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Saturday 13 August 1994 – 8.13 am
Seamus groaned when he was pecked on the hand roughly. He swatted at the owl that was bothering him only to be pecked again. Harder. Muttering about Owl Stew, Seamus opened sleepy blue eyes and glared at Hedwig.
"Merlin Harry had better have a good reason for writing me this early," Seamus muttered, untying one of the letters on Hedwig's protruding leg, noting that the second letter was for Sirius.
Hedwig ruffled her feathers and gave Seamus a disparaging look, as though telling him that Harry had a good reason for everything he did. Seamus rolled his eyes and opened the letter.
I need you here with me so badly right now. My scar hurts. More than hurts. It's burning and throbbing and my head feels like it's going to crack in two!
I had a dream about Voldemort. He and Wormtail were in a dilapidated old manor house and they were talking about some plan they had and Voldemort was determined that I would be a part of it! There was this giant snake, an Anaconda, moving about the floor. Voldemort called her Nagini and she was saying how hungry she was. Nagini was the one that realised an old Muggle was listening in on them.
They killed him, Shay! They used the green light spell and killed him and then fed him to Nagini! It was horrible and I woke up in so much pain!
I really really really miss you
Seamus was absolutely horrified. Scrambling out of bed, to his mother's disbelief, he ran down to the telephone in the hallway where he quickly flicked through their address book to find Hermione's phone number. Hermione had written to him early on in the summer to give him her number and tell him that if there was a problem with Harry and he knew about it then to call her and she would go visit him and make sure he was ok.
"Hello?" Seamus said in a panicked voice.
"Oh hello, pet. Hold on a minute and I'll get Hermione for you."
Seamus heard Mrs Granger call for Hermione and waited impatiently.
"Hi, Seamus, what's up?" Hermione said cheerfully.
"Harry had a dream about You Know Who and woke up with his scar hurting," Seamus said rapidly, very much aware of his mother listening in. "He's in a lot of pain and very scared."
"I'll go to him immediately," Hermione said firmly.
They both hung up and Seamus turned to his mother. "I guess I should tell you a little more about Harry," he said weakly.
"Hmmm." Was the only comment he received from Catherine.
Saturday 13 August 1994 – 9.15 am
Hermione lived in the centre of Oxford and it had taken a lot of cajoling to get her mother to agree to drive her only child to Surrey to visit her friend. Since Hermione was off to spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys, Rose Granger agreed to write the confirmation letter telling them that Hermione was with Harry and would be picked up there.
Hermione had packed her trunk with all her belongings but was not happy to be spending a day and an evening with the Dursleys. Harry did not belong there.
"Here we are, Hermione," said Rose. "I'll come in with you for a minute, shall I?"
"Ok, Mum," said Hermione equably.
Together, Rose and Hermione heaved Hermione's trunk with Crookshanks' travel basket on top, out of the boot of the car and dropped it on the welcome mat to number four. They were very aware of net curtains twitching and nosy eyes peering at them as Rose rang the doorbell.
"Boy!" they heard a woman screech. "Get the door!"
They heard shuffling footsteps and a second letter were looking at a dejected Harry. Hermione could see what Seamus meant about Harry being in a lot of pain. His scar was livid pink and stood out against his pale forehead. His thin face was drawn and his emerald eyes dull.
"'Mione!" Harry yelped. "What are you doing here?"
"Seamus wanted to come," Hermione said matter-of-factly as Harry moved to help her with her trunk. "But of course, him being in Ireland, couldn't."
"He told you?" Harry queried, tilting his head to one side curiously.
"Well, he is your boyfriend, Harry," said Hermione, as she and Harry set her trunk at the foot of the stairs and went into the kitchen with Rose trailing behind them. "Since he's in your life then I should get to know him properly. We've been Owling each other. Mum and Dad bought an owl of their own. It isn't mine, it's theirs, but they said I could use it."
Harry turned to his Aunt Petunia, who was watching them with pursed lips. "No freaks," she said immediately. "I won't allow it."
Rose puffed up behind Harry indignantly. "Are you calling my daughter a freak, Mrs Dursley?" she asked icily.
Petunia flinched and paled as Harry and Hermione took seats at the kitchen table.
"My daughter will be spending the night here," Rose said coolly. "She will call me tonight at eight and if she has anything to say about harsh words directed at either her or Harry then my husband and I will be coming back to have a long conversation with you and your husband. Am I clear?"
Petunia nodded hastily. "She can stay in the spare room," she said.
"That's ok," Hermione piped up. "I'll share with Harry. We have a lot to talk about."
Petunia gaped. "But that isn't proper," she said, flustered, glancing at Rose nervously.
"Do you know anything about your nephew, Mrs Dursley?" Rose asked, raising one elegant eyebrow. "He's gay and in a long-term relationship with a very nice boy from the sounds of it. I doubt he'll do anything to my daughter."
Harry grinned. "Except freak her out with Parseltongue," he said cheekily. "Hermione loves Ron," he taunted in Parseltongue.
Hermione shivered and moaned. "Harry," she complained. "You know I hate it when you do that. It's so creepy!"
"Says you," Harry retaliated. "Seamus thinks it's sexy and a turn-on."
Hermione moaned and hit Harry's shoulder. "I didn't need to know that," she said, looking distressed.
Harry laughed and nudged her shoulder. "Come on," he said. "Let's take your trunk up to my room."
"One minute, please," said Rose. She came and stood in front of Hermione and put her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "You have money, please spend it on a decent meal for you and Harry. Get a takeaway or something."
"Chinese!" Hermione crowed happily. "Harry, you'll love Chinese food. We'll get a bit of everything and pull an all-nighter."
Harry grinned. "Sounds good," he said. "I Owled Gringotts and they sent me some Muggle money as well. Perhaps we can do something fun today. My treat."
Rose smiled. "Well, then, have fun you two," she said, kissing Hermione's cheek and, to Harry's utter astonishment, pulling him into a gentle hug, ignoring the way he stiffened in her arms, unused to the contact. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Harry looked at her wide-eyed. "What's that mean?" he squeaked.
Hermione giggled. "It's just a saying, Harry," she explained. "Mum means to keep out of trouble."
"Oh." Harry didn't relax, wringing his hands nervously.
Harry and Hermione saw Rose out and then took Hermione's trunk up to Harry's room. They would have to share the rickety old cot but since they weren't planning on sleeping that night it wouldn't be a problem.
They packed Harry's things and then left the house, talking about everything they were going to do that day.
Tuesday 16 August 1994 – 2.07 am
Harry whimpered as he somehow parted from Ron and Hermione as they hid in the woods. He didn't understand what was going on but he wasn't scared, more nervous than anything.
He heard footsteps behind him and spun on the spot to find himself lit by wand-light. Harry felt his muscles relax as he found himself gazing into Seamus' dilated eyes.
"Shay!" he cried in relief.
"Dean's about somewhere," Seamus muttered.
Harry giggled. From their previous encounter earlier in the day he knew that Catherine had allowed Seamus to drink Firewhisky with her. Seamus sounded drunk still.
"Is he?" Harry said sweetly, as Seamus tucked his wand into the pocket of his jeans and pulled Harry into an embrace.
Seamus nodded and crushed his lips to Harry's. Harry's nose wrinkled in distaste as he tasted the Firewhisky on Seamus' tongue.
Seamus backed Harry up against a tree, pinning him there with his body and assaulting his mouth drunkenly. Harry whimpered and tangled his fingers in Seamus' hair. He felt Seamus' fingers fumbling with his pyjama shirt, attempting to pull it up and off.
Harry pushed at Seamus' chest. "You're drunk," he accused, when Seamus backed off.
Seamus grinned crookedly. "Yeah," he agreed, reaching for Harry again.
"Nuh uh," Harry refused, dancing out of reach. "You're drunk. I refuse to be a part of your drunken fumblings."
"But, Harry," Seamus whined pathetically, finally catching hold of Harry and pressing him back against a tree again. "I'm horny!"
And Seamus ground his hips into Harry's for effect, eliciting a gasping moan from the smaller boy who felt his own body coming to life. "Shay," Harry moaned, as Seamus attached himself to his collar bone and started sucking and nibbling at it.
"Merlin, Harry, I love you so much," Seamus muttered, as his fingers danced around the waistband of Harry's pyjama bottoms.
Harry gasped and arched his back as Seamus' tongue hit a particularly sensitive spot. "I love you, too, Shay!" he gasped out.
The next thing he knew he was flat on his back with Seamus' tongue dominating his mouth and his hand gripping his erection and stroking it. Harry whimpered and thrust his hips upwards, struggling to move his hands to return to the favour.
Seamus moved and Harry's hand was finally able to slip inside the taller boy's pyjama bottoms. Seamus groaned as Harry's small fingers wrapped around his erection and started stroking it.
They came together with hoarse shouts and Seamus collapsed on top of Harry panting heavily. Harry shifted out from underneath the taller, heavier boy and curled around him sleepily.
"Mmm, missed you, Shay," Harry murmured.
"Missed you, too, Har," Seamus whispered back.
They were aware of the shouts and screams falling silent and knew that the adults would soon be looking for them but neither made a move. Harry was falling asleep, clutching at Seamus' arm desperately.
The small boy raised his head when he heard Hermione shouting his name. He looked at Seamus who smiled tiredly. "Two weeks, Har," he said.
Harry smiled back and kissed Seamus' cheek. "Two weeks," he said. "'Mione?" he called in answer to the witch's shouts. "Over here!"
Seamus watched Harry until he was out of view before closing his eyes and waiting for someone to find him.
Friday 2 September 1994 – 1.17 am
"I noticed you had new clothes," Seamus commented as Harry slipped into his bed.
"Mmm," Harry hummed. "Bill took me and 'Mione shopping. I only got the one outfit, though, cos of the Dursleys."
"Hermione already has decent clothes," Seamus pointed out, dismissing Harry's comment about the Dursleys. He already knew that they wouldn't have let Harry keep a whole new wardrobe.
Harry grinned and curled himself around Seamus comfortably. "I know but Bill said her wardrobe was too conservative. I treated her to a few more outrageous items."
"Of course you did," said Seamus with a grin. "So what do you think about this Tournament?"
"Glad I'm not seventeen," Harry said frankly. "Otherwise everyone will expect me to enter and get chosen."
Seamus squeezed Harry tightly. "I'm glad you're not seventeen as well," he said. "I don't think my poor heart could stand another year with you constantly in danger."
Harry smiled and kissed Seamus on the cheek. "You're so sweet, Shay," he cooed.
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Go to sleep, Har," he said. "It's been a long day."
Harry hummed in agreement and closed his eyes. "Night, Shay, love you."
"Love you, too, Har," Seamus said affectionately. "Night."
Tuesday 6 September 1994 – 1.17 am
"Never turn your back to Malfoy again," Seamus hissed, as Harry curled around him sleepily.
"Ok," Harry agreed. "Did you see him as the Amazing Bouncing Ferret? I thought I was going to cry I laughed so hard."
Seamus reluctantly grinned. "Unorthodox punishment but the ferret deserved it," he said.
Harry hummed in agreement and reached up to pat Seamus' cheek. "Go to sleep, Shay," he said. "I'm tired."
Seamus rolled his eyes and kissed the top of Harry's head before closing his eyes and drifting off.
Friday 9 September 1994 – 12.13 am
"I wanted to come after you," Seamus admitted, holding Harry tightly. "But I was glad it was Hermione who followed you."
"I'm fine, Shay," Harry said in a small voice. "I've known for years they were murdered."
"But not how," Seamus pointed out. "Damn' Moody for being an insensitive git," he swore, seeing Harry's eyes fill with tears.
"Neville was affected badly, too," Harry pointed out weakly.
"I complained to McGonagall," Seamus stated matter-of-factly. "Moody knowingly distressed two of his students with his class today and that's just not on."
"Dumbledore won't do anything," Harry said. "He never does."
"Useless old coot," Seamus grumbled.
"Moody did teach us a good lesson," Harry said to try and placate his irate boyfriend. "Granted, he needn't have demonstrated the spells but it is necessary for us to know about the Unforgivables."
Seamus reluctantly nodded his agreement. "What was Hermione blathering about in the common room?" he asked.
"Oh," said Harry. "She found out that House Elves are "employed" at Hogwarts and did some research on them. She has started up a society – Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. S.P.E.W. She made me secretary and Ron treasurer."
"Ok," said Seamus slowly. "And where exactly is she going to be taking this?"
"Two Sickles to join," Harry said cheekily. "You'll get a badge."
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Fine," he grumbled.
"And to answer your question, Hermione's been researching all manner of creature history and has decided that she wants to enter the Ministry of Magic as their advocate. She's going to campaign to get all magical creatures more and better rights."
"Huh," said Seamus. "Ambitious of her."
"Have you decided on a career yet?" Harry asked, twisting to look at Seamus properly.
"Curse Breaking," Seamus admitted. "Did you know that Curse Breakers not only take down the wards on ancient tombs and vaults but they're the ones to excavate them as well? The goblins give them a percentage on the gold and jewels discovered as well. There's good money in Curse Breaking."
Harry squeezed Seamus. "You'll be amazing," he gushed.
Seamus rolled his eyes. "How about you, Har?" he said. "Got a career planned?"
"Ron seems to think I'm going to be an Auror," Harry grumbled. "But I don't like that I'm fighting for my life every year. Why would I want to do so professionally?"
"So what do you want to do?" Seamus asked, carding his fingers through Harry's now shoulder-length hair.
"I've got a few ideas," said Harry. "From what I've heard, the majority of magical students are home schooled before attending Hogwarts. Only those who are Muggleborn or, like me, Muggle raised, attend an actual primary school. That's why so many first-years struggle to fit in. They're not used to socialising with others their own age."
"Yeah, I've noticed that, too," said Seamus. "Dad made me go to primary school, against Mam's wishes. She wanted to home school me."
"I went to primary school as well," said Harry. "I didn't socialise much, though. Dudley chased off every person that wanted to be my friend and bullied me a lot. He and his friends had a game called "Harry Hunting". That's why I'm so fast. Had to be to avoid getting beaten up."
Seamus hissed and clenched Harry tightly. "Gonna kill that Muggle when I get a chance," he said coldly.
"No, Shay," Harry said sharply. "He's not worth it."
Once Seamus had calmed down and released his tight hold on Harry, they continued their conversation. "So you were saying?" Seamus said.
"Oh right," said Harry. "I want to open Magical Primary Schools all across the country. The curriculums wouldn't interfere with that of Hogwarts or anything but there is so much magic to be learnt that an extra six years of schooling would benefit witches and wizards. For example, how many Muggleborns, beside Hermione, know how the Ministry of Magic came to be? How the Wizengamot was founded? How many know the true history behind the construction of Hogwarts?"
