Allure Immune Harry
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Harry frowned in concentration at the blonde witch in front of him as he tried to figure out why everyone around her seemed moments away from drooling. He couldn't really come up with an answer.
She was pretty, he'd give her that. She also appeared to be quite aware of how to make use of what she had, so he could understand that she would be labeled as 'obviously attractive', but she wasn't drool-worthy, was she?
Which made it even stranger when some of the girls around her began to adopt the same glazed looks that the boys had.
Ron was completely out of it, ignoring the food in front of him in a way that made Harry feel distinctly worried for an imminent apocalypse. Hermione was also following her with her eyes, but appeared more self-conscious than anything. As if she was finding herself slightly jealous that she couldn't make the boys react like that.
Harry tried to think of an answer to all this bizarreness that surrounded him, but couldn't really figure one out. He hadn't been this confused since Ron had jumped out of his seat during the Quidditch World Cup.
That thought made him pause. Ron had only reacted like that because there had been veelas involved, and whilst Harry hadn't been able to figure out what was attractive about the bird-like creatures who looked just about ready to chew his face off, he had been told that they had something called an 'allure' which would cause most men to react strangely.
Was it possible to be part-veela? Harry wondered quietly to himself. Being able to breed outside of the human species would certainly explain why Professor Flitwick was so short, or Hagrid so big, and magic was most likely involved so it was doubtful that it was impossible.
Nodding silently to himself at his logical assumption, Harry looked again at the blonde part-veela witch, only to find that she was staring at him with a small frown.
Harry blinked, not having expected that someone would be paying attention to him for seemingly no reason, but then she sniffed loudly before taking her seat, ignoring his existence.
Harry paused for a moment, trying to replay the last few moments in his head, before arriving at the obvious conclusion. The blonde was a woman. Obviously, she wasn't supposed to make sense.
Satisfied with his answer, Harry turned his attention to the food, taking advantage of his iron-stomached friend's distraction to fill his own plate.
"Am I not attractive?" Fleur Delacour cornered him some time later.
Harry raised an eyebrow at the question, not really understanding why she was asking him when there would be plenty of people around to heap praise on her from what he'd observed.
"I don't believe we've been introduced." He said instead, attempting to hint at just how sudden this demand had appeared.
"I'm Fleur Delacour." She said in a deceptively sweet voice as she tried to keep her annoyance down to a minimum. "And you are Harry Potter, yes? I asked you a question, no?"
"Miss Delacour, you are very attractive." He attempted to avoid any confrontation, having been told that flattery went a long way to keep women from getting angry at you. "Might I ask what prompted this question?" He tried to be polite.
"You do not drool, Harry Potter." She stated in a very straight-forward manner. "I want to know why."
Harry wondered briefly if french people were rude in general or if this girl was a special case, before suppressing it as he was actually feeling somewhat refreshed at being exposed to someone being rude at his face rather than talking behind his back The lack of both Malfoy and insults being thrown at his friends were also not a bad thing.
"You're not that pretty." He stated plainly instead, feeling that blunt honesty might work in his favor if she was going to continue with her current attitude.
"Oh?" Her eyebrows raised, and there was the briefest hint of defiance in her eyes. "Pray tell, how pretty would I have to be for you to drool?"
Harry thought that there might've been sarcasm involved in there somewhere, but he shrugged. "Dunno, never really thought about it."
Cho Chang was pretty, very pretty, but not pretty enough to make him drool after her. Stare, definitely. Drool, no.
In fact, he couldn't imagine anyone that he would drool over. Quite a few girls that could make him blush, now that he thought about it, but nobody to make him drool.
It wasn't that he wasn't interested in girls, but rather that he had learned that it was rude to drool over someone – mostly by how Vernon and Dudley had been doing just that – and he didn't really want to be rude. He did however imagine that there might come a day where he was distracted from his politeness by a pretty enough girl. Or a nude enough girl, he figured he might be distracted in either case.
Fleur stared at him incredulously, clearly not believing at least some part of his answer.
"I haven't really had a lot of time to think about it." Harry admitted. "People keep trying to kill me, which is kind of time-consuming."
Of course, that wasn't counting how he knew himself well enough to silently admit that the Dursleys had severely stunted his social skills, and that it was more than likely that he had some subconscious terror lodged inside of him that everyone that loved him would die or begin to hate him because he was a useless freak. Abuse doesn't have to be physical to leave scars.
Still, it wasn't anything that couldn't be ignored with a bit of sarcasm and some dry wit. Gallows humor is still funny, after all.
With an angry huff, Fleur Delacour turned on her heel and marched off, obviously having had enough of his charming presence. Or possibly deciding that he was a liar and therefore not worth her time.
Harry briefly weighed his crush on Cho, to this odd conversation with the french witch, and came to the conclusion that he still thought Cho was prettier, but something in Fleur's attitude appealed to him. Possibly the fact that she'd just thrown her hands up in the air and seemed to be screaming in silent rage at the stupidity of the male gender.
It made him smile.
Hermione glared at him as he stole Ron's sandwich whilst the redhead was distracted by the part-veela.
