Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters created by JK Rowling.
Harry Potter had such high hopes at the beginning of his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The announcement of the Tri Wizard Tournament and the age restriction being enforced for it had Harry entertaining visions of a 'normal' year where he wouldn't be drawn into some plot to save the school and the wizarding world. Maybe, just maybe, he could remain outside of the spotlight and just have some fun for the first time since starting his education here. While the news of Quidditch being cancelled for the year upset quite a few people, it didn't faze him as he was looking forward to hanging out with his two best friends and just enjoying the competitions and other events that were sure to accompany to tournament.
For the first two months of school, things went pretty well and Harry sat back and enjoyed himself. In the final week leading up to Halloween, Harry began to get nervous. It had never been a good day for him since it was the date that his parents were murdered which left him an orphan and sentencing him to life with the Dursleys. During his earlier years, he didn't notice the reality that October 31st was a cursed day for him because with the Dursleys, every day was a cursed day. It wasn't until his first year at Hogwarts that he discovered that he was cursed to have a horrible day and which was repeated every year since.
As he started getting nervous the closer it got to Halloween, he had a realization which was that the champions names were being drawn on that night. As he stepped into the Great Hall for the selection feast and ceremony, he was resigned to the fact that his name would come out of the Goblet of Fire. He knew this in his heart as nothing else bad had happened to him all day. He sat quietly during the feast waiting for the anvil to drop on his head.
Sure enough, he wouldn't be disappointed as his name came out of the Goblet and all his plans crashed and burned. The look on Ron's face as he stood and stumbled in a daze towards the front of the Great Hall was the first indication that things were going sour. He sighed as a second glance to his other best friend showed Hermione to be concerned but not angry. With the rescue of his Godfather the previous year, his feelings for her began to change and he was hoping for a chance to explore this during what he had hoped to be a 'normal' year. As he walked forward, it was the only comfort he could grasp on to.
An hour later, Harry was making his way back to the Gryffindor Tower when Cedric stepped out of the shadows and approached him. As Harry went for his wand, Cedric held up his hands showing he was unarmed and said "You really didn't want this did you Harry?"
Harry sighed in exasperation "Cedric, as I've already said it a million times tonight, I didn't enter or get anyone else too."
"Relax Harry, I was just curious. You know everyone is going to think you cheated your way in?"
Harry whined "Great, all I need is more attention. Why can't I just have a normal year?"
Cedric laughed "Now Mr. Potter, it does not befit a champion to whine."
That caused a small smile to appear on Harry's face. "Um…Cedric, could I like….make a magical oath to you proving I didn't do it? I mean, I shouldn't even be in the tournament and you are the true Hogwarts' champion."
"I believe you Harry so you don't need to give me an oath. Tell you what, let's how things play out over the next few days and decide what to do from there."
"Thanks for believing me. I just hope everyone else does."
As soon as he stepped into the Gryffindor common room, the room went completely quiet. He could tell by the redness of Ron's face that he had been arguing with the others and held a little hope that his friend was arguing in support of him. It took all of a minute for that idea to be completely washed away when he heard the next few words.
Ron snapped out "Always got to be the one in the spotlight don't you Harry. You sat there and lied to me and everyone else saying you weren't going to enter but then you did it anyway. Never mind telling your best mate how to pull it off."
Harry sighed "I didn't enter myself or have anyone else enter me. Why would I want to Ron? I'm already stared at enough to need any more attention. Besides that, I was looking forward to hanging out with you and Hermione this year without the usual drama."
Ron growled "I'll bet you didn't give anyone else the chance because you knew we are better than you anyway and you wouldn't stand a chance with some real Gryffindors competing against you."
Harry growled "Ron, Cedric is the real Hogwarts champion; I'm just being forced to compete on a technicality. I WANT NO PART OF THIS WHOLE THING!"
Ron shouted back "SOME FRIEND YOU ARE! UNTIL YOU QUIT LYING TO US, YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE AND YOU ARE NO FRIEND OF MINE!"
