The Second Task and the aftershocks.
Looking them over, Harry said with pride, “Winky, you did a fantastic job on these robes.”
“You’re welcome, Master Harry.” Winky replied with a light blush visible on her cheeks. No matter how often her Master or Mistress complimented her, she still felt amazed, hence the blush.
The new dragon hide pants and boots were surprisingly light for such a thick material. Harry figured it must have something to do with their ability to fly. If they were too heavy, they wouldn’t be able to get off the ground. He already knew that their bones weren’t hollow like a bird so it made sense to him that their hide was light and durable.
“We need to start heading down to the Quidditch Stadium, Harry.” Hermione said as she took his hand.
He gave her hand a soft squeeze and then knelt down in front of their two elves. “Thank you both for the hard work these last few weeks on the map and the clothing. I don’t know what we would do without you.”
After hugging the happy elves goodbye, Harry and Hermione left the Room of Requirement and headed down towards the Quidditch Pitch.
Hermione had the map of the maze in her hands, studying it. She and Harry had completed the charms work a few weeks ago with the help of Dobby and Winky.
Dobby had confirmed that every path was correct and Winky had focused on the areas where it looked like challenges or traps could be placed. The two elves had done a final walk through and updated the map that morning. It now showed the exact type and location of each creature, trap, challenge, and the cup itself. They had taken the updated version to Remus so that he could make a few copies for everyone.
The plan was to have her, Remus, Tonks, and Sirius each armed with a copy of the map to keep a watch over things in the maze and the immediate surroundings. The change to the maps that Hermione had suggested was to connect them. Remus had set them up so that they could highlight a dot on one map and it would change color and flash on the others. This way they could alert each other about possible dangers.
Remus was stationed nearest the cup in the stadium while Sirius was hiding beneath the stands in his Animagus form. Tonks had been assigned to the Minister’s security detail; her job would be patrolling the perimeter of the maze. She had volunteered for the detail since the entire veteran Aurors Corps wanted to watch the tournament.
Remus had approached Nymphadora just after the second task. After about a month, Remus was able to gain enough of her trust to get her to agree to meet with Sirius and they convinced her of his innocence. Her position as an Auror trainee was a big advantage for them. She was able to pick up a lot of information into the workings of the ministry and pass it along.
Hermione was sitting with Neville and Ginny in the student section of the stands. They chose seats right in front instead of higher up in one of the towers. She wanted to be close in case she was needed.
Harry and the other Champions were milling around in the starting area. Each of them was a bit anxious about the task but Harry’s anxiety was for an entirely different reason.
His scar had been prickling all day. It was as if he could feel the darkness closing in. He was glad that Remus, Sirius, and a woman named Tonks all had copies of the map and were looking for signs of trouble.
Harry wasn’t actually bothered about the maze; he had a plan for that part. It was the hidden dangers that they hadn’t found that worried him. He began going over his checklist as a way to help stay calm while he waited for the Third Task to start.
He was wearing the new dragon hide boots, vest, pants, and gauntlets that Winky had made for him and Hermione. His wand was in his forearm holster along and the dragon spike dagger in the other. The dragon tooth dagger and his silver potions knife were in the built in holsters in his boots. Winky had added them after seeing the completed daggers. Overall, Harry didn’t think that he could be any more vigilant in his equipment needs. The psycho defense teacher would be proud, he was sure.
His fingers traced the handle of his new dagger. It had taken him a solid month of hard work and patience to complete them and he was quite proud. Honing the blades had been the hardest part. He had been extra careful while making the blade from the tooth because he wasn’t sure if Horntails were poisonous like the Ridgeback that bit Ron during their first year. Since he didn’t want to find out the hard way, he took his time.
He had gotten the idea of making the knife during one of his swimming lessons with Hermione. She had been tracing her fingers along the thick, ropey, scar very slowly. It was as if she were realizing how close she had come to loosing him. That reminder also made him realize how close to death he had truly come that day.
Harry was broken out of his musing when Dumbledore’s magically enhanced voice boomed out, “Attention! The Third Task is about to begin. Viktor Krum will enter the maze first, followed by Cedric Diggory, Harry Potter, and finally Fleur Delacour. Champions, prepare yourselves. The Triwizard Cup is located somewhere deep within the maze. The first one to reach the Cup will be the winner.”
Dumbledore paused to let the cheering and applause die down. Turning to face the Champions, he motioned Krum to the entrance of the maze. Facing the crowd again, he said, “Let the task begin!”
