The next several months flew by in a whirlwind. Tom had become even more paranoid and took to sending Harrison boxes stuffed with books on a weekly basis. Harrison was glad that he already knew all of the third year material, or he would've ended up failing all of his classes since he had no time to study. Thankfully, Luna hadn't had anymore dreams that blurred the lines between vision and reality. Although in the back of his mind, Harrison was waiting for the day that it would. All of this had occupied Harrison's mind so much that he barely realized when the week of exams finally arrived.
Harrison listened to his classmates compare results as they walked out of their Transfiguration exam. Harrison had found it to be hilariously easy, but it would seem as if not everyone felt that way.
"I can't believe we had to turn a teapot into a tortoise," Sally-Anne Perks complained.
"Were the tortoises supposed to breathe steam?" Michael Corner asked.
"I found the exam to be quite easy," Leo said with a sidelong glance at Ernie Macmillan.
"Of course, you did," Ernie muttered. His face turning red.
The rest of Harrison's exams went by quickly, and he soon found himself walking down the corridor of the Hogwarts Express. He looked down when he felt Nani poke her head out of his sleeve, and he bumped into someone.
"I'm—" Harrison's voice died in his throat. His emerald eyes glinted as Ron's chest swelled up.
"Watch where you're going Riddle," Ron snapped.
"Believe me, Weasley," Harrison sneered. "The last person in the world I would want to touch in any way is you."
"I don't blame you," Draco drawled from behind Harrison. "I don't like filth touching me either. The house elves have such a hard time getting the grime off."
Ron opened his mouth, no doubt to say something snarky, when Dean grabbed his elbow. Harrison's eyes narrowed as Ron clamped his mouth shut. He hadn't given it much thought, but lately whenever Ron seemed to want to say or do something stupid, Dean would in some small way stop him from going overboard.
"We have to go Ron," Dean said tightly. "Seamus is waiting for us in our compartment."
"Yeah," Ron muttered. "Let's go."
Harrison watched as the two Gryffindor's walked away.
"What in Slytherin's name was that all about?" Draco asked. "Since when can the weasel control his infamous temper?"
"I'm not sure," Harrison said. "But have you noticed that those two, as well as Finnigan, haven't been antagonizing us much lately. Not since Umbridge gave them that large punishment in the beginning of the fall term? Their verbal attacks have dwindled down, and they haven't outright physically attacked us since."
"They've probably wizened up," Draco said. "They know they aren't a match for us."
"I don't think that's it," Harrison murmured. "I've been consumed with studying all of the books my father sent, and I haven't given it much thought. But they're up to something, and I have the feeling that we'll be finding out soon what it is."
"Are you sure you don't want anything else, dear?" Molly asked kindly.
"I'm ok, Molly," Tonks said. "I still have some coffee left. Thank you."
It had been months since her ordeal, but Tonks had yet to return to her former giddy self. She wasn't as jittery and depressed as she had been, and she no longer jumped five feet into the air when someone hugged her. Yet she was still paranoid that there was a Death Eater lurking behind every corner.
Tonks looked down into her mug at the creamer that floated in her coffee. Tonks hated coffee, but ever since her kidnapping and subsequent torture she had drank it like a dehydrated man would drink water. Coffee kept her awake, and Tonks was perpetually obsessed with staying awake. Whenever she closed her eyes she could feel Rabastan forcing his way inside of her, and his hands touching her in places that she couldn't bare to think about. And she couldn't allow her mind go blank, because she would hear Rabastan's panting, and the sound of his thighs slapping against hers. The images and sounds, although only echoes, were enough to make her want to vomit. In fact, she had woken from many a restless night only to throw up all over her bed.
Tonks gripped the handle of the chipped red mug more tightly, as she tried to quell her disturbed thoughts. She needed to project confidence, so that Molly would think she was fine. It had taken months, but she had finally convinced her boss to let her go back to work. She had wanted to go back immediately, but Kingsley wouldn't budge anymore than letting her go back on the first of July. That was in less than a month, and she knew that if Molly didn't think she was ready she would tell Kingsley, and Tonks wouldn't be able to go back.
