Harry tackles the First Task
One Wizard Too Many Ch 8
Flashbacks and Back Blasts
Harry sat sprawled out on a folding chair in the Champions Tent awaiting his first task. His body language spoke of little besides boredom; in marked contrast to the other three champions in their claimed corners.
“At least they have someone to talk to!” Thought Harry, a bit peevishly.
The other contestants were attended by either their headmasters or, in Cedric’s case, head of house. Harry, of course, was alone. His head of house, the unusually frosty McGonagall, would not be helping him in the tournament, and his assigned faculty advisor Moody was just too creepy to be around for long periods. Professor Moody’s bizarre eye was also being used to screen the audience at the event for contraband and weapons. He would have preferred Hermione there with him, but Dumbledore insisted she join the students in the stands.
“Oh well, last minute coaching isn’t going to help now; not that I wasn’t offered any!”
Oddly enough, Bagman had approached him as he was entering the tent with an offer of help of some kind. Harry managed to decline politely. He would have declined impolitely, but the amount of pull the empty headed ex athlete seemed to have was as yet unknown to him. The man seemed to remind him a bit of the Yank muggle athlete OJ Simpson: seemingly pleasant enough, but with something a bit unsettling about him. Harry would be on his guard around the ditzy former chaser.
Harry yawned and stretched a bit from his seat, drawing an annoyed glance from Viktor Krum. The ‘Bulgarian Bon Bon’ was sitting with Karkaroff and speaking in low tones. Harry grinned and winked at the irritated Durmstranger. This only increased Krum’s irritation as he turned to ignore the younger boy.
Harry then turned his gaze upon his countryman, Cedric Diggory. The lad was pale, but game; and discussing matters of strategy with the kindly herbology professor. Cedric noticed his glance, and gave him a firm nod and a grin. Harry gave him a big grin and thumbs up.
“Hufflepuffs are all so nice. Shame really, they might be better off if they all behaved like self-interested pricks! Kinda like I do, really.”
He couldn’t help but recall Cedric’s expression when Harry told him of the Dragons.
“Poor guy looked like a vampire, he was so pale!”
The incident occurred a few days after ‘Severus the Great’ performed his impromptu rendition of Macbeth as post-prandial entertainment in the Great Hall. Oddly enough, he didn’t appreciate the standing ovations his Potions classes had received in the days afterward. Dumbledore refused to confirm the detentions given to those who ‘merely appreciated the Professor’s fantastic potions making ability’. Snape was, as ever, not amused.
As Harry and Hermione made their way across the courtyard from the irritable Potioneer’s class; when Hermione spotted a group of Hufflepuffs being led by Cedric.
“Harry, whom exactly did you say knew about the dragons?”
“Big Maxime, Karky, Hagrid, and myself. Why?”
“Was anyone there who might tell Cedric?”
“Err, I really don’t know. Hagrid might. But then again, Hagrid would tell anyone anything.”
Hermione looked thoughtful for a moment. Harry thought it a very cute look for her.
“Well, what harm would there be if you told him about it?”
“Me? Why? He’s competing against me. Not that I’m trying to win or anything.”
Hermione looked at him a bit sternly.
“Harry, don’t be a jerk. Just tell him, okay?”
“Okay, okay. I see your point. It’s just weird to be nice to people sometimes.”
Her expression softened.
“You don’t have to always be ripping people’s teeth out or trying to drown them. The Harry I know is a wonderful person.”
He grinned at her.
“I’m wonderful to you only because it’s you. No one else is good enough for the ‘real’ me.”
She blushed a little.
“Oh, you! Don’t try to butter me up! Just go talk to Cedric.’
“But I want to butter you up.”
The stern look mixed with the blush.
“Enough banter, Mister Flirty McFlirt! Just tell the clueless Hufflepuff about the dragons waiting to gobble him up already!”
Harry snapped off a salute and a saucy grin, and then headed off to talk to the popular Hufflepuff.
Things began to get frosty for Harry as he approached Cedric’s little group. He was a bit dismayed to see Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones sporting the Malfoy-designed buttons, the pair had always seemed so friendly towards him before. He was used to being disliked; anyone who’d grown up at the hands of the Dursley’s would know the concept of ‘dislike’ intimately; but being actively hated by cute girls did cut a bit rough.
He plowed ahead.
“Cedric, I’d like a word, please.”
The girls and an unknown seventh year boy frowned. The boy spoke.
“It’s Mister Diggory to you cheater!”
The girls activated their button to display ‘Potter Stinks!’ clearly showing their opinion of Harry Potter.
Harry sighed, tiredly.
“Wish I could just go dark! It would make things SO much easier!”
“Fine.” Answered Harry. “I’d like a word with Mister Diggory, if you wouldn’t mind getting your great arse out of the way first.”
The boy glowered at the insult.
“Why would he want to talk to you, cheater?”
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. He really had better things to do.
“That’s between me and Mister Diggory, whomever you are. Now why don’t you toddle off out of my sight before I severely injure you?”
“What makes you think you can, cheat?” The boy began to flex his muscles and try to look intimidating.
