A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the characters from the classic Screen Gems Television show mentioned herein. But, you knew that.
Harry Potter and The Elder Sect
Chapter Six - Decisions
"Dad, Mom," Harry said, looking up from his plate. "Could we talk a bit?"
Tabitha and Adam had already left the table to spend a little time with their gifts. In what had become a Stephens family tradition, Sirius and Remus were in attendance along with Aunt Serena and Remus' girlfriend Candace. The adult conversations around the table paused.
"What is it Sweetheart?" Mom asked.
"It's about Hogwarts," Harry said. "I think I need to quit."
"Quit Hogwarts?" Darrin asked. "Is it the workload?"
"Oh, no," Harry shook his head. "The class work is interesting. It is really neat to see how they go about doing things. It's me. I mean my reputation. We were talking about family one day, and I mentioned Sirius was my godfather and one of the kids knew him and asked if we were related."
"Draco Malfoy?" Sirius asked. Seeing Harry's nod, he continued. "Lucius and Narcissa's son. They've been maneuvering to get me to name Draco as my heir. Never gonna happen."
"Yeah, he's a whiny little dick," Harry commented before he realized what he had said and clapped his right hand across his mouth.
"Pretending for the moment that I didn't hear that foul language young man," Samantha asked pointedly, "what is the problem with this Draco person knowing that Sirius is your Godfather?"
"I guess I didn't really understand about the fable they have built up about my birth family, despite Remus telling me about it. When they asked, I told them my birth name. Now there are people who are openly hostile over how I 'put down' their Dark Lord despite my pointing out that Granma did it, and there are others who seem to think I'm some kind of 'chosen one'."
"I'd heard rumors that you had told people who you were," Sirius said with a twinkle in his eye. "I'd heard other rumors about you as well."
"Oh, no," Harry said laying his head on the table.
A smile creped onto Darrin's face. "What might that rumor be?"
"Rumor has it," Sirius laughed. "That there is a new haute couture fashion house at Hogwarts. High fashion available on demand from the master designer Harry Stephens."
"Oh, kill me now," the pained eleven-year-old moaned from his place at the table.
"Very nice Sirius," Serena laughed. "Using terms like haute couture like that."
"I know things," Sirius said defensively.
"He knows things that he used to pull birds," Remus snarked. "He tried to seduce half the girls in our class seventh year by taking them to fashion shows. Tried. His interest in women's fashion started a rumor about his sexual orientation."
"A rumor you started," Sirius fumed.
"Ok, first of all, shame on both of you. Secondly, how did my eldest son become a fashion designer?" Darrin asked while Sam tried not to join in on the laughter.
"It started with that dumb troll back on Halloween," Harry said in a tone full of embarrassment. "After I stopped it from killing a student, the lavatory was all busted up. So, I used a little magic to clean it up. I got the girl to close her eyes so that she didn't see what I did, but I put a little too much oomph into the cleaning. It also cleaned up the troll."
"Cleaned up the troll?" Remus asked. "It was still alive after you stopped it?"
"Of course it was," Harry said indignantly. "I asked it to cut it out, and it agreed."
"You can talk to Trolls?" Sirius asked incredulously.
"Sure, it's not hard. Anyway after the gunk and stuff got cleaned off, it was pretty obvious that the troll was both naked and a girl. So I made her an outfit," Harry explained. "But she didn't like because it was yellow. The troll and the girl she almost killed explained to me all about colors and seasons and stuff like that. So, I changed it to green. A couple of weeks later I found out that the girl and the troll had made friends, but the troll was complaining that the sun dress I made her was too cold for December and I ended up making her a bunch of winter clothes."
"And how did making clothing for a troll make your reputation as a fashion designer?" Samantha asked.
"Well, like I said, the girl and the troll made friends, and the girl had learned to speak trollish. They had tea parties in the woods, and had started a sort of club. Hermione, that's the girl's name, asked me to make them matching outfits for their meetings. From there some of the older girls heard that I did that and asked for an outfit from a magazine fitted to them, but I misunderstood and made a copy of every outfit in the magazine, in a selection of colors."
"Why?" Darrin asked.
"Because I didn't want to have colors and seasons explained to me again," Harry said with a shudder. "Once was bad enough."
The men all laughed and the three women shook their heads at the foolishness of men.
"Anyway," Harry continued, hoping to get the whole thing over with, "some of the girls in my class saw me make the older girls clothes, and then I made them clothes, and then I was making clothes for a couple of the teachers and then pretty much every girl was coming to me with requests."
"You should have charged," Darrin observed.
"It was too late by then," Harry sighed. "They were driving me crazy. When I had finally had enough, I made all the girls in the castle a copy of every outfit I had made for everyone, and told them I was done. They're still not leaving me alone. So basically, I'm putting a whole lot of effort into attending a school where I'm not happy and I'm not really learning anything."
