Light Shines Brightest In Darkness
-for Cara. Thank you.
C1: If I Tried, Would It Make A Difference?
July 31st 1980, Tempestas Lily Potter was born.
October 30th 1981, Tempest was found on the doorstep of 4 Privet Drive.
April 12th 1990, Tempest vanished.
September 1st 1994, The Marauders heir- the Girl-Who-Lived- the Chosen One… the fourteen-year-old girl still sprawled out asleep at 10:45am.
Minerva McGonagall rapped sharply on the door bearing the sign 'Either busy eating or sleeping. Go Away'. "Tempest! The train leaves in fifteen minutes, and I must leave for Hogwarts before you… Tempest!"
There was a muffled and annoyed groan, a thud and pattering footsteps towards the door, which then swung open. Tempest blinked at Minerva, her hair flattened against her skull on one side and sticking up in the oddest of ways on the other. "Whazzup Minnie?" she mumbled, her eyes still half closed, and leaning heavily against the door for support.
"Hogwarts Tempest! The train?" continued Minerva.
Tempest seemed to make a forced effort to keep her eyes open and mumbled out an incoherent reply before the door slammed and Minerva, shaking her head, went downstairs. Had she slept this much when she was fourteen?
Heidy, her house-elf was setting the table, humming as she did so, her blindingly bright towel pinned neatly around her. "Good morning Minerva, is there anything else you need?" squeaked the elf, her huge eyes blinking up at the woman.
"No thank you Heidy. But if Tempest isn't up in two minutes, please use whatever means necessary to make her ready for the train to Hogwarts. I need to leave."
Heidy grinned mischievously. "Of course Minerva, I will see to it."
After Heidy left, Minerva glanced upwards slightly as there was a succession or several more thuds in the general direction of where Tempest was. Her eyes twinkled as she imagined Tempest Potter, so different now from the small girl she'd found in the side alleyway behind a warehouse.
Minerva gave a quick smile as she remembered how exhausted Tempest had been when she arrived back home after the Quidditch World Cup, beaming and spouting tales of the players- Ireland and Bulgaria, although not a single word about the events after the Cup had escaped her lips…. Death eaters and the like. Speaking of that…. It would be several hours before the Hogwarts Express would reach Hogwarts, and she needed to talk to Albus.
Tempest cracked one eye open, then the other, and came face to face with a huge pair of luminous eyes. "Heidy!" she exclaimed, jumping up and struggling to comb down her messy hair.
"Mistress needs to go get ready for Hogwarts miss, Miss Minerva said so! You will be late if you wait any longer!" said Heidy seriously, her bat-like ears flapping.
Groaning, Tempest sat up from where she was sprawled sideways across her bed, and struggled to find her clothes. "Thanks Heidy… I'll be down in a sec… Have you got my Firebolt?"
Heidy nodded, "Yes mistress, Heidy has packed your trunk for you, Heidy knows how you is always forgetting… Please hurry miss Tempest." The elf's eyes were twinkling though, as she exited the room.
Still blinking like an owl, Tempest flung her legs over the edge of her bed, grinning at Nyx, her black tabby cat, who wound her way around Tempest's legs as she tried to find her shoes and socks.
Tempest made her way downstairs, scraping her hair back into something that resembled a ponytail while shrugging on her clothes.
She quickly scoffed down her breakfast, burning her mouth and throat in the process then grabbed her trunk, scooped up Nyx, who didn't seem to take it well and took Heidy's hand to apparate to Platform 9 and ¾.
Tempest grinned as she waved to Hermione spotting Ron standing next to Ginny as they appeared through the Barrier to Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
Tempest could still remember the exact same day four years ago when she had arrived at the train station straight after leaving Diagon Alley. Professor McGonagall, or Minnie as Tempest called her at home, had wisely said that it would be better if everyone assumed that Tempest was still living with her aunt and uncle, as it would be classed as favouritism if Tempest was put in Gryffindor (which she was). Only a select few knew where Tempest really lived.
The twins were the first to reach Tempest, George spinning her around in a circle before Fred crushed the air out of her lungs with a bear hug.
"Hey!" Hermione's voice interrupted, "I want to hug her too!"
Fred was elbowed out of the way and Tempest was then mobbed by Hermione.