Harry felt a sense of calm wash over him when Viktor darted into the maze. He was comfortable with his plan; now all he had to do was wait.
Hermione was watching Krum’s progress through the maze with interest. She wanted to see how he fared and how much he knew about the maze. ‘He doesn’t seem to know the layout of the maze,’ she thought to herself as she watched him double back for a second time.
She heard Dumbledore send Cedric into the maze and her eyes shifted to begin following his progress. As a result, she never noticed the dot labeled, Viktor Krum wander next to another labeled, Barty Crouch, Jr., someone that was supposed to be dead. Nor did she see how Viktor’s dot seemed to be heading away from the Cup and towards Cedric Diggory.
Nymphadora Tonks was scanning the map when she noticed something wrong. In front of her stood Mad-Eye Moody but on the map he was labeled, Barty Crouch, Jr. Confused, she alerted everyone about the anomaly and began making her way towards him with her wand in hand.
Remus looked down at the blinking dot on his map and frowned. Harry hadn’t even started yet and there was already trouble. ‘Why had Dora flagged Barty Crouch? Wasn’t he missing?’ he thought to himself as he made his way towards them. His pace picked up considerably when he noticed the Jr. tacked on at the end of the name.
He turned the corner and saw Dora talking with Moody at the edge of the maze. Confused, he looked down at his map and realized the problem at once, Polyjuice Potion.
Stepping up to the pair, Remus called out, “Hello, Mad-Eye. Hello, Dora. Everything okay here?”
Moody’s voice was gruff as he barked back, “Hello, Remus. Everything is going well here. I need to get back to patrolling the perimeter. Please excuse me.”
Just as he turned his back to them, Remus struck. “What’s that?” Remus cried out in alarm while pointing towards the edge of the maze. When Moody shifted his attention, Remus hit him as hard as he could on the temple. The blow was so great that Moody’s magical eye popped out of his head and came to rest on the ground next to Dora’s feet.
Before Moody could hit the ground, Remus pulled the unconscious imposter upright. Turning to Tonks, he said, “Disillusion him and grab that eye. The real Moody will want that back if he is still alive.”
Tonks performed the spell on the fake Moody and pocketed the magical eye. When she stood back up, she levitated the body and said, “I’ll have to return to my patrol. Can you handle him alone?”
Remus nodded and said, “Yes. I’ll be taking him somewhere secure before beginning to question him.” He grabbed the unconscious, levitating, body and headed up towards the castle.
They had been so wrapped up in apprehending Barty Crouch, Jr. that they never noticed that Harry had entered the maze.
Harry had memorized the entire layout of the maze in preparation for the task. He quickly turned left and after about fifteen meters, he stopped and stood there, waiting for Fleur to enter the maze.
When her turn came, Fleur ran forward and turned left. She was a bit shocked to see Harry Potter standing in the middle of the path, blocking her way. Annoyed, she said, “What do you think you are doing, Harry Potter?”
Harry quirked an eyebrow at her tone and silently stepped aside for her. He knew what was around the bend and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to face a Boggart right now. He was pretty sure what his greatest fear was and that was something best left for another time.
When he heard Fleur shout something in French, he figured that she had found the Boggart. Deciding that enough time had passed, Harry turned towards the hedge wall leading to the center of the maze. With a sharp jab, and a twist of his wrist, flames shot out of the tip of his wand. When he ended the spell there was a hole large enough for him to slip through. ‘Only five more to go.’ He thought to himself happily. He had checked and re-checked the rules and they only said that he had to reach the Cup to be considered the winner. They didn’t mention how.
Inwardly chuckling at the Wizarding World’s stupidity, he began burning his way towards the center of the maze where the Triwizard Cup was waiting to be claimed.
The moment Harry’s dot seemed to appear in a different row for the second time, Hermione almost broke out in laughter. She had been trying to wheedle his plan out of him for weeks but all she got was that sly smile of his and a peck on the cheek.
Sirius thought that his map was malfunctioning when Harry’s dot seemed to melt through a wall for the second time. It took a few seconds before he figured it out. ‘This was a prank worthy of his father. Now all we have to do is train him to be an Animagus.’ Sirius thought proudly as he watched Harry’s dot slip through another wall. He focused on Harry’s path and noticed that he was heading right for the giant spider.
Harry knew that there was only one more hedgerow to pass through before he reached the cup. His problem lay in how to deal with the very large Acromantula on the other side. He stretched out his magical senses fully and began burning his way through the final hedge. When the hole was large enough, he peered into the next chamber.
