Heya! Thanks for all of your positive reviews, alerts and favourites for the last chapter! I'm so glad so many of you liked it, it was a risky idea! So, this chapter is released in honour of the Apocalyptour's release on iTunes but although it was taken down soon after, I can still count it as a valid reason to post! This doesn't mean that I will only be updating on important Starkid dates, I just thought today would be a good day to post it! If you are following me, well done!
So, sit back, read and enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters, all rights reserved to JK Rowling, and any of the dialogue which you recognise from the musical (which will be most of it), all rights reserved to Matt and Nick Lang and those who helped write it!
Mudbloods and murmurs. Two things that Harry hated. Well he didn't hate the former, he just hated the word. In fact, one of his best friends Hermione was Muggle born. Murmurs, or rumours or mutterings was what bothered Harry to an alarming degree. Over the last year, it was a good precaution for him to assume that all the murmurs he had heard about him. It was a sad but well known fact that, these days, the majority were indeed about him. And he hated it.
As he packed his trunk once again in the Leaky Cauldron on the morning of 1st September, he could hear hushed whispers coming from outside his room. As he hate his breakfast with a more than normal cheery Ron and a smiling Hermione, the less said about Ginny the better, he could hear hushed voices on the other side of the room. The car ride there was not as annoying but as soon as he reached Platform 9 ¾, he could hear them again.
"Come on! We'll miss the train!" Hermione's voice broke the train of thought in Harry's head and, having put his luggage on board already, he clambered aboard as the final whistle went and the train shuddered before starting to move.
It wasn't far to find his compartment and, after Ron had rather rudely evicted Ginny from the compartment, they settle down. The journey to Hogwarts was long and uneventful. That was if you didn't count the sweets incident. What was it with Harry, the Hogwarts Express and the sweet lady? Something seemed to happen each year. Last year, it was the fact that a Death Eater had Imperiused her and almost killed him. This year the issue was Redvines. Undoubtedly the best Muggle and magical sweet today, it could do anything. However it seemed that everyone else on the train before the trio had gaged this phenomenon and there were none left by the time the sweet lady had reached them.
"What do you mean there aren't any left?" Ron sounded like a lost puppy, almost on the verge of tears. "Can't you just magic some more up?"
Hermione sighed, she had told Ron the reason why she couldn't create more, wasn't Gants Law of Elemental Transfiguration easy enough to understand? It was so easy, how come no one knew about it? But a warning look and a small shake of the head from Harry stopped Hermione from telling the truth.
"I don't know Ron." She spoke helplessly, she was a good actor.
Ron sniffed. "But you're you Herman, you must know."
Hermione smiled. Despite their protests and constant teasing, the boys really did rely on Hermione to get them through the year, quite literally. "Okay, I do know but I know that you know that you don't want to hear it."
Ron huffed but she was right, he didn't particularly want to hear it right now. So he resigned himself to a packet of Twizzlers, several Chocolate Frogs and a new type of sweet called Toffee Crispy which was like the Muggle version but had popping candy in the middle as well. They were a good and new find and the trio had plenty of fun with them.
The hours went by and they all got changed, the sky becoming darker and the woods thicker. As they pulled into Hogsmeade station, the chatter of the students moved from the compartments swiftly into the corridors and they abandoned their belongings to make their way over to the carriages that would take them up to the castle. Hogwarts was as dazzling as they had remembered it. Its towering turrets dominated the skyline and the sunset, with its soft pastel shades of rainbow, provided a backdrop to what could be a fairy tale castle that Muggle children would read about in books. The gates swung noiselessly open and the carriages kept going, no need for words to pass between the trio as they soaked in the splendour of what was before them.
It was strange not going as first years with Hagrid across the lake and being there before the midgets but it was fun all the same to truly experience what they would be doing for the rest of their lives. Having done some pretty heroic stuff, it was not surprising that Harry was greeted by many of his fellow Gryffindors of many different years. His most surprising and confusing revelation, was the lack of Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas, two of his fellow Gryffindors in his year. No matter how hard he or Ron looked, they could not find the dark skinned Cockney and the gangly Irish boys.
