THE FIRST TASK
"Harry Potter!" The headmaster shouted seeming upset. Harry wasn't paying attention at the time because he was staring at a girl. The girl in question was a seventh year that many boys had fantasized about for the entire seven years of her attendance at Hogwarts. She arrived as a 'firstie' about the same as she was now, that is to say, spectacularly developed. Ron Weasley elbowed his best friend hard, in the ribs.
"Tammy Stackhouse!" Harry nearly shouted in surprise. The now deeply embarrassed young wizard grabbed his sore ribs and looked at Ron angrily. Ron rolled his eyes and nodded towards the front of the great hall. Harry looked in the indicated direction. The only thing he saw was the 'old man'. Uninterested, he started to turn back and look for a hole to climb down only to hear Dumbledore shout his name quite harshly. Harry jerked back towards the front and leaned out from the bench while responding brilliantly, "huh?"
Dumbledore swung his arms towards the antechamber and asked, "Could you please join the other champions?"
Harry d idn't think that was necessary so asked, "Er...why?"
This was apparently the wrong thing to say as Harry noticed the Headmaster looked like he was about to have a 'Vernon', something he had never seen happen before. Well, except to Vernon of course. Then it happened.
Dumbledore once again indicated the anteroom and shouted, "Would you please join the other champions, NOW!"
One thing Harry hated was his uncle, aunt and his cousin (technically that's three things), another thing he hated was anyone acting like said gits. He didn't know why Dumbledore was acting this way. A second thing Harry hated was the stupid tournament. He thought it was a bad idea ever since the Headmaster announced it at the sorting feast. Basically you were shutting down most of three schools so three measly people could participate. He had never been a 'fan' of anything and sitting around just watching other people do tasks seemed boring. It sounded very dangerous too and that usually meant trouble for Harry. It also didn't help that the whole thing started with the proclamation; "There will be no Quidditch this year." He stood up from the bench and stepped out into the aisle defiantly and said, "No."
"You will proceed to the antechamber now Mr. Potter!" demanded Dumbledore.
Hermione stage whispered, "Harry just do it!"
Ron for once agreed with her, "Go Harry."
Harry looked at them both surprised and feeling somewhat betrayed and said, "Why should I? I'm not a champion, why can't they leave me out of this stupid tournament?"
Hermione looked at him like he was daft, "Honestly Harry your name just came out of the Goblet…weren't you paying the least bit of attention?"
Harry guiltily glanced over at the Hufflepuff table and Tammy Stackhouse. He noticed she smiled at him. She smiled at me! He gave a small smile back and quickly turned to Hermione, "My name came out of the Goblet?"
Ron shook his head and looked at the floor mumbling, "Merlin's balls…"
Harry was getting upset, while trying to sort out the Goblet thing and Tammy at the same time. Meanwhile Dumbledore had made his way down the aisle with some of the other Professors. He seemed to have regained some of his legendary composure and asked kindly, "Harry, are you alright?"
Harry answered honestly, "Not really. Why did my name come out of the Goblet?"
"Because by some miracle you defeated the age line and put your name in stupid boy!" Snape snapped.
Harry didn't like being called boy, the Dursleys called him boy. He swiftly kicked Snape in the shin; a little magic intensified the kick. Harry noticed he could do weird things with magic when he was angry. It was like accidental magic only he meant to do it. It was getting fairly easy to do, so he did it more and more. That doesn't make any sense.
Snape grabbed his shin and started hopping around on one leg howling in pain. Harry just laughed while Dumbledore tried to scold him and call Madame Pomfrey down from the head table at the same time.
Madame Maxime by now joining them insisted, "Thees leetle boy eez no champion, and 'ee should be expelled too Dumblydor!
Harry looked at the shins of the female half-giant.
The amazon noticed the direction of his eyes and quickly stepped behind 'Dumblydor.'
Karkaroff added, "Dumbledore, Hogwarts can't have two champions!"
