Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon or Harry Potter. I do own this story though.
AN: This is not beta'ed or edited other than some basic grammar stuff. I just wanted it out, so people would know it's not dead yet. It's also a little on the shorter side, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of writing this at all. Ha-ha *passes out from exhaustion*
Harry sat there for a moment, looking dumbstruck, as the whole hall started to vibrate with the mutterings of the students. He watched, numbly, as Professor McGonagall got to her feet and moved past two others to whisper to Dumbledore, her expression unusually stern.
"I…I didn't put my name in the goblet," Harry said, flushing as his voice broke. "You know I wouldn't," he added as he looked pleadingly at Hermione and Ron. He felt his heart sink as both looked at him blankly, though Ron's ears were already starting to turn red at the tips.
"Harry Potter!" Dumbledore called again as Professor McGonagall stood up, straightening her cloak and eyeing the crowd through her spectacles. "Harry, if you would please come up and follow the previous champions."
Harry wanted to refuse and hide under the table, his stomach all twisted up in knots, but Hermione was quick to shove him up and out of his seat, her expression mixed between so many things as to be unreadable. "Go Harry!" She whispered urgently as she did.
'I don't want to,' Harry thought, swallowing thickly as he walked down the length of the hall, feeling as though half the eyes staring at him wanted nothing more than to set him on fire. He could feel sweat dripping down his collar and along the small of his back. 'I'm going to throw up,' he thought as he finally reached Dumbledore. The aged headmaster said nothing and merely motioned to the door behind him, his expression severe.
Hesitating for only a moment, Harry inhaled deeply before entering the room only to find himself in a small room, smaller than he expected. A large fire was roaring in the fireplace and three others were already in it. Seeing as Harry had been mostly asleep, it was a surprise to see Victor Krum, the Veela girl and Cedric inside the room. And then a pinprick of fear and anxiety sliced through that as everyone turned to look at him, including the portraits that lined the wall. 'I wish Zoroark was here,' he thought longingly. He could've hidden in her mane if she was.
It was the Veela who spoke first. "What is it? Do zey want us back in ze Hall?" she asked, brushing pale blonde strands of her hair behind her as she did so. Harry dazedly shook his head and took a step away from the door and not a moment to soon as it burst open as Bagman and a few of his Professors entered the room.
Harry remained silent as the talk began, the understandable outrage as it was found that Hogwarts had two champions and not just one. There was threats thrown about, about leaving, but they were empty, even Harry knew that. He was so lost in thought that it took Dumbledore pressing a hand against his shoulder to push Harry away from his inner panic. "Professor?" He asked quietly, watching the man who stared at him with intense eyes. Like he was searching for something and just not…finding it. It made Harry's stomach curl.
"Harry, did you put your name in the Goblet?" Professor Dumbledore asked.
"No, Professor," he replied, looking confused and lost. His head felt…heavy, listless. In the back of his mind, he felt more than heard the swell of the Unown lullaby but in this case, he did not feel sleepy, but just a touch more rejuvenated. Enough so that listening to the rest of the 'conversation' was easy. Not that one could call what happened a conversation, the term debate came to mind but that too was thrown out because it was just a full-on argument. Accusations, more threats and in the middle of it all, Snape sneering down on him.
'I hate you. I don't want this. Make it stop. Make it stop,' Harry thought, closing his eyes and scrunching his hands to his face, as though the pressing blackness could block everything out.
"-He iz just a leetle boy! He cannot compete!"
"We should be able to pick another champion as well Dumbledore. It cannot be just Hogwarts that has the unfair advantage!"
The yelling got louder, and louder, to the point that Harry's ears were ringing with it and while Dumbledore's responses were soft and even, the same could not be said for the others.
'Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop! Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!'
Harry came back to himself with the sound of the Unown singing, their voices louder than he had ever heard them and everything around him frozen in time. Between him and the others were floating letters, the Pokémon he had only seen when he had spoken with Arceus. His breath caught in his throat as he watched them dance, spinning gently in the air, their voices echoing against nothing. A reverberate of a song through time, through space, through all. They looked like chains, tethering the room to something vaster than should be possible.
His head hurt. "You…" Harry began, before falling silent. "I don't want this. I didn't want this. I wanted a normal school year," he said softly, voice thick with emotions. "And it always comes to this. What should I do? What can I do?" he asked, close to crying.
