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Burn Me Into Your Memory

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Chapter One- Summer Training

Harry Potter was turning fourteen soon, and he was excited. Him and his twin brother planned to hold their birthday party at the Weasley's house that year and then Harry would sleepover so that they could then all travel to the International Quidditch Cup the next day. But right now, he was sitting in his martial arts training dojo waiting to be dismissed for the day. At the beginning of summer vacation, him and his fathers had sat down and talked, all of them agreed that it would be wise for Harry to learn how to defend himself without magic.

He still remembered the day him, Severus, and Remus had apparated to an alley in Muggle London and began to search for a promising place to teach him to defend himself. They had looked at Boxing, Karate and other fighting styles, but none of the dojo's or trainers pleased either Remus or Severus enough so they left without signing up. And when Harry, who had been excited to learn a new way to defend himself, had started to believe that they would never find a place good enough, they stumbled upon a small martial arts dojo. It was hidden in the back alleys of the shops, where no one who didn't know it was there would be able to find it. After being pleased by not only the dojo but also the instructor, Harry had been signed up and started his training the next day.

As summer quickly flew by, Harry had trained at any possible moment he could, and had quickly flew up the ranks. It was almost as if his body was already used to all the movements and stretches needed. He was able to easily learn and master the movies with very little practice needed, it shocked and frightened Harry how quickly he took to martial arts, but he never voiced his fears, afraid he would be made to stop training.

After his instructor signaled that lessons were over for the day, Harry stood up and made his way to his gym bag while letting his shoulder length hair down from the pony tail he had put it in for lessons. The dojo door opened and Remus walked in, there to pick him up, the two of them shared a smile and a wave before Harry's attention was pulled away by a girl his age with long light brown hair and chocolate brown eyes.

"Hi Harry." The girl said tugging on her hair nervously as her eyes darted around them, looking at anything that wasn't Harry.

"Hello, Suzy." Harry said slipping his gym bag over his shoulder. "I noticed your stance has gotten stronger." She blushed deeply at that and giggled the same way Ginny used to around Haiden. It was then that Harry realized what was happening and looked around trying to spot anyone that could help him out of this situation he had found himself in.

"You noticed me?" She said looking at the ground with a small smile and tugged on her hair. "I've noticed you too." She bit her lip and glanced up at him.

"Right, um, well." Harry rubbed the back of his neck not wanting to hurt her feelings, but knowing it needed to be done. "Well, this is awkward." Suzy looked at him in confusion. "Look, Suzy, you're a nice girl, really cute, but," Her eyes started to tear up and Harry caught sight of her friends standing within ear shot, well this couldn't have gotten worse, "I'm gay."

"Oh, really?" Suzy asked as her tears started to fall.

"Yeah." Harry said awkwardly. The two of them stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, neither of them looking at the other as a hush fell over the rest of the people in the dojo. And even though Harry hadn't necessarily tried to hide his sexuality, he didn't go announcing it in muggle london, knowing that a lot of muggles didn't accept gays. "Right, well, see you next lesson." Harry turned and bolted towards Remus who quickly ushered him out of the gym.

"That went well." Remus said as they walked away from the dojo towards a safe place to apparate and Harry nodded silently wondering how his next lesson will be now that they knew he was gay? How fast would the word spread? How many bullies would try to mess with him? "Change of subject?" Remus asked and Harry nodded again. "Okay, before I left to pick up, Molly fire called saying everything was ready, and wondering if you had made up your mind on who you're going to be watching the match with."

"I still haven't decided." Harry muttered. He had been asked by the twins to go watch the International Quidditch Match with them and the rest of the gange plus Ginny and Arthur, while at the same time Draco had extended an invite to watch the game with him and his father. Harry was leaning more towards Draco so that he could let Hermione use his ticket and Molly could still have hers seeing as Arthur had only been able to enough tickets for his family plus two for him and Haiden. "I might watch the game with Draco so that Molly could also go, but still go to the game with the Weasleys since I'm already going to be there." Harry finally decided once they got to a safe place to apparate.

"I think Molly would like that. She might not always let it be known, but she is a huge Quidditch fan." Remus nodded before holding out his arm for Harry. "Hold on tightly." He warned Harry when he took hold of his arm. A second later, after feeling like he was being squeezed through a small tube, they were in the sitting room of their home.

"I'm going to take a quick shower and then get my stuff ready." Harry informed Remus who nodded in response. Harry walked out of the sitting room and towards his bedroom that held his ensuite. Severus made a decent amount of money on his teachers salary plus a little extra that Dumbledore was paying him (what Dumbledore was paying him for they wouldn't tell him but he had a feeling it had something to do with him being an ex-Death Eater) so they weren't struggling for money like the Weasleys but at the same time they weren't swimming in money like the Malfoys (and him and his brother).

When he got to his room, he quickly pulled out a change of clothes and laid them neatly on his bed before going into his bathroom and turned on his shower to the perfect temperature. He got undressed, tossed his clothes in the hamper for the House Elf to take care of, and hopped into the shower where he just stood and let the water run over him as he got lost in his mind.

After an unknown amount of time, Harry finally got his thoughts in order and cleaned himself of sweat. After words he turned the shower off and hopped out, grabbing a towel and wrapped it around his waist. He went to leave the room when he caught his reflection in the mirror. He stopped walking and began to check himself over. His eyes were still too large for his face and Harry was sure his eyes would always be too large for his face. His hair that everyone always complemented and said was also so soft he hated, it never did anything he wanted and would either be too flat or too fluffy. He was too skinny, and not in the he didn't eat skinny (because he ate a shit ton when allowed) but in the 'he had no muscles' skinny. And he was too short. And Harry knew that he would always be too short thanks to the first 11 years of malnourishment he got at the Dursleys.

Harry gave an annoyed sigh and forced himself to leave the bathroom before he continued to find everything that he felt was wrong with his body and got dressed. Once dressed, he quickly went around his room and gathered everything he would need for not only his and his brother's birthday party, but also staying the night with his brother at the Weasleys. After words he left the room and went to the sitting room where he found Remus reading while waiting for him.

"Ready?" Remus asked never looking up from his book, knowing Harry was there from both smelling him and hearing him.

"Where's dad?" Harry asked and Remus marked his place before looking at him.

"He's having a quick meeting with Lucius, when that is over he will floo over with Draco." Remus informed him standing up from the chair and walked over to the floo.

"Draco's going to be there?" Harry asked not able to hide his excited smile, it had been a few months since he'd been able to see Draco. Him and his family had gone on a family vacation traveling the world.

"Yup, but he won't be staying the night." Remus said causing Harry's smile to falter for a second before.

"That-that's understandable." Harry said nodding. "So how are we getting there?"

"I thought we'd try flooing." Remus suggested and Harry opened his mouth to argue, but Remus held his hand up to silence him. "I understand that the first time you tried flooing, it did not end well. But I believe that was because you were taught how to use the floo in a rush and not properly. Now, the first thing I want you to do is think of where you want to go, almost like when you apparate." Harry nodded and pictured the Weasley's living room where their fireplace was. "Once you got that in your mind, then you need to take a pinch of the floo powder, not a handful." Harry walked over to the fireplace and reached into a small jar they had that sat on the mantle and took a small pinch of powder and looked at Remus for the next instruction. "Now, here's a little trick I learned from Severus, instead of stepping into the fire first and then throwing the powder, throw the powder in first while calling where you want to go and the step into the fire."

"The Burrow." Harry called as he tossed the flew powder into the fireplace and was amazed to see it turn green, he then stepped into the fire and stepped right out into the living room of the Burrow. No spinning, no nausea, and no worrying about trying to find the right fireplace. The fire roared behind him just before Remus stepped.

"Much better, right?" Remus asked with a smile and Harry nodded. "Want to know why?"

"Yeah." Harry said.

"Because when you throw the pinch of powder in first while calling out the name of the place you which to go, it connects to the fireplace like a floo call and then you can just step through without worry that you'll miss the fireplace." Remus whispered into his ear with a smirk. "It also keeps the soot off you." He added as Molly walked into the room. "Molly, thank you for offering to host this birthday party." He told her with a polite smile

"Where else would they have held their party?" Molly asked and Remus's smile suddenly turned from polite to looking as if he were trying to keep himself snapping at her. He looked around the living room.

"You sure you're going to have enough room to fit everyone comfortably, maybe we should have held it at my place. There would be enough room for everyone, plus Draco, to be comfortable." Remus said glaring at Molly from the corner of his eyes causing her to tense up.

"That's generous of you to offer, but I have enough room here for those that are staying. Plus this way I know they'll be safe." Molly said as Harry stood off to the side awkwardly, he would have left the room but Remus and Molly were blocking the only exit.

"I assure you, Molly, that my house is just as safe as yours, if not safer." Remus growled out and Harry had enough.

"Right, well this was fun, but I'd rather not spend my birthday watching you too have a pissing contest. You two are both plenty big enough, so you can put your dicks away." Harry said before trying to push past both of them, but Molly would not budge.

"Harry James Potter, you do not use that kind of language in my house." Molly screeched and Harry sighed while rolling his eyes.

"I wouldn't feel like I had to use that language if you would stop constantly attacking Remus. Yes, Remus is a Werewolf. Yes, Remus is gay. Yes, Remus is married to Severus. Yes, Severus is an ex-Death Eater. And yes, Severus makes more money than Arthur. It doesn't matter. Remus raises me just as well as you would!" Harry snapped at her.

"Not well enough if he is allowing you to talk to your elders like this." Molly told him angrily.

"STOP IT!" Harry roared, his magic flowing around him causing his hair to angrily fly up around him. "You are ruining the first birthday that me and Haiden have gotten to celebrate together!" This got Molly's attention. "If you cannot control yourself and be civil with Remus for a few hours, then me and Remus will head back home and I will cancel this party!" With that said Harry used his magic to move Molly out of the way and stormed up the stairs past the gawking Haiden, Ginny, and the Weasley Twins. He made it to the twins' room where he would be sleeping and threw his stuff on the floor beside the bed before he let himself fall onto the bed with a heavy sigh.

"You wouldn't really cancel our party, would you?" Haiden asked and Harry sighed again before turning his head to be able to look at his brother who was standing awkwardly beside the bed.

"Do we really need a party to celebrate us surviving another year?" Harry asked before pushing himself up so that he was sitting on his knees on the bed.

"Do you not want a party?" Haiden asked and Harry didn't answer, just stared at him. After a minute of silence Haiden sighed and shuffled his feet. "Want to go fly around the yard?"

"I don't like flying." Harry reminded him.

"Right, you and Hermione both." Haiden muttered.

"How are you and Hermione?" Harry asked shifting so that he was actually sitting down.

"Great, we're great. Sadly she won't be able to make it today, still on vacation with her parents, but she'll be here early tomorrow." Haiden said and they fell into an awkward silence. "Um, how-how's Draco?"

"He's good. He just got back from vacationing with his parents. Severus will actually be bringing him, but he won't be staying the night." Harry told him.

"I see." Haiden said as they fell into an awkward silence again just before someone outside the room cleared their throat. Both boys turned their head to look at the door to find Ron standing there. "Right, well, I think me and Ron are going to go flying, if you change your mind and decide to join us, you know where we'll be." Harry watched him all but bolt from the room and sighed before flopping back down on the bed. He had been so excited to spend time with his brother, and now after everything that happened that day, he just wanted to curl up and sleep.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

It was Frank's bad leg that woke him; it was paining him worse than ever in his old age. He got up and limped downstairs into the kitchen with the idea of refilling his hot-water bottle to ease the stiffness in his knee. Standing at the sink, filling the kettle, he looked up at the Riddle House and saw lights glimmering in it's upper windows. Frank knew at once what was going on. The boys had broken into the house again, and judging by the flickering quality of the light, they had started a fire.

Frank had no telephone, and in any case, he had deeply mistrusted the police ever since they had taken him in for questioning about the Riddles' deaths. He put down the kettle at once, hurried back upstairs as fast as his bad leg would allow, and was soon back in his kitchen, fully dressed and removing a rusty old key from its hook by the door. He picked up his walking stick, which was propped against the wall, and set off into the night.

The front door of the Riddle House bore not sign of being forced, nor did any of the windows. Frank limped around to the back of the house until he reached a door almost completely hidden by ivy, took out the old key, put it into the lock, and opened the door noiselessly.

He let himself into the cavernous kitchen. Frank had not entered it for many years; nonetheless, although it was very dark, he remembered where the door into the hall was, and he groped his way towards it, his nostrils full of decay, ears pricked for any sound of footsteps or voices from overhead. He reached the hall, which was a little lighter owing the larch mullioned windows on either side of the front door, and started to climb the stairs, blessing the dust that lay thick upon the stone, because it muffled the sound of his feet and stick.

On the landing, Frank turned right, and saw at once where the intruders were: At the very end of the passage a door stood ajar, and a flickering light shone through the gap, casting a long sliver of gold across the black floor. Frank edged closer and closer, grasping his walking stick firmly. Several feet from the entrance, he was able to see a narrow slice of the room beyond.

The fire, he now saw, had been lit in the grate. This surprised him. Then he stopped moving and listened intently, for a man's voice spoke within the room; it sounded strangely high pitched, and cold as a sudden blast of icy wind.

"How fastidious you've become, Wormtail. As I recall, you once called the nearest gutter pipe home. Could it be that the task of nursing me has become wearisome for you?"

"Oh, no." said a second voice. This too belonged to a man- but it sounded timid and fearful. "No, no, my Lord Voldemort. I only meant…" Frank turned his ear toward the door, the better to hear, "perhaps if we were to do it without the boy."

"No!" The first voice cried angrily causing Frank to wince in unknown fear. "The boy is everything! It cannot be down without him. And it will be done. Exactly as I said."

"I will not disappoint you, my lord." A third voice said.

"Good." The first said. "First, gather our old comrades. Send them a sign." And then Frank heard movement behind him in the dark passageway. He turned to look, and found himself paralyzed with fright. Something was slithering towards him along the dark corridor floor, and as it drew nearer to the sliver of light, he realized with a thrill of terror that it was a gigantic snake, at least twelve feet long. Horrified, transfixed, Frank stared as its undulated body cut a wide, curving track through the thick dust on the floor, coming closer and closer - What was he to do? The only means of escape was into the room where three men seemed to be plotting something, yet if he stayed where he was the snake would surely kill him. Before he had made his decision, the snake was level with him, and then incredibly, miraculously, it was passing him and into the room where hissing sounds could be heard.

"Nagini tells me the old Muggle caretaker is standing just outside the door." The first voice announced. Frank didn't have a chance to hide himself. There were footsteps, and then the door of the room was flung wide open. A short, balding man with graying hair, a pointed nose, and small, watery eyes stood before Frank, a mixture of fear and alarm in his face. "Step aside, Wormtail, so I can give our guest a proper greeting. Avada Kedavra!"

Harry shot up in bed with a loud gasp as he suddenly felt that something was wrong with Haiden. He didn't know what had woken him, the feeling or the dream he had. Harry threw off his covers and bolted off the bed and out of the room. He slid stop in front of a shocked Hermione who was carrying a candle. "Harry?" She asked in shock.

"No time to explain. Haiden needs us." Was all Harry said before grabbing Hermione's hand and drug her up the stairs to the room Haiden and Ron were sharing. There they found Haiden in the throws of a terrible nightmare.

"Haiden!" Hermione called rushing over to Haiden and began to try and wake him up. "Haiden!" She called again as Harry rushed over and, for reasons he did not know, rub a finger down the lightning bolt scar. This caused Haiden's eyes to shoot open. "Are you all right?" Hermione asked as Haiden quickly, and panickly, grabbed his glasses. Once he was able to see who he was looking at, Haiden calmed down. "Harry? Hermione?" He asked before registering Hermione's question. "Bad dream." He sat up looking slight confused. "When did you get here?"

"Just now. Bumped into Harry on the way up to wake you and Ron, said you needed us." Hermione said and both of them looked at Harry.

"I woke up from a bad dream as well feeling like you needed my help." Harry told them as Hermione walked over to Ron, sitting the candle down.

"Wake up! Wake up, Ronald!" Hermione hissed into his ear. The second Ron noticed her, he grabbed his blanket and covered his chest with it.

"Bloody hell!" He cried.

"Honestly, get dressed. You too Harry." Hermione said as Harry heard Molly start to wake everyone else up. "And don't go back to sleep!" Hermione called as she left the room. Harry shook his head, glanced at his brother and notice his scar was looking very red.

"Does your scar hurt?" Harry asked shocking Haiden.

"How did you know?" Haiden asked.

"It's red. You might want to try putting some cooling balm on it." Harry said before leaving the room. Once he made his way back to the twins' room, it didn't take him long to get dressed. He then made his way down to the kitchen.

Molly was stirring the contents of a large pot on the stove, while Arthur was sitting at the table, checking a sheaf of large parchment tickets. He looked up as Harry entered and spread his arms so that Harry could see his clothes more clearly. He was wearing what appeared to be a golfing sweater and a very old pair of jeans, slightly too big for him, and held up with a thick leather belt.

"What d'you think?" He asked anxiously. "We're supposed to go incognito- do I look like a Muggle, Harry?" Harry waved his hand and changed to golfing sweater into a simple white shirt with a light, long sleeve grey button up shirt over it, and made the jeans actually fit him.

"Now you do." Harry said before changing Molly into a nice yellow dress with a white jacket over it it.

"I'm not going, I gave my ticket to Hermione." Molly said.

"Yes you are, I'm accepting Draco's invite to watch the game with him, so you can keep your ticket and Hermione can have mine." Harry told her, his tone telling everyone that his decision was final as he sat down.

"Where're Bill and Charlie and Per-Per-Percy?" George asked, failing to stifle a huge yawn, as he and Fred made their way into the kitchen sitting on either side of Harry.

"Well, they're Apparating, aren't they?" Molly said carefully heaving the large pot over to the table, so not to get any on her outfit, and started to ladle porridge into bowls. "So they can have a bit of a lie-in."

"So they're still in bed?" Fred asked grumpily, pulling his bowl of porridge towards him. "Why can't we Apparate too?"

"Because you're not of age and you haven't passed your test." Molly snapped at him and Haiden and Ron finally made it into the kitchen. "And where have those girls got to?" She bustled out of the kitchen and they heard her climbing the stairs.

"You have to take a test to Apparate?" Harry asked.

"Oh yes." Arthur said, tucking the tickets safely into the back pocket of his jeans. "The Department of Magical Transportation had to fine a couple of people the other day for Apparating without a license. It's not easy, Apparition, and when it's not done properly it can lead to nasty complications. This pair I'm talking about went and splinched themselves." Everyone around the table except Haiden winced.

"Er - Splinched?" Haiden asked. "Wait, isn't that where you either loose clothing or, at worst, a body part?"

"Correct, Haiden. They left half of themselves behind," Arthur said, now spooning large amounts of treacle into his porridge. "So, of course, they were stuck. Couldn't move either way. Had to wait for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to sort them out. Meant a fair old bit of paperwork, I can tell you, what with the Muggles who spotted the body parts they left behind…"

Harry had the sudden vision of a pair of legs and and eyeball lying abandoned on the pavement of Privet Drive and the Dursleys finding it. He snorted out a laugh causing everyone to give him a strange look.

"Were they okay?" He asked biting back a smile.

"Oh yes." Arthur said matter-of-factly. "But they got a heavy fine, and I don't think they'll be trying it again in a hurry. You don't mess around with Apparition. There are plenty of adult wizards who don't bother with it. Prefer brooms- slower, but safer."

"But Bill and Charlie and Percy can all do it?" Haiden asked.

"Charlie had to take the test twice." Fred said grinning. "He failed the first time, Apparated five miles south of where he meant to, right on top of some poor old dear doing her shopping, remember?"

"Yes, well, he passed the second time." Molly said marching back into the kitchen amid hearty sniggers.

"Percy only passed two weeks ago." George said. "He's been Apparating downstairs every morning since, just to prove he can." There were footsteps down the passage and Hermione and Ginny came into the kitchen, both looking angry and Ginny had a red and swollen cheek. It didn't take long for Harry to figure out that the two of them had been fighting.

"Why do we have to be up so early?" Ginny asked as she angrily sat down, glaring at Hermione when she sat next to Haiden giving him a peck on the cheek while also glaring at Ginny.

"We've got a bit of a walk." Arthur said.

"Walk?" Harry asked looking away from the glaring match between Ginny and Hermione. "What, are we walking to the World Cup?"

"No, no, that's miles away." Arthur said smiling. "We only need to walk a short way. It's just that it's very difficult for a large number of wizards to congregate without attracting Muggle attention. We have to be very careful about how we travel at the best of times, and on a huge occasion like the Quidditch World Cup-"

"My lord, look at the time!" Molly cried and they rushed to leave. "I'll be joining Bill, Charlie, and Percy around midday." She said to Arthur as he, Harry, Haiden, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny set off across the dark yard after Fred and George.

"Ron," Harry heard Haiden start while trying to fight a yawn, "where are we actually going?" He finished as they entered the woods next to the Burrow.

"Don't know." Ron said while yawning. "Hey, Dad." He called out causing everyone to turn and look at him since him and Haiden were tailing after the group. "Where are we going?"

"Haven't the foggiest." Arthur called back to him. "Keep up!" They trudged through the woods, some stepping over fallen branches, others stumbling over them, the silence only broken by their footsteps. The sky lightened very slowly as they made their way through the woods, its inky blackness diluting to deepest blue.

"Arthur!" Someone called from in front of them, next to a large tree that stood in the middle of a small clearing in the woods. "It's about time, son."

"Sorry, Amos. Some of us had a bit of a sleepy start." Arthur called out as he lead them towards the man. "This is Amos Diggory, everyone. Works with me at the Ministry." They all came a stop in front of the man and Harry leaned on Hermione tired and ready to sleep. Suddenly something fell from the tree next to the man and right in front of Harry and Hermione causing both of them to gasp and stumble backwards. "And this strapping young lad must be Cedric, am I right?" Arthur said holding out his hand for Cedric to shake.

"Yes, sir." Cedric said and Harry hid behind Hermione who laughed at him. "This way." He added as him and his father began to lead them up a hill.

"He is so handsome." Harry whispered into Hermione's ear, the two of them shared a look before they giggled and fell in line.

"Merlin's beard!" Amos suddenly exclaimed causing everyone to turn and look at him. "You must be Haiden Potter."

"Yes, sir." Haiden said awkwardly as Harry rolled his eyes and turned back around to continue following Cedric. Cedric lead them up a hill to an old moldy boot that was sitting at the top. "Yes, it, uh, just over there."

"Must be nearly time." Arthur said as they gathered around the boot taking a glance at his watch again. "Do you know whether we're waiting for any more, Amos?"

"No, the Lovegoods have been there for a week already and the Fawcetts couldn't get tickets." Amos said. "There aren't any more of us in this area, are there?"

"Not that I know of." Arthur said. "Yes, it's a minute off… We'd better get ready…" He looked around at Harry, Hermione, and Haiden. "You just need to touch the Portkey, that all, a finger will do-" With difficulty, owing to their bulky backpacks, the nine of them crowded around the old boot. They all stood there in a tight circle, as a chill breeze swept over the hilltop. Nobody spoke. It suddenly occurred to Harry how odd this would look if a Muggle were to walk up here now… nine people, two of them grown men, clutching this manky old boot in the semidarkness, waiting…

"Three…" Harry noticed Haiden wasn't touching the Portkey, only staring in confusion. "Two…"

"Haiden!" Hermione cried.

"One…" Harry grabbed Haiden's hand and forced him to touch the Portkey at the last second. It happened immediately: Harry felt as though a hook just behind his navel had been suddenly jerked irresistibly forward. His feet left the ground; Haiden's hand had slipped off the portkey, but Harry was still holding on to his wrist; they were all speeding forward in a howl of wind and swirling color; and he laughed while everyone else around him screamed.

"Let go, kids!" Arthur shouted over the wind.

"What!?" Hermione asked as Harry let go of Haiden's wrist and he fell away with a terrified scream. "HAIDEN!" Hermione yelled watching Haiden disappear before she lost grip and was blown away. Ron went after her, followed by Ginny and then the Weasley twins.

"Harry, let go!" Arthur urged him, but something was whispering in his mind to hold on till the very end.

"After you!" Harry called to him with a laugh. Arthur, Amos, and Cedric shared a look and then they let go at the same time, once the wind had taken them away, Harry let go of the boot and felt his back muscles move in a strange, yet familiar way, and then he was gently floating down. Everything cleared up and he saw Amos, Cedric, and Arthur also floating down. He caught sight of Haiden lying on his back on the ground and his eyes widened when they locked on him.

"I bet that cleared your sinuses, eh?" Arthur asked as he landed and walked over to Haiden and helped him up just as Harry landed. Haiden nodded his thanks to Arthur before rushing over to Harry and grabbed him by the shoulders. Harry thought he was going to yell at him for dropping him, but all he did was turn him so that he could look at his back before turning him back around to face him.

"Where did they go?" Haiden asked him.

"Where did what go?" Harry asked and Haiden sighed in annoyance.

"Your wings!" Haiden cried out gaining everyone's attention.

"What wings?" Harry asked.

"The wings that carried you down from the sky!" Haiden said.

"I never had wings, Haiden, you must have seen things." Harry said confused and scared. Amos walked over and lightly placed his hand on Haiden's shoulder.

"First time using a Portkey? The first one is also a doozy, can scramble a person's brain for a little while." Amos told them. "But don't worry, he should be back to normal in a few minutes."

"Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill?" A voice called.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two- The Quidditch World Cup

Harry looked past his brother and Amos to see that they had arrived on what appeared to be a deserted stretch of misty moor. In front of them was a pair of tired and grumpy-looking wizards, one of whom was holding a large gold watch, the other a thick roll of parchment and a quill. Both were dressed as Muggles, though very inexpertly: The man with the watch wore a tweed suit with thigh-length galoshes; his colleague, a kilt and a poncho.

"Morning, Basil." Arthur said, picking up the boot and handing it to the kilted wizard, who threw it into a large box of used Portkeys beside him; Harry could see an old newspaper, an empty drinks can, and a punctured football.

"Hello there, Arthur." Basil said wearily. "Not on duty, eh? It's all right for some… We've been here all night… You'd better get out of the way, we've got a big party coming in from the Black Forest at five-fifteen. Hang on, I'll find your campsite… Weasley… Weasley…" He consulted his parchment list. "About a quarter of a mile's walk over there, first field you come to. Site manager's called Mr. Roberts. Diggory… second field… ask for Mr. Payne."

"And the Malfoys?" Harry asked moving over to Basil who gave him an annoyed look before looking back at his parchment.

"The Malfoys are in the opposite direction of the Weasleys, three miles in that direction, the last field. You can't miss their tent." Basil said.

"Thanks, Basil." Arthur said, Harry waved at everyone before tuning in the opposite direction and began to make his way towards where Basil had pointed him. He weaved in and out of people, got yelled at for something or other, and had to push past a lot of people who refused to move, but after a couple of hours he had finally made it to the field. And Basil was right, you couldn't miss the Malfoy's tent, if you even wanted to call it that. It looked more like a small, yet very elegant, log cabin. He quickly jogged up to the door and knocked on it, it was quickly answered by Dobby, which, after telling Draco of Dobby's 'adventures' during second year, Harry was shocked to see that they had kept him.

"Master Harry Potter, sir!" Dobby squeaked out.

"I believe that Draco is expecting me." Harry said in a cold voice and Dobby let him in allowing Harry to look around. The seemingly small, one room cabin from the outside turned into a two story, multi roomed house on the inside. And Draco, who had apparently heard him from his room, was standing at the top of the stairs, his short white blonde hair had yet to be gelled back, and his three piece armani suit looking spotless. And suddenly, Harry forgot how to breath.

"About time you got here, I was starting to worry you had gotten lost." Draco said as he descended the stairs as Harry tried to remember how to breath. "You all right?" Draco asked coming to a stop in front of Harry. "Has spending all that time with the Weasel made you braindead?" That caused Harry to laugh.

"No, sorry, got lost in thought." Harry said and Draco smirked at him.

"About me, I hope." He said and Harry rolled his eyes and playfully punched his shoulder.

"Why would I want to think about you?" Harry joked. Draco caught his hand before he could drop it after playfully punching him and gently made him open his hand so that Draco could trace his fingers.

"Don't pretend not to know how I feel about you. And I'm pretty sure you feel the same, you're just not ready to admit it yet. But don't worry, I'll wait. I may not look it, but I can be pretty patient when I want to be. And when you're ready to accept your feelings for me, I'll be here." Draco told him seriously before placing a kiss on the corner of Harry's mouth causing Harry's heart beat to go erratic. "Now. The game doesn't start until tonight, and father was called away. I do not know how long he will be gone, but he has already given me permission to start lunch without him should I get hungry." Draco said lacing their fingers together and began to lead him to the small dinning room that was just off from the entry way. "I don't know about you but, now that my worry about you has subsided, I am quite hungry." He lead Harry to the table and pulled out a chair for him before sitting right next to him and grabbing his hand again. "Dobby, bring us some lunch."

"Yes, sir!" Dobby squeaked out before disappearing.

"Why do you still have him?" Harry asked softly as he tried to make himself look away from his and Draco's linked hands. Draco liked him? Since when? Harry was so sure that his crush on Draco had been one sided. And even so, didn't his crush on Draco turn into a crush on Cedric? Was is possible for someone to have a crush on two people?

"Father thought it would be a reward to the houself if we let him go." Draco started but Harry was barely paying attention. He needed to talk to someone who wasn't Draco. Hermione? No, she was on the side of the moors. And the Twins were a no go, they were with Hermione. "So instead, father thought it would be more fitting to punish him by making him my personal houself." Luna? Amos had said something about the Lovegoods having been here for a week, he could talk to her. But he didn't know where her tent was. And he had no idea if Myari was here or not.

Something was placed in front of him, and Harry was too deep in thought to notice what it was. He didn't even realize he had begun to eat it, until it was gone. Nor did he realize that Draco kept talking to him.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry followed after Draco and Lucius, allowing Draco to lead him by the hand up the winding stairs in the stadium. Hours had passed and Harry was still no closer to figuring out if it was possible to have a crush on two people, or if he even had a crush on two people.

"Hello Harry." An airy voice that could belong to none other than Luna said in his ear. Harry's head snapped around and spotted Luna with Myari clutched to her standing behind them.

"Luna!" Harry cried, letting go of Draco's hand to throw his arms around Luna.

"Oi! Watch it, if I fall off these stairs and die, I will haunt your arse!" Myari cried clutching to Luna tighter and squeezing her eyes shut.

"You're afraid of heights?" Draco drawled out behind him.

"No, I'm not." Myari said opening her eyes to glare at him. "I'm afraid of falling!"

"What's the big deal, you trip and fall all the time." Draco said with a smirk causing Myari's face to heat up in anger, and that anger caused her to let go of Luna and stomp over to Draco and put a finger in his face.

"Listen here you spoiled prince, I do not trip and fall! I attack the ground!" Myari told them before huffing and spinning around so that her hair would hit Draco in the face causing him to sputter as her hair got in his mouth.

"Even backwards?" Harry asked.

"I'm just talented that way." Myari huffed looking away from them until a strong breeze caused the stairs to creek and sway causing Myari to give a little shriek and clutch onto the closest person to her, which just so happened to be Draco.

"You know, when I imagined having someone clinging onto me, this wasn't the person I imagined doing the clutching." Draco said monotoned and a very annoyed look on his face.

"Oh shut up, I'm not exactly enjoying this myself! And anyway, who would want to cling onto you!" Myari cried shrieking some more when the stairs shifted again, tightening her grip on Draco some more. Draco just sighed and wrapped a gentle arm around her shoulder and moved up when the line did so, ignoring his father's amused look.

"I'm happy those two are so close." Luna said wrapping her arms around one of Harry's and rested her head on his shoulder. Harry nodded and linked one of his hands with hers. "You seem troubled." She muttered into his ears, never looking away from Draco and Myari.

"Is it possible to like more than one person?" Harry quietly asked her.

"That depends on your definition of like. How do you like these people?" Luna asked him.

"I don't know." Harry admitted.

"Once you figure that out, then you will have your answer." Luna told him unlinking their hands and arms. "This is our stop." She announced and skipped forward to Draco and Myari and removed Myari from Draco who sighed and made his way back to Harry. Draco and Harry continued to follow Lucius up the stairs for another half hour before they finally got to their box where their presents were announced by Cornelius Fudge.

"Ah, Fudge." Lucius said, holding out his hand as he reached the Minister of Magic. "How are you? I don't think you've met my son, Draco. Or his friend, Harry Potter."

"How do you do, how do you do?" Fudge said, smiling and bowing to Harry and Draco before it seemed his last name finally registered in the Minister's mind. "Potter?" Harry watched him glance over his shoulder and saw his brother, Hermione, and the Weaselys already there and in their seats. "Ah, I see, you must be Haiden's younger brother." The Minister muttered to himself. "Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Oblansk - Obalonsk - Mr. - well, he's the Bulgarian Minister of Magic, and he can't understand a word I'm saying anyways, so never mind. And let's see who else - you know Arthur Weasely, I daresay?"

It was a tense moment. Lucius and Arthur looked at each other and Harry vividly recalled the last time they had come face-to-face. It had been in Flourish and Blotts' bookshop, and they had had a fight. Lucius had verbally attacked Arthur and in response Arthur had physically attacked Lucius. Harry hoped they would both behave. "Good lord, Arthur," Lucius said softly after sweeping over the row Haiden, Hermione, and the Weaselys occupied. "What did you have to sell to get seats in the Top Box? Surely your house wouldn't have fetched this much?" Harry sighed and shook his head, seems that asking for both of them to behave was just too much to ask.

"Lucius has just given a very generous contribution to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, Arthur." Fuge, who obviously wasn't listening, said. "He's here as my guest."

"How-how nice." Arthur said with a very strained smile. Harry caught sight of Lucius eyes landing on Hermione, who went slightly pink, but stared determinedly back at him. Harry knew exactly what was making Lucius's lip curl like it was. And though Harry hated it, he knew that the Malfoys prided themselves on being purebloods; in other words, they considered anyone of Muggle descent, like Hermione, second class. For some strange reason, Harry was exempt.

Harry, tired of the look Lucius was giving Hermione, pulled away from Draco and Lucius to walk over to Hermione and give her hug. He then turned and gave Lucius and Draco a look, daring them to say or do anything against Hermione. Draco response was to walked over to him and Hermione and hold out his hand to her, she smiled shyly and took it.

Lucius sighed and nodded towards them, silently telling them he understood that Hermione was off limits and that she would also be an exception. Happy that Hermione would not be attacked anymore by Lucius, Harry followed the man to their seat that were further up past the Weaselys. After they had relieved the house elf that was saving their seats and taken them, Ludo Bagman charged into the box.

"Everyone ready?" He asked, his round face gleaming like a gread, excited Edam. "Minister - ready to go?"

"Ready when you are, Ludo." Fudge said comfortably.

Ludo whipped out his wand, directed it at his own throat, and said "Sonorus!" and then spoke over the roar of sound that was now filling the packed stadium; his voice echoed over them, booming into every corner of the stands.

"Ladies and gentlemen…. Welcome! Welcome to the final of the four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup!" The spectators screamed and clapped. Thousands of flags waved, adding their discordant national anthems to the racket. The huge blackboard opposite them was wiped clear of its last message and now showed BULGARIA: 0, IRELAND: 0. "And now, without further ado, allow me to introduce… the Bulgarian National Team Mascots!

The right-handed side of the stands, which was a solid block of scarlet, roared its approval.

"Dear lord, they've brought Veelas." Lucius sneered glaring down at the hundred veelas that were now gliding out onto the field. Harry had read about Veelas, they were said to be women that were supposed to be the most beautiful women to ever be seen. But it was actually their magical allure that made men see them in that light. Harry looked around him and noticed that all the men were entranced by the Veelas that had started to dance, even Lucius who looked annoyed. As he continued to look around him, he noticed that Molly Weasley looked like she was holding back a rant, and Ginny and Hermione were both glaring at a drooling Haiden. He felt Draco grab his hand and looked at him to see Draco trying to fight the allure, but it was too strong.

And then the music stopped. All the men returned back to normal. And Draco was apologizing to him as angry yells filled the stadium. The crowd didn't want the Veelas to go. Harry found that he now found a dislike for the Veelas, but he didn't understand why. He glanced at Draco. Maybe it wasn't that he didn't understand why, but refused to understand why. But why? Why didn't he want to admit his feelings? Was he scared? But if so? What was he scared of? As if feeling him, Draco looked at Harry. The second their eyes locked Harry forced himself to look back towards the field.

"And now," roared Ludo Bagman's voice, "kindly put your wands in the air… for the Irish National Team Mascots!"

Next moment, what seemed to be a great green-and-gold comet came zooming into the stadium. It did one circuit of the stadium, then split into smaller comets, each hurtling toward the goal posts. A rainbow arched suddenly across the field, connecting the two balls of light. The crowd oooohed and aaaaahed, as though at a fireworks display. Now the rainbow faded and the balls of light reunited and merged; they had formed a great shimmering shamrock, which rose up into the sky and began to soar over the stands. Something like golden rain seemed to be falling from it-

"Excellent!" Ron yelled as the shamrock soared over them, and heavy gold coins rained from it, bouncing off their heads and seats. Squinting up at the shamrock, Harry realized that it was actually comprised of thousands of tiny little bearded men with red vests each carrying a minute lamp of gold or green.

"Leprechauns." Harry muttered to himself over the tumultuous applause of the crowd, many of whom were still fighting and rummaging around under their chairs to retrieve the gold. The great shamrock dissolved, the leprechauns drifted down onto the field on the opposite side from the Veelas, and settled themselves cross-legged to watch the match.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, kindly welcome - the Bulgarian National Quidditch Team! I give you -Dimitrov!" A scarlet-clad figure on a broomstick, moving so fast it was blurred, shot out onto the field from an entrance far below, to wild applause from the Bulgarian supporters.

"Ivanova!" A second scarlet-robed player zoomed out.

"Zograf! Levski! Vulchanov! Volkov! Aaaaaaaaaaand - Krum!"

"That's him, that's him!" Harry heard Ron yell and looked through his Omnioculars. Viktor Krum was thin, dark, and sallow-skinned, with a large curved nose and thick black eyebrows. He looked like an overgrown bird of prey. It was hard to believe he was only eighteen.

"And now, please greet - the Irish National Quidditch Team!" Ludo yelled. "Presenting - Connolly! Ryan! Troy! Mullet! Moran! Quigley! Aaaaaaaand - Lynch!" Seven green blurs swept onto the field; Harry spun a small dial on the side of his Omnioculars and slowed the players down enough to read the word "Firebolt" on each of their brooms and see their names embroidered in silver, upon their backs.

"And here, all the way from Egypt, our referee, acclaimed Chairwizard of the International Association of Quidditch, Hassan Mostafa!"

A small and skinny wizard, completely bald but with a mustache to rival Uncle Vernon's, wearing robes of pure gold to match the stadium, stode out onto the field. A silver whistle was protruding from under the mustache, and he was carrying a large wooden crate under one arm, his broomstick under the other. Harry spun the speed dial on his Omnioculars back to normal, watching closely as Mostafa mounted his broomstick and kicked the crate open - four balls burst into the air: the scarlet Quaffle, the two black Bludgers, and (Harry saw it for the briefest moments, before it sped out of sight) the minuscule, winged Golden Snitch. With a sharp blast on his whistle, Mostafa shot into the air after the balls.

"Theeeeeeeeeeey're OFF!" Ludo announced, and the game began.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three- The Dark Mark

"IRELAND WINS!" Ludo shouted, who like the Irish seemed to be taken aback by the sudden end of the match. "KRUM GETS THE SNITCH - BUT IRELAND WINS- good lord, I don't think any of us were expecting that!"

"What did he catch the Snitch for?" Ron bellowed, even as he jumped up and down, applauding with his hands over his head. "He ended it when Ireland were a hundred and sixty point ahead, the idiot!"

"You're the idiot! It was obvious that the Bulgarian Team was never going to catch up! And he was able to see that! So instead of forcing the game to continue longer than it needed to be and letting his team waist the energy, he caught the Snitch. It was a very smart play on Viktors part." Harry shouted back over all the noise.

"How would you even know? You don't even play Quidditch! Why are you even here?" Ron asked.

"Because, Ronald, you don't have to play the game to be able to enjoy it or to be able to read the plays." Harry told him.

"He was very brave, wasn't he?" Hermione called, leaning forward to watch Krum land as a swarm of mediwizards blasted a path through the battling leprechauns and Veelas to get to him. "He looks a terrible mess…"

Harry put his Omniculars to his eyes again. It was hard to see what was happening below, because leprechauns were zooming delightedly all over the field, but he could make out Krum, surrounded by mediwizards. He looked surlier than ever and refused to let them mop him up. His team members were around him, shaking their heads and looking dejected; a short way away, the Irish players were dancing gleefully in a shower of gold descending from their mascots. Flags were waving all over the stadium, the Irish national anthem blared from all sides; the Veelas were shrinking back into their usual selves now, though looking dispirited and forlorn.

"Vell, ve fought bravely." A gloomy voice next to Harry said. He looked over; it was the Bulgarian Minister of Magic.

"You can speak English?" Fudge asked sounding outraged. "And you've been letting me mime everything all day?"

"Vell, it vos very funny." The Bulgarian minister said shrugging.

"And as the Irish team performs a lap of honor, flanked by their mascots, the Quidditch World Cup itself is brought into the Top Box!" Ludo roared.

Harry's eyes were suddenly dazzled by a blinding white light, as the Top Box was magically illuminated so that everyone in the stands could see inside. Harry gripped blindly for something to ground him, hating not being able to tell where he was, his magic automatically reacted and reached out.

"It's alright, Harry, calm down, I've got you." He heard Lucius softly tell him as a firm hand landed on his shoulder and held him to a firm body. Reassured and grounded, his magic subsided as his eyes finally got used to the light. Squinting toward the entrance, he saw two panting wizards carrying a vast golden cup into the box, which they handed to Cornelius Fudge, who was still looking very disgruntled that he'd been using sign language all day for nothing.

"Let's have a really loud hand for the gallant losers - Bulgaria!" Ludo shouted. And up the stairs into the box came the seven defeated Bulgarian players. The crowd below was applauding appreciatively; Harry could see thousands and thousands of Omniocular lenses flashing and winking in their direction.

One by one, the Bulgarians filed between the rows of seats in the box, and Ludo called out the name of each as they shook hands with their own minister and then with Fudge. Krum, who was the last in line, looked a real mess and locked eyes with Harry the second he entered. Two black eyes were blooming spectacularly on his bloody face. He was still holding the Snitch. Harry noticed that he seemed much less coordinated on the ground. He was slightly duck-footed and distinctly round-shoulders. But when Krum's name was announced, the whole stadium gave him a resounding, earsplitting roar.

