Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Luna's Hubby

The Goblet of Fire

by Meteoricshipyards 3 reviews

Third year starts. New classes, foriegn students, and, of course, the Goblet.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Harry,Luna - Published: 2007-08-23 - Updated: 2007-08-23 - 8894 words - Complete

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his friends, enemies, and world, are not mine, and I make no claim to them.

Chapter 16

The Goblet of Fire

After the opening feast the Ravenclaws gathered for their traditional start of term meeting. They filled in the first years on the resources available to them as Ravenclaws. Todd Larson, a second year, invited the entire first year to the wand movement class. Hermione gave a brief introduction to the inter-house study group that met in the Great Hall starting the next week. Roger Davies complained briefly about the lack of Quidditch, but promised regular practices so the team would be ready for next year.

And they talked about the new instructor, Alaster "Mad-Eye" Moody. A look and small shake of her head from Luna kept Harry quiet. Hermione mentioned some things she had read about Moody in the books of recent Wizarding History. Cliff Marsland, whose mother was an Auror, relayed what he had heard about the retired Auror. The meeting then broke up, and Harry brushed Luna's hair.

"Alright, if he's not Mad-Eye, he's a good imitation. What makes you think he's not?"

"His aura. And he's always got these protection spells up, but not tonight. He's not Mad-Eye."

"If he's not Mad-Eye, then who is he? And how does he look exactly like the real one."

"That's easy: magic."

"I know that. You can't dress up that good and look like someone. But what kind of magic will do that?"

"I don't know." They were quiet for a while.

Harry asked, "Why didn't you want to tell anyone about him not being Mad-Eye?"

"Well, there's more than one reason why someone would impersonate someone else, right?"

"He could have murdered the real Mad-Eye."

"You don't need to impersonate someone you murdered. You murder someone you need to impersonate. Sometimes. But aren't there other reasons for impersonating someone?"

Harry thought for a moment and said, "Well, if Mad-Eye needed to do something, and prove that he couldn't have done it."

"That's good. I was thinking that he was just late, and didn't want to embarrass himself."

"That seems like a lot of trouble to not embarrass yourself."

"I suppose. But anyway, we don't know the reason he's not here, so let's keep the secret for a while. After all, we have secrets and we're not doing anything wrong by keeping them."

Harry nodded, and handed Luna the brush back. "And when certain fourth years found out, we were quite upset. Fine, we'll keep the secret. But he better be a good teacher, or I go to Dumbledore. And if he does anything wrong, we tell, too."

Luna nodded at that, then asked, "Do you think we should warn Neville? He's probably the only student with enough experience with Mad-Eye to tell the difference."

"If we're going to keep this a secret," Harry answered, "then we better. Otherwise he'll say something when the fake Mad-Eye acts out of character."

"We'll tell him tomorrow."

- - -

The next day they didn't see Neville in the morning. They had Care of Magical Creatures with Professor Hagrid. The large man showed them Skrewts, but didn't have much information on them. It seemed that the students had to figure out what they were. The small number of Ravenclaws in the class thought it was fun, until they realized that Hagrid didn't know either. There were a few unpleasant remarks said among the students. Mike Daly, who was taking the course with Harry and Luna, mentioned that the students the year before started with Hippogriffs.

The second class of the morning was Defense Against the Dark Arts. As Harry and Luna entered, the fake Mad Eye nodded to them. Luna smiled and waved back. Harry just nodded. The class was fascinating. He demonstrated the three Unforgivables. He gained a lot of respect from the Ravenclaws, and everyone was talking about it. It seemed he didn't just do it for the third years. There had only been two classes with the new professor, but lunch was buzzing with news about them. Luna didn't join in the enthusiasm, though.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked, passing her a serving dish filled with vegetables.

"Those spells. They were mostly black. The Imperious had some mind magic in it, and the Cruciatus had body magic, but they were mostly black. And the killing curse -- it was all black. I . . . ." she paused as she tried to put her thoughts in words. "I fell dirty just being around them."

Harry dropped his voice. "Do you feel that way around me?" He made a little gesture at his head.

"Oh, no. Your aura is so bright! That just a little dirty spot. And until right before school started it was only getting smaller, so I know someday it will be gone."

Harry nodded, feeling relieved.

"But I'm starting to wonder about the man teaching us defense."

"We'll watch him."

That evening, Harry had another encounter with the fake Moody. Harry had hung around after dinner to make sure that the second years were going to teach the first years, then went out to join the spell tag game that the third and fourth years were going to organize. The Weasley twins thought it would be funny to cast some spells on the participates without joining in the fun. When they were discovered, they were thoroughly hexed.

After the game the mixed group of students was heading through the courtyard when they were accosted by a group of Slytherins. Theodor Nott, Greg Goyle, Vincent Crabbe, Blaise Zabini, and a couple of fifth years that Harry didn't know were sitting around talking until they noticed Draco.

"Well, well, if it isn't the Blood Traitor," Nott said.

Harry slipped his wand out of his pocket, keeping it hidden from the older boys. Draco saw the action, and shook his head.

He responded to the taunt, "What are you on, about, Nott? Still mad because you couldn't join your father in some Muggle torture at the World Cup?"

"My father has an alibi. He was with your father. You, however, don't. You weren't with your father; and I hear you were even tossed out of your own house."

