Chapter 18

After Azula convinced Harry to relax until after the first task, it being essentially their honeymoon and all, the days leading up to the first task passed quickly.

Although, after a…poorly written article by Rita Skeeter, the two firebenders had been forced to pay the reporter a visit.

Rita had quickly decided that it was in her best interest to write the truth.

When the couple wasn't in bed, they spent time with Sirius, Remus, and Tonks, getting to know the people that should have raised Harry. Azula quickly became close to Tonks. The witch was unintimidated by her, and the two shared a similar sense of humor.

And a similar temper.

Harry and Azula also began to get the feeling they were being watched. They couldn't figure out who they were getting the feeling from, as there were too many people paying attention to them to begin with.

But soon, the day of the First Task happened upon them.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000

Harry was calm as he waited in the tent with the other champions.

All three of them seemed nervous for some reason, of course he was as well. But if his training and experience had taught him anything, it was to never show your nervousness or fear.

Unlike the others who were each wearing school themed outfits, Harry had opted for a red muscle-shirt and black jeans, in combination with his boots. It was a mobile outfit, and since the judges had told him he couldn't wear his armor, mobile was better.

He planned to remove the shirt before the task began anyway.

Cedric was the only one in traditional robes however.

The tension was only increased when the judges came in.

"Gather round champions," Crouch requested. He held out a bag, "Inside this bag, is a miniature of what you will face. You will each draw one, and on it will be a number. This number will indicate the order you go out. During this task, you will only be allowed out of the tent when it's your turn, so that you cannot see what your predecessors have done. Your task, is to retrieve the golden egg." He held out the bag to Fleur. "Ladies first," he instructed.

Nervously, Fleur reached into the bag. Pulling her hand back out, she was holding a miniature of a green dragon, the number three tied around its neck. "The Welsh Green," Crouch explained.

Harry, seeing the miniature, gulped. His fears only worsened when Krum reached into the bag, and pulled out a long dragon with the number one tied around its neck. Like he had with Fleur, Crouch said the breed of the dragon, "The Chinese Fireball."

As Cedric pulled out a bluish colored dragon, with the number two around its neck, Harry clenched his fist to keep his fear under control.

Dragons were the original firebenders. It was from them the art was first learned. And while dragon hunting had, at one point, been popular, the creatures had been hunted to extinction back home. But they had still been ferocious creatures. As far as Harry knew, only one man had killed a dragon himself, his Uncle Iroh, earning him the title Dragon of the West.

He also knew that Iroh was a better bender than he.

"The Swedish Short-Snout," Crouch explained, before turning to Harry. "Which leaves…," he waited for Harry to reach in and pull out a black dragon with bronze colored spikes running along its back and tail, "the Hungarian Horntail."

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000

Sitting in the stands as each champion faced their dragon was nerve racking for Azula. Really, the only reason none of the champions were killed was luck. One of them had even been badly burned. And though he succeeded, had to be carried out on a stretcher.

And while she knew her husband was better than the other three, he would be facing the original firebenders.

"Oh, Merlin," Tonks muttered beside her, not helping the younger woman's nerves as they watched the dragon handlers move the final dragon, Harry's dragon, into place. "That's a Hungarian Horntail."

Before Azula could ask, Remus explained, after pulling a furious Sirius back down to his seat, "The Horntail is considered to be the most ferocious and dangerous of dragons."

"Agni, protect him," Azula muttered under her breath.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000

After hearing the cannon fire, Harry stepped out into the arena…

And immediately held up his hands to stop the dragon's fire.

It was a struggle to stop the powerful flames, and it was only the dragon's need for a breath that kept Harry from his knees. Before the dragon could launch fire at him again, he dived behind a rock, just in time too.

He watched the flames go past him, surrounding him, only the rock preventing them from reaching him. But he could still feel the heat of the flames, as well as the heat from the rock as it was superheated by the dragon.

Once the dragon ceased its efforts, he immediately moved, only to stop as the dragons, vicious tail landed in front of him. Before he could react, the tail swept at him, throwing him into the wall. As more flames came at him once more, he rolled into a small crevice, barely big enough to hold him.

