Title: Oh You Didn't Know? Yeah, He's Awesome

Rating: T – M

Genre: Humor/Adventure/Drama

Pairings: None yet

Warning: Some Violence. Explicit Language. SLASH. Movie and Book verse mixed and matched

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything associated with it. All rights reserved to J.K. Rowling

Summary: Remember Goblet of Fire? What would happen if Harry took the filter off his mouth and actually said what he's thinking? Bad things, probably. But it'll be fun as hell. My go at the Intelligent!Harry, Smart alec!Harry situation.


Chapter 7

The next morning Harry shot out of his bed, immediately wide awake and beaming with manic joy. A good old Hogwarts Christmas always brought out this kind of energy in him. Nothing could bring him down today. Not the Grinch. Not Voldemort. Not a feature length film starring Voldemort, the Grinch and Hugh Jackman and their journey towards self-discovery. Today was for happy, and there would be happy or so help him he would blast everyone with a mass tickling charm until their faces turned blue!

It was 6 o' clock and his lazy, good for nothing, un-Christmasy dorm mates were still asleep. At the foot of each of their beds was a healthy mound of presents. Among them were a few meticulously wrapped and extravagantly decorated gifts that emerald eyes zeroed in on. Those were the ones from Harry. Just…sitting there. Alone. Not being opened.

Harry glared laser beams of death at his friends' snoozing forms. Trying to poke and prod and hex (simultaneously of course) them awake would be futile. After three years of having to deal with his early morning excitement over events he never got to experience at the Dursley's (Halloween, Easter, Birthdays, breakfast), his dorm mates had grown immune to any of his attempts to annoy them into consciousness.

The small Gyrffindor huffed and folded his arms petulantly. Sighed and smacked his lips. Threw himself back onto his bed with a dramatic whine. He looked over to Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus to see if his pouting had any affect. Nothing. Not even a courtesy twitch.

Harry sighed and pouted for real this. Surely there was someone who wanted to share in his Christmasy cheer right at this very moment and not at a reasonable hour?

The answer to his hopeless question came to him quickly. Hermione! His dearest book lover would most certainly be amenable to some holiday cavorting! And by that he meant that once she was irritated awake it would be impossible for her to go back to sleep. Huzzah!

Not bothering to keep quiet, Harry scrambled to put on his favorite owl slippers and ran in excitement. He paused at the doorway, looking from his friends to the mounds of presents and back again. With a flick of his wand and a muttered levitation spell, he had all of their presents float behind him in a single file line as he headed downstairs. 'There.' Harry beamed happily as he set all the presents down gently in an unorganized heap, feeling accomplished. 'Now we can all Christmas together whether they like it or not. Just like a family!'

His success high didn't last long as he met his first roadblock at the bottom steps of the Girls Dormitory. There was an enchantment on the stairs that prevented males from climbing it. According to Fred and George (who would test to see if a cactus was pointy if someone told them that was the reason not to touch it) it would immediately flatten like a slide and send the assumed perverted boy flying back from whence he came.

Now, Harry knew zero things about enchantments, but he was pretty familiar with the mindset of wizards (which was to leave a shit-ton of loopholes) and prudish old people (which just about summarized Professor Mc-G sauce). With that in mind, the spell was most likely meant to keep out people who had naughty girl-focused intentions on the brain. After all, what if there was an emergency and there was only a male available to warn the girls? And Flitwick and Snape surely had to access their respective Girls Dorms for the same reason. Therefore! Harry hypothesized that he could safely climb the stairs as long as he didn't think rated M for mature thoughts about females.

Should be easy enough considering his preferences, and the fact that his purposes were completely UN-perverted. But just to be sure…

He pressed the index and middle finger of both hands to his temples, shut his eyes, and charged up the stairs practically on tiptoe, while chanting, "Penis! Penis! Penis! Penis!"

'Huh ha! It's working!' Harry thought with a triumphant grin. 'Who knew all it took was not thinking about boobs – OH NO!' His owl slipper clad foot gave a jarring drop as a step abruptly flattened. Harry wobbled a bit as he struggled to get his mind off of images he would never have conjured before but only did now because he didn't want to.

"Think think think think think!" He balanced on one foot as only one step stayed stable, while the ones above and below rose and flattened in a nauseating undulation. "Ok ok uhhhh Boobs! ARGH! Stupid brain! Ovaries! NO! STOP IT! Fallopian tubes! What? Why!? Well, it's kind of working. Cho in a bikini NO! No-no-no-no! Back track! Errr, Cedric in a bikini! Yes! Dumbledore – oh God, now I'm asexual."

Thoughts of Dumbledore reenacting Marilyn Monroe's billowing dress over a ventilator scene, while traumatizing, was super effective. The stairs returned to normal and Harry ran up before his mind could betray him again. Thankfully the door was already unlocked, because he didn't think he could cast Alohomora and think of penises at the same time. He burst inside with all the discretion of a PMSing Horntail and so it was no surprise when Parvati and Lavender sat up shrieking while Hermione rolled out of her bed and scrambled to get her wand off of her bedside table.

"Errr, Happy Christmas don't kill me?"

He was infinitely glad that Hermione wasn't the type to Curse first and ask questions later. She did, however, glare death at him. It probably would have looked more intimidating if her poofy hair wasn't sticking up all over the place and if her blue nighty didn't have cat paw prints decorating it. D'awwwwwwww!

"What are you doing in here!? This is the Girls Dorm," Hermione hissed. Harry figured the combined effects of the early hour and surprise wakeup call were what made her state the obvious, so he graciously decided to let it slide.

"You're not allowed in here!" Parvati added her two sickles to the state-the-obvious pool. She had her comforter pulled all the way up to her chin and was holding on to it for dear life. "You're a boy –" she paused, her features appearing thoughtful. "Oh wait. Never mind." She completely relaxed, even allowing her comforter to fall to reveal the anticlimactic spaghetti strap night gown she was wearing. From the way she reacted you'd think she was butt naked under there, or wearing hardcore BDSM gear – something a little more exciting, sheesh!

What she should be hiding was that life sized poster of who Harry assumed was Beaubien, whose two dimensional face was sporting several quills and other pointy objects sticking out of them. He didn't even want to describe whatever was going on with the picture's crotch. That would stay in his nightmares for, oh…only an eternity. At least Harry knew what the guy looked like now. Guh, not worth it.

Harry rolled his eyes as Lavender calmed down as well. He would have to remind them later that just because there was a gay man in the house didn't mean they should just relinquish all sense of girly propriety and go nuts.

"Alright, now that we're all done being weird and awkward – Hermione –"

"Me!? Are you kidding!"

"Let's go downstairs and Christmas!" Harry bunny hopped towards his best friend and grabbed her hands.

"Harry, isn't it a little early to – AH!" The-Boy-Who-Lived-To-Force-Happiness-Upon-You pulled his friend up and dragged her towards the door. Absentmindedly he levitated all the presents like before, causing Parvati and Lavender to squawk in protest and scramble out of their own beds. "Come now ladies!" Harry laughed, far from repentant as he marched out the door. "Christmas waits for no – GAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Harry went plummeting down – somehow backwards and on his belly because if it could happen it would happen – the suddenly flattened staircase. Hermione managed to slip out of his grasp, tottering back and forth erratically before settling safely on the landing. The presents flew past her and dropped, the magic wearing off along with Harry's concentration, and slid down along with her friend. "Harry!" she cried out, clutching at the air as if she could summon him back.

"I REGRET NOTHIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!" Harry cried in return, voice fading until his flailing form and the presents disappeared around a corner as if swallowed by the garbage chute to hell.

The three girls stared at each other, flabbergasted. Of course they all knew of the Enchantment on the Girls Dormitory, but no one had ever seen it put into action before. But now that they had…

There was a resounding thump that emanated from the Common Room.