"Have you been sleeping better?" Molly asked tentatively.
It was odd for Tonks to see Molly be anything but intrusive, but ever since Tonks had returned Molly had been nothing but thoughtful and considerate. Molly hadn't asked any questions about what had happened while she was in captivity, and for that Tonks was grateful.
"Loads," Tonks said. She forced a smile onto her pale face. "I haven't woken up in the middle of the night for a few weeks." It was a complete lie, but Molly seemed to buy it.
"Wonderful, dear," Molly said sincerely. "Wonderful." Tonks forced herself to hold onto her smile for a moment longer before it fell. Molly eyed her with concern before she gave Tonks a knowing grin. "I hear that you're attending the World Cup with Sirius."
Tonks felt a real smile break out onto her face. Sirius had been solid support since his name had been cleared. He had wasted no time in asking Tonks to meet up. She didn't know why, but whenever she was around her cousin, she felt more like her old self than usual. She knew that it was because Sirius had also gone through something traumatic as well, although even she thought that twelve years in Azkaban was worse than what she had gone through. Still, it was nice having someone to be around that didn't stare at her with pity.
"Sirius was given two tickets to the match," Tonks smiled brightly. Quidditch was one of her passions.
"I'm sure the two of you will have a great time," Molly said.
"I hope so," Tonks said quietly.
Tonks looked down into her coffee, and for a moment she thought that the cold creamer swirling in the blackness took on the form of a skull.
Harrison was excited to attend the Quidditch World cup, but as he pushed past wide eyed children while walking up the purple carpeted stadium steps, his mind was on everything but quidditch. He knew that something big was happening tonight, and he was anxious to see everything play out.
Finally, Harrison, Draco, Leo, Blaise, Theo, and Lucius reached the top of the stadium steps and found themselves in a small box, set at the highest point of the stadium and situated exactly halfway between the golden goal posts. About twenty purple and gold chairs stood in two rows. The box was empty besides Minister Fudge and the Bulgarian Minister of Magic, Oblansk. Oblansk was a short and stocky man, with grey eyes and thick black eyebrows.
"Ah, Lucius!" Fudge said jovially.
Lucius exchanged pleasant greetings with the Minister, as did the children. Then Fudge turned towards Oblansk and puffed out his chest like a peacock looking to show off for his mate.
"Allow me to introduce you to Minister Oblansk," Fudge said. "He's the Bulgarian Minister of Magic, and he can't understand a word of what I'm saying anyway, so never mind." Fudge waved his hand and laughed boisterously.
Harrison looked at Oblansk and smiled. "Hello Minister, it's a pleasure to see you again." He spoke in fluent Bulgarian. Fudge looked flabbergasted.
"Young Lord," Oblansk said. "It is my pleasure to once again have the honor of your presence."
A smile played on Harrison's lips, and he inclined his head. "You didn't tell Fudge that you spoke English?"
"He was under the assumption that I didn't speak English," Oblansk said. "I saw no reason to prove to him otherwise. Besides, I enjoy watching him look the fool."
Harrison laughed as Fudge continued to look at him bemused.
Harrison switched back to English and looked at Fudge. "Minister Oblansk was just informing me of how much he loves the setup for the World Cup." Fudge perked up at the false praise.
Loud pounding sounded on the staircase and everyone turned in time to see several red heads enter the top box. Harrison watched as an amazed looking Ron walked in behind his father and followed by Percy, Fred, George, Ginny, Dean and Seamus. Harrison and his friends knew that most of the Weasley's and Ron's friends were coming, courtesy of Fred and George, but his friends still sneered in their direction. Harrison shot them all a side long glance and their faces went blank before anyone else noticed.
