The universe portrayed in this story, along with most of its characters, belong to someone who isn't me. And that's a crying shame.
Author's Note: If you have read kb0's Unconventional Harry, you will notice a great similarity between his story and mine. (If you haven't read that, hie thee hence to read it – it's story 6377162 on FFN. Good stuff.) This is not the result of theft or of sharing notes. It's just one of those coincidence thingies. I would say that great minds think alike, but, frankly, I'm a knucklehead. Perhaps kb0 should be a little concerned…
On November 2, Harry sent Hedwig with an urgent message to Sirius. He'd have preferred to send a less conspicuous owl to the fugitive, but Hedwig was the only owl at his disposal which could get through Sirius's anti-mail charms. Dumbledore probably had owls of his own, but Harry wasn't going to go to Dumbledore for anything right at the moment.
On Saturday, November 12, Harry slipped off of Hogwarts's grounds and into the hills. He was slowed by a large sack; even with shrinking and lightening charms it was a burden.
"Sirius! I'm glad you could make it. Here. I imagine you'll want this first." The sack held a month's worth of food, conveniently laid out according to perishability.
Once his godfather could focus on anything besides food and his cavernous stomach, Harry described the crisis of the year.
"… and so you see, Sirius, there's no way I can win this. If the challenges are anything like what Hermione found for past tournaments, I'm not likely to even survive the first challenge. Hogwarts doesn't teach us anything useful."
"Well first of all, stop whining. Feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to help anything. And it's annoying me. And, worst of all, it doesn't do anything to get the ladies' clothes off."
Harry wanted to object to the accusation, but couldn't think of a way to say it without it coming out as a whine. Sirius drove on.
"Now, there's something you need to realize about what they teach at Hogwarts. The professors show you the fundamentals. The spells you learn in class are chosen to teach some specific point or to demonstrate something. The practical spells, you're supposed to learn on your own. Why do you think Hogwarts has such a huge library? Why do you think you have so much time off with no classes? Don't tell me you've just been goofing off and playing chess the last three years?"
"OK, don't bother to answer that. I can see it in your face. You'll need to straighten out your act, young man. Take a tip from your friend. What's her name, Herman-something? The girl who helped me a few months ago. I'll do my best to help you, but most of the responsibility will be on you, Godson. The good news is, you don't have to treat it like work. The Marauders used pranking as our motivation. You, well you've got this tournament. The only problem is, you're starting too late. I don't know if you'll be able to catch up enough, especially with just a month to the first task. One part of your whining was right, this tournament isn't for fourteen-year-olds."
The fugitive and the champion spent the rest of the day discussing Harry's likely challenges over the coming year, as researched by Hermione, and what he could possibly do to meet them.
"I'll tell you, Kiddo, it's going to be rough. I don't want to depress you, but you're starting from so far behind the other wizards."
"What if… What if I didn't come at this like a wizard? What would a muggle do? Like, one of the challenges will probably be a big creature. Muggles have all sorts of ways to kill animals."
"You might be on to something there, Harry. I might not be the best person to look into this. Pureblood, remember. But Remus lives in the muggle world and he was always more studious than me. We'll figure something out."
Soon it was time for Harry to return to the castle. He left Sirius the sack of food (somewhat diminished), his invisibility cloak (invaluable to a fugitive), and his Gringotts key (for funds to support Sirius and Remus as well as to purchase muggle items that could help Harry).
Back at the castle, Harry was accosted by his best female friend. Make that, best friend. Make that, only friend who wasn't an owl. As soon as they were private, Harry filled Hermione in on what he'd discussed with Sirius. And, for the sake of their friendship and all the help she'd given him over the years, told her about his dressing down.
"Hermione, could you help me figure out what I need to study? If I'm going to be here for the next four years, I need to make the most of my time. It's already clear I'm trapped in the magical world. I'm just a grade school dropout in the non-magical world."
The crushing hug told Harry that Hermione approved of his new goals and of course she'd help.