Lavender snorted inelegantly. Parvati burst into a fit of giggles. Hermione just rolled her eyes and tried not to smile. It was a wonder no one was roused by all the ruckus.

"Come on," Hermione said, taking charge as usual. "Let's go see if he's alright."

As if her words were the counter spell, the stairs returned to normal. The three young girls kept their pace brisk, all eager to see what had become of Harry. When they reached the Common Room, the presents were stacked neatly and the emerald eyed boy was sitting in an armchair, leg crossed at the knee, hands folded neatly in his lap, completely unharmed even as his eyes crossed and his body swayed a bit.

He blinked a few time to clear his double vision away. "On purpose." He blinked again and then Dobby was at his feet. He screamed – octave level: super soprano – and threw himself off the side of the chair.

"Was that on purpose?" Hermione deadpanned while Lavender and Parvati cracked up beside her.

Dobby threw his hands in the air and beamed. "Happy Christmas Harry Potter sir!"

Harry glared at Hermione and cursed ninja!house-elves under his breath. "Happy Christmas Dobby, and could you please make a little noise next time before you speak up? I'd rather not have 'surprised to death by a house-elf' on my obituary. That is the farthest thing from awesome in the world, right next to slipping on a banana peel off of a roof and landing in a truck full of nails. At least if the dragon killed me it would have looked cool – Damnit!" He slammed his fist on the armrest. "I should've rode in on a motorbike! And worn sunglasses! And a leather jacket!" He sighed and shook his head ruefully. "I made so many mistakes that day."

Dobby wrung his ears uncertainly, and got that look in his round green eyes that said he was about to shish-ka-bob them with a hot poker. "Dobby is sorry, sir! Dobby is only wanting to wish Harry Potter Happy Christmas and give him a present, sir! Harry Potter did say Dobby could come and see him sometimes, sir! If – if that's still alright, sir?"

"Of course it's alright." He strolled from behind the chair as if he never freaked out like a kitten spotting a laser pointer. Harry knew that inviting the loony elf to sit with him would take at least twenty minutes of Dobby jizzing (and oh dear God the imagery House ElvescanNOT nope nope nope!) in gratitude and that was time too much spent on not-Christmas, so he joined Dobby on the ground instead. Aside from his bat like ears vibrating insanely, and a few choked squeals of happy "Harry Potter Sir…sitting next to Dobby…SQUEE!" Dobby managed to keep his cool.

Lavendar and Parvati looked a little confused by the elf and human kinship, but thankfully they kept their opinion on the matter to themselves. Hermione would have gone into a SPEW-esque fit otherwise, and ain't nobody got time for that! Uh-AH! No sir-ee Bob!

At long last the presents were distributed. From Harry Hermione was given a large tomb which was entitled: A Big Book About Books and How They Are Books by Master Thomas Skoob

Hermione's smile was understandably strained. "Ah, thank you Harry. It looks very…um… well I'm sure once I read it –" All pretenses of happiness fell from her face as she opened the book to the first page and saw the author's information.

From the critically acclaimed author of 'How to Read a Book with Your Eyes' and 'Books Are Not Food: A Compendium of Things Books Are Not', Skoob brings us his latest literary masterpiece…

"Take off the jacket," Harry finally said through his snickers. Damnit, he was hoping he could draw that out a little longer. But Hermione looked like someone had just thrown Crookshanks in the oven with all the trimmings and it was too much for him.

She gave him a weary look before peeling off the paper cover, and then gasped in excitement as she read the real title of the leather bound book. Species, Class, and Gender in the Magical World: An Integrated Study.

"Oh Harry, this looks fascinating! Thank you!" She eagerly opened the book this time and bypassed the prank Author Biography. No doubt she would exercise the offensive material to literature everywhere with extreme prejudice when she could. Hermione got reallyintense when it came to her books.

Harry gave Lavender and Parvati bracelets and earrings. They were both pleasantly surprised by this, and "Oooo-ed" and "Awed" over the craftsmanship and design. They then made noises about the expensiveness and how they hadn't gotten him anything in return. Now, if Harry told them that it wasn't at all expensive because he had stayed up all night making the jewelry, and that he pretty much used any excuse to give people stuff, then he would probably come off as weird and fishing for compliments. So instead he used his super-evasive-maneuvers skills and patted them on the head and said "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's Christmas."

Harry gave Dobby a giant ball of yarn that bled into many different colors and patterns and wizarding effects. He worried a bit that the house elf might not like the present since he already owned a considerable amount of yarn, but those fears were quickly allayed as Dobby happily rolled around the Common Room on the yarn ball like a tumble weed.

A half an hour later Harry's wayward dorm mates finally deigned to make an appearance. He had gotten Dean some art supplies that wizards used to make their paintings move, Seamus a big basket of sweets that had a medley of magical effects, Neville a variety of seeds for rare plants that sounded cool but the uses for which went completely over Harry's head (going by the way Neville blushed they must have been decent though), and Ron got a racing broom.

There was nothing in Ron's expression that said: Gosh golly Harry! What a splendiferous gift you have bestowed upon my person! Clearly this was given with the soul intention of making me the happiest Ron I can be! I will now proceed to thank you and not feel inadequate about the gap between our financial statuses! Yaaaaay! Happy Christmas!

No. The red head's expression was far from that. What it actually said, loud and clear, was: Harry…you little fucking fuck…

"Just so you know," Harry said quickly before those expletives could become a reality, "the whole thing is completely handmade. The only thing I spent money on was the paint, and that was 2 sickles and 3 knuts."

The red in Ron's ears receded and the mulish countenance changed to shock and awe. He looked back down at the broom stick resting in his lap. It was shaped roughly like Harry's Firebolt, since that was the model he used, except nowhere near as sleek to Harry's critical eye. The handle was ebony with the Chudley Canons logo painted on, and the shaft was a bright orange. Ron ran his fingers over the italicized black letters embossed near the back of the broom: THE MACH WEASLEY 5000.

"You…made me a racing broom." Ron said haltingly, eyes still on his lap.


"All on your own…you made me a…just the way I'd like it and everything…"

"Sooooo, you like it then?"

"Yep," said Ron tightly. He squeezed his eyes shut and turned his head to the side. "S'great mate." he sniffled, and when he spoke again there was a wet quality to his voice, "You're the best."

Harry grinned at his friend, and decided to spare Ron's manly man pride and pretend he hadn't moved him to tears. Frankly, he was just relieved the red head hadn't pitched the thing out of the window.

"Since when have you known how to make racing brooms Harry?" asked Dean incredulously.

"Since I read a book?"

"You learned how to make a state of the art racing broom from scratch…from a book?"

Harry nodded sagely. "It was a picture book."

Dean made to question him further, but instead sighed in resignation and mumbled, "Dragon tamer and broom stick maker. How are you not at the top of our classes?"

"I was going to install a rocket launcher and subwoofers, but I ran out of time. So it's only half as pimped out as I intended it to be. Sorry about that."

"It's fine Harry," Ron said after clearing his throat. He seemed to have composed himself. "It's brilliant the way it is. I love it."

Harry sighed sadly. Clearly Ron had no idea what those muggle devices were; otherwise he would be far more upset at the magnitude of gangsta-ness he was missing out on from their absence. Ah well, Ron's birthday was around the corner anyway.

"Is it safe?" Seamus said around a mouthful of taffy that was turning his eyes into a psychedelic rainbow.

"Madam Hooch tested it and she said it was good to go." Harry didn't tell them how he had to convince Madam Hooch that the Mach Weasley was an actual off brand model for fear she would confiscate it. "By the way, if anyone asks this was imported from Scandinavia from a small, little known business called Schloovicks."

