Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: LuciusxSeverus, mentions of past/unrequited NarcissaxRegulus, one-sided HarryxDraco?, mentions of TedxAndromeda
Summary: A little AU after the First Task for all his apparent forgiveness of Ron for abandoning him, he's incapable of forgetting. The Triwizard Tournament forced Harry to grow up and changed the way he looked and things as well as what he focused on. Complete AU from the day of the Third Task. Harry doesn't want to participate in the Tournament; he has said he has no wish to win. What happens when he refuses to search for the Triwizard Cup?
A/N: The title is in reference to the song by Katy Perry. If fit the story so well when it came on the radio after I took a dinner break while writing. Prior to that son play this fic had no name. Its just a random story idea that I couldn't shake but it seems to be shaping into a nice storyline.
Chapter 1- Severus, Harry and the Third Task
It was the just hours to the final task; Severus Snape had a terrible feeling. The Dark Mark had been darkening for many weeks if not a handful of months. He cursed in a handful of languages that Lucius had drilled into his head. He was pacing his office during a free period. He threw up his hand and stormed toward the floo, tossing a handful of powder and snapping, "Malfoy Manor!"
Lucius seemed less then pleased to see him, "What do you want Severus?"
"It's getting darker if you haven't noticed." Severus said reluctantly baring his left fore arm, "There are dark days on the horizon and I want to know where you stand."
Lucius cringed, "Slytherin's Cauldron! Don't ask questions you already know the answer to. It's an insult to both our intelligences."
Severus glared, "The insult to our intelligences is why I let you take me to bed and why your wife doesn't seem to care."
"Like she cares if I stuff a Halfblood? As long as I don't foster illegitimate children on her."
"I don't know why I bother. I should have known better then to let you talk me into your bed. You were betrothed."
"Actually," Lucius said with a smirk, "I was free from Andromeda and not yet engaged to Narcissa. I never loved her. She would have preferred to be betrothed to Regulus." Although," his face was filled with distain, "Stupid wench, engaged to his older brother from the cradle and she goes and falls for his younger brother."
"I still don't understand you agreed to this farce of a Bonding. You don't even like her." Severus said with exasperation.
"That is neither here nor there." Lucius said toying with his snake-headed cane.
"IF the Dark Lord rises again what side will you be on? Were all your avowals of being under Bellatrix's Imperious lies? Do you still serve him?"
"Have I bothered to look for him?" Lucius asked calmly.
Severus punched the wall beside the hearth, "Don't toy with me Lucius. I don't have patience for it! I want a straight answer for once in your Merlin damned life!"
"I took his Mark."
"A disgrace to us both. I was young and angry. I thought that joining the ranks of the Death Eaters would be cool. I have no stomach for killing. I couldn't even kill my father."
"No. I did."
Severus turned to him in horror. "You did what?"
"I didn't actually cast the killing curse. I'm more subtle then that. I contributed to his choice to enact a murder suicide." Lucius said with such a faint shift of his shoulders that the shrug went almost unnoticed.
Severus swallowed, "Why?"
"Because he hurt you and she cared nothing for you. You would be better off if you didn't have them always in the background. You relaxed more after you were told they were gone."
"If he returns…will you serve him?" He had to know…
"I'd rather not but Dumbledore will insist I spy for him again."
"Wasn't your agreement to join his ridiculous Order contingent on his protecting Lily who was like a sister to you? Her family took you in a bit after your parents died. Which is the only reason you made up. If Lily's dead why do you have to spy at all?"
Sadly, Lucius' words though painful were honest. Why did he let Dumbledore drag him around like a bullock by the nose? He was a Slytherin, where was his pride? Honestly, shouldn't a lover of the Prince of Slytherin have some pride? Shouldn't he have some ability to stand up for himself like he should? Why did he allow Dumbledore to manipulate him like a puppet? He said quietly, "I was never officially pardoned…"
Lucius scoffed, "I can handle that. I know you begged for Lily's life because he was pregnant."