"Not many, I'm assuming," Seamus said, amused at the passion Harry was displaying.
"Exactly!" Harry said excitedly. "I'm going to set up several primary schools, all teaching the same curriculum, and invite all magical children – Purebloods, Half Bloods and Muggleborns – to attend and learn magical theory as well as Muggle subjects before they attend Hogwarts. It will take a hell of a lot of time, I realise that," Harry continued. "And I know that I will have to send teachers to talk to the parents of Muggleborn students, but it will be worth it in the end. Students will have a better understanding of their history and their abilities. It will make the wizarding community more of a community than ever."
Seamus chuckled and kissed the top of Harry's head affectionately. "Sounds good," he said. "Any other ideas?"
"Yes," said Harry frankly. "Hermione has told me, several times, that she wishes she could still take her Muggle school courses. A lot of Muggleborns, even Half Bloods, spend as much time in the Muggle world as they do in the wizarding world. Being limited by only a wizarding education means that these students aren't truly a part of the Muggle world anymore. I want to open a summer school so that students can continue their Muggle education and get their Muggle qualifications if they wish to."
Seamus shook his head. "You are amazing, Harry," he said, wondrously. "Everything you've said is for the wizarding community as a whole. Is there anything you'd like to do that would be for you and you alone?"
Harry tilted his head to one side and thought long and hard about it. "Yes," he said finally. "I'd like to open a cafe. Not a restaurant, that would be too demanding, but a small cafe where I could do all the cooking for my customers."
"You like to cook?" Seamus queried.
"I love to cook!" Harry gushed. "It's the one chore the Dursleys give me that I actually enjoy doing! It's a shame Mrs Weasley never lets me in her kitchen cos I'd love to help her cook for everyone."
Seamus smiled. "Perhaps you should tell her, then," he said. "Maybe if she knew how you felt she would give in and let you help her."
Harry looked doubtful. "But I don't want to upset her," he said nervously. "It's very nice of her to put up with me during the holidays I couldn't – "
"Harry, Mrs Weasley loves you," Seamus said firmly. "If she didn't, she wouldn't send you Christmas and birthday gifts. Trust me, she thinks of you as another son."
Harry ducked his head and Seamus felt a few tears leak out onto his shoulder. "Thanks, Shay," Harry whispered.
"No problem, Har," said Seamus. "Now go to sleep. It's late."
Harry snuggled down against Seamus' side. "Night, Shay, love you."
"Love you, too, Har," Seamus said back. "Night."
Tuesday 24 October 1994 – 3.09 am
"I hate Moody," Seamus grouched, as Harry slipped into bed beside him.
"Why?" Harry asked curiously.
"He hurt you!" Seamus said indignantly. "He repeatedly put you under the Imperious and made you throw it off. You kept crashing into the desk!"
Harry shrugged. "Wasn't too bad," he said. "Not as bad as being deliberately run – " Harry froze in horror as Seamus rocketed upright to stare at Harry.
"Your uncle deliberately ran over you? In his car?" Seamus practically shouted.
Harry swallowed, pleased that Seamus put a Silencing Charm around his bed every night. "Um, it was my fault," Harry offered weakly. "I forgot to clean out the drains and Uncle Vernon was soaked in muck when he went to take a shower."
"So he ran over you?" Seamus demanded. "How is that a suitable punishment?"
"Um, well, he probably just took an opportunity," Harry said in a very small voice. "I was weeding the driveway and, well, didn't move."
Seamus flopped back down with a groan and threw an arm over his eyes. "Merlin, Harry, the more I hear about your relatives the more I want to seriously hurt them."
Harry settled himself down on Seamus' chest, hugging him tightly. "It's ok," Harry soothed. "It doesn't matter."
"Of course it matters, Harry," Seamus cried. "How can you be so blasé about the abuse you suffer?"
Harry shrugged. "Cos I'm used to it," he supplied. "Really, Shay, it doesn't matter. I've nowhere else to go so I have to put up with it."
Seamus squeezed his eyes shut tightly and counted backwards from ten in his head. When he still hadn't calmed down he repeated the action until he felt all the anger draining from his body.
"I don't like when people hurt you, Har," Seamus muttered, finally curling his arms around the smaller boy.
Harry didn't answer. He'd already fallen asleep.
Friday 28 October 1994 – 7.31 pm
Seamus looked down the Gryffindor table to where Harry was sitting with Ron, Hermione and Neville. He wasn't putting much food on his plate and what he did have he was only picking at. Seamus noticed he was rather pale and was sitting rather hunched over.
Seamus caught Hermione's eye and motioned to her to make sure Harry ate more. He was already too thin and Seamus worried about him.
"Harry, you need to eat more than that," Seamus heard Hermione scold.
Seamus watched her pile more food onto Harry's plate. The smaller boy gaped at her in horror. "'Mione, I can't eat all that! That's Ron's portion-size!"
Seamus suppressed a chuckle when he heard Ron exclaim indignantly.
"Eat as much of it as you can, Harry," Hermione said and leant in close to the boy. Seamus assumed she was telling Harry that he, Seamus, was worried about his lack of appetite as Harry blushed and darted a quick look of apology at him.
"Pay attention, mate," Dean Thomas griped next to him. "I was telling you something."
"Sorry," Seamus apologised. "Got distracted. Go on."
Tuesday 1 November 1994 – 4.09 am
Seamus woke with a start as Harry started screaming in his sleep. Thankful for the Silencing Charm around his bed that prevented the other boys being woken by the pained noise, Seamus quickly started shaking Harry in an effort to wake him.
"Harry, wake up!" Seamus hissed.
Seamus shook Harry harder before grunting when Harry ricocheted into a seated position, head-butting his nose rather painfully. Tears were streaming down Harry's cheeks as he flung his arms around Seamus and buried his face in the crook of Seamus' shoulder.
"Shhh," Seamus soothed, rubbing Harry's back in an effort to calm him down.
It took a while for Harry to recover from whatever he had been dreaming about and when he had he pulled away from Seamus to scrub at his cheeks much like a young child would.
"Want to talk about it?" Seamus asked evenly.
Harry shook his head mutely, but his eyes darted over at where Ron's bed was. Seamus followed his gaze.
"He's an idiot," he said bluntly. "Anyone with half a brain can tell you hate the attention."
Harry gave a small smile. "You're my boyfriend, you have to say that," he pointed out.
"Doesn't mean it's not true, though," Seamus said. "Ron has always been a moron. Look how he treated you last year over the Firebolt."
Harry just shrugged and manoeuvred himself back into Seamus' arms. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Nothing to be sorry about, Har," Seamus said thickly. "Not your fault some megalomaniac has got it in for you."
Seamus felt Harry press a kiss to his chest. "Go back to sleep, Har," he said, pulling Harry back into a laying position with him.
Friday 4 November 1994 – 2.01 am
"Stupid Malfoy and his stupid badges," Harry raged, throwing cushions around the common room before stomping around to pick them up, only to chuck them at the walls again.
Seamus sat cross-legged on the rug before the dwindling fire, patiently waiting for Harry's temper to wear out.
"Stupid Ron," Harry muttered. "Stupid tournament. Stupid Voldemort."
Seamus gave a wry grin at the last mutter. "Only you would call the Dark Lord stupid, Har," he said affectionately, as Harry flopped down beside Seamus and burrowed his head into the taller boy's lap.
Seamus carded his fingers through Harry's thick, unruly hair as Harry snorted. "Well he is stupid," Harry muttered. "He hasn't successfully managed to kill me yet so why the hell does he keep trying? It doesn't look like it's going to happen."
"Thank Merlin," Seamus muttered. Aloud he said, "Did you write to Sirius to tell him what's happened?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah," he sulked. "Hedwig's in a mood with me cos Sirius told me not to keep using her as she is way too noticeable."
Seamus grinned. "Only you could manage to get an owl mad at you," he said.
"Hedwig's one of a kind," Harry said indignantly.
"Hmm," said Seamus. He pushed Harry off his lap and stood, pulling Harry to his feet as well. "Bed," he commanded. "We have Snape tomorrow."
Harry groaned but allowed Seamus to lead him back up to the dormitory. "And that's going to be pleasant," he said sarcastically.
Seamus just grinned.
Saturday 5 November 1994 – 1.19 am
"You had your wand weighed to ensure it was in good enough condition for the tournament?" Seamus repeated. "But before that Rita Skeeter kidnapped you and trapped you in a broom closet for an interview where she wrote down things you hadn't said or done?"
"Yup," Harry said morosely. "Fate has it in for me this year."
Seamus chuckled. "I can see why you would think that," he admitted.
"No mocking," Harry said, pouting up at his boyfriend. "Mocking is not allowed. I forbid it."
Seamus laughed harder at that, causing Harry to pout even more and to fold his arms across his chest huffily.
"Continue laughing at me and I'll go back to my own bed, mister," Harry groused.
"Sorry," Seamus apologised, sobering up fairly quickly at that.
Harry huffed and turned his back to Seamus and closing his eyes. "I was going to have a snog with you tonight but now you get nothing," Harry said.
"Oh, come on," Seamus complained. "We haven't had a decent snog in days because of this bloody tournament."
"And you're not getting one now either," Harry said firmly. "Maybe tomorrow."
Seamus grumbled to himself as he settled down behind Harry, pulling the smaller boy back against his chest. "Don't be mad, Har," Seamus whispered.
Harry didn't answer but Seamus could tell he was smiling again.
Friday 11 November 1994 – 12.01 am
"I'm intrigued as to what you have bought me this year," Seamus teased, seeing the wrapped box in Harry's hands.
Harry grinned. "No complaining," he warned.
Seamus rolled his eyes and tore into the wrapping to reveal a plain brown box. He glanced up at Harry, confusion in his eyes, before looking back down as he lifted the lid from the box. Peering inside he frowned and looked back up at Harry.
"The Four Treasures," Harry explained. "Also known as the Hallows of Ireland."
Seamus' expression changed to one of awe. "Merlin's Balls, Har, how the hell did you get a hold of these? They're supposed to be lost in time."
Harry shrugged. "Asked around," he said. "Did a hell of a lot of research. Hermione helped with that. I had no idea just how much clout my name has."
Seamus grinned and reached out to pull Harry into an embrace. He nuzzled the smaller boy's cheek affectionately.
"Love you so much, Har," Seamus said huskily. "It means so much to me that you would hunt down something that's a part of my heritage just for me."
Harry pressed a kiss to the side of Seamus' neck. "Love you, too, Shay," Harry whispered back.
Saturday 12 November 1994 – 1.01 am
"Who was the letter from, Har?" Seamus asked, as Harry slipped into his bed and wriggled about to get comfortable.
"Sirius," Harry said, pouting. "Stupid bloke's coming back because of this stupid tournament."
"Is he insane?" Seamus asked, rubbing Harry's back soothingly.
"I think he might be," Harry admitted. "Azkaban for twelve years. Not good. Even if he did spend the majority of the time as Padfoot."
"Agreed," said Seamus. "What else did he have to say?"
"He wants me to report anything unusual to him," said Harry. "He wants me to be in the common room at one o'clock on the 19th."
"I'll try and keep people from coming down and disturbing you," Seamus promised. "I'll enlist Fred and George as well."
Harry grinned and squeezed Seamus lovingly. "Thanks," he said. "Now sleep."
Seamus chuckled and kissed the top of Harry's head. "Yes, dear," he said.
Sunday 20 November 1994 – 3.01 am
Harry finally heard Ron start snoring and he rolled his eyes as he slipped out of his bed and scurried over to Seamus'. Climbing in, Harry shook Seamus to wake him up.
"'S'up, Har?" Seamus grunted sleepily, wrapping an arm around the smaller boy.
"Ron heard me talking to Sirius and confronted me about the sodding tournament again," Harry complained. "So I chucked a badge at his head."
"Great," Seamus mumbled. "What did Hagrid and Sirius want?"
"Um, Hagrid showed me what the first task is," said Harry. "Dragons."
"What?" Seamus was fully awake and staring at Harry in horror.
"I have to either fight or get past a dragon," said Harry. "I'm gonna get Hermione to help me with the Summoning Charm."
"Merlin's Balls, the Ministry is bonkers," Seamus breathed. "What did Sirius have to say?"
"He told me that Karkaroff was or is a Death Eater and that he stayed out of Azkaban because he sold out fellow Death Eaters," said Harry. "He also told me about some witch called Bertha Jorkins who has officially been reported as missing in Albania by the Ministry."
"I heard rumours about Karkaroff," Seamus admitted. "What's Bertha Jorkins got to do with anything?"
"Sirius reckons that Voldemort knows about the tournament and that's how my name got in the goblet," said Harry. "Either Karkaroff told him in a bid to redeem himself or Voldemort extracted the information from Bertha before disposing of her."
Seamus nodded slowly. "Makes sense," he agreed. "What did he have to say about the dragons?"
"Not much," said Harry. "That's when Ron interrupted."
"Shame," said Seamus. "He could have helped with ideas."
Harry nodded his agreement. "Tired, Shay," he complained, head-butting Seamus' shoulder.
Seamus chuckled. "Go to sleep, then," he said, amused.
Harry peered up at Seamus through his fringe. "Chocolate?" he said hopefully.
"No way," Seamus refused. "You ate tons of the stuff earlier. Plus, you need sleep. Getting hyped up on sugar is not going to help that."
Harry sighed and settled down with his head on Seamus' chest. "Fine," he grumbled.
Seamus lovingly watched Harry for a while, gently tracing his fingertips over Harry's lithely toned back, before closing his eyes again and falling back into a deep sleep.
Tuesday 22 November 1994 – 1.19 am
"I told Cedric about the dragons," Harry admitted to Seamus.
"Mmm?" Seamus mumbled sleepily. "Why?"
"Cos he was the only one who didn't know," said Harry. "Hagrid showed Maxime and Karkaroff followed them and I was there. Cedric didn't know and I didn't think that was fair."
"Ok," said Seamus, not even bothering to open his eyes. "Sleep now."
Harry grinned. Seamus could be extraordinarily lazy at times. Harry turned his head and leant up to press a kiss to Seamus' jaw. "Love you, Shay," he whispered.
Seamus patted Harry in an absent, half-asleep manner, and grunted something unintelligible that Harry took as "love you, too".
Thursday 24 November 1994 – 3.30 pm
Seamus was waiting in a dark alcove. Hermione was going to lead Harry to him before they went down to the grounds so that Seamus could attempt to calm Harry down before the task.
Seamus caught Harry as the smaller boy barrelled into his arms and clung to him tightly.
"I'm scared, Shay," Harry mumbled against Seamus' chest.
"I know, Har," Seamus said calmly. "But you're going to be brilliant."