And then came the Irish team. Aidan Lynch was being supported by Moran and Connolly; the second crash seemed to have dazed him and his eyes looked strangely unfocused. But he grinned happily as Troy and Quigley lifted the Cup into the air and the crowd below thundered its approval. Harry's hands were numb with clapping.

Lucius hurried both him and Draco out soon after the Irish team left, a strange look in his eyes. As they hurried to their tent without running, he kept looking up at the sky as if expecting something to be there. Lucius never let go of Harry, even hiding him at times with his cloak, this frightened Harry. Something was going to happen, something that Lucius had prior warning to. When they got to their tent, Lucius quickly ushered them inside and locked the doors.

"I'm sure you're both wondering what is going on. For your own safety I can not tell you. All I can tell you is that I will be leaving here very shortly, and when I do I want you two to make your way to the portkey. Draco, I need you to make sure you do not lose Harry." Lucius told them.

"What's going on, Father?" Draco asked.

"All I can tell you is that the Death Eaters have found out about Harry and they want him." Lucius said looking out the window at the dark sky before turning to leave, Harry reached out and grabbed him.

"Don't go." Harry begged.

"I have to." Lucius said before removing Harry's hand from him and then left.

"Right, you heard father, he have to get to the port key." Draco said grabbing Harry's hand tightly before they also left. They kept their heads down and weaved in and out of the celebrating wizards as they slowly made their way towards the portkey while trying not to look suspicious. And then, it happened.

The noises in the campsite around them changed. The singing had stopped. From the distance Harry could hear screams and tightened his hold on Draco's hand as fear washed over him. He had read stories of the Death Eaters and what they did for their lord while he was still alive. And now these people were here, and they wanted him. Why they wanted him and what they wanted him for, he didn't know but he could guess.

Explosions happened all around them as the tents around them suddenly caught on fire. Harry was suddenly pulled into Draco's arms as the shock waves of the explosions washed over them, and Harry closed his eyes praying that this was just a nightmare and he would wake up to find that he had somehow fallen asleep while watching the Quidditch game.

"Shite." He heard Draco mutter before he made them start to slowly back up. Harry opened his eyes only to have them widen. Quite a ways from them was a crowd of wizards, tightly packed and moving together with wands pointed straight upwards, was marching slowly across the field toward them. Harry could tell they hadn't spotted him or Draco yet. They also didn't seem to have faces… Then Harry realized that their heads were hooded and their faces masked.

High above them, floating along in midair, four struggling figures were being contorted into grotesque shapes. It was as though the masked wizards on the ground were puppeteers, and the people above them were marionettes operated by invisible strings that rose from the wands into the air. Two of the figures were very small. It didn't take Harry long to figure out that four of the Death Eaters were using the Crucio curse on the figures while the others were holding the figures up with the levitation spell.

As Draco tried to search for a way to get safely around them so that they could get to the portkey, Harry watched as more wizards joined the marching group, laughing and pointing up at the floating bodies. Harry hoped that Lucius was not in that group. Tents crumpled and fell as the marching crowd swelled. Once or twice Harry saw one of the marchers blast a tent out of his way with his wand. Several caught fire. The screaming grew louder.

"We have to get out of here." Draco said, obviously panicking.

"We have to get to the woods." Harry told him and he saw Draco look over his shoulder towards the woods that were in the opposite direction than the portkeys.

"But father said to get to the portkeys! The woods are in the opposite direction!" Draco cried, fear evident in his voice.

"That was in hope that we would have time to get to them before they either got destroyed or guarded." Harry said as he pulled out of Draco's arms and grabbed his hand.

"Destroyed? Guarded? What?" Draco asked scared as Harry began to lead them towards the woods.

"Calm down Draco, fear is causing you to become stupid. Now, let's use our brains. If you were a group of wizards that were intent on the torture and killing of thousands and thousands of wizards that had gathered via portkeys to one spot, what is the first thing you would make sure to do?" Harry asked trying his hardest to not only push through the panicked crowd of wizards that were too afraid to fight back, while also keeping ahold of Draco's hand to make sure they were not separated.

"I would-I would." Draco started only to stop with a loud grunt, someone had run into him, causing him to trip and fall. And Harry went down with him so that their hands would not disconnect. Harry bit back a scream of pain as a group of panicked wizards trampled over his right leg, and Harry felt it snap. "Harry!" Draco yelled he stood up and got swept away from Harry who couldn't stand.

"DRACO!" Harry yelled as the fear took over him once more. He was alone and he couldn't move. He was the perfect target for the Death Eaters. The most Harry could do was going from laying there to sitting there as he watched everyone run and scream as the tents around them went up in flames.

"Harry!" He heard someone scream his name, but he couldn't find who had screamed it. And then a body landing in front of him. It took him a second to realize that it was Haiden. As Haiden tried to get up from lying on the ground he got kicked in the head by someone running by and was knocked out. Harry grabbed his brother and pulled his body to him and did his best to protect both him and his brother. He laid on top of his brother, playing dead, while hiding both of their faces. Minutes passed and the crowd of Death Eaters marched closer. As they passed them, Harry held his breath and squeezed his eyes closed, hoping they would thing the two of them were already dead and pass them by.

Minutes turned to hours, and the screams stopped and the fires died down. The sound of the marching Death Eaters vanished, yet Harry stilled played dead on top of his passed out brother, too afraid to move. It was only when he felt his brother began to shift as he slowly started to come too when Harry felt that he could stop playing dead. He sat up and looked around him, everything had been destroyed. Movement caught his eyes, there was a lone being walking around looking at all the destruction. The being pointed their wand to the sky and shouted "Morsmordre!" Harry watched a beam shoot out of the wand and into to sky to form a skull. A snake slithered out of the skull's mouth and wrapped around it. This was the Dark Mark.

When Harry looked away from the Dark Mark towards the man, his heart stopped. The man was looking right at him. Haiden shifted again and groaned. The man began to make his way towards him and Haiden.

"Haiden!" Harry heard Ron shout and the man paused also having heard Ron.

"Harry!" Harry heard Draco shout and the man turned and began to run away.

"Where are you?" Both Ron and Draco shouted and Haiden finally opened his eyes.

"Harry! Haiden!" Hermione called as Haiden sat up holding his head.

"We've been looking for you for ages!" Ron cried as Hermione and Draco fell to their knees in front of them. "Thought we lost you, mate."

"What is that?" Haiden asked looking up at the sky causing everyone but Harry to look up, Harry was still staring wide eyed at where the man had been. Haiden grunted and held his scar as they were suddenly surrounded. Harry felt the air swell with magic and knew that the people around them were about to attack.

"Stupefy!" The wizards cried and Harry quickly conjured up a barrier around them, causing the spells to bounce off it. The wizards continued to attack, trying to bring the barrier down as Hermione screamed.

"Stop!" Two people yelled.

"That's my son!" He heard Arthur cry out.

"Draco, Harry, are you alright?" Harry heard Lucius say as him and Arthur rushed to them.

"Ron, Haiden, Hermione, are you all right?" Arthur asked as he got to them first.

"Harry's hurt! He got hurt when we tried to escape to the wood! I'm sorry father, but that's when I got separated from him!" Draco told his father who had gotten to them.

"Which of you conjured it?" Mr. Crouch asked pointing his wand at them.

"None of us!" Harry yelled. "There was a man! He was right over there!" He pointed at the spot that the man had been standing. "He conjured it! He would have gotten me and Haiden had they not arrived!" He added motioning towards the Ron, Hermione, and Draco.

"Do not lie!" Mr. Crouch roared kneeling to point his wand at Harry's throat. "You've been discovered at the scene of the crime."

"I'm not lying! I saw him!" Harry growled out trying his hardest to keep his magic from lashing out at the man. He was already suspected of conjuring the Dark Mark, no need to make himself even more of a suspect by accidentally attacking someone.

"Crime?" Haiden asked.

"Barty, they're just kids." Lucius said looking murderous. Crouch pushed his wand further into Harry's throat. Harry had to quickly grab Draco's hand when he moved to attack Crouch.

"I've heard about this one." Crouch said, once again pushing his wand further into Harry's throat. "Smart enough to have found the spell, and strong enough to have performed it."

"What crime?" Haiden asked.

"Check my memory!" Harry told Crouch.

"It's the Dark Mark, Haiden. It's his mark." Hermione finally whispered to Haiden.

"Who?" Haiden asked.

"Voldemort." Harry replied before grunting as Crouch pushed his wand farther into his throat, it was starting to become painful.

"Wait, you mean those people tonight, in the masks, they're his too, aren't they? His followers?" Haiden asked trying to share a look with Harry who was too busy with watching Crouch.

"Yeah." Arthur said. "Death Eaters." Crouch and Harry had a minute long stare down before Crouch removed his wand from Harry's throat.

"I'll be keeping an eye on you." He warned Harry before he looked at the other wizards with him. "Follow me.".

"The man went that way." Harry told them pointing towards the direction the man had run off to. Crouch lead the other in the direction and Harry collapsed in relief once he was out of sigh.

"Let's get you out of here." Lucius said walking over and picking up Harry. "We'll get you check by a mediwizard and then get you home safe." He began walking with everyone else following. "So much excitement, and your school year hasn't even begun."

"What's going to be happening this year at school?" Harry asked.

"A very dangerous Tournament." Was all the Lucius said.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four- The Triwizard Tournament

The rest of the summer went by quickly and uneventful and before anyone noticed they were all on the train heading back to Hogwarts. Harry sighed as he rested his forehead on the window as the rain outside pelted it while Hermione and Haiden cuddled together reading the Daily Prophet. Ron sat next to them glaring at Draco who was sitting next to Harry. The rest of their group sat on the floor. And even with all of them together it was way to quiet.

"Anything from the trolley?" called the Trolley Woman who was still a few doors away from them. Ron immediately stopped glaring at Draco to begin digging around in his pockets.

"Want anything?" Harry heard Draco softly ask him and he turned away from the window to look at Draco.

"Some Blood Pops please." Harry told him while reaching into his pocket.

"It's on me." Draco said with a smile as the Trolley Woman finally made it to them.

"Anything from the trolley, dears?" She asked giving them only a second to respond before she went to continue forward.

"Packet of Drooble's and a…. Licorice Wand." Ron said stopping her.

"Five Blood Pop and…." Draco paused to look over the selections, "two Chocolate Frogs." The Trolley woman handed Ron his packed of Drooble's as Haiden stood up and looked over the trolley.

"On second thought, j-just the Drooble's." Ron muttered.

"It's all right, I'll get it. Don't worry." Haiden said.

"Just the Drooble's. Thanks." Ron said angrily paying for the Drooble's as the Trolley Woman handed Draco his order.

"Two Pumpkin Pasties, please." Cho said coming up behind the Trolley Woman along with a few other students as Draco paid for his order while Haiden pulled a few treats off the trolley.

"Hello Harry." Cho said catching sight of Harry as Draco handed him the Blood Pops.

"Hello Cho." Harry greeted.

"Um, this is kind of embarrassing," Cho started with a giggle as she glanced at one of her friends causing all of them to giggle, "but I was asked by Cedric to ask you, if I saw you while chasing down the trolley, if you wanted to join him and the rest of us?" Haiden quickly paid for his treats and got out of the door while Luna and Myari huddled up even more just as Draco shot out of his seat and over to the door to lean past the Trolley Woman and into Cho's face.

"Well you can tell Cedric," Draco hissed the name out, "that if he wants Harry to join him, he, himself, needs to come ask Harry, otherwise the answer is and will always be no." Cho and the other students quickly left after that, all of them looking slightly shaken up.

"Anything else for you, dear?" The Trolley Woman asked Draco who had been glaring down the train at the retreating students.

"Oh, um, no thank you." Draco said backing away from the door to sit back down.

"The nerve of some people," Myari said in mock annoyance, "trying to ask someone to hang out with them." Draco rolled his eyes and lightly kicked her. "Hey!" She cried out turning to glare at Draco who gave her an innocent look, in response, Myari slapped his leg and a small battled began between them.

"This is horrible." Hermione, who had continued to read the Daily Prophet, said. "How can the Ministry not know who conjured it?" She asked setting the paper on her lap and looked at Haiden. "Wasn't there any security, or-?"

"Loads," Ron said with his mouth full receiving a disgusted look from both Harry and Hermione, "according to dad. That's what worried them so much. Happened right under their noses." Haiden sighed angrily as he began to scratch at his scar catching Hermione's attention.

"It's hurting again, isn't it?" Hermione asked concerned. "Your scar." Everyone looked at Haiden as he awkwardly brought his hand down.

"I'm fine." Haiden told her through slightly clenched teeth. Hermione took his hand and leaned closer to him so that she could rest her forehead on his.

"You know Sirius will want to hear about this." She told him softly and Harry watched Haiden's eyes flicker over to Draco who was purposefully ignoring them while continuing is little 'fight' with Myari. "What you saw at the World Cup and the dream." Haiden sighed and turned his head away from Hermione.

"Alright." Haiden muttered and Hermione smiled at him before pecking him on the cheek. She then stood up and pulled parchment, a quill and ink, and something for Haiden to write on from her trunk before she helped him write a quick letter to Sirius. As they whispered to each other over what should be in the letter Harry zoned out and went back to leaning his forehead against the window while sucking on his Blood Pop.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry didn't realize he had accidentally dozed off until he was being gently shaken awake by Draco. "Wha-?" Harry asked still half asleep.

"It's time to change." Draco told him gently before helping his stand up and even helped him into his school uniform and robes.

"How much longer?" Harry asked stretching as he sat back down.

"Shouldn't be much longer." Hermione said as she, Luna, and Myari walked into the car, all of them now in their school uniform and robes. Hermione sat back down next to Haiden who gently wrapped his arm around her shoulder giving Harry a strange envious feeling. Harry glanced at Draco who was combing through Myari's hair as she leaned against his legs, and, as if feeling his gaze, Draco look over to him. Harry blushed at being caught and quickly looked away. By the time the train began to slow down, Myari's hair was a very intricate not.

"Where did you learn to do that?" Hermione asked looking at the not.

"My mother." Was all Draco said as the doors opened, there was a rumble of thunder overhead. As Hermione and the other bundled or covered their pets, Harry muttered a spell to shield them from the rain. Once off the train everyone was happy to find a bubble around their group keeping them warm and dry.

"Hi, Hagrid." Haiden called out seeing a gigantic silhouette at the far end of the platform.

"All righ', 'Aiden?" Hagrid bellowed back, waving. "See yeh at th' feast if we don' drown!" First year traditionally reached Hogwarts Castle by sailing across the lake with Hagrid.

"Ooooh, I wouldn't fancy crossing the lake in this weather." Hermione said looking sympathetically at the crowd of first years that were huddled together shivering as they waited for the rest of the first years. They inched slowly along the dark platform with the rest of the crowd, half of which were glaring at them over the fact they were protected from the rain, the other half attempting to also create a barrier to keep the rain off them as well. A hundred of carriages that were being pulled by winged horses with skeletal bodies, faces with reptilian features, and wide, leather wings that resembled bats' wings, or Thestrals as Harry found out. These creature could only been seen by people who had seen death, which confused Harry as to why he could see them, he had never seen death before, or at least he didn't remember ever seeing death.

Harry forced himself to look away from the Thestrals as Haiden, Ron, Hermione and Neville, who had joined them at some point in their journey to the carriages, climbed gratefully into one of the carriages. Harry, Draco, Myari, and Luna climbed into the next one, the door shut with a snap, and a few moments later, with a great lurch, the long procession of carriages was rumbling and splashing its way up the track toward Hogwarts Castle.

Through the gates, flanked with statues of winged boars, and up the sweeping drive the carriages trundled, swaying dangerously in what was fast becoming a gale. Leaning against the window, Harry could see Hogwarts coming nearer, its many lighted windows blurred and shimmering behind the thick curtain of rain. Lightning flashed across the sky as their carriage came to a halt before the great oak front doors, which stood at the top of a flight of stone steps. People who had occupied the carriages in front were already hurrying up the stone steps into the castle. Harry, Draco, Myari, and Luna jumped down from their carriage and dashed up the steps too, looking up only when they were safely inside the cavernous, torch-lit entrance hall, with its magnificent marble staircase.

"Blimey," Ron said shaking his head and sending water everywhere as they entered, "if that keep up the lake's going to overflow. I'm soaked! What you couldn't keep the spell up for just a little longer? I thought you were powerful." He said glaring at Harry who was using his magic to dry himself off. "ARRGH!"

A large, red, water-filled balloon had dropped from out of the ceiling onto Ron's head and exploded. Drenched and sputtering, Ron staggered sideways into Haiden, just as a second water bomb dropped - narrowly missing Hermione, it burst at Haiden's feet sending a wave of cold water over his sneakers into his socks. People all around them shrieked and started pushing one another in their efforts to get out of the line of fire. Harry looked up and saw, floating twenty feet above them, Peeves the Poltergeist, a little man in a bell-covered hat and orange bow tie, his wide, malicious face contorted with concentration as he took aim again.

"PEEVE!" Yelled an angry voice. "Peeve, come down here at ONCE!"

Professor McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress and head of Gryffindor House, had come dashing out of the Great Hall, she skidded on the wet floor and grabbed Hermione around the neck to stop herself from falling.

"Ouch - sorry, Miss Granger -"

"That's all right, Professor." Hermione gasped, massaging her throat.

"Peeves, get down here NOW!" Barked Professor McGonagall, straightening her pointed hat and glaring upwards through her square-rimmed spectacles.

"Not doing nothing!" Peeves cackled, lobbing a water bomb at several fifth-year girls, who screamed and dived into the Great Hall. "Already wet, aren't they? Little squirts! Wheeeeeeeee!" And he aimed another bomb at the group of second years who had just arrived.

"I shall call the headmaster" Professor McGonagall shouted. "I'm warning you, Peeves-" Peeves stuck his tongue out, threw the last of his water bombs into the air, and zoomed off up the marble staircase, cackling insanely. "Well, move along, then!" Professor McGonagall said sharply to the bedraggled crowd. "Into the Great Hall, come on!" Harry and the others slipped and slid across the entrance hall and through the double doors on the right, Ron muttering furiously under his breath as he pushed his sopping hair off his face.

The Great Hall looked its usual splendid self, decorated for the start-of-term feast. Royal blue and Bronze plates and Goblets decorated the Ravenclaw table, and looking around Harry saw the other tables held plates and goblet with their house colors, gleaming in the light of hundreds and hundreds of candle, floating over the tables in midair. The four long tables were packed with chattering students; at the top of the Hall, the staff sat along one side of a fifth table, facing the students. Harry, Luna, Myari, and Draco separated from the others and made their way to their respected tables.

"Hello Harry." Cedric, who was sitting behind Harry at the Hufflepuff table, said causing Harry to turn to look at him. "Sorry I couldn't ask you in person to sit with me, but I was busy trying to keep a few of my fellow housemates from fighting."

"Oh, um, that's alright." Harry said feeling his cheeks heat up, he hadn't had a chance to speak with Cedric since they traveled to the World Cup together.

"Also, I wanted to ask how you've been. I didn't get to see you after what happened at the World Cup. I heard you got hurt." Cedric said concerned and Harry's heart skipped a beat.

"I'm fine, it was nothing that a mediwitch couldn't handle." Harry reassured him.

"What happened? How did you get hurt?" A female Hufflepuff asked turning in her seat next to Cedric to look at Harry.

"You didn't get captured by a-" A Ravenclaw across from Harry.

"No." Harry cut him off. "As I was running from them, I tripped and hurt my leg. Thankfully I was able to play dead so they left me alone." Harry told them before looking towards the staff table, silently telling them he did not wish to continue the conversation. Luna sighed and rested her head on his shoulder.

"I wonder when the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher will arrive?" Luna asked. They had never yet had a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who lasted more than three terms. Harry's favorite by far had been his father Remus, who had had to resign last year do to some concerns from a few parents. Harry looked up and down the staff table. There was definitely no new face there. Something in the back of his mind was whispering to be careful of the Defense teacher.

Harry scanned the table more carefully. Tiny little Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher and head of Ravenclaw, was sitting on a large pile of cushions besides Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher and head of Hufflepuff, whose hat was askew over her flyaway gray hair. She was talking to Professor Sinistra of the Astronomy department. On Professor Sinistra's other side was his adopted father, Severus Snape, who was the Potions Master and head of Slytherin. On Severus's other side was an empty chair, which Harry guessed was Professor McGonagall's. Next to it, and in the center of the table, sat Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster, his sweeping silver hair and beard shining candlelight, his magnificent deep green robes embroidered with many stars and moons. The tips of Dumbledor's long, thin fingers were together and he was resting his chin upon them, staring up at the ceiling through his half-moon spectacles as though lost in thought. Harry glanced up at the ceiling too. It was enchanted to look like the sky outside, and he had never seen it look this stormy. Black and purple clouds were swirling across it, and as another thunderclap sounded outside, a fork of lightning flashed across it. Harry could see why Dumbledore seemed fascinated by it, Harry himself couldn't seem to be able to pull himself away from looking at it.

The doors of the Great Hall opened and silence fell, pulling Harry away from the night sky. Professor McGonagall was leading a long line of first years up to the top of the Hall. If Harry and the others were wet, it was nothing to how these first years looked. They appeared to have swum across the lake rather than sailed. All of them were shivering with a combination of cold and nerves, and as they passed him towards the staff table, Harry muttered a spell creating a small barrier that, once passed through it, the dried and warmed the poor first years. As the first years came to a stop in front of the staff table, Harry's eyes landed on the smallest of the lot, a boy with mousy hair, who was wrapped in what Harry recognized as Hagrid's moleskin overcoat. The boy caught someone's eye and gave them a double thumbs-up and mouthed, I fell in the lake! He looked positively delighted about it.

Professor McGonagall now placed a three-legged stool on the ground before the first years and, on top of it, and extremely old, dirty, patched wizard's hat. The first years stared at it. So did everyone else. For a moment, there was silence. Then a long tear near the brim opened wide like a mouth, and the hat broke into song:

A thousand years or more ago,
When I was newly sewn,
There lived four wizards of renown,
Whose names are still well known:
Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor,
Fair Ravenclaw, from glen,
Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad
Shrewed Slytherin, from fen.
They shared a wish, a hope, a dream,
They hatched a daring plan
To Educate young sorcerers
Thus Hogwarts School began.
Now each of these four founders
Formed their own house, for each
Did value different virtues
In the ones they had to teach.
By Gryffindor, the bravest were
Prized far beyond the rest;
For Ravenclaw, the cleverest
Would always be the best;
For Hufflepuff, hard workers were
Most worthy of admission:
And power-hungry Slytherin
Loved those of great ambition.
While still alive they did divide
Their favorites from the throng,
Yet how to pick the worthy ones
When they were dead and gone?
'Twas Gryffindor who found the way,
He whipped me off his head
The Founders put some brains in me
So I could choose instead!
Now slip me snug about your ears,
I've never yet been wrong,
I'll have a look inside your mind
And tell where you belong!

The Great Hall rang with applause as the Sorting Hat finished. Professor McGonagall was now unrolling a large scroll of parchment. "When I call out your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool." She told the first years. "When the hat announced your house you will go and sit at the appropriate table." Professor McGonagall began to call the students up one at a time and Harry along with the other students watched as they were sorted into their housed, cheering whenever the Ravenclaw house received a new student. After the last student was called and sorted, Professor McGonagall picked up the hat and stool and carried them away and Professor Dumbledore rose to his feet. He was smiling around at the students, his arms opened wide in welcome.

"I have only two words to say to you," he told them, his deep voice echoing around the Hall. "Tuck in."

"Hear, hear!" Harry heard Haiden and Ron cheer from the Gryffindor table and he shook their antics as the empty dishes filled magically before their eyes. Harry quickly filled his plate and began to eat while listening to the conversations happening around him. Most of the conversation, Harry noticed, were about the World Cup and the attack, multiple rumors were being made and spread. Harry looked around and notice Draco and Myari were playfully fighting over mashed potatoes, Hermione has pushed her plate way from her and looked to be refusing to eat, something that he would have to ask about, Ron and Haiden were talking to Nearly Headless Nick. As he continued eating, Harry looked up at the ceiling and noticed that the rain was still drumming heavily against the high, dark glass. Another clap of thunder shook the windows, and the stormy ceiling flashed, illuminating the golden plates as the remains of the first course vanished and were replaced, instantly, with puddings.

When the puddings too had been demolished, and the last crumbs had faded off the plates, leaving them sparkling clean, Albus Dumbledore got to his feet again. The buzz of chatter filling the Hall ceased almost at once, so that only the howling wind and pounding rain could be heard.

"So!" Dumbledore said smiling around them all. "Now that we are all fed and watered, I must once more ask for your attention, while I give out a few notices. Mr. Filch, the caretaker, has asked me to tell you that the list of objects forbidden inside the castle has this year been extended to include Screaming Yo-yos, Fanged Frisbees, and Ever-Bashing Boomerangs. The full list comprises some four hundred and thirty seven items, I believe, and can be viewed in Mr. Filch's office, if anybody would like to check it." The corners of Dumbledore's mouth twitched. He continued, "As ever, I would like to remind you all that the forest on the grounds is out-of-bounds to students, as is the village of Hogsmeade to all below third year. It is also my painful duty to inform you that the Inter-House Quidditch Cup will not take place this year."

"What!" Haiden cried. Harry turned to look at Haiden to see him bright red and trying to hide, Harry smiled and shook his head at his brother's antics.

"This is due to an event that will be starting in October," Dumbledore continued, "and continuing throughout the school year, taking up much of the teachers' time and energy- but I am sure you will all enjoy it immensely. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year at Hogwarts-" But at that moment there was a deafening rumble of thunder and the doors of the Great Hall banged open. A man stood in the doorway, leaning on a long staff, shrouded in a black traveling cloak. Every head in the Great Hall swiveled towards the stranger, suddenly brightly illuminated by a fork of lightning that flashed across the ceiling. He lowered his hood, shook out a long mane of grizzled, dark gray hair, then began to walk up towards the teachers' table. Something about the man seemed off to Harry, but he couldn't tell what.

A dull clunk echoed through the Hall on his every other step. He reached the end of the top table, turned right, and limped heavily toward Dumbledore. Another flash of lightning crossed the ceiling. The hairs on the back of Harry's head rose. The lightning had thrown the man's face into sharp relief, and the face Harry saw was pale and gaut and covered in a thin layer just like Haiden and Ron had when they were using the Polyjuice potion. This man was using the Polyjuice potion. The stranger reached Dumbledore. He stretched out a hand and Dumbledore shook it, muttering words Harry couldn't hear. He seemed to be making some inquiry of the stranger, who shook his head unsmilingly and replied in an undertone. Dumbledore nodded and gestured the man to the empty seat on his right-hand side. The stranger sat down, shook his short brown hair out of his face, pulled a plate of sausages toward him, raised it to his nose, and sniffed it. He then took a small knife out of his pocket, speared a sausage on the end of it, and begin to eat.

"May I introduce out new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?" Dumbledore said brightly into the silence. "Professor Moody." Harry glared at the man who was obviously pretended to be Professor Moody, he needed to tell someone and soon. It was usual for the new staff members to be greeted with applause, but none of the staff or students clapped except Dumbledore and Hagrid, who both put their hands together and applauded, but the sound echoed dismally into the silence, and they stopped fairly quickly.

'Moody' seemed totally indifferent to his less-than-warm welcome. Ignoring the jug of pumpkin juice in front of him, he reached again into his traveling cloak, pulled out a hip flask, that Harry was sure was filled with the Polyjuice potion, and took a long draught from it. As he lifted his arm to drink, his cloak was pulled a few inches from the ground, and Harry saw, below the table, several inches of carved wooden leg, ending in a clawed foot.

Dumbledore cleared his throat.

"As I was saying," he said, smiling at the sea of students before him, all of whom were still gazing transfixed at 'Mad-Eye Moody', "we are to have the honor of hosting a ver exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held for over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year."

"You're JOKING!" Fred cried out loudly. The Tension that had filled the Hall ever since Moody's arrival suddenly broke. Nearly everyone laughed, and Dumbledore chuckled appreciatively.

"I am not joking, Mr. Weasely," he said, "though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar..."

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly.

"Er- but maybe this is not the time... no..." Dumbledore said, "Where was I? Ah yes, the Triwizard Tournament... well, some of you will not know what this tournament... well, some of you will not know what this tournament involves, so I hope those who do know will forgive me for giving a short explanation, and allow their attention to wander freely. The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. A champion was selected to represent each school, and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turns to host the tournament once every five years, and it was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities - united, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued. There have been several attempts over the centuries to reinstate the tournament, none of which has been very successful. However, our own departments of International Magical Cooperation and Magical Games and Sports have decided the time is ripe for another attempt. We have worked hard over the summer to ensure that this time, no champion will find himself or herself in mortal danger.

"The heads of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving with their short-listed contenders in October, and the selection of the three champions will take place at Halloween. An impartial judge will decide which students are most worthy to compete for the Triwizard Cup, the glory of their school, and a thousand Galleons personal prize money."

"I'm going for it!" Fred announced jumping from his seat, his face lit with enthusiasm at the prospect of such glory and riches. He was not the only person who seemed to be visualizing himself as the Hogwarts champion. At every House table, Harry could see people either gazing raptly at Dumbledore, or else whispering fervently to their neighbors.

"Sit down!" Harry called to Fred causing some students to laugh as Fred quickly sat back down. Dumbledore then began to speak again, and the Hall quieted once more.

"Eager though I know all of you will be to bring the Triwizard Cup to Hogwarts," he said, "the heads of the participating schools, along with the Ministry of Magic, have agreed to impose an age restriction on contenders this year. Only students who are of age - that is to say, seventeen years or older - will be allowed to put forward their names for consideration. This" - Dumbledore raised his voice slightly, for several people had made noises of outrage at these words, and the Weasley twins were suddenly looking furious- "is a measure we feel is necessary, given that the tournament tasks will still be difficult and dangerous, whatever precautions we take, and it is highly unlikely that students below sixth or seventh year will be able to cope with them. I will personally be ensuring that no underage student hoodwinks our impartial judge into making them Hogwarts champion." His light blue eyes twinkled as they flickered over Fred's and George's mutinous faces. "I therefor beg you not to wast your time submitting yourself if you are under seventeen.

"The delegations from Beaxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving in October and remaining with us for the greater part of this year. I know that you will extend every courtesy to our foreign guests while they are with us, and will give your whole-hearted supported to the Hogwarts champion when he or she is selected. And now, it is late, and I know how important it is to you all to be alert and rested as you enter your lessons tomorrow morning. Bedtime! Chop chop!" Dumbledore sat down again and turned to talk to 'Mad-Eye Moody'. There was a great scraping and banging as all the students got to their feet and swarmed toward the double doors into the entrance hall.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five- Mad-Eye Moody

The storm had blown itself out by the following morning, though the ceiling in the Great Hall was still gloomy; heavy clouds of pewter gray swirled over head and Harry and his unlikely group, that was receiving strange looks from the older students, as they looked over their new course schedules at breakfast together at the Gryffindor table. A few seats along, Fred, George, and Lee Jordan were discussing magical methods of aging themselves and bluffing their way into the Triwizard Tournament.

"Today's not bad... outside all morning." Ron said running his finger down the Monday column of this schedule. "Herbology with the Hufflepuff and Care of Magical Creatures... damn it, we're still with the Slytherins."

"Damn it, we're still with the Gryffindors for Care of Magical Creatures." Draco loudly whispered to Myari who giggled. "But at least Ravenclaw students will be there to save the Gryffindors. Right, Harry?"

"I'm not taking Care of Magical Creatures this year." Harry told Draco.

"Wait, what? I'm only taking that stupid course because it's was one of the few courses we could have together." Draco said. "Great, now I'm going to be stuck suffering in the same class with Ronald, alone."

"Sorry." Harry said before looking back at his scheduel.

"Double Divination this afternoon." Haiden groaned looking down.

"You should have given it up like me and Harry, shouldn't you?" Hermione said briskly, buttering her toast. "Then you'd be doing something sensible like Arithmancy."

"Wait you're also not taking Divination?" Draco asked annoyed.

"I thought I told you that." Harry said confused.

"No, I would have remember! Now I'm stuck taking another stupid course." Draco complained.

"You could always go to Professor Snape and drop the course." Hermione suggested.

"I don't know how your head of house handles things like dropping a course, but unless it is an absolute danger to our lives, Severus won't let us drop any course." Draco explained.

"I see you're eating again." Haiden said watching Hermione add liberal amounts of jam to her toast too.

"I've decided there are better ways of making a stand about elf rights." Hermione said haughtily.

"Elf rights? What in the bloody hell are you talking about?" Draco asked, but before anyone could answer there was a sudden rustling noise above them, and a hundred owls came soaring through the open windows carrying the morning mail. The owls circled the tables, looking for the people to whom their letters and packages were addressed. A large tawny owl soared down to Neville Longbottom and deposited a parcel into his lap- Neville almost always forgot to pack something. Draco's eagle owl landed on his shoulder, carrying what looked like his usual supply of sweets and cakes from home. And Harry owl landed gracefully in front of him with a package. After breakfast Harry, who had a break, walked with Draco to his first lesson where Draco kissed Harry on the edge of his mouth again just as Cedric and his group of friends walked by.

"Really Draco?" Harry asked angrily.

"Yes, really." Draco answered, just as angrily.

"Why did you do that!?" Harry asked glaring at Draco.

"You know why I kissed you!" Draco said and Harry huffed and tried to walk away but Draco caught his arm. "Why are you so angry? You didn't seem to mind when I kissed you at the World Cup! Is it because at the time it was just you and me and no one else had seen it? Or is it because Cedric wasn't there to see it?"

"Let me go Draco." Harry growled out.

"Fine. But just know this, I love you." Draco told him as he let Harry go.

"We're only 14, we're too young to know what love is. You only think you love me, but what you think is love, it's not real." Harry told Draco who angrily laughed.

"Right, I'm 14 so that automatically means I have no idea what I feel for you. And I suppose what you feel for Cedric is real, right?" Draco asked.

"I don't know what I feel for Cedric, or for you. Just-" Harry looked away tears in his eyes, "-just give me some time to explore and figure it out."

"Fine." Draco angrily growled out before turning and storming into his class leaving Harry in the hallway with whispering students. Harry took a second to compose himself before he spun around and glared at the whispering and pointing students.

"Don't you have anything better to do than gossip about two 14 year old boys!" Harry asked and the hallway became silent as the students stopped whispering and were now just staring at him. "GET TO CLASS!" Harry yelled allowing some of magic to leak out of him. This caused the other students to jump into action and all but run away from him. Harry rolled his neck and squared his shoulders and went to walk away only to stop when he saw 'Mad-Eye Moody' watching him. "Can I help you?" Harry snapped out.

"Just keeping an eye on what appears to be a troublesome student in the making." 'Moody' said with a slight lisp as the thin barrier around him began to waver.

"You're hour's almost up." Harry told him with a smile before he began to walk, he needed to see Dumbledore.

Burn Me Into Your Memory

By the time Harry had been able to hunt down someone who knew the password to Dumbledore's office, his mood that had not been good after his little tift with Draco was now even worse. And to make it worse, as soon as Harry had gotten to the gargoyle to tell it the password, it jumped aside to allow not only Dumbledore but also 'Moody' to pass. "Ah, Harry, my boy, we were just talking about you." Dumbledore said.

"I'm sure you were." Harry said, annoyance clear in his voice. He watched Dumbledore and 'Moody' share a look and Harry closed his eyes to fight back the urge to make a rude comment.

"I hear you were asking the Professors for my password, was there something you wanted to discuss." Dumbledore asked.

"Yes, but I would like to do so alone." Harry said. And even though he had a feeling that this conversation would be pointless, Harry knew he at least needed to try. Even if to just be able to hold it over Dumbledore's head and say 'I told you so' when it was revealed that he was right.

"I must go prepare for my class." 'Moody' announced before limping away. The two of them watched him go before they turned back towards each other. Dumbledore silent motioned for Harry to lead the way to Dumbledore's office and Harry stepped onto the rotating staircase. The journey up to Dumbledore's office was filled with a slightly tense silence. Once in the office, Harry took a seat in front of the desk without needing to be told to.

"What is it you wish to discuss." Dumbledore asked after he had situated himself behind his desk. Harry took a few minutes to figure out how to start.

"Moody isn't the real Moody. He's someone disusing himself to look like Moody with Polyjuice potion." Harry said deciding to just go straight to the point.

"Oh? That is quite the accusation. Do you have any proof of this?" Dumbledore asked and Harry sighed.

"No." Harry said causing Dumbledore to sigh.

"Harry, I know that Moody doesn't like your adopted father, Severus-" Dumbledore started.

"I can see through the Polyjuice potion." Harry said cutting off Dumbledore causing the man to sit back in his seat in shock.

"That's not-"

"Not possible? Yeah, well, a lot of impossible things seem to happen around me." Harry snapped out, once again. Dumbledore sat back as he thought about everything Harry told him.

"I want to believe you, Harry, I really do. But I can't, not until you can bring me proof of either you being able to see through Polyjuice potions or that the Polyjuice potion is being used." Dumbledore said.

"Right. I don't even know why I tried, I mean, why would you even believe someone you've actively tried to expel and who you only think of as a sacrifice." Harry said angrily as he stood up and stormed out of the room ignoring Dumbledore's cries for him to wait.

Burn Me Into Your Memory

Hermione and Harry walked out of their shared classes and spotted Draco leaning against the wall waiting for them. Harry and Draco locked eyes for a second before Harry looked away and shocked Hermione by walking past Draco without stopping or saying anything to him. "So I'm taking that the rumor of your's and Draco's fight was true."

"I wasn't a fight, it was an argument." Harry told her through his teeth.

"Okay." Hermione said and it was silent between them. Hermione glanced over her should to see Draco walking a few feet behind them with Parkinson latched onto him, and a murderous look on his face. Hermione quickly looked back around and opened her mouth to say something, but Harry cut her off.

"No, I don't want to talk about it." Harry said and Hermione closed her mouth again. The two of them stayed silent until they came across Ron and Haiden looking miserable.

"Lots of homework?" Hermione asked. "Professor Vector didn't give us any at all. Right Harry?"

"Yeah." Harry said nodding.

"Well, bully for Professor Vector." Ron said moodily.

"Um why is Draco-" Haiden started when he noticed how far back Draco was, but stopped when he caught Hermione silently telling him not to ask. They reached the entrance hall, which was packed with people queuing for dinner. They had just joined the end of the line, when a loud voice rang out behind them.

"Weasley! Hey, Weasley!"

Harry, Haiden, Ron, and Hermione turned. Parkinson, still attached to Draco, was standing there looking thoroughly pleased about something.

"What?" Ron asked shortly.

"Your dad's in the paper, Weasely!" Parkinson said brandishing a copy of the Daily Prophet and speaking loudly, so that everyone in the packed entrance hall could here. "Listen to this!

Further Mistakes At The Ministry Of Magic

It seems as though the Ministry of Magic's troubles
are not yet at an end, write Rita Skeeter, Special
Correspondent. Recently under fire for its poor
crowd control at the Quidditch World Cup, and
still unable to account for the disappearance of one
of its witches, the Ministry was plunged into fresh
embarrassment yesterday by the antics of Arnold
Weasley, of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office."

Parkinson looked up.

"Imagine them not even getting his name right, Weasley. It's almost as though he's a complete nonentity, isn't it?" she crowed. Everyone in the entrance hall was listening now. Parkinson straightened the paper with a flourish and read on:

Arnold Weasely, who was charged with possession
of a flying car two years ago, was yesterday involved
in a tussle with several Muggle law-keeper
("policemen") over a number of highly aggressive
dustbins. Mr. Weasley appears to have rushed to
the aid of "Mad-Eye" Moody, the aged ex-Auror
who retired from the Ministry when no longer able
to tell the difference between a handshake and
attempted murder. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Weasley
found, upon arrival at Mr. Moody's heavily
guarded house, that Mr. Moody has once again
raised a false alarm. Mr. Weasley was forced to
modify several memories before he could escape
from the policemen, but refused to answer Daily
Prophet questions about why he had involved the
Ministry in such an undignified and potentially
embarrassing scene.

"And there's a picture, Weasley!" Parkinson said, flipping the paper over and holding it up. "A picture of your parents outside their house- if you can call it a house! Your mother could do with losing a bit of weight, couldn't she?" Ron was shaking with fury. Everyone was staring at him, waiting for him to blow. But he wasn't the one to do anything.

"Get stuffed, Parkinson." Harry said. The two of them glared at each other, Parkinson even went so far as to release Draco's arm, which allowed him to escape to stand next to Hermione.

"Oh yeah, you're brother's staying isn't he. You must visit him. So tell me, is his mother really that porky or is it just the picture?" Parkinson asked. Both Haiden and Hermione grabbed the back of Ron's robes to stop him from launching himself at Parkinson.

"You know your mother, Parkinson?" Harry asked stepping into her personal space. "That expression she's got, like she's got dung under her nose? Has she always looked like that, or was it because you were with her reminding her how she should have swallowed." Parkinson's face went slightly pink.

"Don't you dare insult my mother, Potter!" Parkinson shrieked.

"Then keep your fat mouth shut." Harry said, turning away.

BANG!

Several people screamed - Harry felt something white-hot graze the side of his face - he felt something materialize in his hand and had raised his arm to throw what ever it was while also spinning back around to face Parkinson. But as he threw whatever was in his hand, a throwing dagger from the looks of it, there was a second loud bang, and a roar that echoed through the entrance hall.

"OH NO YOU DON'T, LASSIE!"

The dagger flew threw the space Parkinson had just occupied. Professor 'Moody' was limping down the marble staircase and had to quickly dodge out of the way of the dagger that lodged into the marble staircase as if it were nothing. His wand was out and it was pointing right at a pitch black pug, which was shivering on the stone-flagged floor, exactly where Parkinson had been standing. Harry watched in amazement as the dagger disappeared from the stairs and back into his hand, only to melt into his hand, disappearing completely. There was a terrified silence in the entrance hall. Nobody but 'Moody' was moving a muscle. 'Moody' turned to look at Harry.

"Did she get you?" 'Moody' growled, Harry said nothing while glaring at him. "LEAVE IT!" He shouted shocking everyone.

"Leave - what?" Harry asked bewildered.

"Not you - him!" 'Moody' growled, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at Crabbe, who had just frozen, about to pick up the black pug. 'Moody' started to limp towards Crabbe, Goyle, and the pug which gave a terrified yelp and took off, streaking toward the dungeons. "I don't think so!" 'Moody' roared, pointing his wand at the pug again - it flew ten feet into the air, fell with a smack to the floor, and then bounced upward once more. "I don't like people who attack when their opponent's back turned," 'Moody' growled as the pug bounced higher and higher, yelping in pain. "Stinking, cowardly, scummy thing to do..." The pug flew through the air, its legs and tail flailing helplessly. "Never - do - that- again -" 'Moody' said, speaking each word as the pug hit the stone floor and bounced upward again.