"We're not going to get in trouble for having this are we?" Neville said skeptically.

"Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Wizard copyright laws are kind of murky. As long as Ron doesn't sell it or stream it online for free it should be fine."

"NEVER!" Ron screeched, clutching the broom to his chest as if it were his child. In fact, if Ron had to choose between this broom and his first born child, there would definitely be a long awkward pause of thought. 'Ya done good, Harry,' the emerald eyed boy mentally praised, giving himself a pat on the back. 'Ya done good.'

Perhaps a little worried now that the Aurors might snatch up his present at any time with all this talk of legalities, Ron suggested that he go try out his new Mach Weasley and see what it was made of. Harry and the guys whooped in agreement, and after some hasty bundling up and dragging Hermione away from her book, all the fourth year Gryffindors boys went down to the Quidditch Pitch.

The Mach Weasley 5000 worked like a dream. Ron zoomed around the pitch, high and low, hooting and hollering in pure joy. One would never believe that this marvelous piece of artistic genius was the same broom Harry had worked on several months ago; which during his experimentation would hover a few feet before throwing him across the field, set his pants on fire upon mounting it, spin at top speed in a circle before throwing him across the field, and somehow strip him naked if he ascended more than fifty feet. Harry breathed a sigh of relief when Ron surpassed the goal posts and remained happily clothed. That last problem had been really hard to fix, and there was nothing like being forced butt naked in the air in below freezing weather to ruin your Christmas.

Ron was very gracious about sharing too, even when a bunch of other Gyrffindors and Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws came by to see what all the hub-bub was about. Although he was positively hawk-eyed when Fred and George asked for a turn, and outright refused for them to ride it at the same time.

But what made all of the dangerous spell creation and all the splinters received in unmentionable places completely worth it, was when the red head unashamedly burst into tears after finding the little button that would make a roast beef sandwich appear. At that moment, Harry could safely say they would be friends for life.

All in all it was a very cheerful bunch that entered the Great Hall later that morning, and Ron was glowing with happiness at being the main topic of conversation. Harry meanwhile, noticed with satisfaction that all of his Christmas Cookie Baskets had been successfully delivered by the house elves and all the students were happily munching on them. The other three Champions had also been given a basket, despite being a pack of elitist tall people who wanted all short people to be killed by dragons. He just couldn't stand the thought of anyone being denied a cookie on Christmas. Even Snape, King of Angst and Grand Duke of Playa' Hating, had gotten a cookie.

And a large Hello Kitty plushie dressed in Snape's likeness, with a mini cauldron and a mini scowl on its cute little face. Ahhh yes, to see that magnificent twinkle of disgust and 'Soon I will burn you with fire' in his deep black eyes just made Harry's day. To be fair, he had gifted the rest of the staff (anonymously of course) with Hello Kitty look-a-likes in addition to their cookies as well. Moody was giving his pressie a similar look of 'Gonna burn the fuck out of you' while Dumbledore had conjured a little Headmaster's Chair for his to sit in next to his toast and jam.

"So Harry," said Parvati. He, Lavender and the Gryffindor Patil had been sequestered off to the side in the wake of Ron's popularity, much to Harry's amusement. "When should we get started with making my…what did you call it?"

"Vengeance dress," Harry said primly. "We can start Harry-fying you after breakfast if you – " The Post Owl's chose that moment to fly in, more numerous than normal on account of so many students staying at Hogwarts this year, but would otherwise not be worthy of note if Harry hadn't remembered certain events last night that he had forgotten about.

"Oh bollocks, jealous Ex at 12 o' clock."

"What?" Parvati scanned the other tables. "Where?"

Harry ducked his head, shading his face with a hand and otherwise not looking discreet. At all. "Shh, maybe she won't notice – Heeeey Hedwig! H-h-how's it going, girl?"

Hedwig landed gracefully next to his plate, barely jarring a single piece of tableware. She clacked her beak at him furiously.

"Are we really going to do this now?"

"Hoot hoot!"

"Hey! I thought everyone was clear that no one is going on a date. This is a platonic. Friendship. Outing. Of friendship," Harry replied crossly, emphasizing each word by jabbing his finger on the table.


"What do you mean I implied? There was no implication, madam. I assure you I was perfectly clear during our negations."

"Hoot hoot hoot hoot Hoot!"

"Oh, so what? Should I have written you up contract? Oh, wait a tic! You don't have opposable thumbs!" He proceeded to waggle his own thumbs at her mockingly.

"Hoot. Hoot."

"That's right! I went there!"

"Er, are you…talking to your owl?" Lavender said hesitantly. Pavati looked equally bewildered by the scene.

"No, don't be ridiculous," Harry scoffed. "I'm arguing with my owl."


"Then just return the dress, woman!"


"What do you mean all sales are final!? Gladrags doesn't – " Harry cut himself off, narrowing his eyes accusingly. "You went to Wet Selkiedidn't you? I told you that place sold cheap fabric for ridiculous prices!" (1)


"Oi! Check the language at the door young lady! There are impressionable ears about!"

"…hoot hoot," she said lowly, ducking her head a bit.

Harry sighed deeply in exasperation. "Yes. It's fine. Here, just take it." He slid a plate piled with bacon towards her, which Hedwig delightedly dove in to, contriteness forgotten. "Do forgive her," he said to the flabbergasted pair, "she has serious body image issues."

"Erm, Oh-kaaaaay," said Lavender. She was looking between Harry and the owl suspiciously, as if she were wondering if the Boy-Who-Lived was a Hootymouth in addition to being a Parselmouth. Parvati just looked like she immensely regretted her date choice.

Well, Harry was certain that once he finished dolling her up right and proper she would feel differently.


That afternoon saw many students preparing themselves for the nightly festivities. Even the most cavalier of teenage witches and wizards had fallen prey to the pre-date jitters, and could be seen primping and triple checking the state of their fancy outfits as much as anyone else. For the first few hours the Gryffindor fourth year boys had been banned from their dorm while Harry went to work on Parvati. They were all good sports about it and didn't put up much fuss, especially when Harry bribed them with some extra homemade goodies.

By seven o' clock Harry finally deemed Parvati complete. She took a long look in the mirror and inhaled so sharply that Harry could hear her lungs rattling in protest. Her eyes bugged out and started to water as she took herself in from head to toe.

"Don't you dare start crying and ruin that mascara woman!" Harry demanded playfully with a grin. She whirled around and hugged him in answer, squeaking "thank you thank you thank you!" in an overexcited way that would make Dobby proud.

He carefully placed his invisibility cloak around her and sent her back to the Girls Dorm. What was a Vengeance Dress TM after all without a dramatic entrance? The boys trooped upstairs and put their dress robes on. They all looked self-conscious, aside from Harry who had ran out of fucks to give the second his name came out of the Goblet, but none so much as Ron.

Harry had just finished straightening his robes out when he turned a glance at his best friend… only to have to jerk his head away a split second later. "OH DEAR GOD YOU OFFEND ALL THE SENSES!"

"Shove off, Harry," Ron said, too gloomy to be properly offended.

Guilt crept in the pit of Harry's stomach as Ron surveyed himself in the long mirror without a hope in the world. How could he have forgotten his bestie only had that Victorian tapestry available for his dance attire? He must have blocked it from his memory to avoid mental scarring.

The shorter boy held his arms out to Ron and gestured at him placatingly. "Oh hon, come here and let mama make it better."

Ron sulkily allowed Harry to drag him over to his bed where he pulled out his sewing kit from his drawer. Neville, Seamus and Dean watched on in interest, wondering if there was any possible way to salvage the walking hot mess that was Ron Weasely right now. "It's no use, I've already tried everything."

