|SIYE Time:20:50 on 18th March 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 102633; Chapter Total: 2877
Some dialogue taken from the book, chapter 17 to be exact
Fifteen: The Goblet of Fire, Part Two
A Fourth Champion
G inny’s fists clenched, her fingernails digging into her palm. Harry’s face went pale; his mind frozen. Every eye had turned to stare at him.
“Harry Potter,” Dumbledore called again. Harry didn’t move.
You are fu —
Harry! Ginny thought hastily. Just go. You need to go.
No, no I am not moving. I am hearing things, he is calling someone else.
Ginny glanced at Dumbledore; the professor’s face was unreadable. Ginny pushed Harry up. He did call you. You have to go.
Harry glanced at her; his eyes were wide but his jaw clenched. Ginny gave him one more push, and he started down the aisle. Whispers reached Ginny’s ear; she cracked her knuckles in annoyance. Couldn’t they just shut up? Did they have to mutter about his every move?
Harry reached Dumbledore; the old man didn’t shake his hand, he just touched Harry’s shoulder and said something in his ear. Harry nodded and left the hall through the door. Ginny closed her eyes and focused on his thoughts. His hands were trembling as he walked. Portraits along the walls fluttered about, whispering to each other and watching Harry apprehensively. One woman darted out of her frame and out of sight. Harry pushed open a door and stepped inside a small room. Fleur Delacour, Cedric Diggory, and Viktor Krum all stood at the other end of the room, facing a fire. He felt dwarfed by their shadows, she could tell. Harry hesitated in the doorway.
What do I do? he thought.
Ginny bit her lip; Dumbledore, Madam Maxine, and Professor Karkaroff were all talking amongst themselves. Both Madam Maxine and Karkaroff looked angry.
She focused on Harry’s thoughts again. The other champions had turned to face him.
“What is it?” asked Fleur Delacour. “Do zey want us back in ze Hall?”
Ginny felt his awkward confusion as he stood in the doorway. Movement at the top table caught her attention; she re-focused and caught sight of Ludo Bagman pushing his way past the other teachers’ chairs and moving through the door.
Harry’s thoughts were muddled. What should I say? What the hell did I get picked for? Why me?!
I don’t know, Ginny thought back. Something’s very wrong.
Oh, no duh, Sherlock.
Nothing, never mind. But what do I say?
Harry’s attention shifted, Ginny strained her mind to see what he saw. Ludo Bagman had entered the room. She saw him as though through a clouded window, the image warping at the edges and color appearing faded at the sides. Bagman came forward and gripped Harry’s arm, pulling him forward.
“Extraordinary!” Bagman cried. “Absolutely extraordinary!”
I’ll show you something extraordinary, Harry thought irritatedly. My wand up your —
Listen! Ginny scolded.
“Gentlemen, lady,” Bagman continued, his voice was slightly distant, and sounded as though she was listening to a radio in another room. “Might I introduce to you, incredible though it may seem, the fourth Triwizard Champion?”
The three older champions looked taken aback. Krum straightened and crossed his arms over his chest, his face dark. Cedric Diggory simply knitted together his eyebrows at Harry. Fleur, though, smirked, tossing her long, silvery hair.
“Vairy funny joke, Meester Bagman,” she said, her thick French accent reaching her mind garbled.
“It’s no joke,” Bagman assured them, “Harry’s name has come from the Goblet of Fire!”
Cedric looked even further confused. Krum’s eyes fixed on Harry; Ginny even could feel the intensity of his gaze. Fleur frowned, looking between Harry and Bagman with sudden bewilderment.
“But evidentially zair ‘as been a mistake,” Fleur said, her voice dismissing Harry. “’E cannot compete, ‘e is too young.”
Young? I’m barely three years younger than you! Harry was getting more irritated as his confusion increased.
