Dumbledore knew it was coming, he didn't even bother going down to the Great Hall for breakfast the morning after the selecting of the champions, and at almost nine o'clock, when Minerva came and knocked on the door of his study, he was not surprised.
"Lily and James just apparated into Hogsmeade, Albus," she said, surveying his judgementally over her spectacles. Dumbledore sighed and wrung his hands. "I shall grant them access through the front gates then?"
"If you don't Mrs Potter will blast her way through each of the wards one at a time," he sighed.
"If you don't meet her in the Entrance Hall she will blow walls apart to get to you," McGonagall said, her usually stern expression softening as the corners of her mouth turned up. "And I shall not being coming to your assistance, you know how I feel about Potter competing."
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!" A redheaded witch shouted loudly as she entered the school through the front doors, wand drawn. "You promised me!"
"My dear Mrs Potter," Dumbledore said warmly, trying to dispel her fury.
"Don't you, 'my dear Mrs Potter' me!" she said, stalking across the room and holding her wand to his face. He looked calmly at her, not drawing his own. "Where are my children."
"Harry is in transfiguration," Dumbledore said. "I apologize but we surely could not interrupt his lesson."
"No," McGonagall called as she entered from the Grand Staircase. "I have cancelled my lesson today, Mr Potter is right here." Dumbledore spun around to see a very content looking Minerva with a motherly hand on his shoulder.
"And where is Romilly?" Lily demanded.
"She in lessons, it is not necessary to bring her into this," Dumbledore replied.
"This is a family matter," she replied. "My daughter should be present."
"She's in lessons at-" Dumbledore started.
"Forgive me Albus but if I am correct, fifth years have a free lesson this morning," McGonagall replied, a now a satisfied smirk actually on her lips. "I shall summon her if you like."
Dumbledore sent her a dark look.
"Shall we all convene in my office then?" he offered, resigned.
Four hours and many shouts from Lily Potter later Dumbledore sat, finally alone in his office nursing a headache whilst Pomona, Filius and Minerva took Mr and Mrs Potter out for a drink at Three Broomsticks, they were far too sympathetic to the parents of the new young champion.
Harry and Romilly however were walking through the grounds of the castle.
"What are we going to do Harry?" his sister asked him, brow furrowed in concern and hands wringing worriedly.
"Don't worry too much, I'm sure it will be fine, I'll live," Harry said wearily, linking their arms together in an attempt to comfort her. "The only thing I'm worried about is Quidditch, what happens if training gets interrupted?"
"Trust that to be the only thing you're thinking of," Romilly sighed, although she was relieved he was having all these normal thoughts.
"Come on, everyone is in lessons, we can play chess without being disturbed," Harry said, pulling her back toward the castle. As they were approaching the door to the Entrance Hall it swung open and three girls stepped out into the windy weather.
"'Monsieur Potter," the blonde in the middle said, in haughty greeting.
"Good afternoon, Miss Delacour," he said with a nod, but she held out her hand, obviously she was expecting him to kiss it, as was her own custom. He detached himself from his sister and obliged. She smiled and her eyes flicked to Romilly, her gaze slightly stern.
"Sorry, this is my little sister, Romilly," he added, Fleur softened and swooped down to kiss her on the cheek.
"Eet iz a pleasure to meet you," she said cooly. "I was under the impression that 'Ogwarts students were meant to be in lessons?"
"We were in a meeting with Dumbledore and our parents," Harry explained. "They weren't happy about the outcome of last night."
"I can imageene why," Fleur said a low voice. "Please excuse us but we 'ave to be back at the carriage for our lessons to start."
"Of course, have a nice afternoon," Harry said politely.
"It was a pleasure meeting you Miss Delacour," Romilly said with a small smile.
"And you Mademoiselle Potter," she said, inclining her head. "Monsieur Potter." With flick of her hair and continued on their way.
"She kissed me on the cheek," Romilly swooned as soon as she was out of earshot. "Oh Ron will turn positively green with envy." They couldn't contain their laughter as they entered the Entrance Hall, Ron had stared at the girl all evening at the feast yesterday.
"Did you speak to Ron yesterday?" Harry asked when he could finally keep a straight face.
"No," she replied. "By the time I got back from the Owlery he had gone to bed."
"I didn't see him this morning either," Harry said with a shrug.
Hermione was trying to get her History of Magic essay done, she still had three feet of her mammoth essay on goblin rebellions to complete and it was incredibly tedious- though she would never admit it to anyone else of course.
She had had a long day, what with worrying about Harry and the whole tournament and with double Arithmancy, a subject which she loved but that undoubtedly challenging. All she wanted to do was finish her essay before dinner and then go and have a nice long soak in the prefect's bathroom before an early night.
To do this she needed a nice, quiet library where she could put her head down and get on with her work.
No such luck.
The library was heaving with giggling girls with their school skirts hiked up over their thighs and faces caked in make-up, all trying to attract the attention of Viktor Krum. The Bulgarian Quidditch star was sat in silence with a few of his Durmstrang male friends and they were all doing their own essays. It was strange they were all sat poker straight and only looked up when the girls got particularly rowdy, but out of irritation which the girls seemed oblivious to, they paid no mind.
