|SIYE Time:17:21 on 21st June 2018|
Harry Potter And The Twists Of Fate
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fluff, Humor
Warnings: Extreme Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Story is Complete
Summary: What if the fates let Harry's parents live that night he got his scar, plus gave him a younger sister and become friends with the Weasleys, especially Ron earlier. What would be different?
Hitcount: Story Total: 209840; Chapter Total: 6393
Here's the next chapter. I'm sorry for the delay. I didn't have time to write for a few days due to RL. Anyway, I hope you guys like it. Oh, I hope you guys don't mind the spell I had Harry cast on the strange mist. I invented the incantation using my poor knowledge of Latin. Please r & r.
Chapter 55: The Third Task
Later that night, at fifteen minutes before nine, Harry left the Gryffindor common room after giving Ginny a quick kiss and walked through the grounds down to the Quidditch stadium. There he found that the pitch was now occupied by hedges arranged in a twisting pattern. He met Bagman, Viktor and Fleur in the middle.
Bagman quickly explained the task. The hedges would grow within a month to form a maze. The champions had to find their way through it to the other side, where the judges would await them and award the first person out full points. Along the way, they would face various obstacles including creatures provided by Hagrid.
Harry had inwardly groaned, knowing full well what kind of creatures Hagrid could provide.
After briefing them, Bagman suggested that they head back to the castle. Harry found himself walking side by side with Viktor. Viktor gave Harry a smile.
The two male champions had become friendlier over the last month since Viktor started spending time with Parvati in the library and on the grounds, in addition to walking her to her classes.
They had even discussed Quidditch at one time. Viktor had praised Harry for his flying performance during the first task and suggested that Harry should consider a professional Quidditch career after Hogwarts, something he had not thought about before. Harry was intrigued with the idea but was afraid of his father’s reaction if Harry decided to abandon becoming an Auror.
“So, Harry,” Viktor said, “Vot kind off creatures do you think ve vill face?”
Harry smiled, “Well, knowing Hagrid, they’ll be a challenge. He has an affection for the more, um, interesting ones. I doubt we’ll meet any flubber worms or pixies.”
Viktor raised an eyebrow at this but just nodded his head.
After a few seconds of silence, Harry asked, “So, how are you and Parvati getting along?”
Viktor stopped walking and eyed Harry suspiciously, “Vot is it to you?”
Harry raised his hands, “I don’t mean anything, Viktor. Parvati’s a nice girl. I’m just glad you found someone here to get together with, after Hermione. Um, I’m sorry that didn’t work out.”
“It is all right, Harry,” Viktor said and shrugged his shoulders, “After the New Year, Hermy-own-ninny didn’t talk vit me as much as she did before the Yule Ball. Of course, your red headed friend, Ron, I believe you call him, vos usually vit her, scowling at me.”
Harry was surprised by that last bit about Hermione and Ron. He hadn’t been aware that his two best friends had been spending more time with each other before their first date. Then again, he had been spending most of his time with Ginny.
“But then,” Viktor continued, a smile forming on his face, “I met Parvati two days after ve did the second task. I remembered that she vos beautiful at the Yule Ball and that, like Hermy-own-ninny, she vosn’t one of the girls following me all around Hogwarts. She is not as intelligent as Hermy-own-ninny but that is all right. I could not understand haff of vot Hermy-own-ninny said anyvay.”
Harry grinned, “You’re not alone there, mate. Half of the time, neither can we. But that’s the way she is and we love her for it.”
Now that he had Viktor’s attention, Harry decided to ask him something he needed to know about the older boy’s school, though he was a bit hesitant and hoped he wouldn’t offend Krum.
“Um, Viktor,” Harry said, “I hope you don’t mind my asking, but do they really teach you the Dark Arts at Durmstrang? If you don’t want to tell me, just say so.”
Viktor eyed him shrewdly for a few seconds then said, “I guess there is no harm in telling you, Harry. After vot happened in the second task, I feel you vould be a good friend. But to answer your vestion, yes, they teach us some of the Dark Arts. At least they did until last year.”
“Last year?” Harry asked, “Did they stop teaching them this year? Why?”
“Let us move over near the voods, Harry,” Viktor said, “This is something I do not think anyone else should know.”
Harry followed him back to the edge of the Forbidden Forest and felt Ginny open her senses to him, eager to listen in.
