Plots and Plans are spun
One Wizard Too Many Ch. 2
Rules are made to be perverted to one’s own advantage.
Once Harry had calmed a bit, and demonstrated no outward signs of extracting bloody vengeance in the immediate future; Hermione sat him down and began to help him plan. Grinning at his studious friend as she brought out the ever present parchment and quill, Miss Granger began to create a to-do list in her usual style.
“First, you should contact Snuffles and Professor Lupin and ask for some help.”
“Yes! I need some Marauder help with some potentially fatal pranks!”
“No Harry. You need the advice of some experienced wizards and possibly a lawyer. By the way; ‘potentially fatal pranks’ as such are probably considered attempted murder. “
“Aww, no fun. But you might be right.”
“Always. Next, we need to read up on the Tournament rules and regulations. Previous rule changes and decisions as well. There may still be a way to get you out from under this thing.”
“Like the coyote from under a falling anvil…” Harry muttered.
“Just paint a hole on the ground, the anvil falls right in; cartoon physics.” Apparently Hermione had pretty good hearing. And an affinity for the Looney Tunes.
“Thirdly,” Hermione continued, “we need to find out who is involved here; Ministry officials, judges, support staff, et cetera. Motive is important, who would want you involved in this? Who is the enemy? And can we expose them somehow?”
“Expose them to a blasting hex maybe. Seriously though, the ministry reps involved in our little ‘discussion’ in the anteroom seemed to consist of Barty Crouch as the chief,”
“Sanctimonious jerk…” It was Hermione’s turn to mutter. She clearly still held a bit of a grudge over the ‘Winky Incident’ from the World Cup.
“Ludo Bagman as the face of the Sports Department,” Harry continued. “And ‘Weatherby the prat’ as all around lickspittle slash administrative help. The school heads and champions were also there obviously.”
“Okay.” She started a second list. “We’ll research the important personalities later.” Turning back to the first listing. “Fourth on the list is study and training.”
“We soon should be getting more info on what hoops, I mean what tasks, we’ll be competing in.”
“Great.” She finished writing with a scritch of her quill. “I’m going to find the rules on this farce; you find a floo and call Professor Lupin.”
After begging Professor McGonagall for the use of her office floo and a little privacy, and a stern reminder of “No long distance floos!” Harry managed to call Remus Lupin. Fortunately, Sirius was also available for consultations. Neither was terribly amused at the developments.
“What the fuck are they thinking?! You’re fourteen for fucks sake!” Sirius may have been a sailor or truck driver in a previous life, but no one could say his sentiments weren’t heartfelt.
“I’m surprised Dumbledore is so blasé about this. He’s worked very hard to get this tourney off the ground; this kind of screw-up looks pretty bad for him.” Remus provided a genteel counterpoint to Sirius’ vitriol.
This mattered little to Harry, however.
“You mean I might be getting fucked over hard in the arse just to make Dumbledore look bad? Fuck that old man and fuck his sodding tournament! Sirius, do you remember where that tropical island is where you hid out all summer? I say we both go there after I visit some bloody murder on a few folks. We’ll say I’m ‘following my insane godfather’s example’.”
Sirius wiped away a tear, “That’s my godson! Love ya pup!”
“No Harry, you can’t just leave. The nature of magical contracts enforce compliance by stripping defaulters of their magic. If you leave, you leave a squib.” Remus was ever the voice of reason, much like Hermione.
“It has to be an intellectual thing.” Harry thought.
“Okay Remus, we all don’t want that. I asked Hermione to look up the rules for this thing, and she suggested you contact a lawyer for me to try to get out of it.”
“Smart girl.” Said Remus
“Hot, too.” Sirius added
“Pedophile.” Volleyed Remus.
“Two words: Nymphadora Tonks.” Sirius shot back.
Moony blushed. “I don’t know what you mean.” He replied. “Besides, she’s of age; Hermione’s only fifteen!”
“Not for me, you prat!” Sirius said. They both silently turned to look at Harry.
“Not now, you guys!” Harry huffed. “Look, we need to meet. This floo stuff is too insecure; and uncomfortable.” His knees were starting to ache from the stone floor. How Dumbledore did this for extended periods, he had no idea.
Both Marauders agreed, and Harry left the duo to their own devices; which apparently consisted of Sirius humming Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’ and Remus threatening a DIY neutering on the animagus.
