Prologue Reason to Duel
Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, currently still reflecting on the recent student additions to Hogwarts, particularly Harry Potter, and what his future held.
From what little he had already gleaned from the boy either through asking the staff, or a slight amount of legilimency he had performed on him gave him the idea that Harry was a good kid, and quite intelligent despite his apparent lack of knowledge on the wizarding world.
He hoped that he would be able to improve over time and live out the destiny he had in mind for him.
Yet as he was still thinking about how he would handle the future savior of the wizarding world, the alarm that he had set to tell him if someone was coming up the stairs to his office went off.
A quick look at the stairs revealed that it was none other than Pansy Parkinson, a young new first year that he recognized already by having had numerous visits with her father, a very influential and wealthy man but who's loyalties were always unclear, particularly during the war with Voldemort.
Since Voldemort's fall, he had worked hard to cull favor with him, as it would be necessary to garner his approval if he was to have success in passing certain laws in the Wizengamot or voting down ones he did not want passed.
Currently there were two major parties, those who supported greater benefits to purebloods, led by Lucius Malfoy, and the ones who argued for better equality and rights for all led by himself. Then there were those who remained not part of either party, of which Rabastan Parkinson, Pansy's father was the leader. Both sides had been trying for the last decade to get him to go over permanently to them, and swing the vote in their favor but so far it appeared he was still remaining neutral.
The fact that his daughter and only child was coming to see him was rather curious.
Now curious just what she wanted, he allowed her to get past his security spells and when she knocked on the door he immediately said, "Enter."
"Professor Dumbledore I need to speak with you," Pansy said as soon as she came in, sounding slightly out of breath after probably having run here.
"Of course I would be happy to help you with whatever you require if I can," Dumbledore answered.
"I know that you are a man who has a lot of power and influence, and I need you to do something for me that will be necessary for both of us," Pansy began, "you see I have just recently been informed that my father has made a marriage contract with myself and Draco Malfoy."
At this news, Dumbledore was quite dismayed as it probably meant that his efforts to pull Mr. Parkinson to his side were for naught, as making a marriage contract with his daughter to Malfoy's son was tantamount to making an allegiance with him. This would be another vote he could now count on going against him.
"I am sorry to hear that Ms. Parkinson," Dumbledore replied, "I had hoped that your father would choose to go against Lucius Malfoy but it appears I was wrong."
"That's not all," Pansy told him, "he's gotten Davis, Greengrass, Li, Chang, Vasily, and Crowder to go with him."
Now he really sat back in his chair, this was not good, that would put Malfoy clearly into having a majority vote. The balance would be completely broken.
Pansy continued, "I am sure you already know what that means, and I also would hope that you would be willing to take the necessary steps to prevent it."
"May I ask why you are telling me all of this Ms. Parkinson?" Dumbledore interjected, "your father would no doubt be furious if he found out you were telling me all this."
"My father would never suspect me, as he still sees me as a naïve little girl, he doesn't even bother to check to see if I am listening in anyway," Pansy explained, "and as for why I am telling you, its simply because I want out of his little plan for me, I hate Malfoy's son first of all, he's an idiot and treats me like his slave and yet I keep having to cozy up to him all for the sake of some deal! I also have nothing against those of lesser blood purity or muggles, and I would rather not have their persecutions from the laws that will be passed against them be because of me."
"I admire that, but what would you have me do to prevent this?" Dumbledore asked her.
"I want you to get the contract annulled," Pansy asked, "and it has to be because of something that Draco does, if its something that I do then my father will be shamed, and as per the contract that he signed with Lord Malfoy, he will be obligated to give control of his seat over to him. I had someone I trust and possesses knowledge of magical law to look over the contract and they found that it will only be voided because of something that either Draco or his father does. You could for example expel him from Hogwarts which would give me the opportunity to claim that he was no longer a viable candidate to be my husband."
"I'm afraid you overestimate my capabilities," Dumbledore told her, "first of all Lucius Malfoy is one of the school governors and I find it very unlikely he would ever allow his son to be expelled, even if I could give a good enough reason for it, which currently there is none. Besides, your father is the one who signed the contract and if he's that willing to side with Lucius to even sign a marriage contract, I would say that he's already decided."
