Categories > Books > Harry Potter > We're In This Together

Harry's Halloween Curse Strikes Again

by zugrian 0 reviews

After the first Slug Club meeting, the Triwizard Tournament brings about Harry's usual amount of luck despite their precautions.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Dobby,Harry,Moody,Pansy - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2019-10-03 - 8389 words

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: Canon leaves things a bit vague about just when the Longbottoms were attacked by Crouch and the Lestranges. Re-reading the book, the three pensieve memories of Death Eater trials occur in chronological order. First, Moody claims to have spent six months tracking down Karkaroff, and I assume that the ministry's top auror would not have committed that much time if the war was still going on- which suggests this takes place in 1982. References to Bagman's performance in a match against Turkey would also suggest 1982, as the Quidditch World Cup takes place every four years.

The attack on the Longbottoms clearly happens after both of those events, as Crouch looks gaunter and greyer in the trial afterwards, obviously due to his son's crimes. I'm using this as my point of reference for the idea that the Longbottoms were attacked roughly a year after Voldemort's downfall.


"Hey, Dobby?"

"Yes, master Harry?"

"I've been meaning to ask you about something. I heard that there was a house-elf caught with a wand at the Quidditch World Cup this summer when the Dark Mark was cast. Can house-elves use wands to cast magic?"

"No. House-elf magic is... um, Dobby doesn't know the word. Our magic doesn't work with wands."

"You mean it's incompatible- because of the differences between how our races cast magic, right?"

"Yes, master Harry! That's the right word."

"Okay," Harry said as he sat back on the couch. Pansy shifted a bit, stretching her legs out into his lap. She was looking over the Arithmancy assignment that was due in a couple of days. Harry was pretty sure that he hadn't made any mistakes, but he wasn't going to stop her from double checking his work. She had outscored him on the last test by twenty points after all.

He didn't say anything, but he hadn't been able to focus very well in that previous class because of her. She had woken him up with a really amazing blow job, and Harry was pretty useless the rest of the day.

His Arithmancy work would just have to suffer. Harry had priorities.

"Master Harry sir?" Dobby asked, noticing his vacant look.

"Right, um, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the World Cup. I was wondering if you knew the elf that got caught with the wand. I heard that she was freed by Barty Crouch after that happened."

"Dobby does know poor Winky. Winky got clothes and has been so very sad ever since. Winky loved her family and misses them, master Harry."

"That doesn't sound very good. What has happened to her since?"

"Dobby brought Winky here to work. Dobby didn't know what else to do, and there are lots of Hogwartsies house-elves, so Dobby hoped they could help look after Winky. But Winky is not doing well."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Dobby is not sure, sir. Let Dobby find out."

"Okay. Do you know anything more about what happened that night? When she got blamed for the Dark Mark, I mean. I can't believe that a house-elf would conjure that, even if they could."

"Winky would not tell Dobby."

"Hmm, why not?"

"Dobby cannot say, master Harry. House-elves are very protective of their families."

"Even when freed?" Harry asked curiously. "I mean, you were happy to help me against Lucius Malfoy."

"The bad old master deserved what happened. Dobby would always help master Harry. But Winky still loves her old family, and won't give out any secrets about them."

"That suggests that Crouch knew something, that he was hiding something."

"Dobby can't say for certain."

"We'll have to keep him in mind then. Crouch didn't seem like the Death Eater type to me, though."

"Maybe not, but a lot of old pureblood families like his have skeletons in their closets," Pansy suggested. "I don't remember for sure, but I think I've heard something about the Crouch family before. We need to look into that."

Dobby popped away, and Harry assumed he was going to check on Winky.

"Maybe we could ask Moody?"

"He would know if it was something to do with the Death Eaters back then," she agreed.

"I'll try to remember to ask him next time then. How did I do?"

"Much better," she said as she stood up and looked down on him.

"No more Acceptables for you, Mr. Potter. I expect you to do well on your next test."

"Of course, professor," he crooned. "Is there any way I can get some extra credit?"

"I'm sure you can think of something."

Pansy raised one leg, her foot slowly trailing up his thigh. Harry smiled, leaned down, and kissed her calf.

"I can think of a lot of things, but only a couple come to mind when you do that."

He slid his hands up her thighs and under her skirt, and she stumbled onto his lap.

Pansy giggled for a second, breaking character before sitting back and composing herself into an authoritative expression.

"You had better take me directly to bed, Mr. Potter. You've got a lot of work to make up for."

He chuckled as he braced himself to stand up with her legs wrapped around him.

"What would your colleagues think if they knew you were doing this with a student, ma'am?"

"They would want to know how good you were at extra credit," she teased. "Your reputation is at stake. I expect a minimum of three orgasms tonight."

"Then I should aim for six, right? This is supposed to be extra credit after all."

"Good idea, Mr. Potter. There may be hope for you yet."


Fashionably late. It's not something Harry was comfortable with, but Pansy had insisted, so that's what they were.

