The whole world stood still for Harry Potter. Dumbledore had just called his name as the final participant for the TriWizard tournament. But that couldn't be possible. He wasn't even around for the introduction of the stupid goblet. Harry started to glance around and noticed that everyone was staring at him. He didn't know what to do. He was aware that he should probably get up and start heading towards the rear of the hall but his feet wouldn't move. It wasn't until someone touched his shoulder that his mind returned to reality.
"You have to go Harry," Hermione said, her voice calm. "You need to meet up with the other champions."
Her sentence crushed Harry. He was a champion now. For the remainder of the year, the entire school (including students from the two other schools) would watching him. He slowly got to his feet and started walking towards the antechamber.
During his walk, Harry took the time to study the faces of some of his classmates. He noticed first and foremost that Hermione looked worried. She seemed to be concerned for his well being. But her eyes told him that it was more about his mental health than his physical health. The two of them could always speak to each other without saying a word and Harry could see that Hermione was worried that he would freak out. And he was concerned that he might prove her right.
He then turned to look at Ron, whose face was etched in anger. Harry could sense that Ron wanted to be champion or at the very least didn't want Harry to be champion. He could tell Ron thought he was lying when he said that he didn't enter himself in the tournament and now Ron had the proof to match his theories.
The remainder of the Gryffindor table seemed too shocked to even come up with any response. Harry then turned his head towards the Hufflepuff table where he was met with a scornful glare from every member of the house. He understood, somewhat, what they were feeling. The Hogwarts champion was chosen from their house and now he would have to share the glory with the ever-famous Harry Potter. Harry was met with similar looks from the remaining tables as well. While he expected the looks from Slytherin, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, it was the looks from the Ravenclaws that really upset him. They were supposed to be the house of wisdom and yet they seemed to believe right off the bat that he was guilty. Harry realized in that moment that he had no allies, save Hermione. From this point forward, he was all alone.
Upon his entrance into the antechamber, he heard a lot of yelling. Apparently the other schools were unhappy that Hogwarts had two champions and felt that Dumbledore had cheated to allow his school the best chance at winning. Harry felt sorry for Dumbledore that he had to deal with all of this. After Dumbledore begged them to be quiet, he turned towards Harry to ask him some questions.
"Harry, did you enter your name in that cup?" Harry shook his head no. "Did you ask an older student to enter your name for you?" Harry stared at the headmaster for a few seconds before answering.
"You can do that? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the age line? From what I was told, I thought you could only enter your own name."
"Clearly the boy is lying." This time, it was Igor Karkaroff who spoke. Harry, however, had no intentions of being called a liar. He hadn't entered his name into that goblet and he would be damned if any anyone said otherwise.
"FUCK YOU!" Dumbledore was taken aback by Harry's language. He understood that the boy was frustrated but he didn't think such language was necessary.
"Harry, I need you to calm down," Dumbledore spoke in his best grandfatherly voice. Unfortunately, Harry wasn't having any of it.
"No, I will not calm down. I didn't enter my name in that stupid goblet. Hell, I wasn't even here during dinner when you brought out the stupid thing." Dumbledore knew Harry was telling the truth. He noticed that the young man didn't attend lunch or dinner the day before and was slightly worried about his well being. However, he spoke with Minerva later that day, who explained why Harry was in such a sour mood. Dumbledore suspected as much but he was happy that Minerva had clarified it for him. "And now I have to compete in a tournament that I didn't enter."
"Look Harry, I know how..."
"No, you don't know how how I feel," Harry said, cutting off his headmaster. "I'm not competing. I don't care what happens. I am not playing in this stupid tournament."
"I'm afraid that is not an option Mr. Potter."
Harry turned his to look at the man who had just spoken. He remembered the man's name as Bartemius Crouch.
"Because the goblet acts as a magical contract. The second your name came out, you became bound to this fate."
"But I didn't enter my name. Dumbledore just said that anyone 17 or older could have entered my name. How is that fair?" Harry was really starting to lose his temper.