Harry looked around and saw the majority of the house nodding in agreement. In a manner that they had never witnessed in Harry before, he set his shoulders and stood with his head held high as he walked to the stairs and up to his dorm. He held it together as he got ready for bed but once he drew his curtains around his bed, he cast a few silencing charms and lay in bed and cried for the loss of a friendship and the little piece of him that died with it.
The next morning, he awoke but stayed behind his curtains until his roommates left for the Great Hall. Once they left, he slowly got up and went about getting ready for the day. By the time he came down the stairs, the only person in the common room was Hermione Granger, his other best friend. She looked up from her book and approached him handing him a stack of toast. "I thought you might want to avoid breakfast this morning so I brought you this."
All he said was "Thanks Hermione. So, how bad is it?" He was pretty sure of what the rest of the school's reaction would be to him if Ron was any indication. He saw her wince before asking "Hermione, do you believe me?"
She glanced nervously at the floor before saying "It doesn't matter Harry. You're my friend and I'll stand beside you no matter what. I mean, after first year, I kind of owe you."
Harry sat back as he munched on his toast as he replayed her words over in his head. He then thought 'Oh great, she only here out of some sense of duty. She doesn't believe me either.'
He nodded his head and then finally stood. "I guess we should get to class then."
The whole way to the class, they never shared a word or spared a glance towards each other. After the previous night, it hurt him to think that even Hermione thought he entered himself. As he thought about it, his idea of trying to pursue something more with her died along with the rest of his plans since it was obvious that she didn't trust him as much as he trusted her. It was probably good that he was so lost in thought that he didn't see the harsh glares that were being cast his way. But while he wasn't paying attention, Hermione was and it was making her very uncomfortable.
The next few days saw Harry being treated horribly by everyone including the professors and the students from the visiting schools. The only people who didn't treat him bad were Cedric and Hermione although she was continuing to grow more distant from him. By the end of the week, even she abandoned him as the peer pressure became too much for her to take. Inside, another piece of Harry died at the loss of another friendship.
Ron took advantage of Harry's unpopularity and elevated himself as the de facto leader of the Gryff fourth years since he was the most vocal and the others just followed along much like the rest of the wizarding world. Harry's torment and taunting at the hands of Ron was just too much to take and instead reacting in anger, he would quietly walk away as his fellow fourth years from all the houses laughed and jeered at him. Harry found himself alone all the time including even during class and there were many times he caught Hermione looking at him only for her to quickly turn away. He could see the sadness in her eyes and he thought that it was at least better than the hate filled glares that were now cast his way.
The loss of Hermione's friendship was the final straw for Harry and led to him isolating himself from the population of Hogwarts. The accusations and torment by the rest of the students led to Harry avoiding everyone by taking his meals down in the kitchen. While he still attended classes, he was usually the last one in and the first one out and had the distinction of sitting alone in the back of the class. He thought it must have been fine with his teachers as none of them made a comment or attempted to engage him in conversation.
If anyone had really paid attention to him or actually cared for that matter, they would have seen just how haggard and worn he was due to his lack of sleep. He started using the only items he had from his father to avoid everyone and was always the last one to enter his dorm and the first one up and out the door before the others could awaken. Some nights, he would barely get four hours sleep as the others would wait up to try and catch him so that they could hurl more abuse at him.
A week after Harry had gone into isolation; a discussion was going on at the Head table that saw Albus Dumbledore quickly putting up a privacy dome. Professor McGonagall said "This has gone on long enough Albus. We're just doing more damage at this point."
Albus replied "He needs to learn that he has to rely on his friends."
She heatedly replied "Not when you are allowing the lies to continue. I know for a fact that no one has seen him except during class. They don't even know if he is still sleeping in the dorms."
Albus sighed "It will all work out in time. Once things settle down, his friendships will be stronger than ever."
She scoffed "I remember another young man who isolated himself and we know how well that turned out."
Albus blanched "You don't think he is turning dark do you?"
She growled out "I don't know! I haven't seen him but in class and before I can catch him, he is out the door and disappears. He doesn't talk to anyone so we have no way of finding out that way either."
With a soft smile, Albus said "Not to worry my dear. I'll speak with him later today at the wand weighing ceremony. He has to show up for that."
