A/N: I don't own Harry Potter. Reviews and flames welcome. Enjoy. Edited on 3/16
Wand raised, Harry Evans stared across the room and waited for his opponent to make a move. Nott stared right back at him before slashing his wand downwards sending a Cutting curse in his direction, but Harry was already on the move. Sliding to his left he threw out two quick Stunners before having to duck under a Disarming spell. Dropping to one knee Harry answered back with a Bludgeoner aimed at Nott's knees which was easily blocked with a Protego. What he couldn't block with the shield was the length of chain Harry had sent at him which wrapped itself tightly around Nott's legs causing him to fall over. He managed to hold onto his wand and from the ground he began hurling Stunners and Disarming spells in Harry's general direction, but with his lack of mobility the duel was all but over. Harry quickly advanced on him, easily dodging the wild spells, before letting a Bludgeoner of his own loose at Nott's torso; knocking the air out if him and sending his wand flying.
"Winner. Harry Evans. Let Mr. Nott go, Evans." With a sharp nod Harry vanished the chains and quickly returned to his seat before his professor decided he wasn't done with him just yet. Meanwhile, Nott glared a hole through Harry before getting up and stomping towards his seat. "Just a moment, Mr. Nott," Professor Dolohov ordered. "Come up here." After one final glare at Harry, who did his best to avoid his gaze, Nott returned to the front of the room and stood in front of Professor Dolohov. "Now, could you please tell me what just happened?" Dolohov towered above his student and fixed him with an expectant stare.
"I lost," the boy mumbled.
"What was that?"
"I said I lost, sir," Nott answered loudly, "Evans beat me."
"Yes, he did. Harry Evans, a mere halfblood, beat you. Rather soundly in fact. Tell me, Mr. Nott, do you believe that purebloods are superior to halfbloods?"
"Yes, sir," Nott answered. Harry stared straight ahead, refusing to watch the scene in front of him unfold. He could feel his face flush red with anger. He had beaten Nott fair and square. He had proven he was better. Yet now he was forced to listen to his professor stand in front of the class and insult him. He clenched his teeth together as Dolohov continued.
"As you well should. What just happened class was a lesson. And a very important one at that. Should you fail to study, should you fail to do the work and learn what I teach, you will lose. Even to someone inferior to you, as Mr. Evans just demonstrated. Mr Evans!" Harry's head snapped towards Dolohov at the shout. "Are you Mr. Nott's inferior or his superior?"
"Based on that duel, sir?" Harry grunted in pain as Dolohov sent a Stinging hex at his arm. He raised his eyebrows and continued to stare at Harry. The rest of the class was deadly silent. "His inferior, sir," Harry ground out.
"Excellent, yes, indeed you are. Why? Granger, why is Evans inferior to Mr. Nott?" Harry cast a quick glance to his left where Hermione was sitting. Her face turned bright red at the question. At the front of the room Nott was smirking triumphantly at Harry.
"Because he is a halfblood, sir," Hermione answered quietly.
"Exactly, Granger, exactly," Dolohov beamed. "And why are you inferior to Mr. Evans?" If possible Hermione's face turned even brighter red. Harry clenched his wand beneath the desk. He wanted nothing more than to curse Dolohov and make him hurt. Everyone knew how the blood system worked, that the purebloods were on top. Most of the professors simply ignored it as long as the students performed well. Not Dolohov. He got a sick pleasure in tormenting the non pureblood students. As such, Dueling and the Dark Arts was the least enjoyable class at Hogwarts. Unless you were a pureblood, that is.
"Because, sir, I am a Mudblood," Hermione answered as the bell rang. Her voice was soft when she said it but her eyes were hard. Harry recalled first year when Dolohov had played this game with the students and reduced Hermione to tears. The man had enjoyed every second of it. Gathering up his things Harry followed Hermione and the rest of the students towards the door. Nott bumped him hard on the shoulder as he walked past. Harry just gritted his teeth and kept moving. Once they were safely away from the classroom he caught up to Hermione.
