A/N: I've been at uni all year and that takes priority. I'm doing Creative Writing so I have to focus my muse on non-fanfiction writing. Soz.
Harry got up from his seat in a daze. He barely felt Hermione pushing him towards Dumbledore, towards the podium, towards the damn Goblet.
"Good luck Harry." Dumbledore whispered to Harry as he passed.
Professor McGonagall ushered him into a side room off the Great Hall.
"Wait down there with the other Champions." She barely choked the last word out.
He walked down the spiraling staircase to a dimly lit room full of all manner of things. The three official Champions were wandering through the aisles.
The French girl, Fleur, was the first to notice him. "What is it, little boy? Do they want us back?" She asked him slightly mispronouncing the words due to her accent.
Harry only managed to nod before he heard noise coming from the staircase.
"-Must have cheated!"
"I TOLD YOU HEADMASTER!"
Headmaster Dumbledore came down with all four Heads of House, the heads of the other schools and two of the government officials in charge of the Tournament.
"Headmaster, look at his fake confused expression. He is obviously playing a prank on this whole event!" Snape sneered at him.
"Severus, you know nothing yet, so hold your tongue!" McGonagall said to him. They had always had a rocky relationship, especially during and after Quidditch matches between their respective houses.
"He obviously cheated! He must have asked an older student to enter his name for him. He can't be older than 15." The Durmstrang head glared at him.
"What is going on?!" Fleur shouted and everyone else stopped talking, though Harry noticed that the very tall woman from Beauxbatons was looking displeased at Fleur's actions.
"I'd like to find that out for myself, Miss Delacour. It seems as though someone has entered Mr. Potter's name in the Goblet of Fire under a 4th school's name and the Goblet chose him as the 4th Champion."
"But how can that be? This is Triwizard Tournament. That means 3 wizards not 4." Krum grumbled in his rough accent.
"I am well aware, Mr. Krum." Dumbledore then turned his eyes on Harry himself. "Mr. Potter, did you or did you not enter yourself in the competition?"
"No, sir." Harry replied.
"Did you ask a teacher or an older student to enter your name for you?"
"No, sir. I did not."
"He is obviously lying!" The French woman exclaimed.
"I am not!" Harry was starting to get annoyed at people not believing him. "I can prove it. I'll swear on my magic." So he did before anyone could object. When he successfully cast the Lumos spell after swearing on his magic, it proved that he wasn't the one to enter his name.
Professor Dumbledore said that he would look into it.
"Now that that's taken care of, I have to explain the first event of the tournament." Mr. Bagman started saying very animatedly. " The first event will take place on the 21st of November and the prize will help you figure out the second task, which will be in February. Good luck!"
"Wait!" Harry shouted at the retreating figure, who stopped. "What was that? How does that help us get ready for the task?"
"I'm afraid you'll have to figure that out on your own, Mr. Potter. This competition is based on thinking on your feet," Mr. Crouch (more like Mr. Grouch, Harry thought) said curtly, and with a swish of his cloak, disappeared up the stairs, followed by an energetic Mr. Bagman.
"So that's that. I expect your classmates and friends will have many questions," Dumbledore eyed Harry slightly, "which is why you all should head off to bed."
The three actual Champions nodded and were led out of the antechamber by their Heads. Harry, Professor Flitwick and Headmaster Dumbledore stayed behind.
"Albus, surely you're not going to make Harry compete in these deadly events? It's dangerous for fully trained wizards and Harry is just a 4th year. A bright one, but still nowhere near the skill level of any of the other Champions."
"I am well aware of the circumstances, Filius. But you know the rules as well as I do. If someone's name comes out of the Goblet they are forced to compete lest they loose their magic."
"Wait, Headmaster. Does that mean I have to at least try but I don't have to win any of the events?"
"Well, yes. I suppose so, Mr. Potter. What do you have in mind?" Dumbledore looked slightly surprised.
"I'll let you know once I've ran it by some people."
"Ah yes. Do consult Miss Granger and then we can have a nice little chat about your options. Now I do believe it's almost curfew and I doubt Mr. Filch will exempt you from wandering around the corridors, even if you are a Champion."
Harry and Professor Flitwick both made their way up to the Ravenclaw common room.
When they got in, Harry noticed that most of the house was still up, as if they were waiting to hear from him about what's going on.