The giant spider was already moving towards him. Sighing in resignation, Harry leveled his wand at the large insect and took aim. He thought, ‘Aranea Exanimus.’ as the spider bore down on him. There was a brilliant flash of white as the beam shot out of his wand and hit the spider right between the eyes.
There was a loud crashing noise as its lifeless body thudded to the ground. Bits of dirt and grass were sent flying from the spider’s momentum.
Ironically, Voldemort taught this spell to him inadvertently in his second year. Translated, it meant lifeless spider. ‘How appropriate.’ Harry thought sardonically as he looked at the lifeless arachnid in front of him. He didn’t feel nearly as bad for killing the spider compared to the dragon. The oversized arachnids were definitely on his list after they had tried to eat him and Ron during his second year. Harry’s disgust and disappointment came from the fact that he had killed something in each task.
Turning his attention fully to his surroundings, Harry noticed that there was so much magic emanating from the Cup that he didn’t know what to do. His skill at sensing magic was still developing and he lacked the experience to identify spells and enchantments quickly.
Slowly, Harry circled the plinth that supported the Triwizard Cup, looking for any signs of a trap. Ruefully, he thought, ‘The problem with ancient artifacts is that they are so heavily magical that it could take me weeks or months to figure out the magic on this blasted Cup.’
Remus Lupin had finally reached his old office, which the unconscious imposter had obviously been using for quite some time if he was able to fool Dumbledore for so long. He ended the Disillusionment Charm and was pleased to see the black and blue bruise already forming where he had slugged Crouch.
He sat the figure down in a chair and conjured ropes that bound the prisoner tightly. With nothing to do but wait, Remus sat down in another chair to watch for the signs that the Polyjuice Potion was wearing off. He didn’t have to wait long; it seemed that Crouch had forgotten to take another dose to continue the charade.
When the transformation was completely reversed, Remus sat there shocked and a little bit dismayed. Growling in disgust, he began removing everything that was on Crouch’s person. When everything magical had been removed, Remus performed a Switching Spell on Barty’s clothes with a blanket that he had conjured.
Satisfied that Crouch wouldn’t be moving at all, he enervated him.
Barty realized almost immediately that something was very wrong. For one, he could see out of both eyes normally and wiggle both of his feet. He knew that he was in his office at Hogwarts, tied naked to a chair, unable to move. Looking up, he saw the face of a man that he didn’t want to. He was hoping to see Albus Dumbledore if he were caught, not Remus Lupin.
There was something in Lupin’s eyes that made him feel like a cornered animal. Involuntarily, he gulped in his nervousness.
In a low growl, Remus said, “Hello, Barty. You look very healthy for a dead man. We really need to chat but I’m afraid that I’m rather short on time and I’m all out of Veritaserum at the moment.”
Crouch sneered up at Lupin and said, “You’ll get nothing from me, werewolf. My Lord shall come for me and he will reward me above all others.”
‘He’s insane,’ Remus thought resignedly, ‘this is going to make this a bit easier then.’ His voice still held that hard edge as he spoke, “Oh, you’re going to talk, one way or the other.”
Pulling out his wand, Remus conjured a hammer and held it up to show the Death Eater. “Do you know what this is?” Not waiting for an answer, he continued, “It’s a hammer. Non-magical people use them for building and breaking things.”
Barty laughed at Remus in his insanity before he cackled out, “I’m not afraid of some muggle tool. Get buggered you tame were…”
He never got to finish his rant because Remus swung the hammer with enough force that it shattered Crouch’s left big toe upon impact. Instead, his howls of pain echoed through room.
Remus gave the howling man a few moments to wallow in pain before he spoke in a voice that promised more pain very soon, “You have nine more toes to go. Every time you don’t answer me, I’m going to crush another one. Now, what does Voldemort want with this tournament?”
Crouch was having a hard time focusing through his pain. ‘This wasn’t supposed to happen;’ he thought miserably, ‘Dumbledore wouldn’t do this to me.’ In desperation, he cried out, “Get Dumbledore and I’ll tell you everything!” He noticed that the look upon Lupin's face when he mentioned Dumbledore was very out of place for one of the members of the Order of the Phoenix.
Remus’ voice was low, he let some of the wolf come to the surface as he spike in a menacing tone, “Oh, I assure you, Dumbledore won’t be coming to talk to you. He doesn’t even know that you are here.” Leaning down next to Crouch, he hefted the hammer again and said, “Do you feel like talking yet?”