Pansy nodded as if she had been expecting such an answer and said: "I don't think my father really wants to join Lord Malfoy but he needs a new supplier of dragonhide and he also wants me married to the highest and most noble house he can find, which just so happens to be the Malfoys. I know he tried to make one with the Potters before they died as his first choice but they had apparently already made one with the Bones."
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose. He had not expected anyone to have known that Harry Potter was betrothed to Susan Bones as it was a closely guarded secret, he did not want Harry finding out until he absolutely had to.
The only person that was supposed to know was Susan's aunt Amelia, who had taken over as the head of House Bones after the death of Susan's parents, and had chosen to honor the original agreement made. She had been a huge support to him in the wizengamot. He also suspected that she had told Susan but asked her not to tell Harry for which he was grateful.
"Can't you do something?" Pansy pleaded.
Dumbledore sat back in his chair once again to think about this troubling news. He simply could not afford to lose Parkinson to Lucius, but he also could not think of a way to convince him otherwise since the marriage contract would force his hand either way. If he had known beforehand he might have been able to do something, even if he had to, as Harry's legal magical guardian, sign another marriage contract with Parkinson to marry his daughter off to Harry, but now it was too late.
The only ways he decided would be either for Malfoy to choose to break the contract, which was doubtful as the contract assured him of Parkinson's support and a majority in the Wizengamot, or if he gambled it away somehow and only a fool would take such a risk. It did not look good.
However he could at least deal with the problem of the young girl standing before him.
"Just who else knows about all of this," he asked calmly.
"No one," she replied, "I didn't even tell the friend who I had look at the contract know what I was up to."
"Good," he stated as he raised his wand straight at her and yelled, "OBLIVIATE."
Instantly Pansy's gaze grew all misty and unfocused as he removed all memories of their conversation, Harry being betrothed to Susan Bones, or anything else he thought she shouldn't know. Then he replaced the memory with one of her having a conversation with him about a requested change in the school robes policy.
Once he had finished he allowed her to come to and said, "I'm sorry Ms. Parkinson but I'm afraid I can't change what is allowed at school, but thank you for your time."
Still a little dazed Pansy said, "yes, you are quite right professor, sorry, I'll see myself out."
She seemed confused as if wondering why she would even make such a request, but quickly using legilimency on her confirmed that she was still accepting the false memory as true.
He usually tried to avoid modifying a person's memory since it could lead to them asking too many questions but in this case it was necessary, both for her safety and for the greater good.
It would be better if he simply handled the problem himself. That is as soon as he could come up with a solution which he still had yet to come up with.
As she left, he still thought about how to get out of the extremely difficult situation he found himself in and the only possible solution, when would Malfoy be stupid enough to gamble something that valuable enough away?
Chapter 1 First Duel
It had been only a few days since his conversation with Ms. Parkinson and he still had not yet come up with an answer to his problem, although his spy network of paintings had all been notified to keep an eye on any information he could use.
Paintings were extremely useful as spies. They were loyal to him as the headmaster and most people tended to simply disregard them when having conversations around them, which gave him plenty of information about the goings on in the school, right in the comfort of his own office.
Over the years he'd learned plenty of things from the painting network and there was very little that he didn't find out about from them that was going on.
As if to once again prove just how useful the paintings were to him, he had a certain portrait slide into the empty canvas he reserved to allow for quick audiences about important information that couldn't wait.
"Professor," the portrait of the kneazle saleswoman informed him, "I think you had better take advantage of this. Draco Malfoy just challenged Harry Potter to a duel."
"Where?" Dumbledore asked, knowing there was no time to delay to get details.
"Just down the hall," She said.
He left the office as fast his legs could move, it seemed almost heaven sent, the one thing he had been hoping for. Draco Malfoy had just taken the first steps to his undoing, a wizard's duel challenge and made by him no less was perfect. He only hoped he managed to get there in time.
Thirty Seconds Earlier
Harry had been on his way to a class when Malfoy showed up in front of him.
"What do you want Malfoy?" Ron demanded angrily.
"You had better mind your manners, Weasley," Draco smugly said, "which is why I intend to teach your friend Potter a lesson."
"Yeah and how are you going to do that?" Ron asked and then decided to make a bold threat, "Harry could beat you any time, any place."
"That's it," Draco then stated, "wizard's duel tonight in the trophy room, you and me."