The students were all looking on the entire scene with their mouths wide open in shock. One minute Harry was the fourth champion and now they were discussing his expulsion. Dumbledore decided it was getting out of hand and shot off a loud report with his wand. This silenced the hall except for Madame Pomfrey who was aiming her wand at a large contusion on Snape's shin and mumbling a healing spell.
"Now Harry follow us to the antechamber and let's resolve this in an orderly fashion." Dumbledore smiled benignly.
"I don't want to. I didn't put my name in." Harry insisted.
McGonagall's lips were thinner than a….well they were really thin, "Mr. Potter you will stop attacking Professors and do as the headmaster says. You're embarrassing my house and all of Hogwarts in front of our honored guests!"
Harry snorted and said sarcastically, "Thank you Professor, you always know when to back me up. Why don't you ask Snape and the honored guests to stop insulting me first?"
McGonnagal's eyes got wide as saucers and she exclaimed, "In all my years!"
Snape had by now recovered a little and limped up to the headmaster, "I agree with Madam Maxime he must be expelled, not only for attacking me but the blatant disrespect he has shown you and Professor McGonagall."
Harry stared at Snape. Over the summer Harry had come to the conclusion that something was off about the way he was treated. It seemed like Dumbledore needed him for something. Was Snape really that blind? Could he not see that Dumbledore treated me different than any other student in the entire school?
Dumbledore looked around the adult crowd and sighed resignedly. He spotted Barty Crouch and asked over some people's heads, "What about you Barty? If we expelled him would that cancel the magical contract?"
Crouch immediately answered in his high voice, "No. He must compete!"
"There it is Harry, will you come to the antechamber with the other champions?" Dumbledore asked while conveniently sweeping the whole expulsion matter under the rug. Saw that coming.
"Hang on, what bloody magical contract?" Harry asked.
"Language Harry!" Hermione scolded.
"Do you have anything helpful to add Hermione? Because I didn't sign any bleeding bloody magical contract!" Harry said.
Dumbledore smiled at Hermione and turned back to Harry, "Language Harry and I must insist you accompany me to the antechamber now."
Harry replied mockingly, "Headmaster I must insist you take this discussion to the antechamber without me. If you force me to compete in this tournament…Er…well…" Harry hadn't really thought about what he was going to do. "I'll hire a barrister!" Harry finished lamely.
"What do you mean Harry?" Dumbledore chuckled as if Harry was joking.
"I'm…Er…not sure. Maybe I will try to…um…" Harry stuttered shakily and made his way to the antechamber.
For the next half hour the argument went around and around. The Beauxbaton's champion Fluer Delacour said Harry was too 'leetle'. Victor Krum the Durmstrang champion and Hogwarts' champion Cedric Diggory didn't say much. Harry endured more insults and was even more belligerent, if that was possible. In the end Dumbledore had to shoot his wand again for silence. Then to Harry's surprise he declared Harry would compete. Madam Maxime and Karkaroff both immediately declared Dumbledore a cheater and said they were leaving and then both looked to Crouch.
"You may both leave but I wouldn't advise taking your champions. I fear they wouldn't survive it." Crouch declared sadly.
Harry shouted a rather silly combination of foul words in frustration. He kicked open the door, with some magical help once again, splintering the jam a bit and stormed out. Krum and Diggory bent down a little to 'eyeball' the splintered door jamb which was exceedingly thick but had been splintered by the 'leetle' boy. Some of the adults called for Harry to come back but he ignored them.
Dumbledore finally sighed, "Let him go."
"I didn't get to give my speech," Ludo lamented.
The Headmaster dismissed everyone else which was followed by seemingly never ending advice and mild threats.
Harry stomped and stormed all the way to Gryffindor tower only to rush pass the fat lady into a sea of expectant faces filling the common room. Harry stared at them. They stared at Harry. Finally Harry threw his hands up and shouted, "What?"
A dam suddenly burst and everyone asked questions. Most of them were of the type 'how'd you get past the age line?' There were a few others like Ron's 'why didn't you tell me?' Harry just stood there with a disappointed look on his face till they ran out of steam. Then he answered coldly, "I didn't get past the age line and I didn't enter the tournament. End of story. Got it?"