"I bloody hate that guy."
"Language, Harry. There's no reason for profanity," she answered tiredly. "At least we don't have him again until next week."
"True enough. I just can't stand him. I hope one day it's him I'm dueling instead of Nott."
"As good as you are, Harry, I don't think you would want to duel Professor Dolohov. I've read the accounts of the war. He killed Fabian Prewett, you know. And he was supposed to be one of the greatest Aurors of the day." Harry turned and looked at her in surprise.
"Prewett? I've heard of him. My mum's talked about him before. He was one of the few purebloods who didn't join Voldemort from the start. Dolohov may be good, but one day I'll be better. And he's going to regret being such a jackass."
"Let's not talk about it anymore! Just let it go," she she exclaimed, "Let's talk about something else, like what do you think is going to happen tonight? Why would Snape make a mandatory dinner?"
"Dunno," Harry answered, "Maybe he took a cooking class over the summer and wants to show off."
"You know, Harry," Hermione said, "Sometimes, you're just bloody weird."
Harry took a sip of his pumpkin juice and surveyed the Great Hall. Next to him Hermione had already finished eating and was skimming through her Transfiguration textbook. Friday evening and the first week of classes behind them might mean a break for most normal people, but Hermione Granger was anything but normal. With a slight smile on his face Harry's attention shifted down the table where Ron Weasley was doing his best to flirt with Lavender Brown. The smile faded when he saw Ron Weasley talking himself up to Lavender Brown. She was a muggleborn, but attractive enough that Ron was going out of his way to try and impress her. Harry rolled his eyes a bit when he heard Ron start in on the time he had flown a muggle car halfway across the country. Bloody purebloods, Harry thought, they don't even know how cars work. A flying car? If Ron was going to try and brag about himself, he should at least make sure his story was plausible.
Weasley really was a rather interesting case. He had a fair amount of magical power, but he lacked the motivation to make the most of it. He preferred to spend his time talking himself up to girls or joking around. He seemed harmless enough and he wasn't the type to turn you into a canary like his older brothers.
At the High Table Dolohov was carrying on a conversation with Professor Black who taught Potions. Black was an interesting teacher. He was pureblood, but he never lorded it over the students in the manner that Dolohov did. That wasn't to say the man was a saint; he just wasn't as psychotic as the resident Dark Arts teacher. Next to them were Professor Shaw who taught Charms and Selwynn who taught Transfiguration. On the other end sat a of the few remaining teachers from before the war: Professors Sprout and Vector who were in the middle of a conversation that included much gesturing. In the middle of them all sat the great greasy bastard himself, Headmaster Snape. Luckily, Harry didn't have to deal with the man very often, but whenever he did he got the feeling the man particularly enjoyed punishing him. He knew there had to be some kind of history between the man and his mum based on the way she grew quiet and angry whenever his name came up. Yes, there was definitely something wrong with the man. Harry's thoughts were broken up as Snape suddenly stood up causing a hush to fall over the Great Hall. He spoke quietly but his words were heard clearly by everyone in the room.
"This year at Hogwarts there will be no Quidditch. The end of the year Dueling Tournament will still take place, however, there will also be another, and far more prestigious event held here this year. For the first time in centuries we will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament." A shocked murmur ran through the Great Hall which Snape silenced with a look. "I will not go into great detail at the moment," he spoke, "But I will tell you that Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang will be sending delegations here to compete. Each school will have a single Champion selected to compete. If you wish to enter, you must first inform your Head of House. We want to ensure that someone...appropriate represents Hogwarts."