"Tch, 'tried everything' my entire ass," Harry muttered between the two pins in his teeth, going to work with quick efficiency on hemming the tattered sleeve cuffs. Occasionally Ron would wince or squawk at Harry to be careful when a needle would accidentally pierce sensitive skin, but Harry would simply smack him and absentmindedly tell him to "shut the fuck up" and "quit being a little bitch" and "hold still damnit!" and carry on as if the red head hadn't said anything.

The three boys watched on in amazement as Ron steadily went from looking like a half blind elderly woman to a respectable young wizard. The dress robe was spelled a dark blue and fitted properly. The trim was gold, with stylized chess pieces on the collar and cuffs. His hand-me down dress shoes were transfigured into some dressy boots and Harry had even managed to fix up his hair, so that it looked stylishly messy instead of the "just got into a fight with Crookshanks and lost" look he was previously sporting. Harry couldn't do much about the material, that would take time longer than the twenty minutes he was allotted, but at least now it appeared retro instead of pathetically out-of-date.

Harry stepped back and eyed him critically. "Mm, not my best work, but it'll have to do."

Ron, who had been tracing the outline of a rook as if it were the Holy Grail, whirled on him. "Not your best!?" he said incredulously. "This is loads better then what Mum sent me! It's – it's bloody amazing! I – I actually look pretty damn good I think!"

"You clean up nice Weasley," Dean said, clapping him on the shoulder.

Neville shyly added his compliments, while Seamus picked at his own robes with a moue of jealousy. "Great. How are we supposed to compete with that, eh?"

"Inner beauty, gentlemen," Harry replied without sympathy.

"Couldn't you give us a bit of a touch up?"

"Sorry, Salon de la Harry is closed. Boop, leave a message."

"Aww c'mon Harry, you helped Ron with no problem."

"That was a fashion emergency. Unless you can convince me that your robes look like they were once used to clean your attic, you're gonna have to work with what you got, mate."

Before Seamus could contemplate ruining his robes in hopes of Harry Cinderellaing him too, Dean smacked him upside the head and ushered everyone downstairs. Ron fairly strutted around the Common Room, and gained many appreciative looks from his Housemates. Seamus found Lavender, who looked lovely in her sky blue dress robes. Harry was touched to see her wearing the golden hoop earrings with delicate butterflies hanging in the center that he had given her this morning. Harry himself was wearing dress robes of a deep forest green with black trim. The only alteration he had done to it was shrink it down a bit. Mrs. Weasely had overestimated his size, expecting him to have grown since the last school year like the rest of her children. It was a thoughtful gesture, and no fault of hers that the Dursley's were half starving him and impeding normal growth.

Harry, Ron, Seamus, and Lavender continued to the Entrance Hall. Dean and Neville stayed behind to await their dates to escort them down like proper gentlemen. Harry would've stayed as well, but he and Parvati had agreed – amidst much insane giggling – a dramatic entrance on her own would induce the highest amount of jealousy-spasms out of Beaubien.

The large foyer looked very odd indeed with everyone so multicolored and decorated. Harry didn't think it would kill Hogwarts to instate a Casual Friday every other week to break up the fashion monotony. Maybe that way people wouldn't be blinking at each other as if they'd never seen them before in their life. Harry made a mental note put that in the suggestion box outside of the Teachers' Lounge, and made another mental note to create a suggestion box.

Despite the sea of sparkly newness, they managed to find Padma Patil easy enough. She was looking very pretty in turquoise dress robes and heavy gold and turquoise jewelry. "Hi," she said to Ron, her dark eyes roving over him appreciatively.

Ron's confidence, like many teenage boys before him, faded a bit in the face of the opposite gender, as he let out a shaky, "H-hi. You-you look nice."

"Thanks!" Padma beamed. Ron beamed back, ecstatic that he hadn't said the wrong thing. It was all very cute, and Harry briefly wondered if he should change his Ship to Ron/Padma instead of Ron/Hermione, but then his 'what the fuck is wrong with you, Potter?' sensors went off, and he went back to keeping an eye out for his own date.

Fleur Delacour pranced by in stunning robes of silver-grey satin, accompanied by a hypnotized looking Roger Davies. Harry was startled but quite proud of Ron for only stiffening a bit when she came into his line of sight, instead of freaking out and doing something ridiculous. Even better, the part Veela gave him a second look. It was nothing more than a cursory look, an 'Oh, I suppose you're not an insect beneath my heel after all' flicker of the eyes, but it sent several students nearby into whispering fits as they quickly dreamed up stories about the two. By the end of the night Ron would either be lapping up the attention from this affair or severely regretting being the victim of the Hogwarts rumor mill.

The fourth year Slytherins came up from their dungeon common room together, because apparently they had to all arrive in sync. Malfoy was in the lead with Girl-Malfoy (Pansy Something-Something) clutching his arm. The blond had on what looked like obscenely expensive dress robes of black velvet with a high collar. Combined with the slicked back do', the whole ensemble made him look like an old school Count Dracula. Girl-Malfoy was a vision in pink frills, which in Harry's ever so humble opinion would be better suited to a Toddlers in Tiaras contestant. Harry mentally catalogued that particularly brilliant piece of mockery to giggle-snort over with Parvati later.

"Couldn't find a date for the Ball, Potter?" Malfoy said snidely while Girl-Malfoy tittered beside him.

"Why do you always address me by my name when you speak to me?"

Malfoy looked completely taken aback. "Wh-what?"

"You're already looking at me. We all know who you're talking to by the context of your sentence. Why don't you just refer to me in the second person? Or is it third person? This is why we shouldn't cut off grammar school at age eleven. Anyway, my point is why don't you speak to me normally?"

The blond struggled to find a comeback to the out-of-the blue accusation, but came up short as he realized that what Harry was saying was true. Pansy was in a similar state, being guilty of the same actions the few times she came in contact with Harry.

"Come to think of it," Harry continued, green eyes gazing ponderously to the ceiling, "Snape does the exact same thing. Do you guys think I'm so special that I must be named in every single dialog we exchange? Or maybe it's some kind of Slytherin Tourette's Syndrome." His eyes lit up in epiphany as he nodded to himself. "I have figured out all Slytherins and achieved Nirvana. Our rivalry is void."

"You must be really pathetic Potter to ever think that I would believe you to be special – !"

"Nope. Can't hear you. We're friends now."

"We are not!" "No you're not!" Malfoy and Ron shouted at the same time.

The two glared at each other. Malfoy, seeing an easier target to provoke, started insulting Ron with the usual "you're poor" and "Blood Traitor" jibes. Ron, in full on Protect-Harry mode now, gave as good as he got.

Before they could come to blows, excited whispers and hushed exclamations from the students distracted them. Parvati had finally made her entrance.

Harry grinned a sneaky grin, muttering, "Annnnd cue the music…" He discreetly flicked his wand by his side. A jaunty beat echoed throughout the Entrance Hall, along with a woman's sultry voice:

"Mirror mirror on the wall

Who's the flyest bitch of them all?

Never mind, it's me!" (2)

The music continued in that vein – expletives and sexiness and She's All That cliché's and such – as Parvati walked slowly down the staircase like an empress. Her long dress was a deep hell fire red. It was sleeveless and backless, with a slit that went up the side. The bodice was made of delicate lace with a flowery pattern, and she had matching fingerless gloves on her hand. Her long dark hair was swept to the side and fell over one shoulder in soft waves. Pinned to her hair above her ear was a large sparkly black, intricately designed butterfly clip, which was enchanted to gently flap its wings.

The Pièce de résistance, however, were the black un-burning flames licking at the bottom of her skirts.

