with his fellow Chasers to ensure the Quidditch House Cup remained in Professor McGonagall's office, nice and shiny and far away from Severus Snape.
Lily had frowned at the last point but Harry could tell straight away that it immediately sold James to the idea.
Half a day later, James had secured tickets for the whole family to attend the Cup, even Dudley who despite being a little freaked out and skittish after the Accidental Magic displays from the two adults a month and a half ago was curious enough to want to go and witness it. James had to petition especially for his involvement and received a medallion which would cancel out the Muggle repelling charms around the Stadium so that Dudley could watch with them in the Top Box.
Harry honestly had no idea why he was joining them, he had no interest in Quidditch.
As a Birthday present, both Harry and Charlus were allowed to invite two of their friends to join them at the World Cup. As the Weasley family already had tickets, Charlus decided to invite two of his friends from foreign countries, Iliana Ramero from Spain and Masaomi Ishii from Japan, both of which were heavy Quidditch fans in comparison to Charlus's other friends.
Harry however was in a bit of a pickle, none of his friends he knew of would be interested, at least he didn't think they would be. A quick check of his Diary Communicator informed him that Luna and her father already had tickets, Hermione was in France with her parents talking to Madam Maxime her old headmistress to explain the issue with her enrolement and the new Laws and Meg was visiting family. Which left Neville, who wanted to go but his Grandmother wasn't keen on letting him anywhere out of her sight.
He still asked and, as luck would have it, she actually agreed.
Camping was not something Dudley enjoyed, Harry didn't mind it and Charlus actually seemed to enjoy it, he and James apparently used to do it often when they were in Canada and China. Either way, it wasn't something that Harry had been expecting, the tents that is.
The Irish supporters seemed to have nothing but clover leaves on them, primarily three and four-leafed though there was one individual who had managed to cultivate a cluster of seven leafed plants right at the front of his tent flap, people had to jump over them or risk a nasty cursing. And the Bulgarian supporters seemed to have forgotten there was more than one person on their team, as far as the eye could see their tents were draped with the same scowling and uncomfortable looking teenager with heavy black eyebrows and a rather hawkish appearance. Harry would have bet money on him being the Bulgarian Team's Seeker – even without Charlus excitedly explaining the significance to Dudley who just didn't understand why everyone seemed to be fangirling over an 'fugly emo'.
Someone even had a miniature palace with live albino peacocks tethered outside.
Charlus immediately broke into guffaws at the sight of it, managing to wheeze out that only Lucius Malfoy owned albino peacocks and would be pompous enough to actually bring them to the cup. Harry glanced at them and decided the man must have just been very proud of the birds, they were very beautiful and if they did nothing but wonder around the grounds of the Malfoy Estate then he must rarely get to show them off to anyone with the rumours of his Death Eater roots.
They spotted a lot of their Classmates while retrieving water for their little campsite, him, Dudley, Charlus and Neville whom had flooed over that morning and caught the Portkey with them. They even ended up queueing at the pump right behind Ron and Charlie Weasley.
Harry wasn't sure what was more disturbing.
His brother in full-on fanboy mode, staring slack jawed at the bloody and broken nosed Viktor Krum, a pale pink flush of excitement beginning to flood his face.
Or the fact his father was doing exactly the same thing.
The Tent was silent, everyone sat around the scrubbed wooden table with mugs of hot chocolate slowly growing cold in front of them, Dudley had finally stopped shaking and the slash on Harry's arm had stopped bleeding, Neville was still white faced while Charlus was scowling discriminatingly, eyeing his wand which was on the table in front of him like Ron Weasley would a baby acromantula.
Death Eaters had decided to start a minor riot during the after Game celebrations, the Muggle family who owned the field had been levitated and terrified for the amusement of the masked and hooded wizards below. James and Lily had immediately jumped into action along with all the Ministry Wizards and several other able bodied individuals willing to fight. All the while, Charlus ushered the younger teenagers into the Forest, determined to get Dudley and Harry out of the line of fire as one was a Muggle and the other was his kid brother. Neville clung to Harry the whole time until they ran into Draco Malfoy who seemed to be watching the proceedings with great amusement and calm acknowledgement.