"I really don't see what all the fuss is about," Tempest choked, trying to breathe, "I saw all of you less than three days ago!"
George merely shrugged and gave a sheepish grin, gesturing at Hermione. "I suspect it's the hormones."
Tempest laughed outright at that, thanking the stars Hermione hadn't heard.
Something warm and furry wound itself around Tempest's ankles, and she looked down to see Crookshanks, Hermione's cat, greeting Nyx.
"Want to go find a compartment?"
Tempest agreed, hauling her trunk over to the train.
Hermione's voice broke above the loud chatter of the people crowded on the platform. "Well, I hope for once, this term will be quiet!"
Tempest just shook her head and exchanged a meaningful glance with the twins. "Not with me around Hermione!"
Tempest laughed. It wasn't exactly like Dumbledore to pull something like that at an occasion as serious as this, but then again the man was rather odd…
It wasn't until her laughter had faded out that Tempest realized it was dead silent and everyone was staring straight at her. Even Ron and Hermione's eyes were on her, Ron's expression blank. Neither of them were smiling either.
If this was a joke…
Up at the staff table, Minnie got up and whispered something in Dumbledore's ear. Her expression wasn't pleased.
Beside her, all of Gryffindor table was staring at her, open mouthed. She couldn't read their expressions, there was only shock.
"What exactly just happened?" Tempest asked, staring around, trying to catch someone's eye.
All of them avoided her gaze, and none of them replied.
At the staff table, Dumbledore was shaking his head as Minnie straightened up. "Tempest Potter. Tempestas! Up here if you please!"
"You can't be serious," Tempest said, "I don't-"
"Go on," Hermione whispered, giving Tempest a shove. "You've got to go up there."
Tempest stood up automatically, tripped on the bench and began to walk up to the front between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables.
Tempest didn't mind stares … she was more than used to random people staring at her as she walked by- but these people were different. Some of them were her friends, some of them were people who Tempest did value the opinions of… and some of those people weren't even looking at her.
The distance between the back of the hall and the front had never seemed so great. The whispers weren't stopping, and Dumbledore didn't seem any closer.
"If you're going to tell me what's going on, now would be a good time," Tempest said, forcing a smile on her face as she finally reached Dumbledore.
Dumbledore didn't react at all, his expression stoic, and his usually twinkling blue eyes seemed to have gone out. "Through the door Tempest." Dumbledore said.
Tempest wanted to protest, stand up before the whole hall and declare that it was a mistake- it was a joke, probably Fred and George- only they looked just as shocked as everyone else…
With nothing else to do, Tempest skirted around Minnie, who was staring at the ground as though it was the most fascinating thing since Puffskeins. Tempest walked out of the Great Hall and found herself in a smaller room lined with pictures of witches and wizards, all of whom were gazing pointedly at her. There was a huge fireplace in the corner with Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour and Cedric Diggory standing around it.
"What is it? Do zey want us back in ze hall?" Fleur was the first to turn around addressing Tempest.
She thinks I've come to deliver a message. Tempest thought, feeling oddly amused. "Uh, no," Tempest said, "I think someone played a joke, or something… uh, I'm sure Dumbledore will get in here and explain…"
The three champions stared blankly at her.
"Uh, why don't we just wait?" Tempest said awkwardly, shuffling on the spot. After all, what else could it be but a joke? There was no possible way that Tempest's name coming out of the Goblet meant that she would compete in the tournament…. That would just be insane…
…and say the implausible happened and she was a fourth champion… how would the others take the news?
Diggory wouldn't be pleased- for the first time Hufflepuff would have the chance to shine and here she was- Tempest- the Great Golden Gryffindor stealing the limelight again… she didn't know much about Delacour or Krum, but neither of them seemed the type to like competition from a fourteen year old.
There was the sound of hurried feet then suddenly Ludo Bagman entered the room slinging an arm around Tempest's shoulders (making her flinch away) and leading her forward. "Amazing! Now, Gentlemen and… Lady, may I introduce- I am sure you must all be shocked- the fourth Triwizard Champion?"
Cedric was frowning, looking from Tempest to Bagman as if he had misheard, while Krum had straightened up and was staring at Tempest darkly.