The obsequious professor Slughorn saw their entrance and of course came over to happily greet them. The man was clearly in his element, holding court with about a dozen students, many of whom Harry recognized. In fact, half of them were in Harry's year, a fact that he did not think was any accident.

Sure, Susan Bones made sense, with her aunt Amelia being the head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, an obvious connection. Daphne Greengrass a bit less so- she was from an old pureblood family but they had only a moderate amount of influence and wealth. Blaise Zabini's mother was very wealthy, but Harry thought that the rumors of just how she had become a widow six times (or was it seven now?) would have made the old professor less inclined to want to associate with someone like that. He certainly hadn't been receptive to the advances of 'little Teddy' Nott, whose father had been an old friend apparently. Slughorn might be a cunning collector of people, but he drew the line at indisputable criminals.

However, the most surprising invitees to the so called Slug Club were Hermione and Neville.

Harry cynically guessed that Hermione might be there in part just as a way to draw Harry in. It wasn't a secret that she was his best friend, although Slughorn's ability to pick out up and coming witches and wizards could be part of it too. Hermione was a driven student, and if she could find the right situation that would not allow her muggle ancestry to hold her back, Harry could see her doing all sorts of things. Probably not at the ministry though- it was far too hidebound and resistant to change. He could already predict the purebloods calling her an "uppity mudblood" because she would want to change things.

Harry thought that she would probably be best served in a more anti-social role. He could see her as an author, for example. She probably knew most of the textbooks backwards and forwards, so if anyone was going to update them, she would be an obvious choice.

There were a few from other years as well. The only two he recognized were Cedric Diggory, the Hufflepuff seeker, and Cormac McLaggen, a Gryffindor fifth year. Harry wouldn't call either of them friends though. McLaggen was obnoxious and arrogant, while Diggory was a pretty boy- what type of guy looks like he bathes in glitter anyway?

They were all seated around a large table, with five other students he didn't recognize. While there was an empty seat by Hermione, the only place with room for him to sit together with Pansy was between Daphne Greengrass and Susan Bones, which felt a little too convenient to Harry. It was also annoying in that he would have had to decide which of the two girls to sit next to, but thankfully Pansy took that out of his hands by heading for the spot next to Susan. He pulled out a seat for her before sitting down next to Daphne, who he had at least been able to be cordial with on occasion.

Harry saw a brief flash of disappointment on Susan's part.

"Excellent. Now that we're all here, I thought I'd surprise you all with some treats," Slughorn said. With a snap of his fingers, he said, "Voila!"

Four platters appeared in the center of the table.

"I think you'll all enjoy some cheesecake. The choices are strawberry, passionfruit, raspberry, and lemon. We all may as well get to know each other a bit better over something sweet."

The old professor smiled as he reached for one of the platters. Soon, everyone was joining in, passing the desserts around and taking slices for themselves.

"Which one do you want, Harry?" Pansy asked. "Not strawberry, obviously."


"What's wrong with strawberry?" Susan interrupted.

"Harry doesn't like strawberries," Pansy replied. "The seeds get stuck in his teeth."

"Maybe passionfruit? Or lemon, I guess."

"Here," Pansy said as she put a slice of lemon on his plate but took his fork and cut off a small bite of the passionfruit cheesecake from her plate. "I'm pretty sure you'll like the lemon a lot more."

Harry followed her suggestion, and she was right, as usual. He nodded and thanked her when his mouth was no longer full.

Two sets of blue eyes followed their interaction from either side.

Meanwhile, Slughorn began asking the various students around the room about their families, and the connections of the people Harry didn't know very well became clearer. McLaggen and Diggory both had family high up in the ministry. A girl named Melinda Bobbin came from a family that owned a large chain of apothecaries, and it was no surprise that a Potions master like Slughorn would be on good terms with them.

There was a Ravenclaw named Belby whose uncle had invented the Wolfsbane potion, but Slughorn looked quite disappointed when he admitted that his father and that famous uncle were not on good terms. Harry had a feeling that Belby might not be invited to the next Slug Club meeting.

Then lastly there were two identical girls who caught Harry's attention when Slughorn came to them. Flora and Hestia Carrow, twins who were third year Slytherins. He remembered the little he had learned of them from Pansy and her father's confession. Their father and his twin sister were Death Eaters, however they had been devious enough to stay under the radar and were never caught so they didn't have to bother with the Imperius defense lie. Slughorn seemed to know nothing of this, as he was speaking of their grandfather Diomedes who had been a colleague of his as the Arithmancy professor back in the fifties and sixties. He also fondly reminisced about an Amaltheia Carrow who he had gone to school with and apparently had a crush on oh so many years ago. That got a couple of snickers from most of the students, but Harry actually smiled. It made the old man that much more human, a person worth relating to rather than just a distant, scowling authority figure like McGonagall.