That soon turned into a bloody nose once Neville cottoned onto the fact that it was most likely his mother and father out there, his mother who was the sister of the vile bitch who tortured his parents. Draco had been half expecting violence from Charlus and Harry, but having Neville suddenly land a haymaker on his nose shocked, startled and upset him more than anything else.
He didn't cry, not in front of them, but they could see it was a very near thing as he scampered off, trying to stem the bleeding. Not even fifty feet away from them he began wailing.
"Feel better?" Dudley had asked the timid Gryffindor with a raised eyebrow, he was afterall the most experienced when it came to the victim of a bully suddenly growing a pair of balls and getting their own back.
Neville looked at him for a moment before smiling, "Much."
Then they discovered Charlus was missing his Wand. A strange voice incanted the Dark Mark above them. The Ministry came swarming in. Barty Crouch accusing them of casting it, spittle flying from his mouth, eyes bulging madly. James threatening to curse the man if he didn't get ahold of himself. Amos Diggory finding Winky the House Elf...
Mr Crouch banishing her.
"Why do House Elves bind themselves to a Wizarding Family?" Harry asked, looking at his mother.
She sighed and looked at James who shook his head, "They like it I suppose. No one knows how or when it began, just that the House Elves don't want it to stop."
"That's bullshit," Charlus grunted, glowering at his father, "What about Dobby? If he had even half an opportunity he would seize his freedom in a heartbeat." Dobby the House Elf who had tried to 'save' Charlus by nearly killing him for the entirety of Harry's second year, tampering with Bludgers, putting poison in his food, trying to get him expelled during the Summer for doing magic outside of school – not knowing that Charlus had a special waver to allow him to be trained by his father.
Harry wondered if Hermione knew.
The morning before they had to get onto the Hogwarts Express was tense and unhappy.
Dudley watched as both Lily and James stomped around with miniature thunderclouds over their heads as they helped Charlus get ready – Harry having been prepared the night before and was now padding through the house like a silent ghost, or a House Elf. The blond Dursley winced slightly as he remembered the book he found on House Elves, how it compared a lot to Harry and how he was treated with his parents, minus the beatings and self inflicted punishments that most Elves had to do.
He wondered if his mother knew what House Elves were.
At least there was a little bit of amusement when they heard about 'rocketing dust bins' at Mad Eye Moody's, it made both Lily and James smile while Charlus cackled and asked which poor cat had to be taken to the vet for shell shock this time.
The Triwizard Tournament?
Harry frowned at the Ravenclaw Table, sat beside an equally frowning Luna. This sounded fishy, true it was a good way of bringing Hogwarts' reputation out of the mud by having such an international event designed to foster good relations between the top three schools (The only three mainstream schools in anycase). Not to mention the good press it would garner if a Hogwarts Student won, add to that, the Tasks were being downplayed to a much greater degree to prevent any loss of life.
Still, to Harry this sounded fishy, like it was an attempt by Dumbledore to manipulate the parents into thinking 'See? My law was a good thing, you didn't want your child to miss this incredible event, did you?'. And it would work, with most of the parents and guardians, but those who have more than two braincells to rub together would be even more annoyed by the extra threat the tournament presented.
Still, at least Hermione was excited about the participation of Beauxbatons, she had made a few friends that she had been forced to say goodbye to when the Law was put into affect.
Moody was certifiably insane. A paranoid PTS sufferer who certainly shouldn't be around children. Especially if he was capable of spells like the Unforgivables – besides, wasn't Moody famous for having never had to cast those spells to bring in his Death Eaters? Still, he supposed someone with the kind of psychosis's that Moody had, showing children spells to completely control, torture and murder people would be within the realm of practicality.
The man had more issues than Harry, and he was fairly sure he had more than Reader's Digest.
Charlus had taken to sulking in the Ravenclaw Commonroom with Harry due to the lack of Quidditch and his OWLs, which he wasn't enjoying the homework load for. Often times, Harry ended up helping him instead of the otherway around, which seemed to put the Gryffindor into a funny mood – alternatively proud, bewildered and a little inferior. Afterall, he was the big brother, he should be the one helping Harry, not the other way around.