"It isn't but it is what must happen. Now if the four of you will...Mr. Potter, please come back here." But Harry had heard enough. Nobody was listening to him. And if they were listening, then they were ignoring his requests. He left the antechamber to find that the Great Hall was empty except for Professor McGonagall. She could see the rage in Harry's eyes and decided it would be best to let him walk off his anger.
She knew he was out last night and knew the reason why. But in the back of her mind, she couldn't ignore the possibility. Right before Harry walked out of the hall, she asked him a single question.
"Did you, Mr. Potter?"
Harry stopped and turned towards his head of house.
"Okay then. Don't be out too late Mr. Potter." With that, Harry turned right back around and stormed off into the castle.
Harry didn't know where he was going. He just wanted to walk off all this anger before he went back to his dorm. He didn't want to lash out at anybody that didn't deserve it. Harry continued walk through the castle, climbing stairs, making twists and turns around different corridors. By the time Harry stopped, he didn't know where he was. The only identifiable thing around was a mural of a man trying to teach trolls how to dance.
Harry started to pace back and forth, trying to make sense of everything but the only thing that came to his mind was how someone entered him into this tournament.
'Merlin, I just want to break something,' Harry thought. He wanted a way to release all this frustration but he didn't have a safe place to do it. Harry continued pacing until he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. It was a small door that hadn't been there before. 'Where did that come from?' Harry, his curiosity getting the better of him, opened the the door.
What Harry found inside were rows of porcelain china and glassware. Harry was confused by this until he noticed the cricket bat laying right next to the door. It seems the room gave him a way to release his frustrations. After twenty minutes smashing a never ending supply of dishes, Harry stopped and dropped to the floor, placing his head in his hands.
'How am I gonna get through this?' Harry was minutes away from breaking down in this room. When he lifted his head back up, he noticed that all the broken china was gone. Now, there wa a small desk and chair in the center of the room. Laying on the desk was a pad of paper and a pen. 'Why not parchment and a quill,' Harry wondered. Regardless, the room was telling him that he needed to think of a plan.
Harry started to rack his brain with ideas but nothing was forthcoming. He couldn't figure out what he was supposed to do. He started going over the events that occurred in the antechamber hours before but nothing caught on in his head.
"'...the boy is lying.' No that doesn't work. '...bound to its fate' is just stupid. '...magical contract.' Wait a second." Harry stopped in his tracks when he remembered that. "The goblet is a magical contract." Harry raced over to the table and jotted down his first idea.
"1. Get in contact with Bill to see if the goblins can look over the TriWizard contract."
Harry remembered Bill saying over the summer that no one was better when it came to contract loopholes than the goblins. Harry's next idea came only minutes after the first. Since he was going to be using Bill as a possible asset, why not others.
"2. Get in contact with Remus and Sirius."
Harry realized that Remus and Sirius were very powerful wizards and hoped that maybe they could give him some tips on how to survive the upcoming tasks. Harry also realized the potential this room had. Every time he needed something, the room provided it for him. Harry quickly understood that this room could be perfect for training him in regards to the upcoming tasks.
"3. Use this room to study and train for the tournament."
Harry decided that he should getting to work on the first two parts of his plan that very night. Harry quickly wrote a letter to Bill, knowing that he was staying in England for the duration of the tournament. He hoped that Bill would put in a good word for him with the goblins and that would hopefully lead them to help him. He wrote down everything he knew about the tournament as well as the conversations he had with Dumbledore and Crouch. Next, he worked on the letter for Remus. He figured it would be easier to contact Remus and have him relay messages to Sirius as Harry felt it was too dangerous to contact Sirius directly. The letter to Remus was practically the same as his letter to Bill except Harry mentioned his actions the night of Halloween in the letter. He had asked both men to meet with him as early as they could that saturday at Hogsmeade so that they could discuss some things in person. Harry wanted the meeting to be early because he still hoped to be able to take Hermione out. He was not going to let this stupid tournament get in his way of a date with Hermione.
