Note: a few things at the beginning of the chapter won't make sense until the end of the chapter so please be patient with me.
And I would like to thank everyone who is still reading this story. On the plus side, I have motivation to write. It's this or my Grad School Applications! Trust me, they suck.
Disclaimer – NOT MINE!
Chapter 8 – To Hogwarts come Durmstrang by Sea and Beauxbatons by Air
By September they were back in school and by September's end the twenty-two students and two professors who were a part of the Durmstrang contingency were somewhere in the North Sea sailing to Hogwarts.
At 1500 hours, they'd known they were sailing into a rapidly growing storm and had hoped that their 2000 hour deadline would be met. By 1900 they realized they were far from reaching their goal and were forced to send word to Hogwarts that they would be delayed. They were forced to drop anchor and spent the next two hours fortifying the ship before lights out at 2100. In spite of the 30 foot waves reaching the ship, the twenty three people who were still awake at 2100 found themselves rocked the crew of the ship like babies in the cradle.
Karkaroff, their esteemed Headmaster, retired to his cabin at 1700 hours – just as they encountered the storm. The absence of their esteemed Headmaster went unnoticed even as their Deputy Headmaster Sasha Kamarov's presence and assistance went not only noticed but was greatly appreciated by the students crewing the ship.
The next morning the ship-wide alarm went off at 0500 and breakfast was on the table in the galley by 0530 – along with copious amounts of coffee.
They sat beneath the swinging lantern on the rough wooden table in the galley near their enchanted bedrooms where they would sleep for the next nine months.
Konstantin Wagner was stocky and somewhat short in comparison with the other 7th year males and was burly at 5' 11" (1.8 m). He took after his mother's gypsy coloring and his father's square face and short hair. "Rowthan."
"Da?" Harry asked as he turned to his friend as they sat down.
"Have you thought about Karkaroff's request?" Konstantin asked as he shrugged off his jacket, he'd been one of four who had the night shift and was looking forward to docking at Hogwarts if only so he could get back on a normal sleep schedule and not have to go another 57 hours without sleep.
The room went silent as everyone waited to hear his opinion.
"If we sit with the Slytherins at Hogwarts we will label ourselves as Dark and as potential followers of the English Dark Lord as soon as we sit down."
The lot of them shook their heads, not one of them would join the Dark Lord – especially when the man tried to kill pureblood children.
"We will not have such a Mark upon us." Marik Alexandrei, the top 6th year student, said as he went over to the stove and poured himself a cup of coffee. It looked like the tall and lean Russian just came below deck, his face red with the brisk cold of the North Sea. "It is bad enough we come with Karkaroff and our school is known to have taught Grindlewald."
"We have already… what is the saying? Three strikes … We already have two." Adalie Konig said in English.
"We all know it should be Vasiliev in the Captain's Cabin." Victor said to widespread approval and consensus. They were doing their best to speak as much English as they could but a few of their number still only understood it and could barely speak it. They didn't want to think how badly their English might have been without Rowthan at Durmstrang all of these years.
"You have friends at Hogwarts, Rowthan. What do you suggest?" Lorah Fuchs, a blue eyed girl with an oval face and long, slightly wavy hair, enquired from where she sat next to her good friends Adalie Konig and Lara Malenkov.
Harry sighed, "Will told me that the Slytherins are associated with Voldemort. Gryffindors are associated with the ones who fight them."
"And the neutral ones?" Marik asked.
"Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw."
"The Healer?" Adalricus "Ric" Weber asked.
"Hufflepuff was a Healer, yes."
"Which you would know if you read "Hogwarts, A History" Ric." Adalie reprimanded. "I can loan you my copy, if you still wish to."
"Blagodarya," Ric said gratefully. While the school was in the north, so many of the students came from Russia and other Slavic countries that an unofficial language had to be declared at Durmstrang; it came down to two – Russian and Bulgarian. Many students refused to learn Russian thanks to Stalin even though the Imperial House of Romanovf still ruled over Magical Imperial Russia. "Healers are known for their neutrality."
"We will sit with those of the Healer. Is everyone in agreement?" Harrison asked.
They nodded their consensus and dug into their breakfast of porridge and coffee. It was about the only thing the 6th years, who had cooking duty this morning, could prepare without having the ship docked for another few hours while everyone recovered from food poisoning.
After breakfast, Harrison went upstairs to explain things to their Deputy Headmaster regarding their decision.