Harry Potter would never claim to be Cinna, but fuck it if that dress did not look amaze-aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Beaubien staring from his date to Parvati and back again. His mouth and eyes could not possibly go any wider or look more unattractive. As if his comparing and contrasting could not get any more blatant, the guy was actually pointing at his date and then pointing furiously at Parvati. The translation of this motion was abundantly clear: Why don't you look like that!?

The slap to the face he received for that was definitely deserved.

Even Malfoy couldn't resist some non-discreet ogling, to which Parkinsons Disease did not take too kindly to, and proceeded to drag him off back to their Slytherin friends.

The song ended, and Parvati strode up to Harry, hips swaying a bit more then they usually would. Smiling fiendishly, Harry took her hand and exclaimed: "Carra mia!" and kissed up her arm with loud smacking "muas!".

In response, Parvati whipped out a lacey black fan and waved it in front of her face, looking at him through heavy eyelids that said: "Hmm, you'll do."

"Wh-where did you get that!?" Padma said. "That's not the dress Mama bought you!"

"Oh, this old thing?" she said pompously to her twin, fluttering her fan. "It's just something I had lying around…"

"Bloody hell mate! You made that thing too?" Ron exclaimed. Harry and Parvati whirled on him, consternated and incredulous respectively. "You're really good at that dressy stuff."

"Rooooooon!" Parvati whined, stomping her foot and making the flames on her dress briefly flare up.

"How'd you know it was me?"

Ron shrugged. "I recognized the stitching. See?" He held out his robe sleeve, as if that explained everything. It did not.

Harry could only shake his head at his best friend's random attention to detail. He could just hear Hermione now, going on about how if he would only pay attention to his studies with the same vigor he did with Wizards Chess and apparently individual design styles…His friend was so weird. And Harry knew weird because he was weirder.

Padma's eyebrows went up to her hairline by now. "You made the robes and the dress?" she said, looking at Harry in a contemplative way that he did not like. If the next thing out of her mouth sounded anything like "commission" then he was bookin' it. He just hoped Parvati could run in heels.

Professor McGonagall unknowingly saved Parvati from Harry testing her skills in stiletto-heel-sprinting, as she called out, "Champions over here, please!"

Harry offered his arm to Parvati, who went back into snooty character and rested her hand on his elbow delicately. The chattering crowd of students parted as they strolled through. Parvati finally caught sight of Beaubien – alone and still gaping at her in shock – and lifted her nose in the air, dismissing his existence.

"So," Harry said, smiling from ear to ear. Maybe he was feeling a tad proud that his dress was being so well received by everyone. "You likey?"

Parvati matched his smile. "Very much so. Thanks again Harry. This really means a lot to me."

Harry merely nodded. She, after all, had done him a huge favor too. Not only did she save him from going stag, but also from being transfigured into a chamber pot by McGonagall for bringing an owl to a formal event.

Delacour and Davies had stationed themselves nearest the doors, while Cedric and Cho were closest to Harry.

"Mm!" Harry murmured. "Dat ass though!"

Cho whirled around, a bright flush appearing on her cheeks. Beside her Cedric stiffened.

"Robes don't reveal nearly enough," Parvati played along, which caused Cho to balk in confusion and Cedric to make noises that sounded suspiciously like sobs.

"Honestly, Harry. Quit fooling around."

Harry turned to his other side, where the new voice had emanated, to see a pretty girl next to Krum scowling at him. She was wearing lovely periwinkle robes and had her hair twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. Harry blinked. Then turned to Parvati.

"Parvati, do you see Hermione anywhere? It appears that she has taken up ventriloquism and is throwing her voice at this young vixen over here."

Parvati snickered, while the "vixen" in question rolled her eyes and smacked Harry on the arm. "Hello Parvati, you look very pretty. I really like your dress."

"Thank you!" Parvati preened. "You look nice too. You should dress up like this all the time!"

"Absolutely not," Hermione snorted. "Do you have any idea how long it took to get my hair like this? I would never be on time for classes if I did this every day!"

"That's only because you haven't been buying the right products…"

As the girls went on and on about prettiness and girly junk, they were oblivious to the jealous stairs they were receiving from most of the female population as the other students entered the Great Hall. Krum's little fan club looked particularly murderous, but a fierce and blatant glare from Harry sent them scurrying off. When Ron passed by, he did a quick double take, before stomping inside and practically dragging Padma behind him.

'Oh shit,' Harry thought. His Weasley Temper warning bells were going off like mad. Should the Weasley Temper and the Granger Brutal Retaliation make contact, he was sure the night would not end well for either of his friends. Harry hoped he could contain this thing before it reached not-talking-to-each other-levels. He'd just gotten released from the silent treatment damnit!

Once everyone else was settled in the Hall, Professor McGonagall told the champions and their partners to get in line in pairs and to follow her. They did so, and everyone in the Great Hall applauded as they entered and started walking up toward a large round table at the top of the Hall, where the judges were sitting. The House tables had vanished; instead, there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each seating about a dozen people. The walls of the Hall had all been covered in sparkling silver frost, with hundreds of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling.

Harry again mourned the loss of his much coveted position as Rudolph. Curse this Tournament and its stuffiness a thousand times! Ah well, at least Parvati was enjoying herself; she was giving a pageant/princess wave to everyone around her and beaming as bright as a shooting star. He was genuinely glad that his fellow Gryffindor was having so much fun with all the pomp and circumstance, and so he decided to push aside his sulky feelings about the lack of Christmas coziness and his fear of dances past, and just have a grand time.

The Champions and their partners took their seats at the top table. After Dumbledore demonstrated how to order their food with the new set up, everyone tucked in to the tasty Hogwarts fare with gusto.

Harry and Parvati were sitting next to Percy Weasley, who explained that he was standing in for Crouch on account of the fact that the Department Head was currently sucking at his job and suffering a nervous breakdown as a result. Percy also seemed to be suffering from an illness. Dr. Harry Potter – Boy-Who-Lived by day, Neurosurgeon by night, hungry for treacle tart by noon – diagnosed it to be a severe case of Smug.

"…definitely chose the right person to be his new assistant! I'm just glad he knew he had someone he could rely upon to take his place."

Harry nodded along gravely. Just as he thought – the Smug was terminal.

"Harry my boy! Looking dapper there young man," Ludo Bagman spoke up brightly from the other side of Percy. Which was funny because Harry could've sworn the man was sitting next to Madame Maxime at the end of the table. No wait. It wasn't funny. It was creepy. "Well done in the First Task by the way. Have I mentioned that before?"


Harry stared at him blankly. Bagman chuckled, and took a nervous sip out of his goblet. Hey, it's not like he was lying! The guy had only screamed his praise of Harry all day during the First Task. And the next day. And in the Daily Prophet. If the retired Quidditch Player wanted tact then he was going to have to cut this awkward brown nosing act.

"Ahem, yes. Brilliant piece of spell work there," Bagman soldiered on with the conversation. "Not something I've ever seen before, I can admit that," he chuckled again. "And I'm no slouch in Charms work either – Got an E in my NEWTs you see. But you. You made it seem so effortless! That's the real ticker. Like it was hardly a chore. Why, I bet you've already figured out the clue to the Second Task, eh Harry?"

Wow. That was…not even close to subtle. But it was telling. He felt stupid for not realizing it before. Ludo Bagman wanted him to win. Suddenly all the sucking up didn't seem like just a minor annoyance. Could Bagman be Voldy related? 'Then again…Voldybear's followers were never this obvious. Certainly they were stupid enough to be foiled by a bunch of school children, but at least they tried to put together a convoluted plot. He may as well say: "Potter, I want you to win for my own nefarious reasons –" Oh.' Harry blinked as a less accusing thought suddenly occurred to him.