“Well, it is amazing,” Bagman said, rubbing at his chin and looking down at Harry in a way Ginny did not like. “But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. And as his name did indeed come out of the Goblet… I mean, I don’t’ think there can be any ducking out at this stage. It’s down in the rules, you’re obliged… Harry will just have to do the best he —”
The door behind them opened again. Harry turned and looked over his shoulder, giving Ginny view of Professor Dumbledore striding in; on his heels were Karkaroff and Maxine, as well as Mr. Crouch, Remus, Sirius, Professor McGonagall, and Moody.
Where did Sirius come from? Harry thought.
He’s staying at the castle, Ginny answered. Remus told me at the beginning of the year that he’s staying on as an assistant for DADA.
“Madam Maxine,” Fleur said, pushing past Bagman and Harry to reach her headmistress. “Zey are saying zat zis little boy is to compete also!”
Little boy? Both Harry and Ginny echoed indignantly.
Madam Maxine was standing with her spine rod straight. “What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?” she barked.
“I’d rather like to know that as well, Dumbledore,” Karkaroff said, his eyes glittering darkly. “We were never told that the host school was allowed a second champion! I demand that Madam Maxine and I be allowed to submit our students’ names again, so that all will be fair!”
“We were under ze impression zat your Age Line would keep younger students away,” Madam Maxine said.
“We are being treated most unfairly!” Karkaroff said. “If you are allowed an underage champion, we should have been allowed to bring underage candidates!”
“There has obviously been a mistake,” Sirius interjected. “Harry didn’t submit his own name, I’m sure of it!”
“Oh, zen he must ‘ave asked an older student to do eet for ‘im!” Madam Maxine snapped.
“Harry would do no such thing,” Remus said; Ginny saw he was trying to remain calm, but his eyes were flickering with worry.
“Did you put your name in the Goblet, Harry?” Professor Dumbledore asked.
Harry shook his head.
“Did you ask an older student to do it for you?” Karkaroff barked.
“No,” Harry said in exasperation. “I didn’t want this!”
“Ah, but of course ‘e is lying!” snapped Madam Maxine. “’E would not admit to ‘is crime!”
“I’m not!” Harry insisted.
“I believe him,” Remus said.
“So do I,” Sirius added. “Harry does not enjoy being in the spotlight.”
“Bah,” Madam Maxine scoffed. “All young children desire glory.”
“I do not trust the word of an ex-convict, regardless,” Karkaroff said.
Sirius opened his mouth angrily, but Remus caught him and held him back, whispering something quickly in his ear.
“Then take mine.” Professor McGonagall stepped forward. “Potter prefers to remain out of the center of attention; any and all fame he gains through his actions is because others made the news known.”
Karkaroff sneered at her. “You are obviously biased.”
“I trust Harry’s word,” Professor Dumbledore said, stopping McGonagall from responding.
“Meester Crouch,” Madam Maxine said, “Meester Bagman, surely you agree wiz Professor Karkaroff and I zat zis is unacceptable!”
Mr. Crouch took his time in answering. He stood on the outskirts of the group, in half-light that gave him a skeletal look. Ginny felt something else was going through his mind in addition to the problem before him. “I do agree that this is irregular,” he said finally.
“Then he should be kept from competing!” Karkaroff said.
“I’m afraid that cannot happen,” Crouch replied, shaking his head. “By having his name entered, Mr. Potter accepted a binding magical contract, willingly or not, and the Goblet of Fire completed it. He must participate in all of the tasks, without any interference from outside, fully and completely, or face dire consequences.”
“What consequences?” Remus asked.
Crouch gave Remus a sideways look. “I’m afraid the punishment of breaking such a contract would demand the government to banish him from magical communities and strip him of all his rights as a wizard.”
Ginny’s attention snapped. Hermione shook her shoulder, and Ginny blinked to readjust to the environment.
“Everyone is heading back to their dorms,” Hermione said. “Do you want to wait for Harry?”