Harry sniffled slightly and nuzzled at Seamus' chest. Seamus sighed, gripped Harry's chin and tilted his head up to look at him.
"I love you, Har," he said seriously.
"Love you too, Shay," Harry mumbled back.
Seamus bent his head and pressed a comforting kiss to Harry's lips. Hermione, waiting to walk down to the grounds with Harry, discreetly looked anywhere but at the entwined pair.
They eventually pulled apart and rested their foreheads together. "I swear to God, Har, if you come back with even one injury I'll bloody murder you myself."
Harry gave a weak laugh. "I'll try my hardest, Shay," he promised. "No dragon's gonna hurt me!"
Seamus grinned back and reluctantly stepped away from Harry. He looked over at Hermione. "Sitting with us, Hermione?" he asked casually.
Hermione gave a haughty sniff. "So long as I'm not next to Ronald then yes," she replied.
"No problem," said Seamus easily. "You can sit between me and Nev."
Hermione smiled and tucked her arm into the crook of Harry's. "See you there, Seamus," she said.
Seamus watched the two walk away quickly before heading down to the grounds himself.
"Where have you been, mate?" Dean asked as Seamus found a seat next to him.
Seamus noted that Ron was on Dean's other side, against the wall. "Bathroom," Seamus lied.
Fortunately neither Dean nor Ron thought anything of this reply so Seamus was able to quickly motion Hermione over to them. The bushy-haired girl stopped at another bench and when she moved forward again, she was joined by Neville, Parvati and Lavender.
"Hey, guys," said Hermione brightly. "Who's nervous, eh? I am."
Ron snorted and opened his mouth to reply but Hermione cut across him.
"Nobody needs to hear your opinion, Ronald," Hermione said haughtily. "It'll be the same as always. Harry brought it on himself yada yada. Serves him right for being arrogant yada yada."
Parvati and Lavender giggled loudly as Ron flushed an ugly shade of red and glared at Hermione with intense dislike.
"I'm nervous for him," Seamus cut in. "Everyone knows Harry hates the attention. No way in hell would he have put his name in the goblet."
The group turned to find Fred and George, Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet taking seats behind them.
"Did you see him, Hermione?" Angelina asked, an anxious look on her face. The three female Gryffindor Chasers all loved Harry like a little brother. They looked out for him when nobody else did.
"He's terrified," Hermione admitted. "He looked ready to throw up when I was forced from the tent."
Lee Jordan eyed Hermione suspiciously. "You know what he has to do," he said accusingly.
Hermione blushed. "Well, Hagrid may have accidently let slip what the first task would be," she said slowly. "And I may have been helping him with certain spell work this week."
Fred and George grinned. "Never would have seen Miss Hermione Granger breaking the rules," they said in unison.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Oh please," she said dismissively. "I've been breaking the rules for Harry since first year."
Ron was about to add his two-pennyworth when Ludo Bagman strode out into the middle of the enclosure they were seated around and started speaking in amplified voice.
"Welcome to the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament," he said. "Proceedings will begin very shortly but I will first announce to you exactly what our Champions will need to do."
Bagman raised a hand, in the palm of which a golden egg was nestled. "This is the task," he announced. "The Champions need to retrieve this as quickly possible with as few injuries as possible."
The students started muttering about how that was easy enough to do and Bagman let them with a smirk on his face.
"The catch is," he added, "they will need to retrieve them from a pile of dragon eggs. The eggs will be guarded by nesting mother dragons."
There were gasps of horror and a few girls screamed in fear for either Viktor Krum or Cedric Diggory. Lee Jordan leant forward. "What's Harry's plan?" he asked.
Hermione smirked at him. "Not telling," she said airily. "You'll have to wait and see."
Lee Jordan rolled his eyes and sat back again.
"Our first Champion will be Cedric Diggory of Hogwarts," Bagman announced. "He will be facing a Swedish Short-Snout."
The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws all cheered for Diggory so Seamus, feeling affronted on Harry's behalf, leant forward to tap Justin Finch-Fletchley on the shoulder.
"If you know what's good for you," Seamus hissed, "you will cheer for Harry as well."
Justin sneered at Seamus. "Why would I do that?" he demanded.
"Because you accused Harry of something he hadn't done second-year," Seamus said simply. "Don't make the same mistake again. Harry won't forgive you a second time."
"What's to forgive?" asked Ernie Macmillan, overhearing the conversation. "Potter put his name in the goblet because he, like the rest of the school, likes to undermine us Hufflepuffs."
"Not true," Hermione argued, leaning forward as well. "Harry hates attention and he believes in everyone equally. You should have heard him when Cedric's name came out of the goblet. He was really pleased for him."
"Nearly threw up when his own name came out of the goblet," Neville concluded.
Justin and Ernie rolled their eyes. "Makes him a good actor then, doesn't it," Ernie said.
"Or a Slytherin in disguise," Justin added.
"Oh, don't be so mean," Susan Bones admonished the two guys. She looked over her shoulder and smiled warmly at the Gryffindor. Her blue eyes lingered slightly on Seamus. "Sorry about them," she apologised. "They haven't learnt their lesson from second-year. Hannah and I are working on them."
A whistle sounded and everyone sat forward in their seats eagerly as a dragon shimmered into existence in the enclosure and Cedric entered.
Cedric pointed his wand at a rock, which shimmered and transfigured into a Labrador. The Labrador started prancing around, barking excitedly and the dragon focused its attention on the dog. Cedric started to manoeuvre himself towards the nest of eggs but as soon as he got somewhat close, the dragon noticed him, roared and shot flames at the Hufflepuff. The flames clipped the side of Cedric's face as he rolled closer to the nest and grabbed his golden egg.
The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws roared themselves and cheered enthusiastically. The Slytherins clapped with looks of disdain on their faces while the majority of the Gryffindor booed and started chanting "Potter! Potter! Potter".
Seamus watched as handlers ran into the enclosure to calm the dragon down. They shimmered out of existence and Cedric was led out to the medical tent where Madam Pomfrey was waiting to fuss over him and cluck her tongue disapprovingly. The five judges were conferring but they quickly sat up when Cedric returned to the enclosure. Cedric was scored out of ten, points being taken off for damage to the real eggs and for any injuries sustained.
Seamus didn't pay much attention to Cedric's scores; he was busy whispering anxiously with Hermione about how Harry was doing. Both of them had noticed how scared Cedric had looked and were worried that Harry was having a panic attack.
"Our next Champion is Miss Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons," Bagman announced once Cedric had left the enclosure once more. "She will be facing a Welsh Green."
A babble of talk broke out and Seamus noticed that Ron had a dopey look on his face as he sat forward eagerly.
A dragon shimmered into existence once again and Seamus concluded that the handlers had removed the Swedish Short-Snout to somewhere else and a second group of handlers brought in the Welsh Green.
A whistle sounded and a few moments later Fleur entered the enclosure. She twirled her wand and a soothing lullaby resounded throughout the grounds. Fleur swayed from side to side in time with the music, prompting the dragon to start swaying as well. The dragon's eyes narrowed, as though it were in a trance and Fleur slowly made her way to the nest. Seamus almost groaned when it looked as though Fleur wasn't going to receive any injuries but then the dragon snored and flames shot at Fleur. She rolled away but her skirt was on fire. Unfazed, she put it out with a jet of water from her wand before continuing forward and grabbing her golden egg.
The males in the crowd and some of the females erupted into cheers. Ron jumped to his feet and yelled his congratulations. Hermione rolled her eyes and tutted impatiently at Ron's antics, even as Dean tugged Ron back into his seat and Fred and George laughed and teased their younger brother.
Seamus leaned in to Hermione. "She looked very calm for someone up against a dragon," he said quietly.
Hermione gave a small smile. "That would be Harry's influence," she said. "You know what he's like. He's probably ignoring his own panic and focusing on calming the others down."
Seamus grinned. "If that's true then I'm not half going to give him an earful about it tonight," he said, using one of Harry's favourite expressions.
Hermione gave a giggle. "I can't believe I never noticed you and Harry are a couple," she said, wonderment in her eyes. "You even talk like one another on occasion. You know things about him that not even I know."
"I know things that you probably don't want to know," Seamus said, a wicked gleam to his eyes.
Hermione wrinkled her nose and nodded her head. "Definitely," she agreed.
"Our next Champion is Viktor Krum of Durmstrang," Bagman announced. "He will be facing a Chinese Fireball."
Females screamed and even Ron groaned next to Dean. Hermione rolled her eyes again. Ron was so predictable she couldn't even summon the energy to rage at him.
The dragon shimmered into existence and a whistle sounded. A few moments later Krum entered the enclosure. He immediately shot a spell straight at the dragon, clearly aiming for the eyes. But the dragon was restless and constantly moving about. The spell missed and Krum cursed loudly. He shot the same spell several more times before it finally scraped a hit on the dragon's vulnerable eyes. The dragon roared and charged about in pain. Seamus noticed that in the rampage, the majority of the real eggs were crushed. Krum grabbed his golden egg and stalked out of the way of the angry dragon.
Seamus felt Hermione grab hold of his hand. Glancing down, Seamus noticed that Hermione was also clutching Neville's hand.
"Harry's next," Hermione whimpered. "Oh Merlin, never mind him, my heart's racing from nerves."
Seamus gave a wry grin. His own heart was pounding painfully from nerves.
"Our final Champion is Harry Potter of Hogwarts," Bagman announced. "Our youngest Champion will be facing our most temperamental dragon, a Hungarian Horntail."
Hermione moaned and her grip on Seamus and Neville's hands tightened.
The dragon shimmered into existence and Seamus felt the urge to run down to the enclosure and prevent Harry from entering. The dragon had long, bronze spikes down the length of its tail and its yellow eyes were rolling madly.
Harry entered the enclosure. He was nervously shifting his weight from foot to foot and Seamus noticed that his face was as white as a sheet and his hands trembling. Harry raised his wand. "Accio Firebolt!" he cried.
Seamus heard several students starting to mutter about how Harry didn't know what he was doing. That he was unprepared and should never have entered the tournament.
"What's he doing?" Lee Jordan asked.
"Wait and see," Hermione hissed, keeping wary eyes on the Horntail.
Seamus started when Harry's Firebolt whizzed into the enclosure, prompting Bagman to make a comment. Harry cocked a leg over the broom and soared up into the air. Seamus watched and hid a smile when he saw how relaxed Harry now was.
Harry dived down at the nest of eggs only to pull up again when the Horntail released a jet of fire at him. The Horntail's head followed Harry who was now flying in a circle. Harry dived again but was less lucky this time as the Horntail's spiked tail flew up and lashed Harry across the shoulder.
Hermione gasped and whimpered, her fingers digging painfully into Seamus' hand. Seamus felt no better; his legs were jiggling, his entire mind screaming at him to get out there and help Harry.
Harry was flying this way and that, apparently immune to the pain from his shoulder. Harry steadily flew higher and higher, irritating the Horntail until she roared and reared up, her scaly black wings unfurling and her jaws mashing in Harry's direction, but Harry was no longer there. He had dived down towards the ground the second the Horntail had removed her attention from the eggs. He snatched his egg from the nest and pulled out of the dive to soar up and over the stands.
"Look at that!" Bagman yelled. "Will you look at that! Our youngest Champion is quickest to get his egg! Well, this is going to shorten the odds on Mr Potter!"
Seamus let out his breath in a whoosh. He felt so relived but at the same time anxious. He wanted to go and fuss over Harry but he knew that Harry wasn't ready for them to go public. Probably wouldn't until Voldemort was gone for good. Harry was paranoid like that.
"Message for Harry?" Hermione whispered.
"Tell him I love him and am so proud of him," Seamus whispered back. "But that I'm going to kick his butt for getting injured."
Hermione smiled and took her hand from Seamus'. "Got it," she whispered.
"Hey, you going to Harry?" Neville asked.
"Yeah," said Hermione. "You know what he's like. He's bound to be having a freak-out over what people are going to be saying tomorrow."
Neville smiled tentatively. "Mind if I come with you?" he asked hopefully.
"Yeah she minds," Ron said loudly. "I'm his best mate. I'm going with her."
Hermione gaped at Ron. "You really think he still considers you his best friend after all this?" she demanded. "You're lucky he still even acknowledges your presence."
"So you're going to try and replace me with him?" Ron demanded, sneering slightly at Neville.
"I'm not going to do anything, Ronald," Hermione said calmly. "It's up to Harry who he's friends with." She turned to Neville then and smiled. "Of course you can come with me, Neville," she said. "Harry will definitely appreciate it."
Neville's face lit up and he rose to his feet. "Great," he said cheerfully. "Let's go then."
Seamus watched as Neville and Hermione shuffled their way out of the stands and down towards the tent for the Champions. Seamus ached to follow them, to see Harry and make sure he was alright with his own eyes.
"Out of line," Ron huffed crossly, folding his arms across his chest. "She was out of line saying what she did. She's probably been banging Harry since last year."
Seamus fought a grin. Ron was completely oblivious to how Hermione clearly felt about him and how platonic her feelings for Harry really were. He didn't say anything, though. It wasn't his battle until Harry involved him.
Thursday 24 November 1994 – 8.09 pm
"Blimey, this is heavy," said Lee Jordan, picking up the golden egg, which Harry had left on a table, and weighing it in his hands. "Open it, Harry, go on! Let's just see what's inside it!"
"He's supposed to work out the clue on his own," Hermione said swiftly. "It's in the Tournament rules..."
"I was supposed to work out how to get past the dragon on my own, too," Harry muttered, so only Hermione could hear him, and she grinned rather guiltily.
"Yeah, go on, Harry, open it!" several people echoed.
Harry glanced at Seamus uncertainly but the blond merely shrugged. Harry chewed on his lip before heaving a sigh and holding out his hands. Lee passed Harry the egg, and Harry dug his fingernails into the groove that ran all the way around it, and prised it open.
It was hollow and completely empty – but the moment Harry opened it, the most horrible noise, a loud and screechy wailing, filled the room. The nearest thing to it Harry had ever heard was the ghost orchestra at Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party, who had all been playing the musical saw.
"Shut it!" Fred bellowed, his hands over his ears.
"What was that?" said Seamus, staring at the egg as Harry slammed it shut again. "Sounded like a banshee...maybe you've got to get past one of those next, Harry!"
"It was someone being tortured!" said Neville, who had gone very white, and spilled sausage rolls over the floor. "You're going to have to fight the Cruciatus Curse!"
"Don't be a prat, Neville, that's illegal," said George. "They wouldn't use the Cruciatus Curse on the champions. I thought it sounded a bit like Percy singing...maybe you've got to attack him while he's in the shower, Harry."