Moody was casting the Unforgivables on them today.
He watched his classmates to various tricks while under Imperio, Meg and one of the other Puffs – Susan Bones – managed to give the curse a bit of a fight but in the end, Meg still ended up dancing, though you could see her fighting it and attempting to twist her body to kick at their teacher when she was near enough. It seemed to please Moody when he saw it. And Susan ended up singing a Muggle rock song by Chris Rhea.
When it came time for Harry, he didn't even notice the Imperio. He just stood there, staring at Moody who frowned and cast it again, and again, and again before grinning, his scars twisting grotesquely. Harry frowned, that wasn't a smile of pleasure, it was of hatred, he was very familiar with those. Was he jealous that Imperio didn't affect him?
Regardless of why their new Defence Teacher hated him, Harry still left the lesson with a sinking feeling of foreboding in the pit of his stomach.
He didn't know how and he didn't know why, but for some reason, he was the one who ended up with the partial Veela next to him, Fleur Delacour. He was currently the recipient of many a dark glare from the male populace and many a considering and threatening eyeballing from the female portion. Harry was more interested in his dinner and paid them no mind, calmly ignoring the Allure the girl beside him was excluding – turning every straight man and lesbian/bi woman within fifty feet into drooling simpletons.
Harry rolled his eyes as Roger Davis attempted to brag about having beaten Viktor Krum in a Quidditch match – the Bulgarian in question scowling surlily from the Slytherin table where he was sandwiched between Draco Malfoy and Marcus Flint. He didn't look amused. But Harry figured that was just his default expression and carried on eating – oblivious to the expression on Fleur's face as Luna dreamily told her she had a bad case of the Vinklesnicht, a small glitter shaped moon creature that turned those of a certain sexual persuasion into simpering morons and violently repelled those of the opposite persuasion and prompted them into petty hatred and violence. Very dangerous, she would have to wash her hair in vinegar and milk to get rid of them.
Green eyes blinked in bewilderment.
A fourth Champion and somehow... HE had been the one chosen? Shouldn't it have been Charlus, the Boy Who Lived? The one with the Prophesy, the whole Dark Lord and important Destiny, the Golden Child, the Gryffindor?
The hall was silent as Harry refused to move, just staring down at Dumbledore who was staring up at him, it was quite clear to everyone that the youngest of the Potters was very surprised as it actually showed on his face for once. Mutterings broke out as the Ravenclaw didn't move and it took a hard shove from Roger Davis, almost ending him face first into Luna's shoulder, before he would move.
Against Harry's will, he moved forward, looking like a deer in the headlights as he stared at Dumbledore who silently pointed him into the annex room where the rest of the Champions were waiting. He looked at Charlus for guidance. The Gryffindor looked horrified and worried, a little panicked, he was halfway out of his seat with the Weasley Twins gripping his arms to stop him from rushing up to his little brother. Harry blinked at him and Charlus glanced to Dumbledore and then back to the Ravenclaw before swallowing hard and nodding shakily.
Harry went into the annex and the Weasley Twins released their Housemate.
Rita Skeeter wasn't sure how to speak to the youngest of the Potter children, she tried everything, she asked questions, she verbally attacked him, accused him of outright lies and attempted to honeycoat her words, coax him into speaking to her. He just sat there, stared at her in silence, his eyes flat and unyielding, sending a shiver of fear and cold sweat down her spine.
Her Quick Quotes Quill absolutely refused to write anything beyond the boy's silence and it trembled everytime he looked at it in what she could assume was curiosity, or fury. She didn't know.
Either way, she didn't have her interview so she didn't know how to spin her article, as a sweetheart as a glory hound as an up and coming young man finally breaking out of his brother's shadow, she honestly had no idea.
So for once, her article was free of bias, free of gossip and free of slander.
When the First Task rolled around, stood in the tent at the side of the Stadium, Harry could smell sulphur and musk and rancid meat amongst other more reptilian scents and he could therefore only assume that the first Task had something to do with Dragons as Wyverns didn't breathe fire and therefore didn't smell of Sulphur and breeding Basilisks was a BIG crime and ergo no one would be doing it for a tournament. He was sure there were many other Reptilian Magical Creatures, but Dragons were the meanest and the most common so he could only assume they would be it.