He loved his Zorua form, at least he did now, but he had noted that his emotions felt that much closer to the surface since he had achieved his form. Not for the first time, he wondered if something had gone wrong. Or if Zoroark was right. And what was made worse was the Unown didn't answer but kept singing their haunting song. "I'm sorry," he choked out, wiping his eyes. "I'm sorry."
He didn't know how long he stayed like that, curled up against the wall as the Unown danced between him and the others, their lullaby keeping everything frozen. It was only when he realized he had no idea if they had just stopped this room, or all of Hogwarts, and how bad it was for both options to stay as they were, that he got back to his feet. He sniffed, eyes rimmed red and his body exhausted to the brink of collapse. "Thank you," he said gently. "But we both know it can't stay like this. You'll tire yourself out. So, thank you, please. You can…you can let go now," he said, his voice nary a whisper. He eyed them as they moved, the lullaby shifting as they spelled out a word. He…had no idea what it said, but he nodded his head absently and it sent them flittering like fairy lights.
And just like that, the song was gone. They were gone and the Professors-everyone not him who had been stopped in time-blinked and seemed to come back to themselves.
"There is nothing that can be done. The tournament is a magically binding object. Harry will have to compete," Dumbledore said, his voice sounding somewhat hoarse, his eyes blinking quickly.
The others seemed…off as well, all of them blinking and rubbing their eyes, but doing their best to keep it together. In the wake of the time stop, they seemed…unusually agreeable, though irritated. Bagman was the quickest to come back to himself though.
"Well then, shall we move on then?" He asked, grinning at the Champions, yes even Harry, with a bright, eager smile. "Our champions need their instructions and it does appear to be getting late. I'm sure everyone is need of a good sleep, yeah?" He added, eyed the clock with a somewhat…dubious expression.
"Quite," Mr. Crouch said, his voice deeper than Harry expected. The man cleared his throat and moved forward, blinking down at all of them with an unreadable, almost blank, expression. Harry hoped the Unown hadn't done anything bad. "The first task…," Crouch muttered as he blinked at the lot of them. "The first task is designed to test your daring," he told them. "so, we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard…very…important," the man said, before sniffing faintly and continuing on. "The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges," he added.
And then he went on for quite some time, his voice low and so, so slow in speaking, to inform then that the champions could not accept help of any kind from their teachers and that they would be facing the first challenge with only their wands. And that they didn't have to do their usual end of the year tests.
Harry would've gotten excited if he didn't so firmly believe he'd probably be dead by the end of the blasted tournament.
And just like that they were let go, like nothing had happened. Harry would have to compete against…something and the others hated his guts on principal. Sighing heavily and still feeling like he was balancing on a knife's edge, Harry left the room beside Cedric, feeling small and utterly exhausted.
"So," Cedric said as he stopped, pausing just the junction where he and Harry would have to go separate ways to reach their dorms. "Did you put your name in the Goblet?" he asked Harry.
Harry looked up at him, a small frown lingering on his face. He wondered if his eyes were still red from crying. "No," he said lowly, after a moment of time had passed.
"Okay then," Cedric said with a nod of his head. "Goodnight Harry," he added as he headed down a corridor.
Harry stood there, stunned…before shaking his head and eyeing the stairs. He didn't want to climb them, didn't want to go into the dorms where all of Gryffindor was waiting, but what else did he have? If he didn't return, it was possible they'd think he HAD put his name in the Goblet. Steeling himself, Harry climbed the stairs, taking his time as he reached the top of his last landing and turned down a corridor to the Fat Lady. He ignored the other painting with her and muttered the password to enter.
He regretted it immensely. Oh man did he wish he hadn't gone in at all.
Many of his fellow Gryffindor's were simply excited and, in the time that he was gone to now they had set up one…extravagant party. Food and sweets were laid out on tables that groaned under the weight of it all and a chilled tub was overflowing with drinks. Butterbeer being the kindest, less alcoholic of them all. Banners had been strung up on the ceiling and bits and pieces of everything just…sparkled. It would've been a nice party if Harry didn't feel like he was about to step onto a chopping block as he entered.
"Harry!" Fred shouted as he swung an arm around Harry's shoulder. "How's are super champion this evening!"
"Doing well we hope!" George said before Harry could get a word in edge wise. "Alright everyone! Harry's here, let's get this party started and welcome our Gryffindor Champion!"
And while many appeared to be doing just that, the wizarding wireless belting out a song he didn't know, many eyed him with dark looks. Mostly the upper years, but he could see Ron and Hermione tucked away in a corner conversing. They hadn't even looked at him when he arrived. Untangling himself from the arms of Fred and George, Harry slipped through the crowd, eager to get to his friends, to feel some support. He had to know that they didn't hate him, didn't blame him for this predicament.
