Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Fate's Whipping Boy
Chapter 1: Life has it out for me
I stared at the Headmaster mid clap and slowly blinked my eyes in shock. "Come up here Harry," he cajoled and I slowly rose out of my seat. Almost immediately the whispers began again. Reaching the platform I can already hear the whisper rise into loud shouts of anger filled with accusations. How did he do it? He cheated! Fucking Potter! How could you do this? I hate you!
"Harry my boy go into the room with the other champions," Dumbledore directs me softly and I nod jerkily following Professor McGonagall. Entering I see all three previously named champions glance up. The blond seated looks at me curiously. I glance and see Cedric who nods at me absently and recognize Krum the Seeker who was champion for Durmstang. Giving both a rather stiff smile I knot my fingers together.
"'Ou are 'ere wit' a message?" The Beauxbatons' champion said with her slight french lisp. I shook my head holding back the fear swelling in my body. Wasn't there one bloody damn year where I didn't get dragged into absolute chaos dragging me towards my death?
"He is our fourth champion." Professor McGonagall intoned. They all stared at me. A look of shock crosses all their faces briefly. The blond raises to her feet.
"Vat exactly do 'ou mean by zat? There should be no fourth champion." She says her face starting to turn dark.
"Exactly, Potter, Harry, how did your name get chosen?" Cedric asks surprised and I glance at him the fear fighting to the front of my expression.
"I have no idea." I admit softly.
"Zen vy are 'ou participating?" The French girl hisses. I glare at her and say hotly.
"But you are Harry my boy, you are." Comes Dumbledore's sad but stern voice. I turn and meet his gaze.
"I can't." I say, "I.. I'm not of age."
"The tournament traditionally allowed those of thirteen and older to participate, something we changed in modern times by putting a charm that prevented students from crossing a line to add their names in if they were younger than seventeen. So it didn't reject your admission although you are only fourteen. Harry.. Answer me honestly did you put your name in?" Dumbledore says softly and I jerk back feeling as though I've been slapped in the face. I huddle into my robes.
"I didn't, I promise you I didn't. I was looking forward to watching the tournament and maybe meeting a few of the exchange students..." I whisper shaking as the tremors I'd been surprising come surging to the forefront.
"So you did not get an older student to submit your name?" Professor McGonagall says sternly. I look at her wide eyed.
"I would never." I said, "I might not always follow the rules to a tee Professor, and I've spent more than one night out after curfew but signing up for a contest that kills? I hope I'm not that foolish in your eyes." I feel tears starting to fill my eyes. "You have to get me out of this professors...I don't want anything to do with it." I feel Dumbledore's hands settle onto my shoulders and he backs me into a seat.
"I'm sorry Harry, but really, there's nothing we can do." Is all he says before an ensuing argument about how fair it was to have two champions from one school. Curling into a ball I bury my face against my knees. Fate was an unfair bitch and made a mockery of my life ever damn second of the day.
I stare at the small ball curled up at the end of the chaise. That tiny thing was going to compete? That was absolutely ridiculous! Tuning out the headmasters and headmistress argument over how it was fair and what they were doing now I edge closer to the scrap of youth silently shaking. I sink, albeit awkwardly, onto the seat next to him. Nervously I reach out and touch his shoulder, which causes him to flinch until he realizes I'm merely rubbing and squeezing in an attempt to offer comfort. He peeks up at me and I'm struck by just how green they are. They're like deep mountain lakes. Deep, clear, and while at times as cold as the glaciers they drain from, are unmistakeably pure.
"Are you okay?" I say my accent and rather lose grasp on the language causing the words to come out rather thickly and he blinks a few times before scrubbing at his face with the edge of his robes.
"Just shocked," he glances at me nervously, "do... do you also think I want to do this?"
"Not really." I mutter and he offers me a shaky grin.
"Thank God, I thought I was the only one." He says softly.
"Vhy? I tink your friends vill understand yes? Dat you do not wish this?" I ask curiously. He sighs and his thin legs release from their balled up position.
"Probably not. At least Ron won't. God he'll probably see it as another way of me 'getting all the attention.'"
"You get attention?" I ask surprised.
"I'm the Boy Who Lived." He says dryly and I feel my eyes widen.
"Really?" I study the boy more closely and he smirks at me and I blush.
"Hard to believe eh? Don't blame you. Didn't know about it myself before I was eleven."
"Veely?" "What?" We both hear the other champions say and we glance up at them. I scowl at them slightly, annoyed at being interrupted but both are focused on the tiny thing next to me.
"'Ow did 'ou not know? Iz it not fact in 'our 'ouse'old?" The pretty french girl asks.
"My guardians," a look of anger flashes through his eyes that causes my eyebrow to raise, that was a lot of venom for a rather laid back looking fourteen year old, "are Muggles who hate the magical world. I wasn't even properly informed of the true manner of my parent's deaths til I learned I was a wizard, I was always told I by them that I was merely a-" He cuts off biting his lip. I share a look with the other champions, Delacour seems to be regretting her earlier out burst and the other boy seems to be shifting sides. He was able to ask what neither foreign student
"You were what Harry?" The Hogwarts Champion asks softly. He blinks at us and was about to say something before his expression suddenly shutters closed and wary.