The threat was simple; talk or get pummeled again. When Lupin drew back his arm to swing, he cried out in panic, “WAIT! The Dark Lord wants Potter for something. I turned the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey and was supposed to assist him to win the task.”
Remus was feeling a very strong sense of foreboding in the pit of his stomach. ‘Harry was already in the maze!’ flew through his mind. His fist lashed out, almost of its own accord, and smashed Crouch across the jaw. There was a sickening crunch and the man slumped against his bonds, unconscious.
“Dobby!” Remus cried.
There was a pop and Harry’s elf was standing before him.
“Take this man and everything in this room. Put him into my cage in the basement of Sirius’s house and the items into the parlor. He betrayed Harry to Voldemort.” Remus said angrily.
The look of fury on Dobby’s face was fearsome. He snapped his tiny fingers and the items around the room began packing themselves. Dobby looked up at Remus and coolly said, “I will take care of this, sir.”
“Please don’t tell Winky, that is her old master. We can tell her together.” Remus said in a hurry as he was heading for the door.
With a nod in acceptance, Dobby grabbed the Death Eater and vanished from Hogwarts.
Remus pulled out his map and began searching for Harry’s dot. When he found it, his heart began to race in fear. Harry was already at the Cup! “Bollocks!” he muttered as he tapped his wand on Harry’s dot, alerting everyone that there was a problem with Harry.
“Expecto Patronum!” Remus said, and then he watched as a magnificent timber wolf erupted from the tip of his wand.
It stood there, waiting for instructions, so Remus spoke hurriedly, “Dora, Harry is in trouble. The Cup is a Portkey!” The Patronus zoomed out of the room heading for Tonks after receiving its instructions.
Remus ran as fast as he could towards the Quidditch Pitch, praying that one of them would make it to Harry in time.
Tonks was just making her circuit of the perimeter when Remus’ Patronus appeared and gave her the message. “Shite!” she yelped as she drew her wand and ran into the maze. Taking a page from Harry’s book, she began blasting the hedgerows apart in desperation to get to him.
Sirius saw Harry’s dot illuminate on his map and he bolted from his spot under the stands. Since he was fairly close to the starting area, he ran into the maze and began following Harry’s scent.
Hermione saw Sirius dart into the maze from his hiding spot. Looking down at the map, she noticed Harry’s dot flashing up at her. Ms. Tonks was moving thorough the maze towards Harry and Remus was still not back on the map.
She wasn’t getting any feelings of panic from Harry. She could sense his confusion and wariness though. Deciding that she would only get in the way in the maze, she began scanning the area for Professor McGonagall.
Albus Dumbledore was watching the maze with interest. ‘Why was Mr. Potter circling the Cup?’ He was startled from his thoughts when he saw Sirius Black in his Animagus form come tearing out from underneath the stands and run straight into the maze.
Quickly scanning the sky, Dumbledore didn’t see any red sparks marking a champion in trouble. Realizing that they obviously knew something that he didn’t, he began to make his way down to the maze. He saw Remus running flat out towards the maze so he picked up his pace to meet him at the entrance.
Remus saw Dumbledore heading straight towards him, looking concerned but determined. Not willing to stop because time was of the essence, he ran right by a shocked Dumbledore and into the maze in search of Harry.
Hermione finally found Professor McGonagall sitting with a few of the other professors. Her voice held a pleading note to it when she spoke, “Professor, Harry is in trouble. He needs help now.”
Minerva looked over at her favorite student. She was about to dismiss her concerns when she realized that Miss Granger was not one to spout a load of tripe. When she saw Remus Lupin run into the maze right past the Headmaster, she said, “Very well. Follow me and we will see if we can get to the bottom of this.”
Harry stepped in front of the Cup. He was running out of time if he wanted to win this blasted tournament before another champion showed up. He was just reaching out to grab the Cup when a woman’s voice rang out from his left.
“Harry, STOP!” Tonks screamed when she saw him reaching for the Triwizard Cup.
Her shout startled him and as he spun to face her, his hand grazed the handle of the Cup. There was a mighty jerking sensation behind his navel and the stadium vanished in a swirl of color as he was Portkeyed away.
Tonks stood there open mouthed in shock. The very thing that she was hoping to prevent had happened anyway when she startled Harry.
Sirius had just entered the enclosure to see Harry Portkeyed away. In his despair, he threw back his head and howled a mournful note.
