Disclaimer: I hold no ownership over the original source material with which my fanfiction is based on. Those who do own it are much, much wealthier than I am.

Author's Note: I've been working on my other stories A Brave New World and Matchmaking Granger, and while doing them I've kept going back to the Triwizard tournament in my mind. That book was obviously the main turning point in the series as it was an awakening to not only the danger of their world, but the year that all the young men and women(main characters at least) began to notice their attraction to one another. From there I imagined what would happen if the first task had gone just a little bit differently.

For dates and events I'm using the calendar at HP Lexicon. I am using the book as my reference, but there may be one or two scenes that are influenced by the movie.

UPDATE 3-2-2013: Edits made to chapter and slight alterations to certain parts.

Shifting Winds

Chapter 1: A Subtle Shift of Winds

A Bad November Day

November 24, 1994, a cold and wet day, was not a good day for Harry Potter.

Harry originally considered the selection of champions on Halloween to be the worst day of the school year up until this particular moment in time. Then again the young man had considered each day until this moment to be "on par", as Uncle Vernon would say, with that day.

From out of nowhere he felt the loss of wind at his back and his not-to-considerable lead. The next moment he found himself approaching the rough surface of the makeshift arena at an increasing speed.

This sudden shift of wind gave him a moment's pause to think over why he was in this particular situation.

He began to wonder why he had agreed to Professor Moody's suggestion to try and outfly a dragon, a Hungarian Horntail no less. Hermione had been apprehensive to say the least, but relented when they found out that the beast would be shackled in some way. Then of course the restraints holding the dragon had snapped leading to his current predicament.

The chase had left visible scars on two of the towers of the castle and part of the bridge leading to the Divination tower, his Firebolt was most likely in bad shape, his left shoulder was bleeding badly, and there was a very good chance he was about to die.

The ground was even harder than he realized it would be.

He could tell that a few ribs were broken and that he more than likely had a few fractures in his left arm from the landing.

The sound of the stadium was sucked out as he stood and looked to the egg and then to the stands. He could see Hermione, she was crying and screaming in his direction, and then he saw Ron who was copying Hermione.

He felt himself moving through the air again. His best guess was the tail must have hit him. But his thoughts cleared as he hit the ground again. This time he came to rest over a rock next to the nest. He felt something hard under his arm, which is without a doubt broken now.

'The Egg', he thought to himself with a small smile. The smile hurt as he felt sweat mixing into the blood coming from the cuts on his face.

Sound came back then. The mother dragon approached him fast and reared back her head to spit fire. His instincts pushed past the pain as his wand was in his hand.

"Protego," He said with a hoarse voice. The shield appeared in time, but it did not stop the heat from leaving blisters on his exposed hand and left him praying to every deity, and a few he might have made up, that he could remember.

Suddenly the heat wass gone, and there were screams and a faint keening wheeze as the dragon slumped from the barrage of stunners that came from the trainers. Harry felt his tenuous grip on his magic slip and then rebound like a rubber band. He watched, more than felt, as the shield seemed to concave as it snapped towards him. He felt a concussive wave hit him, which left any hope of remaining conscious a far gone wish.

From that point there was only noise in uncertain intervals. He could hear Hagrid screaming at someone. There was crying coming from somewhere next to him. Madame Pomfrey was always there telling people to stay away. Dumbledore and McGonagall's voices came and went. He heard yelling from someone. The last sound though was Hermione.

"You're…be okay Harry. You…to be okay. Please…" The girl's voice broke in between sobs.

Waking Up

When Harry began to leave his deep sleep and return to consciousness it was in small burst of his senses.

The first of which was horrible taste in his mouth. There was bile, acidic flavor mixed with the residue of potions.

The next instant he heard a purring noise from somewhere above him and it's echo bouncing off stone walls as the only sound. He reached out to find a table to his left and found his surprisingly intact glasses. He opened his eyes to look at the source, while noticing it was dark in the room. There above him, Crookshanks sat on the window sill that overlooked what was most certainly "Harry's" bed in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts. The intelligent eyes of his best friend's familiar seemed to offer him a relieved welcome back from sleep.

The next thing he noticed was the distinct and unfamiliar feeling of someone weighing down his right arm. Hermione was there hunched over his bed from the chair she was sitting on, and was quite noticeably fast asleep.