Unfortunately, with the Carrow twins in the club, Harry now knew he was going to have to do a lot more schmoozing. Anything he could learn from them could be invaluable, as he only had so many Death Eater names on his list and the World Cup attack had shown that there were a lot he knew nothing about.

Neville's questioning came next, and it was by far the most uncomfortable. Harry had known that the timid boy was raised by his grandmother, but he had never known why. It turned out that his parents had been aurors who had fought against Riddle and his Death Eaters. While they had survived the war, a year later they were captured and tortured by four Death Eaters who were convinced they could find the missing Dark Lord. Harry saw Hermione's look of shock, but the rest of the room seemed to know all about this aspect of Neville's past. His parents had been confined to St. Mungo's ever since, never regaining their faculties after the attack.

Harry's fellow Gryffindor made a bit more sense now. Having something like that happen to his parents was in some ways worse than just being killed. At least he had other magical relatives to take him in, although Harry did remember him talking about how the things they had done to get Neville's accidental magic to trigger, like being accidentally dropped out of an upstairs window.

It seemed even the supposedly good purebloods were prejudiced against having non-magical family members, like the Longbottoms and Weasleys. Ron had mentioned a squib cousin who was an accountant, as if that was such a terrible fate. Harry would be happy to claim someone like that as family compared to what he had been given.

Unfortunately for Neville, he was still the same nervous young man, and being in the center of Slughorn's spotlight brought out a small stutter as he anxiously hoped for the topic of his family to come to an end.

It looked like he might not be invited back to the club either.

Harry and Pansy were the only ones who didn't get the third degree. She was probably only invited because of Harry, which they knew, but allowing her to stay away from the center of attention was fine with the both of them anyway.

For his part, Harry was proud to hear the old professor glowingly speak of his mother as one of his all-time favorite students, especially as he noticed the pureblood Zabini scowl a bit at his head of house saying something positive about a muggleborn.

Slughorn also asked what Harry thought of the upcoming Triwizard Tournament, and he admitted he was not looking forward to it, preferring to just have the regular quidditch season instead. That got some agreement, especially from Diggory and McLaggen, both of whom were also quidditch players. The fact that McLaggen was hoping to replace Wood as the Gryffindor keeper did create a small positive spin to it, as Harry had heard Katie Bell complain about what a 'boorish arse' he was on a few occasions.

Diggory was looking forward to trying out for the tournament though, as he had turned seventeen back in September.

Discussion about the Triwizard Tournament and the other schools was underway with that, and Harry let himself zone out a bit, not interested in it whatsoever.


It was a couple of weeks later, and if not for Harry's warming charm, Pansy would have been freezing.

The end of October saw some typical Scottish chilly weather. The students of Hogwarts had to all line up in front of the school while waiting for the arrival of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang delegations.

Why did they have to wait until after dusk? Thankfully, it had at least been a dry day, but with the lack of sunlight, the temperature had started falling quickly and she thought it might have been barely above freezing. As soon as this ridiculous spectacle and the requisite feast was over, she was going straight to a nice warm bathtub.

If Harry was smart, he would be right there with her.

There was a lot of chatter as the students started to get impatient. No one had revealed how the other schools would be arriving. She had to expect that it would be something special, as they clearly weren't just taking the train. Next to her, Harry was on edge, as he had been more and more the last few days. With tomorrow being 'the cursed day' as he had started calling it, she couldn't really blame him.

November couldn't come soon enough.

She thought back to the plans they had made. As soon as they were up and dressed, they would head directly for Hogsmeade and then go to Godric's Hollow, which was their official reason for leaving. Dobby was going to give them a tour of the other inherited Potter homes afterwards, to show off all the work he had been doing to make them livable. The little guy was excited, and she had to hope that his good mood would help to keep Harry from brooding too much.

Pansy was anticipating that they would have plenty of time to head to the muggle world for awhile afterwards. A movie should help take Harry's mind off things for awhile, and they could find a wider variety of places to eat compared to the typical Hogwarts fare. If it was going to be this bloody cold, she might want something hot and spicy.

That thought took her back to last Christmas break, when Harry had first taken her out to a dinner and a movie, the prototypical non-magical date. Maybe they should have curry again? Watching Harry sputter and choke after ordering his food too spicy had been pretty funny.

And that brought a smile to her face just as the headmaster called out that the French were coming, then Harry pointed out into the distance over the forest. Once it was a bit closer, she saw an enormous carriage pulled by a dozen winged horses flying towards them. Its landing was loud and eye catching, as the carriage skidded to a halt not too far from the front doors.

An enormous woman soon stepped out, a Madame Maxime from what she heard of Dumbledore's greeting. Pansy wondered if she had some giant ancestry- that was the only explanation she could think of for Hagrid's size, and this woman might have been even taller than he was. The French students were dressed in a light blue uniform that appeared to be made of silk. She thought how nice that might be to wear, although only in a much warmer climate. The dozen or so witches and wizards from Beauxbatons had clearly not been properly prepared for the Scottish weather judging by the lack of outer wear.

