I put this disclaimer up once and it applies to THIS ENTIRE WORK:
The characters, the universe and anything you can obviously recognize DO NOT belong to me and are the property of JK Rowling and whoever owns the copyrights.
There will be large chunks of canon material where I have made minor adjustments and changes to fit with my story as I am rewriting JKR's work to suit my taste, style and preferences. So that obviously belongs to her.
There were accusations of plagiarism for a draft of this fanfiction (first two chapters were uploaded) when I was gauging interest and whether this would be worth writing. I crossed checked and found there were a number of similarities between my fanfiction and Robst's "Can't Have It Both Ways." I HAVE his permission to use the general idea and a few specific ones/scenes as well. Therefore: My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Robst for letting me take his general idea/plot and run with it in my own direction.
Goblets of Revelations
"I didn't put my name in that Goblet!" said Harry, starting to feel angry.
"Yeah. Ok," said Ron, in exactly the same skeptical tone as Cedric, "Only you said this morning you'd have done it last night, and no one would've seen you … I'm not stupid you know."
"You're doing a really great impression of it," snapped Harry.
"Yeah?" said Ron, and there was no trace of a grin, forced or otherwise, on his face now. "You want to get to bed, Harry, I expect you'll need to be up early tomorrow for a photo call or something."
He wrenched the hangings shut around his four-poster, leaving Harry standing there by the door, staring at the dark red velvet curtains; now hiding one of the few people who he thought would believe him. Harry's patience ran out on him at that moment, "If you're not stupid, then you're the best actor in the wizarding and muggle worlds combined, because every professor is convinced you're a dumb ass!"
Harry ripped the Gryffindor banner that someone had draped around his shoulders like a cape and tossed it on his bed. Seconds later, both the banner from his shoulders and the one spread across his bed were banished across the room. He knew that the party would continue for hours and he was not going to get to sleep any time soon - not that sleep would come soon for the very troubled teenager. Everything that had gone on tonight, got him wondering, and worried about whether he would ever get to experience the "normal" life that a teenager was supposed to get. This year, it was clear, was already shaping up to be one where "normal" would mean a growth in his fame or infamy.
After his name had come out of the Goblet of Fire, Hermione had stamped on his foot twice and then had to literally push him out of his seat. The gathered students of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang were all fixated on him, with a mix of surprise, disbelief, hatred, and anger in varying quantities. The face that stood out, and perhaps hurt the most was that of Cho Chang. Even if he would only admit it to himself in the deepest darkest of holes, on the loneliness of nights, her expression had crushed all romantic notions. In all likelihood, she would date one of the Dementors of Azkaban before going out with him.
Only his alleged family had been able to give him those kinds of looks. Add to that Fleur Delacour scathing remark about him being a "little boy," Harry almost wished the ground would have just opened up and swallowed him whole. Then his best mate had called him a liar. Harry found himself wondering whether he would survive the night, let alone the rest of the school year.
However, there was a slim ray of hope. No matter what insanity he was a part of, from three headed dogs and trolls to freeing Azkaban convicts; one girl he had always been interested in had stood by his side. More significantly, he had not seen her at the celebration in his honor. Ron had broken two friendships and in the process shattered Gryffindor's Golden Trio. Harry was not too sure what to make of that, but he did admit that things were suddenly a lot easier. She had stood by him for almost three years, through it all, providing good advice whenever she could. He knew he would need her more than ever: His first last and only hope of surviving the tournament. If she refused… well there was hope that the first task would kill him.
Sunday saw him rise early, as had been his habit since the summer holidays as he descended the spiral staircase and in to the grounds of Hogwarts, to continue his pattern of running and working out. He'd started during the summer, partly to give him something to do, partly to help him evade Dudley and his gang, who's favorite summer past time was still "Harry Hunting." Those were not the only reason he reminded himself grimly. The next time, he had the opportunity, any opportunity Peter Pettigrew was going to pay. He bypassed the Great Hall, not bothering to slow down as he jogged his way past the arched double doors.
The common room was like his dorm deserted and he took his time, after his morning workout, the heat of the shower worked out some of the cramps and aches after having pushed himself a little too hard. By the time he was clean, dressed, exited the portrait hole, and moments from congratulating himself on escaping the Gryffindor common room without incident when he collided with the witch he was hoping to find. The flask of pumpkin juice was all right, but the toast wound up getting somewhat flattened between them.
It was the simplicity of the gesture. Where others had gone out of their way, throwing parties, slapping him on the back, and offering congratulations, all it took was a stack of maligned toast and juice, "Hermione… Thanks."