"Professor Moody!" A shocked voice said.

Professor McGonagall was coming down the marble stair case with her arms full of books.

"Hello, Professor McGonagall." 'Moody' said calmly, bouncing the pug higher still.

"What - what are you doing?" Professor McGonagall asked, her eyes following the bouncing pug's progress through the air.

"Teaching." Was all 'Moody' said.

"Teach- Moody, is that a student? Professor McGonagall shrieked, the books spilling from her arms.

"Yep." 'Moody' said.

"No!" Professor McGonagall cried running down the stairs and pulling out her wand; a moment later, with a loud snapping noise, Pansy Parkinson had reappeared, laying in a heap on the floor with her hair all over her now brilliantly pink face. She got to his feet, wincing. "Moody, we never use Transfiguration as a punishment!" Professor McGonagall said weakly. "Surely Professor Dumbledore told you that?"

"He might've mentioned it, yeah," 'Moody' said, scratching his chin unconcernedly, "but I thought a good sharp shock-"

"We give detentions, Moody! Or speak to the offender's Head of House!" Professor McGonagall told him.

"I'll do that, then." 'Moody' said, staring at Parkinson with great dislike. Parkinson, whose hazel eyes were still watering with pain and humiliation, looked malevolently up at 'Moody' and muttering something in which the words "my father" were distinguishable. "Oh yeah" 'Moody' asked quietly, limping forward a few steps, the dull clunk of his wooden leg echoing around the hall. "Well, I know of your father of old, girl... you tell him Moody's keeping a close eyes on his daughter... you tell him that from me... Now, your Head of House'll be Snape, will it?"

"Yes." Parkinson said resentfully.

"Another old friend," 'Moody' growled. "I've been looking froward to a chat with old Snape... Come on, you..." And he seized Parkinson's upper arm and marched her off toward the dungeons. Professor McGonagall stared anxiously after them for a few moment, then waved her wand at the fallen books, causing them to soar up into the air and back into her arms.

"Don't talk to me." Ron ordered Hermione and Haiden as they sat down at the Gryffindor table with Draco and Harry a few minutes later, surrounded by excited talk on all sides about what just happened.

"Why not?" Haiden asked in surprise.

"Because I want to fix that in my memory forever," Ron said, his eyes closed and an uplifted expression on his face. "Draco Malfoy's girlfriend, Pansy Parkinson, the amazing bouncing pug..."

"She's not my girlfriend." Draco hissed out. Haiden and Hermione both laughed, and Hermione began doling beef casserole onto each of their plates.

"He could have really hurt Parkinson, though," she said. "It was good, really, that Professor McGonagall stopped it-"

"Shut up!" Ron said furiously, his eyes snapping open again. "You're ruining the best moment of my life!" Hermione made an impatient noise and began to eat at top speed again.

"Don't tell me you're going back to the library this evening?" Haiden asked, watching her.

"Got to." Hermione said thickly. "Loads to do."

"But you told us Professor Vector-"

"It's not schoolwork." She said. Within five minutes, she had cleared her plate and departed. No sooner had she gone than her seat was taken by Fred Weasley.

"You okay, Kitten?" He asked gently grabbing Harry's chin and tilted his head this way and that. "Lucky Moody was there to help." Harry dislodged Fred's hand.

"I just remembered I need to go talk to Severus." Harry said and stood up and left the Great Hall. He quickly made his way to Severus's office and was just about to knock when Severus opened the door.

"Come on in Harry, Professor Moody and Miss Parkinson were just leaving." Severus said through clenched teeth, Parkinson huffed and left while glaring at Harry. But Professor 'Moody' didn't move and his eyes kept moving from Severus to Harry.

"I did not know you counseled students that were not from your house, Severus." 'Moody' commented.

"Of course, all students are welcomed to come to me if they have any problem." Severus said. They held what seemed to be a silent argument with their eyes before 'Moody' sighed and began to limp out of the room only to stop right next to Harry and attempted to rest his hand on Harry's shoulder but Harry dodged his hand.

"If you ever need advice that you don't think you can get from Professor Snape, don't hesitate to come to me." 'Moody' told him softly.

"Don't count on it." Harry replied shocking 'Moody'.

"Well, then, I'll be seeing you in class, boy." 'Moody' growled out before finally leaving the room.

"Did you-" Severus started before the bell signaling for the end of lunch interrupted him.

"Keep a watchful eye on your potions ingredients, especially those used to create the Polyjuice Potion." Harry said before leaving for his afternoon classes.

Chapter Text

Chapter Six- The Unforgivable Curses

The next two days passed without great incident, unless you counted Neville melting his sixth cauldron in Potions. Severus, who seemed to be in a permanent mood of annoyance and anger, gave Neville detention, and Neville returned to the Gryffindor Tower in a state of nervous collapse, having been made to disembowel a barrel full of horned toads.

"Do you know why Severus is in such a bad mood?" Haiden asked Harry when he entered to tower to help Hermione teach Neville a Scouring Charm to remove the frog guts from under his fingernails.

"'Moody'." Was all Harry growled out before leaving Haiden to go to Hermione.

It was common knowledge that Severus really wanted the Dark Arts job, and he had now failed to get it for the fourth year running. Severus had disliked all of their previous Dark Arts teacher (except Remus)- and shown it- but he seemed strangely wary of displaying overt animosity to Mad-Eye Moody. Indeed, whenever Harry saw the two of them together- at mealtimes, or when they passed in the corridors- he had the distinct impression that Severus was avoiding 'Moody's eyes.

"It seems Severus is a bit scared of him, you know." Haiden said, following Harry.

"Imagine if Moody turned Snape into a horned toad," Ron said, his eyes misting over, "and bounced him all around his dungeon..."

All of the fourth years, except Harry, were looking forward to Moody's first lesson so much that they arrived early on Thursday lunchtime and queued up outside his class room before the bell had even run. The only two people missing were Hermione, who turned up just in time for the lesson, and Harry. Harry didn't arrive until right as 'Moody' was shutting the door, he slipped in and found a seat in the back. Two shared a look with Harry glaring at him as 'Moody' passed him.

"You can put those away," 'Moody' growled, stumping over to his desk and sitting down, "those books. You won't need them." Everyone who had their books out quickly put them away as Harry pulled out his sketch pad and began to sketch the 'Moody' he sees. 'Moody' took out a register, shook his head, and began to call out names. "Put that away, Harry." He called in place of Harry's name. Harry ignored him and continued sketching. "Put it away or I will confiscate it." That got Harry to stop sketching and glare at 'Moody'.

"I'd like to see you come over here and try." Harry said and the whole class sucked in a breath and turned from looking at Harry to look at 'Moody' waiting to see what he would do. 'Moody' pulled out his wand and stood up. "Accio Harry Potter's drawing pad." Harry felt his sketch pad shiver and rise, but Harry used his magic to keep it in place.

"Magic's not going to help you here." Harry said, his voice taking on a dark and dangerous tone. "You're going to have to come over here and try to physically take it from me." 'Moody' growled before storming over to Harry and reached out take the sketch pad, only to have to quickly dodge out of the way as Harry swiped at him with a shimmering silvery blue dagger causing the class to gasp and whisper. The dagger melted back into Harry's hand and he gave 'Moody' a dark smile. "As you can see, that is also not an option.

"I'll be keeping a close eye on you." 'Moody' muttered looking like he wanted to try and grab at the sketch pad that he had a clear view of the beginnings of the man under the Polyjuice. "Right then," he said, turning and heading back to his desk, skipping the rest of the attendance, "I've had a letter from Professor Lupin about this class. Seems you've had a pretty thorough grounding in tackling Dark Creatures-"

"Wait, you're just going to let him get a way with attacking you?!" Ron asked.

"I've been informed of Harry's 'condition', and punishing him for something he has no control over would be wrong and may make the 'condition' worse." 'Moody' informed and the rest of the class burst into whispers while turning to look worriedly at Harry who had gone back to sketching. "As I was saying," The class stopped whispering and focused their attention back to 'Moody', "you've covered boggarts, Red Caps, hinkypunks, grindylows, Kappas, and werewolves, is that right?" There was a general murmur of assent. "But you're behind - very behind- on dealing with curses. So I'm here to bring you up to scratch on what wizards can do to each other. I've got one year to teach you how to deal with Dark-"

"Wait, you're not staying?" Ron blurted out, interrupting 'Moody' again.

"You'll be Arthur Weasley's son, eh?" 'Moody' said. "Your father got me out of a very tight corner a few days ago... Yeah, I'm staying just the one year. Special favor to Dumbledore... One year and then back to my quiet retirement." He gave a harsh laugh, and then clapped his hands together.

"So - straight into it. Curses. They come in many strengths and forms. Now, according to the Ministry of Magic, I'm supposed to teach you countercurses and leave it at that. I'm not supposed to show you what illegal Dark curses look like until you're in the sixth year. You're not supposed to be old enough to deal with it till then. But Professor Dumbledore's got a hight opinion of your nerves, he reckons you can cope, and I say, the sooner you know what you're up against, the better. How are you supposed to defend yourself against something you've never seen? A wizard who's about to put an illegal curse on you isn't going to tell you what he's about to do. He's not going to do it nice and polite to your face. You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful. You need to put that away, Miss Brown, when I'm talking." Lavender jumped and blushed as Harry finished his sketch and put his sketch pad up. "So... do any of you know which curses are most heavily punished by wizarding law?" Several hands rose tentatively into the air, including Ron's and Hermione's. 'Moody' pointed at Ron.

"Er," Ron said tentatively, "my dad told me about one... Is it called the Imperius Curse, or something?"

"Ah, yes," 'Moody' appreciatively. "Your father would know that one. Gave the Ministry a lot of trouble at one time, the Imperius Curse." 'Moody' got heavily to his mismatched feet, opened his desk drawer, and took out a glass jar. Three large black spiders were scuttling around inside it. 'Moody' reached into the jar, caught one of the spiders, and held it in the palm of his so that they could all see it. He then pointed his wand at it and mutter "Imperio!" The spider lept from 'Moody's hand on a fine thread of silk and began to swing backward and forward as though on a trapeze. It stretched out its legs rigidly, then did a back flip, breaking the thread and landing on the desk, where it began to cartwheel in circles. 'Moody' jerked his wand, and the spider rose onto two of its hind legs and went into what was unmistakably a tap dance.

Everyone was laughing- everyone except 'Moody' and Harry who was strangely entranced by the spider. Harry could feel his heart rate starting to speed up.

"Think it's funny, do you?" 'Moody' growled as class room slowly dissolved into a dungeon and the man pretending to be Moody turned into a man with a face unlike any Harry had ever seen. It looked as though it had been carved out of weathered wood by someone who had only the vaguest idea what human faces are supposed to look like, and none too skilled with a chisel. Every inch of skin seemed to be scarred. The mouth looked like a diagonal gash, and a large chunk of the nose was missing. But it was the man's eyes that made him frightening. One of them was small, dark, and beady. The other was large, round as a coin, and vivid, electric blue. The eye was focused on him. "You'd like it, would you, if I did it to you?"

"No sir." Harry heard himself say.

"Well, that's exactly what I've been brought in to do. How else will you learn to fight it off if you've never had it done to you. Imperio!" Harry threw himself back and suddenly he was back in the classroom, on the floor with everyone looking at him. It was silent for a few minutes as Harry reoriented himself before calmly standing up and sitting back down.

"Total control," 'Moody' said quietly gaining the attention of the class as the spider balled itself up and began to roll over and over. "I could make it jump out the window," he made the spider go over to the window, "drown itself," he made the spider walk over to a pitcher full of water and stand on the edge of it, before having the spider come back to his hand, "throw itself down one of your throats..." Every one gave an involuntary shudder. "Years back, there were a lot of witches and wizards being controlled by the Imperius Curse," 'Moody' said, Harry knew he was talking about the days in which Voldemort had been all-powerful. "Some job for the Minister, trying to sort out who was being forced to act, and who was acting of their own free will.

"The Imperius Curse can be fought, and I'll be teaching you how, but it takes real strength of character, and not everyone's got it. Better avoid being hit with it if you can. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" he barked, and everyone, including Harry, jumped. "Anyone else know one? Another illegal curse?" Hermione's hand flew into the air again and so, to Harry's slight surprise, did Neville's. The only class in which Neville usually volunteered information was Herbology, which was easily his best subject. Neville looked surprised at his own daring. "Yes?" 'Moody' said looking at Neville.

"There's one- The Cruciatus Curse." Neville said in a small but distinct voice. 'Moody' was looking very intently at Neville.

"You're name's Longbottom?" He asked. Neville nodded nervously, but 'Moody' made no further inquiries. Turning back to the class at large and placed the spider in front of Neville, where it remained motionless, apparently too scared to move. "The Cruciatus Curse. Needs to be a bit bigger for you to get the idea." 'Moody' said, pointing his wand at the spider. "Engorgio!" The spider swelled. It was now larger than a tarantula. Abandoning all pretense, Ron pushed his chair backward, as far away from the spider as possible. 'Moody' raised his wand again, pointed it at the spider and muttered, "Crucio!" And Harry was back in the dungeon pointing his wand at a black kitten that had its legs bent in upon its body, it rolled over and began to twitch horribly, rocking from side to side. It was mewing helplessly and Harry wanted to stop the curse, but knew that if he did, he would be hit with the curse from Moody, and after being hit with the Cruciatus Curse for an hour he never wanted to be hit with it again.

"STOP IT!" Harry heard himself yell and once again found himself back in the classroom, this time standing up glaring at the 'Moody' impostor. 'Moody' raised his wand. The spider's legs relaxed, but it continued to twitch.

"Reducio," 'Moody' muttered, and the spider shrank back to its proper size, he picked up the spider and carried it all the way over to Harry and sat it in front of him. "Perhaps you can give us the last illegal curse Mr. Potter." Harry looked at the poor spider in front of him.

"The Killing Curse." Harry whispered.

"I'm sorry?" 'Moody' asked. And Harry closed his eyes as flashes of green and a woman screaming replayed over in his mind. "I couldn't hear you."

"The Killing Curse!" Harry yelled and heard the class gasp.

"Ah, yes, the last and worst." 'Moody' said and something in his voice caused Harry to open his eyes, he was no longer in the classroom but he wasn't in the dungeon. He found himself standing in what seemed to be a crib staring at the back of a woman with long wavy red hair.

"Avada Kedavra!" There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast invisible something was soaring through the air- instantaneously the woman was laying on the ground and someone in a dark cloak was now standing over her. The man stepped over the woman and over to him, raised his wand and before he could do or say anything, hands covered his eyes.

We don't need that memory. He heard whispered in his ear. Focus on the present. Harry blinked and found himself staring at a dead spider. 'Moody' swept the dead spider off the desk onto the floor.

"Not nice." He said calmly. "Not pleasant. And there's no countercurse. There's no blocking it. Only two known people have ever survived it, and one of them is sitting right in front of me." Harry felt 'Moody's eyes on him as he stared blankly at the spot on his desk where the spider had been. He could feel everyone else looking around at him too. 'Moody' was speaking again, from a great distance, it seemed to Harry. With a massive effort, he pulled himself back to the present and listened to what 'Moody' was saying.

"Avada Kedavra's curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it - most of you could get your wands out now and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed. But that doesn't matter. I'm not here to teach you how to do it. Now, if there's no countercurse, why am I showing you? Because you've got to know. You've got to appreciate what the worst is. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you're facing it. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" He roared, the whole class jumped again, and Harry felt his magic rise to lash out, but forced it back down.

"Now... those three curses -Avada Kedavra, Imperius, and Cruciatus- are known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban. That's what you're up against. That's what I've got to teach you to fight. You need preparing. You need arming. But most of all, you need to practice constant, never-ceasing vigilance. Get out your quills... copy this down..."

They spent the rest of the lesson taking notes on each of the Unforgivable Curses. No one spoke until the bell rang- but when 'Moody' had dismissed them and they had left the classroom of talk burst forth. Most people were discussing the curses in awed voices - "Did you see it twitch?" "-and when he killed it - just like that!"

They were talking about the lesson, Harry thought, as though it had been some sort of spectacular show, but he hadn't found it very entertaining - and nor, it seemed, had Hermione. "You alright Harry?" She asked coming up to him.

"Yeah." Harry muttered but Hermione didn't seem convinced. "I mean, I will be." It was then that they came up to Neville who was standing alone, halfway up the passage, staring at the stone wall opposite him with his eyes wide and horrified.

"Neville?" Hermione asked gently.

Neville looked around.

"Oh hello." He said, his voice much higher than normal. "Interesting lesson, wasn't it? I wonder whats for dinner, I'm - I'm starving, aren't you?"

"Neville, are you all right?" Hermione asked.

"Oh yes, I'm fine." Neville gabbed in the same unnaturally high voice. "Very interesting dinner - I mean lesson - what's for eating?"

Haiden and Hermione shared a startled look.

"Neville, what-?"

But an odd clunking noise sounded behind them, and they turned to see Professor 'Moody' limping toward them. Harry felt his magic rise to the surface as if getting ready to defend himself, and stepped away from Neville, behind his brother, to watch 'Moody' apprehensively, but when he spoke, it was in a much lower and gentler growl than they had yet heard.

"It's all right, sonny." He said to Neville. "Why don't you come up to my office? Come on... we can have a cup of tea..." Neville looked even more frightened at the prospect of tea with 'Moody'. He neither moved or spoke. Harry wanted to step up and say something to keep Neville from going with the impostor, but couldn't seem to move his mouth or legs. And then 'Moody' was looking straight at Harry causing him to almost loose control on his magic and attack him. "You all right, are you, Potter?" Harry couldn't make himself say anything.

"He's fine." Draco said stepping in between Harry and 'Moody'.

'Moody' stared over Draco's head at Harry for a minute before looking over at Haiden. Then he said, "You've got to know. It seems harsh, maybe, but you've got to know. No point pretending... well... come on, Longbottom, I've got some books that might interest you." Neville looked pleadingly at them, but they didn't say anything, so Neville had no choice but to allow himself to be steered away, one of 'Moody's gnarled hands on his shoulder. Harry felt guilty for not being able to stop his friend from going with the impostor.

"What was that about?" Ron asked, watching Neville and 'Moody' turn the corner.

"I don't know." Hermione said, looking pensive.

"Some lesson, though, eh?" Ron said to Haiden as they set off for the Great Hall. "Fred and George were right, weren't they? He really knows his stuff, Moody, doesn't he? When he did Avada Kedavra, the way that spider just died, just snuffed right-" But Ron fell suddenly silent when Haiden, Hermione, and Draco glared at him and didn't speak again until they reached the Great Hall, when he said he supposed him and Haiden better make a start on Professor Trelawney's predictions tonight, since they would take hours.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry was sitting in the corner of a pitch black room, he was curled up as small as he could waiting for his teacher to come back. He wanted to cry, wanted to complain, but knew that he couldn't. He had messed up. Had allowed his brother to get hurt. Harry jumped when the door opened and allowed a stream of light to enter the room and blind him. He heard someone walk into the room. He opened his eyes to try and see who it was but only saw a silhouette.

"Have you learned your lesson?" His teacher asked and Harry nodded. "You know I do not like punishing you. But you must learn that protecting you're brother must come before everything else. He must survive. And you must do everything in your power to make sure he does."

"Yes, sir." Harry said.

"Come, we must continue your training." His teacher ordered and Harry forced his tired and weak legs to stand up and followed his teacher out of the dungeon that was quickly becoming his room from how many times he has messed up. "Mad-Eye tells me have mastered the art of throwing off the Imperius Curse, you've also learned to withstand a period of time under the Cruciatus Curse, and even manged to correctly perform the Killing Curse."

"Yes, sir." Harry muttered trying to fight down not only the sick that was trying to claw its way out of his throat, but also the memories of killing the little black kitten they had gotten for him to practice his curses on.

"Good." His teacher said as they entered the large round training area. Harry stopped walking when he noticed over 10 of his teacher standing in front of him. "Today you will be learning how to see through the Polyjuice potion." They all said at the same time. "Every time you do not find the real me, you will be punished." They began to walk around him as they continued to talk. "Many people will try to use the Polyjuice potion to try and get close to your brother, you must be able to see through it to protect him. After all, it is the least you could do after everything he has done for you." They stopped moving. "Which is the real one?" Harry nervously looked around at all of the people pretending to be his teacher, trying to see if there was any tell at all.

"Um." Harry said.

"Pick one of us!" They yelled at him and Harry just randomly pointed at one only to cry out in pain a second later as a dagger embedded itself into his shoulder. Harry dropped to the ground holding his shoulder and crying, he wanted to go back to his aunt and uncle's, they never tortured him like this! He wanted to go back to being invisible! He didn't want to be trapped inside Hogwarts never able to leave, having to pretend during the semesters that he was just like all the other students and wasn't forced to stay over summer and train. "Is that all it takes to take you down? If so the enemy will be able to easily get past you and kill your brother." Harry tried to stand back up but the pain was too much. "Pathetic." He felt one of the people pretending to be his teacher grab him and begin to drag him back towards the dungeon.

"The next time I come get you, you better be able to take more than one hit." His teacher ordered throwing him back into the dungeon and left without a word, the door slamming closed behind him. Harry stayed on the floor where he landed and allowed himself to cry. Why did he have to be the one to protect his brother? Why couldn't someone older and more powerful do it? Why couldn't he be able run around and have fun with friends, like everyone else? Why couldn't he have friends? Why! Why! Why! Harry hated the life he was given. He didn't want this life! He wanted to go back to when they first got their letters and make that time never happen! He wanted to go back and never loose control of his magic making his relatives take Haiden and leave him alone! He wanted to go back and keep himself from believing the lies that his teacher told him and not go with him!

The anger and hatred that had been welding up inside him ever since his training with his teacher had began exploded out of him with a loud and anguished scream as his magic lashed out.

"I NEVER WANTED THIS!" Harry roared as his body began to float in the air as his magic began to destroy the dungeon he was in. "I NEVER WANTED THESE POWERS! I NEVER WANTED TO BE SPECIAL! I WANT TO BE NORMAL! I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL! I WANT TO HAVE FRIENDS! I WANT TO BE LOVED! WHY CAN'T I HAVE THAT! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL!" Harry's magic had destroyed the dungeon enough that there was no more dungeon when he opened his eyes. Harry took a second to catch his breath before the took off over the rubble and ran through the hall. He was going to leave this place and never come back! He had just made it to the entrance hall when he was caught by Mad-Eye Moody. "NO LET ME GO! LET ME GO!" Harry yelled as he began to try and struggle out of the magic holding him. "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU ALL!" Harry cried as he was forced into the air. His teacher stepped in front of him with a disappointed look. "Why are you doing this to me? What did I ever do to you? Why do you hate me so?" Harry asked, tears falling from his eyes.

"My boy, I don't hate you. This is your destiny. You were born to protect your brother. The power you were given was meant to protect Haiden. That is the only reason you are alive, to make sure he lives." His teacher told him.

"No, you're lying! I'm not just a shield! I more than that!" Harry cried as is anger and energy began to fade away. "I'm not a shield." He whispered as darkness took over him.

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven- Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

Early the next morning, Harry woke up sluggish yet ready to defend himself. His shoulder hurt like hell, almost as if he was been stabbed. His eye felt heavy like he had been crying. And his throat was kind of sore. He knew the dream he had had was something more than a dream, but he couldn't remember it. He sat in his bed for a few minutes before forcing himself out of bed and started to get ready, only to trip and fall causing a loud thud. His legs felt weak. Harry sat on the floor as he tried to gather the energy to even stand up. He looked towards the door when it opened.

"Everything all right in here?" Remus asked poking his head in, confusing Harry.

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked.

"I got called to go on another mission and came to see you and Severus before I left." Remus said stepping into the room and over to Harry.

"Oh." Harry muttered causing Remus to chuckle.

"Still asleep?" Remus asked bending down to ruffle Harry's hair. "Well, I'll leave you to finish waking up, I've got somethings I need to discuss with your father." Remus kissed the top of Harry's head before leaving the room again. The second his bedroom door closed all the way, Harry felt a jolt go through him and instantly felt better. He was not longer sluggish nor ready to defend himself. His shoulder no longer hurt, his eyes weren't heavy anymore, nor was his throat kind of sore any more. Harry stood up and noticed that his legs felt stronger and he also had his energy back.

"Okay, that's was strange." Harry muttered before he began to get dressed. He walked out of his room just in time to see Severus and Remus kissing good bye at the fireplace, Harry rushed over and hugged Remus when he pulled away from Severus. "Be safe." He muttered into Remus's shirt.

"I will." Remus told him, hugging him back before pulling away and leaving.

Harry did his best not to worry about Remus over the next couple of weeks. True, could not stop himself from looking anxious every time Severus got a letter, expecting it was saying Remus was either injured or dead, nor could he stop the nightmare that invaded his sleep. Thankfully his lessons help keep his mind busy, they were becoming more difficult and demanding than ever before, particularly 'Moody's Defense Against the Dark Arts.

To their surprise, Professor 'Moody' had announced that he would be putting the Imperius Curse on each of them in turn, to demonstrate its power and to see whether they could resist its effects.

"But - but you said it's illegal, Professor." Hermione said uncertainly as 'Moody' cleared away the desks with a sweep of wand, leaving a large cleared space in the middle of the room. "You said - to use it against another human was-"

"Dumbledore wants you taught what it feels like," 'Moody' said fixing her with an eerie, unblinking stare. "If you'd rather learn the hard way - when someone's putting it on you so they can control you completely - fine by me. You're excused. Off you go." He pointed a finger toward the door. Hermione went very pink and muttered something about not meaning that she wanted to leave. Haiden and Ron grinned at each other. They knew Hermione would rather eat bubotuber pus than miss such an important lesson. Harry stood up to leave. "Not you, Potter." He sat back down.

'Moody' began to beckon students forward in turn and put the Imperius Curse upon them. Harry watched as, one by one, his classmates did the most extraordinary things under its influence. Draco professed his 'undying love' to Parkinson which made Harry angry for a reason he would rather not admit to right now. Dean Thomas hopped three times around the room, singing the national anthem. Lavender Brown imitated a squirrel. Parkinson asked Hermione on a date. Neville performed a series of quite astonishing gymnastics he would certainly not have been capable of in his normal state. Haiden did an impressive ballet dance. Not one of them seemed to be able to fight off the curse, and each of them recovered only when 'Moody' had removed it.

"Harry," 'Moody' growled, "you're next."

Harry moved forward into the middle of the classroom, into the space that 'Moody' had cleared of desk, feeling as if he was going to the gallows. He didn't want to do this. 'Moody' raised his wand and pointed it Harry, and said "Imperio!" It was the most wonderful feeling. Harry felt a floating sensation as every thought and worry in his head was wiped gently away, leaving nothing but a vague, untraceable happiness. He stood there feeling immensely relaxed, only dimly away of everyone watching him.

And then he heard 'Moody's voice echoing in some distant chamber of his empty brain: Jump onto the desk... jump onto the desk...

No, you jump onto the desk. Another voice had awoken in the back of his brain. I don't want to do this, said the voice.

Jump onto the desk...

No! I will not! The other voice growled and Harry felt his magic start to rise.

Jump! NOW!

The next thing Harry felt was a sharp pain in his mind.

YOU JUMP! The voice roared and suddenly 'Moody' was jumping on the desk instead of him causing the class to gasp as the floating sensation disappeared from him.

"Look at that, you lot... Harry not only fought off the Imperius Curse, but he also pushed it back onto me. Very impressive." 'Moody' said climbing off the desk. "Only a very powerful wizard can do that."

"Well, this is Harry we're talking about." Draco boasted causing Harry.

"Shall we try it again?" 'Moody' asked and Harry glared at him, he wanted nothing to do with this. "The rest of you pay attention - what his eyes, that's where you see it - very good, Harry, very good indeed! They'll have trouble controlling you!"

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

"They way he talks," Harry growled out angrily as he stormed out of the Defense Against the Dark Arts class an hour later ('Moody' had insisted on putting Harry through his paces four times in a row, until Harry had accidentally caused 'Moody' to injure himself), "you'd think we were all going to be attacked any second."

"Yeah, I know." Ron , who was skipping on every alternate step, agreed causing both Ron and Harry to stop walking and glare at each other before continuing to walk. "Talk about paranoid..." Ron glanced nervously over his shoulder to check that 'Moody' was definitely out of earshot and went on. "No wonder they were glad to get shot of him at the Ministry. Did you hear him telling Seamus what he did to that witch who shouted 'Boo' behind him on April Fools' Day? And when are we supposed to read up on resisting the Imperius Curse with everything else we've got to do?"

All the fourth years had noticed a definite increase in the amount of work they were required to do this term. Professor McGonagall explained why, when the class gave a particularly loud groan at the amount of Transfiguration homework she had assigned.

"You are now entering a most important phase of your magical education!" She told them, her eyes glinting dangerously behind her square spectacles. Your Ordinary Wizarding Levels are drawing closer-"

"We don't take O.W.L.s till fifth year!" Dean said indignantly.

"Maybe not, Thomas, but believe me, you need all the preparation you can get! Miss Granger and Harry Potter are the only people in this class who has managed to turn a hedgehog into a satisfactory pincushion. I might remind you that your pincushion, still curls up in fright if anyone approaches it with a pin!" Hermione, who had turned rather pink again, seemed to be trying not to look too pleased with herself, Harry on the other hand looked rather bored and indifferent.

Meanwhile Professor Binns, the ghost who taught History of Magic, had them writing weekly essays on the goblin rebellions of the eighteenth century. Severus was forcing them to research antidotes. They took this one seriously, as he had hinted that he might be poisoning one of them before Christmas to see if their antidote worked. Professor Flitwick had asked them to read three extra books in preparation for their lesson on Summoning Charms.

When they arrived in the entrance hall, they found themselves unable to proceed owing to the large crowd of students congregated there, all milling around a large sign that had been erected at the foot of the marble staircase. Draco, the tallest of the group, stood on tiptoe to see over the heads in front of them and read the sign aloud to the others:

TRIWIZARD TOURNAMENT
THE DELEGATIONS FROM BEAUXBATON AND
DURMSTANG WILL BE ARRIVING AT 6 O'CLOCK
ON FRIDAY THE 30TH OF OCTOBER. LESSONS WILL
END HALF AN HOUR EARLY -

"Brilliant!" Haiden said. "It's Potions last thing on Friday! Severus won't have time to poison us all!"

STUDENTS WILL RETURN THEIR BAGS AND BOOKS
TO THEIR DORMITORIES AND ASSEMBLE IN FRONT
OF THE CASTLE TO GREET OUR GUEST BEFORE
THE WELCOMING FEAST.

"Only a week away!" Ernie Macmillan of Hufflepuff, emerging from the crowd, his eyes gleaming. "I wonder if Cedric knows? Think I'll go and tell him..."

"Cedric?" Harry asked blushing causing Draco to huff and roll his eyes.

"He must be entering the tournament." Haiden said.

"That idiot, Hogwarts champion?" Ron asked as they pushed their way through the chattering crowd toward the staircase.

"He's not an idiot!" Harry cried stomping his foot childishly. "You just don't like him because he beat Gryffindor at Quidditch. He's a really good student with high marks, unlike you - and he's perfect." Draco growled at that.

"You only like him because he's handsome." Ron sneered out.

"Excuse me, I don't like people just because they're handsome!" Harry said indignantly. "He's kind and puts others before himself!"

"You hear that, Malfoy, Harry here likes people who are kind and put other before themselves. Which means you have no chance!" Ron said and Draco palled his fist up.

"I didn't say Draco didn't have a chance! Draco is kind in his own way and very protective of his friends. He might not always put others before himself, but that doesn't mean I don't like him! Draco's perfect the way he is! I like him just as he is!" Harry said before blushing a bright red and took off leaving a very hopeful Draco in his wake.

The appearance of the sign in the entrance hall had a marked effect upon the inhabitants of the castle. During the following week, there seemed to be only on topic of conversation, no matter where Harry went: The Triwizard Tournament. Rumors were flying from student to student like highly contagious germs: who was going to try for Hogwarts champion, what the tournament would involve, how the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang differed from themselves.

Harry noticed too that the castle seemed to be undergoing an extra-thorough cleaning. Several grimy portraits had been scrubbed, much to the displeasure of their subjects, who sat huddled in their frames muttering darkly and wincing as they felt their raw pink faces. The suits of armor were suddenly gleaming and moving without squeaking, and Argus Filch, the caretaker, was behaving so ferociously to any student who forgot to wipe their shoes that he terrified a pair of first-year girls into hysterics.

Other members of the staff seemed oddly tense too.

"Longbottom, kindly do not reveal that you can't preform a simple Switching Spell in front of anyone from Durmstrang!" Professor McGonagall barked at the end of one particularly difficult lesson, during which Neville had accidentally transplanted his own ears onto a cactus.

When they went down to breakfast on the morning of the thirtieth of October, they found that the Great Hall had been decorated overnight. Enormous silk banners hung from the walls, each of them representing a Hogwarts House: red with a gold lion for Gryffindor, blue with a silver raven for Ravenclaw, yellow with a black badger for Hufflepuff, and green with a silver serpent for Slytherin. Behind the teachers' table, the largest banner of all bore the Hogwarts coat of arms: lion, raven, badger, and snake united around a large letter H.

There was a pleasant feeling of anticipation in the air that day. Nobody was very attentive in lessons, being much more interested in the arrival that evening of the people from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. When the bell rang early, Harry hurried to the rooms he shared with Severus, deposited his bag and books as everyone had been instructed, pulled on his cloak, and rushed back downstairs into the entrance hall.

The Heads of Houses were ordering their students into lines, so Harry wasn't able to stand with his brother or Draco, but he was thankful that Luna was able to be next to him.

"Nearly 6." Harry muttered and Luna took his hand. They scanned the darkening grounds excitedly, but nothing was moving; everything was still, silent, and quite as usual. And then he spotted it just as Dumbledore called out from the back row where he stood with the other teacher-

"Aha! Unless I am very much mistaken, the delegation from Beauxbatons approaches!"

"Where?" Many students asked eagerly, all looking in different directions.

"There!" Harry yelled, pointing over the forest. Something large, much larger than a broomstick - or, indeed, a hundred broomsticks - was hurtling across the deep blue sky toward the castle, growing larger all the time.

"It's a dragon!" shrieked on of the first years, losing her head completely.

"Don't be stupid... it's a flying house!" Dennis Creevey said. Dennis's guess was closer... As the gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and the lights shining from the castle windows hit it, they saw a gigantic, powder-blue, horse-drawn carriage, the size of a large house, soaring toward them, pulled through the air by a dozen winged horses, all palominos, and each the size of an elephant.

The front three rows of students drew backwards as the carriage hurtled even lower, coming in to land at a tremendous speed - then, with an almighty crash that made Neville jump backwards onto a Slytherin fifth years foot, the horse's hooves, larger than dinner plates, hit the ground. A second later, the carriage landed too, bouncing upon its vast wheels, while the golden horses tossed their enormous heads and rolled large, fiery red eyes.

Harry just had time to see that the door of the carriage bore a coat of arms (two crossed, golden wands, each emitting three stars) before it opened.

A boy in pale blue robes jumped down from the carriage, bent forward, fumbled for a moment with something on the carriage floor, and unfolded a set of golden steps. He sprang back respectfully. Then Harry saw a shining, high-heeled black shoe emerging from the inside of the carriage - a shoe the size of a child's sled - followed, almost immediately, by the largest woman he had ever seen in his life. The size of the carriage, and of the horses, was immediately explained. A few people gasped.

Harry had only ever seen one person as large as this woman in his life, and that was Hagrid; he doubted whether there was an inch difference in their heights. Yet somehow - maybe simply because he was used to Hagrid - this woman (now at the foot of the steps, and looking around at the waiting, wide-eyed crowd) seemed even more unnaturally large. As she stepped into the light flooding form the entrance hall, she was revealed to have a handsome, olive-skinned face; large, black, liquid-looking eyes; and a rather beaky nose. Her hair was drawn back in a shining knob at the base of her neck. She was dressed from head to foot in black satin, and magnificent opals gleamed at her throat and on her thick fingers.

Dumbledore started to clap; the students, following his lead, broke into applause too, many of them standing on tiptoe, the better to look at this woman. Her face relaxed into a gracious smile and she walked forward toward Dumbledore, extending a glittering hand. Dumbledore, though tall himself, had barely to bend to kiss it.

"My dear Madame Maxime." He said. "Welcome to Hogwarts."

"Dumbly-dorr," Madame Maxime said in a deep voice, "I 'ope I find you well?"

"In excellent form, I thank you." Dumbledore said.

"My pupils." Madame Maxine said, waving one of her enormous hands carelessly behind her. Harry, whose attention had been focused completely upon Madame Maxime, now noticed that about a dozen boys and girls, all, by the looks of them, late teens, had emerged from the carriage and were now standing behind Madame Maxime. They were shivering, which was unsurprising, given that their robes seemed to be made of fine silk, and none of them were wearing cloaks. A few had wrapped scarves and shawls around their heads. From what Harry could see of them (they were standing in Madame Maxime's enormous shadow), they were staring up at Hogwarts with apprehensive looks on their faces.

"'As Karkaroff arrived yet?" Madame Maxime asked.

"He should be here any moment." Dumbledore said. "Would you like to wait here and greet him or would you prefer to step inside and warm up a trifle?"

"Warm up, I think." Madame Maxime said. "But ze 'orses-"

"Our Care of Magical Creatures teacher will be delighted to take care of them," Dumbledore said, "the moment he has returned from dealing with a slight situation that has arisen with some of his other - er - charges."

"My steeds require - er - forceful 'andling." Madame Maxime said, looking as though she doubted whether any Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts could be up to the job. "Zey are very strong..."

"I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job." Dumbledore said smiling.

"Very well." Madame Maxime said, bowing slightly. "Will you please inform zis 'Agrid zat ze 'orses drink only single-malt whiskey?"

"It will be attended to." Dumbledore said, also bowing.

"Come." Madame Maxime said imperiously to her students, and the Hogwarts crowd parted to allow her and her students to pass up the stone steps. They stood, shivering slightly now, waiting for the Durmstrang party to arrive. Most people were gazing hopefully up at the sky. But for some strange reason, Harry's attention kept being pulled to the lake. For a few minutes, the silence was broken only by Madame Maxime's huge horses snorting and stamping. But then -

"Can you hear something?" Ron suddenly asked. Harry listened; a loud and oddly eerie noise was drifting toward them from out of the darkness: a muffled rumbling and sucking sound, as though an immense vacuum cleaner were moving along a riverbed...

"The lake!" Harry yelled, pointing down at it. "Look at the lake!" From their position at the top of the lawns overlooking the grounds, they had a clear view of the smooth black surface of the water - except that the surface was suddenly not smooth at all. Some disturbance was taking place deep in the center; great bubbles were forming on the surface, waves were now washing over the muddy banks - and them, out in the very middle of the lake, a whirlpool appeared, as if a giant plug had just been pulled out of the lake's floor...

What appeared to be a long, black pole began to rise slowly out of the heart of the whirlpool... and then Harry saw the rigging...

"It's a mast!" Harry announced. Slowly, magnificently, the ship rose out of the water, gleaming in the moonlight. It had a strangely skeletal look about it, as though it were a resurrected wreck, and the dim, misty lights shimmering at it portholes looked like ghostly eyes. Finally, with a great sloshing noise, the ship emerged entirely, bobbin on the turbulent water, and began to glide toward the bank. A few moments later, they heard the splash of an anchor being thrown down in the shallows, and the thud of a plank being lowered onto the bank.

People were disembarking; they could see their silhouettes passing the lights in the ship's portholes. All of them, Harry noticed, seemed to be built along the lines of Crabbe and Goyle... but then, as they drew nearer, walking up the lawns into the light streaming from the entrance hall, he saw that their bulk was really due to the fact that they were wearing cloaks of some kind of shaggy matted fur. But the man who was leading them up to the castle was wearing furs of a different sort: sleek and silver, like his hair.

"Dumbledore!" He called heartily as he walked up the slope. "How are you, my dear fellow, how are you?"

"Blooming, thank you, Professor Karkaroff." Dumbledore replied. Karkaroff had a fruity, unctuous voice; when he stepped into the light pouring from the front doors of the castle they saw that he was tall and thin like Dumbledore, but his white hair was short, and his goatee (finishing in a small curl) did not entirely hide his rather weak chin. When he reached Dumbledore, he shook hands with both of his own.

"Dear old Hogwarts." He said, looking up at the castle and smiling; his teeth were rather yellow, and Harry noticed that his smile did not extend to his eyes, which remained cold and shrewd. "How good it is to be here, how good... Viktor, come along, into the warmth... you don't mind, Dumbledore? Viktor has a slight head cold..." Karkaroff beckoned forward one of his students. As the boy passed, Harry caught his eyes and noticed that it was Viktor Krum.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight- The Goblet of Fire

Harry and Luna caught up with Ron, Haiden, and Hermione as the Hogwarts students filed back up the steps behind the party from Durmstrang. "I don't believe it!" Ron whispered to Haiden excitedly. "Krum, Haiden! Viktor Krum!"

"For heaven's sake, Ron, he's only a Quidditch player." Hermione said as Draco pushed his way through the crowed to them.

"Only a Quidditch player?" Ron asked looking at her as though he couldn't believe his ears. "Hermione - he's one of the best Seekers in the world! I had no idea he was still at school!" As they recrossed the entrance hall with the rest of the Hogwarts students heading for the Great Hall, Harry saw Lee Jordan jumping up and down on the soles of his feet to get a better look at the back of Krum's head. Several sixth-year girls were frantically searching their pockets as they walked-

"Oh I don't believe it, I haven't got a single quill on me-"

"D'you think he'd sign my hat in lipstick?"

"Really." Hermione said loftily while Harry rolled his eyes as they passed the girls, now squabbling over the lipstick.

"I'm getting his autograph it I can." Ron said. "You haven't got a quill, have you, Haiden?"

"Nope, they're upstairs in my bag." Haiden said. They separated to their tables and sat down. Harry noticed that Krum and his fellow Durmstrang students were still gathered around the doorway, apparently unsure about where they should sit. The students from Beauxbatons had chosen seats further down the Ravenclaw table from him and Luna. They were looking around the Great Hall with glum expressions on their faces. Three of them were still clutching scarves and shawls around their heads. Viktor and Harry locked eyes again as he continued to look around the Great Hall, Harry watched him look from him to the Ravenclaw table only to notice how full it was and then looked at the Slytherin table right next to behind Harry. Viktor lead his fellow Durmstrang students to the Slytherin table and settled themself there, with Viktor right next to Draco who was sitting right behind Harry.