Kamarov seemed hesitant to give his approval until the man (with dark grey eyes and medium length honey blonde hair) thought about it. If the students sat with Slytherin they would be labeled Dark but if they sat with Gryffindor they would be labeled as traitors – both of which were dangerous. By choosing to sit with a neutral house, they were declaring that they would be neutral at Hogwarts.
Harry went below deck and informed his classmates of Kamarov's approval and that they were to surface at Hogwarts after an hour of immersion and to begin casting spells to help the ship make the transition.
James Potter waited with the other teachers, staff and students for the arrival of the Durmstrang Delegation. From what he understood, they hit a rough patch the night before and were delayed. He didn't really blame them as the situation was out of their control but Madame Maxime appeared cross when she learned of the delay.
From where he stood, he could hear many students –including Jacob- talking amongst themselves as to how the Dumstrang Delegation would arrive.
Then the lake began to bubble.
Several students gasped as the large ship burst through the water with a splash.
He couldn't help but notice when a young man swung down from the crow's nest before shouting something in Bulgarian to the rest of the crew.
Soon, the anchor was dropped and a platform connected the ship to the dock and one-by-one twenty-two students and two professors walked out and met them in front of the group.
James quickly spotted the green eyes belonging to his son and caught the subtle glance that was quickly hidd3en when Rowthan turned to a beautiful red haired young lady – with the Rowthan ring on her left finger.
Harrison caught his father's eye for a moment before he turned to Katarzyna, knowing his father would see the ring.
'He proposed.' James realized with a flash of regret that he had not been there for his son. 'About time.'
Over the years, James often met with his son who asked for his advice. Regarding Kiprian, and then Katarzyna. James had, at first, thought that Katarzyna was taking advantage of his son until he realized that Harry had feelings for the darling Dane. When Harry wanted his father's blessing (which he asked before the Dmitrovs), James knew that Harry had found 'the one'…
James was just glad it wasn't a muggleborn.
It sounded racist, and it very well might have been, but at one time James had loved a darling fire-red haired young witch who was born to muggles. Unfortunately, that darling witch did not seem to understand that she was marrying a descendant of the Thirteen and what all that entailed.
She did not understand noblesse oblige and he was afraid that after 18 years of marriage that they would not see 20. She just could not handle having photos taken of her every time she went out of the house. How James would hear about it at Wizengamot meetings of the House of Lords if his wife wasn't seen at various charitable functions or going on inspections of James's holdings with him. The stress of her not coming was driving a wedge in their marriage that kept growing bigger and bigger.
Harry knew how bad it was, he knew that his father stayed at Potter Manor instead of going to Godric's Hollow. The house that Jacob and Lily lived in was barely more than a country house. With a measley five bedrooms, James didn't understand why Lily didn't want to move into Potter Manor where James spent his childhood with his loving parents and where Harry would stay whenever he was off from school for a few days at a time. The truth of it was that whenever Lord Potter had Heir Rowthan staying over, he would request those precious days off from work to devote time to his son and former heir. He'd offered Jacob the same opportunity but Jacob refused so many times that eventually James stopped asking. He wanted both of his sons together and yet Jacob just wanted to lounge around enjoying his celebrity.
At least James didn't make the front page every time he went out, and his son appeared to tolerate (if not enjoy) being in the spotlight.
It almost made James consider giving Harry back his heirdom of the Potter Lordship.
He wondered how those idiots in the House of Lords would react to that.
They went inside and the Durmstrang students shocked everyone when they sat, not at the Slytherin table, but at the Hufflepuff table.
When James and Snape caught Kamarov's smirk, they realized that even though the students surprised Karkaroff – Kamarov had not been so ill prepared
Then the Hogwarts students realized who was among the Durmstrang students – Krum and Rowthan.
It was not until Dumbledore called for silence that the hall finally quieted down.
"Thank you." Dumbledore said as he went to the podium in front of the teacher's table. "I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the students and staff of Durmstrang and say that I am glad that the storm did not delay their arrival further. I would also wish to take this opportunity to explain some changes to the Tri-Wizard Tournament."
The hall once again filled with whispers, even though the Durmstrang students remained quiet and diligently looked at the Headmaster.
"Silence, please." Dumbledore requested as he raised his hands again. Once the hall was silent he continued.
"The Tri-Wizard Tournament is open to all students of age and any underage student who has proper parental permission to enter. Let it be said that this tournament is not for the faint of heart. Assume that when you enter, your name WILL be called. This is no joke." Dumbledore further explained as he looked around the hall. To each of the Heirs of the Thirteen, descendants of the most noted families in Wizarding families whose ancestors boasted the honor of being Knights of the Realm of Avalon – knighted by Uther Pendragon - King Arthur's rather Anti-Magic father. They all looked so serious, even Jacob Potter.