"I thought you were a failure at Legilimency!" Severus said coldly.
"I am. You were sobbing over Lily's body when I found you and dragged you away when Dumbledore and the oaf arrived. You felt your charm you cast on Lily broke and you ran out of my bedroom mid-coitus. You were tugging on your clothes and running like a mad man. You sobbed in my arms that the baby was dead…your godchild…a girl…"
Severus shook, he'd forced his memory of that night away. Lily and the baby dead…James' lifeless body beyond his notice, all that matter was his sister, the sister of his heart was dead. He had been oblivious to baby Harry's screams…he hated himself for his callous treatment of Lily's child. If they'd truly been blood he'd be Harry's uncle…kin…Harry should be as important to him as Draco…
"Don't go crying over spilled potions Severus. It doesn't become you." Lucius said sharply.
"What are you going to do? Stop distracting me and answer the Merlin be damned question!"
"Answer mine. Do you stand with the Dark Lord, with Dumbledore or yourself?" Lucius said calmly.
Severus growled, "I'd turn my back on both if I thought I would survive. I have no wish to serve either master much less two."
"Very well then, I stand with you." Lucius said simply.
"Said nothing when I told the Ministry what I did. She didn't seem to care one way or another. I think she was glad she didn't have her house full of Death Eaters covered in blood and muck."
"You know she'll be on the Dark Lord's hit list if she doesn't turn you over."
Lucius snorted, "She can't harm me. It goes against the marriage Bonds. She breaks them and she's stripped of everything. The Manor will be closed to her; she'll lose access to her vault. She ever lays a hand on Draco and it will violate her vows."
Severus stared at him, "You devious minx. Why didn't you include cheating?"
Lucius shrugged, "What and be hypocritical? I'd rather not tax her for such things. She mourned Regulus with full black for over the prescribed six months for a cousin. She mourned him over a year wearing black. Her clothes were a sombre grey for over three months after that; it took her almost two years to wear non-mourning colours. It was like she was mourning me like she actually had feelings for me." His voice had a lit of laughter.
Severus didn't think that Lucius' death was a laughing matter, he glared, "Don't laugh."
Lucius sighed, "I know you're the only one who might mourn my passing. Sometimes I wonder if Draco would care."
Severus stared, "He worships the ground you walk on."
Lucius shook his head, "that's not the same thing and you know it."
Severus stood up straight, "No matter. I came to find out where you stand."
Lucius pulled him in for a claiming kiss, breaking it almost reluctantly, "I'm with you. No matter what side you're on."
Severus glared, "I've got no time for that. It's the third task." He pulled away, not one to show his emotions, "Are you coming?"
Lucius teased him in French before replying in English, "I'd follow you anywhere Severus."
Severus stormed off, his robe fluttering behind him like big black wings.
Harry was less thrilled then he expected when he saw Mrs. Weasley and Bill waiting for him in the room of the Great Hall where Professor McGonagall had taken him. He'd rather have seen Sirius or Professor Lupin. He didn't say it of course. Despite his forgiving of Ron's abandonment after his name coming out of the Goblet of Fire; on his side of things, he never really recovered. Losing his first ever friend made him see that even supposedly strong friendships were… ephemeral. Until that point he would have said that he and Ron had been through too much to be torn apart. He chided himself for his manners and gave Mrs. Weasley and Bill a half hearted smile, "I'm sorry. I didn't really expect to see you."
"Oh Harry, you really think we'd have let you go without someone who was like family cheering you on?" Mrs. Weasley gave him a hug.
Harry shook his head, "I half hoped that Remus might come…"
Mrs. Weasley's face tightened, "I'm sure he had more important things…"
That hurt, one of his father's oldest friends…someone who knew his mother and had taken the time to tutor him as well as tell him about his parents. He was upset that she would brush it off…then he realized she probably didn't know. Maybe irrationally blamed Remus for Ron's injury. He decided to ignore her hostility because she didn't have all the facts. "I knew Sirius couldn't come." He said quietly.