"Okay, now you have to be kidding," Tempest said, shrugging off Bagman's arm. "You can't be serious- out there, that was-"
"Kidding?" Bagman said, for a second looking just as confused as Cedric. "Why on earth would I be kidding? Your name came out of the Goblet of Fire- you're the fourth champion."
Cedric now looked politely bewildered while Krum was still glaring at Tempest and Fleur looked like someone had dunked a bucket of ice cold water over her head.
Tempest blinked for a moment, trying to comprehend what Bagman was saying. "Okay, hold up, you're making no sense whatsoever. I'm the what now? It's called Triwizard tournament for a reason. Tri means three, not four! Or it'd be called the Quadwizard tournament- which just sounds ridiculous!"
Bagman shrugged, his boyish face contorting into what Tempest assumed he thought was a deep-in-thought expression.
It didn't work.
"Well, I don't know, it's extraordinary, it's never happened before- I assure you, but it's in the rules, you can't back out- your name goes in… Well you're just going to have to do the best that you can…"
Tempest was shaking her head. "I am about this close to threatening someone as to tell me what the hell is going on! Why was my name in that Goblet?"
The door slammed open behind them, and Professor Dumbledore, Mr Crouch, Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Minnie and Professor Snape, entered. For a second, Tempest could hear the voices of the people still in the Great hall, louder than ever, until Snape shut the door.
Fleur walked over to where her headmistress stood immediately. "Madame Maxime, zey are saying zat zis little girl is to compete also!"
Tempest was yanked quite rudely from her disbelief into irritation. Little girl?
Madame Maxime had drawn herself up to her full and very impressive, height. The top of her head brushed the chandelier and her chest swelled. "What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?" she demanded, glaring at Tempest like it was her fault.
"I would rather like to know that myself, Dumbledore," Professor Karkaroff stepped forward, wearing a steely smile which was only defeated by the cold light in his blue eyes. "Two Hogwarts champions? I do not remember receiving knowledge that the host school is allowed two champions." He gave a short, ugly laugh.
"C'est impossible!" Madame Maxime rested her large hand on Fleur's shoulder. "Ogwarts cannot 'ave two champions. It is most unjust!"
"Yeah it's unjust!" Tempest jumped in, ignoring the look Maxime gave her. "I want to know why my name was put in that cup- because I sure as hell didn't do it… I was looking forwards to watching other people almost get killed, not being part of it myself!"
"A truly moral statement." Karkaroff sneered, "And one perhaps that I would be inclined to take seriously if it were not for the fact that this glory is coveted by all… and that you cannot merely explain away your name in that cup by throwing a fit."
Karkaroff had already turned back to Dumbledore though. "We were under the impression that your Age Line would keep out younger contestants, Dumbledore," said Karkaroff, still sneering, "otherwise, we would have brought along a wider selection of candidates from our own schools."
"It is no one's fault but Miss Potter's, Karkaroff," Snape cut in smoothly, causing Tempest to turn to him, how was it her own fault? "Don't go blaming Dumbledore, Miss Potter's determination to break rules is outstanding-"
"It's one thing to break rules than to bloody risk it all and enter an international death trap that only insane people would want to enter- no offence you three," Tempest shot the three proper champions a hurried look, only to receive bemused stares in return. "And I cannot say it enough times- I did not put my name in! Heck, even if I wanted to, I saw what happened to Fred and George! And if you still think that I put my name in, then you can just go jump up your own-"
"Thank you, Tempest, Severus." Dumbledore said firmly, breaking off a sentence that Tempest didn't regret. Her eyes brushed across the other people in the room, most of which were clearly not too pleased with Tempest's speech.
Dumbledore was now looking down at Tempest, who for all her height was still shorter than him, and she looked right back at him, daring him to read her expression.
"Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Tempest?" He asked calmly.
"No." Tempest said hotly, she was aware of everyone watching her, obviously not believing her. Karkaroff scoffed loudly, while Snape glowered at her a bit more subtly.
"Did you ask an older student to put it in the Goblet of Fire for you?" asked Professor Dumbledore, ignoring both interruptions.
"No." said Tempest.
"Ah, but of course she is lying!" cried Madame Maxime, obviously unable to remain silent any longer. Snape was also shaking his head, lip curling.
"She could not have crossed that Age Line," Minnie said sharply, and Tempest felt a rush of relief towards her. "I am sure we all agreed on that- Albus cast it himself, and it would have taken a-"
"Dumbly-dorr must 'ave made a mistake wiz ze line." Shrugged Madame Maxime.