"This Tournament is dangerous and in the past it was not uncommon for one or several of the Champions to die in pursuit of completing the tasks."
Silence was met at these words.
"Furthermore, it has been decided that two Champions will be chosen by an impartial judge. Names may be submitted for the next four weeks and the Champions will be announced during the Halloween Feast."
Harrison frowned at the word 'Halloween' he knew that Dumbledore did not follow most Pure Traditions as only a female from the Dumbledore line could inherit the maternal line. Daruka Dumbledore, great-great-neice of Albus Dumbledore and the first female born to the Dumbledore line since Ariana, was a powerful witch who was trained privately so as to be the impartial judge and leader of the House of Dumbledore.
"-for the chance to compete and win a two thousand galleon prize and the eternal glory that awaits the winners." Dumbledore said as Filch came into the hall with a small tower – standing no more than 1.5 meters – the top melted to reveal a large, jeweled encrusted goblet.
"The Goblet of Fire is the symbol of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Those wishing to enter will write their names on the cards provided by their Headmaster, or Headmistress." He said with a quick glance to Madame Maxime. "Those underage must have the signature of at least one parent on the back, the cards have been enchanted to ensure that the signatures are not forged in any way.
"So, without further ado. May the Tri-Wizard Tournament – begin."
Harrison sat at the Hufflepuff table while his fellow students snacked on the fruit in the bowls around them. He could feel the eyes of many Hogwarts students on them. He could easily guess what they were thinking about, most of them didn't have a clue that he and Victor were so young. They guessed (incorrectly) that he and Victor were out of school.
On his right, Katarzyna was glaring at one of the girls who dated to stare at her fiancé. The girl quickly looked away, to Katarzyna's pleasure.
"I want to go back to the ship."
Adalie looked at her, "Do not say you are jealous Katarzyna."
"Are you calling me, Katarzyna Dmitrova, jealous?"
"You are, are you not?"
"No, unlike them I have the ring." She said as she lifted her left hand and allowed for the ring to catch the light.
Harry turned to her, his fiancée having so many concerns was troubling. This woman was going to be his wife, his future Countess, he did not want her confidence to lower just because of a few fangirls. "Katarzyna?" he whispered.
"Yes?" she said as she turned to him.
"You should not worry for me, it is I who worries for you." He said as he looked into her eyes.
"Why?" she asked with a slight frown.
"Have you looked in a mirror recently? You are beautiful." He said as he lifted her left hand and kissed the engagement ring.
They sat to silence, all of them wondering when Karkaroff would stand so the Durmstrang students could leave.
It took another half an hour before the Durmstrang students were finally back onboard The Pelican. Once onboard, Kamarov gave the of-age students their name cards so they could fill them out and submit their names into the goblet at their own discretion.
The students who needed parental permission shrugged their indifference, knowing that the ten of them would submit their names as a united front – in front of the other students.
Katarzyna and Victor followed him into his room where certain wards were immediately activated to ensure their privacy.
"Did you see your father?" Katarzyna asked as she sat down on the edge of his bed while Harry stood next to his desk and Victor leaned against the wall next to the door.
The room was fairly Spartan and contained only the basics: a desk, a bed and a fairly comfortable chair – Harry sacrificed not having a wardrobe by having the desk but he did fashion a series of hooks so he could hang up clothes as he needed.
Harry nodded as he glanced at the milk chocolate colored bedding she sat upon. "My father knows me, he knows that I will want to talk to him."
"You are worried about something else." Victor injected. He knew his friend.
"What if he tried to enter?" Harrison worried aloud. Potter by name or not, Jacob was still his little brother and he still worried about him. The thought that his father would allow both of his sons to enter the Tournament made his heart clench. To him, Jacob was still the annoying little brother that tried to ride his Nimbus 500 and sprained his wrist when he hit a tree branch at the age of 6.
"Would your father give his permission?"
Harry shook his head, "No, but my mother might."
Katarzyna shook her head, "Does she not know of the dangers? We know them; if we had not we would not be here. The thought that a fourteen year old could not only enter the tournament but be accepted as a Champion… it is laughable."
Victor nodded his agreement, "Perhaps it is necessary to remind your father that the Tournament was and remains a danger for any and all persons who enter."
Harry nodded, "My father will listen to reason."
Katarzyna stood, walked over and hugged him, "Go to your father, he will listen."