Harry responded with a roguish grin that Sirius had forced him – through letters – to practice in front of a mirror. It was apparently a Potter Tradition. Or a Marauder Tradition, Sirius hadn't been very clear on that, but Harry had been stuck at Privet Drive and had been bored out of his mind. So he'd practiced it anyways.
Oddly enough, Hermione didn't falter in the slightest, which meant that he either needed to practice more or that Hermione was actually immune to charm. Which made sense, considering that since she was a creature of logic and books, personal charm ought to play very little part in how she viewed the world...
Cough Gilderoy Lockhart Cough.
Admittedly, even Hermione had her faults, but that was more a case of her precious books lying to her, even if she had at one point been heard commenting on the useless man's butt. It'd been a positive comment, Harry recalled, but he had thankfully suppressed the details.
Dumbledore caught the fourth piece of paper that was spewed out of the Goblet of Fire. "Harry Potter." He read, his eyes hardening as they darted towards the last Potter.
Harry decided then and there that he needed a lawyer. It wasn't that he really wanted to sue someone, or that he thought himself rich enough to keep one around just for kicks, but rather it was the fact that it seemed that his obvious horror at being chosen wasn't registered over the anger of all of Hogwarts.
Ron was staring with eyes that spoke of a resurfacing jealousy, the Hufflepuff were staring in rage at again having the limelight stolen from them, the Slytherin looked generally disgusted at how he hadn't managed to get himself killed yet – which was really their default expression – and Albus bloody Dumbledore seemed utterly convinced that he'd done all this just to cause trouble.
This was why Harry wanted a lawyer. However, he figured that he might as well get this over with.
"I, Harry James Potter, swear on my life and magic that I do not know how my name was entered into the Cup, so mote it be." He proclaimed in a calm voice as he ignored the Headmaster's attempts at stopping him from speaking. "I would further more like to state that I really don't want anything to do with this."
He'd really been planning on not almost getting himself killed this year, but then, perhaps there was something to be said about tradition. Even if that 'something' was only to curse the fact that it was a reoccurring issue.
Of course, even with his sworn confession of innocence, that didn't stop the glares, or the fact that Dumbledore still made him compete.
It also didn't stop Fleur Delacour from glaring at him as if she was wishing fervently that he would spontaneously combust. Oddly enough, that actually lightened his mood a little bit. She never ceased to amuse him.
Harry's first coherent thought when he realized that he was going to be up against dragons had been along the lines of 'I miss Norbert'.
This hadn't been due to the little menace somehow wheedling its way into his cold and calculating heart, but rather the belief that Norbert couldn't possibly have grown that much since his first year.
His second coherent thought had been along the lines of 'I'm going to need a bigger wand'.
His actual first thought had been thought more in the spirit of 'meep'.
Not that he would ever admit that to anyone out loud, but hey, he was a teenager, and that should let him be doubly capable of ignoring his own lack of 'coolness', or at the very least hide it away from the public eye.
Still, he would need a plan to deal with the big, viscous, scaly, magic-resistant critters.
Harry took a deep breath as he finally readied himself for entering the arena.
He would've really liked for this tournament to be postponed until his midlife crisis, but he supposed that was too much to ask for.
The day was sunny, he could smell burnt something in the air – he really tried his best not to pay attention to what that 'something' might consist of – and there was a very big and very angry-looking dragon on the other side of the enclosure.
Harry was reminded of his first actual thought when he realized he would be facing dragons. But he was a Gryffindor, and the basilisk had prepared him rather well in the essence of not losing control of his bowels at the sight.
Another deep breath, and Harry got ready to summon his broom.
The dragon had a lot of pointy teeth, Harry mused with a certain absentminded horror as the dragon breathed out a torrent of flame at him.
Ducking hurriedly behind one of the remarkably conveniently placed boulders that were scattered across the arena, Harry wondered if summoning something as inherently flammable as a broom was really one of his better ideas.
It wasn't his idea.
It was Moody's idea.
Moody who liked throwing the Imperius Curse on him, who bounced Draco Malfoy floor to ceiling as a ferret, who was clearly insane to at least some degree and most assuredly paranoid.
Moody who was part of the faculty. The faculty who wasn't allowed to aid their Champion according to the rules. The rules who'd also stated that he must compete in this tournament or be stripped of his magic.
Wouldn't it make sense to have the punishment for breaking one rule be equivalent of breaking another one? And wouldn't that mean that despite Moody's endless paranoia, he was willing to risk losing his magic in order to help Harry come up with a plan?
Harry paused as a peculiar and almost bizarre pattern began to emerge within his mind.
First year, DADA teacher tried to kill him for stopping him from bringing Voldemort back to life. Second year, DADA teacher tried to destroy his mind because he proved a risk to his continued fame. Third year, DADA teacher forgetting to mention that the – technically innocent – mass murderer out for his blood was an animagus, and then didn't drink his Wolfsbane Potion before rushing out to save him from his grasp, on a full moon.
Harry liked Remus. He really did. But anyone would have to admit that the man hadn't really been especially sensible outside of classes.