"It is possible, of course," said Dumbledore politely.
"Dumbledore, you know perfectly well you did not make a mistake-" Minnie said and Tempest was growing more and more frustrated.
"It doesn't matter about the damn age line!" Tempest yelled, then backtracking quickly. "I mean it doesn't matter whether or not the Age line worked or not- the fact was that I never crossed it- I never even got a meter's radius of that thing! Don't you lot have spells of potions that make people tell the truth? Because I'm open to them!"
There was silence for a few seconds, in which everyone merely stared at her.
"A bluff." Karkaroff finally sneered. "Although if you so wish we would be happy to, Professor Snape-"
"Professor Karkaroff! You know full well that use of Vertaserium on a student is forbidden! There must be a full case before the Ministry-" Minnie was aghast, and although Tempest was grateful, she was also slightly annoyed. It wasn't like a truth potion was going to kill her…. Unlike what she had heard about the Triwizard Tournament. After all, if she was proved innocent, maybe they could take her out of the Tournament…
"Unless of course, the one being subjected to the truth potion gives their full consent before witnesses," said Crouch, "and there is a legitimate reason for Vertaserium to be used. I assume all gathered here in this room may be witnesses…"
Tempest had never been so glad to hear the Ministry official speak. "And I give you my full consent."
Dumbledore eyed Tempest for a long second, and Tempest met his eyes behind his crescent moon glasses evenly. "Then Severus, if you please…?"
Snape, who had been quiet for a while, gave Tempest a final glower, and then took out his wand, waving it in the air in what looked like a figure of eight motion. A small glass, barely the size of one of Tempest's fingernails appeared in Snape's hand, and rather reluctantly he gave it to Dumbledore.
Dumbledore gave Tempest a searching gaze, and then unstopped the vial and handed it to Tempest.
Tempest took the small bottle, fumbling, and now feeling oddly self-conscious as everyone in the room as watching her, most seeming to be holding their breath, she gave a nervous grin, raised a toast to thin air- "Cheers"- lifted the bottle to her lips and drained it in one swallow.
Tempest came to slowly, blinking as her brain seemed slightly fuzzy. "What happened? Did it work?"
Minnie and Dumbledore were standing right in front of her, Dumbledore just stowing his wand away as they took a step back.
It seemed to have worked, as Diggory, Krum, Fleur, Bagman, Crouch and Madame Maxime looked slightly impressed, or if not impressed- satisfied, while Minnie just looked anxious and Snape and Dumbledore had blank expressions- apart from the fact that Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling once again.
Karkaroff however, still did not look pleased. "So we have determined that the girl did have a hand in placing her name in the Goblet, but she still cannot compete, it is most irregular!"
Bagman took out a too-white handkerchief, and wiped his face, then looked at Mr Crouch, who looked almost skeletal in the firelight. However his voice was still its usual curt tone when he spoke. "We must follow the rules, and the rules clearly state in no uncertain means that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete In the tournament."
Tempest was horror stuck. So they had proven that she hadn't put her name in, but she still had to compete?
"Well Barty knows the rule book back to front!" said Bagman, beaming boyishly and turning away, back to Madame Maxime and Karkaroff as if the matter had been settled.
"Uh no." Tempest said flatly. "I forfeit." The entire room fell silent and they all stared at Tempest in what she thought was… horror? "I don't want to bloody compete, and all of you people obviously don't… what?"
"Take it back!" Minnie all but yelled at her, "You cannot forfeit-"
"Why on earth not? It gets me out of the tournament-"
"Binding magical contract," Dumbledore said, his voice not as loud as Minnie's but it still held an uncharacteristic note of urgency. "If you break such a contract- one that you made the moment your name came out of that cup- then you will lose your magic."
"I- cup- what?" Tempest yelped, "I take it back, I take it back! I take it back! Why didn't anyone say that sooner?"
Karkaroff did not look the least bit impressed, and his expression told Tempest very clearly that he would rather her have lost her magic than her compete.
"I insist upon resubmitting the names of the rest of my students," said Karkaroff. He had dropped his smile and reasonable tone now, and the expression on his face was murderous. "You will set up the Goblet of Fire once more, and we will continue adding names until each school has two champions. It is only fair, Dumbledore."