'Hermione,' Harry thought. 'She believes me. I could see it in her face. She believes me.' Harry looked down at his list and added one last item.
"4. Keep Hermione close."
After he was finished, Harry rolled up his two letters and left to go to the owlery. As he was leaving, he made a note to check out the windows near the hidden room. Harry was able to figure what part of the castle he was in based off the fact that he could make out the western end of the Black Lake from his vantage point. He also knew he was on the top floor due to how how high up he was. Harry expertly navigated his way to the owlery and found a wide awake Hedwig.
"You knew I was coming didn't you girl." A tiny bark signaled to Harry that he was right. Harry placed one letter in Hedwig's beak and the other in one's her talons. "Go to Bill first. I want you rest after you drop off the letter and then go find Remus. I don't you flying back to back without taking a rest first." Hedwig simply barked and gave a quick peck to Harry's finger before flying out into the night.
Harry finally made it back to the Gryffindor Tower to once again find Hermione asleep on the couch. He hadn't realized how late it was until he looked at the clock on the mantelpiece. It read 3 o'clock in the morning. Harry was about to pull the blanket over her just like he did the night before when he heard a voice.
"Not this time Potter." Harry was shocked to see that Hermione was somehow still awake. "You won't be getting away from me that easily tonight."
Hermione started to sit up and Harry gave her a hand. "Hermione, you need to go to sleep. We can talk about this another time."
"Harry, let's talk about this now," Hermione said, following it up with a big yawn.
"No. Hermione, you're and tired and frankly, so am I. I promise we will talk about this but not now."
"When Harry?" Hermione was being rather defiant so Harry played the only card he had.
"How about this saturday? I am hoping to have a meeting with Bill and Remus about this whole thing. I will have to tell them everything anyway so I might as well have you there as well."
Hermione was curious about what Harry had just said. It almost seemed that Harry had come up with some kind of...plan. "And what would this meeting entail, Harry?"
"We will be going over whether or not there is some loophole that could get me out of this. If not, then I guess we will try to come up with some plans that could help me stay alive through this blasted thing."
"Okay, I guess that would work."
"Well I am glad you feel that way. And maybe once the meeting is over, you and me could spend the rest of the day in each others company. How does that sound to you?"
Harry noticed at once how Hermione attitude had changed. The look of worry that had been etched on her face was gone and a look of excitement had replaced it. "If I didn't know any better Harry, I would say you were asking me out."
"Well you did say that there was a chance that the girl I liked could be asked by somebody else before I plucked up my courage. So I decided to take the girl I like advice and I asked without delay. Well, would do you say." While Harry had been confident in the first part of his speech, he had become rather nervous when he asked that final question. However, his fears were for naught as Hermione leaned forward and placed a kiss to his cheek.
"I would love to go on a date with you Harry," Hermione said, blushing furiously.
"Perfect. Now you go upstairs and get some sleep."
"You too, Harry."
Harry helped Hermione off the couch and they both made their way towards their respective staircases. As Hermione was heading upstairs, she stopped and turned back towards Harry.
" I believe you. I know you didn't enter your name in that goblet."
Harry knew that Hermione believed him but he couldn't believe how good it felt to actually hear her say it out loud. "I know Hermione, you didn't have to say it."
Hermione started to walk back down the stairs and grabbed hold of Harry's hands. "Yes I did. You needed to be absolutely sure that someone believed you."
"Hermione, if I can't trust you then I would have no one to trust." Tears were gathering in Hermione's eyes at Harry's sincere words. Harry slowly lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her palm. Hermione let out a slight gasp at the intimate nature of the gesture. Harry then raised his other hand to her cheek and pulled her face towards his.
'Oh My God, he's going to kiss me,' Hermione thought. Hermione closed her eyes waited for his lips to be on hers. She was slightly disappointed when he had kissed her forehead instead but it was still progress in her book. Harry was initiating contact. He never did that before but now, he was doing it all the time and it thrilled her that she was the one with whom he was doing it with.
"Good night Hermione," Harry said, staring deeply into her eyes.