Ginny nodded. “I’m trying to eavesdrop,” she whispered. “Pretend you’re talking to me about something I don’t have to respond too.” Hermione blinked, a bit startled, but Ginny simply closed her eyes and focused on Harry’s thoughts again. She struggled to form a mental picture of what he was seeing. Slowly, it came back.
“After all our meetings and negotiations and compromises,” Karkaroff was saying angrily, “I little expected something of this nature! I have half a mind to leave now!”
“Empty threat, Karkaroff,” growled the voice of Professor Moody. Harry’s gaze found him standing by the door, leaning on his walking stick. Through Harry’s eye, he seemed almost demonic to Ginny. He stepped forward, his wooden leg clunking rhythmically against the stone floor. “You can’t leave your champion now; he’s got to compete, at risk of forfeiting his rights, like Crouch said. Convenient, eh?”
“Convenient?” Karkaroff repeated, his face attempting to show disdain, but his knuckles were white and balled into fists. “I’m afraid I don’t understand your implication, Moody.”
“Don’t you?” Moody said, his voice barely audible. “Someone put Potter’s name into that cup, knowing he’d have to compete if it came out.”
“Someone ‘oo wished to give ‘Ogwarts two bites at ze apple!” said Madam Maxine, her tone agitated.
“I quite agree,” said Karkaroff, gesturing to Madam Maxine, “I shall be lodging complaints with your Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards!”
“If anyone’s got a reason to complain, it’s Harry!” Sirius snapped.
“Yes,” Moody agreed, “but… funny thing… I don’t hear him saying a word.”
All eyes turned towards Harry. Ginny could feel another straw drop onto his back.
“Why should ‘e complain?” burst out Fleur Delacour, and the attention shifted. She looked like a child being denied her favorite toy. “’E ‘as ze chance to compete, ‘asn’t ‘e? We ‘ave all been ‘oping to be chosen for weeks and weeks! Ze honor for our schools! A thousand Galleons in prize money; zis is a chance many would die for!”
“Maybe someone’s hoping Potter is going to die for it,” mused Moody; his tone seemed observational, but both Ginny and Harry detected a trace of a growl in it.
Those in the room seemed not to know how to respond to this ominous pronouncement. Finally, Bagman laughing nervously. “Moody, old man, what a thing to say!”
“We all know Professor Moody considers the morning wasted if he has not discovered at least six plots to murder him by lunchtime,” Karkaroff said mockingly. “Now he is teaching his students to fear assassination as well? An odd quality in a teacher, but Dumbledore, I am sure, had his reasons.” He didn’t sound sure, however.
“Imagining things, am I?” Mood said, the growl now unhidden. “Seeing things, eh? It was a skilled witch or wizard who put his name into that goblet —”
“Where is ze evidence of zat?” Madam Maxine snapped.
“In the fact that they hoodwinked a very powerful magical object! It would need an exceptionally strong Confundus Charm to bamboozle that goblet into forgetting that only three schools compete in the tournament; I’m guessing they submitted Potter’s name under a fourth school, to make sure he was the only one in his category.”
“You seem to have given this a great deal of thought, Moody,” Karkaroff said, his tone almost vicious. “And a very ingenious theory it is — though, of course, I heard that you recently got into your head that one of your birthday gifts was a cunningly disguised basilisk egg, smashing it to pieces before realizing it was merely a carriage clock! So, you’ll excuse us if we don’t take your theories very seriously.”
“There are those who will take advantage of a perfectly innocent occasion, Karkaroff,” Moody growled. “It was once my job to think as Dark Wizards do; I’m sure you remember that.”
Karkaroff turned red, but he fingered his left forearm nervously. Dumbledore put a hand on Moody’s shoulder, a warning look on his face. He turned back to face the others, and his face seemed weary.
“How this situation came to pass, we do not know,” he said. “For the time being, however, we must accept that both Cedric and Harry have been chosen to compete. This, they shall do.”
“Ah, but Dumbly-dorr —” Madam Maxine began.