"But it doesn't work like that! The Goblet's just gone out, it won't start until the next tournament-" Bagman faltered at the look Karkaroff gave him.
"-in which Durmstrang will most certainly not be competing!" exploded Karkaroff, ignoring Krum, who didn't seem to agree with his Headmaster. "In all our meetings and negotiations and compromises, I did not expect something of this nature to occur! I have half a mind to leave now!"
"Then you had better listen to the other half of your mind Karkaroff, empty threat," growled a voice from the door. "Or did you just become deaf too in the past few minutes? Would you risk your champion's magic? I believe forcing that choice upon someone and causing them to lose their magic gains you a spell in Azkaban… something I suppose you are quite familiar with."
Karkaroff clamped his mouth shut, and his hands clenched into fists at his sides as he stared at Moody, Tempest apparently forgotten for the time being.
Something I suppose you are quite familiar with…
What had Karkaroff done in the past that had made him so familiar with Azkaban?
"But then again, that is not the only thing that can land you in Azkaban these days," Moody said, staring at Karkaroff with both mismatched eyes. "Trying to get someone killed might just do it too…"
"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about." Karkaroff said with an air of forced calm, even though Tempest could see his hands shaking.
"Don't you? It's very simple Karkaroff, someone put Miss Potter's name in that goblet- as it is proven she did not do it herself- and they knew she would have to compete if it came out."
"Clearly someone 'oo wished to give 'Ogwarts two bites at ze apple!" burst out Madame Maxime.
Tempest wasn't exactly so sure that was the case, and then again, she wasn't so sure that Karkaroff had put her name in the cup either- as that was what Moody was implying- after all, Karkaroff seemed the one who was most against her competing.
"I don't want to take a bite of anything!" Tempest said exasperatedly. "Nor do I think anyone would go to such lengths just to make Hogwarts win- and of all the people to choose, I'm hardly the best competition! Can we focus on the how-the-hell-my-name-got-in-the-cup side of things now? Professor Dumbledore? Professor Moody?"
"It was most likely an exceptionally strong Confundus Charm." Moody growled almost at once. "Only a powerful caster could hoodwink a magical object that powerful into forgetting that only three schools compete in the tournament… it would be my guess that they submitted Miss Potter's name under a fourth school, to make sure she was the only one in the category."
"You seem to have given this a great deal of thought, Moody," said Karkaroff coldly, and Tempest wondered if the man just liked picking fights. "and a very ingenious theory it is - though of course, I heard you recently got it into your head that one of your birthday presents contained a cunningly disguised basilisk egg, and smashed it to pieces before realizing it was a carriage clock. So you'll understand if we don't take you entirely seriously…"
"There are those who'll turn innocent occasions to their advantage," Moody retorted in a menacing voice. "It's my job to think the way Dark wizards do, Karkaroff - as you ought to remember…"
"Alastor!" said Dumbledore warningly. Tempest was confused for a moment, then remembered Minnie talking about one 'Alastor Moody' in the holidays, and realised "Mad-Eye" could hardly be Moody's real first name. Moody fell silent, though still surveying Karkaroff with satisfaction- Karkaroff's face was burning.
"How this situation arose, we do not know," said Dumbledore, speaking to everyone gathered in the room. "It seems to me, however, that we have no choice but to accept it. Both Cedric and Tempest have been chosen to compete in the Tournament. This, therefore, they will do… If there are any other alternatives- as my mind had provided me none- please speak now."
Dumbledore glanced around serenely, as Karkaroff glared, Snape scowled, Minnie looked worried, Madame Maxine didn't look pleased, but resigned, and Bagman seemed rather excited.
I have an alternative! Tempest thought, we give everyone at this school a nice strong dose of Vertaswhatsit and rat out the idiot who put my name in the cup- then I can focus on the actual participation in the Tournament.
"Well, shall we crack on then?" Bagman asked, rubbing his hands together. "We've got to give our champions the instructions, Barty, want to do the honours?"
Tempest restrained herself from throwing something at Bagman, then turned to Mr Crouch.