"Welcome to Hogwarts. We are excited to have you here!" Draco said excitedly, extending a hand, Vikor took the hand and nodded. "I'm Draco Malfoy, if you need any help finding your way around Hogwarts don't hesitate to ask." Draco gushed out. Harry hid a laugh with a cough that Draco seemed to mistake as him wanted to be introduced to Vikor as well, it also seemed to gain Viktor's attention on him as well. "Oh, this is my- my..." Draco seemed to have trouble trying to figure out what Harry was to him.

"I'm his friend, Harry." Harry said turning to extend his hand to Viktor who took it.

"You vere at de Quidditch Vorld Cup." Viktor said with a heavy accent shocking Harry that he even remembered seeing him.

"Um, y-yeah." Harry said and blushed when Viktor, who had not yet released, brought his hand to his lips and kissed the back of it.

"It is a pleasure to see you again." Viktor said and Harry caught sight of Draco's shocked face that was slowly turning into anger as his brain slowly began to register what was happening.

"Right." Harry slowly said before he awkwardly removed his hand from Viktor and stiffly turned around not knowing how to act as a bunch of his fellow classmates were gapping at him. Harry turned his attention to something that was not Viktor or the gapping students. Up at the staff table, Filch, the caretaker, was adding chairs. He was wearing his moldy old tailcoat in honor of the occasion. Harry was surprised tp see that he added four chairs, two on the other side of Dumbledore's. "But there are only two extra people." Harry muttered to himself, glad to have something to take his mind away from what just happened, "Why's Filch putting out four chairs, who else is coming?"

When all the students had entered the Hall and settled down at their House tables, the staff entered, filing up the top table and taking their seats. Last in line were Professor Dumbledore, Professor Karkaroff, and Madame Maxime. When their headmistress appeared, the pupils of Beauxbatons lept to their feet. A few Hogwarts students laughed. The Beauxbatons party appeared quite unembarrassed, however, and did not resume their seats until Madame Maxime had sat down on Dumbledore's left-hand side. Dumbledore remained standing, and a silence fell over the Great Hall.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and - most particularly - guests." Dumbledore said, beaming around at the foreign students. "I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to Hogwarts. I hope you trust that your stay here will be both comfortable and enjoyable." One of the Beauxbatons girls still clutching a muffler around her head gave what was unmistakable a derisive laugh.

"No one's making you stay!" Hermione called to her, bristling at her, as Harry caught the girl's eyes.

"The tournament will be officially opened at the end of the feast." Dumbledore said. "I now invite you all to eat, drink, and make yourselves at home." He sat down, and Harry saw Karkaroff lean forward at once and engaged him in conversation. The plates in front of them filled with food as usual. The house-elves in the kitchen seemed to have pulled out all the stops; there was a greater variety of dishes in front of them than Harry had ever seen, including several that were definitely foreign.

The Great Hall seemed somehow much more crowded than usual, even though there were barely twenty additional students there; perhaps it was because their differently colored uniforms stood out so clearly against the black of Hogwarts' robes. Now that they had removed their furs, the Durmstrang students were revealed to be wearing robes of a deep bloodred.

Hagrid sidled into the Hall through a door behind the staff table twenty minutes after the start of the feast. He slid into his seat at the very end and waved toward the Gryffindor Table at Haiden, Ron, and Hermione with a very heavily bandaged hand.

"Skrewts doing all right, Hagrid?" Haiden called.

"Thrivin'," Hagrid called back happily.

"Excuse me, green eyed cutie, are you wanting ze bouillabaisse?" A voice asked behind Harry. Harry turned around anded noticed the girl form Beauxbatons who had laughed during Dumbledore's speech. She had finally removed her muffler. A long sheet of silvery-blond hair fell almost to her waist. She had large, deep, blue eyes, and very white, even teeth. She gently pushed her way into the seat next to Harry causing the other students to slide down.

"Um, yeah, have it." Harry said, pushing a large dish of some sort of shellfish stew that stood beside a large steak-and-kidney pudding. The girl seemed a little put out for some strange reason. Harry turned his attention back to the staff table and noticed that the two remaining empty seats had just been filled. Ludo Bagman was now sitting on Professor Karkaroff's other side, while Mr. Crouch, Percy's boss, was next to Madame Maxime. When the second course arrived they noticed a number of unfamiliar desserts too. Once the golden plates had been wiped clean, Dumbledore stood up again. A pleasant sort of tension seemed to fill the Hall now. Harry felt a slight thrill of excitement, wondering what was coming.

"The moment has come." Dumbledore said, smiling around at the sea of upturned faces. "The Triwizard Tournament is about to start. I would like to say a few words of explanation before we bring in the casket just to clarify the procedure that we will be following this year. But first, let me introduce, for those who do not know them, Mr. Baremius Crouch, Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation" - there was a smattering of polite applause - "and Mr. Ludo Bagman, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports."

There was a much louder round of applause for Bagman than for Crouch, perhaps because of his fame as a Beater, or simply because he looked so much likable. He acknowledged it with a jovial wave of his hand. Bartemius Crouch did not smile or wave when his name was announced. Remembering him in his strange in wizard's robers. His toothbrush mustache and severe parting looked very odd next to Dumbledore's long white hair and beard.

"Mr. Bagman and Mr. Crouch have worked tirelessly over the last few months on the arrangements for the Triwizards Tournament," Dumbledore continued, "and they will be joining myself, Professor Karkaroff, and Madame Maxime on the panel that will judge the champions' efforts." At the mention of the word 'champions,' the attentiveness of the listening students seemed to sharpen. Perhaps Dumbledore had noticed their sudden stillness, for he smiled as he said, "The casket, then, if you please, Mr. Filch."

Filch, who had been lurking unnoticed in a far corner of the Hall, now approached Dumbledore carrying a great wooden chest encrusted with jewels. It looked extremely old. A murmur of excited interest rose from the watching students; Dennis Creevey actually stood up on his chair to see it properly, but, being so tiny, his head hardly rose above anyone else's.

"The instructions for the tasks the champions will face this year have already been examined by Mr. Crouch and Mr. Bagman," Dumbledore said as Filch placed the chest carefully on the table before him, "and they have made the necessary arrangements for each challenge. There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways... their magical prowess - their daring - their powers of deduction - and, of course, their ability to cope with danger." At this last word, the Hall was filled with a silence so absolute that nobody seemed to be breathing. "As you know, three champions compete in the tournament," Dumbledore went on calmly, "one from each of the participating schools. They will be marked on how well they perform each of the Tournament tasks and the champion with the highest total after task three will win the Triwizard Cup. The champions will be chosen by an impartial selector: the Goblet of Fire."

Dumbledore now took out his wand and tapped three times upon the top of the casket. The lid creaked slowly open. Dumbledore reached inside it and pulled out a large, roughly hewn wooden cup. It would have been entirely unremarkable had it not been full to the brim with dancing blue-white flames. Dumbledore closed the casket and placed the goblet carefully on top of it, where it would be clearly visible to everyone in the Hall.

"Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champions must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet." Dumbledore said. "Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward. Tomorrow night, Halloween, the goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their school. The goblet will be placed in the entrance hall tonight, where it will be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete. To ensure that no underage student yields to temptation, I will be drawing an Age Line around the Goblet of Fire after it has been placed in the entrance hall. Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line.

"Finally, I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet. Now, I think it is time for bed. Good night to you all." Harry stood up and stretched, ready for bed, he turned to leave the Great Hall only to find the Beauxbatons girl and Viktor standing in front of him.

"It was a pleasure to meet you, green eyed cutie." The girl said and quickly kissed both of his cheeks before looking at him expectantly and pouted when nothing seemed to happened. She huffed and turned around, hitting Viktor with her hair, before leaving with the rest of her classmates. After she had left, Viktor opened his mouth to say something to him, only to be cut off by Karkaroff.

"Back to the ship, then." He told the Durmstrang students before looking at Viktor. "Viktor, how are you feeling? Did you eat enough? Should I send for some mulled wine from the kitchen?" Viktor shook his head as he pulled his furs back on.

"Professor I vood like some vine." Another Durmstrang boy said hopefully.

"I wasn't offering it to you, Poliakoff." Karkaroff snapped, his warmly paternal air vanishing in an instant. "I noticed you have dribbled food all down the front of your robes again, disgusting boy-" Karkaroff turned to lead his students away only to notice Harry standing there. Harry moved aside to let him leave first. "Thank you." Karkaroff said and took a step only to freeze. He turned his head back to Harry and stared at him as though he couldn't believe his eyes. Behind their headmaster, the students of Durmstrang began to look from their headmaster to Harry. Karkaroff's eyes moved slowly up Harry's face to his forehead. When he noticed the there was no scar he turned away from Harry and made his way to the door, just as Ron, Hermione, and Haiden got there. As Harry stood there waiting for the Durmstrang to students to clear the way, Harry saw Haiden stop to let Karkaroff walk through the door first and Karkaroff froze again, looking between Harry and Haiden before looking at Haiden's scar.

Harry sighed and pushed his way through the Durmstrang students that had halted when their headmaster did. As he passed the boy with the food all down his front, he saw him nudge the girl next to him and pointed openly at Haiden's forehead. Just as he made it to Karkaroff and Haiden, before he could slip out of the room, a hand landed on his shoulder, scaring him enough to have, not only his magic lash out, but a dagger to once again magically appear in his hand and slash at whoever had grabbed him. "That's the second time you've attacked me with your dagger, boy." Mad-Eye 'Moody' said catching the attention of everyone.

"You shouldn't sneak up on people, then." Harry said trying to figure out how to will the dagger away.

"You!" Karkaroff cried, staring at 'Moody' as though he unsure he was really seeing him. 'Moody' turned his attention to Karkaroff who's face had drained of color the second he noticed 'Moody'.

"Me." 'Moody' said. "And unless you've got anything to say to the Potter twins, Karkaroff, you might want to move. You're blocking the doorway." It was true; half the students in the Hall were now waiting behind them, looking over one another's shoulders to see what was causing the holdup. Without another word, Professor Karkaroff swept his students with him. 'Moody' watched him until he was out of sight, before focusing on Harry who took off the second he could.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

As the next day was Saturday, most students would normally have breakfast late. Harry and Luna, however, were not alone in rising much earlier than they usually did on weekends. They met with Haiden, Hermione, and Ron in the entrance hall where they saw about twenty people milling around it, some of them eating toast, all examining the Goblet of Fire. It had been placed in the center of the hall on the stool that normally bore the Sorting Hat. A thin golden line had been traced on the floor, forming a circle ten feet around it in every direction.

"Anyone put their name in yet?" Ron asked a third-year girl eagerly.

"All the Durmstrang lot." She replied. "But I haven't seen anyone from Hogwarts yet."

"Bet some of them put it in last night after we'd all gone to bed." Haiden said. "I would've if it had been me... wouldn't have wanted everyone watching. What if the goblet gobbed you right back out again?" Someone laughed behind Harry. Turning he saw Fred, George, and Lee Jordan hurrying down the staircase, all three of them looking extremely tired, Fred even more so than the other two.

"Done it." Fred said in a triumphant whisper to them. "Just taken it."

"What?" Ron asked.

"The Aging Potion, dung brains." Fred said.

"One drop each." George said, rubbing his hands together with glee. "We only need to be a few months older."

"We're going to split the thousand Galleons between the three of us if one of us wins." Lee said, grinning broadly.

"It's not going to work." Hermione said in a singsong voice. "Dumbledore drew that circle himself, meaning none of you are strong enough to decieve it, only Harry here could do it. Plus, I'm sure Dumbledore will have figured someone would try this." They ignored her.

"Ready?" Fred said to the other two, quivering with excitement. "C'mon, then - I'll go first-" Harry watched as Fred pulled a slip of parchment out of his pocket bearing the words Fred Weasley - Hogwarts. Fred walked right up to the edge of the line and stood there, rocking on his toes like a diver preparing for a fifty-foot drop. Harry watched as, for a split second, Fred touched his stomach, before, with the eyes of every person in the entrance hall upon him, he took a great breath and stepped over the line.

For a split second, Harry thought that it had worked - George certainly thought so, for he let out a yell of triumph and lept after Fred - but the next moment, there was a loud sizzling sound, and both twins were hurled out of the golden circle as though they had been thrown by an invisible shot-putter. They landed painfully, ten feet away on the cold stone floor, and to add insult to injury, there was a loud popping noise, and both of them sprouted identical long white beards. The entrance hall rang with laughter. Even Fred and George joined in, once they had gotten to their feet and taken a good look at each other's beards.

"I did warn you." A deep, amused voice said, and everyone turned to see Professor Dumbledore coming out of the Great Hall. He surveyed Fred and George, his eyes twinkling. "I suggest you both go up to Madam Pomfrey. She is already tending to Miss Fawcett, of Ravenclaw, and Mr. Summers, of Hufflepuff, both of whom decided to age themselves up a little too. Though I must say, neither of their beards is anything like as fine as yours." Fred and George set off for the hospital wing, accompanied by Lee, who was howling with laughter, and Harry, Luna, Hermione, Haiden, and Ron, also chortling, went in to breakfast.

The Decorations in the Great Hall had changed this morning. As it was Halloween, a cloud of live bats was fluttering around the enchanted ceiling, while hundreds of carved pumpkins leered from every corner. Harry followed Haiden over to Dean and Seam, who were discussing those Hogwarts students of seventeen or over who might be entering.

"There's a rumor going around that Warrington got up early and put his name in." Dean told Haiden. "That big bloke from Slytherin who looks like a sloth. Haiden, who had played Quidditch against Warrington, shook his head in disgust.

"We can't have a Slytherin champion!" Ron cried.

"And why not." Harry asked looking around Haiden to Ron who glared at him.

"Because they are slimy, cheating, gits." Ron told him as if it were obvious. Harry opened his mouth to defend the Slytherin house, but thought better of it and closed his mouth. Ron shot him a triumphant look.

"And all the Hufflepuffs are talking about Diggory." Seamus said contemptuously. "But I wouldn't have thought he'd have wanted to risk his good looks."

"Listen!" Harry snapped.

People were cheering out in the entrance hall. They all swiveled around in their seats and saw Angelina Johnson coming into the Hall, grinning in an embarrassed sort of way. A tall black girl who played Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina came over to them, sat down, and said "Well, I've done it! Just put my name in!"

"You're kidding!" Ron said, looking impressed.

"Are you seventeen, then?" Haiden asked.

"'Course she is, can't see a beard, can you?" Ron said.

"I had my birthday last week." Angelina said.

"Well, I'm glad someone from Gryffindor's entering." Hermione said. "I really hope you get it, Angelina!"

"Thanks, Hermione." Angelina said, smiling at her.

"Yeah, better you than Pretty-Boy Diggory." Seamus said, causing several Hufflepuffs passing their table and Harry to scowl heavily at him.

"Now we just need a Ravenclaw to enter." Luna said glancing at Harry as she nibbled on some toast covered in butter and coconut shavings.

"What're we going to do today, then?" Ron asked Haiden when they had finished breakfast and were leaving the Great Hall with the others as Draco and Myari walked in.

"We haven't been down to visit Hagrid yet." Haiden noted.

"Okay," Ron said, "just as long as he doesn't ask us to donate a few fingers to the skrewts." A look of great excitement suddenly dawned on Hermione's face.

"I've just realized - I haven't asked Hagrid to join S.P.E.W. yet!" She said brightly. "Wait for me, will you, while I nip upstairs and get the badges?"

"Join what?" Harry asked as Hermione ran away up the marble staircase.

"Don't ask." Haiden said.

"It's your new friend, Harry." Luna said nodding towards the doors. Harry turned and saw the students from Beauxbatons were coming through the front doors from the ground, among them, the girl from the feast. Those gathered around the Goblet of Fire stood back to let them pass, watching eagerly. Madame Maxime entered the hall behind her students and organized them into a line. One by one, the Beauxbatons students stepped across the Age Line and dropped their slips of parchment into the blue-white flames. As each named entered the fire, it turned briefly red and emitted sparks.

"What d'you reckon'll happen to the ones who aren't chosen?" Ron muttered to Haiden as the girl from the feast dropped her parchment into the Gobler of Fire. "Reckon they'll go back to school, or hang around to watch the tournament?" She caught Harry watching and blew a kiss to him and pouted when Harry didn't do anything.

"Dunno." Haiden said. "Hang around, I suppose... Madame Maxime's staying to judge, isn't she?" When all the Beauxbatons students had submitted their names, Madame Maxime led them back out of the hall and out onto the grounds again.

"Where are they sleeping, then?" Ron asked, moving toward the front doors and staring after them.

"Probably in their carriage." Harry said and Ron glared at him.

"No one asked you!" Ron snapped. A loud rattling noise behind them announced Hermione's reappearance with the box of S.P.E.W. badges.

"Oh good, hurry up." Ron said, and he jumped down the stone steps, keeping his eyes on the back of the girl from the feast, who was halfway across the lawn with Madame Maxime. As they neared Hagrid's cabin on the edge of the Forbidden Forest, then mystery of the Beauxbatons' sleeping quarters was solved. The gigantic powder-blue carriage in which they had arrived had been parked two hundred yards from Hagrid's front door, and the students were climbing back inside it. The elephantine flying horses that had pulled the carriage were now grazing in a makeshift paddock alongside it.

"Told you." Harry told Ron who glared at him.

"Why are you even here?" Ron asked.

"I'm visiting Hagrid." Harry said.

"Bullshit, you don't even like Hagrid!" Ron yelled.

"I like Hagrid, probably not as much as you guys do, but I like him." Harry said.

"Me too." Luna said as she knocked on Hagrid's door, and Fang's booming barks answered instantly causing Harry to tense up.

"'Bout time!" Hagrid said, when he'd flung open the door. "Thought you lot's forgotten where I live!"

"We've been really buys, Hag-" Hermione started to say, but then she stopped dead, looking up at Hagrid, apparently lost for words. Hagrid was wearing his best (and very horrible) hairy bown suit, plus a checked yellow-and-orange tie. This wasn't the worst of it, though; he had evidently tried to tame his hair, using large quantities of what appeared to be axle grease. It was now slicked down into two bunches - perhaps he had tried a ponytail like Bill's, but found he had too much hair. The look didn't really suit Hagrid at all. For a moment, Hermione goggled at him, then, obviously deciding, not to comment, she said, "Erm - where are the skrewts?"

"Out by the pumpkin patch." Hagrid said happily. "They're gettin' massive, mus' be nearly three feet long now. On'y trouble is, they've started killin' each other."

"Oh no, really?" Hermione said, shooting a repressive look at Ron, who, staring at Hagrid's odd hairstyle, had just opened his mouth to say something about it.

"Yeah." Hagrid said sadly. "'S' okay, though, I've got them in separate boxes now. Still got abou' twenty."

"Well, that's lucky." Ron said. Hagrid missed the sarcasm.

"I can't take it any more!" Harry cried, grabbed Hagrid's hand and, using his magic, pulled him into the cabin which was comprised of a single room, in one corner of which a gigantic bed covered in a patchwork quilt. A similarly enormous wooden table and chairs stood in front of the fire beneath the quantity of cured hams and dead birds hanging from the ceiling. Harry forced Hagrid to sit on the floor in front of on of the chair and knelt on the chair behind him to be slightly higher than him. "I'm fixing this mess of a hair, you guys can continue visiting him." Harry said and summoned a bubble of water around the top to Hagrid's head and made sure all of Hagrid's hair was in it. Hermione, Ron, and Haiden sat down at the table while Luna began to make tea, and were soon immersed in yet more discussion of the Triwizard Tournament while Harry washed, dried, and even trimmed the split ends of Hagrid's hair.

"You wait," he said, grinning as Harry began to comb through his hair. "You jus' wait. Yer going ter see some stuff yeh've never seen before. Firs' task... ah, but I'm not supposed ter say.

"Go on, Hagrid!" Haiden, Ron, and Hermione urged him, but he just shook his head, grinning, before Harry forced his head still.

"I don' want ter spoil it fer yeh." Hagrid said. "But it's gonna be spectacular, I'll tell yeh that. Them chaptions're going ter have their work cut out. Never thought I'd live ter see the Triwizard Tournament played again!" Hagrid said as Harry finished with Hagrid's hair that had four different braids that fell into a half ponytail, it looked almost viking like, and fit with his build and hair.

They ended up having lunch with Hagrid, though they didn't eat much - Hagrid had mad what he said was a beef casserole, but after Hermione unearthed a large talon in hers, she and the others rather lost their appetites. However, they enjoyed themselves trying to make Hagrid tell them what the tasks in the tournament were going to be, speculating which of the entrants were likely to be selected as champions, wondering whether Fred and George were beardless yet.

A light rain had started to fall by midafternoon, Draco and Myari had joined them by this point; it was very cozy sitting by the fire, listening to the gentle patter of drops on the window, watching Hagrid darning his socks and arguing with Hermione about house-elves - for he flatly refused to join S.P.E.W when she showed him her badges.

"It's be doin' 'em an unkindness, Hermione." He said gravely, threading a massive bone needle with thick yellow yarn. "It's in their nature ter look after humans, that's what they like, see? Yeh's be makin' 'em unhappy ter take their work, an' insultin' em insultin' 'em if yeh tried ter pay 'em." Hermione looked very cross indeed and stuffed her box of badges back into her cloak pocket.

By have past five it was growing dark, and they decided it was time to get back up to the castle for the Halloween feast - and, more important, the announcement of the school champions.

"I'll come with yeh." Hagrid said, putting away his darning. "Jus' give us a sec." Hagrid got up, went across to the chest of drawers beside his bed, and began searching for something inside it. They didn't pay too much attention until a truly horrible smell reached their nostrils.

Coughing, Ron said, "Hagrid, what's that?"

"Eh?" Hagrid said, turning around with a large bottle in his hand. "Don' yeh like it?"

"Is that aftershave?" Hermione asked in a slightly choked voice.

"Er - eau de cologne." Hagrid muttered. He was blushing. "Maybe it's a bit much." He said.

"You think?" Draco asked covering his nose.

"I'll go take it off, hang on..." He stumped out of the cabin, and they saw him washing himself vigorously in the water barrel outside the window.

"Eau de cologne?" Hermione said in amazement. "Hagrid?"

"And what was with the hair and suit?" Haiden asked in an undertone.

"His hair actually looks presentable for once." Draco said.

"Harry did it." Luna said.

"Look!" Ron said suddenly, pointing out of the window. Hagrid had just straightened up and turned 'round. If he had been blushing before, it was nothing to what he was doing now. Getting to their feet very cautiously, so that Hagrid wouldn't spot them, they peered through the window and saw that Madame Maxime and the Beauxbatons students had just emerged from their carriage, clearly about to set off for the feast too. They couldn't hear what Hagrid was saying, but he was talking to Madame Maxime with rapt, misty-eyed expression Harry had only ever seen him wear once before - when he had been looking at the baby dragon, Norbert.

"He's going up to the castle with her!" Hermione said indignantly. "I thought he was waiting for us!" Without so much as a backwards glance at his cabin, Hagrid was trudging off up the grounds with Madame Maxime, the Beauxbatons student following in their wake, jogging to keep up with their enormious strides.

"He fancies her." Harry said with a small smile.

"Well, if they end up having children, they'll be setting a world record - be any baby of theirs would weigh about a ton." Ron said gaining a glare from Harry. They let themselves out of the cabin and shut the door behind them. It was surprisingly dark outside. Drawing their cloaks more closely around themselves, they set off up the sloping lawn.

"Ooh it's them, look!" Hermione whispered. The Durmstrang party was walking up toward the castle from the lake. Viktor Krum was walking side by side with Karkaroff, and the other Durmstrang students were straggling along behind them. Ron watched Krum excitedly, but when Viktor turned to look behind as he reached the front doors a little a head of them, his eyes only locked onto Harry, causing Draco to step closer to Harry, before proceeding through the doors.

When they entered the candlelit Great Hall it was almost full. The Goblet of Fire had been moved; it was now standing in front of Dumbledore's empty chair at the teachers' table. Fred and George - clean-shaven again - seemed to be sitting a lot closer than they usually did, with George paying extra attention to Fred who looked a little shaken up. The group split up with Hermione, Haiden, and Ron going to Gryffindor, and Myari and Draco walking Harry and Luna to the Ravenclaw table before they sat at the Slytherin table.

The Halloween feast seemed to take much longer than usual. Perhaps because it was their second feast in two days, Harry didn't seem to fancy the extravagantly prepared food as much as he would have normally. Like everyone else in the Hall, judging by the constantly craning necks, the impatient expressions on every face, the fidgeting, and the standing up to see whether Dumbledore had finished eating yet, Harry simply wanted the plates to clear, and to hear who had been selected as champions.

At long last, the plates returned to their original spotless state; there was a sharp upswing in the level of noise within the Hall, which died away almost instantly as Dumbledore got to his feet. On either side of him, Professor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime looked as tense and expectant as anyone. Ludo Bagman was beaming and winking at various students. Mr. Crouch, however, looked quite uninterested, almost bored.

"Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision." Dumbledore said. "I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions' names are called, I would ask them please to come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through into the next chamber" - he indicated the door behind the staff table - "where they will be receiving their first instructions." He took out his wand and gave a great sweeping wave with it; at once, all the candles except those inside the carved pumpkins were extinguished, plunging them into a state of semidarkness. The Goblet of Fire now shone more brightly than anything in the whole Hall, the sparkling bright, bluey-whiteness of the flames almost painful on the eyes. Everyone watched, waiting... A few people kept checking their watches...The Flames inside the goblet turned suddenly red again. Sparks began to fly from it. Next moment, a tongue of flame shot into the air, a charred piece of parchment fluttered out of it - the whole room gasped. Dumbledore caught the piece of parchment and held it at arms length, so he could read it by the light of the flames, which had turned back to blue-white.

"The champion for Durmstrang," he read, in a strong, clear voice, "will be Viktor Krum."

"No surprises there!" Ron yelled as a storm of applause and cheering swept the Hall. Harry turned and caught Viktor's eyes as he rose from the Slytherin table before he slouched up toward Dumbledore; he turned right, walked along the staff table, and disappeared through the door into the next chamber.

"Bravo, Viktor!" Karkaroff boomed so loudly that everyone could hear him, even over the applause. "Knew you had it in you!" The clapping and chatting died down. Now everyone's attention was focused again on the goblet, which, seconds later, turned red once more. A second piece of parchment shot out of it, propelled by the flames.

"The champion for Beauxbatons," Dumbledore said, "is Fleur Delacour!"

"Cheer for me, green eyed cutie." The girl from the feast said, winking, as she passed him. When Fleur Delacour too had vanished into the side chamber, the silence fell again, bit this time, it was a silence so stiff with excitement you could almost taste it. The Hogwarts champion next... And the Goblet of Fire turned red once more; sparks showered out of it; the tongue of flame shot high into the hair, and from its tip Dumbledore pulled the third piece of parchment.

"The Hogwarts champion," he called, "is Cedric Diggory!"

"YES!" Harry cheered loudly as every single Hufflepuff had jumped to his or her feet, screaming and stamping, as Cedric made his way past them, grinning broadly, and headed off toward the chamber behind the teachers' table. Indeed, the applause for Cedric went on so long that it was some time before Dumbledore could make himself hear again.

"Excellent!" Dumbledore called happily as at last the tumult died down. "Well, we now have our three champions. I am sure I can count upon all of you, including the remaining students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, to give your champions every ounce of support you can muster. By cheering your champion on, you will contribute in a very real-" But Dumbledore suddenly stopped speaking, and it was apparent to everybody what had distracted him. The fire in the goblet had just turned red again. Sparks were flying out of it. A long flame shot suddenly into the air, and borne upon it was another piece of parchment.

Automatically, it seemed, Dumbledore reached out a long hang and seized the parchment. He held it out and stared at the name written upon it. There was a long pause, during which Dumbledore stared at the slip in his hands, and everyone in the room stared at Dumbledore. And then Dumbledore cleared his throat and read out-

"Haiden and Harry Potter."

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine- The Champions

Harry sat there, aware that every head in the Great Hall had turned to either him or his brother. He was stunned. He felt anger swell inside him. His magic started to rise.

There was no applause. A buzzing, as though of angry bees, was starting to fill the Hall; some students were standing up to get a better look at either him or his brother as they sat, frozen, in their seats.

Up at the top table, Professor McGonagall, Severus, and Professor Flitwick had gotten to their feet and rushed pasted Ludo Bagman and Professor Karkaroff to whisper urgently to Professor Dumbledore, who bent his ear toward them, frowning slighly. The anger inside Harry continued to swell as his magic began to slightly shake the plates and goblets on the tables around him. At the top table, Professor Dumbledore had straightened up, rested a calming hand on an obviously pissed Severus, nodding to Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick.

"Haiden and Harry Potter!" He called again. "Haiden! Harry! Up here, if you please!"

"Go." Luna whispered pushing Harry. Harry got to his feet, his magic flowing out of him enough to cause his hair to start to slightly float as if in water. He set off up the gap between the Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables as Haiden stumbled up between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables. It felt like an immensely long walk; the top table didn't seem to be getting any nearer at all, and he could feel hundreds and hundreds of eyes upon him, as though each were a searchlight. The buzzing grew louder and louder. After what seemed like an hour, him and his brother were right in front of Dumbledore, feeling the stares of all the teachers upon him.

"Well... through the door, you two." Dumbledore said. He wasn't smiling. Harry felt about ready to explode. Haiden grabbed Harry's hand and the two of them moved off along the teachers' table. Hagrid was seated right at the end. He did not wink at Haiden, or wave, or give any of his usual signs of greeting. He looked completely astonished and stared at Haiden and Harry as they passed like everyone else. The twins went through the door out of the Great Hall and found themselves in a smaller room, lined with painting of witches and wizards. A handsome fire was roaring in the fireplace opposite them.

The faces in the portraits turned to look at them as they entered. Harry saw a wizened witch flit out of the frame of her picture and into the one next to it, which contained a wizard with a walrus mustache. The wizened witch started whispering in his ear.

Viktor Krum, Cedric Diggory, and Fleur Delacour were grouped around the fire. And had Harry not been focused on not exploding, he would have found that they strangely impressive, silhouetted against the flames. Krum, hunched-up and brooding, was leaning against the mantelpiece, slightly apart from the other two. Cedric was standing with his hands behind his back, staring into the fire. Fleur Delacour looked around when Harry walked in and threw back her sheet of long, silvery hair.

"What is it?" She asked. "Do zey want us back in ze Hall?" She thought they had come to deliver a message. Harry couldn't explain what had just happened, because he knew the second his mouth opened he would start yelling. Haiden also couldn't seem to find the words to explain as he just stood there looking at the three champions.

There was a sound of scurrying feet behind them, and Ludo Bagman entered the room. He took Harry and Haiden each by the arm, ignoring the sparks flying from Harry at being touched, and lead them forward.

"Extraordinary!" He muttered, squeezing Harry's arm right before he was shocked hard enough to cause him to let go. "Absolutely extraordinary! Gentlemen...lady," he added, letting go of Haiden and approaching the fireside, addressing the other three. "May I introduce - incredible though it may seem - the fourth Triwizard champion?"

"Which one?" Cedric asked as he looked nonplussed looking between Harry, Haiden, and Bagman as if trying to figure out which one was competing.

"Both!" Bagman cried happily. Viktor Krum straightened up. His surly face darkening as he surveyed Haiden and Harry. Cedric raised an eyebrow and looked to be trying to make sure he hadn't misheard what Bagman had said.

Fleur Delacour, however, tossed her hair, smiling and said, "Oh vairy funny joke, Meester Bagman."

"Joke?" Bagman repeated, bewildered. "No, no, not at all! Haiden and Harry's name just came out of the Goblet of Fire on the same parchment, this makes them considered one champion!" Krum's thick eyebrows contracted slightly. Cedric was still looking politely bewildered. Fleur frowned.

"But evidently, zair 'as been a mistake," she said contemptuously to Bagman. "Zey cannot compete. Zey are too young."

"Well... it is amazing." Bagman said, rubbing his smooth chin and smiling down at Harry and Haiden. "But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. And as their names have come out of the goblet... I mean, I don't think there can be any ducking out at this stage... it's down in the rules, you're obliged... Haiden and Harry will have to do the best they -" The door behind them opened again, and a large group of people came in: Severus, followed closely by Professor Dumbledore, Mr. Crouch, Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, and Professor McGonagall. Harry heard the buzzing of the hundreds of students on the other side of the wall, before Professor McGonagall closed the door.

."Madame Maxime!" Fleur said at once, striding over to her headmistress. "Zey are saying zat zees little boys are to compete also!" Harry anger grew at being called a little boy, this caused his magic to flare out nearly knocking everyone who wasn't expecting it over. Madame Maxime righted herself before drawing herself up to her full, and considerable, height. The top of her handsome head brushed the candle filled chandelier, and her gigantic black-satin bosom swelled. And had Harry not been so angry, he would have been terrified of her.

"What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?" She asked imperiously.

"I'd rather like to know that myself, Dumbledore." Professor Karkaroff said. He was wearing a steely smile, and his blue eyes were like chips of ice. "Two Hogwarts champions? I don't remember anyone telling me that the host school is allowed two champions - or have I not read the rules carefully enough?" He gave a short and nasty laugh that had Harry's magic swelling. Suddenly he felt an arm wrap around him, he glanced up and found Severus standing just behind him and his brother, his arms around both of them as he glared at Karkaroff.

"C'est impossible." Madame Maxime, whose enormous hand with its many superb opals was resting upon Fleur's shoulder. "'Ogwarts cannot 'ave two champions. It is most injust."

"We were under the impression that your Age Line would keep out younger contestants, Dumbledore." Karkaroff said, his steely smile still in place, though his eyes were colder than ever. "Otherwise, we would, of course, have brought along a wider selection of candidates from our own school." Dumbledore was now looking down at Harry, who glared right back at him, trying to discern the expression of the eyes behind the half-moon spectacles.

"Did you put yours and your brother's name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?" He asked calmly.

"WHY THE HELL WOULD I DO THAT!" Harry exploded as his magic lashed out pushing Haiden and Severus form him while also attacking Dumbledore. "I DON'T WANT ETERNAL GLOY NOR DO I NEED THE MONEY!" Harry noticed Dumbledore calmly raised a hand up to stop someone and glanced back to see Cedric looking like he wanted to jump in and calm Harry down, that just made him angrier as he turned his attention back towards Dumbledore "I'M NOT STUPID! I'VE READ UP ON HOW DANGEROUS THIS TOURNAMENT IS! WHY WOULD I PORPOSEFULLY PUT NOT ONLY MYSELF BUT ALSO MY BROTHER IN DANGER?! I WOULDN'T!" By the end of Harry's rant he was out of breath and steam while Dumbledore was cut up and bleeding. Dumbledore stared at Harry for a moment longer before nodding and looking over at a very shocked and scared Haiden.

"Did you ask an older student to pur your's and your brother's name in the Goblet of Fire for you?" He calmly asked Haiden.

"No!" Haiden said vehemently as he rushed to catch Harry as his legs gave in.

"Ah, but of course zey are lying!" Madame Maxime cried. Severus whipped around and glared at her, his lip curling.

"Haiden could not have crossed the Age Line, and Harry would not cross it." Professor McGonagall said sharply. "I am sure we are all agreed on that-"

"Dumbly-dorr must 'ave made a mistake wiz ze line." Madame Maxime said shrugging.

"It is possible, of course." Dumbledore said politely.

"Dumbledore, you know perfectly well you did not make a mistake!" Professor McGonagall said angrily. "Really, what nonsense! Harry would not have crossed the line, Haiden could not cross the line himself, and as Professor Dumbledore believes that they did not persuade an older student to do it for them, I'm sure that should be good enough for everyone else!" She shot a very angry look at Madame Maxime.

"Mr. Crouch... Mr. Bagman," Karkaroff said, his voice unctuous once more, "you are our - er - objective judges. Surely you will agree that this is most irregular?" Bagman wiped his round, boyish fave with his handkerchief and looked at Mr. Crouch, who was standing outside the circle of firelight, his face half hidden in shadow. He looked slightly eerie, the half darkness making him look much older, giving him an almost skull-like appearance. When he spoke, however, it was in his usual curt voice.

"We must follow the rules, and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the tournament."

"Well, Barty knows the rule book back and front." Bagman said beaming and turning back to Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, as though the matter was now closed.

"I insist upon resubmitting the names of the rest of my students." Karkaroff said. He had dropped his unctuous tone and his smile now. His face were a very ugly look indeed. "You will set up the Goblet of Fire once more, and we will continue adding names until each school has two champions. It's only fair, Dumbledore."

"But Karkaroff, it doesn't work like that." Bagman said. "The Goblet of Fire's just gone out - it won't reignite until the start of the next tournament -"

"-in which Durmstrang will most certainly not be competing!" Karkaroff exploded. "After all our meeting and negotiations and compromises, I little expected something of this nature to occur! I have half a mind to leave now!"

"Empty threat, Karkaroff." A voice growled from near the door. "You can't leave your champion now. He's got to compete. They've all got to compete. Binding magical contract, like Dumbledore said. Convenient, eh?" 'Moody' had just entered the room. He limped toward the fire, and with every right step he took, there was a loud clunk.

"Convenient?" Karkaroff said. "I'm afraid I don't understand you, Moody." Harry could tell he was trying to sound disdainful, as though what 'Moody' was saying was barely worth his notice, but his hands gave him away; they had balled themselves into fists.

"Don't you?" 'Moody' asked quietly. "It's very simple, Karkaroff. Someone put the Potter twins name in the goblet knowing they'd have to compete if they came out."

"Evidently, someone 'oo wished to give 'Ogwarts two bites at ze apple!" Madame Maxime said.

"I quite agree, Madame Maxime." Karkaroff said, bowing to her. "I shall be lodging complaints with the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards-"

"If anyone's got reason to complain, it's both of the Potters," 'Moody' growled, "but... funny thing... I don't hear either of them saying a word..."

"Why should zey complain?" Fleur Delacour burst out, stamping her foot. "Zey 'as ze chance to compete, 'asn't zey? We 'ave all been 'oping to be chosen for weeks and weeks! Ze honor for our schools! A thousand Galleons in prize money - zis is a chance many would die for!"

"Maybe someone's hoping they are going to die for it." 'Moody' said with the merest trace of a growl.

An extremely tense silence followed these words. Ludo Bagman, who was looking very anxious indeed, bounced nervously up and down on his feet and said, "Moody, old man... what a thing to say!"

"We all know Professor Moody considers the morning wasted if he hasn't discovered six plots to murder him before lunchtime," Karkaroff said loudly. "Apparently he is not teaching his students to fear assassinations too. An odd quality in a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dumbledore, but no doubt you had your reasons."

"Imagining things, am I?" 'Moody' growled. "Seeing thing, eh? It was a skilled witch or wizard who put the twins name in that goblet..."

"Ah, what evidence is zere of zat?" Madame Maxime asked, throwing up her huge hands.

"Because they hoodwinked a very powerful magical object!" 'Moody' said. "It would have needed an exceptionally strong Confundus Charm to bamboozle that goblet into forgetting that only three schools compete in the tournament... I'm guessing they submitted their names under a fourth school, to make sure they were the only ones in their category... They were even smart enough to put both their names on one parchment making them one champion..." Harry felt eyes on him and looked around, he spotted Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Mr. Bagman, and Mr. Crouch watching him. 'Moody' seemed to see them looking as well. "Though Harry is indeed very powerful, maybe even powerful enough to do such a thing, skilled with that power he is not."

"You seem to have given this a great deal of thought, Moody," Karkaroff said coldly, "and a very ingenious theory it is - thought of course, I heard you recently got it into your head the one of birthday presents contained a cunningly disguised basilisk egg, and smashed it to pieces before realizing it was a carriage clock. So you'll understand if we don't take you entirely seriously..."

"There are those who'll turn innocent occasions to their advantage." 'Moody' retorted in a menacing voice. "It's my job to think the way Dark Wizards do, Karkaroff - as you ought to remember..."

"Alastor!" Dumbledore said warningly. Harry wondered for a moment whom he was speaking to, but then realized that he was speaking to 'Moody' since he was the only one to know that that 'Moody' wasn't the real one. Which also meant that for the impostor to keep up the act, the real Moody had to be hiding close by where only the impostor knew where he was to keep getting the hairs for the Polyjuice potion. If he were able to find the real Moody then it would prove that he was right. 'Moody' fell silent, thought still surveying Karkaroff with satisfaction - Karkaroff's face was burning. "How this situation arose, we do not know." Dumbledore continued, speaking to everyone gathered in the room. "It seemed to me, however, that we have no choice but to accept it. Cedric, Haiden and Harry have been chosen to compete int the Tournament, with Haiden and Harry considered as one champion. This, therefore, they will do..."

"Ah, but Dumbly-dorr -"

"My dear Madame Maxime, if you have an alternative, I would be delighted to hear it." Dumbledore waited, but Madame Maxime did not speak, she merely glared. She wasn't the only one either. Severus looked furious as he stood protectively by Haiden and Harry; Karkaroff looked livid; Bagman, however, looked rather excited.

"Well, shall we crack on, then?" He said rubbing his hands together and smiling around the room. "Got to give out champions their instructions, haven't we? Barty, want to do the honors?" Mr. Crouch seemed to come out of a deep reverie.

"Yes," he said, "instructions. Yes... the first task..." He moved forward into the firelight. Close up, Harry thought he looked ill. There were dark shadows beneath his eyes and a thin, papery look about his wrinkled skin that had not been there at the Quidditch World Cup. "The first task is desined to test your daring," he told Harry, Haiden, Cedric, Fleur, and Viktor, "so we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard... very important...

"The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges. The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the task in the tournament. The champions will face the first challenge armed with only their wands. They will receive information about the second task when the first is over. Owing to the demanding and time-consuming nature of the tournament, the champions are exempted from end-of-year tests." Mr. Crouch turned to look at Dumbledore. "I think that's all, is it, Albus?"

"I think so." Dumbledore said, who was looking at Mr. Crouch with mild concern. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"

"No, Dumbledore, I must get back to the Ministry." Mr. Crouch said. "It is a very busy, and very difficult time at the moment... I've left young Weatherby in charge... Very enthusiastic... a little overenthusiastic, if truth be told..."

"You'll come and have a drink before you go, as least?" Dumbledore said.

"Come on, Barty, I'm staying!" Bagman said brightly. "It's all happening at Hogwarts now, you know, much more exciting here than at the office!"

"I think not, Ludo." Crouch said with a touch of his old impatience.

"Professor Karkaroff - Madame Maxime - a nightcap?" Dumbledore asked. But Madame Maxime had already put her arm around Fleur's shoulders and was leading her swiftly out of the room. Harry could hear them both talking very fast in French as they went off into the Great Hall, and part of him wished the Draco had been there to translate what they had been saying. Karkaroff beckoned to Krum, and they, too, exited, though in silence.