From this close he could smell the slight aroma of peppermint that always followed her.

"Ah you've decided to rejoin us in the waking world have you Mr. Potter?" The whispered voice of Madame Pomfrey caught his attention. The woman stood off to his left with a tray in her hand and a slight smile gracing her features. "You gave us quite the scare young men … and none have taken it harder than that young woman," she started as she set the tray on the cart next to his bed, "Poor dear, she refused to leave the ward. Promised that if they tried to take her away she would just see to it that she was injured the moment she left, and would be required to stay here with you."

"What! Hermione…" Harry started.

"Shh…calm your voice Mr. Potter," The woman whispered with a finger coming up to her mouth, "the girl hasn't slept much in the six days you've been in here."

"Six days?" Harry asked wide eyed.

"Yes…" Madame Pomfrey rolled her eyes as she shifted items around the tray," and you're lucky. We lost you for a nearly three minutes before I was even able to begin working on you," she replied with tight look to her face, "luckily you came back on your own accord and I was able to stabilize you. Due to the amount of fractures, lacerations, internal soft tissue damage, bleeding, and depletion of your magical core I was forced to slowly treat you. I had to watch much more closely the use of what potions I could apply as well as how they would react to healing spells than I usually would." She paused to pour a dose of one of the potions into a vial before she looked at him again. "Fortunately, it would seem, when your heart restarted your body did as well. Your magical core began to strengthen and recuperate. Your magic helped the healing process much more than I would have been able to given the circumstances. A defense mechanism it would seem."

"Oh!…I…thank you…" Harry once again tried to begin again.

"No need Mr. Potter. It is my job and my pleasure to help the students of this school…I just wish I didn't have to see you in particular so much." She smiled as she handed him the vial. "This should help with the taste in your mouth. A special treat I learned to make while in residency at St. Mungos to help with 'Potion Breath', enjoy." The woman began to turn and leave, but tilted her head back to Harry and said, "It's funny I remember coming in to find a similar scene two years ago when Ms. Granger had been petrified," She threw him another smile, "A friend asleep in a chair watching over a loved one." As soon as the healer stepped into her office he tilted the vial up and drank the contents, and was surprised to find a wash of cool melon flavor take over his mouth.

His movement had apparently been enough to rouse his friend from her sleep.

As she lifted her head he was able to see the comprehension dawn on her face that he was in fact awake. Like a flash his vision was suddenly obscured by a bushy mane of chestnut hair and her face was pressed into the crook between his neck and shoulder. Her arms were around him as she pulled him closer to her as she sobbed openly into his skin. His own arms wound around the girl and for one of the few times in his life he openly basked in the comfort of human contact with someone who cared for him. His own eyes began to feel the pressure build from tears.

"Harry." Hermione wailed in a long drawn out breath. "You're…you're."

"I'm here Hermione." He said as he placed his cheek to the crown of her head and inhaled that crisp peppermint smell. "I'm okay…I swear."

They sat like that for a while as Hermione's sobs became less frequent.

A long mewl brought their attention back to the fact that they were not actually alone. They both turned their eyes to the half-kneazle seated on the window sill.

"Yes, Harry is back with us Crooks." Hermione said to the feline. The animal answered with another mewl before hopping from his perch onto the bed next to Harry. Crookshanks then, in an unprecedented show of affection for someone other than Hermione, nuzzled Harry's head before hopping off the bed and walking towards the bed next to them where a saucer of milk was waiting on the ground. Harry then looked at the bed next to him. On it sat books, scrolls, a bag, and a few sweaters. The young man turned his head to Hermione.

"You didn't have to stay here Hermione." He said giving her a soft look.

Hermione's face hardened slightly as she looked to the bed holding her belongings.

"Yes, I did Harry...You…Madame Pomfrey didn't know at first." The girl began, "You died, Harry. You died." Her eyes began to tear up again, but the girl had a strong set to her shoulders. "Things got bad after Madame Pomfrey stabilized you Harry. People got angry…really angry." She took a deep breath. "Everyone was trying to get us to say something…and trying to pull me away from this bed…and I…I snapped." She shifted to sit facing him, and he caught the blush on her face. "I don't remember exactly everything I said…just that everyone backed away from me and then Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, and the Headmaster all said I would be allowed to stay here as long as I wanted." She finished with a shy smile. "Apparently word reached the others in the dorm." She motioned to the other bed. "Parvati, Ginny, and Lavender brought some clothes and books for me. There's a bathroom behind the door over there and the house elves have been bringing food. So I've stayed here since."