"If I'm a Blood Traitor, like you said, I don't need an alibi. Or did you forget what you were accusing me of? Our resident expert on religion," he indicated Mike Daly, "says that religion has a stupefying affect on its adherents. Maybe your belief in the Dark Lord is making you stupid? When you finally engage your brain and think through what you want to accuse me of, let me know." He headed into the castle. Harry started to follow when he caught Nott moving out of the corner of his eye. He pushed Draco out of the way as a spell sped past. He turned and whipped up his wand.

"Stop right there!" a voice bellowed. The fake Moody appeared, waving a wand with his fake eye spinning, taking in the whole courtyard.

"You!" he shouted, pointing at Nott. "You sniveling coward! Hexing someone when their back is turned? Just like your Death Eater father! I ought to have your expelled!"

"You can't!"

"I can! I don't care who you are, or what your family has paid the Minister, I'll expel anyone I catch hexing another student in the back! That goes for everyone! I will not have it! All right there, son?" That last was directed at Draco.

"Yes, sir."

"Good reflexes there, Lovegood."

"Thank you, sir."

"You!" he pointed his wand at Nott again. "Get inside. We have things to discuss with your head of house."

With that, he marched Nott into the castle at wandpoint. The other Slytherins slinked away quietly, apparently deciding not to test their luck twice in one day.

"What was that about?" Harry asked.

"After the pseudo-Death Eater attack at the World Cup, my Mum took me and left my father. She thinks he's going to start doing Death Eater activities, and doesn't want to be involved. Now I don't have to keep talking about blood purity and all that rot, and Nott thinks I've changed my mind about all that."

"Well, you did, didn't you?"

"Yeah, but that was a long time ago. I haven't thought like that for years. It's just now I feel safe enough to not pretend."

Harry chuckled. He turned to Mike, "And what did he mean when he said you were the resident expert on religion?"

"Unlike most wizards, I have faith, and I'm part of a church."

"How's that work?"

"Weird at first. But my Dad said that the church teaches that there can't be a contradiction between faith and reason, and when there is, either the reasoning is wrong, or you don't understand our faith. So we researched it and came to the conclusion that since I'm obviously not selling my soul to the devil to get these powers, that this magic must be part of the natural world and probably an unknown branch of science. In which case, it's just a tool for understanding the world. And tools aren't good or evil in themselves; but only in how you use them."

Draco thought about this, and asked, "So this all came about after you got your Hogwarts letter?"

"Nah. He did the research back when he found out my mother was a witch. He just helped me go through it, so I would understand."

Since they had come in through the courtyard entrance, they didn't need to break up right away. They walked together until they finally reached a stairway where the Ravenclaws generally used to get between their tower and the dungeons.

"See you in Runes tomorrow, Mike! Good night Draco," Harry said, as they said as they went their separate ways.

- - -

Runes turned out to be an interesting class. It was the basics of enchantment -- creating magic objects that held their magic for a long time, as well as wards. It was, essentially, a different class of magic from wand magic. As Professor Ransom explained, potions, too, was a different type of magic from basic wand magic. And while it was true that you could, theoretically, do everything with your wand that you do with runes or potions, in practical terms you used potions and runes for those things that are easier to do with potions and runes.

"For example, it is theoretically possible to remove boils using a wand. Practially, the spell is so complex, difficult, and dangerous, no one in their right mind would try when a boil removing potion takes less than an hour to brew and is safe.

"Similarly, a self renewing, area effect spell is possible, but the amount of time and energy to create one makes it virtually guarenteed that no one would when they can enchant runes to create a ward."

"In this first class, you'll learn the basics of carving runes, and the basic meaning of them. Runes, like a human language, have rules for how they could be put together. Many combinations are meaningless, and other combinations aren't effective due to construction or interactions that aren't obvious."

He did recommend the Rune puzzle in the Quibbler for practice and to help the students familiarize themselves with more runes than they would encounter in the class.

Luna was positively beaming when class let out. Anyone who praised her father's paper was intelligent in her book. Harry left happy, because he felt good when Luna was happy.

- - -

Arithmancy with Professor Vector was interesting. Here was a class where the Muggleborn regularly did better, at least initially, than those from wizarding households. Muggle children usually had more mathematics instruction. And while Arithmancy was closer to Algebra and Calculus (although they wouldn't be getting that complex even in seventh year), the basic manipulation of numbers and symbols was a prerequisite that most wizard raised children weren't taught to the degree that Muggles of the same age were. Selene, being a spell wright, knew this, and made sure Luna and Harry were well versed in mathematics as a part of their pre-Hogwarts education. Harry felt good knowing that all that work would pay off. He also felt good knowing that his surrogate mother cared.

- - -

Monday evening, the second week of school, found five years worth of students in the Great Hall for intra-house study sessions. When Harry and Luna returned to the Great Hall after getting their study materials from the Ravenclaw tower, they found that the room had been re-arranged. Instead of four long tables that ran most of the length of the room, there were now eight tables, most of the width of the room. Professor McGonagall was the teacher/supervisor that evening, and she informed them that there was one table per year, and one extra table for non-study purposes. When McGonagall was the study hall monitor, the people who played games had to be extra quiet.

Harry liked the new arrangement, and thought he'd like it if meals were sometimes severed with this seating arrangement.