Surprisingly, unlike last year, the Sorting Hat and the Scarf of Sexual Preference were nowhere to be seen. Instead, student had just been placed at random tables and, unsurprisingly but Ron was cursing under his breath, Ginny was with the Gryffindors. Once they had all settled down, Dumbledore stood up to speak. He had a cheerful smile on his face and his eyes seemed to sparkle with delight.
"Welcome to another magical year at Hogwarts." He glanced over to Harry. "And a very special welcome to my favourite student, Mr Harry Potter!" Ron had managed to get some food already without the tables filling up, but he joined in the cheering and Harry smiled graciously. "He beat Voldemort when he was just a baby. He's even got that little lightning scar to prove it." Harry grinned as Ron patted him on the back and a few people threw grins at him. "And another special welcome to the newest member of Gryffindor: Mr," Dumbledore stumbled momentarily, "sorry, Mrs Ginny Weasley!"
Ginny stood, unsure of whether to be annoyed at being told she looked like a man, pleased at being singled out by the headmaster or confused as she was most of the time. She decided to go with the last one. "Yeah, I'm a girl." Then she spoke the thought that most people had been wondering. "And, aren't we supposed to be sorted by the Sorting Hat?"
It was a fair question, finally Ginny was actually making sense for once but Dumbledore's smile remained wide. He beamed at Ginny who tentatively smiled back; she wasn't so sure about him. "Well a funny thing happened to the Sorting Hat. He actually got hitched with another piece of enchanted magical clothing. So he and Scarf of Sexual Preference aren't going to be back until next year." Ginny looked slightly put out by the potential existence of such a thing so she just sat down quite quickly again. "Basically I've just been putting anyone who looks like a good guy into Gryffindor, anyone who looks like a bad guy into the Slytherin and the other two can just go wherever the heck they want, I don't really care."
Stupid Cedric Diggory then chose that particular moment to stand up and proclaim himself in front of the whole school. "Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders!"
A murmur ran throughout the hall. Huff-what? "What the heck is a Hufflepuff?" Dumbledore echoed the question of everyone and Cedric shrugged before sitting down. Wait, even he didn't know? How stupid was that? There was an awkward silence before Dumbledore continued. "Anyway it's time now for me to introduce my very good friend, our own Potions Professor, Mr Severus Snape!"
General quiet applause reigned throughout the hall but Ron rolled his eyes. "Aw man, Snape? I'd hoped they'd fired that guy."
Ginny frowned and leaned down to Ron. "What's wrong with Professor Snape?"
Ron rolled his eyes and looked at her as if she was stupid. "Uh, nothing, he's just evil!"
Snape stalked into the room, all eyes on him as he swept about in his usual manner, his cold dark eyes piercing each and every student's soul, making most people feel pretty uncomfortable. Trying to avoid the intense gaze of the Potions Professor, Harry tried to defend him, though he wasn't quite sure why. "Come on Ron, he's not that bad."
It was as if Snape was a bat. He seemed to be able to hear across the Great Hall as well as a normal classroom which wasn't as difficult. "HARRY POTTER!" Silence fell and all knew that this couldn't go well; the hatred between the two wasn't disguised. "Detention."
"What?" Harry was astounded; it was barely the beginning of the year.
Snape rolled his eyes and drawled in his slow, nasal voice. "For talking out of term." Harry sat down dejectedly, okay he took back whatever nice things he had just said about Snape, and he was an evil git. Snape swished his cloak and was away. "Now before we begin, I'm going to give you all your very, very first pop quiz!" Rubbing his fingers together evilly, many a sigh echoed throughout the Great Hall, only a handful of Ravenclaws and Hermione were excited by this idea. "Can anyone tell me what a Portkey is?" A Port-what? Harry thought as Hermione's hand shot up, narrowly missing his glasses. "Yes Miss Granger."