Harry was surprised that Draco was apparently challenging him to a fight, even though he had no idea what a wizard's duel was. Yet before he could come up with a reply to that, Ron had to open up his big mouth and declare: "he'll be there, and I'll be his 2nd, who's yours?"
Draco looked back at his two hulking bodyguards, probably trying to decide who was more intimidating before saying: "Crabbe."
Yet before he could answer, Professor Dumbledore appeared seemingly randomly in the hallway in front of them, sounding like he had been in a bit of a rush to wherever he had been going.
"Did I hear something about a wizard's duel?" Professor Dumbledore asked, sounding slightly out of breath.
"Of course not Professor," Draco tried to say, seeming to be worried about being punished for trying to start a fight.
"Well it appears that I must have misheard you then, my ears aren't what they used to be," Professor Dumbledore answered.
"Isn't fighting not allowed in school?" Ron asked, seeming to be trying to get Malfoy in trouble, "I know I heard him."
"Mr. Malfoy has done nothing wrong as far as I can tell Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore answered, "a wizard's duel is actually still allowed based on the school rules, although the usual to the death clause has been amended to a lesser state of lacking the capacity to continue dueling and also has to be officiated by the current headmaster. It has fallen out of use, however. Even back when I was your age it was pretty uncommon. So if you really are challenging Mr. Potter here I would be happy to officiate over the duel."
Malfoy seemed to look a bit nervous now, as he seemed to have had other ideas as to just how this would have gone had Dumbledore not overheard but looking at the now gathered crowd around them, he seemed to realize that rescinding it would actually make him look weak or a coward.
"I am Professor," Malfoy stated.
"Good," Dumbledore told him, "I shall make all of the arrangements, and if it is satisfactory to both parties we shall have it right after dinner in the great hall."
Harry was a bit nervous himself as he really didn't know how what a wizard's duel entailed, but in any case he could surely at least beat Malfoy, pathetic as he was. An image of crushing Malfoy's pathetic little blond head caused him to agree along with his opponent.
"Then if you both would please hold out your wands, and repeat after me, "I state (your name) do hereby accept this wizard's duel, and swear upon my magic that if I am defeated that I will give the agreed upon property that is my own to my victor, so mote it be."
Both Harry and Draco repeated after him, ending with a small spark to jump from his wand, and cause a slight shock.
"Would you happen to know of a book about wizard duels?" Hermione asked, having been one of the people in the crowd now assembled around them.
"I'll save you the trouble Ms. Granger," Dumbledore told her, choosing to explain himself, "a wizard's duel is where two wizards who are unable to reconcile their differences agree to fight for their honor. For adults this usually means to the death, but for those not of age, this usually means until one of the combatants is unable to battle. The winner in either case then can claim some form of property that is owned by their defeated opponent which they will be magically obligated to pay or risk losing their magic."
"What type of property might that be?" Hermione asked.
"It usually varies, and can range from a single item such as a wizard's wand, to everything that wizard owns," Dumbledore replied, "however in this case since Draco technically does not own anything, as everything he has is really the property of his father, nothing should happen, you don't actually own anything do you Mr. Malfoy?"
"I do, actually Professor," Draco stated, "I have a marriage contract with Pansy Parkinson."
There were a lot of whispers passed about this new piece of juicy information. Evidently this was a big deal, Harry realized.
Nevertheless, Malfoy shamelessly seemed to glow with pride and even go over and grab Pansy as if he was merely getting a first place trophy of his that he intended to show off.
Pansy on the other hand didn't seem at all pleased as he still yanked on her arm, not seeming to care that it was probably hurting her.
"That would be a form of property owned by you exclusively," Dumbledore agreed, sounding pleased for some reason at this information, "and since that is your only form of property that will have to be what you are putting up. Mr. Potter will then simply have to put up his marriage contract of equal value."
"I don't have any marriage contracts though Professor," Harry said, still amazed that wizards apparently even had arranged marriages.
"You do actually Harry," a slightly short girl with waist length red hair that he recognized as Susan Bones, a Hufflepuff in his year said as she came forward, "with me."
Now his jaw dropped.
He had an arranged marriage too? How come no one had ever bothered to tell him? He barely even knew Susan and now here he was finding out that one day he was going to be marrying her.
It certainly was a lot to take in for an 11 year old to find out his entire future had evidently already been decided by someone else.