- - -

Classes continued, and the Fake Moody was still teaching. Luna, Neville, and Harry were the only ones who seemed to know that it wasn't the real Moody. They discussed it after classes one day. They decided, as long as he didn't do anything that was dangerous, and seemed to be teaching well (they admitted that he was better than Lockhart, and Neville said he was better than Quirrel), they wouldn't say anything. They were going to watch him very carefully. None of them felt that this was a situation that should go on much longer, but none of them could come up with a specific thing the Fake Moody had done wrong.

They continued to watch and wait.

- - - -

"Killed by a rampaging cockatrice. Took all three headmasters to corral it."

Harry was brushing Luna's hair in the Ravenclaw common room. A group of seventh years were sitting around sharing stories of how various previous champions of the Triwizard Tournament had died.

"Yes, but it only killed one. In 1739 two students were killed trying to detrap a box that held the clue to the second task. The remaining student was declared the winner, even though he had only finished one of the tasks. The two headmasters of the schools whose student died tried to insist that he open the box before the prize was awarded. The other three judges disagreed, and Beauxbatons won that year."

"You think that's bad," another said, "In 1774 the Headmaster of Durmstrang died. They figured he was cheating and helping his student. They tried to institute a magical oath after that to keep the judges honest, but they couldn't agree on the wording, and nothing changed. Are you sure you want to put your name in Liz?"

Elizabeth Ragingstorm the seventh year prefect, nodded and answered, "Yes. I don't want to die, and I hope forewarned is forearmed . . . ."

"And four arms is an odd number of arms for anyone," said several people at once.

"But I would think that if the tournament was ended because too many people were dying, that they'd try to remedy that when they restarted it. I don't expect anyone to die. And if I'm the champion, well, I still don't expect anyone to die, but especially me."

Luna asked Harry, quietly, "Would you like to compete in the tournament?"

"Me? Are you kidding? All we've learned about in Care of Magical Creatures is that Screwts don't seem to like anything we've tried to feed them. That wouldn't help much, even on the off chance that we had to face them in an arena. I'd have no idea how to fight a cockatrice."



"Remember that Paul Bunyan story when the monsters attacked the camp during the winter of the Blue Snow? One of the creatures was a cockatrice, and that lumberjack just kept dancing to avoid the poison spines it flung at him. Once the spines are all thrown, you rope it, hop on it's back and tame it like a wild horse."

Harry looked at her. He remembered the story, vaguely. "You know, for some reason I don't think that's the way a wizard would go about it. I, for one, have no experience taming wild horses."

"That would be a drawback. So you don't want to compete?"

"Oh, sure, it would be exciting to dream about, but we're only third years, and these problems are designed to be difficult for someone in seventh year. No, I think I want to be an armchair Seeker for this one. Let someone else face the danger."

- - - -

"Yes, what is it," Snape snapped. The door to his classroom opened to show one of the younger students. A Ravenclaw. How typical. He had just dismissed the last class of the day, and now one of the brats wanted more.

He was no longer on probation but he knew he was still in the spotlight. If he went back to the old ways, he'd be fired very quickly. Some days he just wasn't sure if it was worth it.

"Professor Snape, Hermione Granger said that there was a potion that could make you look like someone else. Since you know everything there is to know about potions, I came to ask you about it?"

"And why would you be interested in such a potion? This isn't another adventure like the one that blew up the Great Hall is it?"

"Oh, no. It's just a bet I have with Harry. We were arguing about the story of Merlin making Uther look like Igraine's husband. He thought magic could make it work, but I thought that even if he looked exactly like Gorloïs she should have figured it out. But then neither of us know about the properties of the potion Hermione said would do it, so that's why I'm asking you."

Snape studied the blond with the large, silvery eyes. Some times she came across as flighty, and sometimes she seemed to have a depth about her. Her cousin seemed to keep her on track in his class, though, and that's all that mattered. But the best way to get rid of her now would be to just answer her question.

"The potion Miss Granger was probably talking about is Polyjuice potion. And I mentioned it in class last year when we were talking about the properties of lacewing. It requires a bit of the person you are changing into so I wonder how Merlin could have gotten that ingredient if indeed this is how it was done. The other drawback is that it only lasts an hour, and the potion takes a month to brew."

"Only an hour? That would make it difficult, since the stories say he spent the whole night with her. Could he have taken more before it wore off?"

"That is possible, but hardly probable."

"Considering what they were doing, I would think not! But it wouldn't make him act like Gorloïs, would it? I would think that if they spent the whole night she would have noticed something odd about his behavior? Not using their pet name, or something?"

"Indeed, you may be correct, Miss Lovegood. But then, perhaps with the passage of years, the story has changed a bit, and we can no longer rely on the details to be accurate. After all, if he had spent only as long as it takes -- and I can't believe I'm having this conversation with a student. This is highly inappropriate, Miss Lovegood, and I suggest you continue the discussion with Madam Pomfrey. Good day." He picked up his bag filled with homework scrolls from the last class and hurried out of the classroom. There had been an incident, before he was in school, of a teacher taking inappropriate liberties with a student. With his reputation, he didn't need anything like that even being whispered about.

As he made his way into his suite of rooms a thought struck him. Could it be that Miss Lovegood fancied him? He shuddered. He would have to watch out for that girl, and under no circumstances would he allow himself to be alone with her again.

- - - -

"It could be Polyjuice Potion, Harry," Luna said as they made their way to Defense class.