"Why would you want him? He,"
Harry interrupted her, "He's innocent. I saw Peter Pettigrew myself." He said quietly, "He confessed. I was not confused or anything else.
Cedric's father's insults just rolled off him. He didn't even care anymore. He looked up at Mr. Diggory. "I do hope Cedric wins. I didn't choose to enter the Tournament. It would be a real annoyance for me to win. It's not like I need any more money or fame. It would be best if one of Real Champions won. I'm just along for the ride as it is. I should have ended up with fewer points for the Second Task. Only a child would have assumed that that song in the Golden Egg was literal. Ron and Gabrielle were never in any danger. Someone my age never belonged in this Tournament, if I find out who entered me in it I'll treat them to a host of jinxes and hexes from my wand."
Mr. Diggory was dumbfounded, "You actually want Cedric to win?"
Harry shook his head, "I said I want a REAL Triwizard Champion to win. Someone who entered of their own accord. I'd cheer whether it was Cedric, Fleur or Viktor. I have no desire for the glory of winning this tournament. I never did. It's bad enough to be who I am. I wouldn't say that Cedric is a better Seeker then I am. However, he was better able to stay on his broom during a storm. I got blow off because I didn't weigh enough." He laughed coldly, "Somehow I doubt I'll ever be a proper weight. Cedric is lucky to have a father who is proud of him." He turned his back, feeling faint. He had said far more then he intended, and Cedric was embarrassed enough.
He tried not to notice that Viktor and Fleur seemed surprised that he didn't want to win. He never had…this tournament shattered the last of his childish illusions. He'd learned he could accomplish anything he set his mind to, despite his being exempted from his end of term exams he still wanted to be sure he could have passed them. He checked out OWLS study guides from the library. He was sick of his and Ron's pathetic excuse for study habits these last few years with Ron's absences and Hermione' encouragement he'd focused more on his studies as well as researching to face a dragon and stay under water for at least an hour. If he wasn't studying for his non-existent exams then he was researching magical creatures and various trap spells the he might encounter in the Third Task's maze. He was finding he was enjoying reading and researching which he had forgotten. Books had become his friends when no one else was, until Ron, now he was reminded that at least books couldn't betray him. They would always be there…
Triwizard Cup Judge Bagman was giving last minute instructions to them.
Harry was barely aware of them.
"Mr. Diggory and Mr. Potter will enter first. Then fifteen minutes later I'll blow the whistle and Mr. Krum will enter the maze. At the next whistle Ms. Delacour will enter the maze. Then it will be a free for all for the Triwizard cup, which lies at the Heart of the Maze. The first one to touch the Cup will be THE Champion of the Triwizard Tournament."
Harry sighed, "Can I withdraw?"
Bagman laughed, "Why would you ever want that?"
Harry glanced at Percy, "Because supposed cheaters don't deserve to win."
Percy puffed up at this as if he'd admitted to his terrible deeds.
Severus overheard this.
Moody patted Harry on the shoulder, "Now now, this is all just nerves. You'll be alright once you're in the maze."
Harry shook his head, "I'd rather take my exams then participate in this farce. There are supposed to be three contestants for a reason."
Bagman snorted, "I'm going to blow the whistle. The rules clearly state you must participate."
Severus noticed that Moody was acting odd, sweating and glaring at Potter's back. He bore keeping an eye on. He wandlessly cast an irremovable, self-created tracking charm on Potter. He had a bad feeling about this and silently cast a ward that sensed Dark Magic and would let out a loud screech if anything of that sort were cast. It was irremovable because it was tied to his magical signature.
Moody turned to glare at him.
Severus shrugged, moving to patrol, he couldn't understand what was going through Moody's mind. The man was crazy and Dumbledore was mad to employ him. He had a feeling this night might not end well.