“If you have another solution, my dear Madam, that will not end in either boy being banished from the magical world, I would be glad to hear it” Dumbledore cut her off. Madam Maxine did not, apparently, for she closed her mouth with her cheeks burning.
Wish she did, Harry thought sullenly.
We’ll figure it out, Ginny told him. Just be patient.
Not many else looked happy with the situation either; Professor McGonagall’s face was tense, Sirius seemed angry still, and Remus’ face was worried. Bagman, however, was now smiling broadly.
“Well, shall we crack on then?” Bagman asked. Dumbledore nodded, and waved to the two other Headmasters to follow him from the room. Karkaroff shot Moody one last look of loathing, but followed Dumbledore out. Madam Maxine murmured something in French to Fleur and left the room. The other teachers left as well, Remus giving Harry a reassuring smile.
“Barty?” Bagman said, looking over at Crouch. “You want to do the honors?”
“Ah, yes, instructions,” Crouch said, stepping farther into the light. Against the flames, his face looked tired, even ill. There were bags under his eyes and fresh wrinkles in his forehead. He inhaled deeply, and flicked his gaze, in turn, to each of the champions. His eyes lingered on Harry’s face a moment longer than before.
“The first task is made to test your daring,” Crouch said. “So we will not reveal any specific details regarding it. Courage in the face of ignorance is important; very important.”
“It will happen on the twenty-first of November,” Bagman added. “You’ll be judged by the three Heads of the schools, and by Barty and I.”
“You are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from your teachers,” Crouch continued. “You will face the challenge armed only with your wands, your wits, and your nerve. We will give you information on the second task when the first is completed.”
“And since you’re going to be busy with the tournament, you don’t have to take the end of year exams,” Bagman said.
No exams? Harry thought hopefully. Maybe this has a bright side!
“Is that it?” Bagman asked Crouch, who nodded.
“You are now dismissed,” Crouch said. “I suggest you get some rest. Good night.”
Crouch beckoned to Bagman, who followed him out. Harry glanced over at the other three.
Someone nudged Ginny, breaking her concentration once more. Someone’s coming; I’ll be outside waiting for you, she thought quickly, and opened her eyes. Remus and Sirius had seated themselves across the table from her and Hermione.
“You were listening?” Sirius asked quietly.
Ginny nodded. “I don’t like it,” she said.
“I don’t think any of us do,” Remus sighed. “But Dumbledore is right; we can’t keep him from participating.”
Ginny blew a strand of hair out of her face. “I should have seen this coming,” she muttered.
“You couldn’t have,” Remus said. “It caught everyone by surprise.”
“But I did see it coming!” she said in frustration. “I should have understood what it meant!”
Sirius frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I had a dream at the beginning of term,” she said. “I saw the Goblet; I saw Harry’s name come out of it.”
Remus and Sirius exchanged glances. “This doesn’t bode well,” Remus said.
“You saw other things too,” Hermione said. “What else?”
Ginny ran a hand through her hair, and caught sight of the door out of the hall opening again, and the group of champions exiting. She waved to Harry, and he slipped past Krum and Cedric to hurry towards them.
“What’s going on?” he asked, dropping onto the bench beside her. Ginny laced her fingers through his, giving his hand a squeeze.
“Remember that dream I had?”
“The really weird one, with all the pictures.”
“Oh, yeah. What about it?”
“She says she saw your name in the Goblet of Fire,” Sirius said.
“I didn’t put it in,” Harry insisted.
“We know,” Remus said quickly, raising a hand. “The question is: Who did?”
“What else did you see, Ginny?”
Ginny bit the inside of her lip, trying to remember her dream. “It started with small clips of things; a large house on a hill, a couple of police officers reviewing a case, Tom in class years ago, and some woman pacing down a classroom. Then I was underwater, drowning, and Harry came in, but he wasn’t answering any of my questions. He had gills, and webbed hands. He took me to the surface, then I was in the Great Hall, and the Goblet was there. The parchment with his name was just beginning to burn, and I heard something.” Ginny shut her eyes, trying to remember. “I can’t remember what it was! I followed it, but all I saw was someone’s cloak going around a corner. I can’t remember what that sound was.”