For the first time in many years, Albus was beginning to second guess his actions. After being summoned to the ceremony, Harry disappeared on the way leaving the messenger to appear alone. When questioned, Colin said "I don't know Professor, one minute he was there and the next he was gone."
The rest of the champions waited for an hour before they had to proceed with the ceremony. With almost everyone incensed at his failure to appear, they completed their ceremony and went about their way. His failure to appear at the ceremony aggravated one reporter so much that she called for a special edition of the Daily Prophet to go out that afternoon.
By: Rita Skeeter
Dear readers, I had the privilege to be called to report on the Wand weighing ceremony at Hogwarts earlier today for the Tri Wizard Tournament. I am pleased to say that I had some nice conversations with the champions who actually bothered to show up. Harry Potter never appeared for the ceremony much to the aggravation of the other champions and the judges.
According to my sources, this is just another incident in a long stream of them that shows Mr. Potter as anything but the mild mannered young man we were all lead to believe he was.
After interviewing several students, I found out that the fourth champion, Harry Potter, has allowed the tournament to go to his head and no longer associates with his fellow students.
Former best friend to the Boy-Who-Lived, Ron Weatherby, stated "He's a foul git and I don't know why I ever put up with his ego for the last few years. He constantly struts around and throws his fame and his wealth around for all to see. I know I wouldn't act like that if I were in his shoes."
If his best friend could say that about him, it must be true. I promise to try and get to the bottom of the story. Something doesn't seem right here and it makes me wonder if all the fame and adulation have finally taken their toll and led Mr. Potter on a path of darkness. I call upon the Ministry to try and step in and save our young hero before things get any worse.
For the last week, Harry had been writing Sirius with each letter getting more desperate. After getting no response whatsoever, he realized that his Godfather had abandoned him as well. He looked back on his time at Privet Dr and realized that his earlier life had uniquely prepared him for this. Life at the Dursleys was at the least a lonely existence. As he thought about it, he realized that everyone was waiting for him to crawl back to them begging forgiveness. It just set his resolve even more since he knew that he was in the right. It was also when he realized that he found it relaxing not to have demands made on him or his time. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. As he thought about it, he started making his plans to just get through school and then he could go away and never have to deal with the wizarding world again.
He kept his invisibility cloak and the Marauder's map on him at all times as a method of escape and survival. His reasoning was that if he had it, then Ron or Hermione couldn't use it to track him down. During those first few weeks of isolation, if he wanted someone to talk to, he called for Dobby. The conversations varied greatly but always had a recurring theme on Dobby's end. Harry finally gave in and bonded Dobby to him and he quickly realized the benefits of doing it as he finally had someone around him who was unwavering in their loyalty to him. Dobby also proved to be an incredible spy and kept Harry out of the clutches of those that wanted to control him.
The bond they formed went far beyond that of a normal wizard/house elf bond. With both of them wanting so much more than life had dealt them up to this point, the bond turned more into one of family and connected them on an even deeper level. During the bonding, as they each took a part of the other inside themselves, Dobby could feel the taint on Harry's soul and used the love he had for the wizard to slowly remove it as Harry slept. The struggle to remove it about wiped Dobby out but once it was gone, he could feel Harry's power increasing and flowing stronger than it ever had. The power increase in Harry bled over to Dobby and pointed out something else to him. The whiskered old fool had bound Harry's magic many years ago so once again, Dobby started the process of fixing his wizard. The bindings were strong and once again Dobby worked hard while Harry slept. In the end, Harry had a power increase but it wasn't some drastic thing. When he and Dobby discussed it, Dobby told him that while he would be able to cast stronger spells, the real benefit would show in his reserves.
Harry continued to avoid everyone and the stress of the situation along with his lack of sleep was beginning to take its toll. It was during this time that he became acquainted with some new people that he had never had the opportunity to be around before and it was all thanks to Dobby.
In his role as a spy, Dobby was listening throughout the castle for Harry's name to be spoken and would pop in to hear whatever was being said. He mostly heard the normal grumblings but was unfortunate enough to catch several conversations amongst those Harry once called friends. It was a very distraught Dobby who fretted for quite a while about how to tell Harry that his friends were just using him and were helping the Headmaster try and control him until he finally just told him and sat with him as he cried.