He was proven right when he pulled a Hungarian Horntail from the velvet sack which once held Fleur's Swedish Shortsnout, Cedric's Welsh Green and Viktor's Chinese Fireball – he would have preferred the Fireball to be honest, it was a beautiful creature.
Now. How to get past a dragon?
Fleur put her's to Sleep, Cedric used a distraction, Viktor was aggressive... Harry was sneaky.
The Horntail had very small nostrils and primarily breathed fire through her mouth, she had small ears so Harry could accurately conclude that she focused primarily on sound and possibly temperature sensitivity through the spines lining her face. The latter he wasn't sure about but he was still going ahead with the fledgling plan he hatched while awaiting his turn in the Tent.
When he had been younger, he had been fascinated by Science, it made sense, he could understand it on a level he didn't understand most other things. It was why he was so curious about magic, why he gathered so much information and spent almost all of his spare time just picking it apart to figure out how it ticked while the other Ravenclaws competed against each other to prove themselves the brainiest and the best and the most likely to join the Department of Mysteries – the so called Holy Grail of the Ministry of Magic for all bookworms.
It had been weather systems that made him the most curious.
In the hot, dry atmosphere of the Dragon enclosure... Harry pointed his wand into the air and uttered the strongest Water Charm he knew, sending a jet of liquid into the air like a Muggle Fire hose, cooling the air and adding moisture to it. Mother Dragon wasn't pleased as she looked to the sky which she knew should have been dry, that moment of inattention cost her and suddenly the crowd gasped and began to clamour as with a flick of his wand, Harry Potter vanished entirely without even a distortion that the Disillusionment Charm would have offered.
By changing the temperature and the moisture content of the air around him in such bright and dry conditions, Harry ended up creating what was more commonly known as a Mirage by refracting light on the cooled water particles around him, bending the light and making it look as if he wasn't there as well as hiding his body temperature from the possibly temperature sensitive spines the Mother Dragon may have had.
Five minutes later and some hasty extra charms, Harry gathered up his Egg and ducked out from under the Mother and cancelled his Mirage, to show the Judges he had succeeded.
Dumbledore awarded him a 10, Madam Maxime a 9, Bagman another 10 while Karkaroff of the Durmstrang institute sneeringly awarded him a 2 – which immediately caused massive outrage amidst everyone, even his own Champion.
He was glad he allowed himself to be talked into opening the Golden Egg in the Ravenclaw Commonroom, Harry didn't think he would have been able to figure out what language was being spoken inside of it without Marietta Edgecomb's help – evidentially she recognised it as Mermish, all he had to do was listen to it underwater for it to become understandable.
Which then gave him his next problem.
What was most precious to him?
A Ball? As in dancing? As in touching someone?
Flickwick's face was apologetic as he explained the situation to him but there was nothing Harry could do to duck out of it as the fourth Champion, he had to open the Ball with the other Champions otherwise the rest of the school could not join in under grounds of civility and some stuffy etiquette laws some Pureblood came up with several centuries prior.
How utterly annoying.
Still, Harry found more than a little amusement in watching his brother have to fend women off from all angles, one of which being a Seventh Year Slytherin who looked like she would have snapped him in half if he said no – he still did and then proceeded to run like hell when she went to pull her wand to 'convince' him.
Neville asked Luna to attend with him, Hermione had already been bagged and Meg had marched over and told him to wear something white and trimmed in pale green when he came to pick her up. Because it was blatantly a no brainer that he was going to take one of his Best Friend's and he wouldn't allow someone he didn't trust to lay their hands on him.
It was an enjoyable evening. He danced, he drank, he smiled, he almost laughed.
He even allowed himself to be swept off to dance with his brother, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Viktor Krum – Hermione's partner for the evening, much to Ron Weasley's disgust. With the exception of Luna, everyone was taller than him, which became a source of great amusement for his friends and then later for Draco Malfoy who quickly hightailed it when Viktor looked at him as though he were some kind of partially digested insect still gooey and twitching under his shoe.
How to survive in the lake for an hour...