Once they got there, Viktor spoke again, “You must understand, Harry, that sometimes learning something helps one understand that thing and helps in learning to fight it. That is van reason they teach the Dark Arts at Durmstrang, so ve can understand it in order to fight it better. Unfortunately, the previous Headmaster, Professor Karkaroff, had some of the darker and very dangerous spells taught to the older students, spells that are better off forgotten. He even let some Dark Magic rituals be taught, rituals that involved human sacrifice in exchange for pover. Fortunately, all of that stopped this year vhen Professor Propanov took over.”
Harry was stunned by what Viktor had revealed and felt Ginny’s own surprise. “I remember Professor Dumbledore saying that Professor Propanov had just been named your Headmaster this year. So what happened to Karkaroff?”
Viktor shrugged, “He vanished from the school at the end of February. No one knows vot exactly happened but it vos as if he had left in a hurry. There vas no indication that anyting vas wrong the day before he disappeared. But the following day, his rooms vere in disarray and his clothes and most of his personal things vere missing. I know ovur Ministry and Aurors haff tried to find him but as far as I know, they haff not had any success.”
“Now that is strange,” Harry said, “So, no one has any idea why he left or where he is?”
“Yes,” Viktor said.
“I wonder if Dumbledore knows something,” Harry said, “Anyway, I’d better get back to the castle. My friends will want to know what the task is.”
“So vill mine,” Viktor said, smiling, “I vill be seeing you, Harry.”
Harry watched Viktor walk down to the lake and the Durmstrang ship for a few seconds then turned back toward the castle. He knew Ginny was telling Hermione, Ron, Rose, Neville and Ti about the Third task but she refrained from telling them about Karkaroff until he had given his permission to do so. Harry and Ginny didn’t want to break any trust Harry had just formed with Krum.
Harry and his friends weren’t sure on what creatures Hagrid might set in the maze but agreed that whatever they were, they wouldn’t be the docile kind. The next day, Harry sent Hedwig to his parents with a letter, informing them of the nature of the task.
Hedwig came back with a reply during lunch. James asked Harry to resume practicing the spells he had been taught over the summer as well as some spells that Moody had taught in his DADA class since most of them would be useful when he encountered any dangerous creatures in the maze.
Practicing the spells he knew presented Harry with a problem. Some of the spells could cause significant damage if done in an empty classroom. He needed to find a place to practice where he wouldn’t be disturbed, even accidentally.
Professor Moody came up to him at the Gryffindor table at the end of dinner. “Potter, I’d like a word with you.”
“Yes, Professor,” Harry said. He turned to Ginny and said to her mentally, “I’ll see you guys after this in the common room.”
Moody led Harry to his office just above the DADA classroom. He bade Harry to sit down in a chair in front of his desk while he sat down behind the desk. Moody detached his wooden leg and set it on a stand behind the desk before talking to Harry.
“So, Potter,” the ex-Auror began, “you now know what the Third Task is going to be about. How are you going to prepare for it?”
“Well, Professor,” Harry said, “With Hagrid providing the creatures who will be some of the obstacles, it won’t be easy. My Dad and Dumbledore taught me several spells over the summer that will be useful. I already sent Dad an owl telling him about the task and he advised me to practice the spells again, along with some of the spells you’ve taught in class.”
“Good advice, Potter,” Moody said, a rare smile breaking out on his hard face, “Your father has a good head on his shoulders, though I know some people around here would disagree with me. Still, he’s one of the best Aurors I’ve had the pleasure of training. There’s no one else I’d have as Head Auror.”
“Uh, Professor,” Harry said, “I haven’t had the chance to ask you this. I know it’s been so long, but do you know how my name came to be in the Goblet of Fire?”
Moody scowled as he answered, “Not exactly, Potter. Dumbledore let me check the Goblet out after the Choosing of the champions. I couldn’t find much except that it was touched by very Dark Magic.”
“That confirms what I’ve suspected all along then,” Harry said, “Voldemort wanted me in this tournament.”
“Most likely, lad,” Moody said, nodding his head, “No one else would be willing to use such Magic. So, you better be careful in that Maze, all right, lad? Now, you should get back to your common room so you can find that room you need to practice those spells.”
Harry nodded and thanked the ex-Auror.
Later that night, when the rest of Gryffindor house had gone to bed, he and the New Marauders were at their usual place in front of the fireplace in the common room. They studied the Marauder’s Map for almost an hour but couldn’t find a proper room on it for Harry’s purpose.