Hermione looked positively bursting to tell the answer and she smiled as she answered, very, very quickly. "A Portkey is an enchanted object that will transport one or two wizards to anywhere in the world decided upon by the enchanter."
Say what? Harry, who was sitting next to her, couldn't understand so it was no wonder that most people also looked confused. Snape however, let what seemed to be the starts of a smile creep onto his face. "Very good. Now can anyone tell me what foreshadowing is?" Harry had definitely heard the term before but, like those around him who might have had a clue, he was once again out shadowed and almost slapped by Hermione's raised and quivering hand. "Yes, Miss Granger."
Hermione seemed to be speaking faster and faster as she went along. "Foreshadowing is a dramatic device in which an important plot point is mentioned earlier in the story to return later in a more significant way."
That sounded as if it had come straight out of a dictionary, was Hermione secretly a walking, talking, annoying dictionary? "Perfect!"
Ron, as per usual but it did get slightly annoying at times, hadn't been listening. "What's a Portkey again? I missed that."
Hermione, ever eager to tell anyone who would listen, leant over. Harry could never remember why they all sat in a line; it would be so much easier if one of them sat across from the other two. "Oh, a Portkey –"
Ron sighed and cut across her. "No not you."
Hermione continued anyway and, just like most of the time, the two boys tuned out and back into what anyone else except her was saying. Snape was talking yet again and Harry wasn't sure whether to be annoyed that Snape was still alive or grateful that he could be lulled into sleep by Snape's voice rather than be made constantly nervous by Hermione's rattle. "And remember, a Portkey can be any sort of simply harmless object like a football, a dolphin."
Another voice piped up from the Ravenclaw table. "Professor, can like a person be a Portkey?"
The very idea seemed to repulse Snape as he answered immediately. "No, that's absurd. Because then if a person were to touch themselves," he seemed to look pointedly at somewhere in the Gryffindor table but Harry wasn't sure, trying to work out how infuriating that would be, "they would constantly be transported into different places." He paused, as if contemplating whether to say the next thing but decided to go along with it anyway. "A person however, can be a Horcrux."
Harry spoke the thought that was going through everyone's minds, even Hermione. "What's a Horcrux?"
Snape had his twisted smile back on his face as he faced Harry. "I'm not going to tell you Harry, you'll find out soon enough."
Hermione, ever the curious and continuously annoying, chose that moment to speak up, yet again. "Professor, what is the point of this quiz?"
Was there ever a point to them? The question was on both Harry and Ron's minds as Snape shrugged nonchalantly. "Oh no, no, no, no point in particular. Just important information that everyone should know, especially you." he pointed to a random student who suddenly looked rather frightened and a) the prospect of being singled out by Snape which could lead to disaster and b) it couldn't mean anything good for them anyway. "Moving right along. There are four houses in all: Gryffindor," a raucous and roof-raising cheer rose from the table, solidly lead by Ron, "Ravenclaw," a few cheers and whistles rose up, "Hufflepuff."
Cedric stood up once more, what was his freaking problem? "FIND!"
Snape looked a little affronted. "What? And Slytherin." A few banging on the table and whoops let everyone know that the Slytherins were present. "Now traditionally, points are given for good behaviour and deducted for rule breaking. Example, ten points from Gryffindor!" murmurs and small protests broke out from the Gryffindor table, what had they done now? "For Miss Granger's excessive knowledge."
Ron and Harry sighed and looked at each other, how many points were they going to lose because their best friend was the smartest girl in the whole school. "Thanks Hermione." They both said at the same time, slumping slightly.
Snape carried on as if nothing had happened. "Traditionally the house with the most points at the end of the year would win the house cup. However this year we're doing this a bit differently." He smiled 'the creepy smile' that made Harry feel rather uncomfortable. "Here to introduce it is our new Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts: Professor Quirrell."