Bagman now pointed his wand at his throat, muttered, "Sonorus," and his magically magnified voice echoed into the stands. "Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Let me remind you how the points currently stand! Tied in first place, with 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, with eighty points - Mr. Viktor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute!" More applause. "And in third place – Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!"
Harry could just make out Mrs. Weasley in the stands with Bill, Fred, George, Ron and Hermione standing midst the Gryffindors, halfway up the stands. He waved up at them, and they waved back, beaming at him.
"So… on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!" said Bagman. "Three - two - one -"
Bagman's whistle was far too soon in coming in Harry's mind, he reluctantly entered the maze with Cedric.
Together they walked until they came to the first fork.
Harry held out his hand, "Good luck. I'm just going to wander aimlessly a bit until you, Fleur or Viktor get the cup. As a fellow Hogwarts' student I hope you win."
Cedric stared at him, "You're serious? You don't want to win?"
Harry shook his head, "I don't know why I'm in this bloody tournament but it's not fair to you. You're Hogwarts' Champion, I'm champion of nothing. I just happen to be a Hogwarts student."
Cedric nodded his head but he didn't seem to understand it.
Harry was interested in getting from the entrance and staying as far away the centre of the maze where the Triwizard cup would be.
Cedric took the Left fork.
Leaving Harry to choose right, which he did with a sigh.
At least when he was flying as Seeker he was never truly alone. He had his team at his back, Fred and George trying to keep Bludgers off his back, when his Nimbus tried to kill him it was Fred and George who tried to save him. Now he was trapped in a maze filled with dangerous spells and magical creatures.
Harry sighed pulling out his invisibility cloak, he'd stay under here until he was sure one of the other Champions had procured the cup."
Far too soon the whistle blew again and Harry knew Viktor had entered the maze.
Viktor passed him having chosen the right fork.
Harry liked the Bulgarian Seeker; he was talented, clumsy and shy. Too bad for him, Hermione who was immensely flattered by the Durmstrang Champion's affection wasn't really interested.
He was sure it was less then fifteen more minutes before the whistle blew for the last time to announce a champion, this time Fleur Delacour entering the maze.
Harry sighed, one of them better hurry up and find the Triwizard cup. He was bored.
Harry was so bored he was about to doze off when he heard a scream, a woman's scream. His heartbeat quickened, Fleur! He took off running.
The hadn't see her come his direction so no doubt she'd taken the left fork like Cedric. He pulled out his wand, muttering, "Point me Fleur Delacour!" his wand twitched and then settled on a direction. He consulted his wand a few times but finally stumbled upon her body. He felt a rush of cold fear. This was his fault! He said he wouldn't participate and now Fleur had been attacked. There was a singed potion of shrubbery; well actually it was frozen. Fleur, a Veela who was hyper sensitive to cold due to their affinity to birds was frozen.
Harry silently cursed, he leaned over to touch Fleur's wand, using it to shoot red sparks. He had a feeling Viktor was next. He waited to be sure that help for Fleur was coming, before tugging his cloak tighter to himself and running. He held out his wand, "Point me Viktor Krum." He let his wand guide him; he hated being manipulated like this. He was not playing. He was just looking out for the Real Champions.
Finally he founded Viktor, but not before he noticed the Durmstrang Champion was stalking Cedric. Oh Hell! This was bad…
Viktor said woodenly, "Cru…"
That was it, that spell was illegal! Harry snapped, "Petrifectus Totalus."
Viktor snapped up straight, stiff as a board, his skin taking an icy look.
Harry conjured absently a bit of parchment and a pen he wrote, "I think Viktor's been imperioed. He used a blood tied sticking charm to attach it to Viktor's shirt. To protect Viktor from getting on the wrong side of the Ministry, Harry used the Durmstrang teen's wand to set off red sparks. The last thing Durmstrang needed was for a wand to be found with the echo of an Unforgivable. He had paid attention when his wand had been proven to cast the Dark Mark into the sky during the Riot at the Quidditch World Cup.