Ron stopped short when he caught site of the Slytherins and his mouth twisted. Dean and Seamus both wore similar expressions, but none of them said anything. Ginny had stopped a foot behind her brother and was staring at Blaise, as a faint blush began to creep onto her cheeks. While the twins and Percy stood off to the side. Arthur stopped in front of the minister and Lucius eyed him coldly, taking in Arthur's shabby robes. Lucius' lips curled in disgust.
"Good lord Arthur," Lucius said loudly. "What did you have to sell to get seats in the top box? Surely your house wouldn't have fetched this much?"
Fudge who either hadn't been listening or just didn't care smiled. "Hello, Arthur. Lucius here has just given a very generous contribution to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. He's here as my guest."
Arthur gave the minister a strained smile. "How nice."
The box descended into silence, and Harrison and his friends brushed passed Ron and his friends and took seats in the front row along with Lucius. The twins and Percy took the last three empty seats in the front row. Ron muttered something under his breath and he and his friends took seats in the second row behind the twins and Percy.
Ludo Bagman, a retired quidditch player, wearing bright yellow robes walked into the box. Harrison blocked the man's loud bombastic talk out of his head. He looked over at the huge blackboard across from him at the words that formed, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans — A Risk With Every Mouthful!, and suddenly it switched to Bulgaria: 0, Ireland: 0.
"Sonorous!" Ludo said and then his loud voice echoed out over the stadium. "Ladies and gentleman….welcome! Welcome to the final of the four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup!" The Spectators screamed and clapped. Thousands of flags waved, adding their discorded national anthem to the racket. "And now, without further ado, allow me to introduce….the Bulgarian National Team Mascots!"
The right-hand side of the stands, which was a solid block of scarlet, roared its approval.
"I wonder what they brought," Arthur asked from behind Harrison. "Ah! Veela!"
A hundred of the most beautiful woman Harrison had ever seen came gliding onto the field. Their skin shone as brightly as the moon, and their white gold hair fanned out behind them as if they were standing in front of a fan. Music began and the veela started to dance. Harrison used his occlumency to stop himself from turning into a pile of goo. They really were beautiful, he thought, as he watched their hips swing from side to side.
"No, don't!" Arthur yelled
Harrison looked to the right and saw that Ron was walking towards the edge of the box. His eyes glazed over, and his face slack. Dean and Seamus were standing behind him, near identical looks on their faces.
"Weak-willed idiots," Leo muttered under his breath.
Harrison agreed. He knew that most men reacted to veela, and the two dozen on the field would have an extremely strong allure, but he still thought that the three boys looked like fools. Not for the first time, Harrison was glad that he could control his mind.
The music stopped. The three Gryffindors blinked and when they realized where they were they all looked embarrassed and quickly went back to their seats. Fred and George were laughing, and Arthur was whispering at them to stop. Harrison could hear Ron explaining to Dean what veela were and he saw understanding dawn on his face.
Angry yells had filled the stadium. The men in the crowd didn't want the veela to go away.
"And now," Ludo yelled over the loud roar, "kindly put your wands in the air….for the Irish National Team Mascot!"
Next moment, what seemed to be a great green and gold comet came zooming into the stadium. It did one circuit of the stadium then split into two smaller comets, each hurtling towards the goal posts. A rainbow arched suddenly across the field, connecting the two balls of light. The crowed oohed and aahed, as though at a fireworks display. Now the rainbow faded and the balls of light reunited and merged; they had formed a great shimmering shamrock, which rose up into the sky and began to soar over the stands. Something like golden rain began to fall from it —
"Excellent!" yelled Ron as the shamrock soared over them, and heavy gold coins rained from it, bouncing off their heads and seats.
"Leprechauns!" Seamus yelled.
There was tumultuous applause and people began fighting over the coins. Harrison sneered at their stupidity. As if the leprechauns would throw actual gold.
The great shamrock dissolved, the leprechauns drifted down onto the field on the opposite side from the veela, and settled themselves crosslegged to watch the match.
