Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, Doctor Who, any concepts or characters thereof... if I did, this would be canon, not fanfic, wouldn't it? And it's not, so I don't own them, aren't making any money off of them. On a side note, whilst my quest for the sacred jelly baby goes on unfulfilled, I have managed to find a place that sells Wine Gums, produced by the same company... it's not the same, but they are quite good...
By J.T. Magnus, 'Turbo'
Harry gave a sigh of mixed annoyance and frustration, there was one problematic drawback to the 'thousand cuts' method of planning; some days one just never could decide which plan to use for that day. At the moment, one particular day was giving him pause, that day, the day of the first years' first flying lesson. He was undecided as to whether he wanted to change events entirely, let them pass as they would, save Neville from his fall and thus deepen the other youth's loyalty... or even set up one of the more annoying little apes - though he had almost fond memories of one of those being a ferret once - for their own accident.
'Unfortunately, it's two years away from the time-turner, if she even gets it this time, and without a TARDIS or similar device, I won't be able to enjoy all of the options,' The Master thought to himself, 'More is the pity, I suppose.'
"You're doing it again, Harry," Neville commented from across the table in the Great Hall as the Time Lord-slash-wizard began drumming his fingers.
'Truely, an educational facility is obviously lacking if one of the instructors' idea of instruction is merely how to mount a form of transportation and then begin using it with no classroom preparation, merely immediate practicals. It's a wonder there was only the one injury last time. Especially considering the number of students with mundane origins to whom riding a broomstick is merely something from a story. Then it was compounded by leaving the class completely unsupervised simply to take one member to the infirmary despite a non-life threatening injury.'
From next to Neville, Susan spoke up, "Harry, you're drumming again."
The strawberry-blonde's words also failed to penetrate the cloud of The Master's thoughts, 'Of course, I shouldn't be surprised - the teaching staff here consists of blind sheep punctuated solely by misguided revenge-seekers, repetitious unexorcised entities, complete charletans and of course the yearly attempted murderers; all under the lead of an obsessive powermonger... I must correct myself, to describe him as such would be to insult all true powermongers... glory-seeker, perhaps... If in the original course of events Lockhart hadn't lost his memories, I wonder if he would have become all that dissimilar from 'All People Will Bow Down' himself as his age progressed... It's almost a pity that I already have plans in place not only to deal with him but with that ridiculous reputation the imposter has built around himself, otherwise it might be an experiment worthy of that annoying cat fanatic... I must send her a kneezle, just for amusement purposes... See how she deals with a feline that's as smart as she claims to be...'
"Harry," Hermione said firmly from her seat next to him and across from Susan as she reached out and covered his hand with her own, pressing it down flat against the table, "Stop."
That managed to attain his attention and after blinking to reset himself, Harry looked first at Hermione's hand covering his, then to the girl herself before raising an eyebrow. With him looking at her like that, she began to blush and quickly moved her hand.
Susan put her elbow on the table and her chin in her hand, "Would you like for us to leave the two of you alone for a few minutes?"
"Actually..." Harry began with a satisfied smirk before being interrupted.
"No," Hermione interjected with surprising force behind her words, "No, you don't need to leave the two of us alone - for any length of time."
If anything, Harry's smirk only grew at the adamant tone that the girl used. Hermione felt a shiver of anticipation mixed with a chill of dread at the sight of that smirk, a mixture that grew more noticable as he opened his mouth to speak.
That wasn't what she was expecting to hear.
The majority of the birds made their way to other students, but one in particular - a regal-looking eagle owl - glided towards the four Gryffindors and landed gracefully in front of Neville, releasing a package before it took off into the air again.
Harry matched Susan's pose and batted his eyes at Neville, "Secret admirer?"
"Um, ah, aba, uh," Neville stammered, thrown off his guard by the comment about a secret admirer.
Susan lifted her head up and used her now-freed hand to adjust the positioning of Neville's package, "Return adress, Longbottom Manor. Sorry, Harry, no secret admirer there, just family."
Harry smirked, "Does one always exclude the other?"
Neville went pale and green at the same time, Susan's jaw dropped as the meaning of that statement hit and Hermione turned red in embarassment and anger.
The Time Lord sighed and shook his head without moving it from his hand, "To quote an old friend's friend, 'You people and your quaint little catagories'."
Neville found time to compose himself by looking at the package, "It's from my grandmother..."
"Don't say a word!" Hermione cut Harry off before he could say anything.