Madame Maxime was kind enough to have them quickly head inside to warm up, not forcing her students to wait for the guests from Durmstrang.

If only Pansy could be so lucky as well. At least Harry's warming charm would last as long as necessary.

Several more minutes passed before an odd sound came from the direction of the lake. The waters stirred and a mast rose up from the deeps, as a ship appeared and slowly sailed towards the shoreline. The distant figures that disembarked all looked quite large, but as they drew nearer that extra size was explained in part by the large fur coats the students all wore over their uniforms. Once again, there were roughly a dozen of them, and Pansy noticed that they were almost all male. Knowing what she did of the school's reputation, both for not accepting muggleborns and teaching the Dark Arts, that sort of bias was not surprising. Most old pureblood families were decidedly patriarchal.

The man at the front had a much finer silver coat, and she felt Harry instantly stiffen as he came into view. This must be Karkaroff.

Professor Moody had already warned them about him. He had been a Death Eater that Moody had tracked down and captured in the months after the fall of the Dark Lord. It had taken him six months, and less than a month after being tried and sentenced to Azkaban, Karkaroff had made a deal, naming names of other Death Eaters.

Twelve years later, Moody was still infuriated about it.

She watched professor Dumbledore greet the man like an old friend and she knew that Harry was seething at this Death Eater who had walked free. It was something that had drawn him closer to Moody. The former auror had already given them a second lesson, mostly devoted to aiming, dodging, and using cover- all things of vast importance in a fight that were not focused on in the same way by the usual school methods. It had been an incredibly tiring afternoon and left Harry thrilled. Pansy had been very sore and passed out while Harry had once again given her a massage. When she awoke, she saw him snoozing right next to her.

It had also been a second time that he had missed out on some pick up quidditch, which had bothered Weasley even more than Harry's teammates, but he didn't seem to mind.

And speaking of the annoying ginger twit, he was unfortunately only a few feet away as he yelped about one of the Durmstrang students being Viktor Krum, apparently a quidditch star somehow still at school.

Pansy hadn't heard of him, but then she paid no attention to the sport unless it was a match that Harry was playing in.

(Secretly, she also rooted for Slytherin against the other two houses, but that was tempered to a large extent by some of the players in years past.)

With the Death Eater and this Krum fellow leading the rest from Durmstrang inside, the Hogwarts students were allowed to head in as well. There were a number of people with chattering teeth, especially among the younger students. Harry canceled their warming charms as they walked towards the Great Hall, which was decked out with banners.

Pansy sat down to his right as usual and was pleased to see some French dishes available. The house-elves were going all out, and she was pleased to have more things to eat. There was even bouillabaise, which she immediately took a serving of.

Harry looked over at her, but she whispered "mussels" to him and he took a pass. His adventurous nature meant that he would try pretty much any food, but once he found he didn't like something, it would take a miracle to change his mind.

Pansy was content to enjoy her food and vaguely listen to the din of the room. Weasley was gushing over the quidditch player while Granger was being catty about the French students, especially the girls. Pansy grinned a little at that- she didn't know the bookworm had it in her.

"I can't believe he's still in school," the redhead said loudly, for the second or third time.

"Well, I don't know much about the quidditch version," Harry interjected, "but in the muggle world, the football world cup takes years of preparation. First the national teams play a whole bunch of games against each other and only the top thirty two national teams qualify. Then they have to play the actual Cup, which lasts for a month or more."

"Yeah, that's pretty similar," Weasley nodded. "The national teams play for a year or so to qualify."

"Then I would guess that Krum may have taken a year off from school to play for the Bulgarian national team-"

"Bulgarian?" Pansy asked. "That's pretty far from Durmstrang."

"Yeah," Harry agreed. "I think Beauxbatons might be closer actually."

"Right, anyway, it's amazing that he's here," the ginger continued to rave. "I've got to get his autograph. I bet he makes it as his school's representative."

"Really, Ronald," Granger interrupted, clearly annoyed. "Just because he is good at riding a broom doesn't mean he's the most talented wizard from his school."

"No, but if I'm right about him being a year older, then that could give him an advantage," Harry suggested. "We'll see soon enough."

A French accented voice cut in, asking if they were done with the bouillabaise.

They all turned to see a stunningly beautiful girl with silvery blonde hair that fell nearly to her waist and large, deep blue eyes.

"We are," Pansy said, as she lifted the dish and passed it over. Harry scooted aside to give her room to do so. Meanwhile, Weasley was staring and gurgling like an idiot while Granger was scowling.


The rude idiot continued staring after her as she walked away, which made Harry laugh.

"She's got to be a Veela!" Weasley insisted.

Granger got all huffy and claimed that that was ridiculous. No one else was gaping like an idiot.

"Actually Hermione, I see many people gaping like idiots after her. Including Dean, Seamus, Neville, at least a dozen Hufflepuffs...

"Need I go on?" Harry asked.