"Scary thought," said Fred with a dramatic shudder.
Seamus locked eyes with Harry and jerked his head towards the stairs leading up the dormitories. Harry gave a slight nod of the head and watched as Seamus turned and made his way up to the dorm. Harry made to follow his boyfriend but he was waylaid by Ron.
"Mate," Ron said, slapping Harry on the back jovially. "You did brill today."
Harry stared blankly up at Ron and pushed the heavy arm off his shoulders. "I am not your mate," he said coldly. "If you think I'm still your friend after the way you've been treating me the last few weeks then you're sorely mistaken."
"But, mate," Ron blustered. "What about everything we've been through?"
Harry didn't answer. He merely turned his back on the spluttering redhead and made his way up to the dormitories to Seamus.
"A banshee?" Harry said, amused, slipping into bed beside Seamus and cuddling up eagerly. "Really?"
"Hey!" said Seamus indignantly. "Banshees are harbingers of death. They're scary creatures."
"You're right about it being some sort of creature," said Harry thoughtfully. "But what?"
"Don't think about it now," Seamus muttered, rolling Harry onto his back and hovering over the smaller boy.
"Why not?" said Harry, a wicked gleam to his eyes.
"If you have to ask that then I'm clearly doing something very wrong," said Seamus with a smirk.
Harry giggled and wrapped his arms around Seamus' neck. "Perhaps you'll have try harder then," he said cheekily.
Seamus grinned and lowered his head.
Thursday 8 December 1994 – 2.19 am
"Rita Skeeter paid a visit to my Care of Magical Creatures class today," Harry said.
"What did she want?" Seamus asked sleepily.
"She asked about the Blast-Ended Skrewts," said Harry. "Then asked Hagrid for an interview."
"Poor Hagrid," Seamus murmured.
Harry pouted. Seamus wasn't listening to him.
"Trelawney predicted my death," Harry tried.
"Yeah?" said Seamus, not even opening his eyes.
"Dobby's working in the kitchens here," said Harry. "He's still totally obsessed with me."
"Uh huh," Seamus grunted.
Harry pouted harder and moved to straddle Seamus' hips. "Shay," he whined. "I want attention."
"Of course you do," said Seamus, still not moving.
"Shay," Harry whined again. "Are you listening to me?"
Seamus groggily patted Harry on the back. "Sleep, Har," he muttered.
Harry rolled his eyes and flopped down on Seamus' chest again. "You're no fun when you're sleepy," he complained, closing his eyes.
Saturday 10 December 1994 – 1.13 am
"Be my partner to the Yule Ball?" Seamus asked, nuzzling at Harry's cheek affectionately.
Harry pouted. "Why should I when you ignored me the other night?" he demanded.
Seamus groaned. "I was half asleep, Har," he said. "You can't hold that against me."
Harry sighed. "Fine," he grumbled. "I'll go to the Yule Ball with you."
"You don't need to make it sound like a complete chore," said Seamus with a chuckle.
"I'm just thinking," said Harry slowly. "If anyone asks us who we're going with are we going to say each other?"
Seamus tilted Harry's head up and gazed into his eyes. "If that's what you want," he said gently. "If you want us to be a surprise on the day then we can be."
Harry looked perplexed. "I don't know what I want," he said. "Half of me wants to shout it out at the top of my voice." Seamus smiled at this. "But the other half of me wants to keep it secret until the last possible minute."
"Just go with your instincts when someone does ask," Seamus suggested.
"Ok," Harry agreed. "What colour are your robes? Mrs Weasley got me bottle green cos it apparently makes my eyes stand out."
"I think Mam got me navy blue robes," said Seamus with a shrug.
"Ok," said Harry. "Night, Shay. Love you."
Seamus kissed the top of Harry's head. "Love you too, Har. Night."
Friday 16 December 1994 – 2.01 am
"Hermione told me who her date to the ball is," Harry said excitedly.
"Are you going to tell me who it is?" Seamus asked, amused at Harry's excited wiggling.
"Nope," Harry giggled. "Hermione told me in confidence. She's keeping it secret."
"Well," said Seamus. "I heard that Ron is having considerable trouble getting a date to the ball. He asked Fleur Delacour."
Harry giggled. "Like she'd say yes to him," he said. "She only goes for the super glamorous like herself."
"Neville asked Ginny and she said yes," Seamus continued. "Dean's going with Parvati. I think Lavender's expecting me to ask her."
"Too bad," said Harry. "You're taken, mister."
Seamus grinned. "Yep," he agreed. "If you had said no I probably would have just gone home for the holidays."
"Nooo!" Harry cried, hugging Seamus tightly. "You're not going anywhere without me!"
Seamus chuckled and kissed the top of Harry's head. "Guess you'll have to spend Christmas at mine next year," he said.
"Yep," Harry agreed. Then he looked worried. "But what about Sirius?"
"He can come as well," Seamus agreed. "And Professor Lupin, if you want."
Harry's face lit up. "Really?" he said overjoyed.
"Really," Seamus confirmed.
Harry sighed happily and snuggled closer. "I don't half love you, Shay," he said contentedly.
"Love you too, Har," Seamus whispered back.
Sunday 25 December 1994 – 8.00 pm
Seamus was more than a little nervous as he and Harry joined the other Champions and their dates outside the Great Hall. He caught sight of Cedric Diggory and his Ravenclaw date, Cho Chang, staring at him in shock. Likewise with Fleur Delacour's Ravenclaw date, Roger Davies.
"Why are they staring?" Seamus asked Harry.
"Cos they probably expected me to turn up with a female," said Harry.
Seamus grunted. "Have they ever looked at you properly?" he asked, carding his fingers through Harry's wayward hair. "There's no way in hell you are straight."
Harry giggled slightly. "'Mione is the only decent girl I know," he announced. "All other girls are gross."
Hermione giggled now. "You sound like a six-year-old, Harry," she said. "Next you'll be saying girls have cooties."
Harry sniffed and put his nose in the air. "Who says they don't, 'Mione?" he said haughtily. "Perhaps straight men just choose to ignore their cooties."
Seamus chuckled and Hermione giggled.
Professor McGonagall appeared then, dressed in robes of red tartan. She had arranged a wreath of thistles around the brim of her matching pointed hat. The outfit as a whole was rather ugly. She glanced around and nodded primly.
"You will be announced one at a time," she said. "Once you have been announced, you will enter and make your way to the head table to stand behind your chairs. Headmaster Dumbledore will motion for everyone to sit once you are all in place. Understood?"
Everyone nodded and started fussing with their appearances. Hermione smoothed down her robes and patted her hair while Harry adjusted Seamus' robes and collar, much to the taller boy's amusement.
"Hogwarts Champion Mr Cedric Diggory and his partner Miss Cho Chang!"
Cedric and Cho took deep breaths and entered the Great Hall to rounds of applause. The doors swung shut behind them and the other three couples were left waiting anxiously.
"Beauxbatons Champion Miss Fleur Delacour and her partner Mr Roger Davies!"
Fleur plastered a bright, mega-watt smile on her face, tossed her filmy blonde hair over her shoulders and almost dragged Roger into the Great Hall. Harry turned his face up to look at Seamus.
"My hands are shaking," he complained nervously.
Seamus took hold of both of Harry's hands and rubbed them soothingly. "It's fine," he whispered. "Nothing's going to happen. Just ignore everyone but me and pretend it's just us in the hall."
Harry took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself. It didn't work so he turned in Seamus' arms, desperate for a comforting hug.
"Durmstrang Champion Mr Viktor Krum and his partner Miss Hermione Granger!"
"Good luck!" Harry hissed to the couple as they entered the hall.
"Deep breaths, Har," Seamus said. "In and out. In and out."
Harry followed Seamus' instructions but found that he was still shaky. "I don't like being stared at," he whimpered.
"I know," said Seamus tensely. "If I could stop them from staring at you I would. Nothing bad is going to occur because they're staring, though. I promise."
"Hogwarts Champion Mr Harry Potter and his partner Mr Seamus Finnigan!"
Harry took a deep breath and, clinging to Seamus' arm tightly, entered the hall. There were spatters of applause but mostly shocked stares and obvious whispering. Harry swallowed as Seamus gently led him up to the head table where their empty chairs were waiting for them.
Dumbledore motioned for everyone to sit. Harry glanced out at the crowd. He caught Fred and George's eyes and they winked and gave him a discreet thumbs up. Ron looked livid but Neville smiled at him encouragingly.
They ordered their food and Harry prompted giggles from Hermione and Cho when he casually dumped some of his food on Seamus' plate and stole his vegetables. Seamus rolled his eyes and swapped some of the food back over.
"More meat, Har," he said warningly.
Harry sighed and glanced longingly at Seamus' vegetables. "All of it?" he questioned warily.
"Everything that is on your plate," Seamus said sternly.
Harry sighed again and reluctantly tucked in. After a while he and Seamus listened in on the conversations going on around them.
"Vell, ve have a castle also, not as big as this, nor as comfortable, I am thinking," Krum was telling Hermione. "Ve have just four floors, and the fires are lit only for magical purposes. But ve have grounds larger even than these – though in vinter, ve have very little daylight, so ve are not enjoying them. But in summer ve are flying every day, over the lakes and the mountains – "
"Now now, Viktor!" said Karkaroff, with a laugh that didn't reach his cold eyes. "Don't go giving away anything else, now, or your charming friend will know exactly where to find us!"
Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling. "Igor, all this secrecy...one would almost think you didn't want visitors."
"Well, Dumbledore," said Karkaroff, displaying his yellowing teeth to their fullest extent, "we are all protective of our private domains, are we not? Do we not jealously guard the halls of learning that have been entrusted to us? Are we not right to be proud that we alone know our school's secrets, and right to protect them?"
"Oh, I would never dream of assuming I know all Hogwarts' secrets, Igor," said Dumbledore amicably. "Only this morning, for instance, I took a wrong turning on the way to the bathroom and found myself in a beautifully proportioned room I have never seen before, containing a really rather magnificent collection of chamber pots. When I went back to investigate more closely, I discovered that the room had vanished. But I must keep an eye out for it. Possibly it is only accessible at five thirty in the morning. Or it may only appear at the quarter moon – or when the seeker has an exceptionally full bladder."
Harry giggled into his vegetables. Next to Harry, Percy Weasley frowned, but Seamus noticed Dumbledore winking very discreetly at Harry.
"Where's Mr Crouch tonight, Percy?" Harry asked innocently.
"He is most unwell," said Percy stiffly. "As his personal assistant I was invited here tonight in his place."
"Has he stopped calling you Weatherby yet?" Seamus asked, having heard all about the Mr Crouch's visit to the Weasley tents at the Quidditch World Cup.
Percy flushed red with anger and he turned cool eyes on the blond. "How do you know Mr Potter?" he asked.
"He's my boyfriend," said Seamus with a shrug.
"And just how long have you been a couple?" Percy asked.
"Since first year," said Harry cheerfully. "He was homesick and I wasn't used to such a big room, only ever having slept in a cupboard before, so he suggested we shared a bed. That was that."
Seamus grinned. "It was a little more innocent than you make it sound, Har," he said, amused. "We only acknowledged our relationship at the end of last year."
"Mum's going to go mad when she hears about this," Percy warned.
Harry tilted his head on one side. "Why?" he asked innocently. "Have I done something wrong?"
"No, Harry," said Seamus, glaring at Percy. "It's just what mam's do. They over-react to everything."
"Ok," said Harry, digging into his treacle tart.
Dumbledore leant across Percy. "I must thank you for your Christmas present, Harry," he said. "A fine collection of socks."
Harry grinned at Dumbledore. "I thought you'd like them," he admitted.
Dumbledore looked at Seamus then. "I thank you, too, Mr Finnigan," he said.
Seamus blinked. "Why?" he asked, perplexed.
"Oh," said Harry, patting Seamus' thigh. "I probably should have told you that I put your name on Professor Dumbledore's present as well."
Seamus sighed. "Why?" he asked.
"Why not," said Harry cheekily, causing Dumbledore to chuckle.
Once everyone had finished eating their desserts, Dumbledore stood and asked everyone to follow his example. A wave of his wand sent the tables and chairs flying back against the walls, leaving the floor clear for dancing. A platform was conjured and a set of musical instruments shimmered into existence.
The Weird Sisters now trooped up onto the stage to wildly enthusiastic applause; they were all extremely hair, and dressed in black robes that had been artfully ripped and torn.
"If the Champions and their partners would take to the dance floor, please," Dumbledore said pleasantly.
Seamus and Harry followed Hermione and Krum onto the dance floor as the music started. Harry cuddled into Seamus' arms and the pair of them started swaying blissfully.
"Having fun?" Seamus murmured.
Harry nodded furiously against his chest. "Tons," he said happily.
Sunday 25 December 1994 – 10.13 pm
Harry flopped into a chair next to Neville and grinned at him and Ginny.
"Where's Seamus?" Neville asked, flashing a look of warning at Ron who was on Ginny's other side.
"Getting Butterbeer," said Harry. "You guys having fun?"
"Loads," said Ginny, apparently not at all bothered that her childhood crush had turned out to be gay. "You?"
"Yup," said Harry, giggling slightly.
Hermione came and joined them. Like Harry, her face was flushed from dancing.
"Hi," said Harry.
"It's hot, isn't it?" said Hermione, fanning herself with her hand. "Viktor's just gone to get some drinks."
She didn't notice the foul look Ron shot her. "Viktor?" he said. "Hasn't he asked you to call him Vicky yet?"
Hermione looked at him in surprise.
"What's up with you?" she said.
"If you don't know," said Ron scathingly, "I'm not going to tell you."
Hermione stared at him, then at Harry, who shrugged. "Ron, what –?"
"He's from Durmstrang!" spat Ron. "He's competing against Harry! Against Hogwarts! You – you're – " Ron was obviously casting around for words strong enough to describe Hermione's crime, "fraternising with the enemy, that's what you're doing!"
Harry and Hermione exchanged shocked looks before bursting into giggles. Neville and Ginny quickly joined them, causing Ron to flush red with anger.
"Don't be so stupid, Ronald!" Hermione said after a moment. "The enemy! Honestly – who was the one who was all excited when they saw him arrive? Who was the one who wanted his autograph? Who's got a model of him up in their dormitory?"
"Ron, you're just letting your jealousy get the better of you," said Harry quietly.
"Shut up!" Ron howled. "How could you not tell me you're a bloody fairy?"
Harry winced and Ron found himself at the end of several wands. "Apologise," Seamus hissed harshly, setting down the bottles of Butterbeer.
"For what?" Ron demanded. "He is a bloody fairy. So are you. Me, Nev and Dean had a right to know about this. How long have the pair of you been sneaking looks at our dicks in the showers, eh?"