Because Bagman had that same desperate look in his eye, that same too toothy grin on his face, that same twitch in his left eyebrow that Harry's Uncle Vernon always got whenever he gambled too much money on a horse that he was sure would win at first. Until he realized that all of his assurances of his super-fast horsey were hearsay, and that he actually had absolutely no idea how to rate a horse's prowess.

In other words, Harry was Bagman's super-fast horsey. He wasn't sure how to feel about that, but it did beg the question:

Did wizards have Casinos? Furthermore, did wizards have Gamblers Anonymous groups, and should Harry be a dick and sign Bagman up for one? Because frankly, if your prime concern was winning a bet over the illegality of having a minor enter a life threatening gauntlet that you are in charge of, then you definitely had a problem.

Bagman was still staring at Harry expectantly, and the small teen was about to give a dismissive nod, when he noticed Krum and Cedric were also listening in.

Oh ho! So the Big Fat Meanie Club wanted to know his progress, eh? They probably only wanted to know so they could all report it in their stupid underground lair, where they drank wine and laughed at him in their thrones children's tears. They would say: "Ha ha, Harry Potter's so dumb, we all know the Second Task and he doesn't. We're gonna share all these wicked cool secret spells that Harry would like so that's it's easier for us, while Harry looks like an idiot in front of the whole school! Plus he might die 'cause he's all inexperienced, but we don't want that because that's too harsh and we're not a bunch of sociopaths, but if he did we wouldn't care 'cause only shorty-midget-losers die. What a chump! Ha ha!"

Well Harry didn't want their God-forsaken wine anyway! That's why a certain Big Three didn't get a sprinkle of nutmeg in their eggnog this morning. Oh, what's that Cedric, Fleur and Victor? You didn't have a magical waking dream with the subtle addition of spicy-sweetness to your drink? Well, that's just the price you have to pay for scorning one Harry J. Potter!

Anyway. The small Gryffindor wasn't going to miss a chance to let them know that he was doing just fine with the clue in his egg. Team Harry was doing just. Friggin'. Fine. "You're right Mr. Bagman. I have almost figured out the clue."

"Have you, really?" Bagman said excitedly. He leaned over, and nearly knocked over Percy's food in his effort to get closer. Percy, who had never approved of Bagman's laid back manner, openly scowled at him in a way he never would have to any other Ministry worker. "Of course you have! What else should we expect from the Boy-Who-Lived!"

"Yup, it was…easy as pie…" Harry said hesitantly. His mind couldn't help but recall his attempts with the golden egg a few nights ago…


It was evening, and instead of eating dinner Harry was at the shore of the Great Lake and shaking the shit out of his golden egg above his head.


He span around and threw it on the ground. He smashed it repeatedly against a rock. He kicked it, the weight of it hurting his foot and sending it nowhere. All the while he sobbed hysterically.

He plopped to the ground beside the egg, caressing its smooth golden shell. "You know I didn't mean any of that baby," he said in a desperately cajoling manner. "Just tell me what you want, ok? Then daddy won't have to hurt you…Ok. Here we go. Nice and easy…" Slowly, he placed his fingers in the slight grove on the top of the egg and pried it open.


Harry snapped the thing shut. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and wrenched the shell open and closed, screaming back at it: "WHY!?" AHHHHHHHHHH "WHY!?" AHHHHHHHHH "WHY!?" AHHHHHHHH "WHHHHHHHHHHHHY!?"

He slammed the egg closed for the last time, snarling fiercely. "That's it," he growled through gritted teeth. "You made me do this."

Again, he raised the egg above his head. "DAMN YOU EGG! BACK FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, FOUL CREATURE!" And he tossed his clue to the Second Task into the lake. It landed upside down in the shallow end, which indicated a pretty sorry throw on Harry's part. It was submerged but still easily retrievable, not that Harry cared at the moment. "YOU WILL PLAGUE HUMANITY NO MORE!" Harry fell to his knees and screamed to the sky. He tore off his shirt, at this point in full on existential crisis mode.

And the raven haired boy may have carried on doing that all night, if a chorus of eerie voices hadn't sounded from the lake:

"Come seek us where our voices sound,

We cannot sing above the ground,

And while you're searching, ponder this:

We've taken what you'll sorely miss…"

Harry piped down, and looked to the halo of glowing water where his eggy was happily singing. "Oh. Alright then." He then grabbed his shirt, and splish-splashed noisily into the lake like nothing ever happened.


Harry blinked back to the present innocently. "Easy as pie."

When all the food had been consumed, Dumbledore stood up and asked the students to do the same. Then, with a wave of his wand, all the tables zoomed back along the walls leaving the floor clear, and then he conjured a raised platform into existence along the right wall. A set of drums, several guitars, a lute, a cello, and some bagpipes were set upon it.

The Weird Sisters now trooped up onto the stage to wildly enthusiastic applause; all of them were extremely hairy and dressed in black robes that had been artfully ripped and torn. They were apparently the wizard version of punk rockers.

The lanterns on all the other tables went out, cueing the Champions and their partners to stand up. Parvati again took his offered arm, and they glided to the now brightly lit dance floor as the Weird Sisters struck up a slow, mournful tune. Harry boldly guided her across the floor, twirling her about and gracefully stepping to the rhythm. A wry grin replaced the scowl he normally wore when he was dancing. The faces of his friends and classmates were a slight blur as they passed them by, but it didn't appear that anyone wanted to kick his ass just yet. Perhaps he was a bit hasty in thinking his Muggle dancing experience would be the same as his Wizard one.

Or maybe nobody had the gonads to fuck with the crazy guy who insulted dragons and lived to tell the tail. Either way, Harry thought he could rest assured that his underwear would be safe from atomic wedgies this night.

Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students quickly trickled on to the dance floor as the Weird Sisters finished the Wizards Waltz and began to play some faster paced music. Harry and Parvati danced to a few more songs together, wowing everyone with a dual belly-dance-off, before other students started to cut in and ask for a turn with the duo. He managed to get conned into dancing with no less than seven girls and was glad to see that their partners took the brief abandonment in stride.

Harry was taken completely off guard, however, when a boy asked him to dance as well. He froze at first when a quaking Neville Longbottom held out his hand in offer. It took a second for Harry to get over his surprise because well…this was the last thing he expected really! But once he did, he grinned and took Neville's hand and allowed him to lead.

Neville kept his head down and moved them slowly around in a small circle as he muttered "1 2 3 and 1 2 3" over and over. It was all adorably amusing. Harry just wanted to pat him on the cheek and tell him to relax, but he feared the shy boy would freak out at any sudden moves.

"You and Ginny having a good time?"

Neville raised his head involuntary in his excitement. "Oh Yeah! It's been great! I didn't step on her feat once! Err – all thanks to you, of course."

"Don't worry about it Nev. Everyone has an inner Michael Jackson locked inside of them. All I did was let him out." Neville looked confused, being the musically deprived Pureblood that he was. So Harry changed the subject. "So. You liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike, Ginny?" he drawled slyly.

"What!? I mean I – n-n-no I –"

"Listen, if you're worried about her brothers, all you have to do is make yourself look bigger and bite the ear of the most dominant Weasley, in this case it will be Molly –"

"No! I mean, really Harry. I don't like Ginny. I actually, uh…kinda think I like someone else…"

"Ooooooh, who's the lucky duck, then? If you don't mind me asking?"

Neville looked away abruptly. "I – I – I'd rather not say."

The poor guy was flushing from his neck to his hairline. Feeling bad that his teasing was making his friend uncomfortable, Harry let up on the mini inquisition. "Well, whoever it is, they'd be lucky to have you."

A tap on his shoulder brought Harry's attention to Fred Weasley, who had a rakish grin on his face. "May I, fairest dancing queen?"