"Good night, My Champion," Hermione replied, smirking.
Harry smiled at her. Only she could make something like that adorable.
And with that, the two teens went up to their dorms. Unfortunately for Harry, he was once again met with silence as he entered his room.
"I knew you were lying. I knew the whole time that you just..." Harry cut Ron off quickly.
"Shut up Ron. I have no patience to hear you bitch and complain. You think I'm a cheater, so be it. But the fact is I couldn't care less what you think of me. I only care about one person's opinions and that person believes me." With that said, Harry got into his bed and went to sleep.
The next few days were tough for Harry. It seemed the entirety of the school, including the visiting students, believed him guilty. Even the people in his own house didn't completely believe him. Yes, they did support him but they did not believe that he didn't enter his name into the goblet. It seemed that the only people who believed him, aside from Hermione, were the twins, Ginny, the Gryffindor chasers and Neville.
However, it wasn't until Friday that everything finally came to a head. Harry and Hermione had just left their Arithmancy class when they ran into several Hufflepuff students.
"Well, if it isn't the false champion. Oops, I meant fourth champion." The Puffs all laughed at the impressively bad joke.
"Just ignore them Harry."
"Yeah Potter, just ignore us. Just like you ignored the rules of the tournament."
'God this guy is bad at telling jokes,' Harry thought. Harry and Hermione finally made it past the group when a girl called out after them.
"We know the truth Potter. The entire school knows you were out Halloween night and didn't come back until well after curfew so stop lying."
Harry stopped suddenly. 'How the hell would they know that. Only three people knew that I was...' Harry thoughts trailed when he figured out what happened. Harry turned back around and addressed the girl. Harry did not appreciate being called a liar.
"I'm sorry but what is your name?"
The Hufflepuff simply smirked and replied, "Hannah."
"I see. Parents too embarrassed to let you share their last name?" The entire group of Hufflepuff students were shocked by Harry's response. None had known Harry to be that quick on the uptake. Or him to be that vicious with a retort.
"And whom may I ask is giving these orders?"
"My name is Ernie."
"Is one of the requirements for being a Hufflepuff not to have a last name. I must say it must be really confusing when the mail comes."
The Hufflepuffs were now starting to get irritated. They were being upstaged by this kid and even worse, a crowd was starting to gather.
"My last name is Macmillan and her last name," pointing to Hannah, "is Abbott. Now you will apologize or you will be sorry."
"That's a bit redundant don't you think," Harry said smirking. "I mean, if I apologize, wouldn't that mean that I am sorry." The crowd was starting to snicker at the Hufflepuffs. Harry was eviscerating them with his words and they weren't clever enough to come back with anything.
"Now you listen here..."
"No, you listen. I don't appreciate being called a liar as your friend just did. Now, I'm sure we can work things out if she tells me who has been telling people that I was sneaking around the castle on Halloween night."
Hannah sneered at Harry before replying, "A little bird told me."
Harry sighed loudly. "Does this bird have red plumage?" The Hufflepuffs look confused before Harry clarified his statement. "Oh for Merlin's sake, did the git have red hair?" The silence that followed let Harry know his answer.
"I'm not the liar Harry. You are." Ron, as if on cue, left the crowd and entered the center of this ever growing circle. "You were out late that night. And since you are being too much of a coward, I thought it was right to tell Cedric the truth."
"Ron, everyone, did I ever deny I was out that night? Did anyone even ask? No. However, what I said was the truth. I didn't enter my name into the goblet." Harry stared at Ron with a look that could kill. "You know I can't believe I made the same mistake my father did."
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Like my dad, I had a friend. A friend that we each could call brother. But that friend was weak and pathetic and paranoid. He was jealous of all the things my father was. He couldn't match up to him in any way as a wizard or as a man. So when he got his chance to feel important, he betrayed my father to his death. Seems I am more like my father than I thought."
Ron, whose anger had been growing through Harry's speech, exploded. "I am nothing like Pettigrew. I am a strong wizard. I am not weak like him." Harry merely stared at his former friend then silently turned his back to him.