Two weeks later, Harry went alone to the Hogs Head on a Hogsmeade weekend. Hermione had expected to go with him, but accepted that he'd be meeting some people who trusted him to keep their location a secret. Of course, she extracted a promise to tell her everything he could, afterward. She wouldn't be Hermione if she didn't claim all knowledge as her province.
Remus gave Harry a large knapsack. "Here's everything we could think of and get hold of that might be useful. Your vault is a little depleted, but not too much. Most of this stuff we didn't exactly pay for. That's why Sirius isn't here. He's now a fugitive in two Eastern European nations as well as Britain. I'd yell at you for leading him into that, but you know Sirius. He thinks it's a great prank. Anyway, I've either included the instructions for the muggle stuff or written them if there weren't any. And I wrote notes for how to use the charms I put on each of the things. Read those notes first, otherwise you'll have a lot of trouble keeping this all hidden."
"And listen, Harry. Both Sirius and I want to see what you're learning on your own. Send Hedwig to me once or twice a month with what you've learned and your study plans for the coming month."
Alone in a locked, out-of-the-way classroom, Harry and Hermione opened the knapsack. It contained hundreds of miniature muggle weapons and tools and other, less identifiable things, each trailing a string with a clip. There was a dragon hide vest with dozens of little metals loops. And there were a few pieces of paper.
By now you've seen the toys we found you. DO NOT PULL THE STRINGS until you're ready. Each thing will grow to full size when the string is pulled off. The next page down tells you how to re-shrink them again and reapply the imperturbable charms. Practice with the box of manuals. That won't be hurt if you make a few mistakes at first.
We'll do our best to be nearby for your task, though I don't think we'll be able to help once you start. But still, we should be able to meet beforehand if you need it.
Padfoot and Moony
Predictably, Hermione blew a gasket when she saw the rifle and chainsaw and sword and other things. It took some fast talking before Harry was able to persuade her not to go straight to McGonagall.
"That was actually some very impressive rhetoric, Harry. You should know that it was your ability to put together a logical presentation on the fly that convinced me that you're not rushing in pell-mell with deadly weapons."
"What do you think this is, Hermione?" Harry asked, twiddling his wand. "We all carry deadly weapons. The only problem is, Hogwarts doesn't teach us how to do anything really effective. I'm just leveling the playing field — in a game I don't want to play."
The day of the first task arrived, inevitably. On the one hand, Harry had found out from Hagrid what the challenge was. Sirius still had his cloak, so Harry made use of his newly, and imperfectly, learned disillusionment spell to follow his large friend into the woods. On the other hand, Harry knew he was in for a difficult challenge. Not the dragon, so much; he had a plan and the equipment he needed. The real challenge would come after the dragon. It was a sure thing that all the wizards out there would not appreciate his muggle approach.
From inside the tent, it sounded as if all of the other three contestants had been injured. He couldn't tell how severely. Bagman's "Oh, that's going to leave a mark" wasn't terribly informative.
When his turn finally came, Harry strolled out casually. He had some nerves, but honestly not as much as before a quidditch game. In a match, the outcome was in doubt until he had the snitch in his hand. Today, the outcome with the dragon was not in doubt.
Harry spent the time during Bagman's blah-blah-blah-ing sizing up the arena: the position of the dragon, the location of the eggs, the tiers of seats for the audience. This was one thing he hadn't planned on. He'd have to be careful. Hitting innocent members of the audience by mistake was something he just would not do.
The whistle! Harry immediately shucked off his robes, revealing his armor vest, and more importantly making his selected equipment immediately available. Seconds counted, especially because he knew from experimentation that five seconds were needed for the miniatures to grow to full size.
Wand in hand and a shield spell on his lips, Harry trotted around the perimeter of the arena, taking the direction which kept him farthest from the eggs. The dragon kept a wary, and hostile, eye on him, but it wasn't until Harry was almost to his goal that she sent more than a few warning flames his way. Harry made it behind the boulder just in time.
Safe from the view of almost anyone, and especially the judges, Harry pulled off a trinket. This one expanded into a storage bag of warm, rabbit-sized gobs of meat. He banished them at the dragon one by one, watching her snap each of out the air.