“Why does anyone expect me to be normal if that’s what I have for a parental example?” Harry couldn’t help but wonder.
The next week went pretty much as any normal Hogwarts seven day period might go for Harry: social ostracism and general contempt from most of the student body. Most students glared angrily at him for being a cheater, and even procured some flair proclaiming their opinions on the matter; courtesy of Draco Malfoy.
“Guess their nasty looks and mean comments weren’t enough.” Harry thought. “I’d have come up with something better than ‘Potter Stinks’ though. It’s a bit like that whole ‘Heir of Slytherin’ thing again. Wish I had a giant sodding snake with killer eyes this time around. Maybe I’ll have a little chat with Hagrid…”
Harry met up with Hermione at her customary table in the library. The organizers (in as much as anything in the wizarding world can be considered ‘organized’) had finally gotten back to them about the general format of the competition. Three tasks, each based on a particular one or combination of the four traditional elements and designed to test the witch or wizard’s mettle and skill with magic.
“You know, if this were an online college, I’d totally get ‘life credit’ for the whole mettle thing.”
“Sure you would, but most colleges are about measuring one’s intelligence; which would be the complete antithesis of your ability to get into life threatening situations.” Hermione snarked, not even looking up from her perusal of the official rule book for the tournament she had obtained.
“Hey, that sounds like a dumb joke, right?”
“If you have to ask, then yes Harry, yes it is.”
“Har har. If this whole witch thing doesn’t work out, they’d love your act in the Catskills!”
“No one puts Baby in the corner, least of all you Harry.” She grinned. “Seriously though, these regulations are very complicated. Of course, they’ve accrued over nearly six hundred years of wizarding history.”
“So I take it they’re incredibly complex, make no sense whatsoever, and are also horribly barbaric?”
“In a word; yup.”
Harry started to grin, very much in the fashion of Dr. Seuss’ ‘Grinch’ character.
“Should I be worried?” Hermione asked.
“Question for a question; do you really care all that much about wizarding pureblood tradition?”
“Answer: not a bit. That whole cult of pureblood worship is among the most asinine things I‘ve ever heard of.” She replied.
“Would you miss it? If I; or I should say, we, happen to destroy the whole thing from within, beginning with this f-ing s-pile of a tournament? Which happens to be revered from time immemorial by those very same purebloods, if I may point out?” Harry posed, his eyebrow arched coyly.
Hermione could only respond with a matching evil grin of her own. It looked much cuter on her, of course.
“Interestingly enough, the rules, if examined with care; as I have done, may just provide the casual social iconoclast with his first hammer.”
“Well, social mores were made to be broken, after all.” Harry grinned. Plotting the downfall of backwards societies was so much fun!
“Yes, they were. According to the Provisions of 1720, champions: ‘possess complete and total immunity from any and all that would interfere with their preparations for such trying and difficult tasks. Such champions as selected also possess sovereign right to self defense and protection from any who would harm them. Champions are accorded the privilege of preemptive strike without recourse during their tournament year, not to exceed the conclusion of the competition.’ Now, the organizers eluded to this rule by exempting champions from tests and such; but taken to its logical extreme…”
“Wait… They couldn’t mean… There’s no way that’d be legal!”
“Yes, it’s legal. They never took that one out, and evidently never considered the ramifications of such a blanket rule.”
“Rule? It sounds like a hunting license! You’re saying I could walk up to Malfoy and hex him right between the eyes, and there’s nothing he can do?”
“Well, you can’t ‘kill or permanently harm’ him. But to answer your question: absolutely you can. Any response on his part would require a disciplinary response. Whether you should or not is another basket of kneazles. Your target just has to be considered a legitimate threat.”
Harry was rarely overtaken by feelings of pure joy.
“Hermione, I think I love you!” Harry jumped up and planted a kiss on the blushing girl’s cheek. “Next trip to Flourish & Blotts is totally on me!” He began to collect his things and hurry off to do some hardcore plotting.
“Harry, where are you going?” Hermione was still flushed from his declaration.
“Plausible deniability, my dear. I’m going to connive some ways to f-up this tourney; and maybe settle some old scores in the process. Best you not be a party to it.”
“Just be careful! And no killing! I mean it!” Hermione called to his rapidly retreating form.
She couldn’t help but be left with the feeling she just released a two legged basilisk loose upon Hogwarts. Whoever put Harry’s name in the Goblet was probably not expecting this!