Harry stared at his best friend and felt the pressure begin to build behind his eyes again. He gave her a smile and a quick squeeze on her hand, but then he let his face turn serious as a thought overtook the moment.

"You…Hermione Granger have intentionally skived off classes and used the horribly barbaric system of slavery that is the house elf system just to stay by my side?" He did his best to keep the smirk on his face from growing into a full grin.

"You!..." Hermione let out an indignant squawk of protest before allowing a grin to grace her features. "I will admit to learning a few things I previously did not about the House Elf system…and no, I did not attend classes, but I've been given all the work except for Potions." She finished with the grin turning into a self-satisfied smile.

"Marvelous…like Snape is going to be understanding about the situation." Harry said with a roll of his eyes.

"Actually Harry…He is." She continued on despite the look of disbelief he knew was on his face. "Harry he was really quiet during the whole mess. He helped Madame Pomfrey apply all the Pickled Murtlap and Dittany to your burns and cuts. The entire time he had an odd look on his face, and then two days ago he told me to not worry about our work…that it would be excused. He then told me to 'get some sleep as it looked as if I needed it.' McGonagall was in here at the time and she looked like she was about to faint when she heard him say that." Her face mirrored Harry's own look of confusion he was sure of it.

"Really…well…huh." As he said this Harry took in the bags under her eyes, remembered what Pomfrey had said, and the pristine nature of the bed next to him. "You really haven't slept, have you?"

"Honestly Harry, of course I've slept!" She replied with a humph of protest, but then she must have noticed his raised eyebrow. "Fine..I've not slept much…but how could I?" she finished with a tired look.

Harry continued to look at her following her question before he came to a decision. He scooted over on the bed and removed the second pillow from under his and placed it next to his on the bed.

"Come on then, you can tell me about how bad things have been since I buggered up the first task." He said with a smile.

"Oh Harry! Language!" She looked to be contemplating his offer before finally shifting to lay on her side next to him, but not quite touching her body to his. She took his hand in hers. "It's been really bad…"

As soon as the dragon had been stunned the Headmaster, Professors, Tournament Officials, Hermione, Ron, Charlie, and a few others rushed to Harry's side. Pomfrey had Hagrid bring Harry to the medical tent where his heart had stopped. In the intervening minutes as Pomfrey and Snape worked to restart his heart Hermione had collapsed with only Ron and Charlie to hold her up. No one bothered to push the mass of people from the tent as they watched Harry's body being hit with spell after spell.

It was when both Healer and Potions Master had nearly collapsed from constant spell use that Harry's eyes had opened and he took a deep breath, before collapsing into unconsciousness again. Rita Skeeter's photographer had chosen that moment to take a picture of the scene.

The flash had brought people from their momentary shock as Pomfrey began casting diagnostic charms and Snape forced potions down Harry's throat. Hagrid had turned on the photographer and grasped the tiny man's camera squishing it in between his fist. The mountain of a man had then forcibly ejected the photographer from the tent with a massive shove, all the while shouting in a near unintelligible version of the English language. Rita Skeeter had looked to intervene, but found Flitwick's wand pressed into her hip and her quick-quotes quill and notebook falling to the ground in cinders.

Bagman had then been grabbed by Charlie Weasley and forcibly pulled from the tent as the stockiest male Weasley began to growl at the man.

Ron had placed Hermione in a chair and stood next to her the entire time, his eyes never leaving Harry's prone form.

As soon as Harry was stabilized they had moved him to the Hospital Wing and then the real problems began. Harry did not seem to be responding to any stimuli and while Madame Pomfrey had never said the word "comatose" everyone was worried.