Sirius and Remus exchanged looks again. “That’s a lot of information,” Remus said.
“The house she saw, and the police officers,” Harry began, “they reminded me of a dream I had during the summer. I saw an old man going into that house, and he went upstairs, where three men were talking. One of them wasn’t… He wasn’t human. I couldn’t see the faces of the other two. This huge snake came in, and the thing spoke to it, then he called the old man in. They said something to him, then they killed him.”
“That old man was in one of the photos the police officers were looking at,” Ginny said.
Remus frowned. “This is very odd,” he said.
“Dumbledore will want to know,” said Sirius.
“Probably,” Ginny said. “I want to know how he’s going to keep Harry alive during the tasks.”
“I don’t think there’s much he can do,” Harry said. “Crouch said that no one can help me.”
“No teachers can help you,” Ginny corrected. “But, they can help me.”
Remus quirked an eyebrow. “Are you interested in taking any extra-credit this year, Miss Weasley?”
“That I am,” she said. “I’ll help you, Harry, every step of the way.”
“I will too,” Hermione piped up. “You couldn’t keep me away.”
“And I am not a teacher,” Sirius said. “Technically.”
Harry smiled gratefully. “Thanks,” he said softly. “That means a lot.”
“We’ll do our best,” Remus said. “Indirectly in my case, unfortunately.”
“First, you need to get to bed,” Sirius said, checking his watch. “You’ve got DADA first thing tomorrow, and I think Remus is suddenly going to be teaching you more advanced defensive spells.”
“Yes, I think that is an excellent idea,” Remus said. “Shield charms tomorrow.”
Harry nodded; “That might be a good idea.”
“Go on,” Sirius said, flapping his hands at them. “Bed; in different locations.”
Harry flushed, Ginny averted her eyes. Hermione smirked. “I’ll make sure they follow directions,” she said. Sirius winked at them.
“See you tomorrow,” Remus said.
Hermione led them from the Great Hall up the marble stairs to the seventh floor. She gave the password to the Fat Lady, and the painting swung forward.
Harry stepped through the portrait hole and was met by a wall of sound. Every Gryffindor, it seemed, had been waiting for them; for him. Students were cheering, people were shouting congratulations.
“How’d you do it?” Fred and George roared, their faces filled with delight.
Harry faltered. Crap, he thought. Ginny squeezed his hand again.
“Coming through!” she shouted, charging forward determinedly. “Harry’s very tired; let us through!”
The crowd parted, a bit startled. Ginny pulled him forward. “Pardon us, Harry wants to go to bed. You can ask him about it in the morning!”
Fred and George caught up with them. “Come on, Harry, you can tell us!” said George.
“Ask him tomorrow,” Ginny said.
“We never saw you with a beard!” Fred ignored her, which was his first mistake. The crowd pressed closer.
Ginny drew her wand. “Back up!” she called. “Back up or I’m going to start hexing people!”
The wall of bodies stumbled backwards. Fred and George did not.
“Come on!” they said together.
“I warned you,” Ginny said.
“You wouldn’t hurt your favorite brothers,” Fred said dismissively; that was his second mistake.
Ginny leveled her wand. “Nos Vespertiliones,” she cried.
Large, brown things erupted from their noses. Ginny pulled Harry forward as the bogeys started attacking their faces.
“Hermione, would you fix them in a minute?” she called over her shoulder as Fred and George started yelling expletives. The rest of the students were all laughing, but none of them got in her way.
Ginny stopped outside the door to the boys’ stairs. She pressed a kiss to his cheek; Harry closed his eyes and inhaled the smell of her flowery shampoo. Tension fled from his shoulders; he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a hug.
Thank you, he thought.
Ginny smiled and brushed hair out of his eyes. “You’re welcome,” she murmured.