Once is a coincidence, twice is a line, and thrice is a pattern. And according to the pattern, Moody was going to try and kill him this year.
The same Moody who'd help him come up with this plan.
The plan he was starting to think was remarkably retarded. That bloody thing had wings from birth! No way was he going to be able to out-fly it!
Thus, Harry quickly surrendered his previous plan of summoning his broom, and decided to try something else. Something simple, something unexpected, something that hadn't been mentioned by someone whom according to the pattern was trying to kill him!
"Accio Golden Egg!" He shouted instead, deciding to at least try it and then shrug it off whenever someone made fun of him for it.
A shame, really. Hardly unexpected, but still a shame.
So, different plan. No broom, no egg.
Distraction? Good idea, but what could distract a giant dragon?
He hummed thoughtfully to himself as he sat safely behind his rock, having only stuck his wand out previously when trying to summon the egg. Bagman didn't sound happy with Harry's rather peaceful haven in the midst of the Task, but Harry was starting to feel remarkably tranquil.
The dragon was chained down so it couldn't walk over and bite him, and its fire-breath didn't do much beyond making him feel like he was trapped in a sauna.
Admittedly, being trapped in a sauna with all of his clothes on wasn't the most pleasant of experiences, but he wasn't going to risk abandoning his relative safety before he at the very least had a good plan for it.
"Expecto Patronum!" And that might work as a distraction, but it meant that Harry would still need to steal the bloody egg.
Prongs seemed rather cheerful about harassing the Horntail, and Harry felt a rather sarcastic remark about at least one of them enjoying themselves bubbling up to the surface. He squashed it ruthlessly. He couldn't afford to be distracted.
He wasn't going to go leave his 'comfortable' safety in order to run up to the dragon and steal the egg from under its nose. That would just be stupid. No, he needed to stay right where he was, and get the egg to come to him.
Perhaps it was that phrasing, or Prongs' presence, or how Harry had briefly entertained the notion of tying the nesting mother dragon up in its own chains, but suddenly Harry had a flash of inspiration.
Unfortunately, Harry didn't know of any spells that could produce such a thing, or mimic it, and he didn't know how to throw a lasso anyways, so it was a rather pointless idea.
Except that Harry had learned the Banishing Charm at the same time as the Summoning one – mostly to not have to pick up his summoned object and then walk around the place resetting everything in order to try it again – and that he'd learned the Sticking Charm ages ago in an attempt to keep Hermione from opening up a new book in the middle of a conversation – she had a problem, even if she was too embarrassed to admit it.
So, technically, all he needed was rope.
"Incarcerous!" He pointed his wand at a very suspicious-looking pebble, hoping that the rope would still try to rope around it.
It worked, and since it was designed for human-sized targets, it left a rather large amount of rope laying around and still hadn't gotten tied down to anything.
Grinning madly at the thought of actually pulling this off, Harry picked up both ends of the rope, cast the Sticking Charm on one end, and then Banished that end towards the dragon's nest whilst it was distracted by Prongs.
It should perhaps be noted that there were several non-golden eggs present in the dragon's nest, and that since Harry wasn't the most skilled at aiming, there was a very large likelihood of him accidentally tagging the wrong egg with his improvised lasso. It should of course, also be noted that Harry was Harry bloody Potter and that luck was always on his side. Even if it was the most obscure and violent sort of luck imaginable.
The rope hit the golden egg, and Harry pulled.
He then proceeded to duck very quickly as the golden egg launched itself at his head.
Scrambling out from his cover, Harry grabbed onto the egg, not bothering with removing the rope, and then made his way out of the arena as fast as humanly possible.
Harry walked straight up to the group of French witches, his eyes not drifting from his target.
"Hello, will you go to the Yule Ball with me?" He asked once he'd gotten her attention, ignoring the tensing of the girl next to her.
The girl stared at him for a moment, her eyes flickering over to the rather angry witch she was standing next to, before a small amused smile made its way to her lips. "Sure."
Thus, Harry Potter asked a girl out, right next to a veela, without even once glancing at the supernatural beauty. Much to Fleur's indignant fury.
"So, why did you ask me of all people?" She finally asked him as they practiced dancing in an abandoned classroom.
Harry desperately tried to keep off her toes as he formulated an answer. "Well, first I thought of Cho Chang – the Ravenclaw Seeker." He added once he realized she didn't know the name. "Because she's pretty, and I've had a crush on her for some time now... but then I heard that she's waiting for Diggory to ask her, and considering that he seems ready to do so, I figured I might as well cut my losses early on."
"So you chose me because I was attractive?" She asked curiously.
"No-, yes-." He frowned. "There's not a good answer to that question, is there?"
She smirked. "No, indeed there isn't. But why not go for a girl you already knew?"
"Ah, well that's simple enough. The only girl I really know is Hermione, and whilst I love her dearly, I don't think I'd enjoy having her as my date." He frowned thoughtfully. "We'd just end up talking about homework, or House Elf rights, or some other subject that we've already talked about far too many times."