Everyone looked at Ron in disgust. "How dare you say such a foul thing, Ronald Weasley?" Ginny demanded. "I am so going to write to Mum about this. And Charlie. How do you think he's going to feel about you saying such deplorable things about gay men?"
"Charlie's not gay," Ron said dismissively. "He's just confused right now."
Ginny snorted. "Denial is not just a river in Egypt, Ronald," she said. "Now bugger off so we can all enjoy the rest of the dance without having to look at your ugly mug."
Ron glanced at all the hostile faces and glared at them. "Fine!" he snapped, and stormed off.
Harry stood, pushed Seamus down into his vacated seat before flopping onto the taller boy's lap. Seamus grunted and wrapped his arms around Harry's waist, nuzzling at the smaller boy's neck.
"Awww," Ginny and Hermione cooed. "You're so cute together!"
Harry and Seamus both rolled their eyes. "Let's dance, Shay," said Harry, jumping to his feet again.
Seamus grinned, downed the rest of his Butterbeer, and followed Harry back onto the dance floor.
Monday 26 December 1994 – 12.07 am
"Hey – Harry!"
Harry and Seamus, who had been walking up the marble staircase with their arms wrapped around each other, turned to see Cedric running up to them.
"Yeah?" said Harry, looking puzzled.
Cedric looked pointedly at Seamus. Seamus shrugged and kissed Harry's cheek. "I'll wait at the top of the stairs," he said.
"Listen..." Cedric lowered his voice as Seamus disappeared. "I owe you one for telling me about the dragons. You know that golden egg? Does yours wail when you open it?"
"Yeah," said Harry slowly.
"Well...take a bath, ok?"
"Take a bath, and – er – take the egg with you, and – er – just mull things over in the hot water. It'll help you think...trust me."
Harry stared at him.
"Tell you what," Cedric said, "use the Prefects' bathroom. Fourth door to the left of that statue of Boris the Bewildered on the fifth floor. Password's Pine-fresh. Gotta go...want to say goodnight – "
He grinned at Harry again and hurried back down the stairs to Cho. Harry joined Seamus at the top of the stairs and told him what Cedric had wanted as they walked back to Gryffindor Tower. They climbed into the common room, and found Ron and Hermione having a blazing row. Standing ten feet apart, they were bellowing at each other, each scarlet in the face.
"Well, if you don't like it, you know what the solution is, don't you?" yelled Hermione; her hair was coming down out of its elegant bun now, and her face was screwed up in anger.
"Oh yeah?" Ron yelled back. "What's that?"
"Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!"
Ron mouthed soundlessly like a goldfish out of water as Hermione turned on her heel and stormed up the girls' staircase to bed. Ron turned to look at Harry.
"Well," he spluttered, looking thunderstruck, "well – that just proves – completely missed the point – "
Harry looked at Ron coldly, feeling Seamus' arm tighten around his waist. "I wouldn't speak to me if I were you, Ron," he said, feeling familiar feelings of hurt rising up in his chest. "We are no longer friends."
Thursday 5 January 1995 – 11.12 pm
Harry sat cross-legged in the centre of Seamus' bed waiting for his boyfriend to come out of the bathroom. Dean and Neville grinned when they saw him there and Ron scowled and pulled a face.
Harry was reading the Daily Prophet. He wasn't sure whether Seamus had read it yet or not but there was an article in there that was making Harry angry.
"All right, Har?" Seamus asked, coming out of the bathroom, towelling his hair.
Harry thrust the paper at him. "Read that," he spat angrily.
Seamus raised his eyebrows and started reading.
DUMBLEDORE'S GIANT MISTAKE
Albus Dumbledore, eccentric Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has never been afraid to make controversial staff appointments, writes Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent. In September of last year, he hired Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, the notoriously jinx-happy ex-Auror, to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, a decision that caused many raised eyebrows at the Ministry of Magic, given Moody's well known habit of attacking anybody who makes a sudden movement in his presence. Mad-Eye Moody, however, looks responsible and kindly, when set beside the part-human Dumbledore employs to teach Care of Magical Creatures.
Rubeus Hagrid, who admits to being expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, has enjoyed the position of gamekeeper at the school ever since, a job secured for him by Dumbledore. The year before last, however, Hagrid used his mysterious influence over the Headmaster to secure the additional post of Care of Magical Creatures teacher, over the heads of many better-qualified candidates.
An alarmingly large and ferocious-looking man, Hagrid has been using his new-found authority to terrify the students in his care with a succession of horrific creatures. While Dumbledore turns a blind eye, Hagrid has maimed several pupils during a series of lessons which many admit to be 'very frightening'.
"I was attacked by a Hippogriff, and my friend Vincent Crabbe got a bad bite off a Flobberworm," says Draco Malfoy, a fourth-year student. "We all hate Hagrid, but we're just too scared to say anything."
Hagrid has no intention of ceasing his campaign of intimidation, however. In a conversation with a Daily Prophet reporter last month, he admitted breeding creatures he has dubbed 'Blast-Ended Skrewts', highly dangerous crosses between manticores and fire crabs. The creation of new breeds of magical creature is, of course, an activity usually closely observed by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Hagrid, it seems, considers himself to be above such petty restrictions.
"I was just having some fun," he says, before hastily changing the subject.
As if this were not enough, the Daily Prophet has now unearthed evidence that Hagrid is not – as he has always pretended – a Pureblood wizard. He is not, in fact, pure human. His mother, we can exclusively reveal, is none other than the giantess Fridwulfa, whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
Bloodthirsty and brutal, the giants brought themselves to the point of extinction by warring among themselves during the last century. The handful that remained joined the ranks of He Who Must Not Be Named, and were responsible for some of the worst mass Muggle-killings of his reign of terror.
While many of the giants who served He Who Must Not Be Named were killed by Aurors working against the Dark side, Fridwulfa was not among them. It is possible she escaped to one of the giant communities still existing in foreign mountain ranges. If his antics during Care of Magical Creatures lessons are any guide, however, Fridwulfa's son appears to have inherited her brutal nature.
In a bizarre twist, Hagrid is reputed to have developed a close friendship with the boy who brought about You-Know-Who's fall from power – thereby driving Hagrid's own mother, like the rest of You-Know-Who's supporters, into hiding. Perhaps Harry Potter is unaware of the unpleasant truth about his large friend – but surely Albus Dumbledore surely has a duty to ensure that Harry Potter, along with his fellow students, is warned about the dangers of associating with part-giants.
Seamus looked thoughtful when he looked back at Harry. "Nonsense," he said. "Complete and utter nonsense. Hagrid may be part-giant but he has none of their personality characteristics. When was the last time Hagrid deliberately set out to hurt someone?"
Harry shrugged. "He didn't even try to hurt the Dursleys when he came to give me my letter first year," he said. "Just gave Dudley a pig's tail."
Seamus grinned. "There you go, then," he said. "Utter nonsense."
Harry frowned. "Hagrid wasn't teaching today, though," he pointed out, as Seamus started towelling his hair again.
Seamus shrugged. "Feeling sorry for himself, probably," he said, tossing the towel into the dirty washing hamper and climbing into bed.
"Me, Hermione, Neville and Ginny went down to his hut this evening," Harry said, curling around Seamus and resting his head on his chest. "He didn't answer. He's avoiding us."
"Give him some time," said Seamus. "He'll come around. Now, what are you going to do about the egg and the clue Diggory gave you?"
"I thought I'd go to the Prefects' bathroom tomorrow night to see what Cedric was talking about," Harry said. "Wanna come?"
"No, I'll stay here just in case McGonagall makes one of her surprise drop ins," said Seamus. "I can cover for you now that the school knows we're a couple."
McGonagall occasionally surprised her Gryffindors by dropping by in the middle of the night to make sure they were all in their beds.
"Ok," Harry agreed. "Night, Shay, love you."
"Love you too, Har," said Seamus. "Night."
Saturday 7 January 1995 – 3.01 am
Seamus was still awake when Harry slid into bed beside him. "Nearly got caught," said Harry. "Got stuck in a trick stair and dropped the egg. It opened and Filch and Snape both came along. Moody came as well. He can see through Invisibility Cloaks so he covered for me and helped me out. He took my map to study, though."
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Did you figure the egg out?" he asked.
"Yeah, Merpeople," said Harry with a groan. "They were singing:
"Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you're searching ponder this:
We've taken what you'll sorely miss,
An hour long you'll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour – the prospect's black
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back."
"So, you're going to have to recover something precious from the Merpeople," said Seamus slowly.
"Probably a person," Harry added. "You."
Seamus grinned. "You'll sorely miss me, eh?" he said.
"Of course I will, you prat," Harry huffed. "I love you, don't I?"
Seamus chuckled. "Ok, so we need to figure out how to get you breathing underwater."
"We'll get Hermione, Neville and Ginny helping as well," said Harry. "I also need help learning how to swim."
"You can't swim?" said Seamus incredulously.
Harry shrugged. "The Dursleys didn't see the point in teaching me," he said. "They never took me anywhere and I think they hoped that if I fell into deep water I'd drown before someone could rescue me."
"That's horrible," said Seamus, shaking his head in disbelief. "Ok, I'll recruit people to teach you how to swim."
"Thanks, Shay," said Harry sleepily. "Night."
Saturday 21 January 1995 – 10.12 am
Seamus and Harry had mentioned to Hermione, Neville and Ginny what the egg had said and Neville had immediately suggested using Gillyweed, a plant that, once ingested, made you grow gills on your neck and made your hands and feet webbed so that you could breathe underwater and swim easier. For the last couple of weeks Seamus, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and the twins had all been teaching Harry how to swim in the Black Lake.
"I know the best shop to get Gillyweed from, Harry," said Neville as they walked down to Hogsmeade in a group.
Much to Seamus' dismay, Ron had persuaded Dean to attend Hogsmeade with him. Dean had apologised to Seamus profusely and insisted that they were still best mates and that he would definitely be having a word with Ron at some point.
Seamus and Harry were walking along hand-in-hand, as were Neville and Ginny. Hermione had linked arms with Harry as well and they were all discussing their Hogsmeade plans.
"Right," said Seamus briskly. "Nev, you take Harry to this shop to get the Gillyweed. We need to get that first because it's important. The rest of us will go to Honeydukes to start getting the sweets in before they all go."
"Oooh," Harry cooed. "I love it when he gets all domineering."
Hermione and Ginny giggled while Seamus rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Har," he said good-naturedly.
Reaching Hogsmeade high street, they broke off into two and went their separate ways. It didn't take long for them to get the Gillyweed and they were soon joining their friends in Honeydukes. Seamus wrapped his arm around Harry and kissed the top of his head absently.
"Got all your favourites, Har," he said.
"Thanks, Shay," said Harry sweetly.
After the sweet shop they visited the book store and a bric-a-brac store before shivering and making their way to The Three Broomsticks for lunch and hot Butterbeer.
"Right, what does everyone fancy?" Seamus asked, as they squeezed into a corner booth.
Ginny bit her lip. "Just Butterbeer," she muttered.
"Nonsense, Gin," said Neville. "My treat."
"I'll get yours, 'Mione," said Harry.
Seamus rolled his eyes. "What's the bloody point in me buying you lunch then, eh?" he asked his boyfriend.
Harry shrugged. "Isn't one really," he said with a cheeky grin. "Want me to buy it then?"
Seamus huffed. "No chance," he said. "Hot Butterbeer and what?" he asked.
They all placed their orders and Seamus and Neville went to the bar to order and pay, gold exchanging hands all the way.
Having eaten their meals, laughing and joking all the way, they were finishing their hot Butterbeers before having another go round the shops before heading back to the castle.
"Uh oh," said Neville, staring at the door.
Rita Skeeter had just entered. She was wearing banana-yellow robes today; her long nails were painted shocking pink, and she was accompanied by her paunchy photographer. She bought drinks, and she and the photographer made their way through the crowds to a table nearby, Harry, Hermione and Ginny glaring at her as she approached. She was talking fast and looking very satisfied about something.
"...didn't seem very keen to talk to us, did he, Bozo? Now, why would that be, do you think? And what's he doing with a pack of goblins in tow anyway? Showing them the sights...what nonsense...he was always a bad liar. Reckon something's up? Think we should do a bit of digging? Disgraced Ex-Head of Magical Sports, Ludo Bagman...snappy start to a sentence, Bozo – we just need to find a story to fit it – "
"Trying to ruin someone else's life?" said Harry loudly.
A few people looked around. Seamus groaned and thumped his head onto the table. Rita Skeeter's eyes widened behind jewelled spectacles as she saw who had spoken.
"Harry!" she said, beaming. "How lovely! Why don't you come and join –?"
"I wouldn't come near you with a ten-foot broomstick," said Harry furiously. "What did you do that to Hagrid for, eh?"
Rita Skeeter raised her heavily pencilled eyebrows.
"Our readers have the right to know the truth, Harry, I am merely doing my – "
"Who cares if he's half-giant?" Harry shouted. "There's nothing wrong with him!"
The whole pub had gone very quiet. Madam Rosmerta was staring over from behind the bar, apparently oblivious of the fact that the flagon she was filling with mead was overflowing.
Rita Skeeter's smile flickered very slightly, but she hitched it back almost at once; she snapped open her crocodile-skin handbag, pulled out her Quick-Quotes Quill and said, "How about giving me an interview about the Hagrid you know, Harry? The man behind the muscles? Your unlikely friendship and the reasons behind it. Would you call him a father substitute?"
Hermione stood up very abruptly, her Butterbeer clutched in her hand as though it was a grenade.
"You horrible woman," she said through gritted teeth, "you don't care, do you, anything for a story, and anyone will do, won't they? Even Ludo Bagman – "
"Sit down, you silly little girl, and don't talk about things you don't understand," said Rita Skeeter coldly, her eyes hardening as they fell on Hermione. "I know things about Ludo Bagman that would make your hair curl...Not that it needs it – " she added, eyeing Hermione's bushy hair.
"But you know nothing about Hagrid," Ginny added, standing up beside Hermione. "Hagrid may have a giantess for a mother but he's one of the most gentle, most kind people you're ever likely to meet."
"Come on," said Seamus and Neville, each of them gripping a hold of Harry, Hermione and Ginny and pulling them from the pub.
Outside, Harry and Ginny gave Seamus and Neville a kiss each before they and Hermione ran back to the castle.
Sunday 22 January 1995 – 12.31 am
"Where did you go after Hogsmeade?" Seamus asked, when Harry finally came to bed.
"We went and demanded Hagrid let us in," said Harry. "Shouted at him, telling him that what she wrote was complete nonsense that only idiots would think him a savage and an unfit teacher."
"What happened then?" asked Seamus curiously.