Charlie and Bill Weasley had come in to tell her that Bagman had apparently used "less-reputable" warders, to strengthen the restraints, than they had originally been informed, and was now being investigated. Charlie had also apologized for his team's inattentiveness of the situation, despite what everyone had been saying the man still felt at fault for the current predicament of Harry. Bill had pulled a near sobbing Charlie from the wing with whispered words of encouragement to Hermione to stay strong.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had both been in multiple times to sit with Hermione. Mrs. Weasley always brought food for Hermione and tried to get the girl to take a few extra minutes of sleep. Mr. Weasley would sit next to Harry and tell the young man about how both Crouch and Bagman were not in good straits at the moment. Then he would talk about the latest things Amos Diggory had said in relation to the situation, boasting that Cedric had spoken with his father about the careless nature of the first task. It would seem that the prideful man they had met in the summer had now taken in Harry's condition and resolutely stood to fight the people who were unwilling to take their rightful blame over the situation.

The Twins and Ginny had come with their parents. Ginny had cried with Hermione for nearly an hour before telling Harry, "I know you're not the hero in those ten knut books, but you're Harry. You are…so much better than those cheap stories…you've saved Hermione and Ron…you've saved me! You fought a bloody Basilisk at twelve! You are going to be fine!" the girl had then sobbed into her father's chest.

The Twins had simply sat with somber looks on their faces. After Ginny's speech George had a small smile.

"You know Harry you really are the world's best seeker…" George had then stared at his twin urging him to continue.

"You…" Fred had paused and allowed a watery smile to take over "you lead a dragon on a chase,"

"get knocked to all hell,"

"and yet you still managed to get your hand on the shiny object." They had finished together.

Mrs. Weasley had then led them out as Ron had come in for his usual time during the day. He had yet to speak when he showed up, but always looked on the verge of hysterically crying. He had finally broken down one day though. His cries of anguish had reached all the way to the main stairwell. His words hadn't been fully cogent, but his sorrow was easy to discern. He had hugged Hermione tightly before leaving with his Mother, who had waited teary-eyed at the door.

Percy Weasley had been the surprise visitor he had kept his eyes to Harry during the entire visit. At first he had simply made the same promise to help figure out who had let the situation come to this. He had then simply stood at the end of Harry's bed and softly recited a Gaelic poem, which Hermione later learned from a smiling Mr. Weasley was a family tradition. To "sing" the poem at the foot of a person's bed signifies remorse and hope for better days.

According to Ginny, Gryffindor had been quiet since the First Task with everyone simply taking care of each other. The younger years who all admitted to being afraid of having nightmares had spent the first two nights sleeping in the common room under the watchful eye of a few prefects. The entire house, especially the upper years, had all taken stock of their treatment of Harry and all vowed to earn his trust again.

The rest of the school had been similarly quiet, with the exception of Malfoy. The blonde ponce had decided to comment on the "pathetic attempt that scarhead had made", unfortunately for him the comments had not created the response he had hoped for. The hall had gone deathly quiet as everyone's eyes turned to him in different states of shock, revulsion, and fury. Then there was the sound of rushing feet. The young Malfoy had found himself braced against a wall being lifted by a particularly strong arm with the wands of the other three champions at his neck. Not one person had been able to hear the whispered words given to the young man, but judging by the stains that were able to be seen down his trousers it was not niceties. He had since been sent home as even the Slytherins had begun to make threats against the boy.

The other three champions had been in to visit him as well. Viktor Krum had stood silently for a time before giving Hermione a small odd smile while shaking his head, and leaving. Fleur had come in with Madame Maxime and apologized about a comment she had made when he was selected, and then given Hermione a surprisingly warm hug. Cedric had come by himself and thanked Harry for his warning and said he expected Harry would want a rematch at quidditch so he would need to wake up. Cedric had then offered Hermione a handshake and a warm comment about her strength as a friend.

Hedwig was usually right outside the window unless she was in flight to Hermione's parents who were both appalled at the entire situation. They had both tried to be granted access to visit Hogwarts, but were not able to gain admission. McGonagall had attempted to retrieve special permission for the Granger parents, but even with Dumbledore's approval the Ministry was too weary over the situationto even contemplate the possibility. Hermione had spent the better part of three letters stating how she would not be leaving Harry's side, but that she was perfectly fine.

McGonagall had come every day, but the first time she had dropped the stern look and wept openly while holding Hermione's hand.