Parvati and Lavender began murmuring to each other from Pansy's other side, obviously unimpressed with the boys. Pansy turned back to Harry with a small grin. He hadn't stared after the French girl, and she would have to reward him later for such good behavior.

But for now, she merely leaned in to whisper in his ear.

"That was the blondest French girl I've ever seen."

He looked over at her questioningly for a moment, then looked across the room to where their visitor was once again sitting at the Ravenclaw table with the rest of the Beauxbatons students.

"From the beach?" he asked quietly. Pansy nodded. "Are you sure?"

"Not without seeing her in a skimpier outfit," Pansy replied with a smirk.

"I'll let you ask her to slip into something more revealing," Harry retorted, with a smirk of his own for good measure.

"What are you two whispering about?" Granger prodded.

"Nothing," Harry answered. "Just a private joke."

The rest of the meal passed without any surprises other than a few extra desserts from other parts of Europe. Pansy particularly enjoyed a blancmange, which Harry also ate after having been exposed to it for the first time on their vacation. It was yet another thing that brought to mind all the time they had spent in Nice, which made her have to fight down a flushed feeling at remembering certain things they did a lot of while in France. There would be time enough for that later.

After the meal, Dumbledore introduced a couple of guests from the ministry, a Mr. Bagman and Mr. Crouch, who had helped to organize the event and would be two of the judges for the tournament, along with the three heads of the schools.

Then Filch brought in a large wooden chest encrusted with jewels. The headmaster pulled out the Goblet of Fire, a rough hewn wooden cup filled with glowing blue flames. The procedure was explained, that any who wished to be selected as a champion would have to place their name and school on a piece of parchment and the magic of the goblet itself would determine each school's representative.

Dumbledore warned everyone that an age line would be drawn around the cup, as only those students already of age would be allowed to participate, and also cautioned that whoever was selected would be forced to complete the entire tournament by a binding, magical contract. The selection of champions would occur a day later.

As the students were dismissed, Karkaroff got up and led the Durmstrang group out just past Harry, who stopped to let them go by. But the former Death Eater came to a halt and stared at Harry and his famous scar.

"See something, interesting Karkaroff?" Moody growled from just down the aisle.

"What are you doing here?" the Durmstrang headmaster demanded.

"Teaching," Moody grunted. "Not sure how filth like you talked a bunch of fools into being allowed near students, even at a backwoods dump like Durmstrang."

"How dare you!"

"I think you know just how much I dare," the former auror chided. "Been playing with your old friends, Igor? I heard you were at the Quidditch World Cup. Strange timing, huh?"

"What are you insinuating, Moody? Trying to start a diplomatic incident, in front of such precious children, no less?"

"I don't believe in coincidences, Karkaroff. And Britain may have its problems, but at least it doesn't let a convicted terrorist run a school. I suggest you stay away from my students, especially Potter. I've got my eye on you," he finished, pointing to his gleaming electric blue eye that rolled rather spectacularly around before fixing on his prey.

Karkaroff swept towards the door, his students muttering along behind him.

"Was he really a Death Eater, professor?" Granger asked.

"He was. I caught him myself."

"Then why is he not in Azkaban."

"Old Igor was a gutless coward. Less than a month behind bars and he made a deal, naming names of other Death Eaters. The suits thought his testimony was worth more than keeping him locked up. Stupid bastards. Murderers should never be allowed to walk free."

"He's a murderer!" Lavender's shocked voice yelped.

"Officially, he wasn't convicted of murder," Moody replied with a snort. "As far as I'm concerned, every one of those terrorists was a killer. Hundreds died back in the seventies- witches, wizards, muggles. It wasn't important to them who you were, or how pure your blood was, no matter how many of those bastards might have tried to say otherwise. But enough of that. You all better get going.

"Oh, and Potter, keep your eyes open."

"Yes, sir."

As they traipsed upstairs, Weasley complained that he hadn't gotten a chance to get Krum's autograph. Pansy could barely contain her scorn for the idiot.


The next morning, they got up earlier than they normally would have. Dobby brought them a quick breakfast as they got dressed, and they were going off to Hogsmeade while most of the school was just heading down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Harry bid a couple of his friends goodbye as they were going to be away for as much of the day as possible.

Pansy wondered briefly if they should just skip the feast that night and show up late anyway, but Harry assumed they would get more than just a detention for doing so, as McGonagall had confirmed that the headmaster would not excuse his absence from the tournament selection. The media would of course be around, although Harry hadn't noticed anyone the night before.

Their first stop of the day was Godric's Hollow, but Harry didn't have much to say to his parents. He wondered if they had someone following them this year, but they were unable to detect anyone.

He briefly spoke of helping capture Pettigrew, his family's real betrayer, as well as mentioning Sirius, who Harry still wasn't sure about. After a quiet moment, they eventually left the cemetery with Dobby's help.