"We had tea and he promised he'd back to normal tomorrow," said Harry, rather smugly.
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Good," he said firmly. "I don't like that he was mistreated by the press because of his friendship with you."
"Mmm," Harry hummed in agreement. "Me too."
They lay in silence for a moment, just appreciating being close to one another before sharing a chaste kiss and closing their eyes for sleep.
Thursday 23 February 1995 – 7.13 pm
"Why are we in the library again?" Seamus asked, as Harry pushed him into a seat at the table Hermione was working at.
Harry flashed him a beaming smile and plopped down onto his lap. "Cos I wanted to spend time with 'Mione and she's in here," he said.
Seamus rolled his eyes. "I got that, but why?" he pushed.
Harry pouted. "Don't you want to be here, Shay?" he asked. "Don't you want to spend time with me?"
Seamus groaned and buried his face in Harry's neck. "Don't be cruel, Har," he said, his voice muffled. "You know that's not what I'm saying."
Harry patted Seamus on the head in a rather patronising manner. "I forgive you," he said imperiously. He looked over at Hermione then. "What are you doing, 'Mione?" he asked sweetly.
"Trying to work out how Rita Skeeter is getting onto Hogwarts grounds when Professor Dumbledore has expressly forbid it," said Hermione distractedly. "Here, help me."
Harry took the book Hermione pushed towards him and flipped it open. He and Seamus started scanning the pages, not concentrating particularly hard on what they were reading.
"Dearest Harry, we have been looking everywhere for you!"
Harry looked up as Fred and George collapsed all over the table. He grinned. "Why?" he asked.
"Because we knew that you'd be with either Hermione or your boyfriend," said Fred seriously.
"As luck turns out, you're with the both of them," added George.
Harry frowned. "What's going on, guys?" he asked, a little nervously.
"McGonagall's looking for Seamus and Hermione," said Fred.
"Asked us to find them and send them down to her office," said George.
Harry looked between Hermione and Seamus, noting that they looked as baffled as he felt.
"Stick with him," Seamus told Fred and George. "Your brother has been being a dick all day."
Fred and George gave him a salute. "Aye aye, captain," said Fred.
"Nothing unusual about Ron," added George.
Fred and George moved into the two spare seats and Seamus tipped Harry onto Fred's lap before standing with Hermione.
"We'll meet you in the common room, Harry," said Hermione. "Can you put my books away, please?"
"Ok," Harry chirped. "Shay, you will definitely be back tonight, won't you?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" asked Seamus.
Harry shrugged. "Bad feeling I've got," he muttered.
Seamus crouched down next to Fred's chair and carded his fingers through Harry's hair before kissing him lovingly.
"Nothing's going to happen to me, Har," he said gently. "I'll see you in a bit."
Harry sighed. "Love you, Shay," he said.
Seamus smiled and stood up straight. "Love you too, Har.
Seamus and Hermione left the library, discussing what McGonagall could want with them. Fred and George helped Harry put Hermione's books away before they walked back to the common room with him.
Harry spent the evening in the common room with Fred and George. The twins tried to keep Harry's mind off the fact that Seamus hadn't returned from McGonagall's office. When Harry could no longer keep his eyes open, Fred and George took him up to their dormitory for the night. They figured that Seamus would know where to look if he came back and didn't find Harry in their dorm.
Friday 24 February 1995 – 9.29 am
"Well, all our champions are ready for the second task, which will start on my whistle. They have precisely an hour to recover what had been taken from them," said Bagman, his voice magically magnified. "On the count of three, then. One...two...three!"
A shrill whistle pierced the silence and Harry quickly started chewing frantically on his Gillyweed, even as Cedric and Fleur cast Bubblehead Charms and dived in and Viktor Krum performed a partial Transfiguration. Not wanting to waste any time, Harry dived under the water and started swimming, holding his breath until he felt his gills pierce through the skin on his neck. Taking a couple of deep gulps of water into his lungs, Harry kicked out harder in an effort to reach Seamus quicker.
He noticed that the deeper he swam, the darker the water became until Harry could barely see anything. He swallowed hard, fighting down the rising panic as memories of being locked in his pitch-black cupboard surfaced unbidden.
Harry swam over a cluster of seaweed only to feel something grab hold of his ankle and yank him back. He twisted to see a Grindylow grinning manically at him and pulling him further into the seaweed. Harry pointed his wand at the water-gremlin and cried, "Relashio!" the spell Remus had taught them to repel Grindylows. It didn't work as it was supposed to though. It should have knocked the Grindylow back from him, forcing the creature to release his ankle. Instead, however, a jet of boiling water was sent the creature's way, lashing across the bald green head and raising raised burn welts across the skin.
The Grindylow growled angrily and tightened its grip on Harry's ankle, pulling ever more insistently. Panicking, Harry kicked out with his free leg, managing to hit the Grindylow on its knobbly head, dazing it long enough to pull his ankle free and start swimming again. He swam up away from the seaweed this time, not wanting to get caught by the creatures again.
After several more minutes, Harry heard singing:
"An hour long you'll have to look,
And to recover what we took..."
Harry changed his direction slightly, to head in the direction of the song, swimming down to the bed of the lake again, not worried about Grindylows this time as there was no seaweed around.
"...your time's half-gone, so tarry not
Lest what you seek stays here to rot..."
Finally, something came into Harry's sight. It seemed to be a village carved into the rocks, creating caves. Harry swallowed nervously, swimming into the heart of the village. The Merpeople were watching him in a somewhat hungry manner.
Harry came upon what seemed to be the village centre and there, tied to large upright rocks with thick ropes of seaweed, were the hostages. All four of them were there, asleep, leaving Harry surprised that he was the first to make it.
Harry examined the ropes of seaweed thoughtfully. His heart was pounding heavily in his chest but he did his best not to show his panic on his face.
Harry reached into his robes and brought out the penknife Sirius had given him for Christmas. He didn't know why he'd brought it with him, just the thought that it could possibly be useful.
Harry examined the ropes of weed a little longer before carefully starting to saw at the ropes binding Seamus to the rock. He was very careful not to nick Seamus. it took several minutes of hard work but they finally broke apart and Seamus floated up slightly, caught in some sort of current. Harry quickly pulled Seamus into his arms and pressed his nose into the taller boy's neck, relief flooding his body. He was still tense though. He still had to make it out of the lake.
Looking around, Harry wondered where the other Champions were. Surely they should have been there by now. He glanced back at the other hostages anxiously before turning back and sighing when he saw Cedric approaching.
"Go!" Cedric mouthed to him, as he slashed his wand and broke Cho free of her bindings.
Then Cedric was gone, returning his hostage to the surface. The minute he'd left, Viktor appeared. He had Transfigured his head into that of a shark and started chewing at the seaweed awkwardly. Harry rolled his eyes and indicated that the older boy should use his wand to cut through the weed. Viktor gave him a look of thanks and did as suggested, swimming away with Hermione.
Harry loitered a little longer, feeling increasingly more nervous as the Merpeople drifted closer. He cursed Fleur in his mind before making a decision and starting to hack at the little girl's bindings as well.
"NO!" one Merperson said firmly, situating himself between Harry and the little girl. "She is not your hostage."
Harry glared at the Merperson and pointed his wand at his chest. "Back off," he mouthed.
The Merperson stared at the wand warily before inclining his head and moving away. Keeping one arm around Seamus, Harry made quick work of the little girl's bindings. He wrapped one arm around Seamus' waist and the other around the little girl's and made off out of the village.
Swimming was much harder now as he only had his feet to propel him. Harry soon felt himself tiring and his kicks getting weaker and weaker. Determined though, he kept on going, ignoring the burn in his leg muscles and in his chest. He felt his gills fade as the Gillyweed wore off. He was now holding his breath and struggling to reach the surface. It felt like he wouldn't make it...
And then he felt his head break the surface of the lake. Harry spluttered and coughed up water. His chest burned as he breathed in great gulps of cold air. Using what little energy he had left, he pulled Seamus and the little girl to the surface. The moment their heads broke the surface, their eyes fluttered and opened.
Seamus took one look at Harry's exhausted face, took in the fear on the little girl's face, and sighed.
"Harry, you prat," he said, resigned. "Here."
Seamus took the little girl in his arms and started swimming back to the shore. Harry followed rather feebly. He could feel his arms and legs trembling from the strain and he wasn't sure whether he'd make it before passing out.
Seamus deposited the little on the shore and went back out to pull Harry back.
"Idiot, why'd you bring her with you?" Seamus scolded, as Madam Pomfrey wrapped the pair of them in thick blankets and forced Pepper-Up Potions down their throats.
Harry shrugged. "Fleur didn't make it," he said simply.
Seamus sighed and exchanged an exasperated look with Hermione. They both had the distinct impression that nothing could cure Harry of his 'saving-people thing'.
Friday 3 March 1995 – 7.51 am
"Mail!" someone called out as the owls flew into the Great Hall.
Harry looked up, not really expecting anything, but saw Hedwig flying towards him anyway. She landed on his shoulder and nibbled at his ear affectionately. Harry untied the letter and fed her a strip of bacon.
"Thanks, girl," he cooed, petting her beautiful white feathers.
"Who's it from?" Hermione asked.
Harry quickly scanned it and his face lit up. "It's from Snuffles," he said happily. "He's in Hogsmeade. Wants to meet me at two o'clock at the stile past Dervish and Banges."
"He's probably not eating very well," Hermione said logically.
"I'll have the house-elves make a picnic for us," said Harry, scanning the letter again. "A big picnic." He looked down the table to where Seamus was sitting with Dean. "Shay," he called.
Seamus looked up. "Yeah?" he called back.
"Are you taking me to Hogsmeade tomorrow?"
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Of course I am, amadán," he said.
"Huh." Harry tilted his head on one side to look at Seamus curiously. "I feel strangely insulted."
Neville, sitting across from Harry, grinned. "He called you an idiot," he tattled. "In Gaelic."
"Really?" Harry asked of Neville.
Neville nodded before chuckling when Harry glared at his abashed boyfriend.
"So not getting a snog tonight," Harry huffed. "Calling me an idiot after I rescue you from a lake and mean Merpeople."
Seamus grinned, assured that Harry wasn't really upset with him. "Was there a reason you were confirming our date, Har?" he asked.
"I'll tell you later," Harry said dismissively.
Seamus grinned. He was looking forward to later.
Saturday 4 March 1995 – 12.19 am
"Read this," Harry said, when Seamus finally came to bed.
Seamus raised his eyebrows, seeing that Harry was indicating the latest edition of Witch Weekly. He picked the magazine up. It was open at the centre pages.
HARRY POTTER'S SECRET HEARTACHE
A boy like no other, perhaps – yet a boy suffering all the usual pangs of adolescence, writes Rita Skeeter. Deprived of love since the tragic demise of his parents, fourteen-year-old Harry Potter thought he had found solace in his steady girlfriend at Hogwarts, Muggleborn Hermione Granger. Little did he know that he would shortly be suffering yet another emotional blow in a life already littered with personal loss.
Miss Granger, a plain but ambitious girl, seems to have a taste for famous wizards that Harry alone cannot satisfy. Since the arrival at Hogwarts of Viktor Krum, Bulgaria Seeker and hero of the last Quidditch World Cup, Miss Granger has been toying with both boys' affections. Krum, who is openly smitten with the devious Miss Granger, has already invited her to visit him in Bulgaria over the summer holidays, and insists that he has 'never felt this way about any other girl'.
However, it might not be Miss Granger's doubtful natural charms which have captured these unfortunate boys' interest.
"She's really ugly," says Pansy Parkinson, a pretty and vivacious fourth-year student, "but she'd be well up to making a Love Potion, she's quite brainy. I think that's how she's doing it."
Love Potions are of course banned at Hogwarts, and no doubt Albus Dumbledore will want to investigate these claims. In the meantime, Harry Potter's well-wishers must hope that, next time, he bestows his heart upon a worthier candidate.
Seamus looked up at Harry, looking a little perplexed. "I may be wrong," he said slowly, "but aren't you gay?"
Harry giggled slightly. "Yup," he agreed. "100%."
Seamus grinned. "What are you going to do about this?" he asked.
Harry handed him a piece of parchment.
To The Editor of Witch Weekly
I write to inform you of the lies you printed in your latest edition. Ms Skeeter's article about Miss Granger and myself is completely inaccurate. We are not now nor have we ever been a couple. Furthermore, there is absolutely 0% chance of us becoming a couple in the future as I am not attracted to women.
I am in a long-term relationship with a student named Seamus Finnigan and have been since we started at Hogwarts.
I would very much appreciate it if a note is provided in your next edition refuting Ms Skeeter's article and apologising to me and Miss Granger. I would also appreciate it if this letter is not printed in your magazine.
I will remind you that I am a minor and thus should not be written about in the media without the consent of my guardian.
Harry James Potter
Seamus looked up. "That should do it," he said. "What will you do if that doesn't change anything?"
"I'm keeping a copy of this letter," said Harry. "If they continue to write articles about me then I will take legal action. Same with the Daily Prophet."
"Good on you, Har," said Seamus firmly.
Harry smiled sweetly. "I'm going to sleep now, Shay," he said. "Don't disturb me."
Seamus rolled his eyes as Harry snuggled down in the bed and closed his eyes.
Saturday 4 March 1995 – 2.00pm
"Snuffles!" Harry cried, seeing the large, shaggy black dog by the stile past Dervish and Banges. With him was Remus Lupin.
Harry dropped to his knees and hugged the dog tightly, giggling as he was licked enthusiastically.
"Professor Lupin," Seamus greeted.
"Please, Seamus, call me Remus," Remus admonished gently. "I am no longer your teacher."
Harry stood and threw his arms around Remus' waist. "Missed you both," he said, as Remus patted him on the head affectionately.
"And we missed you, Cub," said Remus. "Is it just the two of you? No Ron or Hermione?"
"Hermione is on a date with Viktor Krum," said Seamus. "Ron is being a git so we elected not to be on friendly terms with him."
"Ah," said Remus mildly. Well, follow us. We're camping in a cave at the moment. Don't worry," he added, glancing at Harry who looked most upset at the statement. "Sirius went back to his ancestral home for the family tent. We're quite comfortable."
Seamus and Harry followed Sirius and Remus up a steep, rocky path to a large cave with a tent set up inside of it. They all ducked into the tent and Sirius turned back into himself.
"Food!" he cried exuberantly.
"If you're existing comfortably how come you're half starved?" Harry asked, pushing Remus and Sirius out of the way so that he could set up the picnic on the kitchen table.
"The Ministry has had my vaults locked so that I can't access them," said Sirius. "What little gold I can get my hands on is what I had stashed in my old bedroom."
"And what little I earn from the occasional tutoring session," Remus added.