“Kiss!” someone shouted. Harry’s cheeks heated. Ginny shot whoever it was a glare, but she kissed his cheek again.
“Goodnight,” she said.
“Night,” he replied. He let go of her and climbed up the stairs. He heard Ginny yell something else at the crowd, probably telling them off for invading his business, and then Fred and George stopped cursing. Hermione must have used the counter-charm.
He pushed open the door to his dorm. The room was empty, but the curtains around Ron’s bed had been drawn closed. Harry hesitated, then gripped the edge of the curtain.
“Ron?” he said. “Are you there?”
Harry pulled back the curtain. Ron was lying on his back, staring up at the canopy roof with an irritated look on his face. He glanced at Harry, then returned to glaring at the roof of his canopy.
“What can I do for you, Oh Great Boy Who Lived?” he spat.
Harry was taken aback. “What?”
“You heard me.”
“I didn’t put my name in,” Harry said. “I need you to believe me.”
Ron said nothing.
Ron raised his hand and folded down his fingers, leaving only the middle one standing. Harry fell back, startled.
“I don’t exist to be your servant,” Ron snapped. “I’d go get one of your many followers to do whatever it is you want if I were you.”
“I don’t want anything,” Harry spluttered. “I — I just need you to believe me.”
“Well, I don’t. You could have at least told me you were entering.”
“Sure you weren’t,” Ron scoffed. Harry clenched his jaw.
“Fine,” he said, “stay here and sulk.” He pulled the curtain shut with a jerk and turned to his bed. He dropped onto it and glared at his own canopy.
Harry? What’s the matter now?
Ron thinks I did this myself, Harry thought.
Ginny conjured a few different methods of torturing Ron, along with several curse words. That idiot!
Harry didn’t reply. He felt more hurt than angry at his friend.
I’ll make him see sense, Ginny continued.
No, don’t. It’s not worth it.
But he’s being a git!
Harry sighed. Yeah, well, he’ll have to get over it on his own. We’ve got more worries.
Harry felt Ginny’s anger subsiding. First Karkaroff and Maxine, then Fred and George, the rest of the school. Does no one but Hermione, Sirius, Remus and me believe you?
Diggory doesn’t, Harry thought. He didn’t say so, but I could tell.
Ginny didn’t reply immediately. Harry scowled. Don’t tell me you fancy him.
What? Are you joking?
Harry huffed. So I’m not only competing in the tournament against him, but now I’m fighting him for your attention? Are you joking with me?
Harry, don’t be an idiot, Ginny thought. I don’t fancy anyone.
You like Cedric!
Harry, shut up! That doesn’t matter!
You admit it! Harry thought. He felt Ginny’s ears beginning to burn and her anger returning.
Cedric Diggory is good-looking, I admit, she said, but I am not interested in him!
Harry huffed. Great.
Ginny mentally kicked him. You’re getting off-topic.
You’re always the right topic.
He felt her smile, and his stress lessened a bit.
Thank you, Harry, but you do need to focus on this.
What are we focusing on?
The tournament. We have to find out what the first task is.
I thought I wasn’t supposed to know.
They said that they couldn’t tell you, they didn’t say anything about someone else telling you.
Harry grinned. You’re awesome.
Yes, well, first we have to find someone who knows. Keep a look out for people involved in the tournament who will talk. None of the teachers can, so that rules out Remus. Sirius might be able to help, but I don’t think they’ll let him in on it.
Harry yawned. That’s a good idea.
You’re falling asleep.
No, I’m listening.
I am in your head, Harry, I know when you’re lying. Go to sleep already.
You’re still talking.
He could tell she was rolling her eyes, mental link or not. Goodnight, silly.
Night, darling. He pulled his shoes off and shoved them under his bed before taking off his robes and swapping them for pajamas. Ginny closed the mental flow from her side, probably because she was going to take a shower, as he collapsed onto his bed again. His other dorm mates started coming up, so he pulled the curtains closed.
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