Harry nodded as the two separated, constant physical contact could harm Kat's honor even if they were intended. "I hope so." He said as Konstantin knocked on the door. "Come in!"
Konstantin walked in with his left hand covering his eyes.
"Not funny Wagner." Victor said with a glare.
"It is a little funny." The teen defended as he leaned against the doorjam.
"May we enquire as to the purpose of your presence, Mr. Wagner?" Harry asked. By using the language he was, Harry was using a pure method to sound polite and show disapproval at the same time. It was a joke among many that Vic, Kat, and Harry were a threesome and Harrison was more than over the jokes.
Konstantin nodded, "Kamarov has given us permission to go down to the local village but only if all of our delegates were going to go."
Harry nodded as he looked to Katarzyna who already was near the door. "We will go."
The entourage left the room and Harrison went to his trunk. Non one in or at Durmstrang was foolish or dumb enough to try to break into a trunk that sent the first four who attempted to break into it to the infirmary for a solid month. No one dared to try again.
He removed a small sack of 50 galleons before closing, locking and warding the trunk. Then he joined the others.
Severus Snape POV
As he walked down to Hogsmede to pick up his order of porcupine quills, Severus Snape couldn't help but notice the Durmstrang students (wearing their blood red robes) as they walked from their ship and into Hogsmede. He immediately recognized Rowthan, the lad had his arm around the waist of a lovely young red haired lady he recognized from the Cup. Unlike some, the young lady had a genuine interest in potions and he spent more time debating certain techniques than actually paying attention to the match.
Rowthan appeared to notice him and waved in greeting and when Katarzyna turned to find out who he was waving to, she smiled and waved as well.
The two led their group over to the Potion's Master.
"Master Snape." Katarzyna said as she bowed in greeting to the Master of the Art.
"Miss Dmitrova." Severus said, returning the bow with a nod of his head – as custom.
"Everyone, this is Master Severus Snape – record holder of the youngest attained Mastery of Potions in Great Britain, Europe and all of Imperial Russia." She said by way of introduction.
They nodded and some bowed (to which Severus returned with acknowledgments) in way of greeting.
Konstantin stepped forward and bowed again, "It is an honor to meet you Master Snape. If I may, my name is Konstantin Wagner."
Severus raised an eyebrow, the dark haired young man looked remarkably like his mother (or sister, one could never know), "Wagner, as in Mistress Mariana?"
Konstantin nodded, "Yes, good Master. She is my mother."
"Pleasure." He said as they began to finally see Hogsmede over the next hill. "Be sure to extend my greetings."
"Yes, Master Snape, I shall." Konstantin said with a ghost of a smile.
"Enjoy your day." Snape said as he turned towards one of the back roads of Hogsmede. No one in their right mind would harm him. After all, Snape might not be the record holder for youngest Defense Mastery but he did have one.
"Goodbye Master Snape." They said before the two groups separated, each going their own way.
They spent the next few hours enjoying Hogsmede and Kat found a beautiful set of dress robes in a seamstress's shop along one of the back alleys in Hogsmede.
After she left the shop, Harry went inside and reserved a set for his fiancée and left it with a grin. He quickly spotted Konstantin, Marik and Kyril going into Zonko's. He shook his head, Drumstrang didn't approve of such juvenile things as pranks but the unwritten rule was that if they got pranked, they had 24 hours to retaliate.
He went into the shop, pausing to mentally sneer at a few things he wouldn't have been caught dead using – even as a first year.
He went over to the loud and obnoxious young men who spoke in Bulgarian. "Rowthan, you ought to see some of the things they sell to our poor Hogwarts cousins! We would have been laughed out of school if we used some of these…" Marik exclaimed.
"Nyet, all of these." Kyril corrected as they looked pointedly at the stand of itching and other powders.
Harry grinned, not even a first year would use any sort of powder. Especially when potions were so much more effective and harder to trace? Well, not on a public prank in any case. When roommates were at war, it was no holds barred, anything goes. Up to and including putting muggle hair removal in someone's shampoo, a brilliant idea by those who had familiarity with the muggle world.
They made a few select purchases, mostly gag items that they found funny, before joining the rest of the delegation at the Three Broomsticks.
It was there that the Press finally caught up with Rowthan and Krum who were all but forced to run to the ship with throngs of reporters following them and yelling out questions.
Camera's clicked madly until Krum and Rowthan entered Hogwarts gates where the Press were forbidden unless allowed by the Headmaster.
They all breathed a sigh of relief.