"Students, I'd like to clarify a few things. Firstly, Mr. Potter is indeed the fourth Triwizard Champion. He was entered without his permission, and he did not enter himself, nor did he ask anyone else to enter his name for him. He swore on his magic, which proves that he was telling the truth." At this point Harry performed the Lumos spell so everyone could see that what their Head of House was telling them was true. "Secondly, this is a very dangerous competition for fully grown wizards and witches, but especially more so for wizards who haven't finished their magical education, so I expect you to help Mr. Potter if he asks you for advice. That is all. Have a good night." With that he left a whole common room staring after him and then at Harry.
"Um, so yeah. What Flitwick said is true. I didn't put my name in, nor did I ask anyone to put it in for me. And you don't have to help me if you don't want to." Harry walked over to Hermione and Draco and dragged them over to a corner to discuss the matter further.
"Harry! Are you alright? You were all in there for so long, I was worried!" Hermione latched her arms around his neck and held on tightly.
Harry wrapped his arms around her equally tight, as if he needed someone to hold on to. "Hermione, I'm fine. I'm right here. Nothing's happened yet."
"Nothing better happen to you Harry James Potter!" She admonished him and just held on tighter. Harry chuckled a bit but let her.
"Mate, what happened down there? What did they say?" Draco asked.
"Well, basically, Snape thought I was playing a prank, the other school Heads thought I was cheating so Hogwarts would have an edge on them. Dumbledore and Flitwick were the only ones who waited to hear what I had to say before jumping to conclusions."
"That's awful! How did you convince them?"
"I'm not sure I did completely. I mean, I proved that I still have my magic, but I bet Karkaroff and Madame Maxime still think Dumbledore got me in for some reason. As if having one Hogwarts Champion wasn't enough." Harry scoffed.
"Harry," Draco said tentatively. "Do you t-think that B-Bellatrix did this?"
Harry sighed and both of his friends took that as agreement. "I don't have proof of that, I mean, no one does, but it's the most likely scenario, isn't it?"
The next morning was chaotic. Some of the Hufflepuffs gave Harry dirty looks, as well as heckles from Weasley and his lot from Slytherin on the way down to breakfast. Dumbledore gave a speech over their scrambled eggs and toast saying that there shouldn't be any animosity towards the youngest Champion, as it is a dangerous tournament and that Harry was much too young to be forced into it. As a side-note he mentioned that everyone should be doing their best to help him research the tasks and practice the spells, if he asks for help, as you would with any other Champion.
"At troubling times such as these, with threats that haven't bothered the wizarding community for 13 years now on the loose, the school and all its inhabitants must be closer than ever. It is our loyalty to Hogwarts and each other that will save us when danger strikes." He emphasised when, ruling out any possibility that Bellatrix will just go away on her own free will. She had a mission and she would finish it. She waited long enough for it.
This unnerved some of the students and breakfast was quieter after that.
In all of Harry's classes he still sat surrounded by his friends. Draco and Hermione unwaveringly stood by his side, putting anyone with a hateful look or spiteful snark in their place.
Harriet and Hannah ran up to him during breakfast, hugged him and Hannah made him pinkie promise not to die or get hurt. Harriet told him to come looking for her if he needed any help with practicing spells.
All of Harry's teachers, with the exception of Snape, who would never be nice or kind to the Potters, only doing the bare minimum to not fail him when unnecessary, offered to help him in any way.
Harry and the gang sat at their usual table in the library after lessons, finishing up any homework. Hermione took the longest as per usual, managing to get all the little details in the 12 inches of parchment. Draco and Harry did the best they could without shooting for the stars when it wasn't even OWL year. When Hermione finished writing she turned to Harry expectantly.
"Okay, I'm done. What did you want to run past me? Are you unsure about mentioning a Potions ingredient in your essay or something?" She asked.
Harry shook his head slightly. "No, nothing like that. I have an idea about how to avoid dying in the tournament."
She perked up a whole lot. "Okay, what is it?"
"Well, I already asked Dumbledore his thoughts and he agreed that I should run it past you. Basically, I can step into the Task ground and then pretty much say 'Okay, I tried. Now I give up.' What do you think?"
"That doesn't sound bad. You actually have a chance at surviving it now." Hermione thought it over.
"The only problem is that the whole school will think you're a coward." Draco added.
"I'd much rather be an alive coward than a dead hero." Harry replied. "I'll let the actual Champions go for it. I don't care enough about a title or some gold to risk my life. They are the ones to whom this was so important so I'm not going to steal their thunder." Harry was determined about being honest with the Tournament. No, he didn't want to be here, but he had to make the best of the situation, while not interfering with the actual competitors.
A/N: Well, that's all for this chapter. Sorry for the long wait but my university commitments MUST come before writing fanfiction. If you have any thoughts, go ahead :)
If you want to chat, I have a tumblr so just message me on distresseddeernoise