Viktor was no longer a danger to himself or others when Harry disappeared into the shadows.
Cedric lifted himself off the ground, "Who is there?" he dusted off his yellow trousers and looked around. He spotted Viktor. "Now I know someone's there."
Harry sighed, "Someone's mad at me for not participating. They already took out Fleur. They froze her. I was worried about you and Viktor. Thank Merlin I showed up when I did."" He shivered. "It might have been bad…"
Cedric blinked, "Potter?"
Harry uncovered his head, "Yes. Now I'm going to stick around to make sure you win. This is ridiculous!" his face breaking into a severe frown, "Even my father would be appalled. There is cheating and there is sabotage. This is sabotage!"
Cedric rubbed his neck in thought, "You're serious about not winning?
Harry nodded, his eyes blazing with fury and determination, "Yes! I never had any intention of winning. This Tournament has ruined my life or at least showed me what a sham it was. I had what I thought was a solid friendship proved to be no such thing. I had my Housemate's turn against me. I had persons I thought knew me better and believe me capable of cheating. A pity for me to had trusted any of them. I should have learned that trust is earned not freely given. Because of this stupid Tournament I was nearly friendless and alone. No one supported me until the first task was complete. Then my House was oh so proud to have a champion." He scoffed, "they only want me because 'I'm Harry Potter, the defeater of the Great He Who Must Not Be Named'. All stuff and nonsense if you ask me. All I wanted was to have true friends, to attend a good school, graduate, fall in love and have a family. Now I find I have to second guess my relationships with every one." With his 'fame' how could he trust anyone to want him for himself? He'd forever be the Potter s' son, the Hero of Gryffindor, the Golden Boy and the Triwizard Champion. Never 'Just Harry'. Even Just Harry would be preferable to the Freak. He closed his eyes, as soon as he was seventeen he'd move out.
"I should…continue looking for the Cup before everyone gets bored."
Harry wrapped the cloak more firmly to hide himself, "I'll follow."
They thought all was going fine until a Blast-end Skwert started racing towards them.
Cedric yelped, "Helga's Cup!"
Harry yelled, "Bombarda!" the ground in front of the stupid beast of Hagrid's exploding and throwing it back. "Where to next?"
They followed the guidance of Cedric's wand until they came face to face with a creature that could be none other then a sphinx.
Cedric stopped to catch hiss breath before bowing, "Any chance you could move aside?"
The regal lion bodied creature with a woman's head shook his ebony tresses, "No. Fastest way to destination is past me"
Cedric sighed, "Very well."
"What creature walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?"
Cedric shook his head, "That is an old one and I don't need to be a Ravenclaw to know it. The answer is man, who crawls on all four as a babe, walks on two legs as an adult and in the twilight of life uses a cane."
The sphinx moved aside just enough to let Cedric through.
Harry tried to pass.
The sphinx sniffed, moving to block the path once more, "No use. I can smell you."
"Gryffindor's staff!" Harry growled, "He could be in danger!"
"Solve my riddle and I shall let you pass."
Harry rolled his eyes, "Fine!"
The sphinx began,
"First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?"
Harry sighed mulling it over, before he gaped at her. "Could I have it again… more slowly?" he asked tentatively.
She blinked at him, smiled, and repeated the poem.
"All the clues add up to a creature I wouldn't want to kiss?" Harry asked.
She merely smiled her mysterious smile.
Harry took that for a 'yes.' Harry cast his mind around. There were plenty of animals he wouldn't want to kiss; his first thought was a Nemean Lion or a Basilisk, but something told him that neither were the answer. He'd have to try and work out the clues…
"A person in disguise," Harry muttered, staring at her, "who lies…no… that'd be an impostor."
The sphinx raised an eyebrow.