A few days later, Dobby overheard Cedric saying how much he really wanted to talk to Harry but he could never find him since the only time Harry was seen was in class. Dobby saw this as a chance to help Harry and started watching for an opportunity to get the two wizards together. Dobby had watched Cedric while he was at Hogwarts and knew he was an honorable young man who might be able to help Harry get past the pain of his broken friendships.
While preparing for the first task, Harry spent quite a bit of time in the library and one of the things Dobby had done for Harry was to use his elf magic to hide him. He had one table that Harry could go to and everyone would pass right by without even seeing it. During these times, Dobby would retrieve any books he needed so Harry wouldn't draw attention to himself. Cedric appeared in the library and was looking around for Harry and when he didn't see him, he started to turn around and leave until Dobby popped in and took him by the hand. Cedric looked down in confusion and saw the elf pointing over to the corner where he saw Harry. Cedric nodded his thanks and then went to join Harry at the table.
As he sat down, Harry looked at him in panic. "How'd you find me?"
With an easy smile "It hasn't been easy but an elf just grabbed my hand and pointed you out to me."
He asked harshly "Would you like to explain?"
Dobby's ears lay down and he spoke apologetically "Dobby heard Mr. Cedric saying he wants to talks to you. He didn't feel like the others so Dobby allows it this once."
Harry reached out and patted Dobby's shoulder. "I'm sorry Dobby; I should have never doubted you."
With a sad smile, Dobby replied "That's okay Harry, its Dobby's job to look out for you."
Cedric asked "You have your own house elf?"
Turning to Cedric, Harry said "More or less. Not to be rude but what do you want? The only time I'm looked for is when someone wants to harass me some more."
Cedric gave him an apologetic look. "I know and I'm sorry about that. I'm doing my best to get my house under control. I told them you wanted no part of this."
Cedric smiled "Listen, I was wondering if you needed any help with getting ready for the task. I don't know what it is but the way I see it, its normally dangerous without being made even more so being three years behind us in school."
Harry smirked "Thanks but I think I've got it covered."
Cedric's looked at him for a minute before his eyes grew wide. "You know what it is don't you? How?"
Harry replied with a smirk. "Yes and I have a very good friend who looks out for me?"
Dobby popped in and hugged Harry's leg. "Harry takes good care of Dobby too."
Harry smiled down at the elf "So it is your opinion I can trust him?"
"Yes Harry, Mr. Cedric is a good wizard."
"Very well, I will take your advice. Um….Cedric, the first task will be us facing dragons."
Cedric rocked back in his chair and muttered "dragons?"
"Yeah, it's only fair you know because I'm pretty sure Fleur and Krum know judging by the superior smirks on their faces."
"Damn, thanks Harry, you didn't have to tell me that."
"Yeah I did. You're the Hogwarts champion; I'm just someone who got roped into this."
"Any idea what you're going to do?"
Harry smirked "Yeah, I'm going to do it the Gryffindor way."
Cedric laughed "So you're just going to charge in and fly by the seat of your pants?"
"Pretty much, it's worked for me so far."
"I'll make sure to watch that if I'm not horribly maimed by then."
"Well, I don't want to toot my own horn but it should be entertaining."
They sat and talked for about another hour just getting comfortable with each other and realized they shared a lot of common likes and dislikes. Before he left, Cedric said "Harry, you can come to me any time if you need anything."
"Thanks Cedric, I appreciate it but I don't want to drag you into the drama that's my life. I'll be fine."
"No, I don't think you will. You can't keep isolating yourself like this. Tell you what, my adopted little sister and me get away from everyone else and just hang out several times a week. Why don't you join us tomorrow night to test the waters? If you don't want to stay, I'll accept it and won't bother you again about it."
"Okay, I'll try."
"Good, I'll send you a message where we're meeting."
"Just call Dobby and tell him. He'll get me there. I'm sure he's standing behind me invisible and nodding his head anyway."
They heard a small giggle then a quiet 'pop'.
Cedric laughed and said "See ya tomorrow night."