Remus skidded to a stop next to Sirius and slumped to his knees when he realized that they were too late. He felt as if he had failed Harry all over again.
Dumbledore carefully stepped through the hole that someone had burned through the hedge. The scene that greeted him was worrisome. There was a dead Acromantula a few feet from the hole that he had just stepped through, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black in his Animagus form, and Nymphadora Tonks all had a looks of despair on their faces.
He had numerous questions running through his mind as he cautiously made his presence known. Slowly, he walked over to where they were all gathered. In a soft voice, he asked, “What happened here? Where is Mr. Potter?”
Professor McGonagall and Hermione had just entered the area through the same hole as Professor Dumbledore when they heard his question.
Remus shot to his feet in a towering rage. His eyes were a brilliant shade of amber. The wolf had finally broken free. He strode over to Dumbledore and growled out, “Voldemort has Harry.” He ignored the gasps from Hermione and Minerva and continued in a menacing tone, “This is what happens when you use people like pawns and young men as bait!”
Pleadingly, Dumbledore said, “Remus…”
The angry werewolf cut him off in mid sentence, “Merlin help you if something happens to Harry.” His fury spent, Remus stepped over to Hermione and pulled her into a hug and said softly, “We will do everything that we can to find him.”
Hermione felt as if her world were crashing down around her. She knew that Harry’s scar had been bothering him all day but there wasn’t anything that they could have done about it at the time.
A dry sob wracked her body as she desperately clung to Remus. She had sensed fear and anxiety from Harry when he was Portkeyed away.
She was just about to speak when pain, terror, and revulsion, flooded through their bond from Harry. Her heart clenched tightly in her chest and she knew that Harry had just come face to face with Voldemort. She latched onto Remus even tighter, praying that Harry would return to her safely.
Sirius was seconds away from reverting to human form when four new people stepped into the area. Resigned to waiting, he strode over and lay down at the feet of Hermione and Remus.
Fleur Delacour was helping Cedric guide a very disoriented Viktor Krum into the clearing. When they had him resting comfortably on the ground, they made their way over to Professor Dumbledore.
Minister Fudge had followed Dumbledore into the maze a minute later when he didn’t return. He noticed that all of the Champions were accounted for, except Harry Potter. ‘What a political nightmare if the boy is dead.’ He thought to himself. His only concern was for his position, not the boy.
He waddled over to the assembled group of people and said in his nasal tone, “What is going on here, Dumbledore?”
No one had even noticed the Minister’s approach because they were so wrapped up with what had just happened.
Dumbledore turned to face the pawn of Lucius Malfoy. His voice was full of concern as he spoke, “Voldemort has taken Harry Potter.”
The news was quite the shocker for Fleur, Cedric, and Fudge. If it were true, all of their notions about being safe were gone.
After a few tense seconds, Fudge blurted out, “What are you talking about, Dumbledore? Everyone knows that You-Know-Who is dead. Now tell me what happened to the Potter boy!”
A tall, thin, woman in Aurors Robes answered his question before Dumbledore could speak.
Tonks was fuming, Harry was missing, maybe even dead, and Minister Fudge refused to see reason. Angrily, she said, “Minister, I saw Harry Potter touch the Triwizard Cup. It was a Portkey. Voldemort has him and we need to do everything in our power to get him back.”
Staring at the auror in front of him in incredulity, Fudge said heatedly, “Absolute rubbish. This is probably the work of Sirius Black. Everyone knows that he betrayed the Potters. The tournament is the perfect cover for that insane murderer to finish off the job he started thirteen years ago.”
Sirius, still in his dog form, growled a low and threatening note at the minister. Before he could attack, a strong hand grabbed his collar.
Remus said, “Down, Padfoot. He’d probably give you a stomach ache.”
Fudge had backed up when the large dog growled at him.
Dumbledore shot Fudge a look of disbelief before he turned and said, “I am afraid that all we can do now is wait.” He was hoping that Harry would get lucky and finish off Voldemort again. He knew that there was a chance that Voldemort had made more than one Horcrux, it was something that he would have done if he were him.
When Harry realized that the Cup was a Portkey, he tried to let go. Instead, he found that this Portkey trip was very different from his last one; his hand was stuck to the Cup.
Upon arrival, he was slammed into the ground. Unfortunately, he grazed his head on a gravestone during his tumble. He was trying to clear the cobwebs from his mind when he noticed a very familiar figure walking towards him with a tiny bundle in his arms.