"Ha ha ha ha ha," Harry said flatly, even as he took the older boy's offered hand. Instead of allowing Fred to lead though, Harry yanked him in so that they were chest to chest, and pulled their joined hands forward in the beginnings of a tango. "Hope you can keep up mother fucker."

In reply, Fred pulled out a red rose from his pocket and clamped his teeth around the stem. "Onward, mi amor!" he said with a bad Spanish accent.

Harry was reluctantly impressed. You could always count on a Weasley twin to roll with the punches…props included. 'Let's see how well he handles the Tango de la Muerte though.'

As the two trotted away, Neville looked after them a bit wistfully. "No. I'd definitely be the lucky one," he muttered. Then startled when Angelina Johnson slipped into Harry's place and brazenly put her arms around his neck.

"C'mon," she said cheerfully. "Let's show them what's what."

And so, Neville found himself far too concerned with speaking coherently and keeping his feet from stomping where they shouldn't to linger on any regrets.


Out of everyone, Harry danced with Fred the longest, and he had to admit that the mischievous twin was the most fun. It was quite enjoyable being the one spun around for a change, and Fred's failed attempt to dip him – the results of which caused them to fall to the floor – had them both laughing like hyenas.

Several other boys asked for a turn to dance, the influx perhaps brought on by Harry's positive reaction to Neville and Fred's approach. It made Harry wonder if either Hogwarts' boys (and apparently Beauxbaton and Durmstrang) were more open minded then he initially assumed, or if there were quite a few boys that had "stars aligning in his same direction". It was definitely some food for thought. But Harry figured he should wait on the mental munch until after he survived the Tournament.

In the midst of all the fun cavorting, Harry snagged Parvati again and got a few more dances in before they were whisked away by others. He spotted Ron every now and then attempting to sulk on the sidelines, coincidentally (if it was opposite day and "coincidence" meant "on purpose like a mofo" that is) during the times Hermione was taking a break. Harry was quick to intervene by grabbing Ron's hand on the pretense of a little friendly two step, before tossing him callously back into the crowd where he would be dragged into the unmerciful clutches of shallow girls.

The highlight of the night had to be when Harry and Dumbledore lead everyone into a mass Electric Slide. The wizards were a little awkward with the unfamiliar steps in the beginning, but soon enough even the most grizzled Auror vet with a wooden foot was able to happily follow along. When Harry asked where his wizened Headmaster had learned the muggle routine, his only reply was merry "The same place I learned the Thriller dance, my boy!" and a mysterious eye twinkle.

Needless to say, Harry was quite tired by the time he pulled away from the dance floor. He found Ron sprawled over two seats and joined him.

"Have you…seen…Hermione…?" Ron panted a bit, unfortunately not exhausted enough to stop brooding.

"No. And I never will if you keep looking like that."

"Looking like what?"

"Like you are about to say something stupid the second you see her."

Ron shot up in his seat, energy renewed with the need to defend his idiocy. "Me!? How can you say that? She's the one who's – who's…fraternizing with the enemy!"

Harry gave him a long flat look for that one. "Ron. Repeat after me: Hermione is not a Bulgarian sleeper agent bent on betraying me."

Of course, Hermione chose that moment to come over and sit down next to Harry. The small Gryffindor couldn't help but place his head in his palms. All that hard work to keep them separated; ruined! "Hello you two, feels like I haven't seen you all night…are you alright there Harry?" she said a bit breathlessly.

"Oh, now you care all of a sudden?" Ron said, glaring at her. "Shouldn't you be prancing about with Vicky or something?"

Hermione stared at him in surprise. "What's gotten in to you?"

"He's acting out a play. Just go along with it," Harry tried, and was ignored for his trouble.

"Isn't it obvious? He's from Durmstrang!" spat Ron. "He's only using you to get closer to Harry, so he can get inside information about the Second Task or – or jinx him when he least expects it!"

Hermione's mouth was wide open. She looked as though Ron had slapped her. "For your information, he hasn't asked me one single thing about Harry, not one –"

Ron snorted derisively. "Yeah, that's only 'cause he's being sneaky about it, and you're too infatuated to see it! HE'S A SLEEPY AGENT HERMIONE!"

People were staring at all the commotion now. Harry groaned. "I regret giving you a new vocabulary word."

"Have you gone completely mad?" Hermione hissed. She was as red in the face as Parvati's dress. Welp. Seemed about that time again to take action, before Ron started a two man mosh pit.

Harry stood up from his seat and fanned himself furiously with his hand. "Mercy me! I do believe I am getting the vapors! Let's go outside and get some air, shall we Ron?"

Not waiting for a reply, Harry pulled out his wand and said "ligabis!" A thin cord of neon blue light shot out of his wand and wrapped around Ron's torso. A small tug and Ron was yanked out of his seat and tripping over himself to get by Harry's side. (3)


"This would be your cue to go back to your man squeeze and pretend this didn't happen."

"He's not my – my...he just asked me to the Ball!"

Harry snickered. "I know, I know. I was only kidding. Now go on and have fun. I need to go walk my Ron."

It was Hermione's turn to snicker, and ignoring Ron's vocal protests Harry dragged him into the entrance hall. They continued through the front doors and out into the newly erected ornamental paths, which were lined with bushes that had little fluttering fairies twinkling inside them to light the way. There were many students milling about, getting fresh air or looking for quiet, secluded places to snog like hormonal heathens. The two friends were well into the maze, standing next to an enormous statue of a reindeer, before Harry released Ron from his magical leash.

"What was that for?" Ron said mulishly, though by the way he wouldn't look Harry in the eye he probably already knew the answer to that. "Should've wrangled up Hermione before Krum could smarm more stuff about Hogwarts from her."

Harry pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed explosively. He really didn't want to play along with this. It was plain as day that Ron's issue had nothing to do with Hogwarts pride or Harry's safety, but the simple fact that Ron wanted some of that Hermioness, and Krum had beaten him to the punch, as it were. The problem was thus; did Ron know that Ron liked Hermione? And did Hermione know that Ron didn't know that Ron liked Hermione? Furthermore, and most importantly, did Hermione know if Hermione liked Ron?

Frankly, the whole debacle required a diagram, a PowerPoint presentation, and a swift kick to Ron's head to make any sense of it, and Harry did not have two of those materials on hand. That meant he had to work with what he had, and that was Ron's Denial TM. "Don't you think you're giving Krum too much credit?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, he doesn't seem the type to be in charge of convoluted planning, if you catch my drift?" Harry mentally apologized to Krum for the slander to his intelligence. He was pretty sure the bloke had a good head on his shoulders, considering he was genuinely chosen as a Champion and had used an advanced spell on his dragon. But well…best friend pandering. What can you do?

"Yeah I suppose…but what if Karkaroff's the one telling Krum to get at Hermione so he can curse you!"

"Again, I think you're giving them too much credit."

"I'm serious, Harry! I remember dad telling me that Karkaroff was one of those Death Eaters that got off for doing favors for the Ministry – just like Malfoy!"

Ron's face was suddenly less pouty and more grave. Ok, perhaps he was thinking about Harry's safety. A little bit anyway. "Which means that Hermione and Krum are mere pawns in the grand scheme of Voldy-Karoff evil, so you shouldn't be mad at either them."

"Why the hell not?"

"Because they're pawns Ron. And pawns have no control of their actions. It's like an Imperius Curse without the spell. Feel free to curse You-Know-Voldy and Karkaroff though. I do it every night. It's my prayer."

Ron grumbled and crossed his arms stubbornly. He clearly didn't like Harry's logic, but the only way to refute it was to admit that he was angry at them for other reasons. That admittance would happen never.

"How are you feeling? By the way," Ron said out of nowhere.

"Eh? Er, fine. Why?"