"Haiden, Harry, Cedric, I suggest you go up to bed." Dumbledore said smiling at both of them. "I am sure your houses are waiting to celebrate with you, and it would be a shame to deprive them of this excellent excuse to make a great deal of mess and noise." Harry glanced up at Severus who rested a hand on his shoulder.

"Stay with your brother, I'll be up to get you both once I'm done discussing things with Dumbledore." Severus told Harry who nodded and allowed Haiden to lead him by the hand. The Great Hall was deserted now; the candles had burned low giving the jagged smiles of the pumpkins an eerie, flickering quality.

"So." Cedric said, with a slight smile. "We're playing against each other again!" It took Harry a second to realize he was talking to Haiden.

"I s'pose." Haiden said.

"So... tell me..." Cedric said as they reached the entrance hall, which was now only lit by torches in the absence of the Goblet of Fire. "How did you get your names in?"

"We didn't." Harry said, staring up at him, hoping he would believe him. "We didn't put them in. We were telling the truth."

"Ah... okay." Cedric said. Harry could tell Cedric didn't believe him, and that stung a little. But not as much as it would if Draco didn't believe him, the little voice in the back of his mind whispered before he pushed it away. "Well... see you, then." Instead of going up the marble staircase, Cedric headed for a door to its right. Harry and Haiden stood listening him going down the stone steps beyond it, then, slowly, they started to climb the marble one.

"You know, I don't think anyone but Ron and Hermione will believe us." Haiden muttered.

"Ron is not going to believe you. He'll most likely accuse me of doing it. Hermione will believe us, and so will Luna." Harry told him.

"What of Draco and Myari?" Haiden asked.

"I don't know, maybe..." Harry whispered. "...I hope so." They were quiet again for a few minutes.

"You know, I had thought about it... fantasized about it... but I never actually planed to be in it, even if we were old enough. I'm not magically strong enough or smart enough." Haiden informed Harry.

"You are smart enough." Harry told him harshly causing Haiden to look at him.

"No I'm not, you, Hermione, and Draco are the smartest of our group." Haiden said sadly.

"You listen to me Haiden, you are smart." Harry told him and Haiden began to open his mouth to argue. "Me, Draco, and Hermione are book smart, everything we know has come from books, and we use that knowledge to find a solution to whatever situation we find ourselves in. You, on the other hand, are street smart, everything you know you've learned from experience and you use that to find a creative solution to whatever situation you've found yourself in."

"I'm still not magically strong enough to complete any of the tasks." Haiden said.

"We are a team." Harry said holding up their linked hands. "My magic is your magic. Whenever you need the magical strength to do anything I will be there to lend you the strength you need." He let some of his magic flow out of him, through his hand linked with Haiden's and into Haiden causing a white aura to wrap around Haiden, and cause his hair and clothes to float up slightly before carefully pulling it back into him.

"Wow." Haiden breathed before smiling at Harry.

"That is my promise to you." Harry told him causing Haiden to tear up.

"And after the shitty brother I've been to you, you are still willing to be there for me. I don't deserve you as a brother." Haiden said.

"I'll keep my promise as long as you promise to burn it into your heart and remember me when you need it." Harry said.

"I promise." Haiden vowed. Both of their magic responded rising up and wrapping around them both, locking together, before disappearing. "What just happened?"

"I think we just made an unbreakable vow with the Fat Lady and her guests as our witnesses." Harry said slowly, turning to look at the Fat Lady that stood guard of the Gryffindor tower. Haiden looked at her, shocked to find them already at the Gryffindor tower. It was also a surprise to see that she was not alone in her frame. The Wizened witch who had flitted into her neighbor's painting when they had joined the champions downstairs was now sitting smugly beside the Fat Lady. She must have dashed through every picture lining the seven staircases to reach here before them. Both she and the Fat Lady were looking down at them with the keenest interest.

"Well, well, well." The Fat Lady said. "Violet's just tole me everything. Who's just been chosen as school champion, then?"

"Balderdash." Haiden said dully.

"It most certainly isn't!" The pale witch said indignantly.

"No, no, Vi, it's the password." The Fat Lady soothingly, and she swung forward on her hinges to let them into the common room. The blast of noise that met their ears when the portrait opened almost knocked them backwards. Next thing they knew, they were being wrenched inside the common room by about a dozen pair of hands, and was facing not only the whole Gryffindor House, but also the Ravenclaw House, all of whom were screaming, applauding, and whistling.

"You should've told us you'd entered!" Fred bellowed; he looked half annoyed, half deeply impressed.

"How did you do it without getting a beard? Brilliant?" George, who was hovering closer to Fred than he usually did, roared.

"We didn't." Harry said. "I don't know how-"

But Angelina had now swooped down upon Haiden; "Oh if it couldn't be me, at least it's a Gryffindor-"

"You'll be able to pay back Diggory for that last Quidditch match, Haiden!" Katie Bell, another of the Gryffindor Chasers, shrieked as Luna snuck up and stole Harry away, leading him up the stairs towards the boy's dorm.

"What about Haiden?" Harry asked glancing back at his brother who was trying to deny a plate of food as they went up the stairs.

"He'll make his way to us." Luna said pulling open the door to the fourth year boy's dorm where he spotted Draco, Myari, Hermione, and Neville sitting on a bed across from Ron who was laying on is bed, still fully dressed. Ron and Harry locked eyes before he scoffed and looked away as Luna climbed onto the bed and patted the spot in between her and Draco.

"So," Myari started after a minute of all of them just staring at each other, "let's just get this question out of the way. Did you actually put your names in the Goblet of Fire?"

"Of course not!" Harry said, they all ignored the snort that had come from Ron.

"I told you!" Draco yelled jumping up from his seat and pointing at everyone else.

"Sit down, Draco, no one here actually thought him or Haiden put their name in the goblet." Myari said and Draco sat down.

"I never believed you would do such an idiotic thing." Draco told Harry, obviously desperate for Harry to believe him.

"Thanks." Harry said feeling a weight lift off his shoulders. "All of you. I'm sure Haiden will also be happy to hear that." The dorm room opened again and everyone looked over to see a slightly annoyed looking Haiden, wearing a scarlet Gryffindor banner around his shoulders. He looked at them before turning to look at Ron who was now grinning, but it was a very odd, strained sort of grin.

"Where've you been?" Haiden asked Ron.

"Oh hello." Ron said as Haiden seemed to notice the banner on him and began to struggle taking it off.

"So." He said when Haiden finally removed the banner and sat on the bed next to Hermione. "Congratulations."

"What d'you mean, congratulations?" Haiden asked, staring at Ron. There was definitely something wrong with the way Ron was smiling: It was more like grimace.

"Well... no one else got across the Age Line." Ron said and Harry rolled his eyes knowing where this was going to go. "Not even Fred and George." Harry glanced around the group and noticed Draco glaring at Ron, Myari looking annoyed, Luna was swaying back and forth in her own world, and Hermione was looking at Ron in disbelief. "What did you use - the Invisibility Cloak?"

"The Invisibility Cloak wouldn't have got me over that line." Haiden said slowly looking from Ron towards Hermione who was now shaking her head at Ron only to look back at Ron.

"Oh right." Ron said. "I thought you might've told me if it was the cloak... because it would've covered both of us, wouldn't it? But you found another way, did you? What, you have Harry disband the line, put your names in the goblet and have him redraw the line?" Harry rolled his eyes again and watched as Haiden steeled himself for a fight.

"Listen," Haiden started, "neither I nor Harry put our names in that goblet. Someone else must've done it." Ron raised his eyebrows.

"What would they do that for?"

"To kill us." Harry said as Haiden said "I dunno." Ron's eyebrows rose so high that they were in danger of disappearing into his hair as everyone else tensed up.

"It's okay, you know, you can tell me the truth." Ron said to Haiden. "I believe that you, Haiden, had nothing to do with it, but I know you know who did it." He glared at Harry who glared back. "You don't have to protect him, no one will blame you. You can whisper the name in my ear. If you don't want everyone else to know, fine, but I don't know why you're still lying about it, neither of you got into trouble for it, did you? That friend of the Fat Lady's, that Violet, she's already us all Dumbledore's letting you enter. A thousand Galleons prize money, eh? And you don't have to do end-of-year tests either..."

"We didn't put our names in that goblet!" Haiden said obviously starting to get angry.

"Yeah, okay." Ron said in exactly the same sceptical tone as Cedric. "Only you said this morning you'd have done it last night, and no one would've seen you... I'm not stupid, you know."

"Well, we could agree with you, but then we'd all be wrong!" Haiden and Harry snapped as one shocking not only them, but everyone else.

"Yeah?" Ron said, and there was no trace of a grin, forced or otherwise, on his face now. "You want to go get to bed, Haiden, Harry. I expect you'll need to be up early tomorrow for a photo-call or something." He wrenched the hangings shut around his four-poster, leaving the group in a stunned silence. Before anyone could react, there was a knock on the door before it opened and a very pissed Severus walked in.

"Come Harry, you too, Haiden. You'll be staying with us for the remainder of the year." Severus told them before looking at Luna, Myari, and Draco. "I suggest the three of you return to your Houses, it is late." He looked at Hermione. "You should be in bed, Miss Granger." Without a word everyone did as they were told.

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten- The Weighing of the Wands

When Harry woke up on Sunday morning, it took him a moment to remember why Haiden was sleeping next to him. Then the memory of the previous night rolled over him. He sat up and groaned. He had really hoped that yesterday had been a nightmare. Beside him, Haiden sat up wide eyed and looking around the room as if trying to figure out where he was, it took Haiden a moment to realize he didn't have his glasses on before he quickly reached over and grabbed them.

The two of them shared a look before they got up and dressed. They left Harry's room to find Severus sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. He looked up at them when they entered with a broken look, shocking Harry. "I'm sorry." Severus said.

"For what?" Haiden asked.

"I tried. I really did. Stayed up all night with not only Dumbledore, Minerva, and Filius, but also Lucius. We searched everything, but we couldn't find a single loophole to get you two out of the Tournament." Severus told them.

"Oh." Haiden muttered as Harry walked over to Severus and hugged his head to his midsection, trying to give as much comfort and strength to his father as he could.

"It's alright. We'll survive this. Me and Haiden are a team, there are two of use while the others only have themselves." Harry told him.

"You also have me. I'll help you where ever I can." Severus vowed.

"But aren't the champions suppose to do the tasks on their own? You know, without the professor's help?" Haiden asked and Severus laughed.

"Do you really think that after last night that either Madame Maxime and Karkaroff are going to follow that rule?" Severus asked and Haiden shrugged. "No. And even if he didn't have last night as an excuse, Karkaroff would have still helped his champion."

"Oh." Haiden muttered. It was silent for a moment before there was a knock at the portrait. Haiden, obviously trying to get away from whatever he was feeling, rushed towards the portrait and opened it to come face to face with Hermione.

"Hello." She said, holding up two stacks of toast, which she was carrying in a napkin. "I brought you and Harry this... Would you two want to go for a walk?" Haiden looked over at Harry questioningly who hugged Severus one last time before walking over to Haiden.

"Good idea." Harry said greatfull as he took one stack. They left the dungeon, crossed the entrance hall; where they were joined by Draco, Myari, and Luna; quickly without looking in at the Great Hall, and were soon striding across the lawn toward the lake, where the Durmstrang ship was moored, reflecting blackly in the water. It was a chilly morning, and they kept moving, munching on toast, as Harry and Haiden told the group exactly what had happened after they had left the Great Hall.

"As we told Harry last night, we all knew neither of you had entered yourselves." Hermione told Haiden when they had finished telling the group about the scene in the chamber off the Hall. "The look on your faces when Dumbledore read out your names! But the question is, who did put it in? Because Moody's right... I don't think any student could have done it... they'd never be able to fool the Goblet... not even you, Harry, sorry."

"Nothing to apologize, I agree with you and 'Moody'. I may be powerful, but I have little to no control over it." Harry admitted.

"Have you seen Ron?" Haiden asked. Hermione hesitated.

"Erm... yes... he was at breakfast." she said.

"Does he still think we entered ourselves?" Haiden asked.

"Well... no, I don't think so... not you... well... not really." Hermione said awkwardly.

"What's that supposed to mean, 'not really'?" Haiden asked.

"It's obvious! He's jealous!" Draco chimed in.

"Jealous?" Harry and Haiden said incredulously.

"Jealous of what?" Haiden asked.

"He wants to make a prat of himself in front of the whole school, does he?" Harry asked.

"Look," Hermione said patiently, "it's always you and Harry who get all the attention, you know it is. We know it's not your fault," she added quickly, seeing Haiden open his mouth furiously. "We know neither of you ask for it... but usually he can separate you from Harry, this time he can't. Not only that, but - well- you know, Ron's got all those brothers to compete against at home, and, Haiden, you're is best friend, why, I don't know, and you're really famous - he's always shunted to one side whenever people see you, and he puts up with it, and he never mentions it, but I supposed this is just one time too many..."

"Why are you trying to defend Ronald?" Draco asked and Hermione closed her mouth.

"To be honest, I really don't know." Hermione said.

"Great," Haiden said bitterly. "Really great. Tell him from me that me and Harry'll swap any time he wants. Tell him from me he's welcome to it... People gawping at my forehead everywhere I go..."

"I'm not telling him shite." Hermione said shortly causing everyone to stare at her in shock at the fact that she had just cussed. Harry recovered first and tried hide his laugh. "Tell him yourself. It's the only way to sort this out."

"Though why you'd what to sort anything out with him after everything he's done, is a mystery to anyone." Draco said.

"I'm not running around after him trying to make him grow up!" Haiden said, so loudly that several owls in a nearby tree took flight in alarm.

"Here here!" Draco and Myari cheered.

"Maybe he'll believe neither of us are enjoying ourself once we've broken our neck or -"

"That's not funny!" Hermione and Draco cried, Hermione threw herself at Haiden while Draco pulled Harry to him and glared at Haiden.

"That's not funny." Hermione repeated, this time more quietly as she held on to Haiden. From her shoulder's shaking and Haiden wrapping his arms around her, Harry could tell she was either crying or trying to keep herself from crying. After a minute of collecting herself, Hermione pulled away from Haiden just far enough to look at him. "I've been thinking - you know what we've got to do, don't you? Stright away, the moment we get back to the castle?"

"Yeah, give Ron a good kick up the -" Haiden started with a smile, and Harry knew this was his way of trying to cheer her up.

"Write to Sirius." Haiden glanced over at Draco, Harry glanced up at him too, only to see he was looking away from them, pretending that he wasn't hearing anything they were saying. Harry felt himself smile at how sweet Draco was being. "You've got to tell him what's happened. He asked you to keep him posted on everything that's going on at Hogwarts... It's almost as if he expected something like this to happen. I brought some parchment and quill out with me -"

"Come off it," Haiden said, looking around to check that they hadn't been over hear by anyone not in their group, but the grounds were quite deserted. "He came back to the country just because my scar twinged." Harry was shocked at that, he hadn't heard anything about Sirius being back. "He'll probably come bursting right into the castle if I tell him someone's entered me in the Triwizard Tournament -"

"He'd want you to tell him." Hermione said sternly. "He's going to find out anyway -"

"Granger's right." Draco said with a sigh and Hermione turned and looked at him as if just remembering he and the others were there.

"How?" Haiden asked.

"Haiden, this isn't going to be kept quiet." Hermione said very seriously. "This tournament's famous, and you're famous. I'll be surprised if there isn't anything in the Daily Prophet about you and Harry competing... You're already in half the books about You-Know-Who, you know..."

"We are?" Haiden asked looking at Harry who refused to look at him, noticing that Luna and Myari had stepped away from them.

"You are." Harry said.

"Sirius would rather hear that you're competing from you, I know he would." Hermione said bringing the topic back on track.

"Okay, okay, I'll write to him." Haiden said, throwing his last piece of toast into the lake. The four of them stood there and watched it floating there for a moment, before a large tentacle rose out of the water and scooped it beneath the surface, causing Harry to have shivers suddenly run down his spine. He began to worry if any of the tasks had anything to do with swimming. He certainly hoped not, he didn't know how to swim.

Myari and Luna stepped back over to them and they returned to the castle.

"Whose owl am I going to use?" Haiden asked as they climbed the stairs. "He told me not to use Hedwig again."

"You could alway ask Ron if you can borrow-" Draco started with a smirk.

"I'm not asking Ron for shite." Haiden said flatly causing Draco's smirk to deepen.

"You can borrow mine." Harry offered. They went up to the Owlery, Hermione gave Haiden a piece of parchment, a quill, and bottle of ink, as Harry whistled for Heimdallur. Harry saw Hermione give Heimdallur a strange look before going over to help Haiden with his letter. Harry stood off to the side with Draco, who was petting Heimdallur, watching them.

"Finished." Haiden said as he stood up before helping Hermione standing up, brushing the straw off their robes. At this, Hedwig came fluttering down onto his shoulder and held out her leg. "I can't use you." Haiden told her before nodding to Heimdallur. "I've got you use him." Hedwig gave a very loud hoot and took off so suddenly that her talons cut into his shoulder. She kept her back to Haiden all the time he was tying his letter to the leg of Heimdallur. When he had flown off, Haiden reached out to stroke Hedwig, but she clicked her beak furiously and soared up into the rafters out of reach.

"First Ron, then you?" Haiden said angrily. "This isn't my fault!" Half of Harry felt bad for his brother, the other half found this funny.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

If Harry had thought that matters would improve once everyone got used to the idea of him and his brother being champion, the following day showed him how mistaken he was. He could no longer avoid the rest of the school once he was back at lessons - and it was clear that the rest of the school, just like the Ravenclaws and Gryffindors, thought they had entered themselves for the tournament. Unlike the Gryffindors and some Ravenclaws, however, they did not seem impressed.

The Hufflepuffs, who were usually on excellent term with the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, had turned remarkably cold toward the who lot of them. One Herbology was enough to demonstrate this. It was plain that the Hufflepuffs felt that Harry and Haiden had stollen their champion's glory; a feeling exacerbated, perhaps, due the fact that Hufflepuff House rarely got any glory, and that Cedric was one of the few who had ever given them any, haven beating Gryffindor once at Quidditch. Ernie Macmillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley, with who Harry normally got on very will, did not talk to him even though they were repotting Bouncing Bulbs at the same tray - though they did laugh rather unpleasantly when one of the Bouncing Bulbs wriggled free from Harry's grip and smacked him hard in the face.

Harry noticed that Ron wasn't talking to Haiden. Hermione sat between them, making very forced conversation, but though both answered her normally, they avoided making eye contact with each other. Harry understood why Hermione was at least trying to help mend Ron and Haiden's relationship even though it was very clear to everyone she really didn't want to. But even though he understood her reasoning, he was not going to go out of his way to help her help them.

Harry also noticed that even Professor Sprout seemed distant with him and Haiden - but then, she was Head of Hufflepuff House.

Harry walked with Haiden and Hermione to Hagrid's hut before going to wander around until his next class, he was not looking forward to see what Parkinson would have to say. Predictably, Parkinson arrived at Hagrid's cabin with her familiar sneer firmly in place.

"Ah, look, it's the champion." She said to whoever would listen to her as Draco stormed over. "Got your autograph books? Better get a signature now, because I doubt their going to be around much longer... Half the Triwizard champions have died... how long d'you reckon you're going to last, Potter?" She asked getting into Harry's face. "Ten minutes into the first task's my bet."

Crabbe and Goyle guffawed sycophantically, but Parkinson had to stop there, because not only did Harry just turn around and begin to walk away, but Hagrid emerged from the back of his cabin balancing a teetering tower of crates, each containing a very large Blast-Ended Skrewrt. Harry walked to the Black Lack and around the edge of it where a small cave hid in the thick bushes where he usually hid when he wanted to be alone. Harry groaned when he saw that someone else had found his hiding spot. Viktor Krum was doing push ups in his hiding spot and looked up when he heard Harry's groan.

"Sorry, I'll leave you be." Harry muttered and turned to leave.

"Vait!" Viktor called in his deep voice. And though Harry knew he could have pretended not to hear him and just continued to leave, he knew that wasn't very hospitable, and Viktor was a guest at the castle. Harry sighed before turning back to Viktor who had stood up. "I did not mean to offend."

"Offend?" Harry asked confused.

"Ven ve first got here. Ven I kissed your hand." Viktor explained. "I did not realize you ver vith Draco."

"I'm not with Draco." Harry said.

"Das ist not vat Draco made it sound like." Viktor said.

"Look, I don't know what Draco said. But he is just a really close friend that is very protective of me." Harry said angrily, ignoring the guilty feeling that hit him. It's not like he had lied.

"I can see vhy. Vas vith someone entering your name." Viktor said shocking Harry.

"You believe me?" Harry asked.

"Of course. Das outburst ist not of one who entered demselves." Viktor said before looking off toward the direction of the ship and sigh. "It seems I must leave." Viktor looked back at Harry as he walked up to him. "I am glad ve got a chance to talk." He gently took Harry's hand and kissed the back of it again. "Be carefull in de tournament." Harry didn't know how to react and just stood there looking forward as Viktor left.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

The next few days were some of Harry's worst at Hogwarts. The closest he had ever come to feeling like this had been during those months, in his second year, when a large part of the school had suspected him of attacking his fellow students. In fact, he would rather go back to that time. Thankfully he had his friends there to help him.

He could understand the Hufflepuffs' attitude, even if he didn't like it; they had their own champion to support. He expected nothing less than vicious insults from the half of Slytherin that followed Parkinson - she hated him for some strange reason that he didn't care to figure out. But he had hoped that Ravenclaw might have found it in their hearts to support him as much as Cedric, seeing as he was in their house. But only two really supported him. Most Ravenclaws seemed to think that he had been desperate to earn him and his brother a bit more fame by tricking the goblet into accepting their names.

Then there was the fact that Cedric looked the part of champion so much more than him or Haiden did. Exceptionally handsome, with his straight nose, dark hair, and grey eyes, it was hard to say who was receiving more admiration these days, Cedric or Viktor Krum. Harry actually saw the same sixth-year girls who had been so keen to get Viktor's autograph begging Cedric to sign their school bags one lunchtime.

But Haiden wasn't faring any better than him. There had been no reply from Sirius, Hedwig was refusing to come anywhere near him, Professor Trelawney was predicting not only his death, but Harry's death, with even more certainty then usual, and he did so badly at Summoning Charms in Professor Flitwick's class that he was given extra homework - the only person to get any, apart from Neville.

"It's really not that difficult, Haiden." Hermione tried to reassure Haiden as they left Flitwick's class - she had been making objects zoom across the room to her all lesson, same as him and Draco. "You just weren't concentrating properly-"

"Wonder why that was." Haiden said darkly as Cedric Diggory walked past, surrounded by a large group of simpering girls, all of whom looked at him and Harry as though they were a particularly large Blast-Ended Skrewrt. "Still - never mind, eh? Double Potions to look forward to this afternoon..."

Usually Double Potions was something Harry was always looking forward to, but these days it was a horrible experience. Being shut in a dungeon for an hour and a half with Parkinson and the Slytherins that followed her, all of whom seemed determined to punish Harry and Haiden as much as possible for daring to become school champion, was about the most unpleasant thing Harry could imagine. And nothing Severus nor Draco did could stop them. He had already struggled through one Friday's worth, with Draco sitting next to him and Hermione sitting next to Haiden intoning "ignore them, ignore them, ignore them" under their breaths, and he couldn't see why today should be any better.

When they arrived at Severus's dungeon after lunch, they found half the Slytherin students waiting outside wearing a large badge on the front of his or her robes. For one wild moment Harry thought they were S.P.E.W. badges - then he saw that they all bore the same message, in luminous red letters that burnt brightly in the dimly lit underground passage:

 

"Like them, Potter?" Parkinson asked loudly as Harry approached. "And this isn't all they do - look!" She press her badge into her chest, and the message upon it vanished, to be replaced by another one, which glowed green:

The Slytherins wearing the badges howled with laughter. Each of them pressed their badges too, until the message POTTER STINKS was shining brightly all around Harry. He felt anger swell inside him.

"Oh very funny," Hermione said sarcastically to Parkinson and her gang of Slytherin girls, who were laughing harder than anyone, "really witty."

"Want one, Granger?" Parkinson asked, holding out a badge to Hermione. "I've got loads. But don't touch my hand, now. I've just washed it, you see; don't want Mudblood sliming it up."

Harry's anger exploded out of him. His magic wipping out around him. People all around them scrambled out of the way, backing down the corridor.

"Harry!" Hermione said warningly as Draco tried to calm him down.

"Go on, then, Potter." Parkinson said quietly, drawing out her wand. "Moody's not here to look after you now - do it, it if you've got the guts-" For a split second, they looked into each other's eyes, then exactly the same time, both acted.

"Densaugeo!" Parkinson screamed as Harry threw the dagger that had once again materialized into his hand. Harry's dagger sliced through Parkinson's jet of light, part of the light hit the wall and did nothing the other part flew past him and, before Harry could react, hit Hermione who, whimpering in panic, was clutching her mouth.

"Hermione!" Harry cried spinning around, not realizing the dagger had stop centimeters from Parkinson's face and just floated there, and saw Haiden pulling Hermione's hand from her face. It wasn't a pretty sight. Hermione's front teeth - already larger than average - were now growing at an alarming rate; she was looking more and more like a beaver as her teeth elongated, past her bottom lip, toward her chin - panic-stricken, she felt them and let out a terrified cry.

"And what is all this noise about?" A soft, deadly voice asked. Severus had arrived. The Slytherins clamored to give their explanations as Harry stood frozen in shock as Hermione hid her face in Haiden's chest. This had been his fault, not only had he not been fast enough to protect her, but he had once again let his anger control him.

"Parkinson goaded Harry into attacking her!" Harry heard Draco explain, releasing Harry from his frozen state.

"He tried to kill me with a dagger!" Parkinson yelled.

"I'm so sorry, Hermione." Harry whispered.

"I see no dagger." Severus said.

"Why are you apologizing? This is Parkinson's fault." Haiden asked as he comforted Hermione.

"I wasn't fast enough to stop the spell. I also let my anger once again control me." Harry said bowing his head.

"Haiden, take Granger to the Hospital wing." As everyone passed him to enter the classroom, Harry stayed standing in the middle of the hallway with his head bowed and tears silently falling from his eyes. He gasped when a hand was placed on his head. "You're only 14 years old, Harry, even if you have the magical strength to be able to do something, that does not mean you will be able to it. And as I just said, you are 14 years old, you should be more worried about your grades and wondering what your crush is doing, and not about protecting your friend from a harmless spell." Severus told him softly. "Now get inside the classroom, before I am forced to give you a weeks worth of detention." Harry slowly walked passed Severus and into the classroom, and took his seat next to Draco.

Harry sat in his seat, staring at his desk, ignoring everyone around him.

"Antidotes!" Severus said, sounding far away. "You should all have prepared your recipes now. I want you to brew them carefully, and then, we will be selecting someone whom to test one..." A knock on the dungeon door interrupted Severus. "Yes?" It was Colin Creevey.

"Please, sir, I'm supposed to take Haiden and Harry Potter upstairs." That brought Harry out of the stooper he had put himself in.

"They have another hour of Potions to complete." Severus said. "They will come upstairs when they are finished."

"Sir - sir, Mr. Bagman wants them." Colin, who was very pink, said nervously. "All the champions have got to go, I think they want to take photographs..." Harry would have given anything he owned to have stopped Colin saying anything about the tournament to Severus, it was still a very sore subject.

"Very well, very well," Severus snapped. "Harry, leave your things here, I want you back here later to test your antidote."

"Please, sir - he's got to take his things wit him." Colin squeaked. " All the champions-"

"Very well." Severus growled out. "Harry - take your bag, you're needed elsewhere."

"Sir - I also need Haiden..."

"He's at the Hospital Wing." Severus snapped as Harry stood up with his bag and left the room.

"You go get Haiden." Harry said.

"But I'm supposed to take you..." Colin trailed off when Harry looked at him.

"Tell me where to go." Harry demanded and Colin squeaked out the room before taking off down the hall towards the Hospital Wing. Harry sighed and made his way out of the dungeon and towards the entrance hall. He quickly found the right room and knocked before entering. He was in a fairly small classroom; most of the desks had been pushed away to the back of the room, leaving a large space in the middle; three of them, however, had been placed end-to-end in front of the blackboard and covered with a long length of velvet-covered desks, and Ludo Bagman was sitting in one of them, talking to a witch Harry had never seen before, who was wearing magenta robes.

Viktor Krum was standing moodily in a corner as usual and not talking to anybody, but they did lock eyes before Harry continued to survey the room. Cedric and Fleur were in conversation. Fleur looked a good deal happier than Harry had seen her so far; she kept throwing back her head so that her long silvery hair caught the light. A paunchy man, holding a large black camera that was smoking slightly, was watching Fleur out of the corner of his eye.

Bagman suddenly spotted Harry, got up quickly, and bounded forwards. When he noticed it was only Harry, his smile faded just a little. "Where is your brother?" Harry sighed and walked passed Bagman.

"He'll be here soon." He informed Bagman before he found a wall and leaned up against it.

"You must be very scared." Fleur said coming to stand in front of him, Cedric right behind her.

"Not really, at least not for me." Harry muttered.

"Are you okay, Harry?" Cedric asked.

"I'm fine." Harry muttered.

"You sure? You haven't been yourself lately? When we're free, would you like to go some where and talk?" Cedric offered causing Harry to blush.

"I do not think he vants to be around people, right now." Viktor cut in.

"I see, well, don't be afraid to come talk if you need to. You know I'm always here to listen." Cedric said as he rested a gentle hand on Harry's head, causing his blush to deepen. Cedric was always so nice to him. The classroom door opened again and a slightly out of breath Haiden walked in.

"Ah, here he is! The other half of our fourth champion! In you come, Haiden, in you come... nothing to worry about, it's just the wand weighing ceremony, the rest of the judges will be here in a moment-" Bagman announced as Haiden slowly walked in.

"Wand weighing?" Haiden repeated nervously as Harry kicked off to wall and walked over to him.

"We have to check that your wands are fully functional, no problems, you know, as they're your most important tools in the tasks ahead." Bagman explained. "The expert's upstairs now with Dumbledore. And then there's going to be a little photo shoot. This is Rita Skeeter." He added, gesturing toward the witch in magenta robes. "She's doing a small piece on the tournament for the Daily Prophet..."

"Maybe not that small, Ludo." Rita Skeeter said, her eyes on Harry and Haiden giving Harry a bad feeling.

Her hair was set in elaborate and curiously rigid curls that contrasted oddly with her heavy-jawed face. She wore jeweled spectacles. The this fingers clutching her crocodile-skin handbag ended in two-inch nails, painted crimson.

"I wonder if I could have a little word with the twins before we start?" She asked Bagman, but still gazing fixed on the twins. "The youngest champions, you know... to add a bit of color?"

"Certainly!" Bagman cried. "That is - if they have no objection?"

"Er-" Haiden said.

"No." Harry said at the exact same time.

"Lovely." Rita Skeeter said, and in a second, her scarlet-taloned fingers had Harry's upper arm in a surprisingly strong grip, and she was steering him out of the room again and opening a nearby door with Haiden nervously following after them.

"We don't want to be in there with all the noise." She said. "Let's see...ah, yes, this is nice and cozy." It was a broom cupboard no bigger than their old cupboard in the Dursley house. Harry glared at her.

"Come along, dear- that's right - lovely," Rita Skeeter said, again, perching herself precariously upon an upturned bucket pushing Harry down onto a cardboard box, Haiden sat beside him, as she closed the door, throwing them into darkness. "Lets see now..."

She unsnapped her crocodile-skin handbag and pulled out a handful of candles, which she lit with a wave of her wand and magicked into midair, so that they could see what they were doing.

"You won't mind, Haiden, Harry, if I use a Quick-Quotes Quill? It leave me free to talk to you normally..."

"We mind." Harry told her.

"A what?" Haiden asked. Rita Skeeter's smile widened. Harry counted three gold teeth. She reached again into her crocodile bag and drew out a long acid-green quill and a roll of parchment, which she stretched out between them on a crate of Mrs. Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover. She put the tip of the green quill into her mouth, sucked it for a moment with apparent relish, then placed it upright on the parchment, where is stood balanced on its point, quivering slightly. Harry rolled his eyes, knowing that no matter what he said Rita Skeeter was going to do whatever she wanted.

"Testing... my name is Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet reporter." Harry looked down quickly at the quill. The moment Rita Skeeter had spoken, the green quill had started to scribbled, skidding across the parchment:

"Lovely." Rita Skeeter said, yet again, and she ripped the top piece of parchment off, crumpled it up, and stuffed it into her handbag. Now she leaned toward Haiden and said. "So, tell me Haiden, Harry, here you both sit, two mere boys of 12-"

"Um- we're 14." Haiden said. but this time he was

"- About to compete against three students, not only vastly more emotionally mature than yourselves, but who have mastered spells that you wouldn't attempt," Harry caught Haiden glancing at him in worry from the corner of his eyes, but he just kept glaring at Rita Skeeter and her annoying quill, "in you dizziest daydreams. Concerned?"

"I haven't really thought about it, but I have Harry with me, so..." Haiden said distracted by the quill. It was dashing across the parchment, and in its wake he could make out a fresh sentence:

"Ignore the quill, Haiden." Rita Skeeter said firmly. Harry watched from the corner of his eye, as Haiden reluctantly looked up at her instead. "Of course, Haiden, you're no ordinary boy of 12, are you?"

"14." Haiden corrected again.

"Your story's legend. Do you think it was the trauma of your past that made you so keen to enter such a dangerous tournament?" Reta Skeeter asked.

"Uh- No, we- we didnt' enter." Haiden stuttered out.

"Of course you didn't." Rita Skeeter said unbelievingly with a wink. "Everyone loves a rebel, Haiden. Scratch that last. Speaking of your parents, were they alive, how do you think they'd feel? Proud? Or concerned that your attitude shows, at best, a pathological need for attention... at worst a psychotic death wish?" Haiden turned to look at Harry for help. Harry arm suddenly lashed out, causing Rita Skeeter, who was solely focused on Haiden, to cry out in shock. He grabbed the quill that had just written:

 

Harry snapped the quill in half and snatched up the parchment before Rita Skeeter could. "This interview is over, and if I see any articles about me or my brother in the Daily Prophet you can bet your arse that I will sue you for slander faster than you can spin a web of lies." Harry growled at her. Before Rita Skeeter could say another word, the door of the broom cupboard was pulled open. Harry turned and looked over Rita Skeeter's shoulder through the bright light. Albus Dumbledore stood there, looking down at the three of them, squashed into the cupboard.

"Dumbledore!" Rita Skeeter cried with every appearance of delight. "How are you?" She asked, standing up and holding out one of her large, mannish hands to Dumbledore. "I hope you saw my piece over the summer about the International Confederation of Wizards' Conference?" Harry wanted to take him brother and leave the cupboard but both Rita Skeeter and Dumbledore were blocking the way.

"Enchantingly nasty." Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling. "I particularly enjoyed your description of me as an obsolete dingbat." Rita Skeeter didn't look remotely abashed.

"I was just making the point that some of your ideas are a little old-fashioned, Dumbledore, and that many wizards in the street-"

"I will be delighted to hear the reasoning behind the rudeness, Rita," Dumbledore said with a courteous bow and a smile, "but I'm afraid we will have to discuss the matter later. The Weighing of the Wands is about to start, and it cannot take place if one of our champion is hidden in a broom cupboard."

Very glad to get away form Rita Skeeter, Harry took hold of Haiden's hand and hurried both of them back into the room. The other champions were now sitting in chairs near the door, he sat down quickly next to Cedric with Haiden beside him, looking up at the velvet-covered table, where four of the five judges were now sitting - Professor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Mr. Crouch, and Ludo Bagman. Rita Skeeter settled herself down in a corner; Harry saw her slip another parchment out of her bag, spread it on her knee, suck the end of a new Quick-Quotes Quill, and place it on the parchment. Harry tsked, of course she would have more parchment and another quill.

"May I introduce Mr. Ollivander?" Dumbledore said, taking his place at the judges' table and talking to the champions. "He will be checking your wands to ensure that they are in good condition before the tournament." Harry looked around, and with a jolt of surprise saw an old wizard with large, pale eyes standing quietly by the window. Harry had met Mr. Ollivander before - he was the wand-maker from whom harry had bought his own wand over three years ago in Diagon Alley.

"Mademoiselle Delacour, could we have you first, please?" Mr. Ollivander said, stepping into the empty space in the middle of the room. Fleur Delacour swept over to Mr. Ollivander and handed him her wand. "Hmmm..." He said. He twirled the wand between his long fingers like a baton and it emitted a number of pink and gold sparks. Then he held it close to his eyes and examined it carefully. "Yes," he said quietly, "nine and a half inches... inflexible... rosewood... and containing... dear me..."

"An 'air from ze 'ead of a Veela," Fleur said. "One of my grandmuzzer's." So Fleur was part Veela, that would explain why she was 'flirting' with him, she was trying to get him under her 'spell'. But for some strange reason, he was immune to it.

"Yes," Mr. Ollivander said, "yes, I've never used Veela hair myself, of course. I find it makes for rather temperamental wands... however, to each his own, and if this suits you..." Mr. Ollivander ran his fingers along the wand, apparently checking for scratches or bumps; then he muttered, "Orchideous!" and a bunch of flowers burst from the wand tip. "Very well, very well, it's in fine working order." Mr. Ollivander said, scooping up the flowers and handing them to Fleur with her wand.

"Mr. Diggory, you next." Fleur glided back to her seat, smiling at Cedric as he passed her, and winked at Harry who just stared back at her causing her to pout. He smirked inwardly, he was starting to like this game they were playing. "Ah, now, this is one of mine, isn't it?" Mr. Ollivander asked, with much more enthusiasm, as Cedric handed over his wan. "Yes, I remember it well. Containing a single hair from the tail of a particularly fine male unicorn... must have seen seventeen hands; nearly gorged me with his horn after I plucked his tail. Twelve and a quarter inches... ash... pleasantly springy. It's in fine condition... you treat it regularly?"

"Polished it last night." Cedric said, grinning. Harry saw Haiden look down at his own wand, he looked at it too. He could see finger marks all over it. Harry watched as Haiden gathered a fistful of robe from his knee and tried to rub it clean surreptitiously. Several gold sparks shot out of the end of it. Fleur Delacour gave him a very patronizing look, and he desisted. Harry took Haiden's wand, breathed into his hand before rubbing it up and down. He handing Haiden his wand back, fingermarks gone.

Mr. Ollivander sent a stream of silver smoke rings across the room from the tip of Cedric's wand, pronounced himself satisfied, and then said, "Mr. Krum, if you please." Viktor Krum got up and slouched, round-shouldered and duck-footed, toward Mr. Ollivander. He thrusted out his wand and stood scowling, with his hands in his pockets of his robs. "Hmm," Mr. Ollivander said, "this is a Gregorovitch creation, unless I'm much mistaken? A fine wand-maker, though the styling is never quite what I... however.."

He lifted the wand and examined it minutely, turning it over and over before his eyes. "Yes... hornbeam and dragon heartstring?" He shot at Krum who nodded. "Rather thicker than one usually sees... quite rigid... ten and a quarter inches... Avis!" The hornbeam wand let off a blast like a gun, and a number of small, twittering birds flew out of the end and through the open window into the water sunlight.

"Good," Mr. Ollivander said, handing Krum his wand back. Which leaves... the Potter twins." As one, Harry and Haiden stood up and walked past Krum to Mr. Ollivander. "Haiden first." He handed over his wand. "Aaaah, yes." Mr. Ollivander said, pale eyes suddenly gleaming. "Yes, yes, yes. How well I remember. Holly and Phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple." He brought Haiden's wand closer to his face and examined it before setting of a set of Red and Gold fire works.

"Harry, if you will?" Mr. Ollivander said handing Haiden his wand back. Harry pulled his wand from the hidden pocket in his robe, thankful that he had actually remembered to grab it today, and handed it to him. If Harry had thought that Mr. Ollivander's eyes had light up at the sight of Haiden's wand, he was like the sun with Harry's wand in his hand. "My most unusual combination. Pine and Unicorn Hair willingly given from a Mare wrapped tight around Runespoor, ten inches, nice and firm." Mr. Ollivander spent much longer examining Harry's wand than anyone else's. Eventually, however, he made a fountain of wine shoot out of it, and handed it back to Harry, announcing that it was still in perfect condition, even if it had been barely used.

"Thank you all." Dumbledore said, standing up at the judges table. "You may go back to your lessons now - or perhaps it would be quicker to just go down to dinner, as they are about to end-" Feeling that at least something had gone right today, Harry stood up to leave, but the man with the black camera jumped up and cleared his throat.

"Photos, Dumbledore, photos!" Bagman cried excitedly. "All the judges and champions, what do you think, Rita?"

"Er- yes, let's do those first." Rita Skeeter said, her eyes locked angrily upon Harry. "And then perhaps some individual shots."

The photographs took a long time. Madame Maxime cast everyone into shadow wherever she stood, and the photographer couldn't stand far enough back to get her into the frame; eventually she had to sit while everyone else stood around her. Karkaroff kept twirling his goatee around his finger to give it an extra curl; Krum, whom Harry would have thought would have been used to this sort of thing, skulked, half-hidden, at the back of the group. The photographer seemed keenest to get Fleur at the front, but Rita Skeeter kept hurrying forward and dragging Haiden and Harry into greater prominence. Then she insisted on separate shots of all the champions. At last, they were free to go.

Harry and Haiden went down to dinner. Hermione wasn't there - Harry supposed she was still in the hospital wing having her teeth fixed. They sat with Luna, Myari, and Draco at the Ravenclaw table before returning to the Dungeon to Severus's rooms.

You have an owl, Haiden." Severus told Haiden when they entered, they turned and saw Heimdallur sitting on the back of the couch.

"Oh- right." Haiden said taking the letter and walking into his and Harry's shared room.

"If a story of me and Haiden were to appear in the Daily Prophet without either of our consent, would we be able to do anything about the witch who wrote it?" Harry asked Severus.

"That is a question you would have to ask Lucius." Severus told him.

"Right." Harry said before bidding his father a goodnight and entered his room where he found Haiden reading the letter. Curious, Harry sat beside his brother and read the letter.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven- The Hungarian Horntail

Apparently Rita Skeeter had known that Harry's threat was a bluff, because she had published her piece about the Triwizard Tournament, and it had turned out to be not so much a report on the tournament as a highly colored life story of Haiden and Harry; the article (continuing on pages two, six, and seven) had been all about Haiden and Harry, the names of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang champions (misspelled) had been squashed into the last line of the article, and Cedric hadn't been mentioned at all.