"You chose me for conversation?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
"Partly." His lips twitched. "I also chose you because watching Fleur get mad at me is hilarious." He admitted shamelessly. "But in the end, you weren't making eyes at any of the guys, so either you didn't care or the one you're interested in wasn't amongst those capable of asking you out."
"That's... a logical assumption." She frowned. "I thought-..."
"Wizards don't know logic? I'm muggle-raised." He grinned. "Though, granted, my muggles always were rather stupid, so I'm not very good at it."
"I see. You were correct by the way, the boy I have in mind is still in France." She sighed mournfully.
"Then I wish you all the luck." He forced his foot away from its path to keep away from her toes.
"So why do you enjoy tormenting Fleur?" She was smiling now, obviously awaiting gossip.
Harry considered the question for a moment. "Well, she makes me smile." He answered honestly. "There's this big tournament that I've gotten dragged into, and I might seriously die at any moment, but just the fact that she's mad at me for being part of it is almost enough to make me okay with it." He shrugged.
Roger Davis was an asshole.
Harry wasn't entirely certain why he was convinced that this was the case, but the guy pissed him off to no end, and Harry was a fairly patient kind of guy – living with the Dursleys, he didn't have much of a choice but to get better at it – so that obviously meant that the seventh year must be utterly horrible.
Fleur seemed to agree with him, which improved his mood a little bit, and Hermione was amusingly enough still at the Champion's table with her date Victor Krum, even if Harry hadn't invited her to the ball.
Of course, none of this really mattered, because Harry's date had informed him of just what was expected of him as her date. She'd also hinted at how it might annoy Fleur a lot, so Harry had promised to go along with it, and he never went back on his word... Unless absolutely necessary, or if he'd had his fingers crossed when he'd promised. On an unrelated note, his fingers had a tendency to cross whenever he opened his mouth.
He had after all grown up with the Dursleys, and he'd been quick to learn that it was always good to have loopholes readily available. It made things a lot less morally complicated.
Still, he'd promised her honestly, and so Harry danced a few dances with his date, talked about irrelevant things that they'd sometimes already mentioned, and tried not to interfere in how well Hermione's date was going, even if he was planning on having some very... casual... words with the famous boy spending time with his best friend.
He also tried, a lot more successfully, not to pay attention to just how horrible Ron's night was turning out to be. Ron had apologized for not believing him after the dragon, true. But he hadn't apologized for abandoning him when he needed all the help he could get.
Thus, Harry decided not to trust the boy, and had demoted their friendship into 'casual acquaintances'; acquaintances that might or might not have known each other for a long time previously.
He'd made certain to forward word through the twins in an effort to stop any uncomfortable advances from Mrs Weasley, or any of her attempts to pressure her youngest son to apologize for that part as well. Never let it be said that Harry couldn't be thorough.
Still, the Yule Ball wasn't nearly as bad as he'd feared it would turn out, and the glares that Fleur threw his way warmed his heart immensely.
Roger Davis was a bit of an asshole, but Fleur dumped him, so he couldn't be all that bad.
Hermione had looked at him funny when he explained this to her, before asking a lot of silly question about what he thought of Fleur.
No, he wasn't affected by her allure. No, he didn't have a fetish for French stuff. No, he didn't particularly care for blondes – gag, Malfoy, gag. No, he didn't like being belittled. No, he wasn't a masochist. No, he hadn't been sniffing dangerous substances at any point during his life. No, he wasn't attracted to whiny girls. No, he really didn't have the faintest clue why she was asking all those silly questions.
Hermione had looked torn between laughing herself to death, shaking him until his head popped off, or crying. He was really glad when she didn't cry, instead just smacking her head against the tabletop in exasperation.
It allowed him the chance to reprimand her for the attempted murder of her precious book-eating brain cells.
She kicked him in the shin.
Life was good.
After Cedric's clue – and some stalkerish aid from a certain perverted ghost – it wasn't difficult to figure out the golden egg. Oh, sure, he wasn't entirely sure about all of the parts incorporated into the song, especially the part of 'what you'll sorely miss', but it was clearly going to be taking place underwater, spanning over an hour, and involving taking something back from merpeople
Harry wasn't looking forward to the Second Task any more than he'd been looking forward to the First. Okay, so there wasn't a giant fire-breathing dragon, but Harry had never learned how to swim, and now didn't seem like the best of times to learn.
"Dobby." He stopped the elf's rant in its tracks. "Who exactly did you hear talking about using gillyweed?"
"Professor Moody and Professor Snape, Master Harry Potter Sir." Dobby blinked owlishly up at him.
Harry made a face.
So, Moody was still trying to come up with Harry's plans for him? That made him insistent if nothing else, but also raised the likelihood that he was still trying to kill Harry, just like the pattern had told him.
Obviously, this all meant that Harry wouldn't be able to trust using gillyweed for the upcoming Task. He would need to figure out something else... though gillyweed really had been the only idea he'd had so far.
Maybe he should be spending more time with Hermione? She should be able to figure something out, shouldn't she? She was supposed to be really smart, after all.
Then again, she would also think that Moody definitely wasn't out to kill him, even if the pattern made perfect sense. She'd always had a thing for authority.