"Anyway," Sirius interrupted, "enough about that. We have something for you, Harry."
Harry watched warily as Sirius took out a bag from a cupboard. He missed the wink Remus sent Seamus.
"What is it?" Harry asked curiously.
"Open it," Sirius encouraged, practically bouncing in his seat with anticipation.
Harry slowly pulled the bag towards him and open it. He stood and peered inside. Frowning, Harry reached in and started pulling out objects: a couple of journals; an ancient-looking tome; two wands; a box of jewellery; several photo albums; a battered-looking broomstick; and an old Quidditch jersey.
"What is all this?" Harry asked, his breath catching in his throat.
"All of this belonged to your parents, Harry," said Remus gently.
Tears welled in Harry's eyes and he groped for Seamus' hand. "Where?" he asked thickly, swallowing around a huge lump in his throat.
"Seamus came and spoke to me last January," said Remus. "He mentioned that you had your father's old Cloak but nothing of your mother's. He also mentioned that you would like to have something of hers and asked that if I, as an old friend of your parents, would visit their home and recover some of their personal items."
Harry looked at Seamus with wide eyes. "You did that for me?" he breathed.
Seamus fidgeted, looking a little embarrassed. "Well, yeah," he said. "You mentioned it your first year and I kept it in mind."
Sirius grinned and started pointing at items. "Those are Lily's journals from the summer before she started Hogwarts and during her Hogwarts years and a little after. She only wrote every now and then, not every day."
Harry fingered the journals in awe. "This tells how my parents got together?" he asked.
"Probably," Sirius agreed. "You also have the Potter Grimoire there," he added. "James added several of the Potions and spells we used in our pranks. I think he included how we made the Marauder's Map as well but I'm not certain on that."
"Is it only spells and Potions?" Harry asked.
"Family history as well," said Remus. "Dates back to 1017 AD. Includes a list of Potter properties and investments as well."
"Lily and James' wands," said Sirius. "Hagrid put them away with Lily's jewellery that night before taking you to your relatives. Speaking of jewellery, everything Lily owned is in that box, along with both of their wedding rings and James' Head of Family ring."
Tears started spilling down Harry's cheeks. "Do I need to wear that?" he choked out.
"Not until you turn 17," said Remus gently.
"All of their photos," Sirius continued. "And lastly, James' old broomstick and his Gryffindor jersey."
Harry snatched up the jersey and breathed in the scent eagerly. It still smelled faintly like him, clearly not having been washed. He clutched the jersey tightly to his chest and gave a tearful smile at his two godfathers.
"Thank you," he said, leaning into Seamus for comfort.
Saturday 4 March 1995 – 7.18 pm
"What did Sirius and Remus have to say about Crouch?" Hermione asked, as they sat in the common room with Neville later that evening.
Harry looked over at Seamus who was sitting playing Exploding Snap with Dean. Ron was nowhere in sight.
"He mentioned that Crouch had a son, Barty Crouch Junior, who was a convicted Death Eater. Crouch sent his own son to Azkaban," said Harry.
"That's horrible!" Hermione gasped.
Harry nodded. "Also mentioned that Crouch Junior died in Azkaban and that Crouch's wife passed away from grief shortly after."
"Something doesn't ring quite right about that tale," said Hermione thoughtfully. "What else did they tell you?"
"A whole lot about my parents," said Harry, his face lightly up happily. "They told me all sorts of stories and you'll never guess what!"
"What?" Neville asked, amused by Harry's excitement.
"Seamus asked Remus to go to my old home and collect my parents' things for me," said Harry, bouncing slightly in his seat. "I have their wands, my mum's jewellery, their wedding rings, my dad's Head of Family ring, my mum's journals, my family Grimoire , my dad's broomstick and my dad's old Quidditch jersey!"
Hermione smiled and hugged Harry happily. "I'm so pleased for you!" she sang.
"Yeah, Harry," Neville agreed, patting Harry on the back.
Harry looked over at Seamus again and smiled happily, hugging himself with glee. "I have the best boyfriend ever!" he sighed.
Sunday 5 March 1995 – 11.29 pm
"What are your views on house-elves?" Harry asked curiously, as he and Seamus were getting ready for bed.
Neville and Dean, already in bed and settling down for the night, sat up and looked at Harry curiously. They were well aware of Hermione's house-elf campaign and were of the opinion that Harry's question would have something to do with that.
"What do you mean?" asked Seamus absently, rummaging through his trunk looking for a book to read for a while.
"How do you feel about having a house-elf in the family?" Harry clarified. "Are you for or against house-elf enslavement."
"It's not enslavement," Seamus pointed out, finally finding the book he was looking for and closing his trunk again. "They have to be bound to a family in order to survive. If a house-elf is free of its bindings for too long they get sick, lose their magic and ultimately die."
"Oh!" Harry said, his eyes wide in horror. "I didn't know that!"
"I didn't think you did, seeing as you were going along with Hermione's crazy Spew thing," said Seamus, finally starting to undress for bed.
Harry frowned. "So if I told you that I have a house-elf what would you say?" he said.
"Good," said Seamus. "They need to be bound to good people."
"Then I have a house-elf," said Harry brightly. "Surprise!"
Neville and Dean chuckled at Seamus' gobsmacked look.
"What?" said Seamus in a strangled voice.
"Yeah, Mr Crouch's old house-elf, Winky, well she was working in the kitchens here," said Harry, "but was drinking more than her bodyweight in Butterbeer."
"So she was a drunk," said Seamus. "Why did you bind her to you?"
"She was miserable," said Harry, shrugging. "Didn't like being a free elf. Wanted to be with a family again. I offered, she accepted and bound herself to me."
"What's going to happen now?" Seamus asked curiously.
"She's going to continue to work here for now, deferring to me rather than Dumbledore though," said Harry. "She may come home with me during the summer but there wouldn't be much for her to do."
"How are you going to have her dress?" asked Seamus.
"Ah," said Harry. "How would she take it if I asked her to wear a uniform. Not clothes but a uniform?"
"You can describe something to her without severing the bond," said Seamus. "Just don't directly hand her clothes. It will instantly sever the bond and she will be unable to bond to you again."
"Ok," said Harry thoughtfully. "I'll have to think about this."
"Ok, Har," said Seamus equably.
Harry was silent for a moment while Seamus finished getting ready for bed.
"Hmmm?" Seamus was fully immersed in his book.
"Dobby has been a free elf for nearly two years now," said Harry. "Would you mind if I bound him to me as well? I don't want him to die."
Seamus set down his book and looked at Harry with pride and love shining out of his blue eyes. "I wouldn't mind at all, muirnín," he said. "You do what you need to."
Harry beamed at Seamus and leant over to kiss him soundly. "Love you, Shay."
"Love you too, Har," said Seamus, picking up his book again.
Tuesday 7 March 1995 – 9.01 am
"What happened to Hermione at breakfast?" Seamus asked, taking the table next to Harry and Neville.
"Hate mail from those that believed that ridiculous Witch Weekly article," Harry spat, bristling with anger.
Seamus fought a grin. Harry looked adorable when he was angry. "Calm down," he said soothingly. "Keep the letters and write back to them yourself telling them that if they don't apologise to Hermione for the hate mail and for believing Skeeter's lies then you will be sending a list of the names of everyone who has sent hate mail to the Daily Prophet stating that they are considered enemies of House Potter."
"What if they just send me hateful letters in return?" Harry asked.
"Threaten them with legal action in your initial letter," said Seamus. "Remind them that both you and Hermione are minors."
"Ok," Harry agreed. "I will."
Tuesday 28 March 1995 – 3.18 pm
Seamus turned to see Harry running towards him waving a bunch of letters.
"What's wrong?" he asked anxiously.
"Sirius sent me a list of respectable law firms," said Harry. "I wrote to each of them asking how much they would charge to be my official family lawyer."
"So?" said Seamus. "You aren't taking legal action are you? Witch Weekly formally apologised to you and Hermione as did all the hate-mail senders."
"No," Harry agreed. "I'm not. But I am the Boy-Who-Lived."
"So?" Seamus repeated.
Harry rolled his eyes. "I have absolutely no doubts in my mind that something like this will happen again at some point in the future and I should be prepared."
"Ok, good idea," said Seamus. "What do you want from me?"
"Help narrowing it down?" said Harry hopefully. "All of them seem reasonable enough to me."
"Ok, I'll go over it with you later," Seamus agreed, leaning down to kiss Harry.
"Ok," Harry chirped, as Seamus walked away to catch up with Dean again.
Saturday 27 May 1995 – 12.19 am
"What took so long?" Seamus grumbled as Harry climbed into bed beside him. "What did Bagman want?"
"Showed us what the third task is going to be," said Harry. "It's a maze."
"Ok, so we just need to research a wide variety of spells for that," said Seamus. "You can study your family Grimoire as well. That should help. If you ask McGonagall nicely, perhaps she'll give you access to the Restricted Section."
"Ok," Harry agreed. "But I have something else to tell you."
"What?" asked Seamus.
"Krum asked to have a word with me in private," said Harry. "He wanted to confirm that there is definitely nothing going on between me and Hermione. I confirmed that but while we were talking Crouch Senior appeared from the forest and started babbling nonsense. In between the nonsense, though, he kept insisting he needed to see Dumbledore."
"Ok," said Seamus slowly, not sure whether he liked where this was going.
"I left Krum with Crouch and went to get Dumbledore," said Harry. "By the time we returned Krum was unconscious and Crouch had disappeared again."
"What does this mean?" Seamus asked curiously.
Harry shrugged. "No idea and I have bigger things to worry about."
"Like the third task," said Seamus.
"Exactly," said Harry.
Wednesday 7 June 1995 – 2.09 pm
"Harry! Harry, wake up!"
Harry moaned and removed his hands from where they were clutching his forehead. He cracked his eyes open and found Seamus leaning over him watching him anxiously.
"Shay?" Harry moaned. "What happened?"
"Oh thank Merlin," Seamus breathed, gathering Harry in his arms and rocking him back and forth, peppering his face with relieved kisses.
"You fell asleep," Seamus muttered. He pulled back and anxiously searched Harry's eyes. "Are you all right?"
"Of course he isn't!" said Professor Trelawney, looking thoroughly excited. Her great eyes loomed over Harry, gazing at him. "What was it, Potter? A premonition? An apparition? What did you see?"
"Nothing," Harry lied.
Seamus helped him to sit up, supporting him against his chest. Seamus' hands ran over Harry's back and carded through his hair.
"You were clutching your scar!" said Professor Trelawney. "You were rolling on the floor, clutching your scar! Come now, Potter, I have experience in these matters!"
Harry looked up at her.
"I need to go to the Hospital Wing, I think," he said. "Bad headache."
"Of course," said Seamus eagerly. "I'll take you. I'll feel better if Madam Pomfrey checks you out."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"My dear, you were undoubtedly stimulated by the extraordinary clairvoyant vibrations of my room!" said Professor Trelawney. "If you leave now, you may lose the opportunity to see further than you have ever – "
"I don't want to see anything except a headache cure," said Harry grumpily. "Shay?"
"Yeah." Seamus stood and pulled Harry to his feet, immediately wrapping his arm around Harry to hold him up and guide him.
They left the classroom and Harry pulled Seamus into an alcove. "I need to see Dumbledore first," he insisted. "I need to tell him what I saw."
"Then Madam Pomfrey," Seamus said sternly.
Harry nodded his head in agreement.
Wednesday 7 June 1995 – 9.18 pm
"What did you see?" Hermione asked, as soon as she, Harry, Neville and Seamus were alone.
Harry quickly recounted what he had dreamt.
He was riding on the back of an eagle owl, soaring through the clear blue sky towards an old, ivy-covered house set high on a hillside. Lower and lower they flew, the wind blowing pleasantly in Harry's face, until they reached a dark and broken window in the upper storey of the house, and entered. Now they were flying along a gloomy passageway, to a room at the very end...through the doorway they went, into a dark room whose windows were boarded-up...
Harry had left the owl's back...he was watching, now, as it fluttered across the room, into a hair with its back to him...there were two dark shapes on the loor beside the chair...both of them were stirring...
One was a huge snake...the other was a man...a short, balding man, a man with watery eyes and a pointed nose...he was wheezing and sobbing on the hearth-rug.
"You are in luck, Wormtail," said a cold, high-pitched voice from the depths of the chair in which the owl had landed. "You are very fortunate indeed. Your blunder has not ruined everything. He is dead."
"My Lord!" gasped the man on the floor. "My Lord, I am...I am so pleased...and so sorry..."
"Nagini," said the cold voice "you are out of luck. I will not be feeding Wormtail to you, after all...but never mind, never mind...there is still Harry Potter..."
The snake hissed. Harry could see its tongue fluttering.
"Now, Wormtail," said the cold voice, "perhaps one more little reminder why I will not tolerate another blunder from you..."
"My Lord...no...I beg you..."
The tip of a wand emerged from the depths of the chair. It was pointing at Wormtail. "Crucio," said the cold voice.
"And then Wormtail screamed, my scar started burning and Seamus woke me up," Harry concluded.
"And what did Dumbledore have to say about it?" asked Neville.
"He believes Voldemort is getting stronger and that I am connected to him," said Harry.
Seamus hissed in sharply, despite having already heard it from Dumbledore. His grip on Harry's hand tightened painfully.
"But that's just a theory, right?" said Hermione. "I mean, nobody has ever been in the same position as you so there is nothing concrete about what could possibly be happening."
"Everything about my situation is speculation," said Harry with a weary sigh.
"Did he say anything else?" Neville asked.
Harry shook his head. "No, nothing," he said.
"Ok, well," said Hermione, sitting back in her chair, "we can worry about this later. For now we need to concentrate on getting Harry safely through the final task."
"Agreed," Seamus and Neville said simultaneously.
"Ok," said Hermione. "Let's get some sleep. We're going to be very busy for the next couple of weeks."
Saturday 24 June 1995 – 7.59 am
Harry and Neville watched Hermione dash away from the table in a great hurry, bemused expressions on their faces.
"Where's she going?" Neville asked.
"No idea," said Harry.
McGonagall approached him then. "Potter, the champions are congregating in the chamber off the Hall after breakfast," she said.
Harry blinked. "Er, why?" he asked curiously.
"Your family is here to spend the day with you before watching the final task," said McGonagall.
Harry paled and his hands shook dramatically. "Not the Dursleys?" he choked out. "You didn't bring them here, did you?"
McGonagall had already moved away, however, leaving Harry in the midst of a mild panic attack. Neville attracted Seamus' attention and the blond quickly moved down the table and pulled Harry into his arms.
"Breathe," he instructed firmly. "In and out. In and out."
"Dursleys," Harry choked. "Here."