“Showing big for the girls, eh? How about you just go away and let me talk to Cedric, alright?”
Hermione made him promise to try to not hurt people. He was really trying here!
The boy responded with a shove, in typical schoolyard fashion. Cedric began to look a little embarrassed. Hannah and Susan seemed a little shocked. The boy gloated. Harry just looked bored.
Harry sighed; he hated breaking his promises to Hermione.
“Listen, if you want to feel me up, you’re gonna have to buy me dinner first. Just let me talk to Cedric and I’ll be out of your hair. Okay?”
The boy just grinned nastily and reared back to shove Harry again.
“Oh, for the love of…”
Harry rolled his shoulders to the right with the shove, pinning the boys left wrist to his right shoulder with his arm and grabbing the boy’s right wrist with his right. He bent away and cocked his left arm in. Harry then drove his left elbow in to the boy’s nose very hard. The resulting crunch echoed across the courtyard. The boy was bent slightly at the waist and holding his nose with both hands. Harry then emulated David Beckham and gave his best long-ball kick to the boy’s groin, using his toe instead of the instep, naturally. The now incapacitated boy fell face first into the cobblestones and began retching.
Harry straightened his robes and glared at the now fully shocked Hufflepuff girls. They regarded him with very wide eyes.
“What?!” He demanded. The girls scampered.
Cedric looked a little pale and drew his wand on Harry.
“Cedric! I just wanted to talk! No more violence, I promise.”
Cedric lowered his wand and nodded. The sudden attack had upset him, it seems.
“Poor thing looks fit to wet himself at the sight of a little o’ the dirty!”
Growing up with Dudley as a close relative (in proximity if not familial affection), had long since inured Harry to sudden bouts of violence.
“Look, Cedric. I’m sorry I had to smack down your friend, but he had it coming. I just wanted to ask you about this stupid tourney.”
Cedric grinned a little.
“It’s ok. Flannigan is a bit of a prat sometimes, but alright in the main. Maybe this’ll teach him to be a little more tolerant to others.”
Harry nodded. He really didn’t give a toss about the seventh year who was trying to get to his knees in a puddle of his own vomit a few feet away, but the niceties had to be maintained. Sometimes, anyway. But time to get down to business.
“Listen, has anyone told you about the first task?”
“Only what we all were told; that bit about fire and air and all that. Why?”
“I know what it is to be. And so does Krum and the French bird.”
“How? All of you cheated?” Cedric was taken aback.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Someone save this poor prick from himself!”
“Cedric, I don’t give a flying fuck what you think about it! I’m trying to save your sodding life here! They’ve big scary dragons, four of them. We have to get an egg from underneath them, preferably without dying a very messy death. Now, I think you’re a holier-than-thou arsehole and maybe too pretty to be completely straight, but I don’t want to see you get turned into dragon dung fertilizer that Sprout seems so fond of!”
This gave Cedric a bit of pause, understandably. He nodded shakily in thanks.
“Now we’re all on the same page. And you’re welcome.”
Harry spun on his heel and returned to a waiting Hermione.
“I leave you alone for five minutes, and you have someone on the ground puking his guts up!” Hermione was a bit scolding in her tone.
“Guess you’ll always have to be by my side then. To keep me nice and all.” He took her hand as they walked away.
“Sounds like a full time job.” She smiled a little.
“Well, I’m currently taking applications. Interested?”
“I might submit a CV, but the health benefits sound a bit dodgy. You might have to come across with some perks and a salary increase.” She teased.
“I think we could come to a satisfactory negotiation.”
“Best leave that to the solicitors. In the mean time, how are you on the Herbology assignment?”
The Present Day
Cedric had finally gotten the message, and began to adjust his strategy accordingly. Whether or not that strategy would succeed would be determined shortly. Harry just hoped they wouldn’t have to sift through mountains of Swedish Short Snout manure to find him.
He then turned his wandering attention to the Beauxbatons Champion, one Fleur Delacoeur. She was blonde, pretty hot, apparently one quarter veela, and arrogant enough to make a Parisian waiter blush. She was also, at this time, quite nervous to be facing a Welsh Green dragon.
“Understandable, really. Mortal peril seems to bring out the best in her, or at least a reduction of the sneers and ridiculous comments.”
Harry returned his gaze to the front, settling on an aimless look into the middle distance as he focused on his thoughts. Naturally, of the four dragons, he would face the worst.
“Sometimes, I think fate just hates my guts!”
Were he to face the Hungarian Horntail in conventional magical combat, he would have a most difficult task indeed.
“Let’s see: breathes fire, hide like a tank, flies rather well, and has a tail like a medieval battle mace. Awesome.”
He really hoped his crazy plan worked.
One by one, the champions filed out of the little tent to meet their fate, leaving Harry for last. He really wished there was a telly or something available, as the waiting was starting to drive him to distraction.
Finally, his turn came.
He stepped out of the tent and into bright sunshine. The cheering and crowd noise also hit him as he left the silencing charm behind.