And then the final toy. Harry lined up his RPG launcher carefully. Again, he refused to hit innocent bystanders. One last deep breath, squeeze the trigger, and … the dragon snapped the rocket right out the air, just as he'd trained her to do.
The look on the dragon's face, when she realized this wasn't another offering of meat, was priceless. And short-lived, as shortly she didn't have a face, or any head at all. But Harry was satisfied. The looks on the judges' faces were just as priceless, and highlighted by dragon gore. The RPG's shaped charge had been pointed directly at the judges' stand, so it wasn't surprising they'd taken the brunt of the splatter. Harry quickly shrank his launcher and then pulled out a camera with a large zoom lens and took a few close-ups to commemorate the moment.
"MR POTTER! What is the meaning of this?" Interesting. It didn't seem that Dumbledore needed a sonorus spell, at least not when he was upset.
"It was a fight to the death between a deadly, untamed animal and a student in your school. You didn't realize that? You must not be a very good headmaster."
Any offense that Dumbledore might have taken to that was drowned out by the outraged dragon handlers. "There are only six Hungarian Horntails in the whole world! Only five now! How could you do that?"
"What's the problem? You should have known the risk to the dragon. Unless you were expecting it to try to kill me and me not fight back? The best book I found in the Hogwarts library, Tickling the Sleeping Dragon, says that if you need to retrieve something from a dragon's nest, your best bet is to kill the dragon. I just followed the book, is all."
"Now, I claim the carcass of the dragon, as the victor of a fight to the death. And I claim the eggs, too. We can settle a price for the dragon reserve to buy them back from me."
"The nerve!" "How dare he?" "How much do dragon eggs sell for these days?"
"Mr Potter, you do not understand the law. On Hogwarts grounds, all valuable creatures and plants belong to the school. And it is against the law for private individuals to own dragon eggs." Dumbledore cited chapter and verse to support his argument. Eventually Harry conceded the point.
All that was left was to run him past the nurse to confirm that he hadn't been injured, and then grill him on how he had exploded a powerful dragon's head — "Oh, you couldn't see me from behind the dragon? Well, it was just a very powerful blaster." — and then award him his points.
"Zero." "Zero." "Zero." "Zero." "And from Hogwarts, Zero. I cannot express my disappointment in you, Harry, for willfully killing a rare and noble creature like a Hungarian Horntail."
And now all that was left to make the day complete was a bit more annoying idiocy. Right on cue, Ron came up, trailing Hermione. "I thought you were a goner for sure, Mate. But I should have known you'd pull it off. It must have been Hermione, right? You'd be lost without your two best mates, Hermione and me."
Harry's response got him a week of detention. He tried to get out of it, arguing that the first task hadn't taken place in a school setting, but McGonagall was having nothing of it. "Never in all my years teaching have I heard that combination of words, Mr Potter!"
The Yule Ball had been a disaster. Through nobody's fault but his own, Harry wasn't able to get any of the dates he wanted. He hadn't yet learned to get a daunting or difficult task out of the way as quickly as possible, so he delayed and shied away from asking Cho, or Hermione, or Hannah, or anyone, until they already had dates. Finally, in desperation, he asked Parvati if she knew of any girl who didn't have a date yet. Just like that, he had a partner for the promenade and the opening dance. It was only after an unknown sixth-year student took to shoving him in the halls that he found out that Parvati had already agreed to go with someone else.
When all of the champions and their dates lined up before the grand entrance, it turned out that Parvati was the only witch without a corsage on her dress. It hadn't occurred to Harry to get one. McGonagall took pity on the girl and conjured a lovely corsage of viscaria and chestnut, but Parvati wouldn't let him pin it on her.
The meal was uncomfortable. Sandwiched between a prattling Parvati and a pompous Percy, Harry couldn't get in a word and couldn't get any peace. It didn't help that Cho and Hermione, the first two girls he'd asked, looked delighted to be there with their dates.