The Weasley twins were first to respond.
"Jolly good wheeze what?" George laughed.
"Yeah Harry pull the other one!" Fred stuck out his foot.
The rest of the students all joined in their laughter and some responded with jokes in kind. Harry just threw up his hands again and walked down the steps. First Hermione and Ron, then the whole house. Violence never solves anything they say. We'll see about that. He started punching people in the gut as he walked through the crowd. This time the magic was in his fists and not his feet. The Gryffindors were stunned at first but soon wands were being waved. All the spells were missing or seemed to fizzle out on contact. Harry had the 'accidentally on purpose' magic all throughout his body; it was like he was wearing an invisible 'protego'. Harry continued strolling about the room, like a crazy grinning fool. Since no magic was really leaving his body it wasn't draining at all.
Seamus accidentally hit Lavender with a stinging hex right after Harry punched him in the gut. Lavender, although she'd been earlier knocked down by Harry, now turned her anger to Seamus. A bludgeoning curse put Seamus on the floor. In a bout of uncontrolled equal opportunity Harry continued punching the formerly laughing girls. He couldn't help himself though and was pulling his punches on the fairer sex. Most of them still toppled over clutching their guts but most of the guys were being lifted off their feet.
The same thing was happening wherever Harry went and soon the common room was turned into a battlefield. Someone blew out one of the tall stained glass windows beside the fireplace with a blasting curse and two of the couches were currently on fire. Harry looked around the room entirely satisfied. He had a huge grin on his face as he looked for someone new to punch. Put me in the effing tournament and then laugh at me? Who's laughing now?
Katie Bell stumbled towards him the victim of an apparent jelly legs jinx. Harry gave a quick short left to the solar-plexus and sent her back the way she came. Ron yelled from behind, "You can't hit girls Harry!"As soon as Katie got rid of the funny look on her face while she couldn't breathe, she sent a dark castration hex at Harry. He easily dodged it and watched with terror as it hit his best friend. Ron's eyes got huge and then he let out a blood curdling girlish scream. Both of Ron's hands went to his crotch as he tried to reattach his balls in some misguided attempt. Irony?
Harry just moved on punching as he went. After some indeterminate amount of time he noticed the curses coming his way had dwindled. He stopped for a moment and noticed the room was entirely covered in groaning bodies. The portal door was open and looked damaged. Apparently someone had escaped and went for help. Harry noticed Fred and George lying close together. George had a huge gash on his head that was bleeding profusely. Fred looked like he couldn't move his legs from some painful curse or another.
Harry smiled down at them and said, "Jolly good wheeze what?"
They both glared at him. Harry grinned, "Oh it was funny and hour ago wasn't it? Anyways I hope we can still be friends after Madam Pomfrey sorts you all out."
There was a chorus of groans throughout the room in response. Ron though was making 'kittenish' sounds. Harry shook his head and resisted the instinct to grab his own package. That has got to hurt.
Wizards were stupid so Harry went around the room conjuring pads of gauze and making the people who would soon bleed out apply direct pressure to their wounds. Most of them just moaned but Harry kept moving their hands and the pads to the right places until they got the idea. He went past Hermione who was knocked out. She's kind of cute when asleep and not lecturing. Wonder who got her?
A hoard of Professors and the few Gryffs who escaped came rushing into the room.
The Professors quickly put the fires out.
"Mr. Potter!" roared Dumbledore as soon as he took in the scene. "What is the meaning of this?"
Harry laughed, "Anger management?"
Snape shouted, "50 points from Gryffindor!"
McGonagall shouted, "100 points from Gryffindor!"
Harry put up his hands and said, "I didn't do any of this, you can check my wand if you want."
Snape charged down the stairs and tripped over Romilda Vane, several people groaned when he landed on them. Harry laughed.
Snape tried to get up with some dignity and made an effort to straighten his robes.
Harry asked innocently, "Will they still billow after all that or will you have to take them to the 'Billowers'?"
"Give me your wand boy!" Snape ground out.