"The winner of the Tournament will receive one thousand Galleons in addition to the glory of being the finest young witch or wizard Europe as to offer. I will be most disappointed if the winner is not sitting in the Hall at this very moment. I will expect all of you to be on you best behavior for the duration of the Tournament. Anyone who embarrasses this school and this country will not answer only to me, but to the Dark Lord himself. He has put a great amount of effort into this Tournament and will be most displeased should anyone damage our nation's reputation. More information can be found on bulletin boards in your respective Houses. Dismissed." The Great Hall erupted as students began heading for the exit while simultaneously proclaiming their intent to enter the Tournament-whatever it was-and win; for Hogwarts, for glory, but mostly, for the thousand Galleons.
"What do you think, Hermione? Would you do it?" Harry asked excitedly as they made their way towards the common room.
"We don't even know what it entails, Harry, it could be anything," she responded exasperatedly. "Don't tell me you want to enter! You heard what Snape said. A pureblood is going to represent Hogwarts, and given the options that means I'll most likely be rooting against whoever is selected from Hogwarts."
"Yeah," Harry laughed, "But a thousand Galleons. I mean, that's a lot of money. If I won that my mum wouldn't have to work so much. You're right though, it's going to be a pureblood. It was just...I don't know. Stupid."
"It's not stupid, Harry,' Hermione answered sadly. "I think you'd make a great Champion." Harry smiled and put his arm around Hermione's shoulder as they entered the common room. Hogwarts might be full of some awful people, he thought, but it also had Hermione. And it didn't get much better than that.
"We should look up whatever we can find in the Tournament," Hermione said. "It would be good to know what's going to happen. I wonder why it was cancelled in the first place?"
"Well, what do you know?" A voice rang out behind the. "Finally something our resident bookwork doesn't know?"
Harry turned to see Ron Weasley walking behind them, a large smirk plastered across his face.
"Oh? And I suppose you know why it was cancelled then, Ron?" Harry asked. He was tempted to just ignore the boy, but they were almost back to the common room. Better to appease him now than anger him by ignoring him.
"As a matter of fact I do," the redhead replied smugly. "My dad and brother work for the Ministry, don't you know? They hear all sorts of things. Apparently the Tournament was cancelled because of all the Champions dying. So what do you say, Evans, still interested in trying out?"
"Can't say I'm not interested," Harry answered. "No reward without a little risk. What about you, Weasley? Any chance you'll be giving it a go?"
"Why bother? Some seventh year is bound to wind up representing Hogwarts. Unless Fred and George manage to rig it somehow. Not like you'd have a chance even if you were a seventh year though, Evans. No one wants a traitor's son for a Champion."
Harry's anger flared up, but he managed to bite his tongue.
"You're exactly right, Ronald," Hermione said. "Someone from a family who has always been loyal to the Dark Lord should be Champion, like the Weasleys or the Malfoys: great pureblood families." Ron bristled at having his family compared to the Malfoys, but couldn't find anything in her statement to argue.
"Right," he said. "It'll be a pureblood, you mark my words, mudblood." With that, he hurried off ahead of the pair and joined a group of older Gryffindors.
"Couldn't help tweaking him a little, could?" Harry asked with a grin.
"I have never met anyone in my entire life who irritates me as much as him," she huffed. "I know I should be more careful around him, but something about the idiot just makes me want to slap him."
"Why, Hermione," Harry said, "If I didn't know better I'd say you had a crush on-"
"If you finish that sentence I will tell absolutely everyone we know that you had a crush on Daphne Greengrass in second year."
"Low blow, Hermione, low blow. I was young and naive."
"Whereas now you're just naive?"
"Someone's a little snarky tonight. What's bothering you?"
"The same thing that always bothers me at this school! People like Ron will always know more than either of us because of who his parents are! It's not fair!"
"Of course it's not," Harry agreed. "Ron may have better connections than us, Hermione, but don't assume that makes him better than you. If I could pick someone to represent Hogwarts it'd be you. Honest."
"Well, you're sweet. A sweet liar though; I am pretty sure you would pick yourself in a heartbeat."
"You know me too well, sister," he said.
A/N: Next chapter some more background on the world.