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, kindly welcome the Bulgarian National Quidditch team!" Bagman yelled. "I give you Dimitrov!" A scarlet-clad figure on a broomstick, moving so fast it was blurred, shot out onto the field from an entrance far below, to wild applause from the Bulgarian supporters. "Ivanova! Zograf! Levski! Vulchanov! Volvok! Aaaaaaaand Krum!"
"That's him! That's him!" Ron yelled.
Harrison looked to his right and saw Fred and George sending Ludo furtive glances. He narrowed his eyes, but was pulled away when the screaming rose to new heights.
Viktor Krum flew onto the field clad in scarlet like his teammates. Viktor was tall and thin, but you could see muscles underneath his robes. He had defined cheekbones, a curved nose, and thick black eyebrows. He looked several years older than his seventeen years.
"And now, please greet the Irish National Quidditch Team!" yelled Bagman. "Presenting Connolly! Ryan! Troy! Mullet! Moran! Aaaaaaaaaand Lynch!" Seven green blurs swept onto the field. "And here, all the way from Egypt, our referee, acclaimed Chairwizard of the International Association of Quidditch, Hassan Mostafa!"
A small and skinny wizard, completely bald, wearing robes of pure gold, strode out onto the field. A silver whistle was protruding from beneath his bushy mustache. He was carrying a broomstick in one hand and he carried a crate under his other arm. He mounted his broomstick, and kicked open the crate. Four balls burst out: the scarlet quaffle, two black bludgers, and a tiny golden snitch. With a sharp blast on his whistle, Hassan shot into the air after the balls. Then the game began.
After what seemed like mere minutes later, but was in reality closer to three hours, Hassan blew his whistle and Bagman shouted, "Ireland wins!"
Thunderous applause broke out, so loud that it was almost deafening. Harrison joined the crowd in cheering, and even Lucius clapped his hands. It had been an excellent match.
"Vell, ve fought bravely," Oblansk said gloomily.
"You can speak English!" Fudge yelled appalled. Harrison bit his tongue to refrain from laughing. "And you've been letting me mime everything all day!"
"I didn't want to disappoint you," Oblansk shrugged.
Fudge opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water.
"And as the Irish team performs a lap of honor, flanked by their mascots, the Quidditch World Cup itself is brought into the top box!" Bagman yelled.
Harrison squinted against the harsh light as the top box was illuminated, so that everyone in the stands could see inside the box.
"Let's have a hand for the gallant losers!" Bagman yelled.
Up the stairs and into the box came the seven defeated Bulgarian players. The crowd applauded politely. Harrison could see thousands and thousands of Omniocular lenses flashing and winking in their direction. One by one, Bagman called out all of their names and each player shook the hand of their minister followed by Fudge's.
Ron was staring wide eyed at Viktor, a small Krum figurine was clutched in his hand. Harrison smirked, this was going to be fun.
Viktor turned away from Fudge and his eyes locked on Harrison. A large grin broke out on his sweaty face.
"Harrison!" Viktor's voice boomed. "How are you old friend?"
Viktor walked over to Harrison and gave him a hug. Harrison could see Ron's face behind Krum's shoulder, and he didn't think he had ever seen a more hilarious site. Ron's face had gone slack jawed and pale, but slowly a red blush was crawling up his neck. Dean was staring at them in shock, and Seamus was blinking as if he were an owl.
"I'm doing well, old friend," Harrison said loudly, putting emphasis on friend. "That was a great game you played."
"I vouldn't say great," Viktor said. His words slightly accented.
Ron's mouth continued to open and close, as Harrison and his friends chatted with Viktor. The red head and his friends were so focused on staring at the group, that they didn't even notice when the Irish National Quidditch Team ran into the top box.
"Get up! Ron, get up!"
Ron sat up quickly and bumped his head on the bunkbed above him.
"Wassthematter?" Ron slurred, as he tried to blink away the tiredness of his eyes.