Harry said shortly, "No, that's not my guess! A spy?" he was sure that was part of the answer. "I'll come back to that… " He muttered to himself before fixing his emerald eyes on the sphinx, "Could you give me the next clue again, please?"
She repeated the next lines of the poem.
"'The last thing to mend,'" Harry repeated.
She gave him the last four lines.
"'The sound often heard during the search for a hard-to-find word,'" said Harry. "Er… of course it's ' er'… because er's a sound!"
The sphinx smiled at him.
"Spy… er… spy… er…" said Harry, thinking hard. "A creature I wouldn't want to kiss…" then it hit him and he smacked his forehead in annoyance at his slowness, "A spider!"
The sphinx smiled more broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for him to pass.
"Thanks!" said Harry, hurrying to catch up with Cedric.
His wand was telling him he was bang on course; as long as he didn't meet anything too horrible, he might have a chance…
Harry broke into a run. He had a choice of paths up ahead. "Point Me Cedric Diggory!" he whispered again to his wand, and it spun around and pointed him to the right-hand one. He dashed up this one and saw light ahead.
The Triwizard Cup was gleaming on a plinth a hundred yards away. Suddenly a dark figure hurtled along the path in front of him.
Then Harry saw something immense clamouring over a hedge to his left, then moving quickly along a path that intersected with his own; it was moving so fast Cedric was about to run into it, and Cedric, his eyes on the cup, had not seen it.
"Cedric!" Harry bellowed. "On your left!"
Cedric looked around just in time to hurl himself past the thing and avoid colliding with it, but in his haste, he tripped. Harry saw Cedric's wand fly out of his hand as a gigantic spider stepped into the path and began to bear down upon Cedric.
"Arania Exumai." Harry yelled; the spell hit the spider's gigantic, hairy black body and blasted it back.
"Harry!" he heard Cedric shouting. "You all right?"
"Fine," Harry called back; he had been far enough away to not be in danger.
Cedric was standing feet from the Triwizard Cup, which was gleaming behind him.
"Take it, then," Harry panted to Cedric. "Go on, take it. You're there."
Cedric stared at it.
Harry could see the desire to bring glory to his House in his face, "Just take it. You know I don't want it."
Cedric chewed on his lip, "You sure? If we share it it's still a Hogwarts' victory."
Harry snapped, "I told you I don't want it." He gave the older boy a shove but still held a bit of Cedric's yellow and black Hufflepuff jersey in his grasp, "It's your glory. You signed up for this."
"You saved me from Viktor's Cruciatus and the Acromantula." Cedric protested.
"To keep you in the Tournament so I don't have to win. Someone's eliminating Champions so I don't have a choice but to claim the Cup. I don't want it." Harry said firmly.
Cedric nodded slowly, "I'll take it."
Harry let out a sigh of relief but for some odd reason didn't let go of Cedric's jersey.
Cedric's hand reached out and grasped the nearest handle of the large gold Triwizard Cup.
Instantly, Harry felt a jerk somewhere behind his navel. His feet had left the ground. He could not unclench the hand holding Cedric's jersey; it was pulling him onward in a howl of wind and swirling colour, Cedric was dragging him along. Harry freaked, a portkey?
Severus' Dark Art's ward had sounded but it was muffled. Severus had run the length of the Maze to find red sparks waiting for him. There lay Durmstrang champion Viktor Krum, Petrified. He recognized the magical signature of the caster as Potter. He ended the spell to find Krum bore traces of two Unforgivables. There were faint traces of Potter's magic on Krum's wand. Severus realized that Potter was suspicious that someone had used Dark Arts on Krum to make him use the same. The area bore the echoes of four persons magic; Potter, Krum, Diggory and an unknown. Potter used Krum's wand to summon help. Krum probably tried to use the Cruciatus on Diggory. Someone obviously used the Imperious on Krum.
He conjured a stretcher and levitated Krum onto it.