Harry nodded and went back to his books. He looked at the title of the book and saw 'How to Take Down a Dragon Single Handedly'.
He walked away shaking his head. He was thinking 'Crazy assed Gryff gonna try to beat the damn thing.'
Harry met up with Cedric and his little sister the next night and had an enjoyable time for the most part. About half way through, he was told "You're nothing like we were told. Everyone thinks you're some snob who doesn't want anything to do with anyone else except your 'friends'. Even now they are saying that you can't be bothered by anyone else."
Harry asked defensively "Who's saying that?"
"Mainly Weasley but Granger is usually standing there beside him and doesn't say anything different. Aren't they supposed to be your best friends?"
Harry learned that his 'friends' had been running interference by telling the other students that Harry wanted nothing to do with them ever since he came to Hogwarts. It was also mentioned that the secrecy behind his adventures and the unexplained awarded points only created more animosity from the rest of the school. Harry was stunned by all this as he never wanted special attention and truly wanted to be friends with as many people who would allow him to. With yet another bomb dropped on him, Harry broke down in front of these people he barely knew. They sat there stunned at his reaction at first but then realized that there was no way this could have been an act. They were genuinely affected by Harry's reaction and moved over and pulled him into a hug.
Harry knew that he wouldn't have gotten through the year so far if it wasn't for his new friends. After his abandonment by his friends and Godfather, they were a welcome addition to his life despite his earlier decision to go it alone. Cedric quickly became the older brother Harry needed just as the girl became more than a friend. The feelings they shared for each other had built up over their meetings and they both knew it was more than a friendship but not one of a brother/sister relationship so even oblivious Harry could tell that there was something different about her. The three of them decided early on to keep their friendship a secret as Harry thought that if it was discovered, they would be subjected to the same ridicule that he had been and he didn't want that for them.
Throughout all their conversations, one thing was clear and it was that Harry was being manipulated but by whom and to what purpose remained a mystery. Cedric wasn't one to give in to conspiracies but in talking to Harry about his life, things just didn't add up. Ron and Hermione's actions after his name came out of the Goblet just screamed that something sinister was at play and with that in mind, they began teaching him the basics of occlumency to protect his secrets and to also give him better focus of mind as well as control over his emotions.
With the first task scheduled for the next day, the three of them sat back and relaxed in their current hide away which happened to be the Room of Requirement. Cedric was occupying a comfortable arm chair and going over some last minute notes while Harry and his pseudo girlfriend were sitting on a couch talking in low voices.
Cedric looked up and smiled. "Hey, if you guys want me to leave so you can snog, it's alright by me. Just have her home before curfew."
They both blushed and looked away from each other. As Cedric was laughing at them, he asked "So Harry, just what are your plans for tomorrow?"
"I told you already, I'm going to play my role of the brash Gryff and charge straight in. Ought to be a good show."
"And if that don't work?"
"Oh, plan B is even more fun, I get to use my inner Slytherin and try to worm my way out of the whole mess."
Cedric laughed "Is there a Plan C?"
"Yes, there is a plan C and it includes summoning my broom and getting the hell out of there. I may be crazy but I'm not stupid."
All three were laughing by this point until Cedric finally said "You know the way you fly, you could probably do it that way."
"Maybe but I'm not all that willing to see if my Firebolt can stand up to dragon flames."
"Good point, if I had one, I don't think I'd risk it either."
It was finally Harry's turn in the first task and with a little hesitation, he stepped into the arena. He had listened closely to Cedric's turn and was pleased to learn that he was singed but okay otherwise. As the other two champions went, he barely paid any attention as he was focusing on his plan. When he stepped into the arena, he heard Madam Pomfrey screeching at Cedric as he ignored her and walked out of the medical tent to see what Harry had planned. They caught each other's eye and Harry gave him a little smile and a wink.
Harry stood behind a rock for a minute to build up his magical reserves as he knew this would be a make or break spell for him in this task. When he felt his magic pulsing, he stepped out into the open and faced the dragon. As the dragon finally zeroed in on him, he could see the Horntail drawing in a breath so that she could roast Harry. Everyone in the arena gasped as the flames burst forward and Harry just stood there directly in its path. In a split second, he caught the eyes of his girlfriend and just smiled as his wand came up. Without uttering a word, the spell flew from his wand and hit dead center of the dragon breath causing it to freeze in place and then fade away.