"How dare you turn your back on me. That's it Harry. We are not friends anymore. You won't have me around to save you anymore." Ron then heard someone laugh in the crowd. He looked around and saw the person mocking him. "What's so funny Hermione?"
"The fact that you think that you have, at any point, actually saved Harry. He's right Ron..All you do is leech off of people."
"Better than being some tart who humps at Harry's leg like a little dog." The entire crowd was shocked by Ron's outburst, no one more so than Hermione. Even the Ginny and the twins couldn't believe that Ron had gone so low. They were starting to wonder what was going on with their brother. However, there was one person who was more than willing to act.
"Stupify!" The red light shot across the hallway and impacted Ron square in his chest. Hermione turned her head to see that it was Harry that fired off the spell. Harry noticed one of the Creevey brother run off, probably to tell a teacher of what was going on.
"Ronald, I will tell you this only once. You ever insult Hermione like that again and there will be one less Weasley in the world." The threat was clear and if Harry's tone of voice wasn't convincing enough, his eyes were. Ron had seen that look in Harry's eyes only once before. It was when he vowed he would destroy whatever petrified Hermione, a promise Ron was all too aware that Harry had kept.
"Fine. Keep her. Not like I ever liked her. You are cut-off from us Harry. You can't visit the Burrow anymore. And not to mention that Fred, George and Ginny are all on my side."
"Nope," Fred and George said simultaneously.
Ron looked even angrier at their response. "What do you mean no? We're family."
"Actually dear brother..."
"But after what you just said..."
"And the fact that you ratted Harry out..."
"We really can't call you family." It was Ginny that finished off the twins rant.
This shocked Harry more than it shocked Ron. He couldn't believe that they were siding with him over their own brother. Ron, embarrassed beyond belief, squeaked out, "I'm telling mum," before running off. Harry caught the eyes of the twins and simply nodded, thanking them for their support.
"While that was very entertaining Harry, it does still beg the question of where you were that night?"
Harry turned back around and found himself at Cedric Diggory, the "rightful" Hogwarts champion. "I mean Harry, if your innocence is so important why not tell what you were doing and we could simply put this all to rest."
While Cedric's words seemed sincere, there was something about his eyes that made Harry distrust him. However, he brought up a good point. If Harry just told everyone what he was doing, they would all get off his back.
'They won't believe you.'
Harry paused as he wondered where that thought came from.
'Of course they will believe me. I mean giving the circumstances, it is a pretty good excuse.'
'It won't matter. They have already made up their minds that you cheated. Even if you tell the truth, they will still believe you ended up going to the Great Hall and entered your name. There is no one to support your claims. You were all by yourself.'
'You're right.' He hated to admit it was the cynical part of his brain was right. They wanted him to be the villain and nothing would change their views. 'So what should I do?'
'Challenge them. They think they know the truth but they are sheep. They believe whatever story is most convenient. Make them question themselves.'
When Harry focused back on the situation, he noticed that more people had shown up. Students, teachers, even the other champions gathered around to watch this confrontation.
"Well Harry? Do you have an answer?"
"Does it matter?"
"Excuse me?" Cedric was caught off guard by the question.
"Does it matter? My answer. If I tell you the truth, you could still believe that I entered the tournament. So really why should I answer? You have all made up your minds about my guilt so why should I give you more ammunition." Harry was starting to pick up a head of steam and Cedric realized that he may not end up looking good when this was over.
"Look Harry..." Cedric started but he was quickly cut off.
"No you look Cedric. Let's get this all out in the open. You along with everybody else think I'm a cheater who lied his way into this tournament. But let's think about that. If you were going to cheat, wouldn't you do it in a way so that you wouldn't get caught. That would be the smart thing to do but apparently I'm too stupid to realize that. Instead I made myself the fourth champion in a tournament that is only supposed to have three."