"I think she's onto you," Susan informed him while Neville was opening the package.
"One could only hope," Harry answered cryptically as a small red-colored ball finally came free of its packaging and ended up in Neville's hand.
"It's a Remembrall," the other boy exclaimed.
"A what?" Hermione asked in confusion.
"A Remembrall, they're supposed to be really rare and valuable. It's meant to help you remember things. It changes colors when you've forgotten something," Neville explained, then looked down to see that the red ball had turned a sickly yellow, "Uh-oh..."
"Insulting little sphere," Harry observed, lifting his head off his hand.
"Wh-what?" Neville stuttered, pulling his attention away from the Remembrall to look at Harry.
"Neville, I've told you what I'll do if you keep stuttering," Harry shook his head, "This 'Remembrall' is insulting. It doesn't matter how rare or valuable something is, if all it does is tell you that you forgot something without giving you any means to help recall what that might be, you won't remember immediately and instead you'll spend hours or days fretting about what it could be. It doesn't provide any real aid, merely another source of stress. It's like those silly little strings people tie around their fingers; useless unless you can remember exactly what it means."
Susan sighed and added, "He has a point. According to my aunt, Remembralls were never actually meant to be used the way they are, for general memories and forgetfulness. Actually, they were created to help noble familes and Aurors detect memory charms, which is why they don't really work as well as people think for everyday things."
Neville looked at the Remembrall with new eyes and frowned, while Susan and Hermione began to discuss the history of the device. Inwardly, Harry smirked with self-satisfaction at the proof that the only power Draco possessed was that given him by others; either his father coming like a beckoned dog whenever the son called or the weight of numbers and physical presence in his support - with the primary two sources of the last's sense of self-preservation overriding any ties between their families and his and the subsequent sorting into Hufflepuff, Draco severely lacked in the 'weight of numbers and physical presence' department and without that he appearently did not see fit to abuse the small group with his presence this morning.
'Considering the myriad of possibilites this day gives me,' The Master mused, 'and few of them good for Daddy's Darling, I do believe the intelligent option would've been to remain aslumber... what am I talking about? This is a Malfoy, taking the intelligent option isn't exactly what they're known for.'
It was then that he noticed that breakfast had reached its end. With a half-smile on his face, Harry stood up from the table, "Come along, children, we have morning Transfiguration and Herbology this afternoon before our first experience with contemporary magical transportation, we certainly don't want to miss that, do we?"
Neville looked over at Hermione, "Um... do we?"
"Flying lessons," translated Hermione.
Neville suppressed a grimace, "If we tried to miss it, he'd find some way to make us go anyway, wouldn't he?"
"I'd like to think he wouldn't," Hermione sighed, "But I'd likely be wrong... we may as well just go. I don't like the idea of trying to ride a household cleaning tool anymore than you do."
That afternoon, the first year students from Slytherin and Gryffindor were gathered outside the castle, awaiting the arrival of their instructor. With the two houses arrayed in lines facing each other, an observer would be put in mind of a showdown, of two armies facing each other across a no man's land and, in fact, would perhaps not be far off, the primary difference being that at Hogwarts that day only one young Gryffindor knew the battle had already been joined.
He was the 'Boy-Who-Lived'.
He was a one wizard army.
He was, quite simply, The Master.
And in complete truth, he was currently ignoring the instructor's lecture and providing more attention to his own thoughts regarding certain symbolisms not fit for 'polite company' - not something that The Master could ever remember himself being called, but that being beside the point - regarding riding a broomstick. It amused him and an already-amused Master was less likely to randomly kill someone to amuse himself - he'd admit to himself that he always was mercurial about things like that, sometimes he just maimed them instead.
With a fraction of his divided attention, he noticed as Hermione looked around with a frown before whispering just loud enough for those closest to her - Harry himself, Susan and Neville - to hear, "Isn't there anything better than brooms?"
Susan leaned in close enough so that Hermione could hear her whisper, "Not officially, but I've heard my aunt talk about watching one of the other department heads because of rumors that they've charmed a car to fly... even if it's not breaking the law, it would certainly be bending it a lot."
"I'd ask for seatbelts," Hermione muttered, "But we'd need seats first... Why couldn't it be magic carpets like with Ali Baba?"
"Ask the broom companies and check their pockets," Harry advised off-handedly, "Isn't it always the way?"
Neville looked at him curiously, "What do you mean, Harry?"