Harry handed it to him. Snape mumbled a spell and then looked at the Headmaster and shook his head.
Dumbledore looked at Harry and said, "Can you explain this then?"
At this point Fred weakly raised his head and moaned, "Harry punched me."
Harry nodded his head and agreed, "OK fine, I did punch Fred there but that is all I did."
At this point George raised his bleeding head and said, "Harry punched me too."
Harry tried to hide a grin and shook his head regretfully, "I forgot about George."
This went on for quite some time by members of the house who were still conscious. Harry admitted nothing until accused. He figured he was still coming out ahead due to half the house who couldn't yet accuse him because they were still knocked out.
After the long list of accusations Dumbledore looked at Harry aghast. "You struck young women?"
Harry declared, "I believe in treating all people equally regardless of race, species, gender, religion or political affiliation. You should know that Headmaster. Besides they had it coming. They laughed just as much as the guys."
"This is about some people laughing at you?" Dumbledore asked. "Harry I have been laughed at many times during my long life and never struck anyone. You can't just hit anyone who laughs at you."
"First of all you're barmy of course you get laughed at. You want people to laugh at you. Look at the way you dress. Second of all I just hit all these people who laughed at me disproving your second statement." Harry reasoned. "Thirdly I was just having some fun while at the same time venting some anger. I didn't hit anyone in the face and all of the major damage was done by other people and their spells."
Snape acted like he was going to hand Harry back his wand then jerked it back. "Headmaster will you expel him now?" Snape pleaded.
McGonagall seconded, "Normally I would like to handle the disciplinary matters in my house but I have to agree with Professor Snape."
Harry gaped at his head of house, "Never agree with Snape on anything even if he is right. It sets a bad precedent. I'm not saying he has ever been right about anything either."
Someone lying on the floor near the stairs groaned, "Here here!"
Someone else lying by the study tables groaned, "Well said!"
Dumbledore swept the matter under the rug again and said, "Professors begin moving the injured to the hospital wing immediately, we've dallied here long enough and it appears there are some very serious injuries."
Harry 2 Snape 0.
"I did some muggle first aid before you arrived to stop the bleeding but some of them are in need of 'Poppies Palatable Potions!'" Harry exclaimed. It made him happy to be so witty and to see his whole house shipped off to the 'great white room'.
Harry levitated Ron to the infirmary and placed the ginger delicately on a bed. Ron's hands were still firmly 'down there.' Harry had however managed to wedge a big bandage between his hands. He looked around and spotted Madam Pomfrey down about twenty beds and moved towards her. "I know you have a lot of work and most of it is indirectly my fault but I have a question."
Pomfrey glanced at him in irritation, "Out with it Mr. Potter."
Harry shuffled his feet, "Please tell me you can reattach balls?"
There it was out. Madame Pomfrey either choked or coughed. Then she did cough, "Yes, in most circumstances I can."
"Thank you so much." Harry blurted. "Ron Weasley, about twenty beds down."
Harry then ran out to levitate someone else. That wasn't awkward at all.
The rest of the night was spent levitating bodies to the hospital wing. The trip back was accompanied by the quickly healed students. "I hate you Harry!" Hermione said on one such trip. Harry replied with his usual grin. I never even touched her. She wasn't even laughing of course, no reason to hit her. If I had that many books shoved up my ass I'd never laugh either. Some of the more seriously injured students, which included all of the Weasleys, had to remain over night.
Harry spent the next few days scouting the old castle. He wanted to find some information about the task although he hadn't completely given up on getting out of the tournament altogether. He spent quite a bit of time listening in to important people's conversations under his cloak. At the end of the week he found what he was looking for while scouting the grounds on his broom. He spied some smoke coming out of the forbidden forest and flew about a kilometer into the trees to investigate. There he spotted Charlie Weasley and some other wizards shooting spells at a red dragon while three other dragons appeared to be sleeping on the ground. He'd met Charlie earlier that summer during the Quidditch World Cup. The dragon handlers had an entire camp cleared in the forest. Four large cages made of steel on one side and a lot of tents on the other. Harry assumed they were similar to Arthur Weasley's tent from the World Cup.