"Professor Dumbledore!" He says in a quiet voice. We all look to see the elderly man approach and while I hold him in great esteem for saving the world and defeating my grandfather's murderer I was rather suspicious by the look he had in his eyes. The other professors and head of the schools are coming closer looking unhappy about whatever they discussed. "Have you figured out a way to get me out of this?" He asks softly pushing up to his feet. I study the narrow frame and frown internally. He's much too small and thin for his age. It might be genetic... But I was starting to suspect it wasn't.
"I'm sorry Harry, it's out of my hands, and you will have to participate if you want to be free of it." The headmaster says trying to sound reassuring and in control when he obviously isn't. The boy flinches and he straightens.
"Yes Professor, things concerning me are often, as you put it, out of your hands." He says in cold clipped tones. The rest of the room goes silent and we all collectively watch him pull himself together. "Well, I do believe I'm done for the night. I need to get to my things before they're thrown from Gryffindor tower, or worse yet tampered with. I do believe I'll be sleeping somewhere no one can find me tonight." He walks past us all heading to the door.
"Harry, please do not be so hasty," the Headmaster says, "I'm sure that all will be well." The boy's eyes cuts around and he turns in the doorway and some perceivable power grows out from him.
"Professor, in all my years in the wizarding world, I have learned things hardly go well this soon. Frankly I'll probably be half dead before they even attempt to be right once more. So if you'll excuse me I'll be getting in contact with a house elf to get my things placed in a surprisingly safe, and hidden place." He says simply, coldly.
"And where is that my boy?" The headmaster asks almost desperately. I watch Dumbledore watch the Boy Who Lived slip away, right through his clutches.
"In a place only a Slytherin would love." He says simply, then steps and back and vanishes down the hall. A faint disjointed sentence comes back causing the man to pale even further, "And after this I'm definitely not your boy..." We all sit or stand there rather struck dumb before I start chuckling.
"Vell..." I drawl slowly, catching the attention of everyone else, "you do know how to make us veel velcomed. Sending vones student to his death inspires much convodence, as you would say in your country I do belieff." The whole Hogwarts staff blanches.
"Imbeciles." I hear Delacour mutter softly to me and I can't help but nod in agreement.
Thank God Ron and the other boys weren't there when I arrived in the dorm. I didn't know where they were and I mostly didn't care. To be honest out of all of them the only one I wanted to see was Neville. Neville was probably the one I felt most at ease around even though Ron had been my best friend. Organizing my trunk I settle down to write him a quick note.
"Harry?" I hear a soft voice say from behind me and I glance around to see Hermione standing there, her eyes wide and sad. "Are you going somewhere?" She asks sadly and I smile back at her just as sadly.
"I can't stay here 'Mione. You know how they'll react. Lord people saying I was the Heir of Slytherin was bad, but this... This is going to be much, much worse. I don't think anyone will be coming around any time soon." I say after standing and going to her in the doorway. She reaches out and hugs me hard.
"I don't want you to go though..." She says sobbing into my robes. I wrap an arm around her and press my lips against her bushy hair.
"I know, I know, I'm sorry. But I'll still be on campus and in the school. It wouldn't do to have you ostracized either," I murmur into her hair softly.
"It wouldn't be anything new, the only one I really hang out with is you and Ron, maybe Neville, but..." She draws a shaky breath before stepping back, "I don't much like Ron right now." The look on her face is dark and I slowly nod realizing my fears have come true.
"He's claiming I'm doing it for attention right?" I say almost stiffly, running my hands through my hair. It's gotten longer, and annoys me vastly with how wispy and uncontrollable it still is. Longer should have meant better to control, but it was just as annoying, if not more so.
"Yes!" She explodes, "Ron keeps saying how you always enjoy the attention, that even if you didn't volunteer you're going to enjoy it! That it's just another way for you to be famous! He hasn't even CONSIDERED that you might DIE. I hate him so much right now!" She says scrubbing at tears that fill up her eyes.
"Shhs, shhs, s'kay 'Mione, s'kay. I'm not going to die. I've already gotten out of such things four time, eh?" I say hugging her once more. "'Mione will you feel better if I tell you where I'm staying?" She nods into my shoulder, and I sigh before casting a few privacy wards. Glancing around to make sure no one can overhear or read my lips I place my mouth directly next to her left ear.
"The Chamber," I whispers almost mutely. She stiffens and then relaxes. We hug each other for another few moments before I step back and pet her hair some more. She smiles sadly at me and scrubs at her face.
"I wish I could come with you." She says brokenly and I smile.
"I wish you could too, but I'm the only one who can enter and exit by myself. It'd be horrible if you need a book and you couldn't go to get it." I say teasingly causing her to giggle. I step back into the room and snag Neville's note. Pressing it into her hands I ask, "Give this to Neville please?" She nods and tucks it into her robe. I smile at her and she helps me finish packing, prattling on about some obscure book she's recently read covering charms and I laugh at how normal this all is. I glance at her one last time before kissing her forehead. "Goodnight, I'll see you at breakfast, 'kay?" I say quietly and she nods and hugs me hard around the neck. I feel her hot tears against my skin and squeeze her tightly.
God, life just sucked so damn much some days and it just didn't seem to want to get better.