Had his parents made it before they died? Why? What made Susan so special?
A million questions now flooded his mind that he now wanted answers to.
At his look of shock, however, Dumbledore seemed to take it in stride as if he had already known about it himself and was pleased by it.
"You are absolutely correct Ms. Bones, he is betrothed to you, well then I suppose that by default Mr. Potter is obligated to accept, especially since you just volunteered to put your contract up with him already, we will just have to..."
"WHAT THE FREAK IS GOING ON HERE?" Harry demanded angrily, no longer able to contain himself.
Dumbledore had the nerve to merely chuckle at his outburst and calmly replied:
"As I explained you will be dueling Mr. Malfoy here for the rights to his marriage contract with Ms. Parkinson."
This only made Harry more incensed, in only 5 minutes he learned he was going to be dueling Malfoy in a highly dangerous magical fight, had a fiance and would soon be dueling for another one.
Hermione however chose to ask another question, "how can someone be betrothed to two different people at once?"
"In wizarding society," Dumbledore explained, "people that are heirs and heads of house of really high and ancient families, such as the Potters and the Malfoys can elect to have more than one spouse. Its another ancient rule that was never rescinded, but is no longer really followed. At any rate for the victor of the duel to win them both is perfectly acceptable."
Harry still felt like he was being taken advantage of somehow, but Dumbledore continued anyway and said, "Well then I suppose I will just have to work out the details and just have you both be there for the duel after dinner."
Dumbledore then made a hasty exit and he was unable to get his attention to try and stop him so he could possibly get some answers.
Malfoy sent him another glare and then looked right at Susan before telling her, "it will be nice to be able to own you as well when Potter loses you to me."
Susan sent him a glare of her own before saying, "and I'll enjoy seeing the look on your face when you lose."
Malfoy chose not to answer that, only left with his two cronies Crabbe and Goyle, followed by Pansy, who sent him a look of her own when Draco had already turned his back.
It was a look that he couldn't quite figure out, perhaps full of hope or even perhaps a silent plea to help her, he just wasn't sure.
Everyone else on the otherhand who stayed behind just wanted to wish him luck and encouragement on how to beat Malfoy.
Of course the fact that he only knew how to do one spell by now, Flipendo, didn't seem to register on most people's minds, or the fact that Draco, as the son of a wealthy pureblood lord was bound to have been taught a few spells by his father when dueling.
He knew that he needed to go practice some spells if he was to have any chance of defeating Malfoy so he finally managed to get the crowd to disperse so that he could, leaving himself and Ron behind.
"You are totally going to destroy Malfoy," Ron stated, sounding like Dudley did when he was bragging about his favorite fighter, "no way the boy who lived loses to that peacock."
"Ron, you forget I don't even know how to perform any spells yet, and I have no idea how to duel, and I'll bet Malfoy does," Harry answered him.
"Come on," Ron told him, now sounding annoyed, "stop with this act, at least around me, it's really starting to get annoying."
"What act?" Harry queried
"This fake pretending to have no knowledge of the wizarding world or how to do magic," Ron explained as if it was obvious, "you had to have been really powerful to have defeated You-know-who, so nobody actually believes the act. I just wish you'd cut it out and prove just how powerful you really are."
"Ron I don't have super powers," Harry reminded him angrily, "I"m not sure how I defeated Voldemort, but I'm just an ordinary wizard, and I have no idea how I am going to win the duel."
"Oh I see, you are still pretending now," Ron said smiling as if he had been let in on some big secret, "you will probably just show your great skills at the duel, in fact I'd reckon you and Dumbledore planned this somehow, am I right?"
"Why on earth would I plan this?" Harry asked incredulously.
"Because you're the boy who lived," Ron told him as if they made perfect sense as an argument, "you might as well be the boy who scored as well, and I'm told that Parkinson has a ton of money to inherit. Since I'm your second though I'd at least like you to give me a good amount of money when you win."
"I'm sorry Ron but I thought that at least by now you would have understood me better," Harry replied, sorry to see his first and only friendship already looking like it was about to be broken, "and as for being my second, I think I'd rather have someone else do it if you are going to be like this."
"Is that really how you want to treat your best and only friend?" Ron asked him, "let's face it, you need me. What's the big deal? Just give me a few hundred galleons and nothing more needs to be said. It'll be like a drop in the ocean compared to the vast wealth you'll likely be getting."