“Harry,” Rose finally said, “You do remember that the Chamber of Secrets never appeared on the Map two years ago, right?” Her gaze momentarily shifted to Ginny with an apologetic expression for mentioning the Chamber. “There may be other rooms like that in Hogwarts, places that most people don’t know about. You can practice your spells in such a place without anyone coming upon you.”
“That’s a brilliant suggestion, Rose,” Harry said, “But there is just one problem. How do we find such a room?”
“Harry,” Ginny said in his mind, “Do you think the house-elves may know of such a room?”
“Probably, Gin,” he replied mentally to her, “I’m sure they know every inch of the castle. But how do we ask them? Of course! I know who to ask.”
He turned to Ti, “Uh, Ti, could you call Dobby over here for a second?”
Even though Dumbledore had allowed Dobby to work for Sirius and Ti, Sirius had decided to let Dobby stay in Hogwarts until the end of the school term to be close to Ti. So Dobby was still in the castle.
“Uh, sure, Harry, okay,” Ti replied, a bit puzzled, but he turned his face toward the ceiling and said loudly, “DOBBY! Please come here!”
A second later, the exuberant house-elf appeared within the circle of friends. “Master Ti called Dobby. What can Dobby do for good Master Ti?”
His face turning a bit red, Ti said, “Uh, it’s not me. Harry wants to talk with you.”
Dobby’s eyes widened, “The Great Harry Potter wants to talk with Dobby. Ohhhh, what can Dobby do for the Great Harry Potter?”
Harry felt his own cheeks burning as the house-elf started fawning over him, “Er, I just have a question, Dobby. Um, you’ve been working in the castle for the past year. Well, we need a room that we can practice spell work in, a place where we won’t be disturbed by any student or professor.”
Dobby’s face screwed up for a moment as he thought, “I know of a place, Harry Potter. The other house-elves call it the ‘Come and Go’ room or the Room of Requirement.”
“Why is it called that, Dobby?” Hermione asked.
“Well, Miss Grangee,” Dobby said, “the room only comes when someone really needs it. He has to be thinking hard of what he wants the room for. When he is done with the room, the room vanishes.”
“Great, Dobby,” Harry said, smiling, “that’s perfect. Where is it and how do you get in?”
“It’s on the same floor as the entrance to this tower, Harry Potter, sir,” Dobby answered, “in a corridor with a large window at one end and a man-sized vase at the other end. The door is across from a tapestry of a strange looking wizard who seems to be dancing with trolls. But the door only appears if you walk past it three times while thinking of what kind of room you need.”
“I’ll check it out right now,” Harry said, getting up, “I just get my invisibility cloak.”
He turned to Ginny. “Want to come with me, Gin?” he asked her mentally.
Ginny grinned, “Of course, Harry.”
“Hey,” Ron said, “are you two talking with your minds again? I know I hate it when you do that. It usually means you’re planning a snogging session somewhere.”
Ginny glared at him then pulled Harry towards her by the front of his robes and gave him a very forceful kiss on the lips.
Ron rolled his eyes, “Never mind. I guess you’ll snog wherever you want.”
“Very good, brother,” Ginny said, “Of course, I think you and Hermione would do the same.”
Ron and Hermione turned red at this statement. Harry came back with his invisibility cloak. He and Ginny then disappeared under it. Neville opened the Portrait Hole so they could get out.
Once outside the tower, they walked down the corridors on that floor, looking for the tapestry Dobby mentioned. They found the corridor Dobby had described, with a man-sized vase at one end and a large window at the other end.
“Harry,” Ginny said, “Look in the middle of the corridor. That appears to be a tapestry.”
They moved closer and found that it was a very large moving tapestry of a wizard and some trolls.
“Uh, Ginny,” Harry said mentally, “Am I seeing things or is that man actually in tights and dancing ballet in front of the trolls.”
“No, love, you aren’t imagining things. He really is pirouetting around those trolls. There’s a faded plaque underneath it. It says ‘Barnabas the Barmy and his misguided attempt to teach ballet to some trolls. Yes, this must be the right tapestry. Now where is the door? The opposite wall is blank.”
“Remember what Dobby said, Gin. The door only appears if you walk three times past it, thinking of what kind of room you want. Let’s try it.”
Harry started pacing in front of the blank wall, thinking, “I want a room to practice spells in”, over and over again.
As he passed the blank wall the third time, an ornate door appeared in the wall.
Harry pulled the door open and he and Ginny entered the room. They gasped in awe at what they saw.
