Chapter 18.


The next chapter is taking a little time, so to tide you over, here's a little omake.

Omake: Why Harry doesn't trust the Weasley Family.

Harry wasn't surprised when Hermione finally brought up the third member of the infamous Gryffindor trio.

"What about Ron?" she asked. "When are you going to let him into the secret?"

"Ron? Didn't plan on letting him into it at all," said Harry which caused Hermione's mouth to drop open in astonishment.

"How come?" she asked. "He was your best friend back at Hogwarts. How can you possibly not tell him about... For god's sake Harry, he can't even remember you."

"That's probably for the best," said Harry, a bit amused by Hermione's indignation. Really, why did she care so much he wondered. For their earlier conversation he already knew that she had barely bothered to keep in touch with Ron. Nothing more than the occasional Birthday and Christmas cards.

"But why?" she asked again.

"I don't trust the Weasley family," said Harry.

"Wait, What? The Weasley family? All of them?" asked Sirius. "Why? I mean... I spent some time with them, they stayed over for a few weeks that summer you disappeared. They didn't seem like bad sorts once you got past Molly's regrettable bossiness that is"

Harry sighed. "Sirius... hmmm, I'm not sure how to explain this... Okay, hypothetically, if you saw a kid walking into a dangerous situation and let's say you knew something that could maybe help the kid. Would you tell them?"

Sirius looked a bit abashed, "Is this about the thing with Remus and Snivellous? Cause that was so not my fault, no matter what the greasy git said."

Harry slapped his palm into his face. "Trust you to say exactly the opposite to the answer I expected. I'd forgotten about that actually. But... Why wasn't it your fault?"

"Well," said Sirius slowly, as if he was explaining things to a five year old. "When you dare someone to jump off a cliff you don't really expect them to actually jump do you? Nor do I think it justified for the idiot who jumps off the bloody cliff to then turn around and accuse you of attempted murder."

Sirius looked at the three younger people, who were all wearing expressions of pure scepticism. "Snape was sneaking around like the greasy git he was. He was always trying to get the four of us in trouble and he was goading me about Remus's habit of disappearing every month. Quite frankly, the way he was talking I assumed he already had managed to somehow find out about the whole werewolf thing. Looking back, it's actually a well known Slytherin tactic to pretend to know more than you do in an effort to dig out information, but I didn't think of that at the time. I got a bit angry and I may have slipped more information out than I intended to, but like I said, I assumed he had already found out and my mouth ran away with me. Then the idiot actually tried to follow Remus down to the Shrieking Shack. Come on, how is it my fault if the bugger came that close to being attacked by a werewolf?"

Harry shook his head in disbelief. "Remus said it was a trick you played on Snape."

Sirius grimaced, "Well, I wasn't about to admit that I let Snape outsmart me. Not even to Remus and James. I think James knew, but he went along with my story."

"Anyway," drawled Harry. " getting back on point and for those people not named Sirius in this room - If you saw someone walking into a dangerous situation, would you warn them? Let's say it's a kid, a teenager. Someone you don't really know. Would you warn them?"

"Of course," said both Luna and Hermione simultaneously.

"And someone who doesn't warn the kid - Would you think someone like that was - untrustworthy? Not a very nice person?"

"Yes, of course," said Hermione. "Obviously the correct, moral thing to do would be to warn the kid."

"Right," said Harry. "I'm glad you agree."

"Listen, I already explained about the thing with Snape so..." started Sirius.

"Sirius, I'm not talking about that. This has nothing to do with you and Snape so could you just shut up about that and listen. And for the record I'm certain that you, as an adult, would certainly warn the hypothetical kid in the dangerous situation," said Harry."

He paused and gathered his thoughts. "So, as we all agree not telling the kid really doesn't put you in the best light. Right? So tell me, how much worse would it be, if you actually knew the kid. Let's say he's a family friend. He's visited your house and you've gotten to know him fairly well. Now, you still don't warn him. What does that say about you?"

Hermione had paled a bit, obviously she had started to figure out what he was getting at. "Harry... I'm sure there were reasons. I mean... They... They wouldn't have..."

"I see you've figured it out," said Harry. "For the rest of you, as I'm sure you'll remember back in my fourth year, I found myself entered, against my will, in the Triwizard tournament. Ron immediately started acting like a prat and at the time I was too fixated on Ron and too busy to think about the rest of them, but looking back, I have to ask myself - Where were the Weasleys?"

Sirius looked a bit puzzled. "What did the Weasleys have to do with the tournament?" he asked.

"Oh, not much I guess," said Harry. "After all, it's not like Arthur Weasley was a department head in the Ministry. Surely, the people who work there are not above such human failings as indulging in the odd bit of gossip. The tournament was rather a big event if I recall. Something like importing four dragons into the country must have been discussed around the water coolers. But let's give Arthur Weasley the benefit of the doubt and assume he doesn't listen to gossip at all. It's not like his son Percy wasn't working for Bartemius Crouch Senior and what was Barty Crouch for the tournament? Just one of the judges and organisers who helped to plan the bloody thing. But perhaps Percy doesn't talk about his job at home. Surely all the crap we had to listen to about cauldron bottoms was a one time affair. But then we have Charlie, Charlie Weasley, who as we were leaving for Hogwarts kept hinting about how we were going to have an interesting year at Hogwarts. Charlie Weasley who was one of the Dragon handlers who had come to Hogwarts to handle the dragons."