"But it doesn't explain everything. He's very good at imitating Moody, but he has made a few mistakes. Moody wouldn't use anyone's first name, unless they were a friend. But the Fake Moody has done it numerous times. Even Neville caught that one."

"Yes, he's good, but not perfect. So if we can tell, we have to assume that Dumbledore can too, so he must be here with the Headmaster's permission. But then, what about the real Moody?"

"I don't know."

They entered the classroom, and took seats. Soon, the Fake Moody limped into the room and put a stack of parchment rolls on a desk near the door.

"Good work on the essays on the Cruciatus Curse. Pick up your essays on the way out. That completes your instruction on two of the three spells. Today we are going to do something different. It's pretty obvious that I couldn't demonstrate the other two curses on you. I don't need students writhing in pain, and if I used the Avada Kedavra spell on you, well, I'm here to teach you and it would be very difficult to teach you anything if you were dead. But I have permission from Dumbledore to test your ability to resist the Imperius curse. This is a terrible curse! People under its influence have been forced to kill their own friends and family! But you need to know! You need to learn to overcome it. Just about anyone could learn, given time, and that's part of what I'm doing, I'm giving you a chance to understanding the curse and what it takes to overcome it. You probably won't succeed today, but you will have tried! And if you are ever placed under this curse you will already have some idea of how to throw it off. Now make a line."

"Luna, is this crossing the line? He's going to cast an unforgivable curse on us!" Harry whispered to Luna as he got in line in front of her.

"He has Dumbledore's permission. We'll talk later." It was indeed hard to hold a conversation in class and make it unnoticeable to the teacher and the rest of the students. They waited for their turn while Tom Lynch recited a poem, Larry Pohlen hopped around like a frog and Liz Ericson did cartwheels. Harry's turn came, and he slammed his legs against a desk while fighting the euphoria that the curse caused him. The Fake Moody praised him for fighting off the curse, and tried it again. This time Harry didn't move. Then it was Luna's turn.

She had to resist the Moody reinforced urge to dodge the black spell as it sped towards her when the Fake Moody intoned "Imperio." Her mind seemed to be floating, and she felt that every care in the world was of no concern to her. A voice told her to act like a bird. She liked birds, she wasn't doing anything wrong, so she flapped her arms, and started tweeting. A small voice in the back of her head told her to stop, but she ignored it. Then the spell was removed.

She was standing on a desk, her arms outstretched. And for the first time in her life, she felt ashamed and embarrassed.

She was, by nature or by nurture, not a person who cared what most other people thought of her. She did care what she thought of herself, though. And here she was, out of her own control and there was nothing she could do about it. She knew she had flaws, but they didn't bother her. Here was a flaw that did. She had failed. She almost ran from the room as the bell rang. Harry grabbed his bag and went after her.

He saw her disappear around a corner that they would take if they were heading back to the Ravenclaw tower. He followed at a run, leaving the rest of the class behind. Half of them were heading straight to the Great Hall anyway.

He caught up with Luna on the fourth floor, and directed her to an empty classroom, sat, and pulled her on to his lap, wrapping her with his arms.

"What's wrong, Luna?" he asked, tenderly.

"I couldn't stop myself. I wasn't in control."

"That's what that spell is all about. Controlling other people."

"But not me! I don't want to be controlled!"

"That's why it's an unforgivable. People shouldn't be controlled like that."

"But you weren't. You're strong enough to throw it off."

Harry paused a moment, and said, "I think I've had a lot of practice."

Luna looked at him for the first time during the conversation. "Who? Who put you under the Imperious?"

Harry shook his head. "The Imperious isn't the only way to control someone. Before you rescued me, those people," (he hadn't said the Dursley's name in years), "tried to make me think I was a freak that nobody wanted. They almost succeeded, but I think a little praise at school changed things. They might have still succeeded if I hadn't been rescued." He gave her a squeeze. "If we only knew who it really was, we could ask for special lessons on overcoming the Imperious."

"That's what I wanted to tell you in class, but didn't want to say with other people around. If he really had permission to put us under the Imperious, then I think we can trust him enough to give us extra lessons. But I want to make sure that Dumbledore really did give him permission to do it."

Harry nodded. "Alright, here's the plan. We get our stuff for the afternoon classes since we're almost at the tower, we eat, and we talk to the professors at lunch time, provided Dumbledore is there; that way we can see his reaction without letting Fake Moody think we're suspicious of him."

"He does shout Constant Vigilance enough, though, so he should be proud that we are being vigilant about him," Luna said with a smile. Her smile caused Harry to smile, too. He gave her a special kiss. They broke reluctantly.

"Do we have to go to lunch?" Luna asked. Her stomach took that moment to answer, and she looked down and said, "Traitor!"

They entered the Ravenclaw common room, and noticed a table covered with books and parchment, and a sign that said, "History of Triwizard Tournament Project. See Ragingstorm if interested." There were two seventh years working at the table.

"What's all this," Harry asked one.

"We're writing a book. We noticed we were doing all that research, and decided to put it to good use. If it gets published, we share the royalties. If not, we were having fun doing this anyway. For example, did you know that in 1186, the second tournament, the Durmstrang champion died falling into a spiked pit that the Beauxbatons' student had built to try to capture the dragon that was the first task? The Durmstrang headmaster tried to complain, but it turned out that he was the one who not only proposed capturing the dragon as a task, but insisted on it when the other headmasters tried to get something a little less dangerous. That was the first death."