The room looked like a duplicate of the Duel Practice room at Potter Manor, with its slate floor covered in mattresses and stone walls. It was so close that Harry thought that if he stepped out of the door now, he’d see the third floor hallway of his family home.
Harry grinned at Ginny, “This is brilliant, Gin. I could really work in here.”
“We can work in here, Harry. Don’t forget. You promised earlier this year that the New Marauders would learn the spells James has been teaching you.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry I forgot, Gin, what with the tournament and school.”
Ginny gave him a swift kiss, “Don’t worry about it, Harry. You can show it to us as you practice for the Third Task. We can practice them together this summer. Maybe we can use this room next year.”
“Yeah, you’re right, we can. Um, we better get back before Ron thinks we’re doing more than snogging.”
“Oh, all right, Harry,” Ginny pouted, “Just one minute.” She reached up to the back of Harry’s head and pulled him down for a searing kiss that lasted more than a minute and left him dazed. “There, now we can go back.” She giggled at his glazed expression.
“Witch!” Harry said playfully as they left and headed back to the common room, still under the invisibility cloak.
After that, Harry came back to the room with Ginny every evening for an hour or two to practice his spell casting. The others came with them as often as they could but with final exams fast approaching, they stopped coming with them. Finally, after two and a half weeks, Harry had to stop practicing so he could also study for the finals. He was now regretful that he had refused the exam exemption he was entitled to as a Triwizard Champion.
Fortunately, several days and nights of hard studying, including the weekend, allowed him to catch up. The week of exams passed quickly with his last exam held on the day before the Third task. Harry hoped he had passed all his exams as he went to bed that night. He wouldn’t want to have survived the tournament only to fail in school.
Harry was awakened the next day by a gentle mental nudge from Ginny.
“Harry, love, wake up. You need to have a good breakfast for this.”
“But the task isn’t until tonight, Gin,” he grumbled back at her.
“I know, Harry, but remember that Dumbledore said yesterday that the Champions’ families had been invited to watch the task and would be here after breakfast.”
Harry shot out of his bed like a cannon ball, eager to see his parents. He hoped that they’d bring Daisy and Andrew but thought that they’d probably leave them with the Weasleys.
After a quick shower, he met Ginny in the common room and they headed for the Great Hall. Once they were at the Gryffindor table, Harry found himself picking at his food in his nervousness over the task.
Ginny sensed his mood and squeezed his hand gently under the table.
“Relax, Harry,” she said to him in his mind, “You’ll do fine. You’ve practiced those spells enough to do them in your sleep.”
“I know, Gin. I just can’t stand the waiting.”
Ginny started running her fingers gently over his knuckles. This calmed Harry down and he dug into his food.
As he drank the last of his pumpkin juice, McGonagall approached him and said, “Potter, the champions’ families are waiting in the side room to the Great Hall.”
Harry nodded to her. He turned and saw the other champions get up from their places and walk toward the door to the side room where they had first gathered after the Goblet of Fire had chosen them.
As he got up from the table, Harry gave Ginny a quick kiss on the lip and Rose a peck on the cheek to wish them luck. They still had one exam that morning, so they couldn’t go with him now.
Harry entered the side room. He saw Fleur to one side, talking to an older and more stunning version of herself, with Gabrielle holding the woman’s hand. Viktor was on the other side, conversing with the woman he had rescued from the dragon during the first task and an older man, whom Harry assumed was his father.
Harry looked around the room for his parents and was surprised by whom he saw near the fireplace. Not only were his parents there but so were Molly, Arthur and Bill. He felt Ginny pause momentarily at the door of her classroom as she saw her parents and brother through Harry’s eyes. Harry walked up to his parents and hugged them both.
“Sirius and Sam are babysitting the twins, Harry,” James said, “Remus couldn’t come for the meeting but promises to be there this evening.”
“That’s okay, Dad,” Harry said, “I was hoping to see Daisy and Andy but I guess they aren’t ready yet for Hogwarts.”
He then turned to the Weasleys.
“I’m so glad you guys are here,” Harry said to them, smiling, “Ginny, Ron, Fred and George will be glad to see you.”
“We’re glad to be here, Harry, dear,” Molly whispered as she hugged him, “after all, we have to support our future son-in-law.” Harry grinned at that and felt Ginny’s own elation over her mother’s statement. Harry then shook hands with Arthur and Bill.
He turned to the oldest Weasley brother, “I thought you couldn’t get off work in Egypt anymore.”