"Now, the first task was for me to obtain an egg from a nesting dragon. Luckily, I was told about the Dragons, but I was told by Hagrid just two days before the task. My name came out of the Goblet on the 31st of October and I found out about the dragons on the 22nd of November. That's more than three weeks of time. Three weeks, during which any of the Weasleys could have chosen to warn me. Where were they? Where were the letters warning me that I was about to go toe to toe with a dragon?"

"Maybe they couldn't," said Hermione. "I remember Bill and Charlie hinting about the tournament. Didn't they say they couldn't tell us as the Ministry had classified it?"

"I might be seeing you all sooner than you think," said Charlie, grinning, as he hugged Ginny good-bye.

"Why?" said Fred keenly.

"You'll see," said Charlie. "Just don't tell Percy I mentioned it … it's 'classified information, until such time as the Ministry sees fit to release it,' after all."

"Yeah, I sort of wish I were back at Hogwarts this year," said Bill, hands in his pockets, looking almost wistfully at the train." *

"Then how did Bill know?" asked Harry. "He worked for Gringotts, not the Ministry. If they could tell Bill about the tournament, why couldn't they tell me? For that matter, remember Malfoy on the train. If it was such a secret how come he already knew about the tournament?"

"The point I'm trying to make is... I think I would warn any kid if he was in the same situation. I don't think it would matter if I didn't know him all that well, I would probably still want to warn them." Come to think of it, he had done exactly that when he had told Cedric Diggory about the Dragons.

"The Weasleys on the other hand - I was best friends with Ron and I was on the Gryffindor Quidditch team with the twins. I think we did a lot of bonding on the team, dealing with Wood's insane practices. None of that mattered to them. I had stayed over at their house. Hell, I was even reasonably friendly with Percy and I had gotten to know Bill and Charlie a fair bit. Any of that should have been enough of a reason for them to warn me but the thing that really annoys me is that I had even saved Ginny's life. I saved her from certain death, either by basilisk or being drained of life by Tom Riddle's diary. The Weasley family owed me. They owed me as much as anyone can owe someone. The life of a family member - What could be more precious than that? And yet, despite all that, not one of them saw fit to warn me about the dragons. Even if they believed Ron and thought that I had entered myself. Not one of them sent me a letter saying - 'Hey Harry, really dumb of you to enter the tournament. I'm really disappointed in you but since you're just a kid who's probably in way over his head, here are a bunch of spells you absolutely need to learn before you face a dragon.' Not one of them thought of sending me such a letter. How on earth can I possibly trust them after that?"

"They... maybe they just didn't want you to cheat. Maybe they thought they were being fair?" said Sirius.

"Yes, fair to the other competitors but fair to me? To a 14 year old with three years of wizarding school who was forced into a competition against people who were in their seventh year and had six years of schooling under theirs. In a competition that had been discontinued because the frigging DEATH TOLL got too high?" said Harry.

"Okay, but... Well, Charlie knew..." said Hermione.

"Obviously," interrupted Harry.

"And yes, Percy and Arthur probably knew as well and Bill certainly sounded like he knew something but... Ron didn't, the twins and Ginny couldn't have known either," said Hermione.

"So you mean to tell me that Charlie Weasley who spends most of his time living on a dragon reserve, far away from his family. He comes all the way to Hogwarts and doesn't bother to contact any of his siblings. He didn't once drop an owl to his brothers and baby sister to say - Hey, I'm here, let's meet up for a butterbeer. If I remember correctly there was even a Hogsmeade visit the day before I found out. He could have met up with them then. You seriously mean to tell me that he didn't?" asked Harry.

"He couldn't have had time... Could he?" asked Hermione.

Harry shrugged. "Who knows? I mean, yes the Ministry did seem to do things in an half-arsed way, but Charlie clearly knew that he was coming to Hogwarts when he dropped us of at the train station. I really doubt he would have just shown up with the Dragons two days before the task. They would have had preparations to do before that. Make arrangements for the dragons. Clear out an area in the Forest for example. He could have spent a couple of months living in Hogsmeade for all I know."

"The only one I'm not sure of is Molly Weasley, Charley did mention something about her not knowing but I don't see how that's possible. Arthur or Percy would have let something slip. In any case…" Harry trailed off.

"It's simple really, seven kids and two parents, that's nine people. I think that there is a good chance that at least eight of them probably knew about the first task and not one of them choose to warn me - forget normal human decency, they owed me and they didn't even try to pay me back even when they had the perfect opportunity to do so. The Weasley family are just not people that I can possibly trust," said Harry with an air of finality about him.

~oo00oo~

A/N: A bit of Weasley bashing, true. Which is why it's going in as an omake and not as part of the main story. Still, I think it fits with how a paranoid Harry might think.

~oo00oo~

* Excerpt from Goblet of Fire