Harry heard the announcer saying "Impossible, flame freezing spell strong enough to overpower dragon breath and silently too. Simply amazing."
Everyone in the arena was staring at him with their mouths open as he had done something most thought impossible. The dragon had stopped dead still and was eying him carefully. In his moment of reprieve, the audience started hearing a hissing noise.
$$Oh great lady, I mean you no harm. You see I only stopped you from burning me and never attacked.$$
$$Yes Speaker, I see that but it doesn't change to fact that you are standing there with a wand and my children are close by. You may be a speaker but all two legs are dangerous to my kind, that's why there are so few of us now.$$
$$Great Lady, I give you my word as a Speaker on my magic that I will never harm you or your children. You see, we've both been played here. They dragged you and your children away from your home and even though you are great, I'm sure this whole experience scared you. I know it would me. In fact, I was forced to come out here today to face you. We are not so unalike.$$
$$I accept your word Speaker and ask what is it you want of me?$$
$$Dear Lady, I only want what you wouldn't anyway. In your nest is an egg that is not yours and not even an egg at all. Would you be so kind as to give it to me?$$
$$I can do that but what will you give me? I know you already promised to leave my young unharmed but I don't see you as a real threat anyway since we could stand here and battle over the whole thing. I'm sure you would tire long before I would.$$
$$Great Lady, of that I have no doubt. My measly powers are nothing compared to one such as you. I offer my friendship but I would need to know what you need before we can come to an agreement.$$
$$Speaker, I would be honored to call you friend and will grant your request if you just do one thing for me.$$
$$Ask Milady and if it is within my power, I shall grant it.$$
$$Feed me, these two legs have not fed us in many days. It took everything I had to try and not eat you. I'm so hungry and so are the others.$$
$$You have my apologies on behalf of the others of my kind. I will see to it immediately. Please don't be alarmed when I raise my wand and I will try to correct this grave injustice. Um…would an acromantula be worthy of a meal for such a great lady.$$
$$That would be acceptable Speaker.$$
The crowd watched with their mouths hanging open as the dragon stepped over to her nest and sniffed the eggs. Once she had found the one she wanted, she picked it up in her mouth and using her forked tongue, held it out to Harry. He bowed deeply to her as he took it in his hands.
One step back and he held up his wand towards the Forbidden Forrest. "Accio Aragog's eldest son."
He felt the tug of magic and dug deep to complete the spell. A few moments later, a horse sized spider came sailing through the air and landed at the dragon's feet. The dragon moved as quick as lightning and bit down on the screeching spider. One chomp later and there was nothing left.
After a satisfied burp, the dragon said $$Thank you speaker.$$
$$You're welcome Milady. Tell me, can you understand what I'm saying when I speak my own language?$$
$$I understand some of it Speaker$$
Harry nodded then turned back to the judges. He cast a 'sonorous' on himself and began speaking to the crowd. "I would like to know who thought it a good idea to not feed these noble creatures for several days before this task? This Great Lady behind me said that it took all her will not to eat me as her feeding instincts were taking over."
Dumbledore stood and responded "We thought it would make the dragons seem fiercer and make for a better challenge. You would have us believe that you spoke to this beast?"
"She is no beast. She is an honorable creature who thinks and feels much like we do. I would think you of all people would recognize this fact. Please have the handlers feed them at once before something dreadful happens."
Harry cancelled his charm and after a quick bow to the dragon, who returned it in full view of the audience, walked out of the arena and towards the medical tent. As he approached Cedric, he was told "Nice show, what are you planning for an encore?"
"You never know. Might let out my inner Hufflepuff next time."
Cedric laughed and then walked back into the tent behind him to wait for the show that was sure to come.