In the end, he hadn't been able to come up with a better plan than gillyweed, though he'd quickly decided that he probably shouldn't trust any magical ingredient that Moody had been within reach of.
Who knows how it could've been tampered with? No, better to simply buy the stuff by owl-order. Also less antagonism on Snape's part, though of course, Snape had never needed an actual reason for making his life hell.
Still, even with this precaution, Harry had realized something very important regarding the stuff. It only lasted for a set amount of time. Now, logically, he wouldn't be needing any more than an hours worth of it, since by then it would be 'too late, it won't come back'. But if he thought about it whilst considering his own luck... well, he'd made sure to get a hold of about two hours worth of it. It never hurt to be cautious when you could afford to be.
So, here was the day, in fiercely chilly February, that they were going for a swim in a lake filled with magical creatures that were most likely going to try to kill them.
Harry wasn't especially enthusiastic about the idea.
Though Fleur in a bathing suit was rather pleasant to look at.
In truth, he wasn't entirely sure if Cedric and Krum were even there at all. Not that he was going to voice this.
Then they were off, Fleur weaving some kind of air-bubble around her head, much like Cedric did, whilst Krum began turning his head into that of a shark.
Harry waded out into the water and stuffed some gillyweed into his mouth.
Yeah, not very impressive in comparison.
Following the song, it didn't take Harry long to find himself in front of a statue to which the hostages were tied to.
He could see Cho Chang, Hermione, Ron, and a blonde-
His heart stopped in his chest. Horror at the situation making him forget to breathe.
Then he remembered Fleur in a bathing suit, somewhere behind him, and his heart began beating again, though his breath was still a bit wonky.
Fleur was a Champion, she was safe. Though she was most likely very worried over this girl who looked so much like a younger version of the quarter-veela. The girl that Harry was willing to bet money on being her little sister.
Feeling a stab of sympathy, along with worry over Hermione not being rescued on time, Harry decided that he could afford to stick around. Better safe than sorry, and what did he care about winning?
It'd almost been an hour.
Worry squeezing his chest, Harry hoped that Fleur hadn't gotten hurt.
Then he cut off Ron's rope, before hurriedly making for Fleur's sister's, knowing better than to give the merpeople time to react.
Both of the hostages freed, Harry kicked off, making his way to the surface as quickly as possible. Few of the lake's inhabitants lingered by the surface, and it was best to avoid trouble if he could.
Racing his way along, and feeling very grateful for his caution in packing an extra hour of gillyweed, Harry quickly made it back to the starting point.
He was even more thankful that he'd read up on gillyweed when he returned back to shore and did the rather easy – if obscure – spell that canceled the effects, allowing him to breathe air without waiting for the entire hour to pass.
Then the little girl rushed into the arms of her tearful sister, and Harry suddenly understood why Fleur had looked so horribly nervous earlier. She'd known that her sister had been missing. That must've been horrible. Harry's closest approximation would've been his own descent into the Chamber of Secrets in order to rescue his best – at the time – friend's little sister. It hadn't been a pleasant feeling.
Ron was busy soaking up the attention, blissfully ignoring the fact that he'd probably ended up down there in large part due to Harry severely lacking in friends. In fact, if Ron was what Harry would miss the most, then he should probably begin interviewing a more permanent replacement for the friendly acquaintance he'd once put so much faith in.
Harry was pulled out of his reverie by a rather wet Fleur suddenly standing in front of him.
Then she pulled him into a hug, kissing his cheeks soundly as she thanked him for saving her little sister.
Harry wasn't sure what points they were given. He wasn't sure what happened to Ron. He didn't have a clue as to where Hermione disappeared off to. And he definitely never noticed how everyone else noticed the fact that he spent the entire time wearing the brightest smile they'd ever seen on him.
Hermione sighed heavily.
"Harry, do you know what love is?"
Harry blinked, startled out of his deep contemplation of the fireplace. "Uhh, wha-? Where did that come from?"
"You've been walking on clouds for over a week, and you keep smiling whilst staring at nothing." Hermione explained with a slightly worried expression.
"Hey, I might not be the smartest person, but I'm pretty sure I'd know if I was in love, Hermione." Harry huffed in annoyance.
Hermione hung her head, groaning something unintelligible about males. "Please tell me that someone at least gave you the 'birds and the bees'-speech."
Harry frowned. "I don't see what birds and bees have anything to do with love."
"It's not-..." Hermione whimpered. "Did anyone ever teach you anything about how humans work?"
"I went to muggle school, same as you Hermione, I probably know more than most." He glared at her a little.
"That's not-..." Hermione buried her head in her hands. "Did anyone explain to you how babies are made?" She finally blurted out, muffled by her hands.
Harry's jaw dropped, a blush spreading across his face. "Hermione?" He choked out in a strangled voice.
"Please tell me that someone explained it to you? Anyone at all?" Hermione begged.
Harry sighed. He knew that this was a stupid idea. In fact, it was an unimaginably stupid idea, but he really couldn't see any alternatives.