After an hour it all got too much for Hermione, she snapped her book shut and shoved her things in her bag. She saved a furious glare for Viktor Krum as she stalked past.
This was his entire fault.
She would get more peace in the Gryffindor common room. At least the girls there had the decency to be subtle when they checked out the handsome Spanish champion.
"Evening ladies," Fred greeted as he and George sauntered into the Quidditch common room.
"You're late," Roger commented. "Why were you in Hogsmeade?"
"We bought dinner dear Rogie," George replied, grinning as he stepped out from behind his brother, the stack of pizza boxes in his arms visible.
"Did you know the shops in Hogsmeade are ever so eager to give their wares, free, to the beloved Hogwarts Quidditch team?" Fred asked.
"We like Graham, down at the Italian restaurant," George said passing a box to Cedric and one to Roger.
"Where are everyone else?" Fred asked, shoving a slice into his mouth.
"The girls have a bet on," Cedric told them. "Who can do the most Quaffle-ups. Everyone is out watching." Fred and George shared a look.
"No, no," Roger said, shaking his head at the two. "What are you plotting. We know that look."
"We have an idea," Fred said, identical grins spreading over both their faces.
"I don't like the sound of it," Cedric said sceptically.
"You haven't heard our idea yet," George said defensively.
"You'll love it."
"Hey," Harry said as he dropped onto the common room sofa that evening.
"You're back late," Hermione said. "I didn't see any of the team at dinner." He shook his head.
"No, the twins bought pizza from Hogsmeade, I think they have something planned, they asked me to owl Sirius," he replied. Hermione let out a laugh.
"Pizza, the diet of athletes," she laughed. "Have you asked anyone to the Yule Ball yet?"
"Please Hermione, that's ages away," he shrugged, dismissing the concern. A snort came from the armchair beside him.
"Besides, how's the famous Harry Potter going to have trouble getting a date," Ron scoffed.
"Pardon?" Harry asked in surprise. Ron just shook his head and went back to his Chudley Canons book. "No Ron, you've been weird with me for ages. What is the problem here?" Ron set his jaw and snapped his book shut.
"I just think that you could have told your best friend how you managed to trick the goblet, I mean it's not as if you even need 'eternal glory' is it. You're already Quidditch captain, it's greedy," he spat venomously.
"Listen Ron, nobody knows how my name came out of that goblet. Not Dumbledore, not Crouch and sure as hell not me. I don't want to compete. I just want to play Quidditch, something I have worked hard for since I could walk, don't begrudge me that. Hard work is what it took for me to be on the team," Harry retorted. Ron just shrugged in reply, the argument staved for now.
"Great I'm going to bed. Night Hermione," he said before storming off up to his bedroom.
Training had been especially hard going today. It was cold, wet and windy and nobody had been playing at their best. Harry had yelled at the team a lot and by dinnertime even Fred and George had lost their usual happy go lucky attitude and sulked off to the castle.
Nobody left training feeling confident but Romily was feeling especially exhausted and dejected, whilst the rest of the team were in a hurry to go and dig into the piping hot stew being served up at the castle she was slow and took her time peeling off her gloves and knee pads, putting her broom away and fetching her bag. She then slumped down into the armchair next to the Quidditch common room fire, still in her muddy uniform, one salty tear sliding down her cheek. Burying her head in her hands, long damp red hair cascading around her, shielding her face from view she tried to pull herself together.
She was feeling utterly inadequate, everything muscle in her body ached and she didn't want to face the walk back up to the castle and people asking her how practice went.
Maybe she was too young, too inexperienced and too untalented to be able to do this. Maybe Skeeter was right.
She wasn't sure how long she sat there before she was roused.
"Romilly?" someone asked. She jumped, hastily brushing away her stupid tears and flipper her hair out of her face.
"I didn't know you were here Cedric," she said quickly.
"I wanted to get some extra practice in alone," he replied, she noted how his uniform was sopping wet and his face splattered in mud. "Are you alright?"
"Oh yes," she said, brushing his concern off. "Of course, I'm fine."
"You don't look fine," he observed, dropping down to the floor, to toast his back on the fire. "Was it practice today?" Reluctantly she nodded her head, he smiled sympathetically. "Your first rough practice is always the worst. I'm surprised we lasted this long."
"I guess you're right," she sighed. "I just…"
"Just what?" he pressed.
"I feel bad," she admitted. "Like I shouldn't be on the primary team when three subs are so good and have more experience than me. What if I let everybody down?"
"I know exactly how you feel," he said. "I've never played as keeper in a real match before, it could go terribly and I got the position over Fleet. My friend who I have been playing with for years, he's always been a good keeper. What if he is better than me, deserves my spot and resents me for taking it from him?"
"How do you cope with it?" Romilly asked.