“I wouldn’t if I was still working there,” Bill said, “but Gringott’s decided it needed a crack cursebreaker here starting next month, so I was able to get a little headstart on moving back here.”
“That’s great,” Harry said, grinning.
Just then, Fleur came up to them, with a smile on her face, “Oh, ‘arry, iz theez your family?” the part-Veela asked.
Harry returned her smile, “Yes, Fleur. You saw my Dad and Mum after the Second task. These are Ginny’s parents, Molly and Arthur and her eldest brother, Bill.”
Fleur greeted them, shaking their hands. It seemed her smile brightened a bit as she shook Bill’s hand.
Harry noticed Bill following her with his eyes, as she walked back to her mother and sister, a strange look on her face. Harry caught Bill’s eyes with his own and raised an eyebrow.
Bill shrugged and said, “Hey, she’s beautiful, all right?”
Harry just shook his head. He led them out of the side room and the Great Hall, out into the grounds.
They spent the morning walking around, listening to tales of the older ones of their time in Hogwarts. Molly and Arthur were fascinated by the Whomping Willow, which had been planted after their time, especially since they knew the reason why it had been planted.
They returned to the Great Hall for lunch. Ginny and Rose greeted their parents with hugs and the Potters and Weasleys settled down to eat together at the Gryffindor table. Harry felt like it was another one of their family gatherings again, erasing his worries of the coming task.
After lunch, they took another long walk around the grounds, this time accompanied by the rest of the New Marauders. Neville was intrigued by a few stories about his parents from James and Lily.
Evening soon arrived and they made their way back to the Great Hall. James, Lily, Molly, Arthur and Bill again sat at the Gryffindor table. Harry’s nervousness returned as they had a dinner of several courses. Ginny did her best to comfort and calm him down.
Finally, Dumbledore rose from the high table where the staff and all the judges were seated. The Headmaster cleared his throat and did a sonorous spell.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in five minutes, we will go down to the Quidditch Pitch for the last task of the Triwizard Tournament. In the meantime, I’d like the three Champions to please follow Mr. Bagman down to the stadium for some last minute instructions.”
James turned to Harry and gave him a big hug, “Good luck, son. Remember, I won’t think any less of you if you don’t win. Just be careful, okay?”
Harry returned the hug willingly, not minding any stares from the other students, “Thanks, Dad. I’ll try. Merlin knows I’ve practiced those spells enough to do them in my sleep.”
Harry, Fleur and Viktor walked in silence behind Bagman down to the Quidditch Pitch. Harry went through the spells he had been practicing in his mind as his nerves continued to plague him.
As they approached the Pitch, they noted with apprehension that the edge was surrounded by a twenty-foot high hedge. There was a break in the hedge forming the entrance to the maze. The passage beyond it looked foreboding and menacing.
Soon, the stands of the stadium filled up with students. Harry saw his family and friends take their seats at the top of the stands. Ginny sat between Molly and Lily with Bill to Molly’s left. Rose was on her mother’s right and James to her right. Remus was sitting at James’ right with Ron, Hermione, the twins, Ti and Neville to their right.
Harry wondered why they were so far up in the stands but dismissed that thought as he felt calming and soothing thoughts coming to him from Ginny, easing his nervousness.
Professor McGonagall came through the stadium’s entrance with Hagrid, Professor Moody and Professor Flitwick and informed the champions that they would be patrolling the edge of the maze in case of an emergency. A blast of red sparks into the air would be the signal in that case.
Bagman gave a speech that recapped the champions’ standings and the order in which they would enter the maze — Harry first, followed by Viktor after five minutes then by Fleur after another five minutes.
Bagman then blew on his whistle, signaling to Harry that he should enter the maze.
Harry took a deep breath and strode forward into the dark passageway. He noticed that the noise from the crowd had vanished. Harry drew his wand and said, “Lumos!”
About fifty yards into the maze, the path split into two. Harry decided to go to the left. Then he heard Bagman’s whistle in the distance, signaling Viktor’s entry into the maze. Harry picked up his pace.
The path started to turn left and then right every ten feet. He came to another fork. He muttered, “Point me,” as he held his wand flat on his palm. The wand spun once then pointed to his right, through solid hedge. If that was north, he needed to go toward the east where the exit was located. Harry turned left.
Then as he came around the corner, he saw a ten-foot long creature that resembled a very pale and slimy-looking deformed scorpion with its long stinger hanging over its back. It was about twenty feet in front of him.