Harry flew down and landed in the middle of the camp. The dragon was soon subdued after many fireballs and several close calls. The wizards turned to Harry. Charlie recognized him first. "Hello Harry…Hang on, you're not supposed to be here!"
Harry grinned, "I hear that all the time."
An extremely dirty wizard said, "Sorry but our orders are to obliviate any students who stumble on our camp."
"Do I look like any student?" Harry asked pompously.
One of the older wizards said, "I'm pretty good with memory charms. I'll do it and escort him back to the castle."
Harry glared at the man, "I wouldn't do that if I was you."
Everyone drew their wands and started circling Harry. Harry was getting angry again. Harry reduced his broom and put it in his back pocket. You drop in for some friendly conversation…oh well they all look tired anyways.
"Sorry about this Harry." Charlie said sadly.
Half a dozen stunners shot towards Harry who simply leaned out of the way. A couple wizards dropped to the ground, stunned by their own coworkers then Harry moved. He wasn't holding back this time. No body punches. The wizards were completely surprised. They didn't expect him to fight back. Roundhouse kicks to the head and viscous left and right hooks to the jaw. He felt bad when he punched Charlie on the side of his chin. Sorry about that Charlie. A couple of spells hit him but his body shield made them fizzle. It was over in seconds then Harry drew his wand. He hit all the wizards with a 'just in case' stunner. Snape is definitely going to call for my expulsion again! This 'accidental magic' is just too fun I wish i knew a name for it! Harry smacked his forehead. Hermione!
The dragons had all woke up during the ruckus. 'Never wake a sleeping dragon' that was the Hogwarts motto. Harry went over to the cages. They let out loud roars. The red one was still feeling the affects of being the most recently subdued however and only let out a weak sort of growl.
Harry wondered what kind of Dragons they were. He decided later he would wake Charlie first and 'interrogate' him. He approached the red dragon carefully. As he noticed its vertical irises, long slender body and scales he decided to try something. He hissed, "Hi my name is Harry, what's yours?"
The dragon jerked then appeared to shake a little with smoke coming from its nostrils. "You may call me Mei Ling; I've never met a human who could speak." The female dragon hissed.
"I've never met a dragon who could speak either." Harry replied grinning.
"You got lucky; these other three can not speak. They are extremely young compared to me. I would guess they are all about your age." The dragon said.
Harry boldly asked, "Well how old are you then? What kind of dragon are you?"
"I'm over three hundred years old. I am what your kind call a Chinese Fireball." Mei Ling answered. "I apologize for my vague answer but after so many years the numbers no longer matter only escape."
"Hey, my godfather told me that too." Harry said. "He was in prison."
Harry suddenly got an idea, some pictures and a rough plan flashed through his mind. "What would you give to get out of here?"
"What do you mean?" The dragon asked.
"If we can make some sort of deal, I'm pretty sure I can open this cage." Harry smiled.
"I would give anything but sadly I've nothing to give." Mei Ling replied.
"I'm sure you have something, a loose dragon tooth or scale, some blood, maybe some magic?" Harry suggested. Ever since his 'accidental magic on purpose' discovery Harry had been looking for other ways to do magic.
"It's true I do know a lot of magic, mostly blood magic. That's the only way they can restrain us you know. They use our own blood against us. Blood wards." Mei Ling lamented.
"I know the feeling." Harry nodded.
"Were it not for the blood wards I could simply walk out of here." She pointed at how wide apart the bars were. "I performed a blood ritual some two hundred years ago and became a humagi." Mei Ling said.
"What's a humagi?" Harry asked.
"It's a dragon who can turn into a human. Here, watch." Mei Ling replied.
Mei Ling's body began to shrink rapidly then change form until a pretty Chinese woman was standing in its place. "Wow, that's what I'm talking about can you teach me that? Er…not human…I'm already human…but into a dragon?" Harry asked.