"Wow. Catching a dragon! They don't fool around, do they?"

"After an incident with a cockatrice, though, they no longer allowed free roaming monsters as tasks in the tournament."

Harry told them, "Good luck," and swapped out his books for the afternoon classes. He rejoined Luna in the common room, and they went to lunch. Fake Moody and Dumbledore were at the professors' table. Harry and Luna ate quickly. There was some discussion about the third years that had been placed under the Imperious; the other students were wondering if they too would get the same treatment. A few older Ravenclaws (who got the most accurate story) congratulated Harry for throwing off the curse.

After eating quickly, (probably a little too quickly,) Harry and Luna walked up to the teacher's table. Fake Moody was getting up, presumably to go get something to eat (he never ate or drank in the Great Hall. Constant Vigilance, and all that.)

"Professor Moody," Harry said, loudly, as he reached the table. "We were wondering if you would give Luna some private lessons on throwing off the Imperious curse."

Dumbledore looked at the Fake Moody and he didn't look grandfatherly at all.

"Alastor? You used the curse on third years?"

"We talked about this, Albus. They have to know! And Mr. Lovegood here can throw off the curse. The Ministry should know that, so they can recruit him."

"That's immaterial. We talked about you demonstrating it on the NEWT students, not on every student in the school."

"I didn't use it on the first years. . . ."

"I'm glad you showed at least that much sense. But this stops now. There will be no more Unforgivables cast in this school. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir."

Dumbledore turned to the Lovegoods. "You're goal might be worthy, but your request is denied. You should get to class."

They mumbled "Yes, sir," and left. Out of the hall they started talking.

Harry began, "Okay, was that someone doing something wrong, or someone thinking it's easier to ask pardon than permission?"

"I don't know. Going under the assumption that Dumbledore knows that it's not the real Moody, then if he crossed the line, I would expect him to be gone fairly quickly. I wouldn't expect him to fire someone in front of people. That would go against all those "rules of managing people" that Daddy's always going on about when he has employee trouble."

"So if Fake Moody is gone, then he crossed a line, and we still don't know if Dumbledore knew or not. If he stays, same situation."

Luna sighed. "Unfortunately, true. It's time for Sir Tumulty's class. Nothing like a snide comment to keep our attention."

Harry chuckled. "I wonder if the writers have asked him for help? He's written a number of books. . . ."

- - - -

Fake Moody didn't leave, but no other class was put under the Imperious curse. Luna pouted a bit about not getting a chance to learn to throw off the curse, but Harry helped her get over it in some unused classrooms. The weeks passed fairly quietly until one lunch there was a crowd around the bulletin board.

"What's going on?" Harry asked, unable to see the board.

Ron Weasley squeezed out of the crowd and answered, "The other two schools are arriving Friday. Last class will be let out a half hour early, and we're going to go out and meet them. And the champions will be chosen during the Halloween feast. But best of all -- Potions gets cut! Yes!"

"Oh, Ron," Hermione said, as she joined them. "Here we are getting to meet students from other countries and all you can think about is missing class?"

"I can also think about that thousand Galleon prize money. I wish there were some way to get chosen."

"Ron," Harry said, "from what I can tell, in the last four hundred years that the tournament was run, it was rare to have all the champions survive. And while they may try to make it less deadly, they have history against them."

"Yeah, well, the thousand Galleons might make it worth it."

"If you were a survivor, and if you won. Two big ifs." The crowd shifted, and Harry was able to get closer. The sign said what Ron had relayed to them. He went into the Great Hall thinking about rampaging dragons.

"A thousand Galleons," he said to the other third years around him. "Considering what some of the tasks have been it isn't worth it."

"I'm surprised that Ragingstorm still wants to enter," Tom Towey added.

"Maybe she's not as Ravenclaw as we though?" Don Bixler suggested.

"No, she's smart. Probably has some Gryffindor tendencies. We all have our failings," Harry commented, putting some chicken on his plate.

"I heard that, Lovegood!" came the voice of the prefect in question, threatening him with a dinner roll from her seat most of the way down the table.

- - - -

The halls were filled with stories of the Triwizard Tournament that week. The excitement kept building, and finally Friday afternoon arrived. Harry and Luna put away their books and joined everyone else outside to greet the other schools. The Beauxbatons' flying carriage was very impressive. Luna wanted to see the flying horses as soon as she could. Harry thought the ship rising from the waves was more impressive.

"The carriage I understand," He said to Luna as the Durmstrang students came up to the castle from the ship. "A featherlight charm or something similar, and the pegasi just need to fly themselves for the most part. But the ship! First they would need to make it watertight, then be able to sink it, then portkey it to this lake from where ever Durmstrang is, then move it through the whirlpool and direct it to shore. Some of it, I can understand, but the whirlpool? And then it sailed to shore without sails or motors. At least I assume it has no motors."

"And they're Abraxans, not pegasi," Luna said, quietly, watching the Durmstrang group pass them into the castle. "And they used water elementals."

"Huh?" Harry asked Luna while other students were whispering about Victor Krum being among the Durmstrang students.

"They caused the whirlpool and pushed the ship to shore. Then they dissipated. You're probably right about the portkey. I assume since a ship is supposed to sit in the water and not leak that making the upper part not leak wouldn't be too hard."