Hagrid had cried from the moment he walked in to the moment he left. The large man had been escorted by the other professors and had left another handmade flute on the nightstand next to Harry's bed. Each professor had left something small next to the bed; Sprout had placed a tiny flower, Flitwick a music box, Trelawney had left a teacup, Sinistra left a charmed glass that showed the night sky, and those that had not had Harry in their classes each left rocks with runes for healing and silent dreams.

Moody had been by once and hadn't stayed long.

Remus had come and explained how it had taken quite a while to calm Sirius enough to not come as well. He had then softly run his hand over Harry's hair before giving Hermione a hug and a smile.

Dumbledore had only been in twice. The first time was to remove Crouch, Fudge, and their entourage from the ward. In a deathly calm voice he had warned them of the consequences stepping one foot into the hospital wing again. The second time he had sat with Hermione for nearly the entire day before finally repeating Remus' actions and complimenting Hermione on being such a fierce friend.

After the incident with Fudge, Madame Pomfrey had locked the ward to only people with ailments and Professors

Harry had sat in shock for a few minutes after Hermione explained the events since his near death.

"That's a lot to take in Hermione." Harry said, "Damn."

"I know Harry." Hermione said through a yawn.

"Well it looks like both of you are up now." The sound of Madame Pomfrey's voice caused them both to jump. "Really you two, this is my ward. Mr. Potter I need to give you a quick diagnostic scan." The woman saw Hermione getting up. "No Ms. Granger, you have finally actually gotten back in a bed…you will stay there while I do this." Hermione settled back down next to Harry as the Medi-witch ran her wand over Harry.

"Interesting…Mr. Potter I believe you will be okay to leave by the start of classes on Monday. Your wounds have healed nicely, even that nasty one on your left shoulder." The woman looked at the two.

"I can see you have been up for most of the night…so I will leave you to sleep, but I am placing my trust in the two of you not to make me regret my decision." The woman's stern glance was met with shocked looks on blushing faces, "In any case best of sleep and I'll replace the privacy screen."

The rattle of the metal rings of the sheet being pulled along the bar left them both staring at the now covered spot where the woman had stood.

Hermione finally laid her head down on the pillow next to his as Harry turned to look at her.

"She said sleep Harry. You're okay, so now I can actually rest easier. So shut it." Hermione said through a very large yawn.

"Yes Ms. Granger," Harry said softly before laying his head down.

Inside Madame Pomfrey's office the medi-witch had her head in her personal Floo.

"Albus he's okay." The woman said.

"He's up Poppy? I'll be right there." The headmaster said as he moved to stand up.

"No, Albus. He was awake, he and Ms. Granger have just laid down to rest." She replied to the man.

"Why did you not come to me when he first woke?" the old man asked.

"Because Albus, the young man had someone with him, someone we both know wouldn't have allowed anyone else to get too close now that she just got him back." The woman said with a smile.

"Yes…I do believe you're right Poppy." He replied with his own smile. "Is he okay?"

"Yes, Albus. He is…very well actually. His core is recovering faster than it ever has before and he seems to be healing at a remarkable rate. I will say he can rejoin the world on Monday." She replied, "Albus I believe something is different about him…I can't explain it but the boy looked…lighter?"

"How do you mean Poppy?"

"I'm not sure. He and Ms. Granger have been talking for quite a while, and I only spoke to him for maybe ten minutes. But the boy seemed…different…that is all I can say sir. Come by in a few hours as I'm sure they will wake sometime before noon."

"I will do that Poppy…and why don't you get some rest as well friend." The old man gave a knowing look the witch, who blushed and shook her head.

"I will Headmaster." She said while pulling her head from the green flames.

Amidst all the healing cuts, bruises, and burns that had overtaken the young man's body it was no surprise that no one noticed the scabbing over of the one scar he was famous for as he slept next to a bushy haired girl.

From the Author: I'm stepping away from my comfort zone with this one. I'm usually a strict "after-the-battle-before-the-epilogue" writer, but this one really wouldn't leave me alone. I'm in the middle of editing the final part of my Matchmaking Granger story and this just kept flicking my ear. I've got about half of the story fully planned and the other part is at least summarized. This was actually a short chapter as most of it was just summarizing events after the first task. The others should be between 5000 and 10,000 words apiece. What do you think of it? Any blaringly obvious screw ups on my part?

~A Vagrant Boy~