"Well Harry," Samantha said with barely restrained mirth, "if you're not happy at Hogwarts, you can quit. But you'll have to tell them."
"Ok Mom, thanks," Harry said as he scampered from the room.
The adults waited three whole minutes before they started laughing.
"Good morning Harry," Pansy said as she took a seat next to Harry in the Great Hall and began to fill her plate.
"Morning, Pansy," Harry replied.
"Are you ready for class this morning?" Millicent asked as she took the seat across from Harry.
"I'm not going," Harry admitted.
"Not going?" Ted asked from beside Millie. "You'll lose points; you know how Snape hates that."
"Snape will be fine," Harry said as he reached for the butter for his scone. "I'm not going to be ditching class. I'm withdrawing from school."
The Slytherin first years went silent for several seconds until Vinnie Crabbe broke it. "You're withdrawing from school? You can do that?"
"Yeah, I got my folk's permission," Harry nodded. "I've been keeping up with the classes back home; I'm just going to quit Hogwarts."
"But…" Tracey said in a confused tone. "Why?"
"Well, ever since I slipped up and let everyone know my birth family, I've been getting it from the fans. Not you guys, other than Puss, you've all been cool. It is the rest of the school. If I get one more seventh year Ravenclaw asking for pointers on how I took out 'the dark lord' for his Defense NEWT, I'll probably scream."
"But, you can't quit Hogwarts," Daphne insisted.
"Sure I can," Harry disagreed.
"No, you don't understand," Blaise said with a shake of his head. "You physically can't quit. By accepting a place here, you entered into a magical contract. You might skip a few classes, but in a day or so your magic will force you to return."
"Who wants to know about Magical Contracts?" Draco asked as he took his place at the far end of the table. "I know all about magical contracts, my father enters into them all the time."
"My magic will force me?" Harry asked, ignoring the Malfoy scion. "How does that make any sense? No one said anything about a contract when I started."
"Hogwarts's attendance is enforced with a magical contract. They don't talk about it, but it's there, and in affect for all of us," Daphne explained.
"And since it's a magical contract," Blaise said with a shrug. "It doesn't have to make sense."
"Mr. Stephens," Minerva McGonagall said from behind Harry, startling him.
How did she do that? He wondered. "Yes Professor?" he asked.
"The Headmaster will see you in his office," the woman said, the disapproval evident in her voice.
"What did I do?" Harry asked.
"The Headmaster will see you in his office," Minerva repeated. "Now."
"I haven't finished my breakfast," Harry pointed out. "I'll head up to Professor Dumbledore's office once I'm done. Most important meal of the day you know."
"The Headmaster has wanted to speak to you for the entire holiday," Professor McGonagall insisted. "You will go to him now."
"Professor, the Headmaster knows where I live, and could have sent a letter if he wasn't willing to come himself," Harry pointed out. "Lack of planning on his part does not constitute an emergency on my part." Harry wondered if the poster he was quoting had ever put in an appearance in the Wand Users' society. "I'll be up as soon as I'm done."
The door opened before he could knock.
"Good morning Headmaster, you wanted to see me?" Harry asked entering the office to find the Headmaster glowering at him over his desk and his head of house sitting quietly in the corner behind Dumbledore.
"I wanted to see you half an hour ago," the old man spat. "Have you any idea what you have done?"
The Headmaster's open-ended question gave Harry pause. 'Finished breakfast' was his first automatic response, but the anger coming from the man was almost physical. "What do you mean sir?"
"You have taken our single greatest advantage against Voldemort away from us," Dumbledore said.
"I did?" Harry asked, wondering what he might have taken away.
"Professor Snape's Dark Mark was his way into Voldemort's confidence," the Headmaster pronounced. "I must insist that you return the Mark to his arm."
"Oh, yeah, the Mark said that Professor Snape was your spy in Voldemort's organization. No, I'm not putting the Mark back."
"You will!" Dumbledore all but shouted.
"I will not," Harry corrected him. "If you want it back on Professor Snape's arm, you put it there. Personally, I don't think you can do it, but hey, it's possible."
"Why won't you do what I ask?" the old man asked.
"A few reasons," Harry answered. "First, Professor Snape might be a bit of a jerk, but he doesn't deserve what my modifications to the Mark would do to him. I'm sure he didn't enjoy the time he wore it, unless he really liked singing."
"I did not," Snape snapped from his chair.
"I didn't think so," Harry grinned. "Second, putting the Mark back would put the Professor at risk. His absence has no doubt been noticed, if he were to suddenly show up again, Voldemort would ask why he has missed meetings."
"Professor Snape is fully capable of explaining…"
"No sir, excuse me, but he is not. The Dark Mark is tied to the wearer's soul. He would be utterly incapable of lying to a direct question."
"You didn't know?" Harry shook his head. "The Mark enforces discipline in those who wear it, but I didn't put that there, it was part of the original design, I just made it funny. So was the truth enforcer. I didn't change any of that because it was integrated into the original design."