Mr Crouch, who to Tempest seemed to come out of a deep reverie, began. "Yes, instructions… the first task. The first task is designed to test your daring," he moved closer to the fireplace, and even though he should have been twenty years younger than Minnie, (and wizards lived for two hundred years at least- Minnie sitting at sixty three, and Dumbledore at a hundred and forty one) he looked much older, and tired. "-so we are not going to tell you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard… Very important."
"-and witch." Tempest said under her breath, and Fleur, who was standing next to her, gave her a sideways glance, and to Tempest's surprise, a small smile.
"The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges. The champions are not permitted to ask for, or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament."
Tempest saw Crouch's eyes flicker slightly to Karkaroff, before he continued. "The champions will face the first challenge armed only with their wands. They will receive information about the second task when the first is over. Owing to the demanding and time-consuming nature of the tournament, the champions are exempted from end-of-year tests."
Well that's one of the good things then I guess. Thought Tempest, as Mr Crouch turned to look at Dumbledore. "I think that is all, is it Albus?"
"I think so." Said Dumbledore, and apparently it wasn't just Tempest who had noticed how tired Crouch looked, as Dumbledore continued, looking at Mr Crouch with mild concern. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"
"No, Dumbledore, I must get back to the Ministry," said Mr Crouch, "It is a very busy, very difficult time at the moment… I've left young Weatherby in charge…"
Tempest stifled a laugh, and made a mental note to tell George and Fred about it.
"Very enthusiastic… a little overenthusiastic, if truth be told…"
"You'll come and have a drink before you go, at least?" said Dumbledore.
"Come on Barty, I'm staying! It's all happening at Hogwarts now, you know, much more exiting here than at the office!" Said Bagman brightly.
"I think not, Ludo." Said Crouch with a touch of his old impatience, and Tempest personally wondered whether or not Crouch considered anything exciting.
"Professor Karkaroff- Madame Maxime- a nightcap?" asked Dumbledore, not deterred at all.
But Madame Maxime had already put her arm around Fleur's shoulders, and with a parting glance from Fleur back at Tempest, steered her out of the room. Tempest could hear them speaking very fast in French as they went off into the Great Hall. Karkaroff beckoned to Krum, and they exited in silence, Krum also glancing back at the last second, no longer glaring, but rather a surly look at Tempest.
"Tempest, Cedric, I suggest you go up to bed," said Dumbledore, smiling at them both. "I am sure Gryffindor and Hufflepuff are waiting to celebrate with you, and it would be a shame to deprive them of this excellent excuse to make a great deal of mess and noise."
Tempest glanced at Cedric, who nodded, and they left together.
Tempest could feel Snape's glare boring holes in the back of her head as the door closed behind her.
The Great Hall was deserted now, something Tempest was immensely grateful for, and she walked next to Cedric, wondering what he was thinking.
"So," said Cedric, with a slight smile. "We're playing against each other again!"
Tempest shrugged, the last time they had played against each other, she had ended up falling off her broom over several hundred feet in the air. "Yep." Tempest muttered.
"If you need any help…" Cedric trailed off. "I mean, it's not your fault that you're competing, and I know my house won't like it that you are much… But I'll tell them to lay off you alright? I'll explain what happened."
Tempest felt slightly relieved, and grateful at the same time. Cedric wasn't holding it against her. "Thanks. And, well, I guess you know I didn't want to be entered, and all, plus the fact that I know I should be wanting to win myself, but… I think you winning wouldn't be half-bad."
Cedric stopped. "Thanks Tempest."
"And I hope none of us die horribly," she added.
Cedric laughed. "Funny… and morbid."
"Yes, well, being around me in and of itself is generally a risk."
"Your friends seem to do pretty well," Cedric said, raising his eyebrows as they walked.
"Oh, well, they're too nice." Tempest laughed. "And way too forgiving… goodness, I've almost gotten them killed so many times, and yet they still stick by me."
They started walking again until they reached the marble staircase that led to the Gryffindor Common room. Cedric stopped outside a door to the right, and paused. "You know… I'm sorry about the way my dad reacted to you, I mean he's just…"
Tempest interrupted. "Yeah, no, it's fine."
Cedric gave her a searching look, which reminded Tempest uncomfortably of Dumbledore, and then he opened the door, turning back for a second. "You know Tempest, you're not bad."
And Tempest felt rather flattered.