"I just have to remind myself that I was judged rigorously. I fought for this spot and I am determined to be the best Keeper I can be. I have to remind myself that I was judged to have enough natural talent for the spot and therefore, as long put the time and effort in, I am the best person for the job. You may be against more experienced players but you beat them to this spot and I have seen you working your arse off to prove yourself every day. You have the natural talent and you put so much effort in that you deserve to be here. So don't think for a second that you're not good enough, because the first match will prove it."
"Thank you Cedric, you're right," Romilly said.
"No problem, now go change before you catch your death of cold," he ordered with a laugh.
"Sir yes, sir," she said saluting.
"Try the mango conditioner pump!" Cedric called after her. Romilly turned in the doorway to the showers, eyes narrowed and smirking. "Tell anyone I said I that, and I'll tell your brother I caught you snogging Malfoy in a broom cupboard," he added quickly.
"That is low Cedric, very low…. But effective. My lips are sealed."
The only benefit Harry could see to getting his wand check in an official ceremony was getting out double potions with Snape. Any other lesson and it would have just been irritating. He was last into the room where the Wand Weighing was taking place. Of course Harry was the last champion there, but some judges were also missing. Each head teacher was a judge, plus Mr Crouch and Mr Bagman.
"Hey Harry," Cedric greeted, leaning against the wall casually, talking to Krum. "You coming to meet the competition over here?"
With a grin Harry joined the two and held out his hand to the Bulgarian.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Harry Potter," he said, holding out his hand to the international Quidditch legend.
"Viktor Krum," he said in reply. "I hav heard lot ov good things about you and your team. You are seeker?"
"Yeah, unfortunately that means we're going to have to lose the match to Durmstrang," he laughed in reply.
"Maybe not true," Krum replied. "I will admit, de chasers… not so great."
"Well thanks for the heads up Krum," he said. Krum just shrugged his broad shoulders.
"I vought dat it was unfair for me to play," he admitted. Cedric and Harry shared a look before they were interrupted.
"Eet iz typical, you boys speaking of Quidditch already," the female champion said haughtily, shaking her hair as she spoke to Marcus, the fifth champion.
"Neither of you two play then?" Cedric asked.
"No," Fleur responded curtly, Marcus just looked at them blankly. The witch sighed and turned to him again. "Juegas Quidditch por tu colegio Marcus? O en general? Los chicos quieren saber."
"No, no me gusta estar en el aire," he replied with a quickly grin at Fleur as he ran a hand over his dark hair.
"No, ee does not like to be in ze air," Fleur replied. "Unlike you zree obviously."
"Have any of you really gotten to know anyone in the other schools?" Cedric asked. They all replied with not really, apart from Marcus who according to Fleur's translation had been chatting up a redhead from Hogwarts.
The weighing of the wands ceremony was all a bit of a joke, to everyone but Fleur who seemed to take her image very seriously and Marcus who had no comprehension of the jokes shared between Cedric and Harry and occasionally Krum. The language barrier seemed too much for the Spanish champion.
The three of them managed to decline an interview with Rita Skeeter, where Fleur accepted and because Marcus didn't understand he was carted off last. The other champions, after photographed a few times and having been given the a-ok for their wands could leave whilst he was being questioned. Krum was quickly whisked off by Karkaroff so it left Cedric, Fleur and Harry to leave together.
"Well I'm going to catch the end of transfiguration, are you going down to the pitch early Harry?" Cedric asked.
"Yeah, I'm going to draw up some formation diagrams to work on today," Harry replied as they parted way on the Grand Staircase.
"Grand, I'll see you later at practice then, bye all," he said.
"See you later Ced," he replied.
"Goodbye," Fleur replied as they both continued down to the entrance hall. "As you are a gentleman Monsieur Potter, you will walk me to ze carriage, no?"
"I will, but only if you call me Harry from now on," he teased.
"Very well zen, 'Arry eet iz, and you shall call me Fleur in return," she replied. "'Av you a date for ze ball, 'Arry?"
"No, I don't, do you?" he asked in reply.
"No, not yet, nobody satisfactory az asked me," she replied haughtily. "But no matter. Eef you were not zo young, I would go wiz you," she laughed. Harry couldn't help but smirk, she had a throaty, joyful laugh, even if it was at his expense.
"I am only a year younger than you Fleur," he said pointedly. "Besides, now you've said that I wouldn't go with you anyway," he teased. She laughed again.
"Oh 'Arry, you know you would do whatever I said, because I am beautiful and you could not say no to me, are you planning on going wiz a pretty witch?" she asked bluntly.
"Um… I don't really mind," he said uncomfortably, before laughing. "Getting anyone to go with me is an achievement."
"Shush 'Arry, you are a very 'andsome young man, you must go wiz a pretty witch, you know the papers, zey will hav your head if you do not," she said giving him a look.
"Thanks for the advice," Harry said. "But it really doesn't bother me that much."
"You will zee 'Arry," she said snootily as they approached the Beauxbaton's carriage. "Zank you for walking me 'ere."
"My pleasure Fleur," he replied, kissing the hand she offered. "See you around."
"Zat you will 'Arry." Harry wouldn't admit it but Fleur was on his mind from then until when practice started, he couldn't quite decide whether he liked her bluntness and confidence.