The next hour was spent on a tour of the Potter properties. As they had hoped, the smaller cottage was now in perfect shape, so they had a possible hideout ready if they ever needed it. The two larger homes were still works in progress, as Dobby had done plenty of cleaning, but both were full of all sorts of things that Harry would need to go through if they ever wanted to live in either of them.

Pansy thought for a moment that they could make a lot of money if they had an estate sale, especially in the muggle world. Lots of magical families tended to have antique furniture, as well as dishes and cutlery made of bone china, sterling silver, and whatnot that would all be worth a pretty penny. She had inherited a distrust of goblins from her family, but it was not without good reason. Why did the magical world still allow them so much control over the economy despite all the rebellions over the centuries?

They eventually ended up back in the muggle world for the rest of the day, sneaking out from the flat without wanting to alert the Brightwells. Pansy thought it might not be necessary, as they got along very well with the older couple, but Harry was especially paranoid due to the date. She couldn't blame him.

Wandering through the urban landscape, she mentioned her idea from the night before about having curry. Harry thought that sounded great, especially as it was cool even where they were though hundreds of miles south from the castle up in Scotland.


Hours later, they were trudging along the path back to the school.

"Thanks for everything today."

"You're welcome, Harry."

"So, what did you think of the movie?"

"It was alright, I guess. It didn't seem to really want to be much of a werewolf movie."

"Yeah, I think it was more just about an old guy getting his edge back, letting the inner beast come out so to speak."

"Plus, they never even said the word werewolf, like they were afraid of the term for some reason. That was weird. Plus, the title 'Wolf' is pretty boring. That would be like a romantic movie that was just called Love or a comedy called Laughs."

She got a small chuckle out of Harry, which was better than nothing.


"It was at least a good looking movie. I liked the two leads together also; they had pretty good chemistry."

"Hopefully we can have some good chemistry of our own later," Harry said with a smile. "Let's just get through this stupid feast."

"Without any ridiculous crap happening," Pansy added.

"That would be nice."

"Alright, we're almost there, Harry." Pansy pointed to the castle, that was only a couple of hundred feet ahead.

"Yes, time to put our masks back on," he sighed.

"Try to relax."

She saw him nod at her, but his heart clearly wasn't in it.


By the time they entered the Great Hall, it was almost full. Harry sat near the door, as far away from the Goblet of Fire as he could. Pansy sat next to him and saw Granger coming down the aisle.

"Why are you sitting way down here?" she asked.

"Just in case that stupid goblet explodes," Harry snorted. "I'd believe just about anything that could go wrong will go wrong today."

"You're being paranoid, Harry."

"We'll see."

"By the way, something strange happened while you were gone," Granger continued.

"I'll bet."

"You might notice that Fred and George are missing tonight."

"Did something happen to them?" Harry asked. Pansy crossed her fingers and bit her lip to keep from showing her hope that a messy fate had befallen the annoying ginger pranksters. She considered them bloody obnoxious bastards, even if they were friends of Harry's.

"Well, they took a bit of aging potion to try to get past the headmaster's age line."

"Which didn't work, I assume?"

"Of course not, just as I told them it wouldn't. But that wasn't all that happened. Professor McGonagall was there, and she was very unhappy as they were ejected by the spell. However, it got worse for them."


"The professor saw the pieces of parchment they were trying to put into the goblet. Both of them had your name written down, Harry."

There was a loud crash as Harry's head fell onto the table.

"Fuck," he moaned.

"Harry!" Hermione scolded as she looked around for any teachers that might have heard him swear.

Pansy just stared at the front of the room. She had never before hated an inanimate object, but that stupid cup was going to pay if what she knew Harry was now dreading came to pass.

"Anyway, they swore they meant to put their own names in and didn't have any idea why the parchment said your name instead. Professor McGonagall didn't believe them though, so they got a detention tonight. She thought forcing them to miss the feast would make them reconsider their foolish prank.

"I don't believe it though," she continued. "I think their reputations worked against them in this case. It just doesn't seem like they would do something as dangerous as that, especially not to you, Harry."

"You're probably right," Harry sighed.

"You have bad timing, Granger," Pansy said with a scowl.

"What do you mean?"

"You could have at least let him eat something before giving him such bad news."

"Don't worry about it," Harry interjected before they got to sniping at each other, although he appreciated Pansy's concern. "I wasn't hungry anyway."

Sure enough, he only picked at his food as Harry's dismay ruined his appetite.

Granger tried to distract him with her observations of others she knew had entered their names, such as his quidditch teammate Angelina Johnson and fellow 'Slug Club' member, Cedric Diggory. When that didn't work, she asked about visiting his parents' grave and what all they had done that day.

Nothing really worked though.

Pansy barely touched her food. She was too full of rage to notice any hunger. Heads were going to roll if anything happened to her boyfriend. She wasn't sure how, or whom to blame yet, but she was ready to kill whoever was screwing with Harry this time. Training more with Moody was going back to the top of her list of priorities- Harry was right about needing to learn how to fight their enemies.