“Bugger,” he muttered, “one of Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts.” It was larger than any of the ones had tended with armor all over it. Just then, sparks flew from the creature’s end and it sped toward him.
Harry yelled, “Impedimenta!” but the spell bounced off its armored shell. “Stupefy!” he yelled but the spell again rebounded off the creature’s hide. Concentrating hard, he again yelled, “Impedimenta!”
This time, the spell slowed it down a bit. Harry dodged a spark that flew at him.
“IMPEDIMENTA!” he yelled again. The Skrewt stopped moving this time.
Knowing the spell wouldn’t last long, Harry immediately ran back the way he had come and took the other path.
After ten more feet, the path turned again. Harry’s eyes widened as he came around the corner. Twenty feet in front of him was a large mountain troll, even bigger than the one he, Ron and Hermione had fought in their First Year. He felt a surge of fear from Ginny that doubled his own.
The troll advanced on him, lifting its club above its head, roaring loudly. Harry tried a stinging hex but it bounce off its skin. Then it was upon him, swinging the club down.
Harry dodged to his left and felt the rush of air as the club smashed into the ground beside him. He sent a slashing curse at it, causing a bleeding wound on its chest. The troll roared and swung its club at Harry’s head. Harry dropped into a roll and came up behind the troll.
He sent another slashing curse at its back which didn’t even cause it to pause as it spun around. The troll swung its club again. This time, as Harry dodged, the club managed to clip him on his left shoulder, pushing him down to the ground. Harry immediately rolled away and felt the club smash into spot he had just been in. He felt Ginny’s alarm and fear increase dramatically.
“Harry!” he heard her call through their bond, “try doing what Ron did to that troll in your first year.”
Harry jumped to his feet and shouted, “Wingardium Leviosa!” as he pointed his wand at the troll’s club. The club was wrenched from the troll’s hand. Harry maneuvered it above the creature’s head as it stared in confusion at the levitating weapon. Then, Harry cancelled the spell and it dropped down on the troll’s head before landing on the ground.
The massive creature bent down to pick it then it toppled over and lay still. Harry backed away from it slowly in case it woke up before he had gotten far. Harry turned around only when he felt the hedge at his back. He then ran to put more distance between him and the troll.
The path was much darker now as the sky had turned grey and then black with the approach of night. Harry did the Four-Point spell again. He took a left at the next fork followed a right. Then, as he turned the corner, he saw a Dementor coming at him.
Harry felt the clammy coldness as the twelve foot high creature advanced on him. He summoned the happiest thoughts he could think of, concentrating on his memories of his parents and Ginny, thinking about celebrating with them after the tournament was over.
“Expecto Patronum,” he bellowed and a very bright silver stag flew out of his wand. It charged the Dementor and it fell back. The silver stag charged again and rammed right into the Dementor, causing it to dissipate with a horrible, eerie shriek.
Harry’s eyes widened and he felt Ginny’s shock as well. They had never heard of a Patronus dissolving a Dementor before.
“Wow, Harry. What happened?” Ginny asked in his mind.
“I-I-I don’t know, Gin,” he replied, “it just disappeared, instead of running away. I’ll ask Dumbledore about it after this is over. I better get moving now. Don’t tell anyone yet about this, not even my parents.”
“All right, Harry. Just be careful. I love you.”
“I will, Ginny. I love you, too.”
Harry continued down the path. He turned left then right then left again. Suddenly, a scream cut through the silence.
“Fleur,” Harry shouted. What had happened to her? The scream seemed to come from his right and not far away. Harry ran in the direction of the scream. He was running so fast that before he knew it, he was plunging into a strange mist. Then the world turned upside down.
His feet seemed to somehow be stuck to the grass which was now the ceiling. The endless sky was below him and he had the sensation of falling into that blackness illuminated by countless stars. His glasses were on the edge of his nose and Harry pushed them back up the bridge of his nose. In the back of his mind, he felt Ginny’s amusement at his predicament.
“Ha, ha, right, go on and laugh at me, Ginevra,” he said to her mentally.
“I’m sorry Harry, but I can just imagine how you look right now if I was there beside you.”
“Very funny, now let me think about a way out of this. I’ve never heard of an anti-gravity spell before. How do I counteract this?”
As he felt the blood rush down to his head, Harry went through the spells and hexes he had learned from his father, Dumbledore and Moody. None of them seemed to apply to this situation, until he remembered a spell Dumbledore had taught him and Ginny which was useful for removing toxic gases from the vicinity.