Ron could hear loud noises coming from outside the tent. He could hear screams, and the sound of people running. He rolled out of the bed, hitting his elbow hard on the ground. He winced, and reached for his clothes that he had thrown under his bed.
Arthur, who had pulled on his jeans over his pajamas, said, "No time, Ron! You boys, grab your jackets now and get outside! Quickly, now!"
Ron did as he was told, and grabbed his jacket. He followed Seamus and Dean out of the tent, and came to an abrupt halt. By the light of the few fires that were still burning, he could see people running away into the woods, fleeing figures that Ron could barely make out in the distance. The figures were emitting odd flashes of light and noises like gunfire. Loud jeering, drunken yells, and roars of laughter were drifting towards them; then came a burst of strong green light, which illuminated the scene.
Dozens of wizards, tightly packed, and wearing long black robes and bone white masks were walking towards them. Ron paled as he realized that they were Death Eaters. A loud scream pierced the air and he looked above their heads to see four struggling figures, floating above them in midair. It was as though the Death Eaters were puppeteers, and the people above them were marionettes operated by invisible strings that rose from their wands into the air. Two of the figures were very small.
More Death Eaters popped into the field. Tents crumpled and fell, and the screaming grew tenfold. Tents caught on fire, and people fell to the ground. Ron watched in disgust as one of the figures floating in the air was flipped upside down and her dress went flying above her head, revealing white underwear. She struggled to cover herself up and the Death Eaters laughed.
"That's sick," Dean muttered. "That's really sick."
"Listen to me," Arthur said quickly. "Percy come with me. The rest of you, run into the woods! Stay out of site."
Percy pulled out his wand, and looked at the twins. Then Percy and Arthur ran towards the Death Eaters.
"We need to go!" Dean yelled. "Come on!"
Ron looked at his father and Percy, then he looked at the twins, grabbed Ginny's hand and ran after Seamus and Dean. Ron forced himself to run faster as the woods neared. It seemed like an eternity passed before they reached the woods. Ron stumbled over a fallen branch, and caught himself by grabbing onto a low tree branch. He began breathing hard, and dry heaving.
"Where's Ginny?" Fred asked.
"What?" Ron asked, still panting.
"Ginny," Fred said forcefully. "You had her hand. Where is she?"
Ron looked up, his eyes going wide, as he turned around and around. Ron swallowed hard. He hadn't even noticed that he was no longer holding Ginny's hand. He had been so worried about getting into the forest, that he wasn't thinking about anything else.
"Ginny!" Ron yelled. "Ginny!" His voice was becoming more and more panicked.
The twins, Dean, and Seamus joined in calling her name, but no answering voice came.
The darkness was broken up by flashes of light. Spells flew through the air like owls delivering the morning post. Screams of pain, so horrifying they made you want to claw your ears out echoed around the field. The scent of death hung in the air, and blood flowed like a river down a set of old rickety steps that led up to a ticket booth. And Bellatrix loved everything about it.
Bellatrix had been dueling Sirius for almost five minutes, and she was enjoying playing with him. She would give Sirius an opening and then when he would strike, she would slash out at him. Then Sirius slashed out his arm in a V shaped pattern, and a sickly yellow spell filled the air. She immediately recognized the spell, and Bellatrix contorted her face in fury as she slashed out with her wand. She had been enjoying their little duel, but now she just wanted to end things.
"I've waited twelve long years for this!" Sirius yelled. Spell after spell flew from his wand, faster and more deadly than the ones before.
Bellatrix sent spells just as fast, as her curly black hair flew all around her like a halo. The dark curls stood out harshly against her bone white mask.
"No!" A blood curling scream rang out and Sirius turned his head slightly to the side. Bellatrix grinned and sent a curse of death his way. Sirius dodged just in time, the spell blasted a tree to bits. Sirius threw spells faster and faster, and finally he hit his mark. Bellatrix stumbled back as a jet of purple crashed into her stomach.