"I could, its powerful magic if used correctly, it won't help me escape though because of the wards. The ritual also involved a human sacrifice. I believe your kind would call it 'dark magic'." Mei Ling said using her human voice. Her clothing looked very old. She also appeared to be sweating. She quickly changed back into her dragon form. "It's draining under these wards. I would also assume that to perform the ritual you would need to sacrifice a dragon and not a human."
"Don't worry about the wards. I'm working on a crude plan at the moment. If all goes right, you will be out and I think I can just overpower the other three cage's wards with any type of offensive spell. Their only strength is holding you on the inside. If we do this deal however I'm going to require a magical oath." Harry insisted. Never trust a dragon.
The dragon laughed in Harry's mind. It was a strange sound. "You do not trust easily, that is wise. I suppose I should be upset about you sacrificing one of my sisters but you can use the Horntail. I've never met one of that kind that I liked."
Over the next long hours the dragon and Harry completed most of their deal. One last part of the deal would be done during the tournament. The preparation for the ritual was mentally taxing. The running back and forth to the castle for various ingredients and implements, all while not being accosted, took some time. The actual ritual was magically draining too. Manipulating a fully grown unconscious dragon was no easy feat. Afterwards Harry stumbled into one of the tents and lay down. He didn't wake until the next morning. He was surprised to find all the handlers still knocked out. I must have been angry again.
Under Mei Ling's supervision he cleaned up all evidence of the ritual including harvesting all useable parts of the sacrificed dragon.
One by one he woke the handlers and besides asking Charlie a few strategic questions, just obliviated them. Sorry about that Charlie. He'd never cast the memory charm before and assumed the blank look they all adopted was typical and no unintended brain damage had occurred. He just thought about all the wizards going to bed the previous night as was normal while he cast the spell.
Later that day, after waking, Harry arrived at the great hall in time for dinner and ate enough for a dragon. He endured several lectures from students and staff about skiving class. He grunted at the appropriate times but mostly ignored them while enjoying his meal. Snape was calling for Harry's expulsion as he stood to leave so Harry kicked him in his other shin. This time other people joined Harry laughing while Snape howled and hopped around on one leg. The greasy git actually got his wand out though and cast some dark looking spells at Harry, who just kept laughing and ran out of the hall.
Savior-of-the-Wizarding-World 3 Snape 0!
Later Ron and Hermione caught up with him walking towards the common room. "So Harry um...You were gone all night?" Hermione asked.
Harry just grinned in response. Hermione huffed. Ron glared at Harry. Harry gave Ron a friendly punch in the shoulder. Ron staggered and cursed.
"Harry you need to stop punching people specially girls!" Hermione almost shouted.
Harry noticed Ron didn't seem as tall. The dragon had told him his body would make adjustments and he would retain a small measure of the 'dragon' in his human form. Hmm I just noticed my pants are too short. If my pants are too short that must mean...Sweet Merlin I'm average height!
"Ron isn't a girl, Hermione!" Harry defended.
Ron glared. Hermione huffed. Harry looked down his nose at Hermione, just because he could.
"Did you hear one of the dragons escaped?" Hermione asked.
"Hear when? I've been asleep all day?" Harry answered innocently.
"Well apparently the first task was to be something involving dragons. They had four of them penned up in the forbidden forest. The handlers all stormed into the castle shouting about how one dragon escaped. No one had seen it so they assumed it was gone. They're sending some handlers back to the preserve to fetch another one." Hermione gushed out.
"Not to change the subject but I've been doing this weird magic that makes my punches and kicks way stronger...with just a little more effort I could easily break Snape's leg...also some other stuff like a shield. It was accidental at first but now I can do it whenever I want. Do you know anything about that or what it's called Hermione? Harry asked.
"Any magic that empowers the body or mind or another body or mind by ritual, spell or possesion is referred to generally as Sorcery." Hermione lectured.
"Sorcery eh?" Harry looked thoughtful.
"Yeah Harry and it's considered dark but not as dark as a Parselmouth." Ron grinned.
"So I'm a Sorceror?" Harry half-joking asked. "But I didn't use a ritual, spell or possesion."