The side door opened to reveal a very strange man and Harry suddenly got very sharp pains burning his scar. He was thin with small dark brown eyes to match his hair, most of which you couldn't see because of the large turban he was wearing. It was a strange purple and Harry was immediately wary of it. There was something that was definitely not right, despite Dumbledore having had to decide between this guy and the others. Actually, Harry knew that this guy had to be good if Dumbledore had appointed him. "The house cup," his voice was as twitching and stuttering as his hands and his eyes darted around the room, trying not to make eye contact with anyone, "a time honoured tradition. For centuries it –"
He was loudly and rudely interrupted by a call from the Slytherin table. "Go home terrorist!"
Immediately, despite the pains in his scar, Harry wanted to defend the Professor as he clearly was a friend of Dumbledore's and he would bet anything that the voice had belonged to Malfoy. But he didn't want to lose any more house points so resigned himself to staring at Malfoy with utter loathing.
Slightly recovered, but not completely, from the interruption, Professor Quirrell spoke once more. "For centuries, the four houses of Hogwarts have competed for the honour and glory of holding the title of House Champions. But where does this competition come from and what are the roots of this tradition?"
It was a rhetorical question, but everyone except Hermione seemed to realise this. Calling out from the Gryffindor table, she answered the question. "The House Cup Tournament began with the first generation of Hogwarts students."
Everyone stared at her, no one had known that but they hadn't cared at all. "That was a rhetorical question." Professor Quirrell seemed to fail at putting any authority into his voice and if he was going to continue to ask questions, Ron and Harry were in for an insufferable year.
Dumbledore frowned at Hermione. "Granger, quit interrupting, 20 more points from Gryffindor." Ugh, Harry could swear that they were going to be on minus points by the end of the year merely from Hermione being a smart-ass know-it-all.
Ron glared at Hermione in his usual fashion. "Thanks Hermione."
Sometimes Harry felt rather glad that he was in between the two of his best friends. If they were next to each other, sparks would definitely fly. Professor Quirrell tried to start again. "As I was going to say, when the tournament first originated, it was one of a completely different sort. One champion from each of the four houses would compete in a series of challenges and tasks. The winner would not only win the cup but would win eternal glory.
Hermione really couldn't keep her mouth shut. She was muttering again and then spoke out to the lamentation of many of her fellow Gryffindors. "Much like a…a Triwizard Tournament!"
She looked very pleased with herself but she was the only one. She was even worse than last year and that had been saying something. Professor Quirrell stared at her momentarily, as if trying to read her mind before speaking. "Yes sort of like a Triwizard Tournament. Except no! Not like that at all! There are four houses, how can it be the Triwizard Tournament with four teams?"
Harry was seriously considering trying to close Hermione's mouth with magic but decided against it as he didn't know how to and put his hands over his ears as she rattled on again. "Well if I remember correctly, the house cup tournament was abandoned after one term when one student was killed during the first task."
Wait, killed? That made Harry sit up. That would mean it would be so much more fun to see people he hated die! "Yes, it is dangerous. But the awards far outweigh the risks."
Hermione was getting rather heated about this; she really did know her stuff and how to tick everyone off. "I don't think you heard me correctly, I just said somebody died!"
Dumbledore finally took pity on the rest of the school and decided to intervene before this got nasty. "Hermione Granger shut your ungodly lopsided mouth and quit interrupting, 20 more points."
Now they'd lost 50 points before anyone had had a chance to gain any? "Thanks Hermione!" Ron and Harry both muttered, really she could be such a jerk at times!
Dumbledore paused for thought. "For the cleverest witch of your age, you really can be a dumbass sometimes." Laughter echoed around the room, it was true though. Dumbledore smiled as if he had managed to tell himself a private joke. "Ten points to Dumbledore."