"So," Snape interrupted, "the whole time I was spying on him…"
"You were one question away from telling him everything he wanted to know, followed quickly by a painful death," Harry admitted. "Though in all honesty, from what I dug out of the Marks, I'm not sure Voldemort has much of a clue as to all the controls that were built into the Marks. I think he cribbed the designs from other people; there were at least three style changes through the charm's topology. The guy is smart, but kind of lazy. Aunt Endora would slap him down hard for that for the sort of stuff he pulled with the charm that powered his old Marks."
The Headmaster clearly was not used to discussing charm construction and design with an eleven year old, and his expression showed it. "None the less, I believe the information we will get from Voldemort will be worth the risk. When you recreate the Mark, simply omit the truth telling and punishment factors."
"Like I said," Harry grinned, "I'm not going to do it. I will not brand my Head of House as if he were a barn yard animal."
"Mr. Stephens," the old man sighed. "Are you going to force me to compel you to do as I ask?"
"Funny you bring that up," Harry said, pulling the note signed by both his parents from a pocket and presenting it to the Headmaster. "I'm withdrawing from Hogwarts. Since my birth name slipped out, I'm getting constantly hassled about it, both by older students in Slytherin angry at what they believe I did to their Dark Lord, and by students from other houses who all seem to think I'm some kind of chosen one."
The Headmaster paled. "You can't quit Hogwarts, your attendance was sealed a magical contract."
The boy actually grinned. "You're the second one to tell me that today. My Uncle Maurice is always telling my sister and me that we control our magic, it doesn't control us." Harry shrugged. "If you're right, I'll be back next week, begging to come back. If I'm right, well I guess that says something about 'Magical Contracts'."
"Well," Harry said as he hefted his book bag, "I'm out of here."
"I wish you weren't leaving Harry," Ted said. "You've managed to make school a lot more interesting than it likely would have been."
"I agree Harry," Millicent said. "I hate to think how Tracey and I would have been treated before you came along and the Founder started talking to the House again."
"Uncle Sal said that he'd keep a closer eye on the House now," Harry laughed. "Ted, just don't let Puss start thinking he's all that again."
"Running away, Potter?" Malfoy sneered.
"Good bye Puss," Harry said with a gesture. "I'll really miss you. Sorta like a really annoying rash. Here's a little something to remember me by."
Draco responded, but no one noticed.
"I'll miss you Harry," Pansy said.
"And I'll miss all of you," Harry replied as he noticed Draco start to pound on the walls of the invisible soundproof box he was trapped in for the next two hours. "Just remember, you're more than a bargaining chip for you father's ambitions. Seriously, you can do a whole lot better than the Puss."
"I'll remember Harry," Pansy said with a blush before hugging him tightly. This led to the rest of the first year Slytherin girls hugging him as well.
"Ok everybody, Puss will be in that box for about two hours, so enjoy the quiet while you can," Harry grinned. "Later!"
The common room was silent as he disappeared, and for several seconds after before every first year not imprisoned in an invisible soundproof box left for their dorms to prepare for lunch.
Two weeks passed before Albus admitted to himself that the Hogwarts enrollment contract clearly had no hold over an elder.
Another week passed before Albus wrote what was to become only the first of weekly letters that attempted to coax the Potter heir back to Hogwarts in preparation of Voldemort's inevitable return to power.
None of the letters ever got a response, but he kept trying.
A month passed before he approached Sirius Black about convincing the boy to return.
Albus had never enjoyed being laughed at. Being laughed at by Sirius, a young man who had once held him in high regard… hurt.
Didn't anyone see what was coming?
Finally, three years after Harry Potter… Stephens… had attended and then left Hogwarts a distraction arose in the form of the revival of the Triwizard Tournament.
The golden plates returned to their original spotless state; there was a sharp upswing in the level of noise within the Hall, which died away almost instantly as Dumbledore got to his feet. On either side of him, Professor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, the heads of Durmstrang and Beauxbaton's respectively, looked as tense and expectant as anyone did. Ludo Bagman, the famous retired Quidditch player and head of the tournament was beaming and winking at various students. While Mr. Crouch of the Ministry, on the other hand, appeared to be quite uninterested, almost bored.
"Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision," said Dumbledore. "I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions' names are called, I would ask them please to come up and join the tournament judges on the dais. Once all of the participants are assembled, there will be time for all of you to extend your congratulations your classmates before you all to return to your respective dormitories so that we may explain the rules to the Champions."
He took out his wand and gave a great sweeping wave with it; at once, all the candles except those inside the carved pumpkins extinguished, plunging the Great Hall into a state of semidarkness. The Goblet of Fire now shone more brightly than anything in the whole Hall, the sparkling bright, blue-white flames were almost painful to look at. Everyone watched, waiting… A few people kept checking their watches…
"How much longer is this going to take?" Pansy asked in a whisper.