Seamus swore and looked up. Seeing Diggory walking past he called him over.
"Do us a favour, Diggory," he said quickly. "See who's waiting for Harry. If it's his actual relatives he is not going in there."
"What do his actual relatives look like?" Diggory asked.
"An obese male and a horse-like female," said Seamus.
Diggory nodded. "Won't be a moment," he said.
He disappeared. Seamus continued rubbing soothing circles on Harry's back. Diggory reappeared and shook his head. "Not them," he called.
Seamus felt Harry relax though he was still more tense than normal. "It's not the Dursleys, Har," he said. "You can go in."
"But who is it?" Harry whimpered. "I don't have any other family."
"Well, you won't know until you go in there," said Seamus with a smile.
Harry took several deep breaths, his grip on Seamus slowly relaxing. "Ok," he finally said in a shaky voice. "I think I'm ready now."
"Ok," said Seamus evenly.
Seamus slowly let go of Harry's hand and watched him walk away, into the chamber behind the head table.
Saturday 24 June 1995 – 1.01 pm
Seamus turned and caught Harry as he tumbled into his lap. He gave him an affectionate kiss before tipping him onto the bench. He watched as Mrs Weasley, Remus and a redhead Seamus didn't recognise sat down with them and Sirius, disguised as Snuffles, lay across Harry's feet.
"Mrs Weasley, Bill, this is Seamus," said Harry proudly. "He's my boyfriend."
Seamus grinned. "Nice to meet you," he said politely.
Mrs Weasley beamed at him. "Nice to meet you, dear," she said warmly. "You'll have to come visit us with Harry this summer."
"That would be nice," said Seamus. "I'm hoping that Harry can come meet my parents this summer as well."
Harry tugged on Seamus' sleeve to get his attention. "Bill's a Curse Breaker for Gringotts," he told him.
Seamus looked at the redhead with interest as Harry turned to the guy, who ruffled his hair much like he would a younger brother. "Seamus wants to be a Curse Breaker when we finish Hogwarts," he said proudly. "He's really good at Ancient Runes."
Bill gave Seamus an appraising look. "What made you want to get into Curse Breaking?" he asked curiously.
"I've always been interested in archaeology," said Seamus. "I knew I wanted to do something along those lines but I didn't know what. Then Harry bought me a book on Curse Breaking for beginners and that kind-a cinched it for me."
Bill grinned. "That's how I got interested," he agreed. "Found a book on advanced Curse Breaking in the restricted section."
The rest of the Weasleys congregated around them and Harry waved Neville and Hermione over as well.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" Harry asked of Hermione.
"Yep," said Hermione smugly. "I'll tell you about it later."
"Ok," Harry chirped happily, resting his head on Seamus' shoulder.
Harry felt like he was back at The Burrow with the chatter and laughter going on around him as he nibbled on his food. The afternoon was spent walking around the grounds before returning to the Great Hall for the evening feast. Harry was suddenly feeling queasy again and pushed his food around his plate until Mrs Weasley scolded him and heaped more food in front of him and watched beadily as he forced every mouthful down.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Dumbledore said, rising to his feet, "in five minutes' time, I will be asking you to make your way down to the Quidditch pitch for the third and last task of the Triwizard Tournament. Will the champions please follow Mr Bagman down to the stadium now."
Harry swallowed heavily and rose on shaky legs. He felt Seamus tug his hand free of Harry's and almost whimpered in distress.
"You'll be amazing," Seamus said proudly.
"We've trained for this," said Hermione. "You're ready."
"Good luck!" everyone chorused.
Seamus watched as Harry took several deep breaths before reluctantly following the other champions. Once Harry was out of sight he turned to Mrs Weasley.
"This probably isn't the best time to mention it," he began, "but I don't know when I'll get another chance."
"What is it, dear?" asked Mrs Weasley, as they finished their meal.
"Ron," said Seamus simply. "He's been a right dick to Harry. Didn't believe him when Harry told him he hadn't put his name in the goblet. Then at the Yule Ball, was incredibly insensitive in calling both Harry and myself fairies and asking how long we'd been looking at him in the shower."
Mrs Weasley looked livid. She looked over at where Ron was sitting with Dean Thomas and marched over there. She grabbed Ron by the ear and started dragging him along behind her.
"Ronald Weasley!" she shouted, her face red with anger. "How dare you be so incredibly rude to the boy that has been nothing but nice to you? Poor Harry did absolutely nothing to deserve the vile insults you threw his and Seamus' way. You will apologise, young man, or you will spend the entire summer doing nothing but chores!"
"Ow, Mum!" Ron complained.
Bill stood over Ron with his arms folded over his chest. "What you have said to Harry was uncalled for," he said, his blue eyes a cold as ice. "How you ever got Sorted into Gryffindor is beyond me. You're more like a Slytherin than anything else."
Ron gaped and spluttered. "I'm no snake!" he yelled.
"Then you won't have a problem apologising to Harry and Seamus and admitting that you were wrong, will you?" said Bill, raising his eyebrows expectantly.
"What, now?" Ron asked nervously, glancing at the rest of his family, plus Remus, Sirius, Hermione, Neville and Seamus.
"After the task," said Bill. "You can apologise to both Harry and Seamus then."
"He'll need to apologise to Charlie as well," Ginny piped up. "Denied that Charlie is gay and said he was just confused. By calling Harry and Seamus fairies, he was insulting Charlie as well."
"Quite right, Ginny," said Mrs Weasley. "There you go, Ronald, you will write a letter of apology to Charlie as well."
They were in the stands by this time and Hermione interrupted to point out that the champions were all ready to start the task and that Harry was searching the stands for them. Mrs Weasley quickly hissed at them all to wave to him and they all did so vigorously. Harry shyly waved back, his cheeks red even from the distant they were sat at.
Bagman made his way to the front of the stands and gestured wildly for everyone's attention. "Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Tied in first place, on eighty-five points each – Mr Cedric Diggory and Mr Harry Potter, both of Hogwarts School!" The cheers and applause sent birds from the Forbidden Forest fluttering into the darkening sky. "In second place, on eighty points – Mr Viktor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute!" More applause. "And in third place – Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!"
"He looks so tiny compared to the others!" Mrs Weasley moaned, clutching hold of Bill's arm desperately.
"So...on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!" said Bagman. "Three – two – one – "
The whistle pierced shrilly through the air and both Harry and Cedric shot off into the maze. Seamus and Remus balled their hands into fists on their laps and bit their insides of their mouths to keep themselves from shouting out.
A second whistle and Krum shot into the maze, his wand out in front of him. Seamus anxiously scanned the top of the maze, hoping to glimpse a sight of Harry but there was nothing.
The third and final whistle sounded and Fleur ran into the maze, her sheet of golden hair flying out behind her. People started fidgeting in the stands, several standing up to try and see over the top of the maze. But to no avail. Seamus had a really bad feeling in his gut. He shared a worried look with Hermione and she quickly took hold of his hand and squeezed it tightly.
A scream shattered the almost silence of the crowd. It was clearly Fleur Delacour. Madam Maxime hurried down to the front of the maze. No sparks flew into the air so it was quite possibly a false alarm. Then one of the patrolling teachers, Hagrid, emerged with a figure draped limply over his arms. He had a hurried conversation with Madam Maxime before the two half-giants hurried over to the medical tent where Madam Pomfrey was waiting.
A second shout filled the air and Hermione tightened her grip on Seamus' hand.
"Not him," Seamus muttered. "His voice isn't that deep yet."
Hermione relaxed marginally but Seamus noticed that her free hand was now hovering by her mouth. She was chewing on her fingernails.
A shower of red sparks went up and Seamus prayed that he was right. That it wasn't Harry who had shouted out. Flitwick emerged from the maze, Krum hovering in front of him. Karkaroff hurried down now and accompanied the tiny Charms professor to the medical tent.
"It's a Hogwarts win," Fred cheered quietly.
"But which House will be victorious?" said George.
They looked at each other. "Gryffindor!" they cried, just loud enough for their group to hear them.
There was a sudden movement from the centre of the maze. Chattering started up before there was a rush of wind and silence. It only took a moment but suddenly all the teachers were in chaos. Dumbledore was shouting instructions and McGonagall was waving her wand over the maze to shrink the hedges so they could see what had happened. Moody and Hagrid quickly took care of all the creatures and enchantments that littered the maze.
"Where is he?" Mrs Weasley cried, leaping to her feet. "Where's my Harry?"
Saturday 24 June 1995 – 11.39 pm
"Harry?" Dumbledore asked gently. "Can you tell us what happened?"
Seamus was perched on the bed next to Harry, clinging to his hand tightly. Mrs Weasley was sat in a chair on his other side, clasping and unclasping her hands nervously. Dumbledore was sat on the end of the bed and McGonagall, Snape, Bill, Remus and Sirius, as Padfoot, were crowded around the end of the bed as well.
Harry described in excruciating detail what had happened. How the Cup had been a Portkeyed that had taken he and Cedric to an abandoned graveyard. How Wormtail had been there, holding what looked like a baby. How Wormtail had used the Killing Curse on Cedric.
Harry paused there as he buried his face in Seamus' chest, one hand reaching out for Mrs Weasley. Seamus felt tears seeping through his shirt but he couldn't bring himself to care. His Harry was hurting.
Harry then mentioned how he had been tied to a gravestone: Tom Riddle's. How Wormtail had dropped the creature into a cauldron. How Wormtail had cut a deep groove in the curve of his arm and used his blood in a ritual:
Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son;
Flesh of the servant willingly given, you will revive your master;
Blood of the enemy forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.
Harry told them how he had prayed for the creature to drown in the cauldron but, instead, Voldemort had risen. He told how Voldemort had given Wormtail a new hand; a silver hand, before calling the Death Eaters to him. He called out some names: Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, Avery, MacNair.
He told them how he and Voldemort had engaged in a duel. How their wands had connected and encased them in a dome of golden light. He told how he had seen his parents again. That they had instructed him to let go on their say so, that they would hold him off until he could get back to the Cup. He mentioned Cedric asking him to return his body.
He mentioned that, on his parents' command, he broke the connection, Stunned Wormtail, grabbed him and Cedric and Summoned the Cup.
Mrs Weasley was now stroking his hair soothingly. Seamus passed him a glass of water, to ease his hoarse throat. Dumbledore wasn't satisfied. He knew there was more.
Harry told how Moody had taken him aside, to his office, only to reveal that he wasn't Moody but Barty Crouch Junior. That Crouch Junior had kept the real Moody locked in his trunk in magical Stasis so that he could reliably use Polyjuice Potion all year.
Harry was exhausted, Seamus could tell. The small boy's eyes dropped and his head lolled against Seamus' shoulder. The blond lowered him down in the bed and climbed on behind him, his eyes daring anyone to object.
"He will need me," Seamus said.
Monday 26 June 1995 – 8.09 am
Seamus and Hermione dashed into the Hospital Wing where Harry was still recovering from the after effects of the Cruciatus Curse.
Hermione thrust her edition of the Daily Prophet at Harry. "Read!" she cried.
Harry quickly scanned the article and a grin lit up his face. "Sirius is free!" he crowed happily.
"And I've a message from Dumbledore," Seamus added excitedly. "He says he is truly sorry to have made your younger years such a terrible ordeal by placing you with the Dursleys. Now that Sirius is free and able to protect you then he will be taking over guardianship of you."
Tears freely ran down Harry's cheeks. "Really?" he whispered.
"Really really," Seamus and Hermione both confirmed.
"What's been going on with...?" Harry let his sentence trail off.
Seamus and Hermione exchanged a look. "We haven't heard anything," Hermione said. "But I'm sure Sirius will fill you in when you return home for the summer."
"I've written to Mam and Da," said Seamus solemnly. "They know everything. I had to tell them. They've written back already. They're completely on your side, Har."
Harry relaxed in relief. He had been afraid that Mr and Mrs Finnigan would hate him and refuse to let him near Seamus.
"You'd better get to class," Harry pointed out, as he felt his eyes drooping once more.
Seamus smiled and kissed his forehead. "I'll come back at lunchtime, Har," he promised.
"Mmm," Harry hummed sleepily. "Ok."
Friday 7 July 1995 – 5.17 pm
It had taken Harry a full week to recover from the Cruciatus Curse and even now, nearly two weeks later, he was still suffering from the occasional shake in his hands and legs.
The journey back home on the Hogwarts Express was spent mostly in silence. Harry spent the entire ride curled up on Seamus' lap, staring out of the window. He hadn't been himself since the graveyard. He'd woken up every night, screaming Cedric's name. Seamus was at a loss as to what to do.
Ron, who had been reluctantly allowed back into their group was sat in the corner next to Neville. Ginny was on Neville's other side and Hermione was next to Seamus, by the door. Ron hadn't said a word but that was more to do with the morose atmosphere than because he had nothing to say.
"We're here," Hermione said quietly.
The two girls retreated to the loos to change out of their robes into Muggle clothing. Harry's hands, betraying him suddenly with fierce shakes, needed Seamus' help to change. Tears pricked at the small boy's eyes and he blinked them back rapidly. He had to be strong now. People would be looking to him to defeat Voldemort a second time.
The train came to a stop and the group continue to just sit there, waiting for everyone else to exit the train before they did. Slowly they left the train, helping each other with the trunks. Seamus could see Sirius and Remus standing in an intense conversation with his parents. He led Harry over to them before going back for their trunks.
"Seamus, we won't be spending the summer at home this year," said Catherine briskly. "We're in danger and Sirius has invited us to spend the summer with him and Harry and Remus."
Seamus glanced at Harry and was pleased to see a small smile on his face.
"Great," he agreed cheerfully. "When do we go?"
"Right away," said Sirius. "Harry, Remus is going to take your trunk, ok?"
Harry nodded and stepped forward to embrace Sirius. Sirius swallowed hard and wrapped his arms around Harry. "You're going to be ok, Harry," he whispered, as the Finnigans and Remus all looked away discreetly. "You'll get through this. You're strong."
After a moment, Harry stepped back and Seamus was pleased to see that his face looked considerably lighter.
"So where are we going, Sirius?" he asked curiously.
"The House of Black," said Sirius with a grin.
Remus Apparated away with both boys' trunks, while Sirius produced a Portkey. Harry eyed it with trepidation but placed one hand on the length of rope and gripped Seamus' hand with the other.
"Ready?" asked Sirius brightly. "One...two...three..."
A/N: Oh my gosh! I did not expect the response I got for the first chapter. Thank you guys sooo much! Sorry for the long wait for this chapter and I'll apologise in advance for the long wait for the next chapter. I'm not done writing chapter three yet so it will be a while before I send it to my beta.
Many thanks to iGymnast for betaing this for me!