And finally, the opening dance dropped into true disaster. Harry's feet somehow became entangled in Parvati's gown and they went crashing to the stone floor. Harry managed to twist so that she wouldn't be hurt, but the price was a broken elbow. Frankly, though, an evening in the hospital drinking Skele-grow wasn't as bad as the Yule Ball. Harry slipped out after Madame Pomfrey went to sleep; his own bed was more comfortable.
Worried that Hermione hadn't made it back to the dorms by two in the morning, Harry checked the Marauder's Map. There she was, alone in an unused classroom. That couldn't be good.
Harry found Hermione unconscious and three-quarters naked, her periwinkle gown ripped off and tossed aside.
The upshot, after Harry rushed Hermione to the hospital ward and all the investigations were done, was that Hermione would be leaving Hogwarts and nothing else would happen. Dumbledore put on his best Sad Grandfather expression. "I'm sorry, Harry, but nothing can be done. As one of the conditions for their participation in the tournament, all of the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are subject to the laws of their own nations, not those of Britain. And, while I know that you find wizarding Britain's laws very backward compared to the muggle world you grew up in, many other nations are worse. In particular, Bulgarian witches have almost no rights under the law. As Headmaster of Hogwarts I have banned Mr Krum from the castle. Legally there is nothing more we can do."
Was there a very slight emphasis on legally? "Message understood, Headmaster."
In the early morning of January 6, Harry made sure to be seen at breakfast. He visited with several groups of girls at their tables, offering what support he could. They had taken to traveling in groups once the news about the smirking Durmstrang students' legal status came out.
An hour later, when most students were in the Great Hall but getting ready to shuffle off to classes, Harry dropped the first bomb into the WWII surplus Russian mortar. He had no idea why Sirius had thought he might need a mortar for the Triwizard Tournament, but he'd found a use for it.
The first two bombs fell short as Harry got the range from the far side of the Black Lake. And one was a dud. The other nine landed on the Durmstrang ship, setting it on fire and sending flaming chunks in all directions. Harry could only hope that Krum had been eating his breakfast aboard the ship as it sank.
Disillusioned, Harry flew back to the castle and used the chaos to blend in with the crowd, with no one the wiser about his absence.
The second task drew near. Harry had finally figured out the clue of the egg. Without Hermione to help it had taken him quite a while, but he did get it worked out. He'd had plenty of time. With no friends in the castle, he had nothing to do but study and practice. It was a lonely life, but no worse than before Hogwarts.
Not sure of what treasure "he'd sorely miss", Harry had taken to keeping all of his valuables with him at all times. His Firebolt and photo album were shrunken and put on his vest, which he wore concealed under his robes. Most of the shrunken equipment went into his book bag. What else could be taken from him? Regardless, he owled Remus and soon had a handful of new muggle devices.
On the big day, Harry strolled down to the lake, as confidently as he had gone to face the dragon, though somewhat puzzled. He had all of his possessions. What was he supposed to go get?
"Ah, good. The champions are all here." Krum had been last to arrive. Most of the Durmstrang students were now housed in the castle, but Dumbledore still would not allow Krum in. The surly seeker was living in Hogsmeade Village. He took most of his lessons there now, with the professors travelling down as needed. It was a great inconvenience for both the professors and the other Durmstrang students, but Karkaroff doted on his prize. "You have all figured out the clue, correct? And I'll bet you are wondering what it is you will most sorely miss. Well, I'll tell you! Mr Diggory, you will retrieve Miss Chang. Mr Potter, it's Miss Patil. Mr Krum and Miss Delacour would not be motivated by their Yule partners, so we have brought in your brother and sister just for this event! Are you all motivated now?"
Harry couldn't believe this. It wasn't bad enough that these idiot judges were bringing in outsiders? How dare Bagman imply that Hermione wasn't good enough to make Krum do his best?
At the starting signal, Harry again shucked off his robes, as did the other champions. This time he was wearing a diving suit. Plus, of course, his loaded vest. He'd rather have kept his secrets, but this time there was no dragon to hide behind. The full-head helmet and air tanks worked properly once expanded, but the sea scooter didn't. Too much magical interference. Going with Plan B, Harry abandoned the scooter and expanded a small boat. Banished water would propel it. It was only Bagman's bad luck that he caught a misaimed banisher right in the face.