Ron's brow creased in concern. "You said you had the vapors earlier. Do you feel better now? You don't look flushed." To Harry's bemusement, the red head placed the back of his hand on Harry's forehead as if to check his temperature.

"Ron. What year is it?"

"Er, nineteen ninety-four," the "duh" remained silent.

"Oh ok. Sorry. Just wanted to make sure the Wizarding World didn't believe itself to be stuck in a time loop of the Victorian Age."

Unsurprisingly this caused Ron to frown at him. "Maybe we should get you to bed. You're not making sense, mate."

Heavy footsteps sounded on the other side of the statue. Ron, instead of just leaving like a normal person, pulled Harry against a giant stone hoof so that they were out of sight of the intruders.

"Momen' I saw yeh, I knew," came Hagrid's distinctive voice.

"What did you know, 'Agrid?" The other voice, Madame Maxime, purred huskily.

Harry and Ron exchanged wide eyed, terrified looks. No no no no NO! Headmistress – Game Keeper action up ahead! Must evacuate! Abandon ship! GTFO!

"Leave! We must leave!" Harry whispered furiously.

"We can't! They'll catch us!" Ron whispered back.

"English and French bonds are about to be solidified and I do not want to be a part of this international union!"

"Shoosh Harry! We just – we just have to wait it out."

"Nuuuu!" the raven haired boy silently wailed, covering his eyes and shaking his head in denial. "My inn-o-cence!"

As it turned out, what transpired was not a heavy people heavy petting session, but the revelation that their dear friend Hagrid was half-giant. As far as pick up lines went, this probably wouldn't go on the Top 10 board. Madame Maxime certainly didn't seem impressed, especially when Hagrid asked what side of the family she had inherited her Giant-ness from.

"'Ow dare you!" she shrieked. She looked as if she were one more "giant" comment away from slapping Hagrid's beard off. "I 'ave nevair been more insulted in my life! 'Alf-giant? Moi? I 'ave – I 'ave big bones!"

A snort escaped before Harry could hold it in. "Her big bones are made of lies. If she's not half-giant then I'm Shaquille O' Neil. And let me tell you something Ron I can shoot a free throw when I want to." (4)

Madam Maxime stormed off in a flurry of purple floofy robes, and Harry and Ron took this chance to skedaddle back to the Ball.

"Half-giant, huh?" Harry said once he and Ron settled at one of the empty tables against the wall. "I guess that makes sense."

"So you didn't know either?" Harry nodded. Ron looked at him askance.

"What's that face for?"

"Er, I mean, you don't mind?"

"'Course not. Why would I?"

Ron gave a brief history on exactly why he should mind. Giants, like werewolves and vampires, didn't have the best reputation in the Wizarding World and were shamelessly discriminated against. Ron didn't say it in those words, of course, but Harry could read between the lines.

"What's any of that got to do with Hagrid? Who is not vicious or man eating, I should remind you."

"I know that, but…blimey, I can see why he'd keep it quiet."

"Yeah. I can too." Harry eyed Ron pointedly, who smiled sheepishly in return. "Well, all giants can't be all bad. I find it hard to believe that anyone could make Hagrid and have a mean disposition."

"Make Hagrid – bloody hell Harry! I don't wanna think about that!"

"It's an inter-race, in yo face, relationship Ron. Accept it."

"I do! Would you stop talking about it though, please?"

When the Weird Sisters finished playing at midnight, everyone gave them a last, loud round of applause and started to wend their way into the entrance hall. Harry saw Parvati pass them by with a flock of boys from various schools trailing her. He wished she and her new harem good health and longevity. They finally saw what became of her sister Padma, and she looked far from upset to have been split up from Ron. She and another boy were walking and talking in hushed whispers; Padma occasionally giggling and slapping his arm playfully. All of Harry's Ron/Padma dreams were officially destroyed.

Harry's deranged shipping fantasies aside, the night overall went very nicely. He could've done without Ron and Hermione's little spat, but he knew that was mild in comparison to the Crookshanks – Scabbers argument of 93'. And after the little chat he and Ron had, they may even be on speaking terms with each other.

'There isn't a better Christmas gift,' Harry thought contently as he snuggled into the blankets of his four poster bed, 'than your friends not killing each other at the end of the day.'

End Chapter


1 Wet Selkie – also known as Wet Seal to us American muggles. To tell the truth, they have cheap products sold for equally cheap prices, at least the stores in my area do. I guess Wet Selkie is comprised of a bunch of rip off artists.

2 Vanity by Christina Agulera. What? Come on, it was funny! WHAT!?

3 Ligabis – Latin for tie. According to Google Translate – the most reliable translating system on google earth in the google milkyway galaxy. Fun fact: foreign representatives use Google Translate during UN meetings. Fun Fact 2: That was a lie. Stop listening to the things I say.

4 Shaquille O' Neil – former Basketball player that used to play for the Lakers. Known for his inability to shoot free throws. I think I just dated myself.

To see my inspiration for the Vengence Dress TM, check out this link. Remove spaces and place dots accordingly:

www DOT dhgate DOT com / product / new-design-red-lace-prom-dress-sheath-full / 148326598 DOT html

End Notes:

Just for the record, a looooooooooooooooong time ago (pre 2008 to be exact) when I used to have pipe dreams about posting my own 4th year re-do fic but didn't have balls to do it, I had the fiery affects for Harry's date (who fluctuated between a bunch of female Harry Potter characters) in mind. I actually got the idea from another 4th year re-do fic, where Luna Lovegood was Harry's date and had blue flamey decorations. So, there you have it. I wasn't copying the Hunger Games…I was copying some Ffnet author that I don't recall the name of.

Suck it Katniss! O.O

So my delicious readers. I rise from the grave again! But you cannot end that which was never dead!

Anyone who's read my little bloggy has seen my apologies for the extra late chapter and my excuses, but I say again: I'm soooooooooooooooo sorrrrrrrrrrrrry!

I absolutely adore all the feedback. There aren't enough words in the English Dictionary to express proper gratitude. They get me through the bad times, and keep the good times going. It may not seem like much, but knowing I made you all give a soft chuckle or explosive, embarrassing guffaws in public really makes writing this and other fanfics worth the effort.

Which is why I've got a three-fer this time!


Mabidiso: Very looooong review (yes. I'm a sucker for long reviews). I didn't have Hedwig or Neville escort Harry there in the end, but I hope their respective cameos were enough to sate your need ;). And just between you, me and everyone else, I am seeing the potential for Neville/Harry, if for no other reason than that pair is not popular enough. But who knows! ::moonwalks away mysteriously:: O.O

SilentSnowLeopardNinja: Ahem…you fooled me my good chum. I dunno if it was your intention, but I was totally preparing for a massive Flame (eye rolling and exasperated sighing and all). But what do I get instead? Happiness! Well played Ninja, well played. ::golf clap::

DarkPirateKing69: One of my NON-slash soldiers. I feel I have to say again that I am very happy that you see the story beyond the slashy parts. So cheers to you, sir! You get the honorary non-slasher medal of honor! :D

Before I toddle off, hopefully not to disappear for nearly a year again, I'd like to give a SUPER SPECIAL YOUTHFUL THANKS to AmniIsRoving! She has been poking and prodding me continuously to get this chapter out. Never giving up even when I did my vanishing act into the shadows for months at a time. You were definitely an inspiration my friend! ::massive huggle:: So, everyone go to her author page to thank her. XD

And so I say…not Sayonara, but see you soon. Because this fic is not abandoned, it's too much fun to write at this point. And I humbly request you all do the same. Don't abandon me either. I have issues. You know it's true; the proof is in this entire fanfic. Pity a wooooooooooooomaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnn aloooooooooooooooooooooone.

Lot's o' love!