"No Ron," Harry said, he had only known Ron for a less than a week, and he had hoped that he had outgrown this hero worship and idiotic idealism but it appeared he most certainly hadn't, "I won't do that."
Ron looked really surprised that he had said that but finally answered angrily with, "then fine, find yourself another second."
He stormed off, leaving him seemingly alone as he wondered just how he was going to get out of this mess. He realized now that even if Ron was being an idiot he could have used him as he might have at least had an idea just how to duel, yet now he was alone and left to figure it out himself.
Yet as he put his head down inside of his hands in despair, he felt someone touch his arm.
Looking up he found that it was Susan.
"Sorry to bother you Harry, I just lingered back and overheard your conversation with Ron, and figured you could use some help," she told him, "especially since I am partially to blame you got into this mess in the first place."
"Why did you butt in and say that anyway?" He asked, "if you figured that since I was the boy-who-lived I'm super powerful or something like Ron, I promise you made a huge mistake."
"To be honest Harry," Susan answered, "I have no idea why I did what I did, because I can't imagine why I'd ever take such a risk. Its like some voice inside me made me do it, and I had no control over it, as for if I think what Ron thinks, after seeing the look on your face when you realized you would be dueling Malfoy, there was no way I could ever think that. I only told Malfoy you would win to unnerve him, you could use all the help you could get."
"I don't even know how to duel, and I only know one spell, Flipendo, which won't do me any good in a duel," Harry admitted.
"Don't worry Harry," Susan responded as she gently rubbed his shoulder, "I know a few spells you can use in duels, my aunt taught me before I left for Hogwarts, she's the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement so she's always been concerned about me being able to protect myself. She even got a waiver to be allowed to teach me a few basic spells so I'll teach you what I know, or at least as much as we can cover before the duel."
"Thank you," Harry told her gratefully.
"Besides I have a invested interest in you," she reminded him, "I am after all betrothed to you."
That only reminded him of the other problem he now faced, that of his only just now apparent betrothal to her.
"Should we talk about that?" He asked.
"I'm not sure if that would be a good idea," She told him farily, "we've still got to prepare you for the duel, and not a lot of time to achieve it in. We can discuss it after you win."
"I think," Harry replied, "I think I need to know how you feel before I go fight for you, even if it is entirely probable that I lose you to Malfoy."
She gave him a blistering look and said, "don't you dare say that. You'll win, I know you will, if you really want to know how I feel its this: I knew all along that I was probably betrothed to somebody, most wizards and witches are, especially if they come from ancient magical houses, which my family most certainly qualifies. I just hoped that they wouldn't be too terrible, as they only too often are. When my aunt finally told me it was you just before school started I was at least rather hopeful, as I had heard only good things about the boy-who-lived. I'm sure most of them aren't true, but I'm hopeful that we can at least make things work and get along, even if we don't end up loving each other. Besides from what little I know of you, you seem to be way better than Malfoy, him at least I know quite well, and he's an idiot, so you had better win so I don't have to put up with him instead."
His mind reeled with what Susan had told him, as he began to process it, and accept the state of affairs that their relationship would probably be. Even if he were to defeat Malfoy he would still have to worry about being in a forced marriage, two in fact now that he thought about it, then with Pansy.
Much of his life would already be set, and there was a very high chance of him never really finding love. If he lost, however, he would suddenly be free of that obligation, free to choose whoever he pleased, and the idea of losing on purpose popped into his mind. Yet that idea quickly was tossed aside as he realized he could never allow Susan to be forced into a relationship with Malfoy, he wouldn't have wished that on anyone, even Pansy who he would have thought entirely devoted to Malfoy had he not seen the look she had given him, almost like she recognized him as her way out or something.
So lost in his thoughts was he that he only registered that Susan was still there when she touched his arm again.
"Oh sorry," he apologized, "its just a lot to take in."
"That's okay," she replied, seeming to understand, "it was a lot for me to take in as well and I've had a lot more time to get used to it than you."
"I just want to say," he said, "I'm not sure how everything will go down, but if I don't lose you to Malfoy that I hope that we can at least become friends. We are going to be spending the rest of our lives together probably so we might as well be able to get along."
"I'd like that Harry," she responded, seeming pleased, "and we can play get to know you later, but we really need to get you ready for the duel so there is actually a reason for this conversation."