Shakily, he brought his wand up and pointed it at Peter Pettigrew and hissed, “What do you want, traitor?” His voice held a combination of hatred and pain towards the rat of a man in front of him.
Pettigrew kept walking towards Harry, his wand in one hand and the tiny form of his master in the other.
Harry’s scar exploded in pain when Wormtail was about fifteen feet from him.
Voldemort was pushing on their connection with all of his strength to cause the boy pain. He wanted the Potter boy incapacitated because he wasn’t positive that Wormtail was competent enough to get this right.
Harry’s scar hurt so bad that he winced and grabbed his forehead.
In that brief moment, Wormtail struck, “Expelliarmus!” His aim was true and Harry’s wand slipped from his slackened grip.
Harry tried to lunge for his wand but ropes shot out of Wormtail’s wand and bound him to the gravestone that he was slumped against.
Peter knelt down and pocketed Harry’s wand before gently setting his master’s body on the ground in front of him. He then turned to fetch the necessary items for the ritual to restore his Lord to a body.
While Pettigrew was pushing a large cauldron over to the fire pit, Voldemort was studying the boy that had been his downfall thirteen years ago. His voice was weak and raspy, as if his throat wasn’t made for speech, “Harry Potter. We meet again.”
Pushing past the pain, Harry began trying to occlude his mind. When he had regained some semblance of control, he said in a low voice, “What do you want with me?” His voice was shaking with the effort of blocking out the pain that Voldemort was trying to inflict.
The Dark Lord was looking at the Boy-Who-Lived in curiosity. He was powerful, resourceful, and if pushed, violent. According to the reports from Crouch, Jr. there was also a keen intellect hidden behind a façade. He was also a Parselmouth. Hissing his reply, Voldemort said, “You are to be the guest of honor at my rebirth. My servants will bear witness to my triumph over you before the night is through.”
Harry wanted to keep Voldemort talking. He figured that the longer they spoke, the more likely that he would either find a way to escape or someone would send help if they could find him.
He glanced over to see how Wormtail was doing with the giant cauldron that he was moving towards the fire. Realizing that he was running out of time fast, Harry asked Voldemort a question that had been bothering him since he found out why he was famous, “Why me?”
Voldemort was surprised by this question, “Surely, you know why I tried to kill you?” Not receiving an answer, he continued in his tiny, snakelike voice, “We are fated, tied together by a prophecy.” He paused, not wanted to give the boy any more information than absolutely necessary.
Deciding upon a plan, Voldemort continued, “Didn’t Dumbledore tell you the prophecy? He was the one that heard it after all.” He was focusing on the boy’s facial features, looking for anything he could use. He wasn’t disappointed, fury flashed through their connection and across Harry Potter’s face.
Voldemort had been aware of the connection since he had constructed this rudimentary body. He wasn’t strong enough to take advantage of it yet, but he would be soon.
The smile that graced the tiny creature’s face was horrifying. If Harry could have recoiled, he would have. His fragile hold on his Occlumency Shields shattered when Voldemort told him that Dumbledore had known all along why but had never told him. His inner turmoil was so great that he never noticed Wormtail pick up the tiny form of Voldemort and drop him into the cauldron.
The splash startled him back to attentiveness. He was watching with rapt attention as Wormtail levitated a bone from the grave of Tom Riddle, Sr. and dropped it into the cauldron. He had missed what was said but Harry knew enough about rituals to know that each step was very important.
When Wormtail slashed off his own hand as a sacrifice, panic began to well up inside of him. Desperately, he thought, ‘What would the ritual require from me? Can I disrupt the ritual somehow?’ He was desperately trying to come up with a plan to escape the awful mess he was in.
Peter clutched his arm to his chest and turned towards Harry to complete the ritual that would restore his master to a proper body. His voice was shaky, and full of pain, as he stammered out, “Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.”
Before Wormtail could slash him with that wicked looking dagger, Harry said, “I give my blood freely to resurrect my foe.”
Peter paused, unsure of what to do. He was panicking now. The ritual had to be completed; there was no turning back once it was started. He stepped up and slashed Harry’s left forearm and collected the blood on the blade.
When Wormtail dropped the blood into the cauldron, Harry’s scar exploded in pain. However, it was familiar to him and he instinctively knew what to do. Reaching out with his magic, he began to tear at the tendrils of dark magic that was connected to his scar.
With a massive effort, Harry snapped the remaining tendrils free from his scar. The pain was immense and he screamed aloud in pain as he felt something leave his body. Right before he passed out, saw the naked body of Voldemort rising up from the cauldron, alive and looking directly at him.