Harry sighed, "Oh, the naive little pureblood."
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Madam Hooch's voice cut through, "Put your hand over a broom and say 'up'."
All three of his compatriots had given the 'up' command to their respective brooms, nervously in the cases of Hermione and Neville, and turned to look at Harry who had not yet done so. Grinning as though he knew something they didn't - which he did - and he were about to get the better of someone - which he was - instead of holding his hand palm down out to his side as the others had, he fully extended his arm before him and held it palm out.
"Arise," The Master intoned, and the broom responded, it responded by rising to shoulder height beside Harry before flipping end over end three times to stand on its bristles out even with his hand before rapidly spinning in a circle until he snapped his hand closed over it.
"Ho-how did you do that?" Susan asked in awe.
Harry looked at her and blinked, "Do what?"
"Bloody showoff," the Slytherin across from Harry, which was unfortunately Ron Weasley, muttered, "Boy-Who-Lived's too good to just have a broom jump into his hand like the rest of us."
"It's called style, Weasley," The Master retorted imperiously, "And if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing with style. Not that you would know anything about that."
Any retort that the red-haired one would have made was cut off by the instructor's next order, "Okay, mount up and kick off!"
"Now you'll see; baton-twirling don't mean nothing when it comes to real flying," Ron scoffed at them before he mounted and kicked off, rapidly flying away.
"Hm," Harry made the sound before chuckling until he began to cough.
Neville patted him hard on the back, "Are you alright?"
Harry cleared his throat and waved the other youth off, "Quite well. I merely reached the mental conclusion that if the smallest dog barks the loudest, then I believe I just suffered a verbal assault from a teacup chihuahua."
Hermione looked at him strangely, "A teacup chihuahua?"
"There's an old saying regarding bulldog mouths that relates," Harry grinned and added without really explaining anything before he too took to the air, leaving the statement hanging.
Harry sat there as his broom slowly, almost regally floated through the air, as though he were a victorious prince in a triumphal procession. In a way, he was triumphant; he had emerged victorious from the mental battle he had been waging all that day as to what he wanted out of this lesson. His final decision? He would let Neville fall so that he could use quidditch as a way to get close to the Twins' rather-impressive-for-monkeys brains and of course the Marauders' Map - not, of course, for some ephemeral and undefined 'Greater Good'; no, The Master was a being that was honest with himself, this was simply and purely for his own personal benefit; whenever something happened, no matter how tragic or joyous, someone always benefitted and in this case, The Master fully intended to be the one to do so.
Therefore, if one knew all of this, they wouldn't have been surprised to know that Harry was, in fact, waiting for it to happen when Neville's anxiety took over and he leant back, unknowingly commanding the broomstick he was on to rise, higher and ever higher into the air. Neville had easily reached three stories off the ground when he made the further mistake of looking down, causing his anxiety and panic to increase to the point where he passed out, falling sideways off of the broom and tumbling to the ground to land face down on the grass, a loud thump and accompanying crack signifying injures had been sustained.
Within moments, Hooch had ordered all the students to land and cast an ennvenerate spell to bring Neville back to consciousness - a foolish move in Harry's opinion considering that she had no idea what, if any, or how much trauma he might have sustained from the fall. Then again, even before his ascension he sometimes wondered about citizens of the Magical World, now, with the knowledge of The Master as his own, he knew for certain...
Witches and Wizards, by and large, were the most inbred, brainless, uncreative, loudest-bleating following sheep-like group of self-replicating creatures that should never have been permitted to crawl from the primordial ooze that it had ever been his displeasure to encounter - next to the Time Lords of Gallifrey, that is. Actually, it occurred to Harry now that he thought about it that Rassilon and Dumbledore were a great deal alike, that being, in fact, how he had gotten into his present situation in the first place. The Master had no intention of freeing Gallifrey and Rassilon from time-lock, but he would take great pleasure in strangling Albus with his own beard, perhaps he'd even send the man's severed head to his former lover to keep Grindlewald company.
Harry expected the next mistake to be made; he had, after all, been pondering it only that morning, so he was ready when Hooch told them all to stay put while she took Neville to the hospital wing. Considering that it was his wrist and not an ankle, it eluded the Time Lord why she did not simply send him on his own or have one of the ghosts or other teachers escort him so that she could remain with the class, but, as he had already concluded, magic-users were collectively idiots.