Harry had done one ritual, he called it the 'dramagi ritual' but he wasn't about to tell anyone because it didn't have anything to do with his 'weird magic'.
"Well Harry you've not really done anything by the book then, have you?" Hermione asked.
"No, I guess you are right." Harry agreed. They were quiet and thinking for a bit.
"So the first task is dragons, eh?" Harry said breaking the silence. "That should make it easier, now I can prepare or something. How do you prepare for a dragon?"
Ron with balls and confidence firmly reattached laughed, "Harry you are so dead…oh…I didn't mean it like that."
Hermione smacked him hard on the back of the head.
"Ow!" Ron yelled while rubbing his head.
"You have the sensitivity of a Dementor Ron." Hermione sighed. "Don't listen to him Harry, you can do this."
Hermione tried over the next weeks to get Harry into the library to study and prepare for the task. Ron always begged off, he was still sore about his balls from time to time. Harry usually just read anything that caught his attention. Whenever Hermione tried to lecture him he insisted he would just 'wing it'.
He sometimes escaped the castle to practice his transformation. It was wicked fun but he would not be using it in the tournament. Harry decided the ability should be classified top secret to all but him. Besides, he didn't need any super powers for the task. The Fireball had been bribed with her freedom. Harry would appear the innocent victim as much if not more than anyone else.
The day of the first task found Harry walking on the grounds with Hermione and Ron. Ron gave him a comforting pat on the back as they approached a large tent. Hermione got weepy and gave Harry a big hug. Harry let his hands slide down to Hermione's butt while grinning over her shoulder at a glaring Ron.
"Don't worry guys I have a plan." Harry stated confidently.
They both nodded and headed off as Dumbledore approached. "Harry I know we've been at odds as of late but I wish you only the best of luck today."
"Be sincere even if you don't mean it." Harry quipped back.
Dumbledore tilted his head sadly while looking at Harry. "I can see some fair amount of animosity still exists. That is my fault entirely and I hope to one day make it up to you. But as for today we must endure Harry."
"Easy for you to say. You aren't meant to be dragon food." Harry grumbled.
"Harry don't dwell on the negative. I have all the confidence in the world that you will survive and might possibly win the day." Dumbledore encouraged.
"Headmaster that's nice but I have lost all confidence in you. It's your fault I'm in this tournament against my will and I still consider that 'magical contract' thing a big load of bollocks. Why do you insist on trying to kill me every bloody year?" Harry asked angrily.
Dumbledore started to respond but apparently it was a rhetorical question as Harry ducked into the tent cutting him off.
Inside the tent were the three other champions plus Ludo Bagman, oddly enough, carrying a bag. Mei Ling had known about the bag and its contents as they were made by the reserve wizards who were pretty good with any type of magic dealing with dragons; not so good at dueling however. The pretty humagi had given Harry clever spells to manipulate the bags contents to assure getting the fireball for himself.
As it turned out Cedric Diggory got the Common Welsh Green. Fluer Delacour pulled the Swedish Short-Snout and Victor Krum had the bad luck to get the new Hungarian Horntail. Harry of course received the Chinese Fireball as planned.
Harry half listened but mostly dozed away during the other performances. Finally he heard his name called.
Harry stepped into the arena and waved to all the cheering people. He kept his eye on the Chinese Fireball at the same time. He noticed a lot of regular wizards and witches had shown up besides the students. The noise was deafening. Harry suddenly sprinted forward and ducked behind a large rock. Fireball after fireball hit the rock. The rock and the air around it began to heat up. Harry shouted from behind the rock, "Accio Firebolt!"
Nothing happened but the dragon kept up a constant barrage. After a couple minutes Harry's broom settled into the air beside him. Harry shot into the air and let loose a volley of seemingly random reducto curses at the dragon designed to distract while Harry gained some valuable air. One of the curses however struck the dragon and just bounced off. Another curse broke the chain holding the dragon back and it took to the air after Harry. The crowd was screaming in horror. As soon as the dragon cleared the stadium it began to resume sending fireball after fireball at Harry. Harry, as expected, dodged them all with barrel rolls and hairpin turns and a variety of other impressive moves. The dragon and seeker began to drift towards the Forbidden Forest eventually. The crowds perspective was beginning to degrade and some of the fireballs looked dangerously close. Each succesive fireball drew its own chorus of screams, mostly from the females in the crowd but some from the likes of Malfoy and the Creevey brothers.