"Who knows?" Millicent answered in the same manner.
The flames inside the goblet turned suddenly red again. Sparks began to fly from it. Then, a gout of flame shot into the air, and a charred scrap of parchment fluttered out of it - the whole room gasped.
Dumbledore caught the piece of parchment and held it at arm's length, so that he could read it by the light of the flames, which had turned back to blue-white.
"The champion for Durmstrang," he read, in a strong, clear voice, "will be Viktor Krum."
"No surprises there!" Ted called out as a storm of applause and cheering swept the Hall. The fourth years watched as Krum rose from his place down the Slytherin table and slouched up to the dais.
"Bravo, Viktor!" boomed Karkaroff, so loudly that everyone could hear him, even over all the applause. "Knew you had it in you!"
The clapping and cheering died down. Now everyone's attention was again focused on the goblet, which, seconds later, turned red once more. A second piece of parchment shot out of it, propelled by the flames.
"The champion for Beauxbatons," said Dumbledore, "is Fleur Delacour!"
"Her?" Daphne sniffed dismissively as the girl who so resembled a veela rose gracefully to her feet, shook back her sheet of silvery blonde hair, and swept up between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables.
"Oh look, they're all disappointed," Tracey noted cattily over the noise, nodding toward the remainder of the Beauxbatons party. "Disappointed" was a bit of an understatement, as two of the girls who had not been selected had dissolved into tears and were sobbing with their heads on their arms.
The Goblet of Fire turned red once more; sparks showered out of it; the tongue of flame shot high into the air, and from its tip Dumbledore pulled the third piece of parchment.
"The Hogwarts champion," he called, "is Cedric Diggory!"
"No! Not that Duffer!" Draco called out loudly, leading the bulk of Slytherin House to hope that no one had heard his outburst. Every single Hufflepuff had jumped to their feet, screaming and stomping, as Cedric made his way past them, grinning broadly, and headed toward the dais to join the other Champions. The applause for Diggory went on so long that it was some time before Dumbledore could make himself heard again.
"Excellent!" Dumbledore called happily, as at last the tumult died down. "Well, we now have our three champions. I am sure I can count upon all of you, including the remaining students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, to give your champions every ounce of support you can muster. By cheering your champion on, you will contribute in a very real…"
The Headmaster suddenly stopped speaking, and it was apparent to everybody what had distracted him.
The fire in the goblet had just turned red again. Sparks were flying out of it. A long flame shot suddenly into the air, and borne upon it was another piece of parchment.
Without apparent thought, Dumbledore reached out and seized the fluttering scrap of parchment. He held it out and stared at the name written upon it. There was a long pause, during which Dumbledore stared at the slip in his hands, and everyone in the room stared at Dumbledore. After a long pause, Dumbledore cleared his throat and read out: "Harry Stephens."
The Great Hall went silent as that name hung in the air.
Until the silence was broken.
"What?" asked the young man suddenly standing between the student tables and the Dais.
"Is that Harry?" Tracey asked.
"Nice," Daphne agreed quickly.
The young man was taller, and dressed in trainers, denim trousers and an oversized white sports jersey with red trim, a large red 17 on the back and the name 'BROWN" between his shoulders.
"What did you need Professor?" Harry asked. "I'm in a hurry, my dad has tickets for the Jet's game tonight and they're on the 50 yard line."
"On the what?" the old man responded.
"On the fifty yard line…" Harry responded. Seeing the confusion on the old man's face, he shrugged. "Let's just say they're really good seats. What do you need?"
"Why did you enter your name into the Triwizard Tournament Harry?"
"I did what, now?" the fourteen years old asked, clearly confused.
"Your name came out of the Goblet of Fire, Harry," Dumbledore explained. "The only way that could have happened is if you put your name into it, or had an older student do so."
"He cheated!" Draco Malfoy declared, rising from his place at the Slytherin table. "He cheated to get in."
"Puss!" Harry called out with a smile. "You haven't changed a bit, still as pathetic as ever, and that's kind of sad, really. I'll abuse you later." Turning back to the Headmaster, the young Warlock continued. "Sorry, Professor, but I have no idea what you're talking about. I didn't enter my name into any Tournaments, and I've never heard of the Goblet of Fire, which I assume to be that vase with the fire in it that's calling my name."
"Calling your name?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yeah, it's really annoying. Could you make it stop please?"
"Harry," the old man said quietly, "I don't hear anything."
"Ok, fine," Harry said gesturing with his left hand. The flame in the Goblet snuffed out. "Better. Ok, we good? I didn't enter into your tournament, I'm not interested in it, and I'll be going."
"Your name came out of the Goblet boy!" Barty Crouch thundered. "You will compete!"
Harry sighed and looked over to the man who had just started shouting at him. "And who are you?"