As soon as Hooch and Neville were out of sight, Malfoy chose the moment to make his play for supremacy amongst the students, snatching up an object from the grass "Oh, look, somebody sent the squib a Remembrall. Let's see how well it works for him when it's up a tree."
The Master paid no attention to the exchange between the girls of Gryffindor and Slytherin, simply because he didn't care. The only female he currently cared about was the one that he was working around to his own way of thinking and the approaching next major step in that process; all this was, in the end, was a distraction that would happen to have useful rewards at the finale. The finale of the scene anyway, not the finale of the act and most certainly not of the play, oh, no, the show would most definately continue...
But when Malfoy kicked off into the air on a broom with Neville's Remembrall in hand, that was when the time came for the Master to make his move on the chessboard of Hogwarts. He picked up his own broom and kicked off into the air after Malfoy.
"No!" Hermione shouted, "Madam Hooch told us not to move, Harry!"
She shouted to remind him, but didn't bother adding that they'd get in trouble if they got caught as she had begun to understand that, for whatever his reason was, Harry didn't fear getting into trouble in the same ways as the rest of them did.
"Perhaps your father's inclination to grant you anything you desire that his money can buy has tainted your reasoning centers, Malfoy," Harry addressed the other boy as he turned his broom to face him in mid-air, "But that doesn't belong to you."
"What are you going to do about it, Potter?" Malfoy sneered.
Before Malfoy even realised what had happened, he was looking into Harry's eyes at close range, those Killing Curse Green eyes were so hard and cold that the Malfoy heir could swear he was seeing his death in them, he was so absorbed in that state of silent terror that he never even heard the gasps and sounds of awe from the ground at how the owner of those eyes had flown. Green eyes so hypnotising, Malfoy was beginning to lose himself in them, beginning to drift away...
The Master smiled to himself, simple-minded fools were so easy to take control of when he needed a pawn. To the uninformed observers on the ground, what was happening in the air would appear to be a face-off, a battle of wills; in reality, however, it was much simpler. With his pawn in place, The Master was now waiting for the opposing king's pawn to move into position so that he could capture en passant. Speaking of which, there she came now.
'Throw the ball and return to the ground,' The Master mentally ordered his pawn, who quickly complied with the instructions. Malfoy threw the Remembrall as hard as he could into the air and dived back down to the ground as though he had seen the approach of the flying instructor and did not want to be the one caught. Almost absent-mindedly, Harry waited until the ball had reached its apex, started back down and passed him before he dived after it, the knuckles of his hand being brushed by the grass as he reached out and caught it, rolling off the broom and onto the grass as he did so.
"Mr. Potter!" Madam Hooch's voice cut across the open air, as she ran towards the group, "Why, I never... In all my years at Hogwarts... Class is dismissed and we will be speaking to your head of house!"
Harry climbed to his feet and answered with a plain, "One moment..."
Walking over to where his minions-to-be were standing, Harry stood in front of Hermione and extended his hand, waiting until she had put her's out to drop the Remembrall into it.
"Harry, I..." Hermione's voice almost broke as she looked down at the Remembrall in her hand. Despite his oddities, this was one of her first real friends and he was likely to be expelled within the next few minues.
"Chin up, dear girl," Harry put a finger under Hermione's chin and physically raised it, "They can't keep a good man down..."
'Or me either, for that matter,' The Master added tauntingly in the privacy of his own mind.
That said, Harry easily followed Hooch away, looking for all the world as though he were the one escorting her to the castle rather than the other way around, leaving the remaining students to disperse and make their ways to back to their dormitories. All the remaining students except, that was, for two that stood watching after their fourth.
"Weird," Hermione shook her head, causing both Susan to look at her.
"What's wrong?" Susan asked, curiously.
"You may not believe this," Hermione told him, "But I get the strangest feeling he wanted that to happen..."
"Come on, Hermione," Susan rolled her eyes, "You're right, I don't believe that. Why would anyone want to get in that bad a trouble"
In addition to their classrooms as Professors, four staff members also had offices as Heads of House; Snape for the Slytherins, Flitwick of Ravenclaw, the Hufflepuffs had Sprout and, of course, there was McGonagall as Head of Gryffindor House. In his more critical moments - of which he had many when dealing with such lesser beings - The Master would gladly make the observation that Dumbledore's chief acolyte was well on her way to following in his footsteps; taking on Transfiguration Professor, Head of Gryffindor and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts in much the same way that Dumbledore had gathered the positions of Hogwarts Headmaster, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards to him. It was easy to wonder when McGonagall would begin to develop his mindset that only she could know how matters should be handled.