He nodded his head as they went to go find an empty classroom to practice in.
They practiced all the way up until dinner, and while Harry wanted to keep at it and skip dinner, Susan vetoed that, saying that it was more important that he got some strength back, first from resting so he could preserve his strength for the actual duel, and also because he needed the energy he would get from eating.
She also said it was because being there for dinner showed that he had more confidence and in a duel like this, showing confidence was key.
At least that was what she claimed anyway, but honestly he wasn't so sure since he felt as he entered the great hall, everyone staring at him could see clearly just what a bundle of nerves he actually was.
He really felt like he had achieved little, having only had enough time to learn how to dodge spells thrown at him, and learned how to use only one spell, the disarming spell, which would have been adequate enough for him to win the duel, had it not been for it being still so weak that it caused his victim, Susan, to only lose her wand when she was gripping it really loosely, and he wasn't even sure if it wasn't because she was allowing him to gain more confidence by dropping it on purpose.
All in all, things did not look good for him, but he continued to listen to Susan's advice that she was still giving him as they walked forward.
Meanwhile now currently at the head table only just starting to eat dinner, was Dumbledore, incredibly pleased with the day's events. Without any effort of his own, the young Malfoy boy had foolishly challenged Harry Potter to a duel, and when he had learned about it from the portraits, he had leaped upon the chance.
The fact that he had had to surreptitiously imperious the young Ms. Bones or goad both participants into having the duel go in the right direction as he had planned were only for the greater good, he reasoned.
Draco would lose his marriage contract with Parkinson's daughter and Harry would then win her. As Harry's current magical representative in the wizengamot until he came of age he would then have grounds to change Parkinson's allegiance to Lucius and instead back to him. It was perfect so long as Harry won his duel, and he was going to make certain that he did.
He had already instructed the house elves to make sure that all the goblets on the Gryffindor house table were laced with magical strengthening potion along with a totally undetectable magical shield that would make many spells that might hit him incredibly weak. With the potion being in every goblet meant that there was no way that Harry would miss, no matter where he sat or drank from, drinking the potion.
As if on cue, he watched as the boy-who-lived entered the great hall, with his betrothed in tow and sat down at the Gryffindor table. He sat still watching him, waiting for him to fill his goblet and take a drink, when he was suddenly interrupted by Hagrid who sat down next to him and started blabbering on about unicorns and how he had just found one dead.
"Professor, that poor unicorn," Hagrid began, now beginning to weep.
Hagrid seriously needed to pull himself together. It was only a unicorn for Merlin's sake. For a man of his size, Hagrid could sure be a crybaby.
Trying to be nice however as there was no reason for him to vocally be not against the slaying of a unicorn, yet also trying to get him to shut up so he could better focus on Harry and making sure he drank the potions, he turned briefly away from Harry towards Hagrid to address that issue.
At that exact moment, Harry was just about to start putting food on his plate when a girl with blonde pigtails and blue eyes, Hannah, who he recognized as one of Susan's friends and the first person who had been sorted said while coming up behind him with a plate of food and a glass of pumpkin juice, "Did you want some food Harry?"
"I was just about to serve myself," He admitted.
"I had originally planned on giving it to Susan since I figured she might be getting to dinner late and wasn't sure if the food would disappear before then, but apparently Eloise had the same idea, so I got left with an extra one, I figured you could use some food as well," Hannah offered.
Gratefully he took the proffered plate of food, and offered his thanks.
"No problem," She said, before leaning in and whispering, "you had better win, I would hate to see Susan have to marry Malfoy."
"Its okay," he grinned back at her, trying to give the girl and himself more confidence than he really had, "I'll win, don't you worry."
Hannah smiled back at him before returning back to the Hufflepuff table.
In a moment, Dumbledore would turn back to watching Harry, and grin as he watched the boy drink from his glass, none the wiser that Harry had never actually drank it.
When dinner finally finished, and everything was cleared, Dumbledore had the tables moved out to provide room for the duel and also so that everyone could stand around and watch, while an invisible barrier was erected to allow spectators to watch safely while also maintain a boundary for the duel to take place.
"Students and Faculty," Dumbledore said in his now magically amplified voice, "we have a real treat for you, a duel between two of some of our youngest and newest students, Draco Malfoy, and Harry Potter."