"Balderdash." Said Tempest dully to the Fat Lady, and the woman in the painting gave her a rather sympathetic look that Tempest felt she didn't deserve, then swung inwards.
The blast of noise that met Tempest's ears when the portrait opened almost knocked her backward. Next thing she knew, she was being wrenched inside the common room by about a dozen pairs of hands, and was facing the whole of Gryffindor House, all of whom were screaming, applauding, and whistling.
"You should've told us you'd entered!" bellowed Fred; he looked half annoyed, half deeply impressed.
"Yeah," Tempest said. "about that -"
But Angelina, a Gryffindor Chaser, had now swooped down upon her; "Oh if it couldn't be me, at least it's a Gryffindor -"
"You'll be able to pay back Diggory for that last Quidditch match, Tempest!" shrieked Katie Bell, another of the Gryffindor Chasers.
Tempest tried to reply over the noise of the crowd, "Um, not sure I want to- he seems decent…"
"We've got food, Tempest, come and have some -"
"I'd really rather not-"
But nobody wanted to hear that… nobody wanted to hear what they didn't want to know. And apparently no-one had realized that Tempest was in no mood to be celebrating anything, much less her entering into a death contest… Tempest couldn't get away either, whenever she tried to sidle over to the staircase up to the dormitories, the crowd around her refused to let her go, shoving another butterbeer into her hands pouring more questions onto her… Everyone wanted to know how she had done it, how she had tricked Dumbledore's Age Line and managed to get her name into the goblet…
Tempest turned away from the mass of bodies and to her relief saw George.
She had only just grabbed his hand when his idiotic twin appeared out of nowhere, and then instead of being led away, she was being dragged further back into the crowd. "Fred, I was just going to- I really don't want to-"
"Speech! Speech! Speech! SPEECH! SPEECH!"
Fred shoved Tempest up onto the coffee table in the middle of the common room, and then the room quieted considerably as everyone turned to look at Tempest.
Grimacing, Tempest faced the crowd. "Uh, hi then." she said awkwardly, "Look, I'm glad you're all happy that I'm a champion, and that I get to get back at Diggory for last year- let me finish-" as some of the Gryffindor Quidditch team let out cheers, "and that you all want to know how I put my name in the cup…"
"Hey, and sorry to kill your buzz but I wasn't the one- I didn't put my own name in-"
"Come on! Pull the other one! If you didn't put your name in the cup, then who did?" yelled Lee.
"I don't know," Tempest said flatly, "the moment I do- someone is getting punched in the face… but in the meantime, I drank Vertaserium with the other champions watching, and Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, so you can ask them if you want proof, okay?"
There was silence from the Gryffindor's.
"Now I know you want me to bring honour to Gryffindor and all, and I promise I'll try my best to win, and not to get myself killed in this Tournament-"
There were several laughs.
"-but honestly I think we've had enough attention already, me especially,"
No one denied it.
"-and so please don't go around bragging that Gryffindor's got a champion too, alright? I don't want the attention, I don't want to get back at Diggory, I didn't put my name in the cup, so are we clear on that?"
There was silence for a few seconds, and then Lavender spoke up. "How do you know you're telling the truth? I mean who wouldn't want all the glory?"
Tempest cleared her throat, waving an arm in the air.
There was a chorus of laughter, then George spoke. "Get your head screwed on straight Brown! Tempest wouldn't lie about this, she almost gets killed already on a regular basis." He climbed up onto the table and slung an arm around Tempest's shoulders. "Now seeing as our Chosen One didn't put her name into the Goblet, and seeing as this competition can be deadly, and we can be pretty sure that whoever put Tempest's name in didn't mean it as a joke- and that the other houses won't like it much that Tempest is a champion, we all need to stick by her, alright?"
There was silence for a heartbeat, and then the entire Gryffindor common room erupted into cheers even louder than before, and Tempest was being swarmed with people all hugging her and seeming even more enthusiastic that she hadn't entered herself after all and had come clean.
Later that night, when Tempest had finally managed to escape the madness, she sat on her bed with Hermione, Nyx purring in her lap.
"So." Tempest said. "that just shot my ideas of a peaceful year to hell."
Hermione took a breath, then sighed and grimaced. "How do these things keep happening to you, Tempest?"
"I gave up asking that question a while ago," Tempest replied tiredly.