"Harry, this is Barty Crouch of the Ministry of Magic," Dumbledore explained.
"He is? Why is he wearing a false form?" Harry asked.
"A false form?" Dumbledore echoed.
Yeah," Harry said, cocking his head to the left, squinting his eyes and frowning. "I can see the echo of another form. It's not like an animagus, they have the spectral echo of their true bodies… but he's some kind of shape shifter, or under a shape shifting potion or charm or something. I can see another form under the one he's showing the world."
A horribly scarred man was suddenly at Crouch's side, his wand against the Ministry Man's neck. "Using polyjuice are we?"
"What's polyjuice?" Harry asked.
"It is a potion, my boy," Dumbledore said idly, preoccupied by the prospect of a disguised spy in his school. "It allows a person to assume another's form for an hour."
"An hour?" Harry asked. "Well, that's easily dealt with." The boy gestured again, and Crouch seemed to blur for a moment.
"What did you do?" the scarred man asked suspiciously.
"I sped his metabolism up a bit, his body aged an hour in about three seconds," Harry explained as he watched the man's transformation back to his original form with great interest. "Cool, looks painful though."
"Barty Crouch?" the scarred man asked in surprise.
"So he is the ministry man then?" Harry asked. "Why did he make himself look older?"
"This young man appears to be Barty Crouch Jr.," Dumbledore explained.
"Who is supposed to be dead," the scarred man said as he pressed his wand deeper into Crouch's neck.
"Really?" Harry asked. "He's also one of Tom's playmates. Report!"
The left arms of both Crouch Jr. and Karkaroff were extended from their sides and bare, displaying their 'happy' Marks to the world.
"Not the Russian, you Jr." Harry instructed, and the mark began to speak.
" Bartemius Crouch Jr. Age: 35. Death Eater, Jailbird, and long-term imperius victim. Joined the Death Eaters at the age of 19 to get back at his father who never paid him enough attention. Smuggled out of prison disguised as his mother, who stayed in his place and died there. He feels no remorse over any of the deaths he has caused, not even that of his mother. He is devoted to his Dark Lord, and even more so given the Dark Dink's current age. Yes, the guy you attached me to is in love."
"Ok, ew," Harry said disgustedly. "I really didn't need to hear that. Why is he here?"
"He is the one who put your name into the Goblet. He's setting up a horribly involved and unnecessarily complex plot which is supposed to end with your kidnapping so the Voldie can learn how to steal your magic."
"Man," Harry sighed. "I gave him a chance to make something out of his life, and this is what he comes up with?"
"You can't really blame Voldemort," the Mark suggested. "I mean it's amazing that he came up with this much of a plan given his all-consuming interest in boobies."
"Really?" Harry asked with a grin.
"Oh, yeah," the Mark said chattily. "He started with Bellatrix, but a decade in prison has pretty much ruined her figure. Since he figured that out, he's been working his way through his Death Eater's wives. He's currently fixated on Narcissa Malfoy, and has taken up the fine art of motorboating. Between you, me, and everyone else in the room, I think she likes it."
"He's lying!" Draco Malfoy screamed from the Slytherin table, reminding everyone that the students were still watching and listening. "I'll kill you Stephens!"
"All students to their dormitories! Prefects!" McGonagall shouted. "I want a headcount in fifteen minutes."
"I'll be calling for the Aurors," Filius Flitwick said as he rose from his place at the Staff table.
While that was going on, Harry continued his interrogation of the Dark Mark. "So, if there are two of you in the room, why didn't you sing?"
"Oh, we did Boss," the Mark said. "We got together two hours early and worked through the entirety of Bye Bye Birdie. It was fun."
"Ok, thanks." Harry said as the Death Eater's arms returned to their control. He turned toward the Headmaster. "There you go Headmaster; I didn't enter into your contest."
"I'm afraid that it might not matter Harry," Dumbledore said as Barty Crouch Jr. was taken into custody. "The Goblet of Fire is a powerful artifact, as you witnessed when it pulled you here. The Goblet selecting you is an example of what is quite possibly the most powerful Magical Contract in the world."
The three school champions quietly edged away from the chaos that the appearance of the Stephens boy had spawned. The students had been sent back to their dorms, and the Aurors called to deal with the imposter.
"I do not understand," Viktor said quietly. "Who is this boy?"
"That's Harry Stephens," Cedric said, never taking his eyes off his Headmaster and the younger man. "Quite possible the most powerful wizard in the world."
"What?" The girl asked. "That little boy is powerful?"
"Yeah, his whole family is," Cedric nodded, "he was a student here for a while three years ago. He was doing things I've never seen anyone match, including the staff here. If he's forced to compete, we've all lost any tasks that are purely based on magic."
Victor's eyes narrowed as he tried to decide if the Hogwarts student might be telling a joke. "I am Viktor," he said extending his hand.
"Cedric," Diggory said grasping the offered hand firmly.