Eventually the crowd quieted as the duo completely disappeared over the forest. People looked around in confusion not sure what to do.
Meanwhile, over said forest, the battle stalled over the dragon encampment. The dragon continued to send fireballs nonstop. Harry seemingly in response sent harmful spells back. The reserve wizards guarding the other dragons were running around in a panic as fireballs and spells that missed their target damaged the camp. Soon the wards on the three cages collapsed and some fireballs melted some of the steel. The three other dragons roared and snapped the rest of their cages like twigs. The Short-Snout, Horntail and the Welsh Green rose into the air and after Harry. As Harry made his last pass on the demolished campsite he shouted down, "Someone help me!"
As the four Dragons followed Harry in the air back towards Hogwarts Harry couldn't help the large grin that appeared on his face. The Fireball had temporarily stopped with the barrage. The other three weren't in on the deal so they were actually still trying to catch Harry and either eat him or burn him to a crisp, or burn him to a crisp then eat him. The plan, as it was, was working very well. Mei Ling had informed the other dragons that an escape was being planned and they should follow her lead to freedom. The other three weren't nearly as intelligent, or old, or wise so it wasn't a very hard thing to accomplish.
As the group of five cleared the trees Mei Ling began shooting fireballs again. The other three could only breath fire but it was short range so they mostly tried to just catch Harry in their gaping maws. The crowd commenced screaming again. Harry swooped over the stadium flashing all his trademark moves. Two of the dragons almost collided right over the Slytherins. The level of screaming intensified momentarily. Harry had enough fooling around and headed for his intended target, Hogwarts herself. Originally he considered it his home but just like the Dursleys it had become his hell.
The three enraged dragons and the fourth seemingly enraged dragon followed Harry to the best of their ability. Soon fireballs that 'missed' were raining down on the old castle. Harry had settled into one move on the Firebolt, the 'Wronski Feint.' Instead of plowing the dragons into the pitch however Harry was plowing them into all the towers. The three dragons all fell for the move over and over. The Chinese Fireball could be heard to make some strange barking noise from time to time.
Each time a dragon crashed into the castle it was either stunned or had to extricate itself from debris. Harry kept dodging the dragons like a madman, though the delays made it somewhat easier. The damage was verging on disaster proportions in a short time. The crowd from the stadium was now the crowd on the well tended grass surrounding the school. Each impact caused another scream or now groans too as people recognized their dorm or favorite part of the castle being razed. Large columns of black smoke poured up into the sky blotting out what little sun there was.
Fantastically Harry stilled survived without a scratch on him. His shoes and the bristles on his broom were a little scorched but other than that he was in excellent shape. As his last move in the plan Harry turned on his body shield, extended it to his broom and let one of the fireballs catch him. He plummeted to the ground leaving a fake trail of smoke behind Hagrid's cabin. Of course this caused the loudest scream yet. The dragons made to follow Harry down but hundreds of emboldened wizards, witches and elves(lead by Dobby) sent almost every spell known to wizardkind up at them. The four dragons flew away over the Forbidden Forest, Mei Ling still showing them the way. Harry walked out from behind Hagrid's cabin faking a limp and holding his broom. He also had a lot of soot on his face from Hagrid's firepit. Many people, who had been rushing towards the cabin, sighed in relief as they spotted him.
Harry walked up beside Dumbledore, glanced at him and turned to look at the castle as Dumbledore was doing, open-mouthed. Ron and Hermione walked up beside Harry.
Ron immediately commented, "I thought you were a goner."
Hermione agreed for once, "Me too."
All four of them, and the hundreds around the grounds, just stared disbelievingly at the completely destroyed and still burning castle.
Harry grinned, looked at Dumbledore and exclaimed, "I can't wait for the second task!"