“Aero Purgo!” he yelled.
A strong gust of wind blew through the area, dissipating the golden mist. Harry then fell to his knees. Breathing deeply to clear his head, Harry shakily got to his feet. A few more deep breaths and he strode forward again.
He couldn’t hear any more screams. He was sure it was Fleur and wondered again what had happened.
“We’re not sure, either, Harry,” Ginny said in his mind, “There were no red sparks, so we can only assume she’s all right. By the way, your Dad is proud of the way you dealt with that anti-gravity mist. He says it’s a novel use for that spell.”
“Err, you’ve told them about that part?” he asked her.
“Yes, Harry. I’ve been keeping them updated on your progress. That’s the reason we’re so far up in the stands. We don’t want anyone to overhear me and wonder how I know what’s happening to you.”
“All right, Ginny. Thanks for doing that. I know I’d be going out of my mind if you were in my place and I could only watch and wait.”
“You’re welcome, love. Now get on with it and get to that exit first.”
“Yes, ma’am!” Harry said to her, grinning at her commanding tone, which sounded a lot like her mother.
Harry came to another fork. He did the Four-Point spell again which pointed to his left so he turned left and found himself at a dead end. He backtracked to the fork and turned right, even if it took him away from the edge.
He came to a dead-end twice more, forcing him to backtrack again. Then as he stepped into another path, he saw a huge shadow in front of him. It was a huge Acromantula. Before he could fire a spell, it lunged at him.
Harry dodged to one side and rolled forward, under the beast. He came up behind it and got to his feet. “Impedimenta!” he yelled. The beam of his spell hit the beast, pushing it back slightly. The spider gave its head a shake and scuttled up toward him.
Harry sent another impediment spell which didn’t slow it down one bit. He then tried a jelly legs curse but got only the rear legs which barely impeded its movement. He sent a cutting curse at its body which dug deeply into it, momentarily stunning it.
Harry turned to run. He had gotten only a few feet when he felt something sticky hit his feet and he went down. He looked at his feet and found them surrounded by webs. The spider advanced menacingly toward him.
Harry tried to rip the webs apart but they were too sticky. Then the spider was upon him, pushing him to the ground with two of its feet and pinning his upper arms. Its pincers came down toward him, clicking together.
Harry dodged with his upper body to the left then to the right. The spider then used two more legs to pin his shoulders. Harry could see the greenish glint of the poison on its large fangs as they descended toward him.
Harry managed to raise his hand slightly and aimed at the spider’s belly as the fangs hovered mere inches from his face. “Reducto!”
The spider flew off of him and landed with a crash on the hedge, twenty feet away.
Harry frantically attempted to tear the webs on his feet again. He was aware of Ginny’s panic and distress in the back of his mind but couldn’t allow that to distract him.
Finally, he said, “Incendio!” and flames appeared in the webs, burning them away. As soon as he could, Harry got to his feet and stamped around to put out the flames before they consumed his trainers. He saw the spider getting on its feet again.
He sent a cutting curse at one of its legs which was severed from its body. He sent five more at different legs, reducing its movement significantly. Finally, he yelled, “STUPEFY!” twice in rapid succession and was rewarded by the sight of the spider falling unconsciousness.
He leaned back against the hedge for a few moments, catching his breath. His shoulders were aching from the pressure of the spider, in addition to the bruise caused by the troll’s club earlier. He was dimly aware that Ginny was now sobbing against her mother.
“Shh, it’s all right, Gin. I’m fine now.”
“No, you’re not. Your shoulders are aching and you’re exhausted, Harry.”
“I’ll be okay in a minute. I just need to catch my breath. From the looks of it, I’m near the other side now.”
Ginny sniffed and stopped crying, “I’m sorry Harry for being so girly. I can’t help it. When I saw those fangs coming down toward you, I thought I was going to lose you.”
“That won’t happen, Ginny. I won’t let it, especially in this tournament. Okay, I better get moving. See you in a bit.”
Harry started walking again. Finally, he saw a light at the end of path. Twenty feet ahead was the break in the outer hedge which was the exit from the maze. He could barely make out the five judges standing beyond.
He stepped out into an open space just short of the exit. At the same time, Fleur came out of a path to his left and Viktor came into view on his right. Both looked a bit disheveled but not as bad as Harry probably looked.
Viktor gave a low whistle, “Vot happened to you, Harry? You look like hell.”