Trying to catch his breath, Harry tried to formulate a plan. He couldn't change into Obsidian, as helpful as that might be, the terrain was too rocky and rough and the arena too small for Obsidian to be any threat to the dragon. He also realized that he couldn't match the dragon flame-for-flame, that would just be suicide.

As the flames disappeared, and Harry jumped from the crevice, he developed the simplest and most logical plan possible.

Stay alive and stay mobile.

Sadly, he didn't reach the shelter of another rock or crevice before the dragon decided to breathe fire down upon him again, and he was forced to stop the flame.

It was as he was holding the flame that a thought struck him. Kicking himself for not realizing it sooner, Harry let the flame continue on its way, redirecting its course around him. It was still difficult, as the dragon fire was not easily swayed, but it was less exhausting than stopping the flame outright.

As he redirected the flame, he frantically looked around the arena, trying to find the golden egg he had to retrieve.

He was pleased when he found, but his pleasure quickly vanished when he realized exactly where it was.

Underneath the dragon.

As the dragon paused for another breath, Harry aimed a fireball at the egg. He was pleased when it moved, though not so much with the dragon's response.

Roaring, the dragon charged at him, and he dived into a crevice, cutting his arm on the sharp stone as he did so, and just in time.

The dragon was standing on top of the crevice, glaring down at him as it tried to reach him with its claws and teeth. When it realized it wouldn't reach him, it breathed fire down on him.

Stuck in the crevice, Harry was forced to redirect the fire to the sides, which was more difficult than directing it around him. The dragon breathed down several streams of fire during this time. And for fifteen minutes, Harry was forced to redirect the fire.

Then, either deeming him no longer a threat or just realizing the futility of it, the dragon lumbered away, leaving a sweaty, exhausted Harry in the crevice.

Rather than stand right up, and make a dash for the egg, the young firebender took a much needed breather, though he didn't allow himself to truly relax in case the dragon returned. Then he peeked over the edge, and sighed in relief as he realized the dragon was curled around the eggs that were her own, and hadn't bothered to retrieve the golden one.

Unfortunately, the dragon's eyes were focused squarely on his hiding place.

Lowering his eyes and head back below the edge of the crevice, he tried to formulate a plan.

The egg was, while away from the dragon, between him and the exit. It was a mostly flat out run. Bu there was no cover, and the dragon was watching, waiting for him to make a move.

Taking a deep breath, Harry realized he'd likely only get one chance, and put his plan into motion.

Jumping from the crevice even as he changed into Obsidian, he made a mad dash for the egg.

The dragon had also reacted, charging at him, even as fire spewed forth from its mouth.

He snatched the egg in his mouth, not stopping, even as a stone cut his leg, leaving a nasty gash and dived for the tent, feeling the heat of the dragon's fire, even as he changed back to Harry.

Sliding into the tent, he immediately rolled to the side, even as the dragon roared in frustration.

Much to Harry's luck, the wards around the arena had prevented the dragon, or its fire from entering the tent.

He had succeeded.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000

Rushing to the medical tent, Azula was relieved to see Harry, though injured, in relatively good condition.

Tonks, Sirius, and Remus were right behind her.

As soon as Madame Pomfrey was done, healing the jagged cuts he had sustained, Azula rushed forward and hugged Harry to her. It was one thing to fighting beside Harry, but watching, when she wasn't allowed to do anything to help, as he fought for his life was terrifying.

"I'm alright," Harry assured her.

"You'd better be," Azula snarled. "Otherwise I'm roasting you and the judges, before razing this whole place down to the ground."

Harry chuckled, and hugged his wife closer.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000

Harry ended up in second place, receiving thirty-four points. Krum was in first with thirty-eight, Diggory in third with thirty, and Fleur in fourth with twenty-eight.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000

Sorry for the long wait. All I can say is that I didn't realize so much time passed.

I hope this chapter was worth the wait, even though I know it's short.

Please Review, Check Out the Challenges in My Forums, and the Stories I have for Adoption under the Title: Please Adopt Me!