"Ships aren't supposed to go underwater. I have a feeling it's a little trickier than just making the bottom not leak. No one goes in and out of the bottom of the boat."

They continued talking, Luna about putting doors and windows under the water line of the boat, and Harry half paying attention to her, and half directing her into the Great Hall. They found that the Beauxbatons students were sitting at the Ravenclaw table. It was mostly the older Ravenclaws who sat with them. The younger students generally sat quietly, listening. Harry and Luna did strike up a conversation in French with one of the Beauxbatons boys. He was from Paris and was grateful that Luna and Harry knew more French than he knew English. They told him about the castle while he told them about the palace that was Beauxbatons.

At the end of the feast Dumbledore got up and brought out the Goblet of Fire, the impartial judge that would choose the champions.

"Harry! Look at the Goblet!" Luna whispered.

"Looks old. Strange blue fire. What?"

"No. Wait." She waved her wand and cast the Mage-sight spell on him.

He covered his eyes with his hands, and gave a short exclamation. "Don't do that without warning me. Especially in here. I don't know why the ceiling doesn't blind you!" He carefully opened his eyes, holding up his hand to block the magic from the ceiling. He looked at the Goblet.

"Wow!" he whispered.

"Do you see all the runes?"

Shining through the Goblet were runes. The whole thing was awash in various magical colors. Something was wrong with the runes, though.

"They're backward!" he said, still whispering.

"They're inscribed on the inside. We're seeing them from the back, so to speak."

"Strange. All that magic, all those colors, but it's very still."

"Yes. I think it's waiting. I'm sure it will be a fountain of magical activity tomorrow."

"Just don't cast this on me without warning me."

"Sorry, Harry."

They watched as the Goblet was carried to the Entrance Hall, and later passed it while heading up to the Ravenclaw tower. They stopped, like lots of students were, and looked at it closer up. A glowing yellow torus surrounded the goblet.

"That's the age line Dumbledore put around it," Hermione said.

"I think we can get past it," one of the Weasley twins proclaimed.

"I'm sure Dumbledore has anticipated anything you can do," Hermione retorted.

"Then be down here for an early breakfast, and you'll see."

As they headed up to the Ravenclaw tower, Luna was quiet. When they got to the Ravenclaw tower a party was going on.

"What's happening?" Harry asked.

"They bought it!" one of the seventh years exclaimed, handing Harry a butterbeer. "We just got word that Red Books will be publishing the History of the Triwizard Tornament, edited by Elizabeth Ragingstorm, and filled with the various articles we wrote!"

"Congratulations!" Harry and Luna said. And said, and said, as they encountered various seventh year students.

"Aren't you going to congratulate me?" Hermione asked, when they encountered her.

"Why? Did you contribute to the book?" Luna asked.

"Yes. I wrote the article on the 1893 contest. No one died, but there was a lot of controversy about whether the tasks were too simple, since all the champions completed all of them. It seems that it was the bias of the judges that even allowed someone to be declared the winner, since by the accounts they all did really well. . . ."

"Sorry, Hermione, but can you tell us another time. I don't think I'll be able to brush Luna's hair tonight, so we'll have to do it in the morning, if that's alright with you, Luna?"

"That would be fine, Harry. Please wake up extra early, there's something I'd like your help with first thing in the morning."

"How early is early?"


"On a Saturday?"

"You can go back to bed afterwards."

"Fine. See you in the common room at seven."

"I love you."

"I love you, too." They shared a quick kiss, and went their separate ways.

"Luna, wait!" Hermione came up the stairs after her. "Why do you do that ever night?"

"Oh, family tradition."

"But you said he's a distant cousin or something. So far away that he's barely family."

"He's family because we decided to be family. That's all it takes, you know."

"I never thought about it like that."

"Goodnight, Hermione."

At seven the next morning Harry and Luna left the common room. The castle was quiet, and they made their way down quickly.

"I thought we were going to brush your hair this morning," Harry said.

"After breakfast. I have something I want to try before anyone else is around." They reached the entrance hall, and the Goblet was sitting on the sorting stool the same as it had been the night before. They saw Cedric Diggory heading down the corridor towards the Great Hall.

"Since you want me to warn you, consider yourself warned," Luna said, as she once more cast Mage-Sight on Harry.

"Watch, and give me a hand," she said, and cast a spell at the age line. Harry cast his assistance spell, and quickly made the color the same as hers. The line looked yellow to normal sight, but viewing the magic showed it was a very complicated ward that surrounded the Goblet at the distance of the yellow circle, and extended to the top of the Goblet. Harry could see time, transformational, and motion magics twined throughout the ward field. And with his assist, Luna had just passed through all of them and dropped a paper into the Goblet. She left the wards, and undid her changes. They finished not a moment too soon, because Hermione and the twins came down the stairway from the Gryffindor tower direction.

"We got it!" one of the twins said. Hermione just rolled her eyes. A few other Gryffindors followed behind, including Ron.

They watched as the twins drank the aging potion, but only Harry and Luna saw that the magic started reacting to them the moment they crossed the ward line. The burst of magic that followed caused Harry to yelp in pain. He cancelled the Mage-site spell and saw Fred and George with long white beards laughing at each other.

"Told you so," said Hermione as she went towards the Great Hall.

"Luna," Harry whispered, "did you put your name in?"