Harry shrugged, “I ran into a few of those obstacles, like a Dementor, a troll, an Acromantula and a mist that turned me upside-down. It got a bit hairy there for a while especially with the spider but I got through. What did you guys meet?”
“I only met a couple of things,” Viktor said, “a Boggart and the large spider. Mostly, it was just all the twists and turns of the path that delayed me.”
“It waz ze same with me,” Fleur said, “I found zis Sphinx which gave me a riddle to solve, zen the Boggart and a Dementor. But ozer zan zat, I got lost a bit.”
“That’s just my luck,” Harry said, smiling, “I ran into more things than you two did. I had to be the one to do a lot of spells. It’s a good thing I practiced a lot over the last few weeks.” He paused and looked toward the exit, “So, how do you guys want to do this?”
“Shall ve race?” Viktor asked.
“No,” Fleur said, “why don’t we jez walk out togezer? We came out here at the same time.”
“I agree,” Viktor said, “It is only fair.”
“But guys,” Harry said, “if we do it that way, I’ll win since I have the most points.”
“So vot, Harry?” Viktor said, “It doesn’t matter anymore. Doing what is right and fair is more important. We came out from the main maze at the same time.”
“I agree vit Viktor, ‘arry,” Fleur said, “We have become friends of a sort during zis tournament. Zat iz more important zan any old trophy.”
Harry sighed then smiled, “I see I’m not going to change your minds on this. Okay, let’s link arms then and walk out together.”
The three champions linked arms, Fleur in the middle of the two boys, and strode forward through the exit. Harry edged back a bit as they crossed the opening into the brightly lit area in front of the stands.
Wild cheering and applause greeted them. The judges’ faces showed different reactions to the outcome. Madame Maxime and Propanov both had frowns on their faces, the latter with more of a scowl. Dumbledore’s face looked calm and impassive thought the familiar twinkle could be seen in his eyes. Bagman looked confused. But the strangest reaction was seen on Mr. Crouch’s face. He seemed furious and upset at the same time.
Bagman got up slowly and said, “Well, we have bit of a dilemma here. It seems our three champions have exited the maze at the same time. We have to decide whether to split the points evenly or give them all full marks. Judges, we better confer at the side.” He led them off toward a spot at the side of the stadium.
Before joining them, Dumbledore approached the three champions and conjured three comfortable chairs, “Please sit down. You three looked tired already.”
“Thank you, professor,” all three replied.
They all sat down and relaxed. They could see their friends fidgeting in their seats, anxious to join them. After twenty minutes, the judges came back.
Bagman looked a bit uneasy, while Crouch looked calm. Dumbledore was smiling while Propanov and Madame Maxime had neutral expressions on their faces.
“Sonorus!” Bagman said, “Ladies and gentlemen, as you have probably guessed, with all three champions coming out of the maze at the same time, we have a problem as to how much points to award to each. However, we have viewed several angles of the action. It appears that as they exited the maze, Harry Potter and Viktor Krum allowed Miss DelaCour to precede them and Mr. Potter allowed Mr. Krum to precede him. As such, the points awarded are the following. To Ms. Delacour, 50 points, to Mr. Krum, 49 poins and finally, Mr. Potter is awarded 48 points. Tallying the totals together, we have a three way tie at the end of the tournament. We, therefore, declare all three as co-champions!”
A loud cheer rose in the air from the students of all three schools.
“We will have the awarding ceremony here right now.” Bagman continued, “The 10,000 galleon prize money will be split between the three of them and each school will receive the honor of having a replica of the Triwizard Cup in their respective Awards Cabinet. For now, each champion will have the privilege of holding up the real Cup for their schoolmates to see. Mr.Crouch has asked for the honor of handing the Cup to each champion.”
Bagman had the three champions line up, with Fleur immediately to Crouch’s right, followed by Viktor and then Harry.
Crouch handed Fleur the Cup and she raised it up. The other students from Beauxbatons clapped and cheered. Crouch did the same with Viktor and the students from Durmstrang also cheered, a few of them very loudly.
Finally, Crouch came up to Harry, “Ah, Mr. Potter, our youngest champion.” He handed the Cup to Harry but didn’t let go, “I know someone who would like to congratulate your win. Morsmorde!”
In that instant, Harry felt a jerk somewhere behind his navel. “Oh no, a portkey!” he thought. He found that he couldn’t let go of the Cup which was pulling him onward in a swirl of colors and howling wind. He gulped and wondered where he and Crouch were going.
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