At both of their names a group of students cheered them on, although at the mention of his name his was considerably louder.
"Since we have not had an actual real duel in many years," Dumbledore continued, "I will be explaining the rules, the duelists will fight until one of them is no longer able to compete. Spells that are illegal or could cause death are outlawed but everything else goes. The duelists must remain inside of the boundary or be disqualified. Should one of them decide to forfeit they lose automatically. Since this is a under age match and not intended to be lethal seconds will be necessary only if both combatants are rendered incapable of dueling at the exact same time. They will also be dueling for keeps, the winner may claim the others' betrothed as his own. Are the duelists ready?"
"Yes," Harry and Malfoy both said, trying to appear confident as they were let into the ring, or the large area that had been designated as the dueling area.
Harry looked back at Malfoy who had a smirk on his face as if confident of victory. Malfoy also looked at Susan who was in the very front of the crowd watching and said maliciously, "it will be nice owning you."
"Don't count on it," she shouted back with a look of contempt
"Both contestants will bow to the other and then the duel will begin," Dumbledore continued.
Both him and Malfoy bowed to the other with as little bend as possible before Dumbledore yelled now and the duel began.
As he had already suspected, Malfoy immediately started casting spells that they shouldn't have learned yet.
"Incarcerous," Malfoy yelled as a spell was fired at his wand.
Fortunately for Harry, having been taught briefly how to dodge by Susan, managed to avoid it.
In turn he tried casting a spell of his own, hoping that it would work, "Expelliarmus."
Malfoy in turn proved that he wasn't just an idiot managed to dodge it. Perhaps he really had been trained in dueling.
This only caused him to get a huge lump in his throat as he wondered just how much.
His opponent began firing off spells after that, moving ever so closer with each one, forcing him to dodge each one, some he just barely manged to avoid.
He tried firing off a few disarming spells of his own, with one actually hitting him, but it was apparently too weak to really do anything.
At this Malfoy grinned, "what's that Potter? Not much of a wizard if you can't even do one lousy spell correctly."
This caused him to get angry enough to fire another spell in return this one hitting yet again, and causing Malfoy's wand to shake so much that for a split second, Harry had thought he was going to lose it.
However, Malfoy's grip was just too strong and he found that the spell failed to work.
As a reward for his efforts, Malfoy countered with a curse that hit his arm, causing him to fall backward and send his arm ringing with pain.
He quickly got up, however, and kept fighting, gratefully it had been his non-wand arm that had been injured.
This time he cast the other spell he knew, the Flipendo spell, which basically flipped stuff as far as he had been told, and also hit Malfoy but didn't seem to really do anything.
It was only then that he remembered that Flipendo didn't work on people, only certain objects, and since there were no objects in the dueling area, nor did he have the ability to conjure or summon any it was completely useless.
He had been hoping that Malfoy would be getting tired by now, but he still seemed ready to fight on.
At least he knew all of his spells that he knew by now, a bludgeoning curse, a disarming spell, and one that he guessed was a spell that was meant to knock him out. All in all, more than what he would need to eventually beat him.
He got another repeat performance of the spell he was most worried about.
"Stupefy," Malfoy yelled, which he just managed to duck, even though he felt it blow his hair as it passed.
If he actually got hit with that the duel was over.
With the small amount of faith that he possessed that he had gotten from Susan, and also in himself he realized that failure was not on option, he wasn't sure how he was supposed to win the duel, but he knew that he must.
However as soon as he thought this the one thing he had been trying to avoid finally happened, he got hit full on. Fortunately it was only the bludgeoning curse which caused him to be blown backward and thrown to the very edge of the dueling area, but he still felt totally in pain and felt like the wind had been knocked out of him.
Sensing weakness, Malfoy moved in for the intended kill before he could get up.
He was soon dismayed, however, as he realized he had landed wrong and definitely sprained his ankle.
While he was sure it could be fixed in a jiff with magic by a teacher or the nurse or even an older student, such repair was beyond him, and in his present condition he'd have difficulty dodging any more spells.
Still as he got up, he heard Susan's voice behind him yell, "Come on, get up Harry!"
He got back up onto his feet only for him to immediately have to fall back down, which was fortunate since Malfoy had launched a spell directly where his head had been.