“Bunch of pricks want to see me get flash-fried!”
Harry had little love for the bloodthirsty crowd.
He strode forward into the enclosure as he was announced to the waiting throng. He noticed a fair amount of booing emanating from the Hogwarts section, but couldn’t bring himself to care much. When Bagman announced him as representing Hogwarts however, he did react. A quick volume enhancement charm (sonorous) to his throat and he was ready to rebut.
“Mister Bagman! I don’t represent Hogwarts!”
The celebrity announcer was confused.
“But of course you do! You go here!”
“Be that as it may, I do not represent this school.”
The crowd quieted, also confused.
Bagman asked. “Well, who do you represent then?”
Harry smiled. “Put me down for ‘Unwilling Participant due to the interference of inbred Death Eaters and the assent of a corrupt and incompetent Ministry’.”
Most of the crowd was a bit nonplussed, but Hermione gave a big grin at his cheek.
“Err, well, let’s just shorten it to ‘Unwilling Participant’ then.”
“Okay, for the sake of brevity, I accept.”
Bagman finished the announcements and signaled the beginning of the task.
Harry ran for the nearest rock and drew his wand. The Horntail saw this and began trying to quickie-flambé the lad.
He paused for a moment as dragon fire flashed overhead, thankfully deflected by the large boulders. He was a bit stunned by the pure power and heat emanating from the beast, and noticed a glassy eyed Hagrid standing next to the burly redhead from the dragon reserve. Both were obviously in ecstasy watching the great reptile try and fry him.
“Wankers are probably getting off on this!”
Harry angrily raised his wand and shouted “Accio special package!”
“I’ll show them all what’s what!”
A minute went by as the dragon began to flame an area around the rock, cutting off any avenues of escape for the beleaguered wizard. He knew it would take time for the ‘special package’ to arrive from its hiding place near the greenhouses, but he did also hate waiting.
“Damnit! Where are you?”
Draco Malfoy began taunting him for his apparent cowardice. Harry promised himself that their next little ‘tete-a-tete’ would be especially painful and unforgettable for the blond Slytherin.
Finally, he could spy an object zooming toward him from the direction of the castle.
As the ‘special package’ crossed the crowd’s line of sight, they saw it to be a green crate with reddish Cyrillic writing on it. Needless to say, the crowd continued in their confusion.
Harry quickly guided the crate in to his hiding place before the flames could ‘discomfit’ its contents. It did react badly to excessive heat, after all.
The crate was quickly opened and rapidly unpacked what was about to become his new best friend. A Soviet made RPG 7 with five rounds.
Harry ginned. “Solkin Syn!”
Bagman announced. “And Potter seems to have summoned something from the castle and is quickly assembling it. Wonder what it is?”
Harry had the anti-tank weapon together quickly, thanks to the intensive training Remus Lupin had provided. The werewolf proved to be a virtual encyclopedia on muggle weapons and methods of creating mayhem.
“Hate to break it to Sirius, but Moony might just become my favorite uncle!”
As he waited for the dragon to cease spewing fire to take a breath, he thought of the unique flight characteristics of the RPG round. It had a tendency to steer into a wind, as said wind exerted pressure on its guide fins. It wouldn’t ablate a dragon’s skin around its head or chest, probably. They lacked a real dragon to test it on, so were somewhat unsure as to the real effects. The armor they’d collected had been shredded, but Moony pointed out that a real dragon has a pretty thick skull and rib cage.
There was one spot Harry knew all magical creatures to be a bit vulnerable, however.
The Horntail paused to take a breath. Even its capacious lungs weren’t bottomless.
Harry quickly popped up and drew aim. Behind him, the crowd gasped. He heard none of this as he zeroed in on his target.
“Forty Yards. Pretty close in shot!”
The dragon flexed its jaw to open and vomit a jet of fire at the impudent wizard.
Harry noticed this, and pulled the trigger. The back blast kicked up a large cloud of dust as he ducked quickly.
The bulbous grenade flew quickly towards the now open mouth of the dragon, the wind from its expelled breath helping to guide it in. Just as the dragon wondered idly what was flying toward it, the round exploded on the dragon’s soft palate.
Dragon skulls are made to be very tough, but they were never designed to contain an explosion from within.
With a dull boom, the Horntail’s head exploded in a shower of gore.
Harry stood up in time to see the now decapitated beast fall on to its side and twitch a bit, the ground around its missing head awash in blood. A loud sob came from Hagrid’s direction. The crowd was silent.
“That was way more efficient than Gryffindor’s sword!” Thought Harry, remembering his run in with a rampaging basilisk a few years ago.
Harry put the RPG launcher down and strolled up to the now-undefended nest, scooping up the egg with ease. He looked at the stunned crowd for a moment and shrugged.
Bagman announced. “And Potter defeats the task with the use of a summoning charm and a, err, muggle reducto in a tube, or something.”
Harry suddenly realized he was hungry, so he ambled over to the egress from the enclosure.
“Wonder if Hermione wants to catch an early dinner. Massive destruction sure builds up quite the appetite!”