She too was on his list, Minerva McGonagall's actions and lack of actions had been among those that led Harry Potter on the path Dumbledore had chosen, right and wrong be damned... and so, the time would come when she would learn first-hand what it meant to be damned... But that was the future. For now, The Master had a use for her. After all, sometimes to promote a pawn, one had to let one of their opponent's bishops move first.
All of this went through The Master's mind as he stood in McGonagall's office and Hooch informed her of the events of the flying lesson.
"Yes, I see... thank you, Rolanda. On your way to your next class, could you stop by Professor Flitwick's classroom and have him send Wood to my office, please," McGonagall requested, proving she had slightly more intelligence than Hooch, enough not to leave a first year student unsupervised for any length of time.
As the flying instructor exited the room, McGonagall turned to Harry with a glare that she thought was intimidating yet in fact reminded him quite nicely of someone suffering a severe case of constipation, "Well, Mister Potter, what do you have to say for yourself?"
"Nothing," The Master answered flatly, "The facts speak for themselves, to try and speak for them would be presumptious and rude."
McGonagall stared at him for a moment in disbelief, but The Master countered by sitting there, staring directly ahead with a blank and unnerving expression on his face, no emotion, no blinking, as though he were a statue. Seeing a first year student acting like this was beginning to make the Scotswoman more than a little uncomfortable when the tension of the situation was broken by the sound of knocking on the wooden office door.
"Come in!" McGonagall instructed, grateful for the interruption.
The door opened and a burly fifth year with Gryffindor trim on his robes entered, shutting it behind him before looking around confused, "You wanted to see me, Professor?"
"Yes, Wood," McGonagall managed to refix her stern look before speaking, "I've found you a Seeker."
The discussion between McGonagall and Wood - with Harry's occasional imput - went much as it had before, including the decision of a Nimbus Two-Thousand to be the broom he would be issued. It wasn't hard for The Master to sense Dumbledore's wizened old hand would quickly become involved in this; the Headmaster would have final say on allowing a first year onto a house Quiddich team, as well as on waiving the 'first years are not permitted their own brooms' rule, which left it a rather obvious carrot with which he could lead his pet 'Boy-Who-Lived' exactly where he wanted him to go, while the threat of taking it away would serve as the stick.
And despite McGonagall's closing remark, Harry really couldn't care if the Dumbledore-following sheep that had been James Potter would've been proud of him or not. The man was dead and contrary to the shared opinions of the deluded fools of the wizarding world, what James and Lily Potter would think or do had no bearing on the thoughts and deeds of the man that was Harry Potter and The Master as he had never known them.
Despite an injured wrist, Neville had been healed in enough time to join the others for dinner in the Great Hall and hear of the aftermath of the flying lesson.
"I can't believe it!" Susan exclaimed.
"Neither can I," Hermione agreed, "According to 'Hogwarts; A History', this would make you the youngest Seeker in-"
"A century," The Master sighed, "Yes, McGonagall and Wood informed me of that. Really, I don't find Quiddich that interesting - random, yes; arbitrary, yes; interesting... no. Honestly, how can you consider something a sport that's played sitting down? That's not an athletic pursuit, that's simply being there while everything else does the work... If it involves brooms, at least Curling requires some level of active participation from the players."
Hermione wrinkled up her nose, "Housework on ice."
"Be nice, Hermione," Harry chided, "It's a sport played on ice; the team captain sends a stone sliding along the ice while the rest of the team uses brooms to clear and smooth the ice ahead of its travels. Whichever team's stone travels furtherest wins. A large divide exists between those who accept it as a sport and, like our dear Hermione here..."
Harry smiled at her, his green-gold eyes warm and doing things to her insides, and continued, "Those who don't believe it should be considered a competitive sport."
"That's silly," Susan shook her head, "Hermione's right, that's not a sport."
"And the wizarding world's idea of a sport involves fourteen people sitting on brooms for indeterminate lengths of time while two of them look around for a hiding ping-pong ball, six toss a ball back and forth, two sit in goals and if their team has possession of said ball do nothing - the closest any of them come to actual physical exertion is the four players who play 'Beater' and might actually have a career in Baseball or Cricket if they want to play real sports," The Master rattled off, "What else is there? Gobstones, chess where the pieces move for you? Yes, the wizarding world has a great deal of experience when it comes to sports, doesn't it."