The village of the merfolk was the most likely spot for the hostages. If they weren't there, Harry had no idea how to find them other than random poking around. Even if his air would last long enough to search the entire lake, Harry wasn't sure Parvati was worth the effort. Dumbledore and the other judges must be completely oblivious if they hadn't noticed that Parvati had been an utter witch to him since the ball.
When he got more-or-less in place, Harry dropped off the side of his boat. He didn't have any way to anchor it, so he'd have to hope it wouldn't drift too far. As it happened, Harry was almost over the mer-village. A few aguamenti squirts moved him to where he needed to be. This was why he'd chosen the full helmet over a mask and mouthpiece: underwater, he could cast any spell he knew.
Shark! Harry had no idea how a shark had gotten here, but it was headed straight for the bound hostages. A quick pull and a few seconds and Harry had a three-shot spear gun. He managed to hit the belly and one eye. It was only after the shark started thrashing that Harry saw the human legs sticking out the back. He could only hope he hadn't killed Cedric; the older boy was full of himself but didn't seem a bad sort.
Not knowing what else to do, Harry pulled out his dive knife and cut all of the hostages loose. He attached a self-inflating bag on each rescuee and, after a moment's dithering, the shark. The merfolk had moved to interfere but a few (harmless) spells had them keeping their distance. Harry dropped his weighted boots and zipped upward without having seen the other two champions.
At the surface, Harry found all of the rescuees awake. Awake and going into convulsions from the icy water. Another thing the idiot tournament "organizers" had done wrong. Luckily, the boat was near enough to summon and he was able to cast warming and drying charms on the rescuees once they were aboard.
Krum was another matter. Harry had no idea what to do for an injured shark. He waved at the group on the shore and shot sparks from his wand, but no one did anything. All Harry could do was stick the shark to the side of his boat and head in as fast as he could. What a travesty.
The recriminations started as soon as Harry got within shouting distance, well before he and the still-chilled rescuees reached shore. "Mr Potter! What do you think you're doing?" "Put those hostages back so the others may rescue them!" And then "What have you done to Mr Krum?" Finallysomeone did something to help.
A team floated Krum to the shore, de-transfigured him, and got to work on his injuries. Harry and the rescuees were left to fend for themselves, though there was plenty of yelling to keep them from getting bored as they froze to death.
Harry got zero points again, as expected. Diggory and Delacour got forty each for doing the best they could in the face of Harry's cheating. Krum was given an honorary 50 points. Perhaps that would make up for the lost eye. His belly wound had been fully healed, so he could return to professional sports if he liked, but if he did do so he'd have to be a one-eyed seeker. Hmm, that sounded rather obscene, now that Harry thought about it.
"Harry, we need to talk about your unconventional method of participating in the tournament. In short, you cannot be allowed to use muggle methods. The contest is meant to be you and your wand and nothing else." Dumbledore must have been getting tired of Harry's intransigence, as he had brought in all four of the other judges to help browbeat the uncooperative, unwilling champion. Snape was there, as well, for no good reason Harry could think of.
"I haven't seen any rule saying that. I haven't seen any rules at all, even though I asked to see them a lot of times since November."
"At this point in time, there is little to be gained by showing you the rules, Harry. They are much too lengthy and complex to do you any good. You should instead accept the word of the judges on what you are required to do."
"Like I trusted you on the law regarding the dragon? I found out later how you cheated me out of thousands of galleons when you sold all the parts. Plus what Snape got for his private stores."
"Professor Snape, Harry. You must show proper respect, especially toward those with whom you have a contentious relationship."
"Oh, there's no point, Headmaster. The brat is too stupid to listen to reason." Before Harry could react, Snape had petrified him and torn open his robes. "Let me take the cheater's contraband and destroy it in front of him and then there will be nothing to argue about."