Over the course of the last month, the trio talked of what would happen once the first task was complete. Harry's girlfriend had been watching Ron and Hermione and had seen how their star was fading without Harry around. With all the initial bluster running out of steam, they had started slipping back into obscurity due to their treatment of Harry as others realized their mistakes. Since Ron was the main ringleader and Hermione was always around him, his treatment of others caused everyone else to distance themselves from them and they soon realized that it was Harry that kept them in good graces with the rest of the school. She quite accurately predicted that they would come crawling back after the first task and beg forgiveness. They left it up to Harry how to handle it but it didn't take a genius to realize if he accepted them back then things between the three of them would change.
Sure enough, Madam Pomfrey barely had time to start checking a protesting Harry before Ron and Hermione burst into the tent. His 'girlfriend' was sitting beside Cedric as he was recovering and watched the whole thing out of the corner of her eye. She was extremely nervous because if Harry accepted them back, she knew her relationship with him was doomed to fail. Seeing this, Cedric reached out and squeezed her hand in comfort. He whispered "Have a little faith. Everything will work out fine."
She whispered back. "I really like him Ced. I want the chance to see if it could be more."
"Just trust him and you'll get that chance."
She heard the platitudes being spilled out by Ron and Hermione and it made her stomach roll. "Harry, we're so sorry, we should have known better and never doubted you. Please forgive us."
"Yeah mate, that was awesome! Can't we go back to the way things were?"
"Finally figured it out huh? I'll accept your apology…..but I won't forget what you did."
Hermione asked "What do you mean by that?"
"What a re you talking about Harry?"
"Sorry doesn't quite make up for the crap I've had to deal with this last month especially from my two best friends. I've always been there when you needed me but the moment I needed you, you both turn coward and run away or better yet, accuse me of being something I'm not. It amazes me just how little my two best friends so easily forgot that. You know, these last few weeks there's been a regret running through my head for the last month and you know what it was?"
They both shook their heads.
"My biggest regret happened in first year when I risked my life to save someone who would turn her back on me so easily. I guess we live and learn as we grow up and I learned to protect my own life instead of risking it for others."
Those words shocked to two of them so hard that they couldn't come up with any coherent words to respond. Finally, Hermione regained enough composure to say "Surely you don't mean that it would have been better if I had died? Please tell me what I can do to make this up to you."
Harry softly said "There's no making up for this Granger. You should know by now I don't trust easily and both of you betrayed my trust. I don't know if you'll ever get it back and if it does happen, it definitely won't be anytime soon."
Albus Dumbledore managed to make it to the medical tent just as the last words had been said. "Now Harry, that's no way to act towards two of your oldest and dearest friends."
Harry huffed "No Sir, it isn't but they aren't really my friends are they? Besides, I think it's really my decision on who I should trust or not."
"Mr. Potter, you will apologize to the both of them right now." Behind him, he saw Ron smirk.
"No Sir, I don't think I will."
Albus scowled "That will be detention Mr. Potter. You will learn to be respectful of others."
Harry snapped back "Why? Where were the detentions when everyone was being disrespectful to me? I didn't see you flying in to save me from the harsh words and humiliation."
"That's beside the point. You will be serving detention with me this very evening."
Harry replied "Yes Sir, if that is what you wish but it won't change my mind about these two."
McGonagall said "Mr. Potter, you will show the Headmaster some respect."
He looked at her confused. "Ma'am? How am I being disrespectful? I'm only stating my opinion and considering the situation, I thought I was being quite calm about it."
"I won't have you back talk me young man."
Harry looked at her unbelievably. "Ma'am? I am doing everything in my power to be respectful and reign in my temper as you have suggested I do on several occasions. To be honest, I think I've done a pretty good job of not exploding at the daily taunts I have been subjected to by my friends and everyone else. All I ask is to be left alone."
Minerva said "Well, from this point on, you will start socializing with your housemates once again."
"No ma'am, I don't think I will. You cannot force me to be friends with any of them after what they have done to me this year. Quite frankly, I don't trust the lot of them and am better off on my own."
Albus quietly said "Tom acted the same way Harry."
Harry turned around and looked him straight in the eye. "Sir, I can understand why if he had to go through the crap I've had to over the last few years."
Albus drew back in shock. "Surely you don't mean?"
"No Sir, all I'm saying is that if he was subjected to the same crap I have been, I would have preferred being alone as well."