"Of course not. I just wanted to prove I could bypass the wards. Nothing will come of it. I wondered why the transformation was part of the ward. If I had made a mistake, I'd be wearing one of those beards, too." She giggled at the mental image.

Harry didn't think about it again until that night when the Halloween feast was over and the Goblet was shooting out names. It seemed that no one was surprised when Victor Krum was chosen for Durmstrang. The pretty (and somewhat standoffish) Fleur Delacour was then chosen for Beauxbatons. Finally, the hall erupted in applause for Cedric Diggory. As Dumbledore was about to go join the champions, the Goblet's fire turned red again and spewed forth another piece of paper. Dumbledore caught the unexpected paper and read out --

"Harry Lovegood."

Harry was shocked. This couldn't be happening. He's only third year. This was impossible. He turned towards Luna and saw that she had gone pale (well, paler) and looked just as shocked as he did.

"Harry Lovegood. Please come up here!" Dumbledore called again. Harry found he was standing and walking towards the teachers table. The hall was quiet and everyone was looking at him. He headed towards the door that Dumbledore was indicating, and noticed that Dumbledore wasn't smiling. Harry felt like he was in a dream -- things were happening, and he didn't even have control of his own body.

The judges, Ludo Bagman, Bartimius Crouch, Olympe Maxime, the Beauxbatons headmistress, Igor Karkaroff, the Durmstrang Headmaster, and Professor Dumbledore, along with the four heads of house and Professor Moody, came in moments later.

"I didn't put my name in the Goblet!" Harry said, as soon as they were in. "Honestly, professor, I didn't do it. I don't want to be in the Tournament."

"Did you ask an older student to put in your name?"

"No I didn't. All I've heard for the past month is the horrible ways that Triwizard champions die. I don't want to do this! I'm only a third year, I can't compete."

Bagman seemed to be enjoying the confusion. "Well, his name came out of the Goblet. I think he's required to compete, right Barty?"

The other heads of schools complained about the unfairness of Hogwarts having two champions. Crouch seemed to be thinking deeply, and asked, "So you didn't put your name in the Goblet?"

"No, sir," Harry said vehemently. "I'm not lying."

"Then you can go. You cannot have a third party obligate someone else. That flys in the face of all man made and magical laws," Crouch said.

"Thank you, sir," Harry said, as he started to leave. He noticed Luna standing inside the doorway. She looked relieved. As Harry walked towards her he doubled over in pain. He groaned, and fell to his knees.

"What's going on?" "What's happening to him?" and other words to that effect were being asked as Luna and Professor Sprout went over to him.

"It seems," Crouch said, "that he is indeed compelled by the binding magical contract to compete in the tournament. I don't know why, but it is."

"This means his earlier statement about not putting his name in the Goblet was a lie," Professor Snape said.

"No it wasn't," Luna answered, standing up. "I put his name in the Goblet. But it shouldn't have picked him! I wrote that his school was the Poppins Institute for Household Magic. There's no way that the Goblet should have chosen a student from that school."

"Why would you do that, Miss Lovegood?" Professor Flitwick asked.

"I just wanted to see if I could get past the age line. Neither Harry nor I wanted to be in the Tournament."

"And how did you accomplish that, my dear?" Dumbledore asked.

"That's not important. The questions are why did the Goblet choose a fourth champion, and why is he compelled to participate?" Crouch wanted to know.

Moody answered, "Someone must have cast a powerful Confundus Charm to bamboozle the Goblet into thinking there were four schools. That's a very powerful object, and it would take a powerful witch or wizard to do that. No third year could have done it.

"And as to why he has to compete -- a wife can sign a contract for her husband."

There was a shocked silence.

"Vous are married?" Fleur's voice broke the silence.

"They've been magically bound for as long as I've known them," Moody said.

Harry saw Luna pale again. He turned angrily at Moody.

"And how long is that? You're not the same man who taught us this summer! He ate and drank with us, although he always kept a flask of pure water with him. What's in your flask? Polyjuice potion?"

"Lovegood, you're getting delusional," the Fake Moody said, turning away from Harry. Harry pulled his wand and cast a silent stunner at the fake former Auror. Before anyone could stop him, he grabbed the flask and opened it. It smelled awful.

"Here, see for yourself," he handed the flask to Dumbledore. He sniffed it and handed it to Snape.

"That's Polyjuice," he confirmed. "Wait! She was asking about Polyjuice last month. This may all be part of an elaborate hoax."

"If it was a scheme, would I be turning him in?" Harry asked, exasperated.

"Mr. Lovegood," Dumbledore asked, "if you knew that this wasn't the real Professor Moody, why didn't you tell anyone?"

"We thought you knew. We thought if we could tell the difference, then you should be able to," Harry answered.

"And if you knew he was fake, then you probably had a good reason to keep it quiet, so we weren't going to tell anyone," Luna put in.

"Excuse me a moment, Professor," Crouch said to Dumbledore, and left the room.

"Does anyone remember when Moody last took a drink from his flask?" Dumbledore asked.

"Some time during dinner," Snape answered.

"Then it shouldn't be long," Dumbledore said, levitating the fake Moody into a chair and binding him to it with ropes.

"Severus, have you any Veritaserum?"

"I'll go get some, headmaster," he answered, and left.

As they waited McGonagall came over to the Lovegoods. Harry stood next to, but not touching Luna. She had recovered from the shocks, and seemed content to wait with the others for the Polyjuice to wear off.