Voldemort stepped forward and pulled on a robe and picked up his wand. He felt the familiar rush of magic rushing through his veins as he was re-united with his wand after thirteen long years.
Slowly, he turned to survey the scene in front of him. Harry Potter was slumped, unconscious, on the ground next to the Triwizard Cup. Wormtail was huddled on his knees, trying to bow down before his master.
Voldemort began taking stock of his new body. There was something that was slightly off. He couldn’t feel his connection to Harry Potter. There were other small differences that he was becoming aware of. First, he had no hair, anywhere. He figured that it was from the reptilian construct that he had inhabited for so long. It was a small price to pay for a new body.
Second, his eyes were different somehow. His vision wasn’t changed, but something was a touch off. Waving his wand, Voldemort conjured a mirror to look at himself.
Overall, he looked human with the exception of his eyes and nose. They definitely had a reptilian quality to them. His eyes were slits and his pupils were ringed in red. His nose was gone; in its place were two long slits, just like a snake’s nose. ‘Minor flaws that I will repair later after extensive research.’ He thought idly as he examined his fingers.
With a wave of his wand, he concealed his true features behind a Glamour Charm. He now looked just like he did at the height of his powers but without the damage done by all of the dark rituals. In short, he looked like the perfect picture of a handsome, pureblood, head of house. His hair was a longish dark brown and his eyes their old shade of blue green.
When he spoke for the first time in his new body, he noticed that his voice had a sibilant quality to it that he liked, “Wormtail, give me your arm.”
Immediately, Peter held out his left arm, the Dark Mark was plainly visible after being faded for so many years. “My Lord?” he asked.
Voldemort was looking at the mark on Wormtail’s arm. The Dark Mark was one of his finest creations. It tied him to his servants so that he was always able to call upon them and they could alert him in an emergency.
The mark burned black on Wormtail’s arm when Voldemort pressed the tip of his wand to it. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, feeling the links re-establishing themselves after being dormant for so long.
Within minutes, black cloaked figures wearing white masks began Aparating into the graveyard, responding to their master’s call. They began arranging themselves in a semi circle around their Lord, kneeling, while awaiting his acknowledgement.
Voldemort stood in the center of his followers, slowly turning to regard each one as he counted their number. There were three at Hogwarts and one of those was a dead man walking, one was a hero, and the other was in a grey area that would be defined later.
He could sense fear, apprehension, and guilt coming from the group in front of him. In a voice full of menace, Voldemort hissed, “How is it that my lowliest servant managed to find me when the rest of you couldn’t?”
It was a question that had been bothering him for a while now. The answer that he came up with was that they didn’t try very hard as the years went by.
Crabbe, Sr. couldn’t take the silence anymore and he nervously spoke, “My Lord, we tried to find you but we couldn’t.”
Voldemort’s wand lashed out, quick as a striking snake, and he snarled, “Crucio!”
Crabbe immediately fell to the ground screaming in anguish. Thirteen years as a wraith had not dulled the Dark Lord’s power or wrath.
The screams woke Harry from unconsciousness. When he opened his eyes he was greeted with the sight of Voldemort torturing someone.
He realized that no one was watching him. They were all caught up in the spectacle in front of them. Quickly, Harry transformed into his Animagus form and slipped his bonds. He moved as quietly, and slowly, as he could. Once he was behind a gravestone, he transformed back.
It was the longest that he had been able to stay in his animal form yet and he was exhausted. Something felt different about his Animagus form since the first task. He also noticed that his connection to Voldemort was gone. Harry figured that he would ponder those things if he got out of this mess alive.
Realizing that Wormtail still had his wand, Harry drew the dragon tooth dagger from its sheath. Cautiously, he peered around the gravestone to look for the traitor.
Peter looked up from his spot on the ground. He had been completely forgotten by his Lord in all of the commotion. His stump was still bleeding and he was in terrible pain. His gaze drifted over to where Harry had been tied up, only the ropes remained to his shock and dismay. Quickly, he stammered out, “M-My Lord! The Potter boy is missing!”
Voldemort ended the curse on the screaming man at his feet. He was furious, through clenched teeth, he snapped, “Find him, NOW!” His eyes fell upon the area where the boy had been, he couldn’t have gotten far.
“Wormtail, come here.” When the rat of a man stumbled over to him, Voldemort said in a deadly whisper, “Find the boy. I want him alive. Do not return without him.” With a quick wave of his wand, he stopped the bleeding and created a silver hand to replace the one that had been sacrificed to give him a body.