The article had appeared ten days ago, and Harry still got a sick, burning feeling of shame in his stomach every time he thought about it. Rita Skeeter had reported him, Harry, being an out of control, troubled teen with an anger issue that nearly ripped her head off. And maybe in hindsight, tearing up the Daily Prophet in anger in the Great Hall hadn't helped his case. She also reported Haiden saying an awful lot of things that he never said.

I suppose I get my strength from our parents. I
know they'd be very proud of me if they could see
me now... Yes, sometimes at night I still cry
about them, I'm not ashamed to admit it... I
know nothing will hurt us during the tournament,
because they're watching over us...

But Rita Skeeter had gone even further than transforming Haiden's "er's" into long, sickly sentences: She had interviewed other people about them, too.

Harry is not only an out of control, troubled
teen with an anger issue, but he is also a
playboy. Many students claim to see him
with not only one Draco Malfoy, but also
with Luna Lovegood, Myari Rose, and lately
Fleur Delacour. But Harry is not the only
one to have found love. Haiden has also
found love at Hogwarts. His close friend,
Colin Creevey, says that Haiden is rarely
seen out of the company of one Hermione
Granger, a stunningly pretty Muggle-born
girl, who, like Harry, is the top student in school.

From the moment the article had appeared, Harry had had to endure people - Parkinson and her followers, mainly - quoting it at him as he passed and making sneering comments.

"Careful, everyone, here come's Hogwarts most infamous playboy, Harry. He'll steal your boyfriend or even girlfriend. I'm surprised you haven't tried going after Hermione. Or maybe you have?"

"Careful, he might attack you for looking at him wrong!"

"Hey- Harry!"

"Yeah, that's right!" Harry found himself shouting as he wheeled around in the corridor, having had just about enough. "I'm dating Luna, Myari, and Draco. I'm also trying to get into Fleur's paint..."

"No - it was just - you dropped your quill."

It was Cedric and Cho. Harry felt the color rising in his face.

"Oh - right - sorry." He muttered, taking the quill back.

"Er... good luck on Tuesday." Cho said. "I really hope you do well." Which left Harry feeling extremely stupid. Haiden and Hermione had come in for their fair share of unpleasantness too, but neither of them had yet to start yelling at innocent bystanders; in fact, Harry was full of admiration for the way they were handling the situation.

"Stunningly prettyHer?" Parkinson had shrieked the first time she had come face-to-face with Hermione after Rita's article had appeared. "What was she judging against - a chipmunk?"

"Ignore it." Hermione had said in a dignified voice, holding her head in the air and stalking past the sniggering Slytherin girls as though she couldn't hear them. "Just ignore it, Haiden, Harry." And Haiden had. But for some reason, Harry couldn't. Everyone's attention seemed to be on nothing but him lately, and he hated it. He wanted everything to go back to normal, to when everyone who weren't close to him basically forget he existed.

The only thing positive to have come from any of this was the fact that Ron was still not speaking to either him or Haiden. And even though Haiden hid the fact that it bothered him well, both him and Hermione could tell it actually bothered him greatly. And the article seemed to have confirmed Ron's belief that they were really enjoying all the attention.

Hermione was furious with the pair of them; she went from one to the other, trying to force them to talk to each other, but Haiden was adamant: He would talk to Ron again only if Ron admitted that neither him nor Harry put their names in the Goblet of Fire and apologize for calling both of them lairs.

"I didn't start this." Haiden told her stubbornly. "It's his problem."

"You miss him! Why! I don't know!" Hermione said impatiently.

"Miss him?" Haiden asked. "I don't miss him..." Harry and Hermione knew that was a downright lie. Even though Haiden loved Harry, and liked Hermione (maybe even loved her) they were not Ron. There was something about Ron that neither Harry nor Hermione could fill for Haiden. It might be the fact that both Harry and Hermione spent hours in the library. Haiden still hadn't mastered the Summoning Charms, he seemed to have developed something of a block about them, and Hermione insisted that learning the theory would help him. But Harry was sure that all they needed to do was throw him into a situation where he would need to use the Summoning Charms or die. But Hermione wouldn't let him test that theory, so they consequently spent a lot of time poring over books during their lunchtimes.

Viktor Krum was in the library an awful lot too, and Harry wondered if it was because he was there. Hermione often complained about Krum being there - not that he ever bothered them, all he seemed to like to do was watch them, or at least him - but because groups of giggling girls often turned up to spy on him from behind bookshelves, and Hermione found the noise distracting.

"He's not even good-looking!" She muttered angrily, glaring at Krum's sharp profile. But Harry actually had to disagree with her. Viktor had a hauntingly dark beauty to him that he was starting to see the more he looked at him. "They only like him because he's famous! They wouldn't look twice at him if he couldn't do that Wonky-Faint thing-"

"Wronski Feint." Haiden said, through gritted teeth.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up. The days until the first task seemed to slip by as though someone had fixed the clocks to work at double speed. Harry's feeling of barely controlled panic was with him wherever he went, as ever present as the snide comments about the Daily Prophet article.

On the Saturday before the first task, all students in the third year and above were permitted to visit the village of Hogsmeade. Hermione told Harry and Haiden that it would do them good to get away form the castle for a bit, and Harry didn't need much persuasion. But Haiden didn't want to go seen, so he convinced Harry to turn them both invisible.

Harry felt wonderful invisible; he watched other students walking past them as they entered the village, most of them sporting Support Cedric Diggory! badges, but no horrible remarks came his way for a change, and nobody was quoting that stupid article.

"People keep looking at me now." Hermione said grumpily as she, Draco, Myari and Luna came out of Honeydukes Sweet-shop later, eating large cream-filled chocolates.

"That's because their not used to seeing you with us without Harry." Myari told her.

"This is a good chance to get them used to it then." Harry said with a smirk, silently laughing knowing that Hermione wanted to hit him, but didn't know where he was.

"Come on, please drop the invisibility Charm for a bit, no one's going to bother you guys here."

"Oh yeah?" Haiden asked. "Look behind you." Rita Skeeter and her photographer friend had just emerged from the Three Broomstick pub. Talking in low voices, they passed right by them without looking at any of them. Harry and Haiden backed into the wall of Honeydukes to stop Rita Skeeter from hitting them with her crocodile-skin handbag. When they were gone, Haiden said, "She's staying in the village. I bet she's coming to watch the first task." As he said that, Harry's stomach flooded with a wave of molten panic. He didn't mention this; they hadn't discussed what was coming in the first task much; Harry had a feeling none of them wanted to think about it.

"She's gone." Draco said, looking right through Haiden toward the end of the street. "Why don't we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it's a bit cold, isn't it?" The three broomsticks was packed, mainly with Hogwarts students enjoying their free afternoon, but also with a variety of magical people Harry rarely saw anywhere else. Harry supposed that as Hogsmead was the only all-wizard village in Britain, it was a bit of a haven for creatures like hags, who were not as adept as wizards at disguising themselves.

It was very weird to move through the crowd under an Invisibility Charm, in case you accidentally trod on someone, which tended to lead to awkward questions. Harry and Haiden followed Draco and Myari as they slowly made their way toward a spare table in the corner while Hermione and Luna went to buy drinks. On his way through the pub, Harry spotted Ron, who was sitting with Fred, George, and Lee Jordan. It was very hard to resist the urge to whack Ron in the back of the head, but he did and finally reached the table and sat down beside Haiden at it.

Hermione joined them a moment later and handed them each a butterbeer that turned invisible the second she let go of them. "You know, even though I know the two of you are with us, is still feels like I'm hanging out alone with them." Hermione said nodding to Draco, Myari, and Luna.

"Why, well, just think how we feel, Granger." Draco said in mock annoyance while smirking. Hermione stuck her tongue out at him before pulling out a notebook in which she had been keeping a record of S.P.E.W. member. Harry saw Haiden and Ron's names at the top of the very short list. "Dear lord, Hermione, put that away." Draco hissed at her glancing around as if to make sure no one was suddenly watching them.

"Oh, shove off, it's not like people here are actually going to think care about the House Elves enough to join my group." Hermione said.

"You never know." Myari joked and Draco lightly smacked her in the back of the head.

"You know, maybe I should try and get some of the villagers involved in S.P.E.W." Hermione said thoughtfully looking around the pub.

"Yeah, right." Harry said. He took a swing of butterbeer. "Hermione, when are you going to give up on this spew stuff?"

"When house-elves have decent wages and working conditions!" She hissed back. "You know, I'm starting to think it's time for more direct action. I wonder how you get into the school kitchens?"

"No idea, ask Fred and George." Haiden said. They lapsed into a comfortable silence, while Harry drank his butterbeer, watching the people in the pub. All of them looked cheerful and relaxed. Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbot were swapping Chocolate Frog cards at a nearby table; both of them sporting Supported Cedric Diggory! badges on their cloaks.

What wouldn't he have given to be one of these people, sitting around laughing and talking, with nothing to worry about but homework? He imagined how it would have felt to be here if his and his brother's name hadn't come out of the Goblet of Fire. He wouldn't be under an Invisibility Charm, for one thing. He looked over to where Haiden was sitting invisible next to Hermione. Ron would be sitting with them. Haiden would be able to sit with Hermione and not be harassed.

He wondered how the other champions were feeling. Every time he had seen Cedric lately, he had been surrounded by admirers and looking nervous but excited. Harry glimpsed Fleur Delacour from time to time in the corridors; she looked exactly as she always did, haughty and unruffled. And Viktor had started sitting with them in the library, much to Draco's annoyance.

Harry thought of Sirius, and the tight, tense knot in his chest seemed to worsen slightly. Him and Haiden would be speaking to him in just over twelve hours, for tonight was the night they were meeting at Gryffindor Common room fire - assuming nothing went wrong, as everything else had done lately...

"Look, it's Hagrid!" Hermione said knocking Harry out of his thoughts.

The back of Hagrid's enormous shaggy - he had kept his braids that Harry had given him - emerged over the crowd. Harry wondered why he hadn't spotted him at once, as Hagrid was so large, but standing up carefully, he saw that Hagrid had been leaning low, talking to Professor 'Moody'. Hagrid had his usual enormous tankard in front of him, but 'Moody' was drinking from his hip flask. Madam Rosmerta, the pretty landlady, didn't seem to think much of this; she was looking askance at 'Moody' as she collected glasses from tables around them. Perhaps she thought it was an insult to her mulled mead, but Harry knew better.

As Harry watched, he saw Hagrid and 'Moody' get up to leave. He wanted to get up and follow them, hoping 'Moody' would lead him to the real one, but he would have to climb over Draco and the others. Harry watch 'Moody' pause before tapping Hagrid in the small of the back (being unable to reach his shoulder), muttering something to him, and then the pair of them made their way back across the pub toward their table.

"All right, Hermione?" Hagrid said loudly.

"Hello." Hermione said, smiling back. 'Moody' limped around the table and bent down; Harry thought he was reading the S.P.E.W. notebook, until he muttered.

"Nice Invisibility Charm, Harry, almost didn't see you or your brother." Harry glared at him.

"Can your eye - I mean, can you see us?" Haiden stuttered out.

"Yeah, it can see through most Invisibility Charms and even," He looked at Haiden, "Invisibility Cloaks." 'Moody' said quietly. "And it comes in useful at times, I can tell you."

Hagrid was beaming down at Haiden. Harry knew Hagrid couldn't see them, but 'Moody' had obviously told Hagrid they were there. Hagrid bent down on the pretext of reading the S.P.E.W. notebook as well, and said in a whisper so low that only Harry could hear it. "Haiden, meet me at midnight at me cabin. Wear yur cloak." Harry would pass that message on to Haiden.

Straightening up, Hagrid said loudly, "Nice ter see yeh, Hermione, Luna, Miss Rose, Malfoy," winked, and departed. 'Moody' followed him.

"Hagrid said to meet him at his cabin tonight at midnight, and for you to wear the cloak." Harry said.

"Why does he want to meet us?" Haiden asked.

"Not us, you." Harry said.

"I wonder what he's up to?" Draco asked.

"I don't know whether you should go, Haiden..." Hermione looked nervously around and hissed, "It might make you late for Sirius."

"I'll go to the cabin, you go to the tower." Harry said, making no room for arguments.

At half past eleven, Harry and Haiden, who had pretended to go to bed early, got up and Harry cast the Invisibility Charm on himself as Haiden pulled on the Invisibility Cloak to sneak up to the Tower. The two of them slipped out of their room, thankful that this was one of the rare nights that Severus wasn't up late worrying, or if he was up he wasn't in the main room. Outside the rooms, Haiden and Harry parted ways.

The grounds were dark. Harry walked down the lawn toward the lights shining in Hagrid's cabin. The inside of the enormous Beauxnaton's carriage was also lit up; Harry could hear Madame Maxime talking inside it as he knocked on Hagrid's front door.

"You there, Haiden?" Hagrid whispered, opening the door and looking around.

"It's Harry." Harry said, slipping inside the cabin and releasing the charm off his head. "Haiden's in the Tower talking to Sirius. What's up?" Hagrid looked slightly put off for a second before shaking it off.

"Got summat ter show yeh," Hagrid said.

There was an air of enormous excitement about Hagrid. He was wearing a flower that resembled an over sized artichoke in his buttonhole. His hair looked as though he had put his hair back into the braids Harry had done for him, but it was messy and fly away hairs were everywhere.

"What're you showing me?" Harry asked warily, wondering if the skrewts had laid eggs, or Hagrid had managed to buy another giant three-headed dog off a stranger in a pub.

"Come with me, keep quiet, an' keep yerself covered with that cloak." Hagrid said obviously assuming Harry was using the cloak. "We won' take Fang, he won't like it..."

"Right." Harry muttered covering his head with the Invisibility Charm again and hurried after Hagrid as he left the cabin and found, to his great surprise, that Hagrid was leading him to the Beauxbaton's carriage. "Hagrid, what-?"

"Shhh!" Hagrid said, and he knocked three times on the door bearing the crossed golden wands. Madame Maxime opened it. She was wearing a silk shawl wrapped around her massive shoulders. She smiled when she saw Hagrid.

"Ah, 'Agrid...is it time?"

"Bong-sewer." Hagrid said, beaming at her, and holding out a hand to help her down the golden steps.

Madame Maxime closed the door behind her, Hagrid offered her his arm, and they set off around the edge of the paddock containing Madame Maxime's giant winged horses, with Harry, totally bewildered, running to keep up with them. Had Hagrid called Haiden here to show him his date with Madame Maxime? If so, this was really awkward. Harry had half a mind to turn and leave and never speak to anyone of this.

But it seemed that Madame Maxime was in for the same treat as Harry, because after a while she said playfully, "Wair is it you are taking me, 'Agrid?"

"Yeh'll enjoy this," Hagrid said gruffly, "worth seein', trust meh. On'y - don' go tellin' anyone I showed yeh, right? Yeh're not s'posed ter know." And Harry knew then, that whatever this was, it had something to do with the tournament.

"Of course not." Madame Maxime said, fluttering her long black eyelashes.

And still they walked, Harry getting more and more irritated as he jogged along in their wake, checking his watch every now and then. But then - when they had walked so far around the perimeter of the forest that the castle and the lake were out of sight- Harry heard something. Men were shouting up ahead... then came a deafening, earsplitting roar...

Hagrid led Madame Maxime around a clump of trees and came to a halt. Harry hurried up alongside them - for a split second, he thought he was seeing bonfires, and men darting around them - and then his mouth fell open.

Dragons

Four fully grown, enormous, vicious-looking dragons were rearing onto their hind legs inside an enclosure fenced with thick planks of wood, roaring and snorting - torrents of fire were shooting into the dark sky from their open, fanged mouths, fifty feet about the ground on their outstretched necks. There was a silvery-blue one with long, pointed horns, snapping and snarling at the wizards on the ground; a smooth-scaled green one, which was withering and stamping with all its might; a red one with an odd fringe of fine gold spikes around its face which was shooting mushroom-shaped fire clouds into the air; and a gigantic black one, more lizard-like than the others, which was nearest to them.

At least thirty wizards, seven or eight to each dragon, were attempting to control them, pulling on the chains connected to heavy leather straps around their necks and legs. Mesmerized, Harry looked up, high above him, and saw the eyes of the black dragon, with vertical pupils like a cat's, bulging with either fear or rage, he couldn't tell which... It was making a horrible noise, a yowling, screeching scream...

"Keep back there, Hagrid!" A wizard near the fence, straining on the chain he was holding, yelled. "They can shoot fire at a range of twenty feet, you know! I've seen this Horntail do forty!"

"Is'n' it beautiful?" Hagrid asked softly.

"It's not good!" Another wizard yelled. "Stunning Spells, on the count of three!" Harry saw each of the dragon keepers pull out his wand.

"Stupefy!" They shouted in unison, and the Stunning Spells shot into the darkness like fiery rockets, bursting in showers of stars on the dragons' scaly hides-

Harry watched the dragon nearest to them teeter dangerously on its back legs; it's jaws stretched wide in a silent howl; its nostrils were suddenly devoid of flame, thought still smoking - then, very slowly, it fell. Several tons of sinewy, scaly-black dragon hit the ground with a thud that Harry could have sworn made the trees behind him quake.

The dragon keepers lowered their wands and walked forward to their fallen charges, each of which was the size of a small hill. They hurried to tighten the chains and fasten them securely to iron pegs which they forced deep into the ground with their wands.

"Wan' a closer look?" Hagrid asked Madame Maxime excitedly. The pair of them moved right up to the fence, and Harry followed. The wizard who had warned Hagrid not to come any closer turned, and Harry realized who it was: Charlie Weasley.

"All right, Hagrid?" He panted, coming over to talk. "They should be okay now - we put them out with a Sleeping Draft on the way here, thought it might be better for them to wake up in the dark and the quiet - but, like you saw, they weren't happy, not happy at all-"

"What breeds you got here, Charlie?" Hagrid asked, gazing at the closest dragon, the black one, with something close to reverence. It's eyes were still just open. Harry could see a strip of gleaming yellow beneath its wrinkled black eyelid.

"This is a Hungarian Horntail," Charlie said. "There's a Common Welsh Green over there, the smaller one - A Swedish Short-Snout, that blue-gray - and a Chines Fireball, that's the red." Charlie looked around; Madame Maxime was strolling away around the edge of the enclosure, gazing at the stunned dragons. "I didn't know you were bringing her, Hagrid." Charlie said frowning. "The champions aren't supposed to know what's coming - she's bound to tell her students, isn't she?"

"Jus' thought she'd like ter see 'em." Hagrid said shrugging, still gazing, enraptured, at the dragons.

"Really romantic date, Hagrid." Charlie said, shaking his head.

"Four..." Hagrid said, "so it's one fer each o' the champions, is it? What've they gotta do - fight 'em?" Harry's heart rate began to speed up in panic at that thought.

"Just get past them, I think." Charlie said. "We'll be on hand if it gets nasty, Extinguishing Spells at the ready. They wanted nesting mothers, I don't know why... but I tell you this, I don't envy the one who gets the Horntail. Vicious thing. Its back end's as dangerous as its front, look." Charlie pointed towards the Horntail's tail, and Harry saw long, bronze-colored spikes protruding along it every few inches. Five of Charlie's fellow keepers staggered up to the Horntail at the moment, carrying a clutch of huge granite-gray eggs between them in a blanket. They placed them carefully at the Horntail's side. Hagrid let out a moan of longing. "I've got them counted, Hagrid." Charlie said sternly. Then he said, "How's Harry and Haiden?"

"Fine." Hagrid said. He was still gazing at the eggs.

"Just hope one of them is still fine after facing this lot, because from what I hear they're only making one of them do the first task and the other the second task." Charlie said grimly, looking out over the dragons' enclosure. "I didn't dare tell Mum what either of them's got to do for the first task, she's already having kittens about them..." Charlie imitated his mother's anxious voice. "'How could they let them enter that tournament, they're much too young! I thought they were all safe, I thought there was going to be an age limit!' She was in floods after that Daily Prophet article about them. 'Haiden still cries about his parents! Oh bless him, I never knew! And I knew Harry needed more love, otherwise he wouldn't be acting out as he is!'"

Harry had heard enough. Trusting to the fact that Hagrid wouldn't miss him, with the attractions of four dragons and Madame Maxime to occupy him, he turned and silently began to walk away, back to the castle.

He didn't know whether he was glad he'd seen what was coming or not. Perhaps this way was better. The first shock was over now. Maybe if he'd seen the dragons for the first time on Tuesday, he would have either passed out cold in front of the whole school, or lost control of his magic...again. But maybe he would anyway... He was going to be armed with his wand - which, just now, felt like nothing more than a narrow strip of wood - against a fifty-foot-high, scaly, spike-ridden, fire-breathing dragon, because like hell he was letting Haiden go up against it. And he had to get past it. With everyone watching. How?

Harry sped up, skirting the edge of the forest; his eyes were tearing up and he needed the comfort of someone he trusted - when, without warning, he ran into something very solid.

Harry fell backwards and automatically rolled into a defensive position. A voice nearby said, "Ouch! Who's there?" Harry hastily checked to make sure that his Invisibility Charm was still on, as he crouched, staring up at the dark outline of the wizard he had hit. He recognized the goatee... it was Karkaroff. "Who's there?" Karkaroff said again, very suspiciously, looking around in the darkness. Harry remained still and silent. After a minute or so, Karkaroff seemed to decide that he had hit some sort of animal; he was looking around at waist height, as though expecting to see a dog. Then he crept back under the cover of the trees and started to edge forward toward the place where the dragons were.

Very slowly and very carefully, Harry stood up and set off as fast as he could without making too much noise, hurrying through the darkness back toward Hogwarts. He had no doubt whatsoever what Karkaroff was up to. He had sneaked off his ship to try and find out what the first task was going to be. He might even have spotted Hagrid and Madame Maxime heading off around the forest together - they were hardly difficult to spot at a distance... and now all Karkaroff had to do was follow the sound of voices, and he, like Madame Maxime, would know what was in store for the champions.

By the looks of it, the only champions who would be facing the unknown on Tuesday was Cedric and Haiden, because he was not going to be alerting Haiden what he, Harry, would be up against. Haiden would try and stop him, and in the process injure himself, or worse, die.

Harry reached the castle, slipped through the front doors, and ran into the dungeon, to the Snake Pit. He needed Draco. Draco would keep his mind away from what he had learned while also keeping him from telling his brother.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve- The First Task

Harry got up on Sunday morning and dressed so inattentively that it was a while before he realized that not only was he not in his room but he was trying to pull Draco's hat onto his foot instead of his sock. He was thankful no one had seen him do that, he really didn't want to talk about why he was like this today. When he'd finally got all his clothes on the right parts of his body, he hurried off to find the rest of his group, he found Myari and Draco waiting for him in the Slytherin Common room, whispering worriedly until he had gotten within ear shot. He walked with them to meet Luna, Hermione, and Haiden at the Gryffindor table in the Great hall, where they were eating breakfast with Ginny. Feeling too queasy to eat, Harry waited until Luna had swallowed her last bite of toast, then dragged her out onto the grounds, leaving everyone else at the table. There he told her all about the dragons.

"Let's just calm down and think about how to get around the dragon." Luna told him calmly before she linked her arm with his and rested her head on his shoulder. They walked three times around the lake, trying all the way to think of simple spells that would subdue a dragon. Nothing whatsoever occurred to them, so they retired to the library instead. Here, Harry pulled down every book he knew on dragons, and both of them set to work searching through the large pile.

Harry would feel Luna watching him every now and then, and looked up to find her looking at him with a dark and serious look that scared him. It was almost like she was waiting for him to do something, or for something to happen to him. He opened his mouth to ask her about it, but she beat him to it by resting a calm hand on his. "No matter what happens in this tournament, Harry, I will always be here to help you find your way back." That both scared and comforted him. They returned to looking through the books.

"'Talon-clipping by charms... treating scale-rot...' This is no good, this is for nutters like Hagrid who want to keep them healthy..."

"'Dragons are extremely difficult to slay, owing to the ancient magic that imbues their thick hides, which none but the most powerful spells can penetrate...' I think we may be looking in the wrong place." Luna whispered to him and suddenly a picture of a book that Harry had only seen once in the restricted section appeared in his mind's eye for a second.

"I think I know what we need." Harry said throwing aside Men Who Love Dragons Too Much. He returned to the table with a large and very old tome that was written in a language that had not been seen in centuries. "I hadn't been able to get around to actually translating it, but something tells me that the spell I need is somewhere in here."

Harry carefully opened the book and whispered a couple different translation spells to help try and translate the ancient characters into characters that he knew. Luna was leaning over the table to try and get a better look at the book. "From the looks at it, the first few spells are powerful aging spells. Depending on which one you use, you can either change someone back into a baby that will age one year every month or age them to just before they die." Harry looked up at Luna. "I don't think I'll need either one of these spells for the dragon, unless I turn her back into a baby..."

"We'll call that plan B." She told him with a soft smile and laughter in her eyes.

"Plan B for baby." Harry joked before focusing back on the book.

"Oh, hello Viktor." Luna said in her normal airy voice causing Harry to look up away from the book to find Viktor slouch passed them, cast a surly look over at the pair of them, and settled himself in a distant corner with a pile of books. "It might be best if we leave before the twitters get here..." Luna said talking about his fan club. And sure enough, as they left the library book tucked safely in Harry's bag, a gang of girls tiptoed past them, one of them wearing a Bulgaria scarf tied around her waist.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry barely slept that night. When he awoke on Monday morning, he seriously considered for the first time ever just taking Haiden and running away from Hogwarts. But as he looked around the Great Hall at breakfast time, and thought about what leaving the castle would mean, he knew he couldn't do it. It was the only place he had ever been happy (besides living with Severus and Remus)... well, he supposed he must have been happy with his parents too, but he couldn't remember that.

Somehow, the knowledge that he would rather be here and facing a dragon than back on Private Drive with Dudley was good to know; it made him feel slightly calmer. He finished his bacon with difficulty (his throat wasn't working too well), and as he and the rest of his group got up, he saw Cedric Diggory leaving the Hufflepuff table.

Cedric still didn't know about the dragons... the only champion going up against the dragon who didn't know he was, if Harry was right in thinking that Madame Maxime and Karkaroff would have told Fleur and Viktor...

"I'll see you guys later, there's something I have to do." Harry said, coming to his decision as he watched Cedric leaving the hall. "Go on, I'll catch you up."

"Harry, you'll be late, the bell's about to ring-" Hermione said.

"I'll catch you up, okay?" By the time Harry reached the bottom of the marble staircase, Cedric was at the top. He was with a load of sixth-year friends. Harry didn't want to talk to Cedric in front of them; they were among those who had been quoting Rita Skeeter's article at him every time he went near them. He followed Cedric at a distance and saw that he was heading toward the Charms corridor. This gave Harry an idea. Pausing at a distance from them, he gathered up some magic into his hand while imagining something sharp in his hand. His dagger appeared in his hand. He took aim and threw it.

Cedric's bag split and the dagger disappeared. Parchment, quills, and books spilled out of it onto the floor. Several bottles of ink smashed.

"Don't bother." Cedric said in an exasperated voice as his friends bend down to help him. "Tell Flitwick I'm coming, go on..." This was exactly what Harry had been hoping for. He waited until Cedric's friends had disappeared into their classroom, and hurried up the corridor, which was now empty of everyone but himself and Cedric.

"Hi." Cedric said, picking up a copy of A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration that was not splattered with ink. "My bag just split... brand-new and all..." Harry, feeling slightly bad at that, waved his hand and magically repaired Cedric's bag and cleaned the ink off not only the books but also the floor. "Tha-"

"The first task is dragons." Harry said cutting of Cedric's thanks.

"What?" Cedric asked.

"Dragons." Harry said, speaking quickly, in case Professor Flitwick came out to see where Cedric had got to. "They've got four, one fore each of us, and we've got to get past them." Cedric stared at him. Harry saw some of the panic he had been feeling since Saturday night flickering in Cedric's gray eyes.

"Are you sure?" Cedric asked in a hushed voice.

"Dead sure." Harry said. "I've seen them."

"But how did you find out? We're not supposed to know..."

"Never mind." Harry said quickly - he knew Hagrid would be in trouble if he told the truth. "But I'm not the only one who knows. Fleur and Viktor will know by now - Maxime and Karkaroff both saw the dragons too." Cedric straightened up, his stuff back in his newly repaired bag. He stared at Harry, and there was a puzzled, almost suspicious look in his eyes.

"Why are you telling me?" He asked. Harry looked at him in disbelief. He was sure Cedric wouldn't have asked that if he had seen the dragons himself. Harry wouldn't have let his worst enemy face those monsters unprepared.

"It's just... fair, isn't it?" He asked Cedric. "We all know now... we're on an even footing, aren't we?" Cedric was still looking at him in a slightly suspicious way when Harry heard a familiar clunking noise behind him. He turned around and saw 'Mad-Eye Moody' emerging from a nearby classroom.

"Come with me, Potter." He growled. "Diggory, off you go." Harry glared at 'Moody'. Had he over hear them?

"I'm supposed to be in Herbology."

"Never mind that, Potter. In my office, please." Reluctantly, Harry followed him, wondering what was going to happen to him now. Would this impostor demand to know how he'd found out about the dragons? Would he go to Dumbledore and tell on Hagrid, or just turn Harry into a pug? That made Harry pause. It would be easier to get past a dragon if he a pug, or any number of other small animals. He'd be smaller, much less easy to see from a height of fifty feet...

He followed 'Moody' into his office. 'Moody' closed the door behind them and turned to look at Harry. "That was a very decent thing you just did, Potter, didn't know you had it in you." 'Moody' said quietly. Harry didn't know what to say; this wasn't the reaction he had expected. "Sit down." Harry stayed standing causing the impostor to sigh, as if he had expected Harry to refuse the offer.

Harry found himself looking around the room, almost involuntary. He had visited this office under two of its previous occupants. In Professor Lockhart's day, the walls had been plastered with beaming, winking pictures of Professor Lockhart himself. When Remus had lived here, you were more likely to come across a specimen of some fascinating new Dark creature he had procured for them to study in class. Now, however, the office was full of a number of exceptionally odd objects that Harry supposed the real Moody had used in the days when he had been an Auror.

On the desk stood what looked like at large, cracked, glass spinning top; Harry recognized it at once as a Sneakoscope, because he owned one himself, though it was much smaller than Moody's. In the corner on a small table stood an object that looked something like an extra-squiggly, golden television aerial. It was humming slightly. What appeared to be a mirror hung opposite Harry on the wall, but it was not reflecting the room. Shadowy figures were moving around inside it, none of them clearly in focus.

"Like my Dark Detectors, do you?" 'Moody' said as he watched Harry closely.

"What's that?" Harry asked, pointing at the squiggly golden aerial.

"Secrecy Sensor. Vibrates when it detects concealment and lies..." 'Moody' smiled darkly at him, "no use here, of course, too much interference - students in every direction lying about why they haven't done their homework. Been humming sever since I got here. I had to disable my Sneakoscope because it wouldn't stop whistling. It's extra-sensitive, picks up stuff about a mile around. Of course, it could be picking up more than kid stuff." He added with a growl.

"And the mirror?" Harry asked nodding at it.

"Oh that's my Foe-Glass. See them out there, skulking around? I'm not really in trouble until I can see the whites of their eyes That's when I open my trunk." He let out a short, harsh laugh, and pointed to the large trunk under the window. It had seven keyholes in a row. Harry suddenly felt a pull towards the trunk and just knew the real Moody was being hidden in there and began to try to figure out how to go about releasing the real Moody, until the impostor's next question brought him sharply back to earth.

"So... found out about the dragons, have you?" Harry hesitated. He'd been waiting for this - but he hadn't told Cedric, and he most defiantly wasn't going to tell this impostor, that Hagrid had broken the rules. "It's all right." 'Moody' said, sitting down and stretching out his wooden leg with a groan. "Cheating's a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been."

"I didn't cheat." Harry told him sharply glaring at him. "I wasn't even supposed to be the one who was told."

'Moody' smiled darkly at him again, his eyes twinkling in mirth. "I wasn't accusing you, laddie. I've been telling Dumbledore from the start, he can be as high-minded as he likes, but you can bet old Karkaroff and Maxime won't be. They'll have told their champions everything they can. They want to win. They want to beat Dumbledore. They'd like to prove he's only human." The impostor gave another harsh laugh. "So... got any ideas how you're going to get past your dragon, if I am to correctly assume that it will be you and not your brother."

"Yes." Harry lied ignoring the Secret Sensor when it hummed louder causing 'Moody' to smirk while raising an eyebrow at him while Harry raised one as well, silently daring him to call out his lie.

"Very Slytherin." 'Moody' muttered just loud enough that Harry barely caught it. "Well, I'm not going to tell you, I don't show favoritism, me. I'm just going to give you some good, general advice. And the first bit is - play to your strengths."

"And what if I don't have any?" Harry asked in a tone that made it sound like he actually believed that, causing the impostor to nearly choke on his own spit.

"Excuse me!" He growled out glaring at Harry. "That dagger made entirely out of your magic and the way your magic was able to easily destroy Dumbledore's barrier when you lashed out at him clearly says otherwise!" He yelled, his 'Moody' mask falling off in anger before he caught himself. "What I'm trying to say, you've got plenty of strengths."

"All you've pointed out is my magical strengths, that, as you've pointed out once before, I've barely got any control over." Harry said. The impostor looked like he wanted to slam his head against the desk in aggravation and Harry wanted to smirk at that, but kept his face blank of any emotions.

"Fine. Think now. What are you best at?" The man growled out. Harry stood there trying to think of something that would make him drop his mask again.

"Quidditch?" Harry asked dully.

"YOU DON'T PLAY THAT!" The man roared and Harry raised and eyebrow at hi.

"And how would you know this? All Quidditch this year has been canceled, and you've never seen me play." Harry pointed out, the man have a harsh breath through his nose.

"Fine." He growled out. "Let's say you are a damn good flier like your brother..."

"But I'm not allowed a broom." Harry said feeling his mouth twitch loving this little game he started with the impostor.

"My second piece of general advice," he growled out, "is to use a nice, simple spell that will enable you to get what you need." Harry just blinked at him stupidly. "Come on, boy..." 'Moody' growled out. "I know damn well you know what I'm telling you." Harry continued to blink stupidly at him before the impostor yelled at him to leave his office. Harry left laughing to himself.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry spent all of his free time slowly translating the book, trying to figure out why he felt this book held what he needed to get past the dragon. While Haiden and Hermione, who had skipped lunch with him, practiced the Summoning Charms. Haiden was getting better, but he was still having problems. The books and quills kept losing heart halfway across the room and dropping like stones to the floor.

"Concentrate, Haiden, concentrate..." Harry heard Hermione tell Haiden as Harry sat on the floor of their shared room, tome in front of him and the ancient character floating around him slowly changing into different characters until they started to slowly resemble letters of the English alphabet they used now.

"What d'you think I'm trying to do?" Haiden said angrily. By the time lunch ended Harry was only an eighth of the way through the book and he was starting to worry he wouldn't find the spell in time. He wanted to skip Arithmancy to continue translating, but Hermione would not let him, saying that if she wouldn't let Haiden skip Divination to keep practicing then he also had to go to class. He therefor had to endure over an hour trying to pay attention to Professor Vector while silently panicking over not being able to find the spell and being eaten by a dragon.

He forced down some dinner after Arithmancy, then returned back to his room, this time being accompanied by the rest of his group, to continue translating the book. "What spell is that? I've never seen that?" Draco asked walking around him and looking at the changing character.

"It's an ancient Learn Me spell combined with a Translate Me spell." Harry muttered as Luna gently grabbed Draco's arm and pulled him to the bed where she and Myari were doing their homework.

"He needs to concentrate, and we need help." She told him. The room fell silent with the occasional "Accio" as Haiden kept practicing allowing Harry to go into a deep meditative state as the Learn Me spell showed him what each newly translated spells were suppose to do. At two o'clock in the morning, Harry snapped out of the trance as he found the spell he needed. He shut the book as he stood up and stretched. The only problem he could see with this spell was that it used up a lot of energy, to the point that if he wanted the energy to actually use the spell against the dragon, he wouldn't be able to practice it before hand.

"You've finally come back." Severus said, scaring Harry enough that he accidentally threw his dagger as he turned towards the sound of Severus's voice. Severus raised an eyebrow while looking at the dagger that had lodged itself in the wall right next to his head.

"Sorry." Harry muttered as the dagger disappeared.

"Get to bed. You're going to need the rest." Severus told him and Harry happily climbed into the bed that had been magically extended at some point to fit Haiden, Hermione, Luna, Myari, and Draco. As Harry slid under the covers beside Draco who muttered something, turned and threw his arm around Harry, pulling him flush against his chest. Harry blushed deeply and thought about pushing Draco off him, but the warmth coming from Draco made him decide to just enjoy the feeling of cuddling up to Draco since they hadn't done so in a long time.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Draco's warmth as they had cuddled that night had melted away some of the blind panic that Harry had. But it had returned in full measure, however, the moment Harry had left Draco's arms. The atmosphere in the school was one of great tension and excitement. Lessons were to stop at midday, giving all the students time to get down to the dragons' enclosure - though of course, they didn't yet know what they would find there.

Harry felt oddly separate from everyone around him, whether they were wishing him and his brother good luck or hiss "We'll have a box of tissues ready, Potter" as they passed. It was a state of nervousness so advanced that he wondered whether he mightn't just lose his head when they tried to lead him out to his dragon, and start trying to curse everyone in sight. Time was behaving in a more particular fashion than ever, rushing past in great dollops, so that one moment he seemed to be setting down in his first lesson, History of magic, and the next walking into lunch... and then (where had the morning gone? the last of the dragon-free hours?), Professor McGonagall was hurrying over to him and Haiden in the Great Hall. Lots of people were watching.

"Haiden, Harry, the champions have to come down onto the grounds now... You have to get ready for your first task."

"Okay." Harry said, standing up, his fork falling onto his plate with a clatter as Haiden nervously shot up from his seat, fork still in hand.

"Good luck, Harry." Luna whispered, lying a calming hand on his arm. "You'll be fine."

"Yeah." Harry said in a voice that was most unlike his own. Haiden reached out and gripped his hand at hearing it. They left the Great Hall, hand-in-hand, with Professor McGonagall. She didn't seem herself either; in fact she looked nearly as anxious as he felt. As she walked them down the stone and out into the cold November afternoon, she put her hand on Haiden's shoulder.

"Now, don't panic," She told them "just keep a cool head... We've got wizards standing by to control the situation if it gets out of hand... The main thing, for which ever one of you is forced to do this first task, is to do your best, and nobody will think any the worse of you... Are you all right?"

"What do you mean 'which ever one of you'? Aren't we doing it together?" Haiden asked.

"Were you not told?" McGonagall asked. "The judges deemed it unfair for the both of you to do the tasks together and decided that it would be only fair for one of you to do the first task and for the other to do the second, the only task you'll be allowed to do together is the third task."

"What!" Haiden cried as McGonagall lead them toward the place where the dragons were, around the edge of the forest, but when they approached the clump of trees behind which the enclosure would be clearly visible, Harry saw that a tent had been erected, its entrance facing them, screening the dragons from view.

"You're to go in here with the other champions," Professor McGonagall said in a rather shaky sort of voice, "and wait for your turn. Mr. Bagman is in there... he'll be telling you the - the procedure... Good luck."

"Thanks." Harry said in a flat, distant voice. She left them at the entrance. "I'll be doing the first task." Harry told Haiden that left no room for arguing.

"You sure?" Haiden asked.

"I already know what I'm up against, and have made a plan." Harry told him.

"You already know? How?" Haiden asked.

"Hagrid." Was all Harry said before he entered the tent, leaving Haiden who quickly followed.

Fleur Delacour was sitting in a corner on a low wooden stool. She didn't look nearly as composed as usual, but rather pale and clammy. Viktor Krum looked even surlier than usual, which Harry supposed was his way of showing nerves. Cedric was pacing up and down. When Harry entered, Cedric gave him a small smile, which Harry returned, feeling the muscles in his face working rather hard, as though they had forgotten how to do it.

"Haiden! Harry! Good-o!" Bagman said happily, looking around at them. "Come in, come in, make yourself at home!" Bagman looked somehow like a slightly overblown cartoon figure, standing amid all the pale-faced champions. He was wearing his old Wasp robes again. "Well, now we're all here - time to fill you in!" Bagman said brightly. "When the audience has assembled, I'm going to offer each of you this bag" -he held up a small sack of purple silk and shook it at them -"from which you will each select a small model of the thing you are about to face! Oh, Haiden, Harry, which ever one of you pulls your model out is the one who has to go, the other will wait patiently here. There are different - er - varieties, you see. And I have to tell you something else too... ah, yes... your task is to collect the golden egg!"

Harry glanced around. Cedric had nodded once, to show that he understood Bagman's words, and then started pacing around the tent again; he looked slightly green. Fleur Delacour and Krum hadn't reacted at all. Perhaps they thought they might be sick if they opened their mouths; that was certainly how Harry felt. But they, at least, had volunteered for this...

And in no time at all, hundreds upon hundreds of pairs of feet could be heard passing the tent, their owners talking excitedly, laughing and joking... Harry felt as separate from the crowd as though they were a different species. And then - it seemed like about a second later to Harry - Bagman was opening the neck of the purple silk sack.

"Ladies first." He said offering it to Fleur Delacour. She put a shaking hand inside the bag and drew out a tiny, perfect model of a dragon - a Welsh Green. It had the number two around its neck. And Harry knew, by the fact that Fleur showed no sign of surprise, but rather a determined resignation, that he had been right: Madame Maxime had told her what was coming.

"Are those-?" Haiden started. The same held true for Viktor. He pulled out the scarlet Chinese Fireball. It had a number three around its neck. He didn't even blink, just sat back down and stared at the ground.

"It can't be." Haiden whispered. Cedric put his hand into the bag, and out came the blueish-gray Swedish Short-Snout, the number one tired around its neck. "Oh hell no!" Haiden cried and went to reach into the bag before Harry, but Harry caught his hand, swept Haiden's legs out from under him, and slammed him onto his back, knocking the wind out of him. Ignoring the shocked looks he was receiving from everyone else, Harry put his hand into the silk bag and pulled out the Hungarian Horntail, and the number four. It stretched its wings as Harry looked down at it, and bared its minuscule fangs.

"Well, there you are!" Bagman said. "You have each pulled out the dragon you will face, and the numbers refer to the order in which you are to take on the dragons, do you see? Now, I'm going to leave you in a moment, because I'm commentating. Mr. Diggory, you're first, just go out into the enclosure when you hear a whistle, all right? Now... Haiden, Harry... could I have a quick word? Outside?"