Professor Quirrell was starting to look rather agitated now and hastily carried on. "Yes, yes, it will be very dangerous but the winner will be remembered as a hero for ages to come. And, as Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, I think this practical application is exactly what the curriculum needs –"
His speech was cut off by a large sneeze that seemed to come from his direction, but no one owned up. Dumbledore moved towards him cautiously, warningly. "Did your turban just sneeze?"
Professor Quirrell seemed to go a deep shade of red very quickly and looked at his feet like a naughty school boy. "No, no."
Dumbledore tilted his head, thinking. "I could have sworn I heard a sneeze coming from your direction but your mouth wasn't moving."
Quirrell nodded, noting this. "No, no, that was simply…a fox!" he started to move very swiftly towards the Gryffindor table as he or his turban, Harry wasn't quite sure, kept sneezing. But as he got closer, the pain started again. It was like lightning hitting him over and over again, a constant stabbing pain that wouldn't go away. He couldn't ignore it and Harry clutched his scar, Ron and Hermione for once stopping their argument and looking at him with concern. "I must be going to sort it out, good night!"
And with that, he sped out of the Great Hall, his face as white as a sheet. Dumbledore, shaking himself a little, moved back to take centre stage. "Well, there it is, the newly erected House Cup. Now a champion will be selected from each house to compete." Snape suddenly re-appeared with a beautiful cup that glistened with gold and had silver 'H' emblazoned on the side. "So Snape, if you will do the honours."
Snape had an evil grin on his face that Harry did not like. "Yes headmaster." He dug his hand into the cup and pulled out a piece of paper. "First, from the Ravenclaw house: Miss Cho Chang!"
Cho stood up and clapped her hands with joy, Harry wistfully hoping that she didn't die. "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I've won y'all." She moved out from the Ravenclaw table and went to go and stand at the end of the teacher's table.
Snape pulled the next piece of paper. "Next, from Hufflepuff," an evil smirk overcame his face and suddenly Harry liked where he thought this was going, "Mr Cedric Diggory."
The complete git stood up and moved as he talked, ugh he was so creepy. "Well I don't FIND this surprising at all."
Cho smiled at him as he joined her. "Neither do I, it means I get to spend more time with my beloved boyfriend."
Cedric had this crazed look on his face. "I'm glad as well." And then, in front of the whole school, he leant over and kissed her on the cheek, making Harry fume inside.
Snape clearly wanted to get out of that situation as quickly as possible and picked another piece of paper from the cup. "Next, from Slytherin house: Draco Malfoy!"
There was a shout of joy as Draco practically jumped to his feet and raced over the Gryffindor table where he tried to loom over Harry and ended up falling over. "Huh, I finally beat you, didn't I Potter? What do you think of that? I'm the champion this time!"
Dumbledore looked thoroughly annoyed and called over to Draco. "Draco would you come and stand here, champion is just a title."
Snape was getting restless and moved on to the last contestant. "And finally from the Gryffindor house." There was a sharp intake of breath from Snape as a wide smirk spread across his face. "My, isn't this curious? The one person in the whole of Hogwarts whom I have a well-known grudge against is the champion in a tournament where he may nearly die."
Seriously, what was it with Gryffindor speaking out today? Harry turned as Neville jumped up, what did he want? "If it's me, I don't really mind, no one really cares."
Snape frowned, an icily stare on his face. "Sit down you inarticulate bumblebee. It's Harry Potter!"
Immediately, the Gryffindor table burst into cheers. Whether it was gladness that it wasn't them that had been chosen, or genuine happiness for Harry, the table was a cacophony of noise. Ron was leading the cheer and even Hermione had a strained smile on her face as Harry got up and made his way to the front.
Making them stand to face the rest of the school, Dumbledore smiled. "Well here we are folks, the four Hogwarts champions. Now I want all of you to start preparing immediately because the first task is in two months and it could be anything. So let's get to it!"
Cheers rose up as each of the Hogwarts champions bowed and made their way back to their respective houses, the names rising up over the cacophony of adulation as the food arrived. This was going to be the best year, ever.
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