McGonagall would be impossible. Snape would be worse. Flitwick would be bad. Hagrid would get it wrong.
They were his only option. Merlin save him, but they were.
Taking a deep breath, Harry knocked at the door to the twins' dorm. Hopefully, he'd manage to negotiate himself a not-false explanation to the information-hunt Hermione had forced upon him.
She'd already promised to threaten the two pranksters if they got anything wrong on purpose, but Harry was still counting on convincing them to be truthful through bribes.
Damn the Dursleys, and damn the lack of extensive biology being taught before they reached eleven back in muggle school.
Harry spent the next week not meeting the gaze of any girl in the school. At all.
He'd flat out ran in his flight from Myrtle when she'd greeted him. Hermione had explained it to her, and she wasn't too upset about it anymore, but for the ever-polite boy to even risk hurting a girl's feeling in such a way...
Such was the horrified embarrassment of the birds and bees.
Thankfully, once the week was up, he managed to start speaking with Hermione again.
Hedwig was quite possibly the greatest therapist in the world.
"So," Hermione confronted him again. "I've found a bunch of different written works that describe love, according to several different authors. I'm not really experienced enough to think I could teach you anything, but please read through them, Harry." She pushed a surprisingly thin book into his hands.
Harry stared at the book in surprise. "Why is it so thin?"
"Because it's... there's poetry in it, okay?" Hermione blushed. "I asked my parents to send a 'comprehensive' book about love, and that's what they sent me."
Harry stared at the book in horror, holding it in much the same way you would hold something capable of spontaneously lighting itself on fire at a moments notice. "Poetry?" He choked out, throwing a betrayed glance at his friend.
"Just read the damn thing, Harry. It's better in the long run. Trust me on this one." She patted him on the shoulder before throwing a final uncomfortable glance at the book, and then retreating as far away from its monstrous non-encyclopedia-ness as fast she could.
Harry stared after her for a long moment, feeling horribly betrayed, and unnervingly convinced that someone, somewhere was laughing at him. Possibly from on top of his grave.
Then he took a deep breath and turned his attention to the book that might possibly rival a certain back-talking diary in sheer unsettling-ness.
And he'd been thinking that today wouldn't turn out horribly. He really should've known his own particular brand of luck better by now.
Hedwig read the book over his shoulder. She made noises that ranged from amused to disgusted, but would smack him over the head with a wing if he tried turning a page that she hadn't finished reading yet.
Apparently, even amazing therapists had their vices, although Harry had been understandably impressed at his owl's ability to read anything in the first place. She was obviously a very clever owl.
Thankfully, the mind-poison that was poetry was at least quick to read, even if Harry was often forced by Hedwig to stop and consider the poetry and what it was trying to explain. For some reason that he couldn't understand, she tended to do so a lot more often around statements including love being closely related to hate, or opposites attract, or how arguments were good for the soul or something.
When he'd expressed his confusion about why she wanted him to linger on those pages in particular, Hedwig would just stare at him for a long moment in a way that made Harry feel like he was ten inches tall and denser than led. It wasn't a nice feeling, so Harry had stopped asking and was now simply reading those pages with as much diligence as he could convince himself of.
He still didn't understand why though.
By the time the announcement of the Third Task came around, Harry welcomed it with open arms.
Finally, something he could understand. Finally something that didn't follow female-logic, which was a horrible, twisted thing that never made any sense whatsoever.
Okay, Harry didn't really know how he was supposed to navigate through a maze filled with dangerous creatures and traps, but at least the dangerous creatures and traps only wanted to kill him, and Harry had long since learned how to deal with that kind of attitude.
Besides, anything had to be better than being forced to spend his spare time to read all that horribly flowery... poetry. A word that Harry regarded as something so utterly vile that he wouldn't use it to describe even Voldemort. Tommy-boy was better than that.
The fact that Lavender and Parvati had noticed his forced diligence in reading the blasted book and interrogated Hermione about his 'change of heart', hadn't endeared the meaning-packed jumble of words any more to him. Though, perhaps he should be thankful that they now regarded him with pity, rather than giggles. Pity he could handle; giggles, not so much.
Hermione was the one who suggested the compass spell, but Harry had diligently pressed her on information until she – rather forcefully – told him that Moody hadn't in any way inspired her choice in spell.
Harry happily learned the useful compass spell, but remarked that it wouldn't really matter if he didn't know in which direction the center of the maze lay. If he got turned around he might completely miss the center and end up on the other side against a wall, it sounded like it was likely enough to happen, what with being a maze and all.
It took Harry almost five minutes to explain his problem with the spell to Hermione, at which point something in her eyes lit up. The kind of bright light heralding sudden enlightenment.
Then she kind of just disappeared into thin air, before reappearing again ten minutes later, a slight frown on her flushed face, and the – actually rather foreboding – spark in her eyes still present.
"Professor Flitwick said that there doesn't exist any such spells." She told him, ignoring his shock at how she'd managed in ten minutes to make a trip that would normally take a person half an hour – one way, and only if the stairs cooperated. "Which is why we're going to make one." A vaguely demented grin spread across her lips.