Without a word, Harry pulled Haiden to his feet before following Bagman out of the tent with Haiden coughing and angrily glaring at him as he followed them. Bagman walked them a short distance away, into the trees, and then turned to them with a fatherly expression on his face.

"Feeling all right, Haiden, Harry? Anything I can get you?"

"What?" Haiden asked. "I - no, not unless you can let me take Harry's place in this first task."

"Harry pulled out the dragon, he is the one who must face it." Bagman said.

"Then there is nothing I need from you." Haiden told him angrily.

"Got a plan?" Bagman asked Harry, lowering his voice conspiratorially. "Because I don't mind sharing a few pointers, if you'd like them, you know. I mean," Bagman continued, lowering his voice still further, "you're the underdog here, Harry... Anything I can do to help."

"I've got a plan. I know what I'm going to do, thanks." Harry said wanting to ask that the wizards who were there to help control the situation should it get bad to be on high alert and jump in should his spell not work, because other wise, he would surly die.

"Nobody would know, Harry." Bagman said winking at him.

"No, I'm fine." Harry said, silently screaming in his mind that he was not fine, that he was scared to death, that he wanted someone (mainly Draco) to wrap him in their arms and take him someplace far from here! "I've got a plan worked out." A whistle had blown somewhere.

"Good lord, I've got to run!" Bagman said in alarm, and he hurried off.

"You're not fine are you?" Haiden asked and Harry looked at him. "There's still time. We-we could run. No one would blame us, probably. No, we're magically bound, we have to. I-I-" Haiden looked around them trying to figure out his words as his eyes teared up. "-I could go get Draco." Harry's eyes teared up as well.

"I'm fine." Harry whispered as their tears started to fall.

"No you're not." Haiden whispered. The two of them flew into each other's arms as Cedric emerged from the tent, greener than ever. After a taking a few minutes to give each other the comfort and strength they needed, they parted from each other and went back inside the tent to Fleur and Viktor. Seconds later, they heard the roar of the crowd, which meant Cedric had entered the enclosure and was now face-to-face with the living counterpart of his model.

It was worse than Harry could ever have imagined, sitting there and listening. The crowd screamed... yelled... gasped like a single many-headed entity, as Cedric did whatever he was doing to get past the Swedish Short-Snout. Viktor had moved to sit next to Harry but was still staring at the ground. Fleur had now taken to retracing Cedric's steps, around and around the tent. And Bagman's commentary made everything much, much worse... Horrible pictures formed in Harry's mind as he heard: "Oooh, narrow miss there, very narrow"... "He's taking risks, this one!"... "Clever move - pity it didn't work!"

And then, after about fifteen minutes, Harry heard the deafening roar that could mean only one thing: Cedric had gotten past his dragon and captured the golden egg.

"Very good indeed!" Bagman was shouting. "And now the marks from the judges!" But he didn't shout out the marks; Harry supposed the judges were holding them up and showing them to the crowd. "One down, three to go!" Bagman yelled as the whistle blew again. "Miss Delacour, if you please!"

Fleur was trembling from head to foot; Harry felt more warmly toward her than he had done so far as she left the tent with her head held high and her hand clutching her wand. The same process started again... "Oh, I'm not sure that was wise!" they could hear Bagman shouting gleefully. "Oh... nearly! Careful now... good lord, I thought she'd had it then!"

Ten minutes later, Harry heard the crowd erupt into applause once more... Fleur must have been successful too. A pause, while Fleur's marks were being shown... more clapping... then, for the third time, the whistle.

"And here comes Mr. Krum!" Bagman cried and Viktor gave Harry's shoulder a light squeeze before he slouched out, leaving Harry and Haiden alone.

Harry felt much more aware of his body than usual; very away of the way his heart was pumping fast, and his fingers tingling with fear... yet at the same time, he seemed to be outside himself, seeing the walls of the tent, hearing the crowd, as though from far away...

"Very daring!" Bagman was yelling, and Harry heard the Chinese Fireball emit a horrible, roaring shriek, while the crowd drew its collective breath. "That's some nerve he's showing - and - yes, he's got the egg!" Applause shattered the wintery air like breaking glass, Viktor had finished - it would be Harry's turn any moment.

He stood up, noticing dimly that his legs seemed to be made of marshmallow. He waited. And then he heard the whistle blow. He walked out through the entrance of the tent, the panic rising into a crescendo inside him. And now he was walking past the trees, through a gap in the enclosure fence.

He saw everything in front of him as though it was a very highly colored. There were hundreds and hundreds of faces staring down at him from stands that had been magicked there since he's last stood on this spot. And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half-furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly, black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, leaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a deal of noise, but whether friendly or not, Harry didn't know or care. It was time to do what he had to do... to focus his mind, entirely and absolutely.

He held his hands in the form of ball, focused his magic into to his then slowly expanded it while muttering.

Harry knew from the outside that this looked strange, him and the Horntail standing opposite of each other while she protected her eggs, and he gathered magic into the shape of a ball. Once the ball was big enough, he threw the ball into the space between him and the dragon. It landed and began to spin clockwise, that was a good sign, it meant he had done the first part correctly. Bagman was shouting something... but Harry's ears were not working properly anymore... listening wasn't important.

"Sakte passasjen rundt meg!" Harry shouted, when nothing happened Harry feared that it wouldn't work. And then, slowly the spinning ball be can to slow down until it looked as if it had stopped, taking the sound. Harry, keeping his eyes on the dragon, turned to the left and took a few steps, and noted, happily, how the dragon stayed looking where he had been.

His spell had worked. He had been able to slow the time for everything around him. Harry gave a deep sigh of relief and walked up to the dragon and quickly located the golden egg. He carefully reached around the Horntail's eggs and grabbed the golden one before making his way to where he had originally been standing.

"Fortsett tidenes gang rundt meg!" Harry said and the ball slowly sped up until everything was back to normal before disappearing. It took a few seconds before Bagman noticed that golden egg was no longer under the dragon but in Harry's arms.

"Look at that!" Bagman was yelling. "Will you look at that! Our youngest champion is the quickest to get his egg! Well, this is going to shorten the odds on Mr. Potter!" Harry saw the dragon keepers rushing forward to subdue the Horntail, and, over at the entrance to the enclosure, Severus, Haiden, Professor McGonagall, Professor Flitwick, and Professor 'Moody' hurried to meet him, all of them waving him toward them, their smiles evident even from this distance. Harry, weak from all the magic the spell took, stumbled over to them, the noise of the crowd pounding in his eardrums, and fell to the ground in front of Severus who quickly picked him up.

"That was excellent, Potter!" Professor McGonagall as his vision began to go out.

"What spell was that? You disappeared only to return a few seconds later with the egg?" Haiden asked. Harry wanted to tell him, wanted to explain, but he couldn't he was just to tired.

"We should get him looked at." Severus said as he turned and carried Harry out of the enclosure and over to Madame Pomfrey who was standing at the mouth of a second tent, looking worried.

"Dragons!" She said, in a disgusted tone, as Severus passed her and inside. The tent was divided into cubicles; he could just barely make out Cedric's shadow through the canvas, but Cedric didn't seem to be badly injured; he was sitting up, at least. Severus laid Harry down on the bed and let Madame Pomfrey look over him talking furiously all the while. "Last year dementors, this year dragons, what are they going to bring into this school next? You've exhausted your magic, a few days rest and you should be as good as new. Now, you just sit quietly for a minute, and then you can go and get your score."

She bustled out of the tent and he heard her go next door and say, "How does it feel now, Diggory?" Harry was all for resting, he was so tired that even the adrenaline flowing through him was of no help. He had just closed his eyes when a group of people came darting into the tent- Draco, Hermione, Myari and Luna followed closely by Ron.

"Harry! That was brilliant!" Hermione said squeakily. There were fingernail marks on her face where she had been clutching it in fear. "I have no idea what you did, but you were still brilliant!" Harry chuckled tiredly opening his eyes slightly and caught Haiden looking at Ron, who was very white and staring at Harry as though he were a ghost.

"Haiden," he said very seriously, "whoever put your name in that goblet - I - I reckon they're trying to do you in. Good thinking in making Harry do that first task." It was as though the last few weeks had never happened - as though Haiden was meeting Ron for the first time, right after he's been made champion.

"Really?" Haiden asked coldly.

"Don't bother, Haiden, he's never going to change." Draco said as he sat next to Harry and began to gently run his fingers through Harry's hair. Hermione stood awkwardly between Ron and Haiden, looking from one to the other. Ron opened his mouth uncertainly. It was obvious that Ron was going to 'apologize'.

"It's okay." Haiden said, before Ron could get the words out. "Forget it."

"No." Ron said. "I shouldn't've-"

"Forget it." Haiden growled out. Ron smiled at Haiden who stared at him blankly. Everyone else rolled their eyes.

"C'mon, Haiden. They'll be putting up your scores..." Ron said and everyone looked at Harry who nodded holding up his arms, silently asking for help. Draco grabbed his arms and gently sat him up before throwing Harry's arm over his shoulder and stood up, allowing Harry to lean on him. Haiden carried the egg for him.

"You were the best, you know, no competition." Draco told him softly as they walked out of the tent. "Cedric Transfigured a rock on the ground... turning it into a dog, he was trying to make the dragon go for the dog instead of him. Well, it was an awesome use of Transfiguration, and it sort of worked, because he did get the egg, but he got burnt as well - the Dragon changed its mind halfway through and decided it would rather have him than the Labrador; he only just got away. Fleur tried to put her dragon under a trance, it kind of worked. It fell asleep, but then it snored and this great jet of flame shot out, and her skirt caught fire - but she was able to put it out with her wand. And Krum - he was probably the best after you - hit it with some sort of spell in the eye. Only thing is, it went trampling around in agony and squashed half the real eggs - they took marks off for that, he wasn't supposed to do any damage to them."

They had reached the edge of the enclosure. Now that the Horntail had been taken away, Harry could see where the five judges were sitting - right at the other end, in raised seats draped in gold.

"It's marks out of ten from each one." Myari said, and Harry, squinting up the field, saw the first judge - Madame Maxime - raise her wand in the air. What looked like a long silver ribbon shot out of it, which twisted itself into a large figure eight. "That's bullshit. You were the quickest and the only one to not get hurt! She's just mad you beat her champion." The crowed applauded. Mr. Crouch came next. He shout a number ten into the air. "Yeah, you better give him a ten." Myari muttered angrily causing Harry to chuckle. Next, Dumbledore. He too put up a ten. The crowed was cheering harder than ever. Ludo Bagman gave him a ten. And now Karkaroff raised his wand. He paused for a moment and then a number shout out of his wand too - two.

"BULLSHIT!" Draco roared furiously, and Harry knew that if he hadn't been holding up Harry he would have stormed over there and given Karkaroff a piece of his mind. "Two? You lousy, biased son of a bitch! You gave Krum a ten!"

But Harry didn't care, he wouldn't have cared it Karkaroff had given him zero; it was over and that was all that mattered to Harry.

"You're tied in first place, Harry! You and Krum!" Charlie Weasley said, hurrying to meet them as they set off back towards the school. "Listen, I've got to run, I've got to go and send Mum an owl, I swore I'd tell her what happened - but that was unbelievable! Oh yeah - and they told me to tell you you've got to hang around for a few more minutes... Bagman wants a word, back in the champions' tent." Harry groaned tiredly at that.

Their group told Harry and Haiden that they would wait, so, leaning on Haiden, Harry reentered the tent, which somehow looked quite different now: friendly and welcoming. Fleur, Cedric, and Viktor all came in together. One side of Cedric's face was covered in a thick orange paste, which was presumably mending his burn. He grinned at Harry when he saw him.

"Good one, Harry."

"And you." Harry said, grinning back.

"Well done, all of you!" Ludo Bagman said, bouncing into the tent and looking pleased as though he personally had just got past a dragon. "Now, just a quickly few words. You've got a nice long break before the second task, which will take place at half past nine on the morning of February the twenty-fourth - but we're giving you something to think about in the meantime! If you look down at those golden egg you're all holding, you will see that they open... see the hinges there? You need to solve the clue inside the egg - because it will tell you what the second task is, and enable you to prepare for it! all clear? Sure? Well, off you go, then!"

Haiden and Harry left the tent, rejoined their group plus Ron, and they started to walk back around the edge of the forest, talking hard; Harry wanted to hear what the other champions had done in more detail. Then, as they rounded the clump of trees behind which Harry had first hear the dragons roar, a witch lept out from behind them.

It was Rita Skeeter. She was wearing acid-green robes today; the Quick-Quotes Quill in her hand blending perfectly against them.

"Congratulations, Harry!" She said beaming at him. "I wonder if you could give me a few words? How you felt facing that dragon? How you feel now, about the fairness of the scoring?"

"Yeah, you can have a few words." Harry said savagely. "Piss off." And he set off back to the castle with his friends and Ron.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirteen- The Unexpected Task

Harry and his group, plus Ron, went up to the Owlery that evening to find Pigwidgeon, so that Haiden could send Sirius a letter telling him that Harry had managed to get past his dragon unscathed. On the way, Haiden filled the group in on everything Sirius had told him about Karkaroff, making Ron mad when he realized that Draco knew about Sirius. Everyone, even Draco, was shocked at first to hear that Karkaroff had been a Death Eater, but by the time they entered the Owlery Ron was saying they ought to have suspected it all along.

"Fits, doesn't it?" He said glaring at Draco. "I heard my dad saying something about Karkaroff, and Malfoy being friends with Karkaroff. Now we know where they knew each other. They were probably running around in masks together at the World Cup..." Harry had to quickly grab Draco before he attacked Ron even though he would have very much liked that. "I'll tell you one thing though, Haiden, if it was Karkaroff who put your name in the goblet, he's going to be feeling really stupid now, isn't he? Didn't work, did it? Come here - I'll do it-"

Pigwidgeon was overexcited at the idea of a delivery he was flying around and around Haiden's head, hooting incessantly. Ron snatched Pigwidgeon out of the air and held him still while Haiden attached the letter to his leg.

"There's no way any of the other tasks are going to be that dangerous, how could they be?" Ron went on as he carried Pigwidgeon to the window. "You know what? I reckon you could win this tournament, Haiden, I'm serious." Harry and the others knew that Ron was only saying this to make up for his behavior of the last few weeks. Hermione, however, leaned against the Owlery wall, folded her arms, and frowned at Ron.

"Harry and Haiden have got a long way to go before they finished this tournament." She said seriously and everyone but Ron nodded their head in agreement. "If that was the first task, I hate to think wasn't coming next."

"Right little ray of sunlight, aren't you?" Ron asked glaring at her. "You and Professor Trelawney should get together sometime." He threw Pigwidgeon out of the window. Pigwidgeon plummeted twelve feet before managing to pull himself back up again. They watched Pigwidgeon disappear into the darkness, and then Ron said, "Well, we'd better get downstairs for your surprise party, Haiden - Fred and George should have nicked enough food from the kitchens by now."

Sure enough, when they entered the Gryffindor common room (after fighting with Ron about Draco, Myari, Luna, and Harry coming in with them) it exploded with cheers and yells again. There were mountains of cakes and flagons of pumpkin juice and butterbeer on every surface; Lee Jordan had let off some Filibuster's Fireworks, so that the air was thick with stairs and sparks; and Dean Thomas, who was very good at drawing, had put up some impressive new banners, most of which depicted Harry slowly disappearing and reappearing in front of the Horntail, though a couple showed Cedric with his head on fire.

Harry helped himself to food; he had almost forgotten what it was like to feel properly hungry, and sat down between Draco and Luna with Myari, Haiden and Hermione across from them leaving Ron without a seat. He couldn't believe how happy he felt; he was with his brother and friends, he'd gotten through the first task, and he wouldn't have to do the second one.

"Blimey, this is heavy." Lee Jordan said, picking up the golden egg, which Harry had left on a table, and weighing it in his hands. "Open it, Harry, go on! Let's just see what's inside it!"

"Him and Haiden are supposed to work out the clue on their own." Hermione said swiftly. "It's in the tournament rules..."

"I was supposed to work out how to get past the dragon on my own too." Harry muttered so only the group could hear confusing everyone but Luna who smiled at him.

"But you did, didn't you?" Hermione asked and Harry shook his head.

"I had help." He said looking at Luna and one by one the group realized who had helped him.

"You went to Luna for help and not me! I know a lot of spells you could have used to subdue the thing and get past it. And how did you even find out about the dragon anyways?" Draco asked.

"That's not important, what's important is that he got passed the dragon." Haiden said taking the egg from Lee. He dug is fingernails into the groove that ran all the way around it and pried it open. It was hollow and completely empty - but the moment Haiden opened it, the most horrible noise, a loud and screechy wailing that Harry could feel in his soul, filled the room. Instinctively Harry tried to call his magic up to attack whatever was making the sound and get it to stop, only his magic didn't respond because his magical core was still too drained.

"Shut it!" Fred bellowed, his hands over his ears.

"What was that?" Seamus Finnigan asked, staring at the egg as Haiden slammed it shut again. "Sounds like a banshee... Maybe you've got to get past one of those next, Haiden!"

"It was someone being tortured!" Neville, who had gone very white and spilled sausage rolls all over the floor. "You're going to have to fight the Cruciatus Curse!"

"Don't be a prat, Neville, that's illegal." George said. "They wouldn't use the Cruciatus Curse on the Champions. I thought it sounded a bit like Percy singing... Are you okay Harry?" Everyone turned to Harry who was still curled up holding his ears. Draco got up and knelt in front of Harry.

"Someone go get help! He's bleeding!" Draco cried.

"No, I'm fine." Harry told them looking up to show that he had begun to cry tears of blood. "That siren's wail had effected me more that any of you because my magical core is drained." Harry grabbed a napkin and began wipe away the bloody tears.

"Are you sure?" Fred asked from his place next to the portrait hole that he had been about to exit through. "I think we should go get Professor Snape."

"If I promise to tell Severus when me and Haiden go back to the rooms, can we just relax and continue with the party?" Harry asked not wanting everyone to stop the party and worry about him. Fred and George shared a look across the room.

"Want a jam tart, Hermione?" George asked holding out the plate and everyone slowly relaxed back into party mode. Hermione looked doubtfully at the plate he was offering her. George grinned. "It's all right." He said. "I haven't done anything to them. It's the custard creams you've got to watch-" Neville, who had just bitten into a custard cream, choked and spat it out. George laughed, though it felt a little forced. "Just my little joke, Neville..." Hermione took a jam tart.

"Did you get all this from the kitchens?"

"Yep." Fred said having made his way to them. He put on a high-pitched squeak and imitated a house-elf. "'Anything we can get you, sir, anything at all!' They're dead helpful... get me a roast ox if I said I was peckish."

"How do you get in there?" Hermione asking in an innocently casual sort of voice cause Harry to side eye her knowing exactly what she was doing seeing as he had taught her this trick."

"Easy," Fred said falling for it, "concealed door behind a painting of a bowl of fruit. Just tickle the pear, and it giggles and -" He stopped and looked suspiciously at her catching on to what she was trying to do. "Why?"

"Nothing." Hermione said a little too quickly, it was obvious she needed more work on her lying.

"Going to try and lead the house-elves on a strike now, are you?" George asked. "Going to give up all the leaflet stuff and try and stir them up into a rebellion?" Several people chortled, Draco included. Hermione didn't answer.

"Don't you go upsetting them and telling them they've got to take clothes and salaries!" Fred told her warningly. "You'll put them off their cooking!" Just then Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary. "Oh - sorry, Neville!" Fred shouted over all the laughter. "I forgot - it was the custard creams we hexed-" Hermione looked over at Harry and opened her mouth.

"I'm not getting involved." He told her never looking away form Neville. Within a minute, however, Neville had molted, and once his feathers had fallen off, he reappeared looking entirely normal. He even joined in laughing.

"Canary Creams!" Fred shouted to the excitable crowd. "George and I invented them with the help of out recedent magical prodigy, Kitten A.K.A Harry - seven Sickles each, a bargain!"

"When did you have any time to help them create that?" Draco asked.

"Over the summer, and that's not the only thing we created." Harry said. It was nearly one in the morning when Harry and Haiden finally made it back to the rooms, and was slightly happy that Severus wasn't waiting up for them, he really didn't want to tell him what had happened earlier. Before laying down, Harry set his tiny model of the Hungarian Horntail on the table next to his bed, where it yawned, curled up, and closed its eyes. Really, Harry though, as he got ready for bed, Hagrid had a point... they were all right, really, dragons...

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

The start of December brought wind and sleet to Hogwarts and a worried Harry. He had gone to grab his drawing of the man under the Polyjuice potion that he usually kept in his bag to start searching for who he might be now that he didn't have to worry about the tournament too much, but it was gone. Someone had taken not only the drawing but his drawing pad, and no matter how many times he tried summoning it, it never came to him. Which meant who ever had taken it was keeping it somewhere that his summoning charms could not reach. And there was only one person he knew would want to keep the drawing out of public eyes.

In an attempt to help get his mind off the missing drawing pad, Hermione and Haiden convinced him to come to a Care of Magical Creatures class that day where they were still tending the horrible skrewts.

"I'm not sure whether they hibernate or not." Hagrid told the shivering class and Harry in the windy pumpkin patch. "Thought we'd jus' try an' see if they fancied a kip... we'll jus' settle 'em down in these boxes..."

There were now only ten skrewts left; apparently their desire to kill one another had not been exercised out of them. Each of them was now approaching six feet in length. Their thick gray armor; and their powerful, scuttling legs; their fire-blasting ends; their strings and their suckers, combined to make the skrewts the most repulsive things Harry had ever seen. The class looked dispiritedly at the enormous boxes Hagrid had brought out, all lined with pillows and fluffy blankets."

"We'll jus' lead 'em in here," Hagrid said, "an' put the lids on, and we'll see what happens.

But the skrewts, it transpired, did not hibernate, and did not appreciate being forced into pillow-lined boxes and nailed in. Hagrid was soon yelling, "Don' panic, now, don' panic!" while the skrewts rampaged around the pumpkin patch, now strewn with the smoldering wreckage of boxes. Most of the class - Parkinson and her gaggle of girls in the lead - had fled into Hagrid's cabin through the back door and barricaded themselves in; Harry, Haiden, Hermione and Draco, however, were among those who remained outside trying to help Hagrid. Together they managed to restrain and tie up nine of the skrewts, though at a cost of numerous burns and cuts; finally, only one skrewt was left.

"Don' frighten him, now!" Hagrid shouted as Draco and Haiden used their wands to shoot jets of fiery sparks at the skrewt, which was advancing menacingly on them, its sting arched, quivering, over its back. "Jus' try an' slip the rope 'round his sting, so he won' hurt any o' the others!"

"Yeah, we wouldn't want that!" Draco shouted angrily as he and Haiden backed into the wall of Hagrid's cabin, still holding the skrewt off with their sparks.

"Well, well, well... this does look like fun." Rita Skeeter was leaning on Hagrid's garden fence, looking in at the mayhem. She was wearing a thick magenta cloak with a furry purple collar today, and her crocodile-skin handbag was over her arm. Hagrid launched himself forward on top of the skrewt that was cornering Haiden and Draco and flattened it; a blast of fire shot out of its end, withering the pumpkin plants nearby.

"Who're you?" Hagrid asked Rita Skeeter as he slipped a loop of rope around the skrewt's sting and tightened it.

"Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet reporter." Rita replied, beaming at him. Her gold teeth glinted.

"Thought Dumbledore said you weren' allowed inside the school anymore." Hagrid said frowning slightly as he got off the slightly squashed skrewt and started tugging it over to its fellows. Rita acted as though she hadn't heard what Hagrid had said.

"What are these fascinating creatures called?" She asked, beaming still more widely.

"Blast-Ended Skrewts." Hagrid grunted.

"Really?" Rita said, apparently full of lively interest making Harry suspicious, what was she trying to pull? "I've never heard of them before... where do they come from?"

Harry noticed a dull red flush rising up out of Hagrid's wild black beard, and his heart sank. Where had Hagrid got the skrewts from? Hermione, who seemed to be thinking along these lines, said quickly, "They're very interesting, aren't they? Aren't they, Harry?"

"What? Oh yeah... ouch... interesting." Harry said as she stepped on his foot.

"Ah, you're here, Harry!" Rita Skeeter said as she looked around. "So you like Care of Magical Creatures, do you? One of your favorite lessons?"

"Maybe." Harry said.

"Lovely." Rita said. "Really lovely. Been teaching long?" She added to Hagrid. Harry noticed her eyes travel over Dean (who had a nasty cut across one cheek), Lavender (whose robes were badly singed), Seamus (who was nursing several burnt fingers), and then to the cabin windows, where most of the class stood, their noses pressed against the glass waiting to see if the coast was clear.

"This-" Hagrid started but stopped when Harry rushed to get in between him and Rita, even going so far to climb onto the fence so that he was nose to nose with Rita.

"Leave. Or I will call Dumbledore out. You're not welcome here anymore." Harry told her darkly. Rita tried to look past Harry to Hagrid, but Harry made sure to follow her.

"Why Harry, did you want to have another interview. The last one we had went so well." Rita asked. Harry, fed up with her, called his magic to the surface and inwardly smirked when her smile faltered quite a bit and she began to look around nervously. "Oh, look at the time, I really must be going." Then the bell rang up at the castle, signaling the end of the lesson. "Well, good-bye, Harry!" Rita Skeeter called over her shoulder as she speed walked away. Once Harry was sure she was gone, Harry dropped down from the fence and was thankful Hermione was there to catch him as his legs tried to give out.

"Really, Harry, you shouldn't have pushed your magic like that. You know you've only been cleared by Madam Pomfrey to do light spell work." Hermione reprimanded him.

"Had to do something to get her away from Hagrid. Speaking of Hagrid," Harry looked at Hagrid, "if that woman comes back and asks to interview you, don't do it. She'll only twist everything you say to make you look bad." Hagrid nodded as Draco came over and pulled one of Harry's arms over his shoulder.

"You're becoming a real handful, Harry." Draco told him in mock annoyance as their group began to walk towards the castle.

"Yeah, but I'm worth it." Harry said with a cheeky smile. Draco looked at him, before checking him up and down and gave him a smirk that had Harry's heart racing and his face flushing.

"Oh yeah you are, Kitten." Draco said with a wink. His old nickname that he used to hear so many times from Draco suddenly sounded so different. And it wasn't a bad different, Harry wanted to hear Draco call him his Kitten even more. And that terrified Harry to the point that he took his arm back and forced himself to move to the other side of Haiden and Hermione, and away from Draco.

Harry was thankful for the rest of his classes to keep his mind from replaying Draco calling him kitten over and over. It didn't even dawn on him that he had completely forgotten about his missing drawing pad. By the time Harry even remembered the missing drawing pad it was after dinner and he was roaming the library and saw Viktor Krum who was actually thumbing through it.

"That's mine!" Harry cried rushing over and ripping it from his hands. "Where did you get this!" He asked flipping the book open to where the drawing had once been, only to find it had been ripped out.

"I apologize, I did not vealize it vas yours. I found it floating next to de ship. I had just finish drying it." Viktor told him and Harry looked into his eyes to see that he had been truthful.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you. Its just... all these drawing are very personal to me." Harry said before looking back down at the remaining piece of the page that had been ripped out. "You didn't happen to see a loose drawing with the drawing pad in the lake, did you?" Viktor shook his head and Harry sighed angrily as he snapped the drawing pad close. "Of course."

"I am sorry I could not be ov any more help." Viktor told him.

"Its fine Viktor, you did more than enough just finding my lost drawing pad." Harry told him smiling at him. Harry turned to leave but was stopped by Viktor who asked him to stay and talk with him for a while. It was only when Madam Prince, the librarian, kicked them out at curfew did Harry realize that him and Viktor had spent hours talking and learning more about each other, he had even shown Viktor a few of his drawing from second year and even explained the meaning behind them without being effected by it. He hadn't even managed to do that with Draco. Harry went to bed that night very confused.

~Burn Me into Your Memory~

"Potter! Weasley! Will you pay attention?" Professor McGonagall's irritated voice cracked like a whip through the Transfiguration class on Thursday, Harry looked confused for a minuted having had been paying attention before it dawned on him that she wasn't talking to him but his brother.

It was the end of the lesson; they had finished their work; the guinea fowl they had been changing into guinea pigs had been shut away in a large cage on Professor McGonagall's desk (Neville's still had feathers); they had copied down their homework from the blackboard ("Describe, with examples, the ways in which Transforming Spell must be adapted when performing Cross-Species Switches"). The bell was due to ring at any moment, and Haiden and Ron, who had been having a sword fight with a couple of Fred and George's fake wands in the back of the class, looked up, Ron was holding a tin parrot and Haiden, a rubber haddock.

"Now that Potter and Weasley have been kind enough to act their age," Professor McGonagall, with an angry look at pair of them as the head of Haiden's haddock drooped and fell silently to the floor -Ron's parrot's beak had severed it moments before - "I have something to say to you all.

"The Yule Ball is approaching - a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, the ball will be open only to fourth years and above - although you may invite a younger student if you wish -"

Lavender Brown let out a shrill giggle. Parvati Patil nudged her hard in the ribs, her face working furiously as she too fought not to giggle. They both looked around at Haiden causing Hermione to glare at them and scoot closer to him and rest her head on his shoulder, silently staking her claim.

"Dress robes will be worn," Professor McGonagall continued, "and the ball will start at eight o'clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall. Now then -" Professor McGonagall stared deliberately around the class. "The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to - er - let our hair down." She said, in a disapproving voice.

Lavender giggled harder than ever, with her hand pressed hard against her mouth to stifle the sound. Harry could see what was funny this time: Professor McGonagall, with her hair in a tight bun, looked as though she had never let her hair down in any sense.

"But that does NOT mean," Professor McGonagall went on, "that we will be relaxing the standards of behavior we expect from Hogwarts students." The bell rang, and there was the usual scuffle of activity as everyone packed their bags and swung them onto their shoulders.

"So when are you going to ask Draco to the ball, or are you going wait until he asks?" Hermione asked Harry as they stood up.

"Who says I'm gonna go with Draco?" Harry asked.

"I'm sorry, I just thought that since you guys were dating-" Hermione said.

"Who says we're dating?!" Harry asked.

"Haiden, Harry - a word if you please." Professor McGonagall called above the noise before Hermione could say anything else. They quickly made their way to her desk. Professor McGonagall waited until the rest of the class had gone, and then said, "The champions and their partners-"

"What partners?" Haiden asked stupidly and Harry gave him an annoyed look.

"Our dance partners." Harry told him.

"Dance partners?" Haiden asked going red. "I don't dance."

"Oh yes, you do." Professor McGonagall said irritably. "That's what I'm telling you. Traditionally, the champions and their partners open the ball." Harry had a sudden mental image of himself in a top hat and tails, accompanied by a girl in the sort of frilly dress Aunt Petunia always wore to Uncle Vernon's work parties.

"Does it have to be a girl?" Harry asked at the same time Haiden stated: "I'm not dancing."

"It's traditional." Professor McGonagall said firmly. "You two are a Hogwarts champion, and you will do what is expected of you as a representative of the school. So make sure you get yourself a partner that does not have to be a girl."

"But - I don't-" Haiden started.

"You heard me, Potter." Professor McGonagall said in a very final sort of way.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry was getting annoyed, for some strange reason everyone had it in their mind that he was going to go to the Yule Ball with Draco. Even Draco had it in his mind! He may not have said so, but Harry knew he thought so every time Draco looked at him. He wouldn't mind going with Draco if he didn't just automatically assume Harry was going with him.

Harry had never know so many people to put their names down to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas; he always did, of course, because even if one student stays then so did Severus, and Remus had been sent on another mission, so no one would be at home waiting for him. This year, however, everyone in the fourth year and above seemed to be staying, and they all seemed, to Harry, to be obsessed with the coming ball - or at least all the girls were, and it was amazing how many girls Hogwarts suddenly seemed to hold; he had never quite noticed that before. Girls giggling and whispering in the corridors, girls shrieking with laughter as boys passed them, girls excitedly comparing notes on what they were going to wear on Christmas night... and most of those girls seem to expect him to join them.

"Why do they have to move in packs?" Harry over heard Ron ask as a dozen or so girls walked past them, snickering and staring at Haiden. "How're you supposed to get one on their own to ask them?"

"Lasso one?" Haiden suggested. "Got any idea who you're going to try?"

"Dunno, you?" Ron asked shrugging.

"I've already asked Hermione to go with me." Haiden told Ron who rolled his eyes.

"You know, you don't have take Hermione because she your friend, you've got a whole bunch of beautiful girls right here willing to jump at the chance to go with you." Ron said, Harry and Haiden glared at him.

"Ron, I'm not going with Hermione because she my friend, I'm going with her because she's my girlfriend and I want to go with her." Haiden told him.

"You're still dating her?" Ron asked with a disgusted look. Harry slapped Ron in the back of the head before storming away from him before he did something worse to him. Harry caught Viktor surrounded by his normal group of fan-girls who were being louder and more annoying than usual trying to get Viktor to take one of them to the ball. They locked eyes for a second, it was then Harry understood the girls need to giggle, because he found himself suddenly giggling, and then Harry bumped into Cedric and his giggles seemed to stop.

"Hello Harry." Cedric smiled warmly and Harry's heart sped up as part of him hoped Cedric would ask him to the ball, "Have you seen Cho?"

"I haven't seen her." Harry said wondering why it didn't hurt that Cedric wanted to take Cho instead of him. "Excuse me, I have some homework I need to finish." He brushed past Cedric and into the castle.

The last week of term became increasingly boisterous as it progressed. Rumors about the Yule Ball were flying everywhere, though Harry didn't believe half of them - for instance, that Dumbledore had bought eight hundred barrels of mulled mead from Madam Rosmerta. It seemed to be fact, however, that he had booked the Weird Sisters. Exactly who or what the Weird Sisters were Harry didn't know, never having had access to a wizard's wireless until last summer (and even then he had barely listened to it), but he deduced from the wild excitement of those who had grown up listening to the WWN (Wizarding Wireless Network) that they were a very famous musical group.

Some of the teachers, like little Professor Flitwick, gave up trying to teach them much when their minds were so clearly elsewhere; he allowed them to play games in his lesson on Wednesday, and spent most of it talking to Harry about the spell he had used during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. Other teachers were not so generous. Nothing would ever deflect Professor Binns, for example, from plowing on through his notes on goblin rebellions - as Binns hadn't let his own death stand in the way of continuing to teach, they supposed a small thing like Christmas wasn't going to put him off. It was amazing how he could make even bloody and vicious goblin riots sound as boring as Percy's cauldron-bottom report. Professor McGonagall and 'Moody' kept them working until the very last second of their classes too, and Severus, of course, would no sooner let them play games in class than marry James. Staring nastily around the hall, he informed them that he would be testing them on poison antidotes during the last lesson of the term.

"Evil, he is." Haiden said glaring playfully at Severus who had looked up from grading papers while Harry and his group studied around the fire. "Springing a test on us on the last day. Ruining the last bit of term with a whole load of studying."

"Mmm... you're not exactly straining yourself, though, are you?" Hermione said, looking at him over the top of her Potions notes. Haiden was busy building a card castle out of his Exploding Snap pack - a much more interesting pastime than with Muggle cards, because of the chance that the whole thing would blow up at any second.

"It's Christmas, Hermione." Harry said lazily causing Severus to raise an eyebrow at him, Harry smiled innocently at him over his drawing pad that he had been reconstructing the missing drawing from memory in as Hermione looked severely over at him too.

"I'm really disappointed in you, Harry, I thought you would be more into studying. And yet, I find that when it doesn't involve a life or death situation you don't study, how do you even stay at the top of the classes?" Hermione asked.

"A photogenic memory." Harry said with a shrug.

"Fine, I'll give you that. But you, Haiden, I'd thought you'd be doing something constructive, even if you don't want to learn your antidotes!"

"Like what?" Haiden asked.

"That egg!" Hermione hissed.

"Come on, Hermione, I've got till February the twenty-fourth." Haiden said. He had put the golden egg in his trunk and hadn't opened it since the celebration party after the first task. It was almost like he was afraid of it effecting Harry again. There were still two and a half month to go until he needed to know what all the screechy wailing meant, after all.

"But it might take weeks to work it out!" Hermione said. "You're going to look like a real idiot if everyone else knows what the next task is and you don't!"

"Have you tried putting it in water? Sirens need water to truly be understood." Harry said.

"How do you know that screeching wail was even from a siren?" Draco asked finally pulling himself away from his notes.

"Well, I don't know if it might actually be a siren, it could be a close relative to it like a merperson." Harry said thoughtfully.

"But the question still stands, Harry," Severus called over to them reminding them all that he was still in the room, "how do know that?" Harry though about it. How did he know that?

"I honestly don't know." Harry said truthfully. "There's just this feeling that I have. It's hard to explain, it's almost like a voice or something." Severus stared at him and Harry wondered if he had said something he that he should be worried about.

"I see." Severus said turning back to grading. "Do you all have dates for the ball?"

"I'm taking Hermione." Haiden told him causing Hermione to smile and giggle.

"Neville's taking me." Myari muttered.

"I haven't been asked... yet." Luna said while looking, for some reason, at Draco.

"Harry and I are going together." Draco announced.

"No we're not." Harry said.

"Yes we are." Draco said impatiently. "Who else would you go with? Not Cedric, he's taking Cho."

"'Who else would I go with?' Really Draco? 'Who else'? I have plenty of people who would be happy to take me to the ball. And you're not one of them." Harry told him before shooting to his feet and storming into his room, slamming the door closed. He threw himself onto the bed and cried.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

The Hogwarts staff, demonstrating a continued desire to impress the visitors from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, seemed determined to show the castle at its best this Christmas. When the decorations went up, Harry noticed that they were the most stunning he had yet seen inside the school. Everlasting icicles had been attached to the banisters of the marble staircase; the usual twelve Christmas tress in the Great Hall were bedecked with everything from luminous holly berries to real, hooting, golden owls, and the suits of armor had all been bewitched to sing carols whenever anyone passed them. It was quite something to hear "O Come, All Ye Faithful" sung by an empty helmet that only knew half the words. Several times, Filch the caretaker had to extract Peeves, from inside the armor, where he had taken to hiding, filing the gaps in the songs with lyrics of his own invention, all of which were very rude.

It was in front of the Great Hall when Viktor, who had been swarmed with his fan-girls, had been able to part from them long enough to hunt down Harry, who had been about to enter the Great Hall with Luna. "Harry, may I have a vord?" Viktor asked just as Harry caught Draco and Myari heading out of the dungeon towards the Great Hall. Harry turned to give Viktor his full attention.

"Of course, Viktor." Harry said. Viktor took a second to get his thoughts together, as he had done plenty of times when they had talked.

"I vas vondering, if you didn't have a date to de ball, if you vould like to go vith me?" Viktor asked with a slight blush. Harry was shocked for half a second before smiling at him.

"I would love to be your date." Harry said.

"What!?" Draco yelled pulling everyone's attention to him as he glared at Viktor. "You're seriously going to go with him?! You barely even know him!"

"Well, if you had just asked me and not assumed I would just go with you then maybe I'd be going with you. But as it stands, you didn't and now I'm going with Viktor while you're stuck alone. But I'm sure Luna wouldn't mind taking pity on you and allow you to take her to the ball." Harry wrapping his arms around one of Viktor's arms and began to lead him into the Great Hall.

"I'll be ready and waiting for you to pick me up at 7:45." He heard Luna tell Draco.

"I'm sorry, I did not mean to cause trouble between you und Draco." Viktor said as they sat at the Ravenclaw table.

"You didn't, Viktor, this is all on Draco. He assumed that since Cedric was taking Cho that that meant I would automatically go with him, but he didn't even count you in that equation." Harry told him.

"I vas in the running for your date to de ball from de start?" Viktor asked with a small smile and Harry nodded.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen - The Yule Ball

Despite the very heavy load of homework that the fourth years had been given for the holidays, Harry was in no mood to work when term ended, and spent the week leading up to Christmas enjoying himself as fully as possible along with everyone else. Fred and George had had a great success with their Canary Creams, and for the first couple of days of the holidays, people kept bursting into feathers all over the place. Before long, however, all the Gryffindors had learned to treat food anybody else offered them with extreme caution, in case it had a Canary Cream concealed in the center, and George confided in Harry that he and Fred were 'developing' something else. And the way he said it while looking at Fred made him wonder if it was something other than tricks.

Snow was falling thickly upon the castle and its grounds now. The pale blue Beauxbatons carriage looked like a large, chilly, frosted pumpkin next to the iced gingerbread house that was Hagrid's cabin, while the Durmstrang ship's portholes were glazed with ice, the rigging white with frost. The house-elves down in the kitchen were outdoing themselves with a series of rich, warming stews and savory puddings, and only Fleur Delacour seemed to be able to find anything to complain about.

"It is too 'eavy, all zis 'Ogwarts food." They heard her saying as they left the Great Hall behind her one evening (Ron, for some reason, skulking behind Haiden, keen not to be spotted by Fleur). "I will not fit into my dress robes!"

"Oooh there's a tragedy." Hermione snapped as Fleur went out into the entrance hall. "She really thinks a lot of herself, that one, doesn't she?"

"Hermione," Ron said, looking sideways at her as they went up the marble staircase, suddenly frowning, "your teeth..."

"What about them?" She asked defensively.

"Well, they're different... I've just noticed..."

"Of course they are - did you expect me to keep those fangs Parkinson gave me?"

"No, I mean, they're different to how they were before he put that hex on you... They're all... straight and - and normal-sized." Everyone, but Haiden, turned to stare at Hermione's teeth when she suddenly smiled very mischievously, and Harry noticed it too: It was a very different smile from the one he remembered.

"Well... when Haiden took me to Madam Pomfrey to get them shrunk, she held up a mirror and told me to stop her when they were back to how they normally were." She said. "And I just... let her carry on a bit." She smiled even more widely. "Mum and Dad won't be too pleased. I've been trying to persuade them to let me shrink them for ages, but they wanted me to carry on with my braces. You know, they're dentists, they just don't think teeth and magic should - look! Pigwidgeon's back!"

Draco laid his arm across Hermione shoulder with a proud smirk. "That was very Slytherin of you. We'll make a Slytherin out of you in no time," Draco knelt his head closer to her and stage whispered; "and then we'll have two spies in Gryffindor."

Hermione smiled widely at him while he playfully laughed evilly before they turned their attention to Ron's tiny owl who was twittering madly on the top of the icicle-laden banisters, a scroll of parchment tied to his leg. People passing him were pointing and laughing, and a group of third-year girls paused and said, "Oh look at the weeny owl! Isn't he cute?"

"Stupid little feathery git!" Ron hissed, hurrying up the stairs and snatching up Pigwidgeon. "You bring letters to the addressee! You don't hang around showing off!" Pigwidgeon hooted happily, his head protruding over Ron's fist.