Sirius smiled, as Bellatrix grabbed her stomach with one hand and looked up in pure hatred and disbelief as pain shot through her. Never in a million years had she thought Sirius would get the best of her, after all she was the better duelist. Rage filled her, and she slashed her wand through the air.
Sirius' smile quickly vanished when spells came flying at him from two directions. He managed to block Bellatrix' spell, but he was thrown backwards by the blast from another. Bellatrix walked forward, her arm still wrapped around her stomach, when a shout rang out, "Fall back!" Bellatrix raised her wand to end her cousin anyways when several pops sounded, and three men in red robes surrounded Sirius. More pain shot through her stomach. Normally, she would've tried to take out all three aurors to get to her cousin, but more and more pain shot through her. She yelled in frustration, the sound coming out muffled behind her mask, and she apparated away.
"Fred! George!" Ginny yelled. Tears ran down her pale cheeks, as she frantically pushed her way through the crowds of people. "Ron! Fred! George!"
A large man ran into Ginny, knocking her into the ground. Ginny landed on her hands, and she hissed in pain as tiny rocks dug into her palms. When she fell, she bit the inside of her cheek and the taste of copper filled her mouth. She brushed the hair out of her face, and struggled to stand up. When she put weight on her ankle she let out a whimper and fell to the ground. Her ankle was either broken or sprained.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" A cold, high voice asked.
Ginny looked up, and her eyes widened into saucers. A tall, thin man wearing a Death Eater uniform stared down at her. She couldn't see his eyes, but she pictured them as two cold, empty orbs.
"A little lamb has lost her way," the man said. He raised his wand, and Ginny froze in fear. "Avada—"
Ginny clamped her eyes shut. She felt her body go cold, and she couldn't have moved if she wanted to. All of the noise around her faded away, except for the pounding of her heart, which sounded as if it was coming from inside her throat.
"Ginny!" A voice yelled, that sounded like her father.
At the same time a voice with a slight accent shouted, "Stupefy!"
A thump sounded and Ginny's eyes flew open. Laying in front of her was the crumpled body of the Death Eater who had been about to kill her. Suddenly, the sound of the pounding of her heart was gone and true silence filled the air.
"Ginny!" She looked up in time to see her father pulling her into a hug. "Ginny." Arthur repeated again and again into her hair.
"Dad," Ginny said faintly. She was too shocked too say anything more.
She looked behind her dad and saw a familiar face. Viktor Krum was staring at her, his dark eyes piercing her hazel ones. Arthur pulled away, and keeping his arm around Ginny's shoulders he turned to Viktor.
"Thank you," Arthur said. His voice thick with emotion.
"It vas not a problem," Viktor said.
"It was everything," Arthur corrected. "Thank you."
"Dad," Ginny said quietly. "Where is everyone? There were Death Eaters everywhere." She clung to the back of her dads robes.
Ginny looked around at the deserted field. Less than a minute ago there were dozens of Death Eaters and screaming people, and now there was no one. She didn't know how everyone could be gone just like that.
"When the second group of aurors arrived, the Death Eaters left," Arthur answered.
"They fled like the cowards they are," a sharp voice added. Ginny watched as a thin man, wearing green and gold robes walked towards them, followed by several people Ginny faintly recognized from her visits to the Ministry. She recognized the first man as her neighbor, Amos Diggory. Amos stopped in front of Viktor. "I saw what you did there, Mr. Krum. You saved young Miss Weasley's life. That was excellent work."
"It vas nothing," Viktor said. "I vould've done the same for anyone."
"It wasn't—" Amos began, but he was cut off when a loud voice yelled, "Morsmordre!"
A colossal skull appeared in the sky, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As they watched it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation.
One of the Ministry officials took a deep breath. "The dark mark!"
"Into the woods!" One of the Ministry officials yelled. "Quickly!"
Arthur pulled Ginny into his side, and Ginny watched, transfixed, as the Ministry officials ran into the woods. Followed by Viktor Krum.