"And I am Fleur," the silver blonde said quietly. "How can this boy be so powerful?"
"I have no idea," Cedric said with a shake of his head. "But I personally saw him apparate from this very room as casually as anything. None of the staff can do that. I saw him create things from nothing."
"Conjuring isn't that difficult," the girl suggested.
"Perhaps you are especially talented," Viktor rumbled. "I find conjuring to be particularly draining."
"Me too," Cedric grinned and nodded toward the boy who was now involved in an animated argument with the headmaster and the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. "But when I saw him do this he was all of 11 years old and a first year. I watched him conjure complete wardrobes for more than 200 witches as if it were nothing. Less than nothing, he did it as casually as you or I would pick up a teacup. He was 11. I couldn't do that now."
The young man under discussion approached an air of annoyance evident on his features. "Hey, Cedric right?"
"Cedric Diggory," the Hogwarts student confirmed.
"I thought I remembered you from '91. Sorry about all this."
"What is happening?" Viktor asked.
"Hey, Harry Stephens," the younger boy said, introducing himself.
"And I am Fleur Delacour," the French girl said.
"I know this is supposed to be your night, probably parties in your common rooms waiting for you and all that, but someone thought it would be a good idea to enter me into your tournament. The Headmaster is going on about magical contracts and I've told him that I'm not impressed with them, but the old woman from the Brit Ministry is saying that the way the contract is written, my refusing to take part may hurt you guys."
"How can any wizard ignore a magical contract?" Viktor asked.
"That's just it," Harry grinned. "I'm not a wizard."
"Not a wizard?" Viktor echoed.
"I'm a warlock," Harry explained. "English speaking wand users call us 'The Elder Sect', I don't know what your folks call us."
"Les Premiers?" Fleur whispered. "I never believed…Les Premiers are only legends."
"Nah, we're real enough. I'm surprised that you aren't more aware of us, given how much time my Aunt Endora spends in Paris, and she is anything but subtle. A lot of the older folks are kind of showy with their magic so it's sorta believable that their stuff would become legends."
"So, the contract has no hold on you?" Cedric asked.
"Well, the one for attending Hogwarts didn't," Harry allowed, "as far as this one, after I told that stupid urn thing to shut up I haven't heard a thing from it. I don't know, we don't really use magical contracts."
Harry looked up from his conversation with the three older students. "Madam Bones?"
"I have just finished a consultation with our Department of Mysteries," she said, cleaning her monocle as she spoke. "They concur that the contract governing the Triwizard Tournament as it stands now will likely inflict a penalty on all of the competitors if you refuse to participate."
"Of course it does," Harry sighed as he stood up. "Ok, let's get this moving then."
"You don't understand Harry," Dumbledore interjected. "There are preparations to make, your wand must be weighed, so many things must be done prior to the tasks."
"Nope," Harry said with a headshake. "Put me down for a weight of zero. No wand."
"No wand?" Bones echoed. Dumbledore had warned her, but she had not really believed that anyone could do any serious magic without a wand.
"Well, I've got one," the boy admitted. "It's in my room back home. Haven't touched it since I unpacked it when I quit Hogwarts. I think it's on my dresser back home… might be in a box in my closet."
"I… see," Amelia said hesitantly.
"The first task will not be ready for more than three weeks Harry," Dumbledore said quietly.
"That doesn't work for me," the Harry said. "I've got plans and I'm not schlepping back and forth on someone else's schedule. We'll do it tonight or not at all."
"The other students aren't even remotely ready, Harry."
"Then I'll do it tonight Headmaster, you can compare their scores to mine. What is the first task?"
"Ok, fine, we'll do it the hard way. Hey Mark?"
Again, Karkaroff 's left arm extended out from his body, his fur lined robes fading from view. "Yeah Boss?" the animated yellow disk asked.
"What is the first task? For that matter, how many tasks are there?"
"The first task of three is to retrieve a golden egg from a nesting dragon," the Mark replied.
"And?" Harry asked.
"Just retrieve the egg. It holds a clue as to the second task."
"Ok," Harry nodded. "Sounds simple enough. Everyone ready? Start the clock."
The assembled wizards watched as the boy raised both his hands toward the enchanted ceiling and began chanting as winds seemed to swirl about his body.
"Now I'm stuck in the Wandie's Game,"
"Because of a paper bearing my name."
"Eat the bread, drink from the flagon,"
"Come to me, a nesting dragon!"
"SWEET BLOODY FUCKING HELL!" Cedric shouted as his Hufflepuff inclinations overrode his panic and caused him to place himself between Fleur and the raging dragon that had suddenly come into being in the middle of the Great Hall.
"Yah," Viktor agreed as he pulled both of his fellow competitors into the back of the room. "We go!"
"VERMIN!" the dragon raged, its claws tearing deep gouges into the stone floor, "WHAT IS THIS PLACE? I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!"