All Harry could do was grunt a protest through locked jaws. That just made Snape happy as his greasy fingers hovered over Harry's shrunken items. "Let's take this one first. A student has no business with a rifle."
Before the rifle had finished expanding, Snape doubled over in pain. The judges weren't hit as hard, but they couldn't come to his aid. Fawkes screeched and flapped his wings a time or two but otherwise everyone in the office stayed in position until Harry's petrification wore off and he was able to grab his rifle.
"How do you like that? It looks like there really is a magical contract. I was wondering about that."
"Tell me about these rules. Does one of them say you're not allowed to interfere with a champion and how he wants to do the tasks?"
Snape was his usual self. "… expel … brat …"
Dumbledore was his usual self. "You must understand, Harry, that this is the Triwizard Tournament. You are expected to compete as a wizard. You reflect very poorly on yourself, Hogwarts, and the wizarding world as a whole."
Harry was his (now) usual self. "Show me the rules where it says I can't use enchanted muggle tools. This magically binding contract of yours didn't have a problem with me doing the first two tasks."
Of course, Dumbledore wouldn't let Harry's decision stand. It took Harry several hours to escape the headmaster's office, but he did so without giving an inch.
Harry stood at the entrance of the maze in late June. He hadn't bothered with wearing his Hogwarts robe because his vest and toys were no longer a secret. Dumbledore had summoned Harry to his office many times in the past four months, insisting and demanding and importuning Harry to leave the gear behind and enter the maze with only his wand. As a compromise, Dumbledore would allow Harry to wear his dragon hide vest, without the attachments. Harry had stuck to his guns, literally and figuratively, as encouraged by Sirius and Remus and apparently supported by the contract. Eventually, he stopped answering Dumbledore's summons. And eventually Dumbledore stopped summoning him.
Earlier that day, all of the other champions had been called aside. McGonagall, as the headmaster's cats paw, had informed Harry that the others were meeting with family and friends for a bit of relaxation before the final event. If he had been more open to young Mr Weasley's attempts to renew their friendship, he, Harry, would have had the opportunity to spend the day with the Weasleys as a surrogate family.
"Be careful, Deputy Headmistress. It almost seems that you're trying to upset me before the final challenge. Be careful that the binding magical contract doesn't view you as interfering with a champion. Is that why Dumbledore sent you to tell me this, because he's already gotten his warning?"
Harry had spent the day more productively, trying one last time to map the maze. There was some sort of blurring charm to prevent exactly what he was doing, but he could make out a large open area. He'd just have to hope that was where they'd put the cup. With the nastiest challenge saved for last, no doubt. Sirius and Remus agreed, when he was able to see them behind the stands just before the event.
Here, tonight, Harry would be starting last, thanks to his cumulative score of zero on the first two events. He wasn't worried. His plan should get him to the cup in the center of the maze in record time. He wouldn't even have made more than a token effort, but he wanted the prize money. His equipment had cost a lot. More than that, he was still annoyed about being swindled out of the dragon.
Fifteen minutes after Krum entered, Bagman told Harry to go ahead. The youth immediately turned to the right and began to jog around the perimeter. Cries of "Coward!" and "Idiot!" came down from the stands, notably from the Slytherin and Durmstrang sections. It didn't matter. Harry had his game face on.
At the proper point, Harry pulled off one of his tools, then pulled the starter cord. The chainsaw roared to life and ate into the overgrown hedge … which grew back almost as fast as he could cut it.
No problem. That was only Plan A. Plan B burned open a hole which didn't grow back. Nope, there's nothing like jellied petroleum when it comes to pesky weeds.
Proceeding in a nearly straight line, Harry made his way to the center. He crossed very near a sphinx, but a warning shot convinced her that he wasn't trying to pass without answering the riddle. A blast-ended skrewt succumbed to a pair of hand grenades. The only obstacle that military weapons couldn't deal with was a shimmering cloud. Harry didn't know what it was, so he backed up and moved aside a bit to avoid it.