Many called her the brightest witch of the age. She smiled sweetly, "Don't worry Harry, I figured you wouldn't want to go anywhere near the great hall this morning." A mouthful of toast kept him quiet as she quickly brought him up to speed on things, "The Hufflepuffs think you stole their thunder, Cho is Cedric's girlfriend and turned Ravenclaw against Gryffindor – well you specifically. Slytherin… Slytherin would rather see Fleur, Victor, even Cedric win. Anyone but Harry Potter," she hesitated, "As it is, nearly all of Gryffindor will stand with you."
Harry knew whom one of those who would not stand with him was, and he probably was not the only one, just the only one honest enough to voice and stand by his incorrect opinion, "Yeah but they think it, even if they won't say that I cheated my way in to the competition."
"Harry, one look at your face last night and I knew you didn't put your name in that goblet, and anyway you know you can't keep secrets from me. I've already started work on a training schedule, researching what spells could be useful…"
Harry tossed his juice aside, as he pulled Hermione in to a hug, silencing the young witch. They finished with their foreheads resting against one another as Harry fought to get himself under control before speaking, "Thank you. I just don't know what else to say… and those two words, they aren't enough…" Something clicked, for both of them, inside, on the metaphorical other deeper and more important level. He leant in to her, and she did not resist.
Hermione Jane Granger had been dreaming for at least a year about this kiss. Not kissing Harry per se, but more along what it would be like to get kissed by someone who was attracted to her, not intimidated or scared of her intellect and quite possibly even loved her. That the boy in question was Harry Potter was another thing entirely. She had fallen for him, a crush, that she kept hidden, not willing to risk their friendship over it. Now, suddenly she was kissing him, he was kissing her and it left her feeling as if she had just been obliviated, and she loved it. Everything was suddenly, inexplicably right with the world. She kissed him again, just to make sure she was not having some daydream, "Harry James Potter," she teased, "If you think I would let anyone but my boyfriend kiss me then you don't know me very well."
He blushed, "Your boyfriend for as long as you'll have me," he whispered softly. She broke in to a smile and then a giggle as he suddenly lifted her off her feet and spun her round in a circle, staggering a little to both the left and then the right, away from the portrait entrance to Gryffindor tower, as the Fat Lady smirked at the sight. "Well, it's about time." The self-satisfied smirk seemed to linger in the frame as she wandered off to spread the news to the castle's otherworldly residents.
Her heart melted at the expression on Harry's face. She had seen him laugh, smile, and even joke around a little in the years that she had known him, but she had never ever seen him, so happy, so at peace with the world. Calm happiness, mirrored in his eyes that echoed a love and concern that she just instinctively knew meant he would never do anything to hurt her. Harry led her through the castle, and she had figured out their destination, "Hermione I promise you'll know everything I do; I just want us to have a quiet place to discuss things, without having to worry about anyone walking in. He lead her down to the first floor bathroom: The haunt of Moaning Mrytle who was sobbing in the U bend of her toilet, ignoring all who came, much like the pair who entered and then opened the Chamber of Secrets with a hiss of parseltongue. He blinked for a moment, and hissed something else. Hermione blinked, as stairs appeared, "Didn't think of that last time."
The descended just enough for them to seal the entrance behind them, their wands lighting their way as she finally rounded on her boyfriend, "I've been a good little girlfriend and we can't be heard, let alone found down here," if there had been any ambiguity, she dispelled it, "Spill!"
"After my name came out of the goblet last night, the adults in the room all agreed that I was being setup. And not for something good either," she rolled her eyes - that much was obvious, "They all had opinions and ideas but nobody seemed to give a damn about mine!" his fist slammed in to the stone wall with a thud as the words came tumbling out a wave of recrimination and damnation, "Everyone who's supposed to be looking after me, watching out for my safety and welfare has failed. And it doesn't seem like they're going to do anything other than leave me as a sacrificial lamb," his laugh was mirthless, '"I'll give you one guess though…" she did not need that one guess. She knew: Voldemort.
Hermione did the only thing she could do, wrapping her arms around his waist, just holding him as she tried her best to reassure him, "You, don't have to do this alone. I already told you that I would help you in any way I could. Spells, research, whatever I can, to help you get what you want."