Perhaps he was more injured than he had thought, in which case the duel was definitely over for him.
Malfoy seemed to recognize that his opponent's ability to move was now rather limited and grinned in triumph.
Harry himself on the other hand was extremely disappointed with himself and his poor showing.
Malfoy would have his claws all over Susan now and it would be his fault.
It was foolish to think he could have won, or even allowed himself to get into this situation.
The only spell he really had a good grasp of doing was completely useless. Or was it?
Suddenly a brilliant idea crossed his mind.
Malfoy opened his mouth and said Stupefy a second after Harry yelled flipendo.
The flipendo spell hit Malfoy's wand and did what it was supposed to do, it flipped his wand in his hand, turning its point away from Harry and instead pointing directly at Malfoy.
The stupefy hit Malfoy, immediately knocking him out and dropping him to the floor.
There was a moment's pause as everyone processed just what had happened before there was a roar of applause.
He was suddenly hit by two colliding missiles in the form of girls who gathered him up into a hug. The first he realized was Susan, and the other to his surprise was Pansy, who seemed to be slightly embarrassed and surprised herself that she had lost her composure, but as he looked at her, she realized she didn't actually care as she hugged him anyway.
As he looked over the heads of the two girls, and his other well wishers now surrounding him, he looked over at Dumbledore who had a grin of his own on his face, as he said:
"The winner of the duel is Harry Potter!"
Looking over at Malfoy then who had now been revived, and looked momentarily confused as to what happened, but when he figured it out his visage was slowly turning to anger.
"How could I lose to that little son of a mudblood," Draco roared, "no Malfoy ever loses duels, and they certainly don't lose their marriage contracts to scum."
As elated as he was at having managed to win, Harry's ankle was still throbbing so he managed to get his fans off of him long enough to hobble over to Madame Pomfrey to have it fixed, accompanied by Susan and Pansy on either side of him to provide support.
"When I saw you fall after you found out how hurt your ankle was, I thought for sure you were a goner Mr. Potter," Madame Pomfrey admitted as she treated him, "it appears that you should be fine, however, nothing I can't heal in two seconds."
As if to prove this, she swept her wand over him and the pain in his ankle immediately disappeared along with the swelling. She pronounced him good as new.
"Thanks," he told her gratefully as he tested out his ankle and seeing if there was still any pain as he carefully put pressure on it.
Fortunately it seemed to be just as strong and pain free as always.
Now simply wanting to get out of there so he could talk with both girls, he motioned for them to accompany him out.
It took some maneuvering but he was able to break free of the crowd still milling about wanting to congratulate him, but still keeping track of his two fiancees by holding each of their hands.
They somehow made it back to the abandoned classroom he had been using to practice dueling earlier.
As soon as the door was closed, Susan started: "I would give you congratulations, but since everyone else has already done so, I think I'll admit just what I was thinking the whole time. I was really worried about you, especially during the end, it looked like you were just barely managing to avoid his spells and not seeming even capable of going on the offensive. I figured any second you would get hit and the duel would be over. You have no idea how scared I was."
"I was scared too," Pansy admitted shakily, "I thought you were going to lose and let's just say even from what little I know of you I definitely wanted you to win over Malfoy."
She gave a huge shudder as if imagining if Malfoy had ended up winning.
"If you had lost...," Pansy said breathlessly before breaking down and starting to cry.
Both he and Susan were both shocked to see her actually starting to cry, and Susan decided to go over and hug her for emotional support.
Pansy stiffened, as if unaccustomed to being hugged, even though she had admittedly hugged him after the duel. He had the feeling she had not ever lost her composure and done so before.
However, Pansy did not pull away from the hug and allowed the girl to hug her as she exclaimed through her tears, "I'm just so happy that I don't have to marry Draco."
"Trust me you aren't the only one," Susan told her, "I had faith in Harry and he won in the end but it was still a rather scary duel to watch. I'm just glad it's over."
Harry however was now feeling very awkward as he was unsure how to deal with this show of emotion from Pansy, or Susan consoling her.
Was he supposed to join in or just stand there or what?
"Oh come over here Harry," Susan beckoned to him as if to answer his question, "you deserve to join in our hug too."
He did so, but nervously, not used to hugging anyone or being hugged but he did so anyway, putting his arms the best he could around the two girls.
This is going to be interesting, he thought.