The three champions froze in place. "Is that dragon… speaking?" Fleur whispered.
"Yah," Viktor agreed again. "Romanian."
"No, French," Fleur disagreed.
"And I hear English," Cedric said. "This is Stephens' doing."
The Dragon continued to rage, pausing only to draw breath and let loose with a huge burst of Dragonfire.
Which stopped abruptly in front of the fourteen-year-old.
"Are you quite finished?" Harry asked.
"HUMAN!" the dragon bellowed lunging for the boy.
The assembled wizards were amazed when the giant beast complied with the command… almost as surprised as the dragon herself.
"All right then, I'm sorry for the surprise, but nothing is going to happen to you or your clutch," Harry said reasonably. "If you help me out, you'll be back in your lair and you'll have a large addition to your hoard. Gold and Gems are your preferred bedding, right?"
"WHAT DO YOU NEED HUMAN?"
"The false egg in your clutch is what I need."
The dragon's eyes flicked to her nest and immediately spotted the golden egg. "VALUABLE IS IT?" she asked with a gleam of greed sparkling in her eyes. "WHAT IF I FIND IT MORE VALUABLE THAN WHAT YOU OFFER?"
"Thank you," Harry said as the large egg appeared in his hand. "Back you go. Later."
"WAIT!" the dragon roared as it and its clutch of eggs returned from where they had come.
"Well, that was easy," Harry commented as he looked at the egg as the Great Hall returned to its original state. "Time?"
Silence from the adults stretched on for several seconds.
"No one was keeping track?" Harry asked with a sigh. "Ok, fine, Mark?"
"Yeah Boss?" the disk on Karkaroff's arm asked.
"Thirty two seconds, Boss. You should get extra points for style. Though, the rhyming scheme was a bit of a stretch though…"
"There is nothing worse than a nitpicking brown nose," Harry laughed.
"You didn't give me a nose, Boss," the Mark noted, "For which I am eternally grateful, since Igor here only bathes once a week, and it's much bothered if he misses a week."
"Too much information Mark," Harry laughed again as he opened the egg.
A horrible screeching filled the Great Hall. The occupants of the Hall covered their ears while the Stephens boy stared into the magical construct for several seconds before closing it.
"Ok, that's clear enough," Harry said, his voice echoing in the now silent Hall. "What is the thing you think I'd miss the most Headmaster?"
"You speak Mermish?" the gigantic French woman asked.
"That wasn't Mermish," Harry corrected her. "It was English, all garbled by the air/water barrier transition."
"Harry," the old man began again, "the second task isn't until February…"
"February? You want people to jump into a lake in Scotland in February? That doesn't work for me, I've got a haircut scheduled for that day."
"Harry," Dumbledore chided, "How could a haircut be more important than the Triwizard Tournament? And you don't even know what day in February the task will take place."
"Professor, whatever day the task is scheduled, that's the day I have an appointment for a haircut. And my haircut is more important than your tournament because I want nothing to do with it. You're insisting I participate, we're doing it now. What am I supposed to get from the lake?"
The old man hesitated, and Harry sighed.
"Mark," he called. "What am I supposed to get off the bottom of the lake?"
"It's supposed to be a person, a hostage that you will retrieve from the lake. The person you would miss the most," the Mark said helpfully.
"Okay… thanks Mark," the boy shook his head. "The person I would miss most. Well, I'd miss my girlfriend, but she's a mortal, and has no magic. If you so much as think about putting her in your lake, I'll destroy this castle… quite possibly, with you still in it Headmaster. My grandmother wouldn't like it if I were to destroy the place she helped to build, but she would understand."
Dumbledore nodded without even offering a suggestion, so Harry continued. "That leaves my family. If you were to touch my Dad… well, since he's a mortal, what I would do to you would not be pleasant. My Mom would laugh at you, if you were to try it with my Grandmother, you'd likely have a ghost revolt in the castle. Aunt Endora would kill you for the presumption, Uncle Maurice would likely change you into something small and unpleasant, Uncle Arthur would get creative, Aunt Serena… well I don't know what she would do, but it would be very weird, and I doubt you would enjoy it. My brother Adam is only ten, so he might play with you a while."
The boy smiled. "That only leaves my sister. I suppose I could spare a few minutes while you convince Tabitha that she needs to go into a cold lake in October as part of your tournament."
Memories of the girl caused Dumbledore to swallow loudly. "What do you suggest then?"
Harry frowned, and then he looked about the Great Hall before smiling. "You know, I really like this pumpkin," he said as he approached the huge pepo and stroked its rind. "I would really miss it if something were to happen to it."
Dumbledore exchanged looks with his fellow Heads. Karkaroff shrugged and Maxime nodded. It was clear that both were as cowed by the boy's casual use of magic as he was. "That would be acceptable," he nodded.