Delacour had already been removed from the maze, having been frozen which put the Veela in mortal danger. Beauxbatons' healer was tending to her but her own wand had been used to send up sparks. He escorted Krum to Pomfrey to treat but not before imparting to the Minister that someone had used Dark Arts on a Champion.
Fudge had been appalled and kept looking at Karkaroff fearfully as Pomfrey hover over Krum.
Severus was nervous, something was happening to the Champions. Harry wasn't involved unless he was under the Imperious. Unless…Potter figured out someone was taking out the champions. That meant Potter was trying to protect Diggory then. That is if Potter was serious about refusing to win.
He froze; his tracking charm on Potter blinked and then seemed to weaken. He looked around for Lucius and ran from the maze. He grabbed a fistful of Lucius' robe, "Harry's gone! He's not here."
Lucius stared at him, "What do you mean Potter's not here? He's in the maze."
Severus shook his head; "I put a tracking charm on him. He's not here."
"Then where is he?"
Severus smirked, "You know me. My tracking charm has a homing ability. I can Apparate to his location."
Lucius pulled Severus into his arms, ignoring the others and summoning a house elf. "Take us to Hogsmeade."
Severus' thought before they Apparated was that of course a Hogwarts' Governor would know only House elves could Apparate within Hogwarts' grounds.
A curse just missed them as they Apparated away.
They fell out of the sky….
That was Harry's first thought…
He grabbed his invisibility cloak, pulled Cedric tight to him and wrapped them up in it.
Cedric thrashed, "Get off me Potter."
Harry punched his shoulder hissing, "Shut up! Something's not right about this. If that Cup was supposed to be a portkey then it would have taken us to the Judges." He glanced around through the cloak, "Be quiet. Someone sent us here and I want to know why. Hold onto your wand."
Squinting tensely through the darkness, they watched the figure drawing nearer, walking steadily toward them between the graves. Harry couldn't make out a face, but from the way it was walking and holding its arms, he could tell that it was carrying something. Whoever it was, he was on the tall side, and wearing a hooded cloak pulled up over his head to obscure his face. And - several paces nearer, the gap between them closing all the time - Harry saw that the thing in the person's arms looked like a baby… or was it merely a bundle of robes? He got a sense of evil radiating off the bundle.
Harry' wand wavered slightly and he glanced down at Cedric.
Cedric shot him a quizzical look.
They both turned to watch the approaching figure. It stopped beside a towering marble headstone, only six feet from them.
"He's here…" a hiss came from the bundle, "I can feel him…"
Harry swallowed, he wished someone…anyone would save him…
Harry shivered. Parseltongue…he knew that was Parseltongue…that meant…this was Voldemort…the man who killed his parents.
In the grass came the slither of a snake.
"Is hiding master…can't see…can smell…"
"Cast stunning spells Wormtail."
Harry stiffened, Wormtail? His father's former friend and betrayer? Here? He wanted the man's head on a pedestal. He blamed him for Sirius being on the run, Remus having to quit, being forced to return to the Dursleys…
Methodically but clumsily, stunning spells began to cover the hilltop.
As soon as they were in Hogsmeade Severus glared at the house elf that promptly released them and Apparated silently to the location his tracking charm indicated. Placing them both under a bedazzling charm that made them nigh invisible
Severus recognized the profile as Pettigrew…wasn't he supposed to be dead? He felt and recognized the Dark Lord's magic. Weak but still recognizable…
The person who looked like Pettigrew, who Harry insisted last year, was the real person responsible for Lily's death was casting stunning spells. Most likely to find Harry where was.
Something Severus already knew. He silently cast a spell to hide his and Lucius' magic. He pointed his wand at the bundle, trusting Lucius to deal with Pettigrew. He doubted his temper would prevent him from casting something harmful. He silently cast an Incarcerous on the bundle.
Lucius sighed and likewise cast an Incarcerous on the watery eyes rat of a man who'd followed Potter, Black and Lupin around like a puppy.
The two screamed with anger and surprise.