Taking in the sight of his clearly ecstatic best friend, Harry wondered not for the first time if perhaps the girl might have developed some kind of dangerous addiction to knowledge during their years of avoiding certain death ever since coming to Hogwarts.
He was still considering the pros and cons of staging an intervention when she grabbed him by his collar.
"Harry James Potter. You are going to help me create a variation of the Point Me spell right now, or I will hang you by your ankles from the Astronomy Tower."
Harry stared into Hermione's unwavering eyes, feeling very much like a very small mammal staring at an oncoming train. An oncoming train out for blood.
He nodded frantically.
Harry couldn't remember who was supposed to be in the lead – having completely missed the awarding of points for the second task – so was quite grateful when Bagman started off their introductions to the Third and Final Task with their current place in the rankings.
Turns out he was in the lead.
Harry felt a small frown form as he tried to remember how that'd happened, feeling both annoyed and pleased at instead remembering Fleur in a wet bathing suit kissing his cheeks and hugging him. Annoyed, because she was completely ruining his concentration; and pleased, because it was a very nice memory.
As they were apparently allowed to curse the other competitors during this Task, he was also a little bit disappointed at the extreme small chances of such an event transpiring again. For one thing, this task wasn't taking place in the lake, so she probably wouldn't be wearing a bathing suit... or be wet.
Ignoring the sudden inexplicable urge to throw a hex at the nearest judge for arranging this Task on land, Harry tried to figure out why he was so upset.
Fleur was looking confident and sure, eyes determined and defiant.
She wasn't angry at all, but there was still something rather appealing about her expression, enough to send a small hint of a smile flickering across his lips.
Then the start sounded, and Harry ran into the maze.
He might not have joined the tournament willingly, but he wasn't the kind of person to just stand back and do nothing. Maybe it was the competitive side in him awakening from its coma-like dormancy, maybe he just wanted to show off a bit for once; regardless of which, the outcome was the same, he wanted to win.
He'd been running along and minding his own business, trying to get closer to the center of the maze, realized that the maze was alive and rather undecided about if there should be paths or dead-ends in the same place from one moment to the next, and wondered casually at the lack of horrible monsters out to eat him.
Then he heard a scream.
Harry wasn't sure what happened. One moment he was going in one direction, the other he'd cast a different Point Me and taken off in another. He didn't really make a conscious choice of where he was going, he just ran.
Something appeared in front of him. It was big and ugly and had very sharp teeth.
It also had a surprising amount of blood inside of it, Harry noted blankly as his clothes were splattered with the liquid as he passed the dying creature by.
A part of the hedge tried to close in front of him, cutting him off from the direction his wand was pointing. It burned surprisingly well, all things considered. The fire only briefly licked at the hem of his robes as he jumped through the hole without pausing in his run.
Krum stood before a crumpled form on the ground.
The crumpled form was writhing, and had blonde hair.
Krum disappeared through the wall of the hedge.
He left a rather sizable hole in his wake, along with the loud crack of breaking bones, and the odd sizzling noise of burning skin.
Harry didn't notice any of it.
Fleur was on the ground.
Fleur was on the ground and she was in pain.
And with hands trembling from what a very distant part of Harry guessed to be adrenaline, he sank down on his knees next to her.
"Fleur." He tried to snap her out of it, but her eyes didn't seem to fully recognize him. "Fleur, it's okay. You're safe. Please, are you alright? What happened?"
"Potter...?" She mumbled, one of her hands reaching up towards his face, as if to make sure it was really him.
"Yes, it's me. Are you alright Fleur? Are you hurt anywhere?" Harry gently caught her hand, his eyes not moving from hers.
"I was... Krum..." She blinked. "Cruciatus." She finally answered.
Harry flinched, a sudden horrible image of Fleur writhing in agony appearing in far too much detail before his mind. He was torn between the need to make sure that everything not-Fleur in the area was either dead or incapacitated, and picking her up and getting her to Madam Pomfrey immediately.
Harry blinked at that. All they had to do was send up red sparks, and the teachers would come for them, and then they could make Fleur better.
He'd sent up red sparks before he'd even fully registered the idea, and was left blinking dumbly at his wand. When did his instincts get that good, anyways?
Shrugging it off, Harry looked back at the blonde-haired witch. "Don't worry, Krum isn't here." Harry paused, sending a glance towards what used to be a hole in the hedge, glad to see that it'd closed back up behind the quidditch-star. "I sent up red sparks. The teachers will be here soon, okay?"
Fleur did something with her head that might've been considered a nod.
It felt like hours, sitting there next to her, trying to keep her talking – because he'd once heard that it wasn't a good idea for injured people to fall asleep until they were in the hospital – and most likely making himself sound like a complete idiot. You can only keep asking for someone's health that many times before it gets uselessly repetitive, meaning that Harry spent most of that seemingly-hours-long period of wait talking about random things that popped into his mind.
Fleur didn't seem to mind though, and smiled a little bit when he got desperate enough to actually crack a Serious joke even outside the immediate presence of his godfather. She still looked like she wanted to go to sleep though, so he kept talking, a panicky sheen in his eyes that endlessly prayed for the teachers to hurry up.