"What I want," he somehow turned to face her without either of them letting go, "is to get out of this tournament, and just have a normal year, as a teenager without problems without fighting for the wizarding world, or being the target of a lunatic or something." Hermione was suddenly very worried. Even more worried than she had been when his name had first emerged from the Goblet the night before, "Beyond you, I don't know who to turn to for help," he whispered in to her hair wondering if it was her shampoo or her that had the scent of wild flowers.
She stood and wondered, pondered and worried, "I have an idea," she said slowly, heading off his most obvious guess, "Dumbledore was there last night and you told me he wants you to compete in this tournament, to smoke out whoever set you up in the first place. That means that rest of the staff will probably fall in right behind him. I think," she hesitated for a moment before forging ahead, "we should go to Gringotts."
"Gringotts?" he gawked at her, "The bank?" the piece fell in to place, "The Goblins?"
She nodded, "They know a great deal about Wizarding Law, because of all the work that they do with and for Wizards. They also know who you are and how famous you are. I think they would help you, just to aggravate the Ministry."
"Goblin – Wizard relations have been poor for several decades now. Even when the Ministry handed control of the bank back to the Goblins after the First War, they felt that their honor and integrity was questioned by not just the Ministry but tarnished in the eyes of every other branch of Gringotts all over the world. Gringotts and the Ministry have been at odds ever since." She explained an expression of amusement on her face at his somewhat dumbfounded expression, "I do pay attention in History of Magic you know."
"You'd be the one, Hermione," he smiled, taking any sting out of the words, "You'd be the only one." He hesitated for a moment, "Do you have any idea how we're going to get to London? It's too far to fly on a broom," Hermione shuddered at the suggestion, "and somehow, I don't think we'd get permission to go even if I asked Dumbledore."
Neither of them could create a portkey and they were definitely too young to apparate, but the solution was simple, elegant, and obvious once they gave the matter some thought: Owl. A few hours of research on the few tomes regarding Goblin culture and etiquette and Hedwig took to the skies with the carefully worded letter. Now all they had to do was wait, and somehow survive the anger of three houses, two foreign magic schools and an angry Ronald Weasely.
Despite the incredible depths of Gringotts, the Owls always knew exactly where to turn and fly to navigate the vastness of the bank that went deep underground. The Snowy Owl named Hedwig, knew exactly where to find the recipient of the letter tied to her ankle. She hooted quietly, to draw the Goblin's attention Griphook blinked, and stretched out his arm, letting the owl. The owl gave him a simple dignified nod that would not have been out of place on a politician currying favor with a financial backer. Griphook grinned and reached in to his pocket for a scrap of meat jerky that he shared with the Owl who now rested on the edge of his desk. The Goblin had risen through the ranks since he had escorted the eleven-year-old boy to his vault for the first time.
Greetings Honored Griphook.
May your gold forever multiply as your enemies suffer horrible death upon your blade. I, Harry James Potter, wish to call upon the aid of Gringotts in resolving my involuntary participation in the Ministry of Magic Organized Tri-Wizard Cup Tournament...
The letter went on in detail citing the relevant laws and clauses. The case presented in the letter was that while there was a legal, binding magical contract, and that Harry's participation could not be nullified or voided without severe magical penalty. However, as a minor competing in the tournament, that opened up a number of avenues for Gringotts to cause all manner of problems for the Ministry of Magic. Grabbing a quill and a length of parchment, Accounts Manager Griphook, suddenly found that things were looking up, especially if the Harry Potter wanted him to handle the matter.
Goblins are if nothing else, quick to spot a business opportunity and the fact that Griphook had received the request from Mr. Potter personally, his superiors had no qualms about assigning him both the account and an immediate promotion to reflect its importance. Failure to keep such a customer happy would of course, immediate death upon crossed spears, as was tradition and custom. Senior Accounts Manager Griphook suddenly had a great deal to do, including retrieving a copy of the tournaments rules and regulations from archives, before unleashing the bank's team of legal experts on the matter. On top of that, he had to draft a reply to Mr. Potter.
Monday morning was bright and sunny and Harry was soaked. He had been up since a little after five in the morning and had completed his run, but kept jogging on the spot; it was a little after six in the morning and Hermione was not that far behind him. She caught up several minutes later, breathing hard but not quite out of breath. It was a good sign he supposed, she would catch up with him soon enough.
The couple had kept their new relationship as quiet as possible, not wanting to draw any additional attention to Harry but also because he was afraid that it would make her a target for who knows what. Sunday had been easy enough barring a few verbal arrows and one actual projectile, sans arrowhead from a particular irate Hufflepuff 5th year that was now facing detention.
That was about to change.