The Death Eaters began to spread out to find the Boy-Who-Lived. Unfortunately, two of them were heading towards Harry’s position. One of them was Wormtail and the other was the man that was being tortured moments ago.
Coming up with a quick plan, Harry transformed again and coiled himself up in a shadow. When both men had passed him by, he began to slowly move after Wormtail. He needed his wand back if he were going to get out of this nightmare.
Peter was franticly searching behind the larger gravestones searching for Harry. The implied threat from the Dark Lord could only mean pain in his future if he failed. Lost in his thoughts, he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings or he might have noticed the large snake coming up behind him.
Harry struck quickly, his fangs sinking deep into Wormtail’s calf. The bite caused the tiny man to scream in pain and fall down. Before he could turn around, Harry had reverted to his human form.
Screaming in pain, Wormtail dropped his wand and clutched at his leg as he fell. Suddenly, Harry Potter was standing right over him, holding a knife poised to strike again.
Harry took a quick step forward and kicked Wormtail as hard as he could in the face, knocking him unconscious. He could hear the shouts from the other Death Eaters as they tried to locate their fallen comrade. He plucked his wand from Wormtail’s robes and pocketed the traitor’s.
He had only gone a few more steps when he heard a voice that made his blood run cold.
Voldemort had seen Wormtail go down, clutching his leg, while screaming in pain. In the next instant, Harry Potter was standing over him with a knife in hand. ‘Where had the boy come from?’ he thought curiously as he began making his way towards his fallen servant.
He watched as Harry Potter lashed out with his boot, knocking Wormtail unconscious, before he spoke in his low sibilant tone, “Leaving so soon, Harry? We still have much to discuss.”
Turning around slowly so he didn’t startle Voldemort, Harry was shocked to see an older version of the Tom Riddle that he had met in the Chamber of Secrets. Putting two and two together, he realized that Voldemort was hiding his true form beneath a glamour. He would try to figure out why later.
Trying to sound as relaxed as he could, Harry’s voice was an even tone as he spoke, “Yes, I think that my part in this ritual is over don’t you?”
Before Voldemort could reply, Wormtail started to convulse on the ground. White foam was spewing from his mouth as his body was wracked with spasms. With a last gasp, Peter Pettigrew died.
Amused, Voldemort’s low voice rang out, “I’m impressed, Harry. May I call you Harry?” Not bothering to wait for a reply, he continued speaking, “I didn’t think that you would resort to a poisoned dagger to kill Wormtail. Didn’t Dumbledore teach you better than that?”
He was trying to provoke the boy’s anger to get a better measure of his powers. Crouch’s reports had been very insightful, but there was no substitute for first hand experience.
Harry was shocked; he didn’t realize that his Animagus form was poisonous. Belatedly, he realized that with Wormtail dead, he would have to bring the body back with him if he escaped to clear Sirius.
Voldemort knew that Harry needed Wormtail’s body to clear Sirius Black so he decided to prevent it from ever happening. Quick as lightning, he incinerated Wormtail’s body. When the magical fire burned out, there was nothing but ash left of Peter Pettigrew.
“No!” Harry shouted when Voldemort lit Wormtail’s body on fire. He realized that Voldemort had just removed any chance of ever clearing Sirius. Angrily, he shouted, “You bastard!” With a flick of his wrist, Harry sent a silent Blasting Hex at Voldemort with as much power as he could muster.
Voldemort’s eyes widened in surprise as the spell impacted upon his hastily conjured shield, sending him flying backwards. The force of the spell was immense. Crouch had been unable to give him an exact idea of Harry Potter’s full power, plus it had been cast silently. All of this went through Voldemort’s mind in a fraction of a second before he Disapparated in mid-air. He reappeared in almost the exact spot that he had been standing moments before.
The only problem was that Harry Potter was no longer standing where he had been.
As soon as his spell hit Voldemort, Harry sprinted in the opposite direction trying to put as much distance between them as he could. The familiar sound of Apparition told him that Voldemort was not injured. Suddenly, a thought hit him; he had Apparated before as a child when Dudley and his gang were chasing him at school.
Concentrating as hard as he could, Harry thought of the first place that came to mind. With a thunderous clap, Harry Apparated away from the graveyard to the only place where he felt safe.
Voldemort’s howl of rage echoed through the graveyard and sent shivers down the spines of his followers as they approached their master.