Bubble Head Charm, Transfiguration, Gillyweed, Animagus form, Muggle scooba gear...
Harry gnawed on his thumbnail as he thought. It would all depend on what he was supposed to do, he knew he had to retrieve something but the thing was, he didn't really value any of his possessions overly much, so they weren't anything he would consider precious. So with that ruled out... it left people.
He twitched at the sick swooping sensation in his stomach. They wouldn't really put someone in a lake, underwater, for a whole hour just to – well they used dragons in the First Task, why is he surprised they would use live hostages?
Whether they do or they don't, its best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Scooba Gear wouldn't work in Hogwarts, he didn't have an Animagus form and he doubted it would be aquatic anyway, he wasn't good enough at Transfiguration to do anything to himself without risk of botching it up, the Bubble Head Charm would be good but the Gilly Weed would give him webbed hands and feet – better for propulsion and therefore speed, plus, he wouldn't feel the cold of the lake water. Plus, Bubble Head Charms made it seem like you were looking through a fish bowl, both inside and out, it wasn't very good for visibility.
Decision made, he went to go and bribe Professor Snape to part with some of his Gillyweed.
The sight of Charlus, waxy, pale, corpse-like in the murky waters of Hogwarts' Lake, surrounded by hostile looking Merfolk, unresponsive and unable to defend himself made Harry's blood positively run cold. He floundered in distress because Hermione was there, right beside him, looking just as waxy and corpse-like.
He knew his brother was supposed to be his Precious thing that was stolen away, but Hermione was his bestfriend, one of them. He looked at the other two hostages, Cho Chang – Cedric's girlfriend, and a little blonde girl who had to be Fleur's younger sister or some kind of relative. Which meant Hermione had to have been Viktor's hostage, he had taken her to the Yule Ball and now she was here? His feelings must have been fairly serious.
Harry grit his teeth and roughly hacked at Charlus's weed bindings and began to power himself and his brother back to the surface.
If Krum didn't rescue Hermione then Harry was going to kill him.
Harry was in the lead pointwise for the Tournament, the highest score in the last century at that.
There had been a little drama involving Rita Skeeter and her articles about him and his brother and his past, abuse at the Dursleys, Lockhart, his apparent immunity to Imperio along with a few other inconsequential things. What confused him was how she figured that he was in an incestuous relationship with his older brother, where the hell did that come from and why would she think that?
Sufficed to say, two days after the article was written the Daily Prophet issued a formal apology and retraction of Rita's commentary after Lily Potter stalked into their head office and had a quiet little chat with the Editor in Chief.
The day before the Third Task, he was pleasantly surprised to find his mother and father in the Entrance Hall, chatting to his brother, Dudley hidden between the two of them and looking around in a mixture of paranoia and awe.
"Surprise!" James called cheerfully, pulling him into a one armed hug, Harry found no need to tense, he knew James wouldn't hurt him on purpose. He spent a pleasant day with his family, wondering around Hogwarts, listening to them tell stories, ask what happened to such and such a portrait, where did the scorch marks here come from, this suit of armour wasn't here before it was elsewhere, the different teachers, etcetera, etcetera.
And then came time for the Third Task.
It was very suspicious that he had gone so far without a sign of anyone or anything.
Harry frowned as he turned a corner and then froze, his eyes widening and his blood running cold as the scent of lavender and chamomile struck him like an anvil, a certain blond haired, white toothed wizard in robes of baby blue stood grinning at him in the middle of the Maze. Gilderoy Lockhart.
Who was in jail.
"Ridikulus!" the boy snarled with uncharacteristic vehemence as he jabbed his Wand forward, watching as the man started screaming as blood spread from the groin area of his robes. A vicious smirk curled on Harry's lips at the thought of castrating the man in real life.
Unbeknownst to the fourteen year old, Mad Eye Moody would have watched that confrontation and actually winced in sympathetic pain for the Boggart that unknowingly prompted the green eyed boy's anger. And fear.
He didn't like Riddles, but it didn't mean that they weren't easy.