Unfortunately, she couldn't just Crucio that damn cup.

The meal seemed to drag on and on.

Once the headmaster came to the front and started talking, Pansy wished she was closer to the front of the Great Hall. She did her best to scrutinize the adults at the front of the room. Professor Slughorn looked thoroughly excited, as did Karkaroff, Maxime, and Bagman. Crouch, on the other hand, seemed rather listless and disinterested, which was strange for one of the organizers and judges.

She would have to keep an eye on him. The conversation with Dobby about his house-elf came back to mind. Their little friend would hopefully be of some help.

Moody was scanning the room with that mad spinning eye of his, although he mostly kept focusing back onto Karkaroff.

There were a couple of camera flashes, as the Daily Prophet had apparently sent someone. Multiple people, actually, now that she looked around. There was one at the front of the room and another just a few feet away, getting a wider shot of the entire Great Hall.

Pansy waited for the inevitable.

First, the quidditch player was selected from Durmstrang. Then the possible Veela was picked from Beauxbatons.

And of course...

"The Hogwarts champion is..." Dumbledore went for the dramatic pause as he read the last piece of parchment. That bastard.

"Harry Potter."

Pansy clutched her hands to keep from screaming. She looked to Harry, as he took a deep breath to keep from groaning.

He leaned in to whisper to her.

"Stay here, keep your eyes open. I doubt it was a student, but you never know."

He looked in her eyes and gave her a small, sad grin. She nodded as he stood up and walked towards the headmaster.

How he could keep his cool in a moment like this stunned her. But Pansy swallowed her anger and took a couple of deep breaths of her own as she scanned the adults again. Crouch still looked bored. Moody was glaring at Karkaroff, who had a smug sneer of his own.

He went straight to the top of her list of enemies. She didn't know if he was responsible, but he was a Death Eater- that coupled with his attitude towards Harry was enough reason for her to want his head.

There were a lot of murmurs at Harry's selection, notably from the older students. Pansy looked around at them as well, but none of them stood out. She focused a bit on the Slytherin table. There were several people from families that would have wanted to do Harry harm, and it seemed possible that one of the seventh years could have made it past the age line and just dropped his name in. No one ever said you had to write your own name down.

Of course, the fact that the Weasley twins seemed to have failed to do just that did bring doubt to her mind. Why would someone have set that up if the age line would foil them? She thought something more was going on.

What though?


Harry went straight for the first chair he spotted, flopped down in it, and put his head in his hands. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. If he got through the rest of this fucking night without screaming at anyone, it would be a damn miracle.

Once he felt slightly more in control, he looked around the rest of the room.

Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum were standing over by the fireplace. Both were staring at him.

He turned to his right and saw the door open as several people all filed in together. Bagman was cheerful as he approached Harry with a smile on his face. Karkaroff's mouth gave nothing away, but his eyes held malice as he looked at Harry before heading over towards Krum. Maxime, McGonagall, Crouch, and Dumbledore all followed, with Moody slipping in last and closing the door.

There was a cacophony as several voices all spoke at once.

He tried to let it wash over him, as they began to argue about his selection as the Hogwarts champion.

Karkaroff's sneering insult could hardly be ignored, though.

"I must say I am disappointed that the best and brightest of Hogwarts have been outshone by an underage student."

"How can zis be, Dumbly-dorr? I thought your age line was supposed to keep out zose who are too young?" Madame Maxime asked.

"Mr. Potter is legally emancipated. Unfortunately, it seems that is enough for the goblet to have decided that he was of age."

Krum looked even more surly as he scowled, while Delacour frowned contemptuously.

Harry supposed it was too much to expect a little respect, even from strangers. Halloween reminded him yet again that it was the worst day of his life. At least now he knew what would threaten his life this year.

It was too bad- he had almost made it two straight months without any danger.

He was broken out of his thoughts as Delacour said something about him still being just a boy.

Harry stood up at that and walked right up to the French girl, who was actually a smidge shorter than him. Little boy, huh?

"You know, I spent some time in France over the summer, and none of your countrymen were as rude as you. And considering all the stereotypes about the French, that's really saying something.

"Over the last few years, I've killed a thousand year old basilisk, saved my entire school from Dementors, dueled a man to the death, and been personally responsible for killing or capturing several followers of the Dark Lord. What has the great Fleur Delacour done? Had men drool over her because she's a pretty face? Color me impressed."

She stepped back as if she had been slapped but then he saw her temper stir.

"'ow dare you! I know much more magic zan you, and zis tournament will prove which of us is the best."

With three more years of schooling, Harry had to admit that she would have a clear advantage over him. But that snobby attitude of hers was more than he would put up with, so he continued to needle her.

"We'll see, princess."

"That's enough, Mr. Potter," McGonagall said as she pulled him away. "I thought you weren't interested in the Triwizard Tournament, judging by your request for an absence tonight. Can you explain yourself?"