Severus hurried over to where his tracking charm indicated Harry was. He knelt down located the spot Harry was. He felt around for the invisibility cloak, and then pulled it open to reveal Potter and Diggory. He pulled Harry into his arms and hugged him. "Thank Merlin you're alright. Lily would have had some very choice words for me if I let him touch a hair on your head again."
Harry stared up at his normally stoic or downright disagreeable professor, "When I hoped I would be saved I didn't expect if might be you."
Severus let him go reluctantly and began examining them both for injuries, finding none he let out a sigh of relief. "I put a tracking charm on you and set up a Dark Arts detecting ward before the Third Task began. I knew the moment you left Hogwarts. How did it happen?"
Harry pointed at the Cup, "It was a portkey. Cedric wouldn't take it. I shoved him at it to make my point that I didn't want to win. He grabbed it but I was still holding his jersey when it activated. It must have been a touch-activated portkey. I didn't know they were possible."
Severus nodded, "I see. Let's get you back. We've got Pettigrew now so hopefully it will prove Black innocent. I'm sorry I didn't believe you before. I've had a lot of time to rethink my previous conclusions and found them wanting."
Lucius used a spell to tether both captives to himself before reaching for Severus' hand, "You ready to head back mon cœur? "
Severus shivered but nodded, "Of course mon serpent." He absently stunned the large snake familiar and bound him as well before helping the two Hogwarts' Champions up. "You ready to head back to school about now?"
Harry nodded but Cedric swallowed nervously.
"I'm going to summon the cup, grab on tightly." Severus said before accioing the cup.
Everyone grabbed onto it.
They felt the immediate sensation of a hook in their navel as they were dragged from the edge of the graveyard back to the centre of the maze.
Severus cast a protective charm over the Triwizard Cup and it floated up to trail along beside Cedric. "Let's get out of here before we're attacked.
Cedric exited the maze first with the cup.
There was a green flash then came an angry shout, "for the Dark Lord! Avada Kedavra!"
Harry's scream, "Cedric! NO!" was soon echoed by the crowd.
Severus surged forward to see Moody wielding a wand and wearing a maniacal expression. He hissed, "You rotten bastard!"
"You always were a coward Snape. Taking the easy way out!" the voice was maddened.
Severus couldn't control his magic he was so angry, it exploded out of him.
Moody was flung across pat of the pitch, his wand separated from him.
Severus said in a cold deadly voice, "How could you do that? Murder a boy in cold blood."
Again the laughter, "It's easy when you get used to it. After all," he laughed, "look what I did to the Longbottoms."
That sealed it, Severus knew whom he was facing, "Crouch! It was you all along. Invading my office stealing from my potions cupboard to make Polyjuice Potion. Teaching Unforgivables to minors. Walking the corridors late at night. Spying on persons."
"As if you haven't done the same you traitor."
Severus cast a wandless, nonverbal Incarcerous charm on the former teen wearing Moody's face.
Moody's expression froze when he was captured.
Severus said firmly, "I'm not a traitor. I do what I do to protect the people I love."
Lucius stared at him and then smirked as he exited maze dragging the Dark Lord and Pettigrew. Calling out, "Minister Fudge I think we need to summon Aurors."
Once Crouch was subdued, Severus hurried to kneel besides a shaking white faced Harry. He touched his shoulder, "You're safe now."
Harry looked at him with wild eyes, "Why? Why Cedric? Why not me? He's not much older then me."
"I don't know Harry. I'm just glad I could protect you. Lily was like a sister to me. I'm sorry I treated you so badly. You deserved better from me…" wincing he stood up and lifted Harry though he needed a powerful feather light charm to do it. "Let's get you checked out just in case."
Harry had been saved three times by Snape, twice tonight and despite his former treatment he felt himself curling up in his professor's arms.
With Cedric's murder, his life would never be the same…
What do you think? Outstanding? Exceeds Expectations? Acceptable? Poor? Dreadful? Troll?