"Cool," Harry said as the giant pumpkin disappeared. "Start the clock!"
"Wait!" Karkaroff shouted. "How do we know it's in the lake?"
"Fair enough," Harry grinned. "Why don't you have a look?"
The Headmaster of Durmstrang vanished. After a three count, Karkaroff reappeared, soaking wet.
"Satisfied?" Harry asked.
"Yes… yes… yes…" Karkaroff replied through chattering teeth.
"Good. Start the clock."
The pumpkin reappeared looking somewhat worse for wear, water and a large fish flooding from its carvings.
"One second," the Mark supplied helpfully.
"Two down, one to go," Harry said. "So what is the third task?"
"Retrieving the Triwizard Cup from a hedgerow maze," Dumbledore sighed, surrendering to the inevitable.
"I don't see that a maze is really necessary, how about just finding the Triwizard cup?" Harry asked. "I mean, with it possibly being anywhere in the world, that's sort of a maze, right?"
"I suppose…" the Headmaster answered.
"Cool. Back up a bit, ok?"
The assembled group of Wand users took a step backwards, almost in formation, as Harry began to chant.
"Searching for the cup among plants all mazey,"
"Not gonna do that 'cause I'm feeling kinda lazy."
"I need the cup as proof for these folks to see,"
"Bring the Triwizard cup to me!"
With a puff of smoke and a musical chime, the Triwizard cup appeared in the Great Hall.
"And the crowd goes wild!" Harry said into his cupped hands, before simulating the sound of an audience, "AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" The boy gestured and the three School champions appeared beside him.
"Hey guys, good game," Harry joked, shaking hands with each of them and giving them each a small golden trophy marked 'Participant'. "Seriously, I hope they restart this thing so that all three of you can have your time in the spotlight. It just isn't fair for you to be put up against me."
"Why did you chant for the dragon and the cup, but not for the pumpkin?" Fleur asked.
"Oh, I knew where the pumpkin was, so calling it back was easy. I had to find the dragon and the cup, which takes higher-level focus, the chant is just a silly way of doing it. The words aren't strictly necessary, it's just a technique."
Harry turned to the assembled adults. "So, we done? Ministry folks? School people?"
"Harry," Dumbledore said stepping forward from the group. "Tonight demonstrates that even though you thought you had defeated Voldemort," he paused while the assembled crowd gasped and reacted to the forbidden name, "he remains a threat. You know as well as I that prophecy says that only you can vanquish him. I must insist that you do so, now."
"Ah, crap," Harry sighed. "Ok, ok. Mark, where is the idiot now?"
"Malfoy Manor," the yellow disk reported. "He's got his face between Narcissa's boobies and is having a good old time."
Fourteen-year-old Tom Riddle appeared in the Great Hall with his eyes closed, his hands positions as if grasping a pair of somethings, though thankfully fully dressed.
"What?" he asked the room, shocked at his sudden transition from one place to another.
"Tom, dude," Harry said as he threw an arm around the former Dark Lord's shoulders. "I gave you another chance, and this is how you repay me? You try to come up with a scheme to steal my magic? Seriously? Do you think this is a comic book or something?"
"I am Lord Voldemort!" Riddle responded.
"Sure you are," Harry said, as he drove his fist into Riddle's solar plexis dropping the Dark Lord to his hands and knees.
Harry stepped away from the retching Dark Lord. "There you go, Professor, all vanquished. Now you can deal with him. Mark?"
"Yeah, Boss?" the disk on Karkaroff's arm responded.
"Pass the word to the boys, everyone tells the truth, got it?"
"Confession is good for the soul," the Mark agreed. "Gotcha' Boss."
"That one was for you Madam Bones. All bearers of the Dark Mark will tell the truth to any question anyone asks them. I'm sure Mark over there will provide a list of people you might want to talk to, and so will the one attached to the guy you arrested. Enjoy."
"Thank you Mr. Stephens," the monocled woman said.
"No problem, say hi to Susan for me. Headmaster, I hope that's all you need, because I'm done. Don't call me again."
"Mr. Stephens," the old man began, "you must understand…"
"No, actually, I don't." Harry disagreed before turning to the Champions. "Good luck on your tournament guys."
With that, Harry Stephens was gone.
A/N: And so ends the Elder Sect. It went a little longer than I originally plotted out (by a chapter) mostly because the idea of Bewitched level magic at the Triwizard amused me. There won't be a sequel, because let's face it, Harry has no challenges at Hogwarts.
Elder Sect is the second crossover I've done with a 60's sitcom (third if you count 'The Worst Sort Of Muggles which I don't) and I've been asked for another one for the other classic of 60's magical sitcoms, I Dream of Jeanie. I've got a few thoughts, but I don't know when I might get around to it. Next on Deck, Chapter 20 for Technomage, trying to get my muse to let me finish Distaff Side and a new story with the working title "Speed". Thanks for all the reviews.