"What do you want me to explain? I never even went near that stupid goblet."

"A likely story!" Karkaroff scoffed.

Harry could have been more outraged, but instead all he felt was resignation. He had known that something bad was going to happen, and getting more upset would not help him deal with this new threat.

Crouch was called upon as the expert on the rules, and he confirmed that since Harry's name came out, he was required to participate. The first task was to take place on the twenty-fourth of November, but that was all they were permitted to know, as the task would test their daring.

If there was one good thing to come out of this, it was that he was excused from the end of year exams. That was a nice little benefit- he could ignore as much of his schoolwork as he wanted so that he could focus on the more practical aspects of magic that were more important to him anyway.

Moody gave him a little nod as he left once he was dismissed. Hopefully, the former auror would now be even more inclined to give up his free time to help Harry. He had not been subtle with his glare towards Karkaroff throughout the entire conversation.

Coming back into the Great Hall, Pansy was sitting there waiting for him.

And suddenly, Harry felt a lot better. She would help him with whatever was being thrown at him, and that made the stress fade away.

"Well?" she asked.

"Let's wait till we're in private." She nodded as Harry offered her his hand and helped her up.

The halls were empty, so he pulled her closer and they walked most of the way arm in arm.

Everything was fine until they turned down the hallway that led to Gryffindor tower, where Hermione and Ron were waiting.

"How did you do it, Harry?"

"Do what?"

"Put your name in the goblet. The twins couldn't get past the age line, did you use the cloak?"

"Honestly, Ron!" Hermione huffed. "It's an invisibility cloak, not an age-hiding cloak. Harry wasn't even here all day long, so when exactly do you think he put his name in?"

"He could have done it last night! He could have sneaked out under the cloak. I just wanted to know if that was it. Harry never includes me in anything anymore. He won't even come play quidditch with us on the weekends."

"There's more to life than quidditch, Ronald."

"Like cutting your best friend out of your life, apparently!"

Harry sighed as he watched the two of them argue for the thousandth time. Was this awful day ever going to end?

"I didn't put my name in the goblet."

"Sure you didn't, Harry," Ron replied, with a knowing look as if he was in on some secret joke. "It's just us out here, you don't have to hide anything."

Harry saw Pansy roll her eyes. He wondered if her opinion of Ron could get much lower.

"If Harry says he didn't enter, then I believe him," Hermione replied.

"A thousand galleons," Ron continued, ignoring her. "Just imagine what all you could do with that."

"Ronald! Harry doesn't care about the prize money." Harry saw a furious scowl descend over the redhead, he knew that was definitely the wrong thing for Hermione to say to their friend who perpetually complained about how poor his family was. "He's going to be worried about all the danger he'll be in."

Pansy tensed up at that, and he really just wished Hermione would stop trying to help.

"Right, danger. As if Harry hasn't come through much harder things before," Ron scoffed.

"People have died in the tournament before!"

"Alright, that's enough," Harry interrupted. "Can I just go inside before Filch comes to put us all in detention?"

"Sure, Harry, keep your secrets then," Ron answered with an angry look before turning away and going down the hall and into Gryffindor tower.

"I don't know what's gotten into him," Hermione frowned.

"He's a jealous arse," Pansy replied. "Hadn't you figured that out by now, Granger?"

"Let's just go," Harry pleaded. "I've had more than enough of this bloody day. I'm ready for bed."

"Just to warn you, people were talking about celebrating a fellow Gryffindor being chosen as the Hogwarts champion," Hermione pointed out.

"Of course they were," Harry sighed. "May as well get this over with."

Once he stepped into the common room, a cheering roar greeted him. Everyone was in high spirits, even the Weasley twins who had been barred from the Halloween feast. Butterbeers were being passed around, and Harry was being inundated with congratulations.

He wondered if he had ever felt even more disconnected from the people around him. Someone was almost assuredly out to kill him yet again, and they all just saw it as a chance to party.

At least when people were afraid he was the heir of Slytherin, he could sort of understand because he was worried about who was causing the attacks as well. But now, it was such a contrast that he wasn't sure how he could relate to them at all. How would Parvati or Lavender have felt if they had been picked for the dementors to focus on? How would Dean or Seamus have done if they had been surrounded by enormous, man-eating spiders? How would the nervous, stuttering Neville have fared facing down the man who had been responsible for what happened to his parents?

Even Ron was apparently turning on him.

Hermione nudged him, trying to get Harry to interact with the crowd, but he just didn't have it in him.

Instead, he pushed his way through, over to the entrance to his quarters. Voices called out for him to join the party, but he was unable to care about responding to them.

Thankfully, Pansy was able to follow in his wake, as the door closed behind her.

"What do you want to do now?"

"I don't know," he answered as he collapsed back onto the couch. She quickly curled up next to him, burrowing into his side.

"But next year, we are skipping this fucking holiday. I don't care if we get a month of detentions- we're going to give the whole damn day a miss."
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