The Sphinx smiled and stepped aside, Harry paused as he was passing her before stripping out of his cloak and handing it over to the bewildered looking lion-woman. "You're from a warm country, you must be cold," he stated by means of explanation before hurrying on. Add to that, she was naked, it felt rude and a little wrong to just leave her in that kind of state with all the Wizards running around.
The Acromantula almost caught him as he made his way to the Cup in the middle of the Maze, but unlike the eight-legged creature, Harry was very much used to running away from things and managed to outpace the creature long enough to brush his fingers on the silver object – the immediate hook in navel jerk he associated with a Portkey was very welcome as he could have sworn he felt the brush of a hairy leg on his ankle.
However, instead of the lawns of Hogwarts and the smiling faces of his family greeting him, he ended up in a graveyard. A dim and dark graveyard and the cup at his feet.
Frowning, he picked it up again and felt the Portkey jerk him away – his ears catching a scream of impotent fury as he was swept away.
Landing outside of the maze, Harry figured it must have been a malfunction and carefully set the cup down again before he ended up getting yanked somewhere else by accident – like the Dragon reserve in Romania.
Half way into the after party, Mad Eye Moody tried to lead him away from everyone else for a quiet chat about the possibility of a referrence should he ever desire to join the Auror division. Harry Stunned him in the middle of the Corridor before conviscating his Wand and using a full Body Bind on him.
During his many jaunts into the library to study for the upcoming tasks, he had stumbled across the Polyjuice Potion, he remembered Hermione and Neville talking about how someone had stolen potion ingredients from Snape. When getting Gillyweed from the man he found out which ones that had been taken, ingredients that were only put together in one potion – the Polyjuice. And as with Hogwarts tradition, Harry was betting money on his Defence Teacher trying to kill him or his brother, again.
Eventually, when his father came to find him, he stumbled across Harry crouched in the Charm's corridor watching as Mad Eye Moody seemed to... melt and become a Death Eater who should have been dead.
Barty Crouch Jr.
All the while, unbeknownst to everyone, Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort, raged at the failure of his plan, torturing Peter Pettigrew – his only follower within striking distance. Completely oblivious to the Fiend Fyre that had been cast in the Downstairs dining room where the influential Mr Riddle, the fussy Mrs Riddle and their beloved son Tom Riddle had been murdered by their own unknown Grandson.
By the time the two did realise the house was burning down around their ears, it was too late to prevent it.
Wormtail, too weakened and damaged by the repeated bouts of Cruciatus, Nagini who could not escape with the stairs and hallway already consumed in cursed flame and Voldemort, his weak and infantile body born of black magic and blood sacrifice unable to move. They all burned. Flesh peeling and charring, turning to ash under the intense heat of flame.
Outside, in the Graveyard, looking up at the old manor house, a dark haired teenager in a heavy brown cloak watched it burn with a satisfied smirk curled onto his lips.
"Good riddens to bad trash," he murmured, teal coloured eyes glowing red briefly in the shadow of his hood before, CRACK, he was gone.
Leaving nothing but mist to curl lovingly over leaf mould.
Now, I'll tell you all again, when I posted a second chapter to this, it meant I would be continuing it, completely. This will only be, what... seven, eight chapters at the most. It'll be done.
As for why it takes so long... to be perfectly honest, while I'm aware that this caters to a larger audience, I don't like it. I barely put effort into writing it, I don't plan it at all, I just write and write and write, try to get the emotions, try to get into Harry's head and just have him be the catalyst to events around him. And yet for something with only three – now four chapters that I wrote during the predawn hours for shits and giggles to be more popular than something I have spent weeks working on, planning the plot, doing research, brain storming scene ideas, subplots, occasionally even drawing concept art. Its just disheartening.
I know full well that my other stuff isn't everyone's cup of tea, I mean, c'mon, I'm a slash writer primarily and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable so I'm losing a large audience with that alone. I'm not asking for more readers/reviews on my other stuff, I'm just explaining myself and my feelings on why I have such a lack of enthusiasm for this. Plus, when something's really popular... I kind of get intimidated, I get worried that what I've written isn't good enough and it won't entertain people properly.
Oh and FYI, if you're concerned. There won't be any slash in this. No pairings at all in all honesty. Save pre-established marriages.