When Flitwick appeared, Harry wasn't far removed from hugging the diminutive professor. But that would've kept him from helping Fleur, so he didn't.
"Mr Potter, I believe you still have a tournament to compete in." Flitwick started cautiously after checking to make sure that Fleur wasn't in critical condition.
"No, I don't." Harry responded with a dull tone that made the former dueling champion take a rather hasty step back.
"Indeed, since you've sent up red sparks, it's a forfeit." Flitwick nodded hurriedly, before proceeding to drag them off by portkey to the outside of the maze.
Krum was found not long after Fleur and Harry had been removed from the contest. He looked awful when they pulled him out, but was up and about within the week, and had expressed his horror at his own actions under the Imperius in an apology to all of his fellow champions.
Cedric got the closest to the Cup, but was ambushed by an acromantula and forced to send up his own red sparks.
There were quite a few arguments over who should be granted the prize, and if they should attempt to redo the Final Task in order to find a winner, but in the end the champions had all determined that Cedric probably deserved it the most and had managed to convince the judges.
Cedric had kept pace with the rest of them – despite Krum having an unfair advantage with Karkaroff's judging – and hadn't been influenced by outside means, he hadn't forfeited in some bizarre twist that nobody could make any sense of, and he had been the closest one to the Cup in the end.
The Hufflepuffs cheered so loudly that the windows rattled once the final verdict was announced.
The sight and sound brought a smile to Harry's face, both for the enthusiasm and for the fact that he didn't get any of the fame. It was the best of two worlds.
Mad-Eye Moody talked a bit with Dumbledore and disappeared, nobody knew where, but the Headmaster assured them that they'd found the one who'd used the Imperius Charm on Krum, and that they were being questioned by the DMLE.
Harry was still feeling vaguely convinced that Moody must've been trying to kill him somehow, but was willing to admit that there was a possibility that he was the exception to the pattern. He still hoped they got some very good answers out of that interrogation, but he wasn't holding his breath.
He'd spent quite a bit of time holding his head though, in the following week as he'd had quite a few images of a Peter Pettigrew in immense pain flashing through it along with an overwhelming sense of rage. He guessed that whatever his plan, Voldemort wasn't pleased with the development.
Then, the final vision had shown him a vegetable-like Pettigrew, and the rage had been replaced with dawning horror. Voldemort really ought to have practiced a little restraint, since now he no longer had a servant to take care of him.
Hermione had also cornered him, holding out the book with horrible poetry and told him in no uncertain terms that he was supposed to consider his actions in the maze and read the poem on the bookmarked page.
Making a pained face, Harry resignedly opened the book and found the poem.
It was a poem about mind-numbing terror in the face of the pain of a loved one.
Frowning thoughtfully, Harry tried to recall what had happened in the maze, as Hermione had ordered him to, whilst he strolled out towards the lake. The lake was a good spot for reflection, even if such a way of phrasing it made for a rather horrible pun.
Blonde hair shifted in a gentle breeze, and suddenly it clicked.
He was in love.
And she was standing right in front of him.
Fleur's eyes met his own, a warm presence within them that made the breath catch in his throat.
She wasn't as attractive as Cho Chang, and she wasn't drool-worthy... She was just Fleur.
And she was the single most beautiful girl he'd ever met.
"Harry Potter, am I not attractive?" She asked him, a teasing smile on her lips that caused his heart to speed up.
"You are." Harry admitted in a voice that somehow managed to keep itself leveled.
"You do not drool." She pointed out, smile still going strong.
"You're not that attractive." He retorted, his voice still calm, even as he twisted the truth into almost-lie territory.
"Then how attractive would I have to be for you to drool?" She challenged him, a mischievous glint in her eye.
"Dunno. I'm still a bit new at being in love with you." He admitted, feeling his face heat up at the confession.
She stared into his eyes for a long moment, her own face slowly heating in response.
"That is a good answer, Harry Potter." She finally smiled. "Maybe an experiment is in order?" She began to advance on him, hips swaying in a distinctly feminine way.
And as her smile turned playfully predatory, their faces inches apart, Harry realized something that went completely against everything he'd ever known.
There didn't exist poetry flowery enough to describe her kisses.
A/n: I've read several times of Harry being 'resistance to the veela allure', so I made a story based entirely around that concept.
Interestingly enough, I think he might've accidentally inherited his dad's taste in women: Fall for the one that hates your guts, especially if they're both smart and attractive.
Voldemort died, again, from starvation – sort of. And yes, this time he died permanently, due to Harry's destruction of the diary, coupled with the anchors not being designed for repeated deaths. Imagine a safety-net that is only really designed to handle one death, forced to handle three, and coupled with someone randomly cutting off one of the anchor-points, whilst someone else tied a new anchor at a completely different location. The end result is a complete collapse, which meant that Voldemort's horcruxes were pulled in by Death, and that there's not much point talking about him anymore.
As for 'the power he knows not'? It was obviously: Sportsmanship.