"Herm-"he started as Ron turned at that moment to look at him, his glare sharp.
"Ah, well look who just arrived," Ron said with a faint sneer, even as Hermione sighed and shook her head.
"Y…You don't…you don't honestly think I put my name in the Goblet, do you? You know I wouldn't do that! You know I just want a normal, regular year. Ron why would-," Harry said, his voice getting more and more tense as he saw the flushed red of anger along his best friend's cheeks and ears. 'No, don't do this. Please Ron, please don't do this,' he thought, feeling his eyes grow watery.
Ron shook his head, "Oh yes about that," Ron said, his voice tense as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Congratulations."
"I mean, it's probably why you've been so tired, hasn't it? I don't know why I didn't see it. You go to bed so early, but you're so tired when you wake up. You've probably been planning this since we heard about the stupid thing," Ron said, talking over Harry though his he was still hard to hear over the other celebrating Gryffindor's.
"I didn't- "
"I don't know why you didn't think you couldn't do the same for me or Hermione. But I suppose you wanted all the attention, right?"
"I wouldn't- "
Ron shook his head, glaring now. "Whatever Harry," he said, before turning on his heel and taking the stairs up to their dorm.
Harry looked over at Hermione, looking at her pleadingly. He watched as she bit her lip, lowering her head a bit before speaking. "You have to admit Harry. It's all a bit…suspicious. I'm sorry," she said, her voice soft as she too left him and heading up to her dorm room.
Harry stood there for a moment, feeling like his heart was in his throat and then he was moving, slipping through the crowd and out the common room door, down several flights of stairs until he was running out into the grounds, chest heaving as two legs became four and he disappeared into the forest.
Zoroark hummed softly, gently nuzzling the small, trembling ball of fluff curled into her arms. Above, the stars were flickering out as the sky turned pink and blue, banishing night away. She looked calm, but inside she was raging, her mind working quickly even as Harry, her little Zorua, slept fitfully against her. 'I knew I did not like this school,' she thought, glaring at nothing as she pulled Harry closer, hoping his sleep eased into something restful.
'Not bad. Not good. School is as is,' A voice spoke as a pink cat like creature appeared in a shimmer of light. Zoroark watched as Mew spun in the air, looking worried and yet unable to curb its natural enthusiasm.
'I do not care for it. This tastes like just the beginning of something terrible. He's but a child, Mew,' She said, snapping her teeth together, a growl curling from her lips. 'He should be coddled, he should be loved! He came to me in tears, Mew. In. Tears!'
Mew made a sound then, frowning as it lowered down, pressing a small, pink paw against Harry's fluff of fur on the top of his head. 'Dream eater. He sleeps better. No dreams,' Mew promised as they watched Harry's tiny body ease into a more relaxed look. 'Help is coming. To train. To make better. He is little boy. He is child. But he was too, yes?' Mew added as he stared into Zoroark's angry eyes.
'That was different!' Zoroark grumbled, baring teeth at the pink Pokémon. 'Ash was- '
'When met, Ash was a child too. Ash sweet, strong. Ash was also a champion and chosen and brave. Harry can be brave too. He just needs the help, the training to be what he needs to be,' Mew said baring its own teeth in turn. Zoroark balked, before ducking her head and looking properly chastised.
'I am training him. He's coming along far,' She said after a moment, her voice low and tense.
'You can only train what you know. Harry is more than you know. He will need more teachers, friends. They will come soon,' Mew said, looking southward, a frown marring his face, before he chittered and spinning in a wide ark in the air before settling to float above the ground.
'And the humans in the castle? I do not think they will treat my son so kindly. His friends,' Zoroark said, sighing heavily.
'All will be seen in time. Friends come around. He will be fine, with you,' Mew said with a tone of finality. Silence stretched between them for awhile as the sky above turned a faint blue above them, chasing the pink of dawn away.
'Then when should I expect these…trainers…to come by?' Zoroark asked, grumbling some.
Mew merely smiled, a wide toothy grin. 'Soon!' He said, laughing before he vanished elsewhere in a shimmer of light.
Zoroark sighed and settled against the ground, her muzzle close to Harry's sleeping form. 'I will never understand that pink menace,' she grumbled darkly. She did not sleep, but she did rest even as she kept a watch over the tiny life curled up against her. None would take her son away from her again, not time, not the end of very world around them and absolutely not some stupid human tournament.