"I won't have you isolate yourself any longer."
Harry stepped towards his bed. "Sir, I was the one who was isolated first. Since I've come to accept it, I find my own company preferable to others who would put me down and insult my parents. I am NO liar or cheat Sir."
"Never the less, you will be in the company of Miss Granger or Mr. Weasley at all times. In fact, I think the map and cloak should be handed over to Miss Granger for safe keeping."
"What do you mean no sir?"
"I mean no sir, I won't hand over the only things I have of my father and no sir, I will not remain in their custody."
"You will do it or I will have you expelled."
"By all means Sir, expel me. I'm sure any other school would be better than
The whole conversation was being watched by the other champions along with their Headmasters as well as Ron and Hermione. Cedric could see that it was getting ready to get out of hand and he knew there was nothing he could do to stop it. Both of the other Headmasters stepped forward and said "Mr. Potter, if you are thinking about changing schools, we would be happy to discuss it with you."
He looked at the two of them and sneered. "Your students treated me no better than my own. Why would I even consider your schools?"
Albus said "Mr. Potter, you need to stop this nonsense and forgive your friends."
Harry's anger finally burst forth. "Oh, so it's okay for them to disrespect me but the moment I try to defend myself, I'm suddenly the bad guy. You know what, bugger this. I refuse to sit that detention."
Harry stormed out of the tent and ran straight into Remus and Padfoot. He stopped and looked at them. "Oh so now you want to show up. Never mind answering my letters when I was pleading for help. For all the good you do me, I was better off before either of you ever reappeared in my life."
Remus muttered "Oh shit" and was answered with a bark from Padfoot as Harry stormed off. No one noticed the dark haired girl who slipped out of the medical tent and followed Harry to the castle.
The next time the three of them met; they talked about everything that had happened in the tent. Realizing the subject was still a sore point for Harry, Cedric tried to change the topic. "That flame freezing spell was incredible. How'd you pull that off?"
Harry snorted "I was lucky as hell. I had one shot that the dragon would be stunned by it and took my chance to try and talk to her."
Megan asked "You based you whole strategy on the chance you could shock her long enough to talk to her?"
"Yeah but I wasn't really sure if we could communicate with each other."
Cedric laughed "Typical Gryff, all power and no brains."
"Hey, I resent that. Just because I was willing to bet everything on a hunch doesn't mean I'm stupid. Just incredibly reckless."
"What would you have done if it didn't work?"
Harry laughed "I told you. Plan C was to summon my broom and get the hell out of there."
Megan said "Typical Potter move."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Hey now, I wasn't bashing you. It's just that the Potters are known for pulling incredible feats like that and walking away from it."
"I wouldn't know."
Cedric looked concerned and asked "What do you mean?"
Harry stood and started pacing. "I don't know anything about the Potters except that James and Lily were my parents and they died protecting me."
"Come on, you can't be serious…(Harry scowled).. Damn you aren't kidding. You don't know anything about the Potters?"
"Not really. I've heard a few things here and there but no one has ever told me anything about my family."
Megan said "That's just so wrong. I'll see if I can find anything. I might even write my dad, he's always going on about how he was friends with your dad in school. Say, don't you have a Godfather? Most of the old families did that just in case."
"Yeah, I've got one but he hasn't been much help. In fact, he's been ignoring me completely."
"Who is it?"
"I can't really say. It'll put him in danger."
Cedric said "If he's not doing his duty, then why should you care?"
"He's all I have left. I keep hoping things will get better one day but right now, he's kind of got to stay hidden."
Megan had been sitting there watching him and finally said "You're godfather is Sirius Black. Isn't he?"
Harry paled and then looked away from him. She nodded in understanding before saying "You know, you are the heir to House Potter and I don't think I've ever heard of Mr. Black having any children so I'd imagine you're heir to House Black as well."
Harry snorted "I don't know about all that but since he's ignoring me, I guess I'll never find out either."
Cedric said "Well then, I'd suggest having Dobby take you to Gringotts to find out."
"Not with Dumbledore watching me like a hawk. I'd have to make sure he's too busy to notice me leaving the school."