"You know," Neville joined in carefully, not wanting to get caught in the crossfires of three opinionated people, "He's got a point... wizards and witches don't really do much if it can't be done with magic, do we?"
As if timed perfectly, The Master's goals for his entire involvement with Quiddich came bustling into the Great Hall and over to where the quartet sat.
"We're on the team too, Gryffindor's Beaters," one twin started off.
"Wood told us about what happened," The other picked up, "With how he was acting, you must be good. We're sure to win the Quiddich Cup this year."
"Anyway, we've got to go," the first twin took over, "Lee Jordon thinks he's found a new secret passageway that leads outside the school."
"Bet it's the one behind Gregory The Smarmy we discovered first week," the second twin editorialised, then added, "See you later, Harry."
Almost as soon as the Weasley Twins had disappeared out of sight, Malfoy, emboldened by what he thought was the assurity of Harry's expulsion decided to make an appearance.
"So, Potter, last meal before leaving the castle for good, huh?"
"Hardly," Harry answered, "I still have another six years, nine months and two weeks before I'm finished here. I'll spare you the exact count of days, hours, minutes and seconds - not out of any kindness to you, merely that I suspect it would be at a level of intelligence above your grasp."
His big chance for Potter to be expelled backfired, that left Malfoy with only one choice and the Gryffindor had just given him the perfect opening, "I demand satisfaction for that insult! Wizard's Duel, tonight at midnight in the school trophy room!"
Harry turned his head to look the Slytherin up and down before replying drolly, "Congratulations, you've managed to alter my opinion of you... You actually have proven that you're stupider than I thought you were. Go away."
Strangely enough, while originally the staff had commited the unpardonable sin for supposed teachers of letting students with known shared issues have a second confrontation on the same day and done absolutely nothing, the cascade of altered events brought with it a change that even The Master had not expected when McGonagall came quickly down from the Staff Table.
"Mister Malfoy," The Head of Gryffindor demanded, "Is there any reason why you are not at your house table?"
"Ah, that, Professor... he was about to publicly apologize for what he did with Neville's Remembrall," Harry jumped in and informed her catching Malfoy between Scylla and Charybdis, as he could either apologise or be punished for his earlier actions.
"Is this true?"
"I... uh..." Malfoy gave Harry a quick and hard glare for putting him in this position, "Yes, Professor... My apologies, Mister Longbottom; your Remembrall is personal property and it was not my place to handle it in any way, shape, form or fashion."
With attention turned to him, Neville developed a deer-in-headlights look until a sharp kick to the shin from Harry brought him back to focus, "Accepted, Mister Malfoy."
Thoroughly humiliated by what he had been forced to do, Malfoy turned and stormed off back to the Slytherin table in a dark mood.
"I'm proud of you, Harry," Hermione commented as McGonagall turned and walked back to the staff table.
Harry smiled at her, "Thank you, my dear girl."
Being once again called his 'dear girl' by Harry caused Hermione's cheeks to flush as a simple thought went through her mind...
Author's note; If anyone didn't get it; All People Will Bow Down, A.P.W.B.D., Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore.
Is it just me, or after the big deal made about it on Flying Lesson Day, did the Remembrall never appear again in the entire series, despite times when it might be useful? (I.E., if it really does tell the holder that they forgot something, would that be just normal forgetting or would it also detect memory charms and Obliviate?) I mean, it doesn't even say what happened after Harry caught it, if it was ever returned to Neville or given to McGonagall or anything. For all any reader knows, he was holding it the entire time McGonagall and Wood were talking about putting him on the Quiddich team. Anyone else want to say 'MacGuffin'?
On a topic unrelated to this chapter; has anyone else noticed the bias in judges for the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Karkaroff, Durmstrang headmaster - Bulgaria. Madam Maxine, Beauxbatons headmistress - French. Dumbledore, Hogwarts headmaster - British. Crouch/Weasley, Department of International Magical Co-operation - British ministy. Bagman, Department of Magical Games and Sports - British ministry. That's three judges from Great Britain to one each from Bulgaria and France. I don't know about previous Tri-Wiz that might have been held at Durmstrang or Beauxbatons, they might have involved the Bulgarian or French counterparts to Crouch and Bagman, but those aren't the one we see... The one we see seems extremely slanted to grant Hogwarts the Tri-Wizard Cup, even before Barty Crouch, Jr. got involved.