Before long Harry was in the large open area. And there was the cup! Only a healthy paranoia kept him from rushing right in — this had been too easy. Harry tried summoning the cup from his gap in the hedge but it didn't budge. Next he expanded his broom and tried flying, but there was an anti-broom jinx in place. With no other options, Harry crept out, eyes going in every direction.
Spider! As big as an auto, as fast as a Nimbus. Not as fast as Harry's trigger finger. A long stream of burning petrol took the spider's mind off of its would-be meal.
While Harry was dealing with the acromantula, Krum had appeared. Harry caught sight of him just in time and the two raced for the cup. They grabbed it at the same time.
Once the spinning stopped and the portkey released them, Harry went tumbling off into a bush while Krum alit as if he'd just stepped from another room. Harry was too busy making sure his flamethrower didn't catch him on fire to worry about it.
"Kill the spare" was all the warning either had before a jet of green light put an end to Krum's days as a professional seeker and amateur rapist.
Harry fought through the sudden headache and aimed. A few seconds and a lot of screams later and he was standing over the corpse of Pettigrew clutching the charred remains of a baby. A wave of revulsion passed through Harry — what kind of sick ritual had Pettigrew planned, that would need an infant sacrifice?
There were more pressing matters to think about, like getting to safety. Harry dithered a moment, wondering if it was disrespectful to the dead to shrink them and stick them in a plastic bag. He decided not to worry about it. Two of them, Krum and Pettigrew, did not deserve any kind of respect and two of them, Pettigrew and the baby, smelled very bad. Harry wouldn't be able to keep from being sick if he had to stay around them much longer.
That chore taken care of, Harry thought about how to get back to Hogwarts. Calling the Knight Bus didn't work. He supposed he'd have to fly. Summoning the cup still didn't work. Fed up, Harry trudged over and gave it a swift kick … and watched it disappear in a swirl of sparkles. Sigh.
By the time Harry figured out where he was and flew up to Scotland, it was well past midnight but the grounds were still a-swarm with aurors and reporters and ministry busybodies. Harry's arrival went unnoticed for quite a while, then he was swarmed.
"I've already told you, Krum and me were hauled away by the cup, Pettigrew killed Krum, and then I killed Pettigrew. The baby was already dead, I think. I spent all the rest of the time getting back here. That's all there is to it."
Of course that wasn't all there was to it. All the various officials, who had done nothing to prevent Harry's and Krum's abduction and did nothing to help Harry get away from it, demanded that he tell them every single detail. Repeatedly. They demanded that he explain every aspect of his equipment and where he got it. They demanded that he surrender his equipment to the ministry for inspection.
Finally Harry had had enough. "I've been telling you, my stuff is too dangerous to give to you. But here." He pulled the pin from a grenade and handed the heavy ball to one particularly obnoxious chair warmer. "Hang on to this little one. If you can show me that you can take care of it I'll let you have some more. Go stand over there so you won't be distracted."
Not five minutes later, the dragon hide armor proved its worth when it deflected a chunk of shrapnel that would have ripped through Harry's chest. Not everyone was so lucky.
In amongst the interrogations, Ludo Bagman and Cornelius Fudge waddled over to Harry. "Mr Potter, we the judges have decided to award the contest and the winnings to Viktor Krum. He was leading in points before this challenge and we are treating that as the tie-breaker. And the prize money may serve as some small consolation to his parents."
That was the final straw. When the exploding bureaucrat provided a distraction, Harry left for the castle. He gathered all of his possessions, told Hedwig to find him later, and headed to the library for one last time.
The next morning Irma Pince awoke half of Scotland with her screams. The restricted section was emptied and there were many volumes missing from the rest of the library.
Dumbledore and the rest of you thieves,
You stole my dragon, worth tens of thousands. You stole my prize money. And you stole most of my tuition for four years. Only Charms and Transfiguration were worth the money. (Sorry, Hagrid.) In order to provide myself with a good education, I have helped myself to books worth what you have taken from me. Consider this my resignation from Hogwarts.
And I have Pettigrew's body. I'll get Sirius a trial somewhere where Fudge and Dumbledore can't make a joke of trials.
I won't be seeing you,
Harry James Potter