Harry's rant was causing some of the crowd to start to think about the circumstances surrounding Harry's involvement. Harry was indeed correct that a cheater never did anything that would allow him to be caught so why did Harry do something that made it so obvious that he cheated.
"Which brings me to my next point. If I was smart enough to figure out how to bypass all the spells on the goblet and powerful enough to pull them off, why wouldn't I just enter myself as the Hogwarts champion. Clearly if I was that capable, the goblet would have picked me over you. I mean, let's be honest Cedric, my record is far more impressive than yours." Harry then started to list all of his accomplishments since entering Hogwarts.
"I have defeated a fully grown mountain troll. I am the only person to survive the killing curse. I've bested Voldemort twice. I killed a basilisk. And just a few months ago, I cast a corporeal patronus that drove away over fifty dementors.."
"Bullshit," Ernie said. "There is no way you could do..."
Ernie shut his mouth when Harry raised his wand.
A silver stag burst forth, stunning all who watched into silence. A few seconds later, Harry allowed his stag to dissipate.
"Anything else Mr. MacMillan." Ernie shook his no and walked back into the crowd. "As I was saying. If I did all the thing you people claim then why wouldn't I just make myself Hogwarts champion. The only you have over me Cedric is that handed me my first quidditch lose which occurred because I was attacked by dementors. Clearly I would have been chosen over you as Hogwarts champion and we wouldn't be having this little gathering. But instead, I am the fourth champion."
"And it is that that makes me the angriest. Because if the roles were reversed and Cedric was the fourth champion and I the rightful Hogwarts champion, this whole cheating thing wouldn't really be an issue. Yeah, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons would have a problem but you other houses wouldn't have said a thing. In fact, you all would have probably congratulated him on being clever enough to find a way into the tournament. But because it's me, you all find fault in it. You speak of how I want more glory for myself. Need I remind you people that the glory you speak of came at the price of my parents."
"You know what? At first, I didn't really care about this. I was angry, you can be assured of that but I never wanted to win. I just wanted to survive. But not anymore. Now, I want to win this tournament. And not just win, but embarrass you," pointing to Cedric, "and you," pointing to Viktor, "and you," finishing at Fleur. "That is what I want now. And then when this is all over and I find out who did this, I am not going to say I told you. Instead, I'm just going to walk away, letting you wallow in the fact that not only were you wrong but also that you were bested by a fourteen year-old."
With all that said Harry turned to leave. The crowd open up to allow him to pass through. As he was walking through, he spotted Hermione and offered her his hand. She took it immediately and the two of them continued to walk away. She had never seen Harry act like that before. He was articulate with his argument and made the entire school look like idiots. Hermione knew she was attracted to Harry but watching him use his mind like he just did made her downright horny. She blushed at these thoughts and hoped that Harry wouldn't notice.
"You okay Hermione?" Too late.
"I'm fine Harry. Just proud of you. You used your words to beat them. You didn't have to resort to your wand."
"What about Ron?'
Hermione thought for a second. "Fuck Ron."
"Language Hermione. I fear I'm becoming a bad influence on you."
"Well maybe I want to be bad Harry." With that, Hermione pushed Harry against the wall and kissed him passionately. Harry, to his credit, was only momentarily shocked by his Hermione's actions. Soon, he found himself kissing her back with as much passion. After about a minute the two teens pulled themselves apart. Harry was the first one to regain his composure.
"Wow. Not that I don't want to seem ungrateful but what was that for Hermione?"
Hermione looked back at Harry, a sly smile on her face. "You seemed stressed Harry. I just wanted you to relieve some stress. Was the contact unwanted?"
"No, it most certainly was not. But is that the only reason you kissed me? To help me relieve stress."
Hermione leaned in close and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "No."
"Prat," Harry whispered against her lips.
A/N: So there's Harry big explosion. This also sets up the Harry-Cedric feud and the Harry-Ron feud. I always found book-Ron to be an asshole while movie-Ron had more redeeming qualities.
Also, we see Harry using his brain in this chapter. Indeed, it is atthis point where Harry's more Slytherin nature kicks in