"What did he mean, you're married?" McGonagall asked.

"That's no one's business but ours," Harry answered, a bit more angrily than he intended.

"Don't take that tone with me, Mr. Lovegood. You're in a lot of trouble."

"Not as much as the Headmaster for letting a Death Eater teach class," Luna answered, dreamily.

"What? What are you saying?" McGonagall looked shocked.

"Since he's not here with the Headmaster's knowledge, then he's probably an enemy. With the reappearance of the Death Eaters at the World Cup it makes sense that he's probably one."

McGonagall went over to the unconscious form and checked the ropes.

"What did you do to him," Bagman asked Harry.

"Silent stunner. The real Mad-Eye Moody taught me how to do that this past summer."

"You might not do too badly in the tournament after all."

"I don't want to be in the stupid tournament!"

"Yet you are in it," was the reply. Harry gave Luna an angry glare. She shrunk back from him.

Snape returned and the wait continued. The Headmasters and Headmistress started arguing again about Hogwarts having two champions, despite what it said on the paper with Harry's name.

Cedric quietly moved next to Harry and asked, "So how are you going to compete?"

"Probably poorly," he answered bitterly. "And in front of the whole school, too. I wonder what's going on out there?" he asked, indicating the Great Hall. "I bet they're coming up with all sorts of theories about what's going on in here, each one crazier than the last."

Cedric snorted, "Probably. Do you think they've guessed that we're dueling it out to see who the real Hogwarts champion is?"

Harry laughed at that. "Or we're having the first task right now -- who can slay a dragon in the guest dining room first.

Further conversation on the topic was halted as the Fake Moody shook and returned to his own form. Harry didn't recognize the man.

Dumbledore looked around, "Where's Crouch?"

"He left about fifteen minutes ago," Luna offered helpfully.

"Minerva, Filius -- go find him," Dumbeldore ordered. They left. "Now, you," he said, addressing the bound man. "Anything to say?"

"Just that when the master returns you will all beg for death. Especially you!" he screamed, looking at Karkaroff. "You tried to save your own life by turning in his other servants. He's going to take special care of you!"

"Dumbly-door, who iz this man?" asked Headmistress Maxime.

"This is Bartimius Crouch, Jr. He supposedly died in Azkaban a few years ago. He is a Death Eater."

"I am his most loyal Death Eater!"

"Administer the Veritaserum," Dumbledore said, quietly. Snape did, and they heard a fantastic tale. His father and mother had broken him out of Azkaban at the cost of her life as she died looking like him. His father had kept him a prisoner but he eventually broke the magical constraints that were holding him. It was the Imperius, and as he said in class, repeated castings allowed him to overcome it. What he hadn't mentioned was that it took him years. After he placed his own father under the Imperius, he had searched out his master, finding his spirit hiding in an old hideout. There, he fashioned a homunculus body for the spirit to inhabit, and he and Pettigrew were going to help with a ritual to make it human. He was going to steal the Longbottom boy -- something about his birthday and using his blood was important -- but Dumbledore had put a stop to his use of the Imperius curse.

Then his master had come up with another plan. It involved getting the Longbottom boy into the Triwizard Tournament. At some point, he wasn't sure when, the boy would be taken and used in the ritual. And then his master would be back in a real body, and then he, Crouch Jr., would be rewarded.

"Get the Aurors," Dumbledore said, turning away from him. Sprout nodded, and left.

"Wait! Where's the real Moody?" Harry asked.

"He's locked in his own trunk in my office!" Crouch answered, laughing.

"Thank you, Mr. Lovegood. It seems I've overlooked the obvious. Excuse me while I dismiss the children. That's something else I have overlooked. Shall I have your students wait for you, or return to their quarters?"

Maxime said, "Tu may send them back to the carriage. I weel talk to them there."

"Same with mine," said Karkaroff.

"Very well. Miss Lovegood, you should go back to your tower, too."

"I'd rather stay with Harry."

"No," Harry answered. "You should go. Don't wait up for me."

"But Harry. . . ."

"Just go!" Harry turned away from her, anger in his voice. She looked at him for a moment, and left. She didn't wait to hear what Dumbledore said; she went straight to the Ravenclaw tower.

- - -

"Master, they have uncovered my son."

"Did he succeed?"

"No. Some students' prank interfered, so the Longbottom boy is not in the tournament. Some other student is. A third year."

"We shall see if the so called champions are suitable anyway. This should not hurt our plans very much. We shall have to vacate these premises, though.

"And Crouch? You are no longer useful to me. Avada Kadavra!"

- - -

She got ready for bed, and went back to the common room, waiting in a quiet corner for Harry to return. She sat there for hours while the students gossiped and theorized what the "prank that turned serious and the plot that went wrong" were. And how was Harry Lovegood going to compete? And Liz Ragingstorm got a lot of condolences for not being chosen. But eventually, they all went to bed. And still Luna waited.

Then Harry came in. He didn't see her. Very few people had, during the evening, and those that had, had looked at her and left her alone.

"Harry?" Luna said.

"Not now. I'm going to bed," came the reply. He headed up the steps and didn't even look at her.

Luna went to her own bed and cried herself to sleep.

- - - -

Author Note: I want to thank my beta-reader Swordchucks for not only punctuation and spelling help, but sentence structure and noticing when I used the wrong name for one of the characters.
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