"Why, you do? He's just mimicking his owner." Harry said with an innocent look.

"Piss off!" Ron snapped at Harry. "Here - take it, Haiden." Ron added in an undertone as the third-year girls scuttled away looking scandalized. He pulled Sirius's reply off Pigwidgeon's leg, Haiden pocketed it, and they hurried to the Gryffindor Tower to read it.

Everyone in the common room was much too busy in letting off more holiday steam to observe what anyone else was up to. Harry, Draco, Myari, Luna, Haiden, Hermione and Ron, sat apart form everyone else by a dark window that was gradually filling up with snow, and Haiden read out:

 

"He sounds exactly like Moody." Haiden said quietly, tucking the letter away again inside his robes. "'Constant vigilance!' You'd think I was walking around with my eyes shut, banging off the walls..."

"But he's right, Haiden," Hermione said, "you have still got two task to do. You really ought to have a look at that egg, you know, and start working out what it mean..."

"Hermione, stop nagging him, he's got ages!" Ron snapped. "Want a game of chess, Haiden?"

"Yeah, okay." Haiden said. Then, spotting the look on Hermione's face, he said, "Come on, how'm I supposed to concentrate with all this noise going on? I won't even be able to hear the egg over this lot."

"Oh, I suppose not." She sighed and sat down next to Haiden to lean on him and watch their chess match, which culminated in Draco messing with Ron to the point he lost concentration and Harry helping Haiden win.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry awoke very suddenly on Christmas Day. Wondering what had caused his abrupt return to consciousness, he opened his eyes and saw something with very large, round, green eyes staring at his brother over the side of the bed. Without much thought, Harry called his dagger and threw it at the creature who squeaked and cowered on the ground waking Haiden.

"What is it? What's happening?" Haiden asked shooting up squinting around the room. Severus, who had apparently been up, and Remus, who had come for a visit, burst into the room, wands at the ready. The lights magically turned on and Harry was able to see that it was Dobby that had woken him.

"Dobby!" Harry roared flying out of bed and grabbing the house-elf before he could teleport away. "Did you not learn your lesson after the first time you tried this! I have half a mind to call Draco here and let him punish you!"

"Dobby is sorry, Master Potter, sir!" Dobby squeaked anxiously. "Dobby is only wanting to wish Haiden Potter 'Merry Christmas' and bring him a present, sir!"

"Did Draco permit you to do such a thing?" Harry asked from the ashamed look Dobby had it was clear that he had not been giving permission from Draco.

"It-its fine Harry, he-" Haiden started but Harry cut him off.

"No, it is not! By not getting permission from his master, he can cause a disaster!" Harry told Haiden.

"Why, because he's showing a mind of his own? Because he'll cause a rebelion?" Haiden asked, sounding scarily like Hermione.

"No. Nothing like that. House-elves get their magic from the families they serve. Though they have their own magic it is for small stuff like cleaning and house keeping. But for larger spells, like teleporting and protection, they need their family's magic. Which is why they need permission to do anything that requires lots of magic, it allows them access to the magic they need. If they do not get permission and try to do anything that requires lots of magic they will try and use their family's magic and it could see them as a threat and attack them. It is for their safety that they get permission." Harry explained.

"I - I didn't know that." Haiden admitted.

"That is most likely because you did not research it." Harry said before turning his attention back to Dobby. "A house-elf that tries to use his family's magic without concent is a danger to himself and the family and needs to be disposed of."

"But Doddy did receive permission! A man glad in black connected to the Malfoy family gave Dobby permission! He told Dobby he had to save Haiden Potter! He told Dobby he was to tell Haiden Potter 'Merry Christmas'! He ordered Dobby to give Haiden Potter a present! Dobby tried telling Master Draco and Master Lucius this but they do not know of a man in black connected to the Malfoy family! But Dobby knows he was connected to the Malfoy family! The Family Magic Recognized him as a spouse! Dobby would not have been allowed to leave the manor had he not been!" Dobby squeaked out in fear of being disposed of he dropped Haiden's gift before teleporting out of Harry's hand and most likely back to the manor now that his task had been completed.

Harry stood there in shock. Someone clad in black that had married into the Malfoy family had ordered Dobby to do everything he had? But he had been shown the Malfoy family tree! There had not been a male married into the Malfoy family for five generations! There could not have been a man that had married into the Malfoy family, clad in black or not. Yet, that voice in the back of his mind that was telling him, yelling at him, that Dobby had not lied. That the man Dobby spoke of was closer to him than he realized. And to not worry about the man because he meant them no harm.

"Lets go open presents." Harry said awkwardly turning around and pushing past a shocked Remus and Severus towards the sitting room. He began to pile everyone's presents into small piles of the people they belonged to. He felt the others watching him, but he couldn't make himself look at them, knowing they were sending hims worried looks. Something strange and really scary was happening to him, something he couldn't explain, something he didn't want to explain. He didn't want to think about what was going on with him, he wanted to pretend everything was normal and happy.

Haiden, seeming to hear his silent wish, sat next to Harry in front of his pile and opened the package that Dobby had dropped. The package turned out to be socks. The left sock was bright red and had a pattern of broomsticks upon it; the right sock was green with a pattern of snitches. "Wow." Haiden said showing Harry the socks. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Remus and Severus share a look before they too sat down in front of their piles.

After they had opened their presents, Harry and Haiden met up with Hermione just outside the portrait to Severus's room and they all went down to breakfast together were they met up with Luna, Myari, and a very angry Draco. They spent most of their morning in Gryffindor Tower with Fred and George, then returned to the Great Hall for a magnificent lunch, which included at least a hundred turkeys and Christmas puddings, and large piles of Cribbage's Wizarding crackers.

They went out onto the grounds in the afternoon; the snow now untouched except for deep channels made by the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students on their way up to the castle. Hermione and Draco chose to watch Haiden, Luna, and Myari have a snowball fight with Harry, Fred, and George rather than join in, and at five o'clock, she, Luna and Myari stole Harry and said they were going back upstairs to get ready for the ball.

"What, you need three hours?" Ron, who had joined them at some point during the snowball fight, asked looking at them incredulously and paying for his lapse in concentration when a large snowball, thrown by George, hit him hard on the side of the head. Harry was made to help the girls do their hair and makeup after they had all showered. When he complained about having to help them Hermione asked if he wanted his hair and make-up done as well before chasing him around the girl's dormitary with lipstick and blush for a good ten minutes with all the girls up there laughing.

After they had all calmed down, Harry helped Hermione apply make-up that would highlight her best facial features without obscuring her natural beauty. He also taught her, and help her quickly master, a spell that would straighten her hair before braiding half of her hair and puting the braids in an intricate knot. As she slipped into her dress, he did the same for Myari. Luna did not require much help, already knowing how she wanted her hair and make-up and helped Harry with Myari, who did not seem to want make-up on.

After Luna had finished getting ready, she kissed Harry, who was still fighting Myari with her make-up, and Hermione, who was helping Harry fight Myari, on the cheek and left.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Luna knew she was different from everyone, and not with just how she acted and spoke, but with how her eyes saw things. Where most people would look at someone and see their skin, eyes, hair, and clothes, she only saw the persons soul. Luna knew that she hadn't always used to only see people by their souls, she had seen them as everyone else had, and then her mother died and she had gotten ill. Her father had told her that she had been on the verge of death when she suddenly woke, her once ocean blue eyes had become ice blue, almost as if she had gone blind.

Luna looked towards the soul next to her, the gorgeously dangerous sleeping ice blue dragon. She knew that when this soul were to finally awaken it would be a force to be reckon with. The sleeping dragon let out a growl when another soul, this one of a young looking man with black hair wearing a skull mask walked in with Harry on his arm. Luna's eyes were drawn to Harry's soul.

While everyone else had one whole soul (wether it be slipt into two bodies like with normal twins or not) Harry had two incomplete souls. One seemed to be nothing but a ball of black mist, but when she forced herself to look past the mist, she found a small child curled up. The child's eyes were usually closed, but Luna noticed that his eyes had been slowly opening through this year. The child and his cover of black mist was surrounded by a white faceless mass of wings and chains.

Luna's attention was once again brought back to Draco when he growled again. "Draco, dear," Luna said resting her head on his shoulder, "it is not Viktor's fault that you are not here with Harry, it is your fault."

"You don't think I know that!" Draco growled at her and her response to that was to pat him on the head.

"There, there. You made a mistake, learn from it and don't let it happen again." She whispered, her response was silence. Satisfied that Draco would not do something rash and embarrass not only him but Harry as well, Luna went back to people watching. She caught sight of Neville's soul, a young man covered in vines and flowers, walking next to Myari. Her soul was just a interesting and frightening as Harry's, it was of a young shadow girl with long hair and glowing white eyes, it looked like the shadow of her soul, a young girl with glowing white skin, long hair and black eyes.

Luna averted her eyes from Myari to look Haiden's soul that was coming down the stairs. His soul was of a knight curled around his sword, head bent in slumber. Next to him was Hermione and her soul seemed to just be a ball of light, but when Luna looked closer she could see it was actually a young girl curled up sleeping. When Hermione's soul awoke, she was going to a sight to see.

Luna's attention was pulled away from Hermione's lovely soul by McGonagall's voice. "Champions over here, please!" The chattering crowd parted for the Champions and their partners before they were allowed entrance to the Great Hall as Professor McGonagall instructed the Champions on what to do. Luna linked her arm with Draco and allowed him to lead her into the room as she let her eyes roam. The walls of the Great Hall had all been covered in sparkling silver frost, with hundreds of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling. The House tables had vanished; instead, there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each seating about a dozen people.

Once everyone was settled in the Great Hall, Professor McGonagall lead the Champions and their partners into the room. Everyone in the Great Hall applauded as they entered and started walking up towards a large round table at the top of the Great Hall, where the judges were sitting. And, as Luna sat there, watching them, she watched the faceless mass of wings and chains tighten the chains around the black mist as the child's eyes opened more, a bad feeling sat itself upon Luna's chest. And she knew then, that if that child's eyes were to fully open, it would be a disaster.

When the Champions and their partners reached the table and sat down, Luna forced herself to look away form Harry's soul and down at her empty golden plate. She picked up the menu and looked at it with unseeing eyes as images of what could, and probably would, happen if the child's eyes were to fully open. She sighed and ordered something as those images left her mind and began to eat whatever it was that she had ordered.

"Everything alright?" Draco whispered to her, he must have heard sigh. Luna looked at him and smiled.

"I hope so." Luna told him. Movement in the shadows of the room caught her attention, turning to look at what had caused the movement, she found what she believed was the other half of the white faceless mass of wings: A seemingly faceless body covered in a black cloak that faded into black wings near the end. Luna had noticed that this being never seemed to stray too far from Harry, keeping a close watch on the child. Luna relaxed at that, if anything were to happen, he would put a stop to it.

When all the food had been consumed, Dumbledore (a shapeless mass of dark and light battling for dominance), stood up and asked the students to do the same. Then, with a wave of his want, all the tables zoomed back along the walls leaving the floor clear, and then he conjured a raised platform into existence along the right wall. A set of drums, several guitars, a lute, a cello, and some bagpipes were set upon it.

The Weird Sisters now trooped up onto the stage to wildly enthusiastic applause. They picked up their instruments as the Champions and their partners stood up. Luna turned her attention away from the Weird Sisters to watch the Champions, Haiden tripped over what she assumed was his robes. The Weird Sisters struck up a slow, mournful tune. Luna watched the assorted souls dance together, some gracefully and some clumsily. Some souls, like the Weasely twins, merged together as they danced, and others repelled each other.

Draco gently took Luna's hand and lead her onto the dance floor and twirled her around before pulling her to him and began to lead her in a regal dance. Luna threw her head back and giggled happily as everyone's happiness flowed into her as Draco spun them, lifted her up, and dipped her. The song came to an end and another, much faster, song took its place. As everyone jumped towards the beat, Luna continued her slow dance.

Soon enough, Haiden and Hermione made their way to them along with Neville and Myari. Their energies flew into Luna and she spun and lept faster laughing. "Having fun?" Hermione asked and Luna hummed and grabbed her hands and began to spin them.

"It's hot, I'm going to get some drinks, would you like some Hermione?" Haiden called over the music.

"I would love some." Hermione called as Luna released her to twirl by herself. Suddenly, a dark, angry feeling washed over her drowning out the happiness from everyone else. She spun towards where the wave had come from to find Ron ( a masked black and white jester) and Haiden yelling at each other with Ron pointing towards the dance floor. Luna glanced at where Ron was pointing to see Harry and Viktor still dancing together.

"Oh no." Hermione muttered before rushing over, Luna quickly followed her after the child's eyes opened more. It was Ron that was causing his eyes to open!

"It's obvious! He's Karkaroff's student, isn't he? He knows Harry is your twin! He's just trying to get closer to you, Haiden! Get inside information on you! Or get near enough to jinx you!" The Knight's head lifted, he was starting to wake up.

"Shut up Ron! Harry would never hang out with someone who would do that! Plus, Harry is smart enough to be able to see past his trick, if there were any!" Haiden growled out.

"He hangs out with Malfoy! Do you not remember in our first year when he attacked you!" Ron yelled.

"That was because I was being a right tosser! He had every right to do what he did! Harry was in the Hospital Wing and I had not once visited him." Haiden defended as the knight gripped the hilt of his sword.

"Then Viktor is hoping Harry'll help him find out what his egg mean! I've seen them in the library with their heads put together and whispering over book!" Ron hissed out.

"Harry would never help him work out that egg!" Hermione said as her soul lifted her head, eyes half open with a fire burning in them. "Never! How dare you accuse Harry like that! It is clear that Harry wants him and Haiden to win the tournament!"

"He's got a funny way of showing it." Ron sneered and Draco shot past Luna, the Dragon's eyes were half open as well, showing diamond like eyes, and lips pulled back to show sharp teeth ready to tear who ever had crossed his path into bits. Luna backed away from him.

"You listen here, Weasel, I'm getting sick and tired of your attitude. I may not like Harry being here with Krum, but even I know that this whole tournament's supposed to be about getting to know foreign wizards and making friends with them. And that is what Harry is doing." Draco growled out.

"It looks like Harry's look for more than just friendship with Viktor. I guess you're just not enough to satisfy him, but then again, with a slut like him-" Ron suddenly began to gasp for air as hand made out of dark mist wrapped around his throat, Luna followed the mist back to Harry who had silently made his way towards them, Viktor no where to be seen. The child's eyes were open and glaring at Ron, a silver dagger in his hand, and Luna froze in fear. The child's eyes were to bottomless pits of darkness. And then, black wings folded around both the child and the white faceless mass of wings and chains, cutting the mist and causing the hand to dissipate allowing Ron to be able to breath again.

When the black wings unwrapped themselves, and became seemingly faceless body covered in a black cloak that faded into black wings near the end again, Luna saw that the child's eyes had gone back to being half closed. Harry stormed past Ron and Luna followed him. There was a pain filled grunt and Luna glanced back to find Ron kneeling on the ground holding his stomach and Draco standing over him growling.

"Call him a slut one more time, and just see what happens to you." Was the last thing Luna heard before she and Harry left the Great Hall.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry stood in the entrance hall panting from the rush of murderous intentions that he had just had towards Ron that had just filled him moments ago. Fear was now taking it's place. Harry knew that had that sudden calm had not suffocated those intentions, he would have killed Ron. He felt someone stop behind him and glanced over his shoulder to find Luna standing there patiently, waiting for him to go to her when he was ready.

Harry glanced away from her to look at the front doors that stood open and walked through them, Luna silently following him. The fluttering fairy lights in the rose garden that winked and twinkled as they went down the front steps, where they found themselves surrounded by bushes; winding, ornamental paths; and large stone statues. He could hear splashing water, which sounded like a fountain. Here and there, people were sitting on curved benches. Him and Luna set off along one of the winding paths through the rosebushes, but they had gone only a short way when they heard Severus's deep voice.

"...don't see what there is to fuss about, Igor."

"Severus, you cannot pretend this isn't happening!" Karkaroff's voice sounded anxious and hushed, as though keen not to be overheard. "It's been getting clearer and clearer for months. I am becoming seriously concerned, I can't deny it-"

"Then flee." Severus snapped at him. "Flee - I will make your excuses. I, however, am remaining at Hogwarts, I have someone to protect." Severus and Karkaroff came around the corner. Severus had his wand out and was blasting rosebushes apart, his expression was dark. Squeals issued from many of the bushes, and dark shapes emerged from them.

"Ten points from Ravenclaw, Fawcett!" Severus snarled as a girl ran past him. "And ten points from Hufflepuff too, Stebbins!" As a boy went rushing after her, it was only then that Severus caught sight of him and Luna. "What are you two doing?" Karkaroff, Harry saw, looked slightly discomposed to see him standing there. His hand went nervously to his goatee, and he began winding it around his finger.

"We're walking, it's such a nice evening to waste it inside dancing." Luna said airily.

"Well, move along." Severus told them and Harry continued walking and soon, they had made their way back to the Great Hall. Draco greeted them, Harry grabbed his arm and pulled him onto the dance floor. He shut his mind down and just let himself enjoy dancing with Draco and Viktor the rest of the night.

When the Weird Sisters finished playing at midnight, everyone gave them a last, loud round of applause and started to wend their way into the entrance hall. Many people were expressing the wish that the ball could have gone on longer, but Harry was perfectly happy to be going to bed. Out in the entrance hall, Harry bid Viktor a goodnight, allowing him to kiss his knuckles before letting Draco walk him back to the rooms him, Haiden, and Severus shared. As they past Ron, Harry caught Draco glaring at him. Halfway up the staircase Harry heard someone calling him and his brother.

"Hey- Haiden, Harry!" It was Cedric Diggory, Harry could see Cho waiting for him in the entrance hall below.

"Yeah?" Haiden said coldly, from behind Harry, as Cedric ran up the stairs toward them. Cedric looked as though he didn't want to say whatever it was in front of both Draco and Hermione who was holding onto Haiden's arm. Hermione sighed, let go of Haiden, and took Draco and dragged him away.

"Listen..." Cedric lowered his voice as they disappeared. "I owe you one for telling me about the dragons." Haiden glared at Harry from the corner of his eye at that. "You know that golden egg? Does yours wail when you open it?"

"Yeah." Harry said having a feeling he knew where this was going.

"Well...take a bath, okay?"

"What?" Haiden asked glaring at Cedric obviously taking offense to that.

"Take a bath, and - er - take the egg with you, and - er - just mull things over in the hot water. It'll help you think... Trust me." Haiden stared at him confused. "Tell you what," Cedric continued, "use the pretects' bathroom. Fourth door to the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered on the fifth floor. Password's 'pine fresh'. Gotta go... want to say goodnight-" He grinned at Harry again causing him to look way as Haiden glared at him.

"Right, best be off than." Haiden growled out taking Harry's arm and began to lead him up the stairs and away from a confused Cedric. "Bastard. It's obvious to everyone that you like him and he goes and rubs his relationship with Cho in your face. I should have pushed him down the stairs."

"It's fine." Harry muttered.

"No it is not 'fine' Harry! Even if he never felt anything but friendship for you, he could have at least stopped leading you on!" Haiden hissed.

"He never lead me on. I knew from the very beginning he only saw me a friend." Harry informed Haiden.

"You did?" Haiden asked confused.

"Yeah, I just refused to see it and made myself believe he liked me back." Harry said.

"What made you finally see it?" Haiden asked.

"Viktor." Harry said as they came to the portrait to their room where Hermione and Draco were waiting.

"What about Viktor?" Draco asked darkly.

"Stop." Harry ordered glaring at him. "Don't take your frustration at Viktor taking me to the ball out on me. If you don't like it, you know what the solution is, don't you?"

"Oh yeah? What's that?" Draco bit out and Hermione sighed moving from Draco's side to Haiden, pulling him down the hall slightly to begin saying goodnight.

"Next time there's a ball, ask me before just assuming I'll go with you! Haiden asked Hermione and she's his girlfriend he didn't just assume she would go with him, he respected her enough to let her decide herself." Harry cried. "Did you know that when we were first told about the ball I envisioned myself going with you! Did you know I was hopping and wishing and pleading you would ask me!"

"Then why did you deny me when I said we were going together!" Draco asked.

"Because you never asked me! You just assumed I would go with you!" Harry yelled. "I want to be with you Draco, I really do, I know now thanks to my talks with Viktor that I have strong feelings for you! But I can't be with you!"

"What? Why?" Draco asked.

"Because I can't be with someone who doesn't respect me." Harry told him as he passed him hissing the password.

"But I do respect you Harry!" Draco cried reaching out to try and grab Harry before he could step into his rooms, but Harry pulled away before he could.

"If you respected me, Draco, you would have asked me, like Viktor did." Harry whispered as the portrait closed between him and a devastated Draco who understood what Harry had just told him.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15- A Break Through

Everybody got up late on Boxing Day. Haiden found himself sitting with Hermione in the Gryffindor Common room, he had been kicked out of his and Harry's room after they had had a small argument over how Harry had treated Draco. Haiden sighed as he shook his head and tried to focus on his homework. He caught Hermione's worried glance over her book. "He'll realize that he was wrong, Haiden, you know he will and then him and Draco will make up." She told him softly.

"It may be too late by the time he does. You saw how broken Draco was last night. He couldn't even make it down to the dungeons, I think he might have even forgotten how to breath! I'm worried what would have happened to him if Luna hadn't appeared and taken him to the Ravenclaw tower." Haiden told her causing Ron, who was sitting on the other side of Haiden, to roll his eyes.

"Luna says she'll take care of Harry, and you and me both know that if there is anyone who can get Harry see how wrong he is it will be her. She and Harry have this strange bond, they are connected in some way." Hermione said, an irritated or maybe even a jealous tone to her voice.

"Hermione, are you jealous of their bond?" Haiden asked.

"No!" Hermione defended turning back to her book and began to stare at it. Not expecting her to say anything more, Haiden turned to try and force himself to do his homework. "It's just doesn't make sense!" Hermione suddenly cried tossing the book down before jumping up from the couch to begin pacing. "No matter how I look at it, Harry's and Luna's bond doesn't make sense! I definitely get his bond with Draco, they are obviously soul mates! I can get his bond with his Weasley twins, they are like his fathers! I also get his bond with me! I get his bond with Neville! I even get his bond with Ronald!"

"I don't have a bond with him!" Ron yelled.

"Yes, you do! You just don't realize it! Everyone Harry has had contact with, be it a lot or little, has some sort of bond with him, and I get that, that makes sense! But no matter how I look at it, Harry's bond with Luna makes absolute sense! Are they in love with each other? Are they best friends? Are they siblings? Is he dependant on her? Is she dependant on him? I don't know! Because their bond makes no sense! There are times when I see them and it looks like they are in love with each other, but that can't be because Harry is obviously in love with Draco and they are obviously soul mates! There are times when they seem like really close best friends, and that would makes sense! And then there are times that they seem like sibling, and I can accept that! But then there are times he seems to be souly dependant on her! But there are also times she seems souly dependant on him! And it makes no god damn sense!" Hermione ranted causing everyone in the common room to stop what they were doing to nervously watch the pacing witch.

Haiden sat in his seat frozen. He didn't know what to do to help his girlfriend who seemed to be having a mental break down. "It doesn't have to make sense," Luna's voice called from the portrait hole, causing Hermione, and everyone in the common room, to spin around to look at her, "it just has to be."

"That makes no sense!" Hermione cried.

"Hermione, you will come to find that a lot of things in this world don't make sense, and are not suppose to make sense. My bond to Harry is... unique. I am whatever he needs me to be at that moment. I am everything but a soul mate to him." Luna explained and Hermione sagged to the ground and Haiden shot from his spot on the couch to wrap her into a soothing hug.

"I don't get it." Hermione muttered as Luna made her way over to them and knelt down to look her in the eyes.

"You don't have to get it." Luna whispered to her with a kind smile before standing up. "I've talked to Harry, he's not ready to listen to me, so I've sent him to the person I know will be able to talk to him."

"Who? Professor Snape?" Haiden asked and Luna shook her head as she walked over to the golden egg that Harry had thrown at Haiden's head during their argument.

"Professor Flitwick?" George asked and Luna shook her head again as she picked up the egg with a hum.

"Draco?" Fred asked slowly.

"Viktor." Luna said turning the egg this way and that.

"What? But he's the cause of this! Why would you send him to Viktor? How is he going to help Harry come to his senses?" Hermione asked shooting to her feet.

"Hmm." Luna hummed as she tossed the egg to Haiden. "Maybe I should teach Harry how to swim." With that said she turned and, dodging Hermione's hand that tried to grab her, left the common room. After a minute of silence, Hermione screamed and grabbed her hair in annoyance.

"That girl makes no sense! How is she so important to Harry!" Hermione yelled before turning and stomping up the stairs to the girls dormitory. She stopped halfway up the stairs to glare at Haiden. "Get to work figuring out what that egg means!" she ordered before continuing up the stairs.

"She scares me sometimes." Haiden said softly staring wide eyed at the empty stairs.

"Mate, she scares us all sometimes." Fred said.

"She's right, I need to figure out what this egg means, I mean, February the twenty-fourth will be here before we know it." Haiden said with a sigh and went to try and open the egg when he remembered Cedric's hint. Haiden groaned and flopped onto the floor on his back with the egg laying on his stomach. His less-than-friendly feelings towards Cedric for how he had treated Harry's feeling for him as nothing meant that he was keen not to take his help if he could avoid it. In any case, it seemed to him that if Cedric had really wanted to give him a hand, he would have been a lot more explicit. Apparently Harry had told Cedric exactly what was coming in the first task - and Cedric's idea of a fair exchange had been telling him, Haiden, to take a bath. Well, he didn't need that sort of rubbish help - not from someone who kept rubbing his relationship with Cho in Harry's face by walking down the corridors hand in hand. Him and Harry would solve this puzzle all by themselves.

And so the first day of the new term arrived with Harry avoiding Haiden and Draco, and after Hermione had attempted to talk to him about Draco, he began to avoid her as well, and Haiden set off to lessons, weighed down with books, parchment, and quills as usual, but also with the lurking worry of the egg heavy in his stomach, as though he were carrying that around with him too.

Snow was still thick upon the grounds, and the greenhouse windows were covered in condensation so thick that they couldn't see out of them in Herbology. Nobody was looking forward to Care of Magical Creatures much in this weather, though as Ron said, the skrewts would probably warm them up nicely, either by chasing them, or blasting off so forcefully that Hagrid's cabin would catch fire.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Halfway through January, there was a Hogsmeade visit and Hermione was very surprised that Haiden was going to go. "I just thought you'd want to take advantage of the common room being quiet." She said. "Really get to work on that egg."

"Oh, I - I reckon I've got a pretty good idea what it's about now." Haiden lied.

"Have you really?" Hermione asked, looking impressed. "Well done!" Haiden's inside gave a guilty squirm, but he ignored them. He still had five weeks to work out that egg clue, after all, and that was ages... whereas if he went into Hogsmead he was sure to run into Harry who, he had heard from a reliable source, would be there with Viktor, and get a chance to persuade him to talk to him. They didn't even have to talk about Draco or the tournament!

As Haiden, Ron, and Hermion left the castle together on Saturday and set off through the cold, wet grounds towards the gates, Haiden caught sight of something that caused him stop walking in shock. Viktor Krum had emerged onto the deck of the Drumstrang ship moored in the lake, dressed in nothing but swimming trunks. He was very skinny indeed, but apparently a lot tougher than he looked, because he climbed up onto the side of the ship, stretched out his arms, and dived, right into the lake.

"He's mad!" Hermione said, staring at Krum's dark head as it bobbed out into the middle of the lake. "It must be freezing, it's January!"

"It's a lot colder where he comes from," Harry said from behind them causing them all to jump and spin around to look at him. "I suppose it feels quite warm to him."

"Yeah, but there's still the giant squid." Ron said. He didn't sound anxious - if anything, he sounded hopeful. Hermione and Harry took notice of his voice, Hermione frowned and Harry just ignored him.

"I thought you were going to be going to Hogsmeade with him." Haiden said and Harry looked at him blankly for a long minute making Haiden fear that he had said something to piss Harry off again.

"There was a change of plans, he wants to work on the egg." Harry said.

"And what, you're on your way to help him solve it? Some brother you are." Ron snapped out.

"Actually, Ronald, we both decided that it would be unfair for me to help him solve the puzzle when I should be helping my co-champion Haiden. Imagine my surprise when I got to the Gryffindor Tower and found the egg there but not you." Harry said.

"Haiden thinks he may have figured it out." Hermione bragged and Harry looked from Hermione to Haiden in shock.

"You've figured it out? Really?" Harry asked in disbelief.

"What? You don't think Haiden is smart enough to figure out a stupid clue without your help?" Ron asked getting in Harry's face only to have Harry put his hand on Ron's head and push him away, causing him to stumble and fall.

"No, I know Haiden is smart enough, I'm just shocked that he's not trying to find a way to survive the hour." Harry said.

"Hour? What hour?" Hermione asked looking between Haiden and Harry.

"Don't you worry, Hermione, you and Ronald enjoy your trip to Hogsmeade, I'll help Haiden find a good strategy." Harry said smiling at Hermione while grabbing Haiden's hand almost painfully.

"Are you sure? Maybe I should stay and help." Hermione said looking between Harry and Haiden worriedly before glancing at their clasped hands.

"I'm sure, anyway there is something I need to speak with Haiden about, you know, between brothers." Harry said before forcefully pulling Haiden back to the castle. Haiden wanted to open his mouth and question Harry about everything, but he was afraid of saying something that would have Harry avoid him again. The silence between the two of them was tense all the way to the Gryffindor Tower, and it was only once they were inside the portrait hole did Harry let go of Haiden's hand. "You are an idiot." Harry told Haiden as he begain to flex his hand in hopes to get the feeling back in it.

"Wha?" Haiden asked as Harry stomped over to the golden egg that had been tossed onto the couch, probably by Harry once he had found that Haiden had left to go to Hogsmead. Haiden flinched when Harry picked up the egg, memories of that heavy golden egg flying at him the last time the two of them were alone with the egg flashing through his mind.

"I can't believe you ignored Cedric's hint and even lied to Hermione!" Harry yelled glaring at him. "What were you hoping to accomplish? Do you want to die?"

"I don't want to die." Haiden said. "I was hoping to catch you in Hogsmeade and try to reconnect so you could help me solve that stupid egg. But it seems you already know what the clue is! What, did you and Viktor figure it out and are laughing at me behind my back along with Cedric?"

"Do you really think I would do that to you?" Harry asked.

"How else would you have figured out the clue when I've had the egg this whole time you were avoid everyone who cares for you!" Haiden yelled out.

"I stole Viktor's egg when he was asleep one night and took a bath with it like Cedric told us! And I wasn't avoiding anyone!" Harry yelled throwing the egg back onto the couch where it bounce off it and landing on the floor with a heavy thunk.

"Bullshit you haven't been avoiding anyone! You've been avoiding me and Hermione and you've sure as hell have been avoiding Draco! Either that or you are a cold hearted bastard that doesn't care that you've broken not only Draco's heart but his very soul as well!" Haiden yelled shocking Harry.

"What?" Harry whispered in shock.

"Oh yeah. Ever since the night of the Yule ball Draco hasn't been the same. He's become a shell of himself. Myari tells me he hasn't been sleeping, just lays in his bed staring blankly in front of him, and he hasn't been eating. Myari and Luna took him to the Hospital wing today." Haiden coldly informed Harry who covered his mouth in shock as his eyes began to water. "But then again why would you care about someone who 'doesn't respect you', it's obvious here who doesn't respect the other." Harry suddenly ran around the couch and towards portrait hole that Haiden was still standing in front of. "Whoa, where are you going? I thought we were going to work on the egg?" Haiden asked mockingly as he caught Harry's arm.

"Tonight. We'll work on it tonight. I...I'm sorry. I've got something I have to do." Harry told him before taking his arm back and rushed through the portrait hole. Haiden stood in shock before smirking. Luna had been wrong, the person to knock some sense into Harry hadn't been Viktor, it had been him.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry ran through the halls, tears streaming down his cheeks making it harder to see where he was going, but he didn't need to see to know where he was headed. After his little wake up call with his brother, Harry had at first headed towards the Hospital Wing to check on Draco. But, halfway there he had come to a sliding stop only to turn and began to head outside. Harry flew through the castle doors, shocking some second year girls and ran to the edge of the lake he knew Viktor was swimming in.

Harry opened his mouth to call out to Viktor, but his voice caught in his throat as guilt hit him hard. Why had he run here to Viktor when Draco was in the Hospital Wing. He wanted to be there for Draco, but he was too ashamed to face him after what he had said to Draco the night of the Yule ball.

Harry wrapped his arms around himself and fell to his knees and rested his forehead on the ground as he cried. He didn't know what to do! He needed someone to tell him what to do! Why was everything so hard! Harry jumped when a hand was laid on his back, he turned his head to find Viktor sitting next to him.

"Are you ready to talk now?" Viktor asked and Harry sat up and leaned on him. "You care for Draco." Harry nodded. "You vant to be vith him."

"I do." Harry muttered.

"But you are not vith him, you are vith me. Vhy?" Viktor asked.

"It is complicated." Harry muttered.

"Nein, it ist not. You und me are 'complicated'. You und me are frowned upon. You und Draco ist expected. You und Draco are soul mates. You are making it complicated. Vhy?" Viktor asked.

"I'm scared." Harry whispered.

"Vhy? Vas ist scaring you?" Viktor asked and Harry thought about it.

"My feeling for him. They scare me." Harry muttered.

"Und das ist alright. Love can be scary. It ist not always kind, it can be cruel and it can be painful. But it ist always worth it." Viktor said before gently grabbing Harry and pulling him away from him. "Now, go und be vith Draco. You und I will always be friends." Harry smiled at Viktor as he stood up while whipping his eyes.

"Good luck in the next task." Harry told Viktor before he began to jog back to the castle. Once back inside, Harry took off running towards the Hospital Wing before he could talk himself out of going once again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16- The Egg and The Eye

The moment Harry walked into the Hospital Wing and he saw Draco lying motionless in a hospital bed everything he had been trying to deny and hide from himself crashed into him. The weight of his feelings hit him hard and made his legs buckle. Tears began to fall from his eyes. He had done this, his selfishness and his fear of his feelings had caused him to push Draco away.

Useless.

Harry shook his head and glared at the floor as he furiously whipped his eyes, he would make this up to Draco. He didn't know how, but he would make this up. Determined, Harry forced his legs to move as he stood up and walked over to Draco. With a slight hesitation, Harry brushed a stray hair off Draco's forehead and held his breath when Draco's eyes fluttered open to show empty ice blue eyes.

"Oh, Draco." Harry whispered fighting back tears as he leaned over and kissed Draco's forehead feeling a small spark from his magic touching Draco's. Harry pulled away slightly when Draco took in a shuttered breath.

"Harry?" Draco croaked out.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it." Harry said as tears began to fall from his eyes again.

"Wha-?" Draco asked confused.

"When I pushed you away, when I said you didn't respect me, I was scared." Harry said and Draco looked away from him, and from his body language Harry could tell Draco was angry. They sat in tense silence with Draco refusing to look at Harry and Harry trying to fight the urge to curl in on himself. After a three long minutes, Harry opened his mouth to say something when Draco beat him to it.

"What is it?" Draco asked hurting Harry who knew he didn't have a right to feel hurt after what he had done to Draco.

"I'm sorry." Harry whispered and went to stand up to leave only to freeze when Draco suddenly turned to look at him with tears falling from his eyes that were filled with hurt and self loathing.

"What is it about me that scares you?" Draco demanded Harry opened his mouth but no sound came out. "What is it about Cedric and Viktor that draws you to them? That makes you like them! Tell me what I have to change about myself so that you won't be frightened of me, that won't make you run to them and away from me!" Draco pleaded. Harry shook his head as his words caught in his throat. "Please! Tell me! I'll change! I'll be better! I just need to know what I need to change!"

"Nothing!" Harry cried finally getting his words freed from this throat.

"BULLSHIT!" Draco yelled as his magic began to pour from his body causing the room to violently shake, Harry stumbled and fell onto the bed, gasping as Draco grabbed him and, with strength Harry didn't know Draco had, yank him onto the bed so that Harry was now sprawled on top of Draco. Harry went to push himself up when the crazed look in Draco's now glowing eyes froze him. He knew he should be terrified of Draco right now, but something about that crazed looked and the power that was flowing out of Draco called to Harry, made him feel safe.

"I'm not scared of you, Draco." Harry whispered.

"Yes you are! You said it yourself!" Draco growled out wrapping his arms around Harry, trapping him to his chest. "You pushed me away because you were scared of me!" Harry opened his mouth to correct Draco when Madam Pomfrey finally stumbled her way to them.

"Oh dear." Harry heard her mutter, he would have turned to look at her, but Draco's arms had tightened around him keeping him from doing so. "Harry, I'm sorry, but until Draco has gotten a hold of himself, I'm going to have to ask you to leave and not return."

"NO!" Draco roared and Harry felt Draco's magic attack Madam Pomfrey causing her to scream in fear and pain as something sharp cut into Harry's arms. Knowing that Draco had lost the last ounce of control he had had when Madam Promfrey had tried to take him away, Harry did the only thing he could think of to calm Draco. Harry, after wiggling to free his arms, grabbed Draco's head and pulled him into a kiss.

The second their lips touched, everything around them seemed to freeze before Draco growled and forced his tongue into Harry's mouth. Harry, seeming to know what Draco needed, submitted and allowed Draco dominate his mouth and map it out. Harry closed his eyes and allowed Draco to take however much time he needed to realize that Harry was there and was not leaving. After a good long snog, with Harry allowing Draco to man handle him however he needed to, Draco pulled away from the kiss to bury his nose in the crook of Harry's neck.

"Mine." Draco purred out as Harry let Draco lay them down on their side and practically wrap his body around Harry's protectively. "Mine." Draco purred again as he began to run a soothing hand through Harry's hair.

"Yours." Harry agreed happy that Draco seemed to be gaining his control back. Draco's warmth allowed Harry to realize how tired he was and he slipped off into unconsciousness.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Green eyes stared blankly at the teenage boy in front of him, hiding the utter shock that he felt. But then, thinking back on all the clues that the boy had dropped over the four years they had been at this school, he really should have seen this coming. He had been the only person, other than his brother, to be able to just look at him and just know every feeling he had been train to hide from the world. The teenager smirked at him causing his stomach to flutter.

"What, cat got your tongue?" He asked, his voice that was going through puberty cracking every other word caused his heart to speed up. It took his mind a few seconds to realize that he needed do something, be it leave or fight like his brother would. And though he was being trained to fight, he couldn't find the will to actually fight this teenage boy.

"How?" He crocked out shocking the teenager causing his ice blue eyes to widen for a second before he slammed his mask back into place with a taunting laugh.

"And the boy speaks! Who knew, that after four years of knowing you, that the way to make you speak was to confront you with your fake relationship with that Weaselyett." The teenager taunted. He looked away from those ice blue eyes and bit his lip. "Oh, don't shut your voice back up. Why are you so afraid to talk! You're the smartest person at this school, but you're failing most of your practicals because you refuse to speak! Why?" He shook his head causing the teenager to sigh in annoyance.

"Malfoy! Leave him alone!" His brother yelled flying around the corner with his wand drawn. The teenager sighed in aggravation before glancing over his shoulder.

"Shove off, Potter. Me and your brother are bonding." The teenager said spinning around to face his brother while throwing his arm over his shoulder causing his heart to skip a few beats. "We just had the most fascinating conversation."

"I said leave him alone! He's not your play thing! Your fight is with me!" His brother growled out.

"Oh, look at the time." The teenager said pretending to check the time. "I have better places to be." The teenager kissed his cheek causing him to have a mental freakout. "Don't be a stranger, let's talk again." With that said the teenager sauntered away, and once he was out of sight his knees gave out and he collapsed.

"Harry!" His brother yelled rushing over to him. "What did that bastard do to you?" He couldn't speak so he just shook his head. "No? What do you mean he didn't do anything to you? You just collapsed!" He hid his head in his brother's chest. "It's okay, you're tired. Let's get you back to the dorm, I'll let the professors know you're not well." He allowed his brother to help him stand and lead him away.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry's eyes snapped open, heart pounding and mind racing, his eyes shot around the room looking into every dark place someone could be hiding in as his mind yelled that something was wrong, out of place, not right. Movement beside him caused Harry to act without much thought, he kicked whoever was next to him, holding him in place, before he slid out of the bed he had been in. The second his feet hit the ground he began to back flip away, once he felt he was a safe distance away to called upon his dagger and went to throw it at his captor when he was called out to.

"Harry?" Someone familiar said in a heart breakingly sad voice as the owner of the voice peered at him with ice blue eyes. Harry knew those eyes. Those eyes belonged to someone important to him.

Draco! his heart yelled at him and his mind finally realized were he was.

Harry gasped, dagger disappearing. "Oh God, Draco, I'm so sorry." Harry whispered as he rushed back to Draco who had begun to curl in on himself.

"I knew it. You are afraid of me." Draco muttered as Harry quickly crawled back onto the bed and tried to hug Draco, but Draco grabbed Harry's wrists and pushed him away. "No, don't force yourself to touch me. You shouldn't have to force yourself to be around me when I frighten you. But I will change, I'll figure out what it is about me that frightens you, and I'll change!" Draco told him desperately. "I promise!" Harry shook his head and quickly wrapped his arms around Draco's neck and burred his head in Draco's shoulder.

"You don't frighten me. My feelings for you frighten me." Harry told him. "You are perfect. It's me that's a screw up. I'm broken. There's something wrong with me." Suddenly Harry was looking into Draco's eyes while he held Harry's head lovingly in his hands.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, Harry. You are perfect, and I wouldn't have you any other way." Draco told him softly yet so firmly that Harry wanted to believe him, wanted to feel as perfect as Draco said he was, wanted to be anything but the freak he knew he was. Harry closed his eyes not wanting to see the adoring look Draco was giving him. He didn't want Draco to look at him like that, Harry didn't deserve to be looked at like that. Draco was perfect, sure he could be selfish and a slight bully, but he wasn't broken like Harry, wasn't a freak, and that made him perfect.

"Harry, look at me." Draco ordered softly and Harry opened his eyes. "I love you. To me, you are perfect." Draco kissed him lightly on the lips and a second later someone gave an awkward cough. Both Harry and Draco turned to see Haiden awkwardly standing there with a slight blush on his cheeks as he tried to look anywhere but at them while holding the golden egg.

"Sorry to interrupt, but Harry promised to help me with the egg tonight." Haiden said awkwardly showing them the egg in his hands. "Will it-? Can I-?" Haiden took a breath to organize his thoughts. "May I borrow Harry for a little while?" Harry heard a deep, angry growl start to flow out of Draco at the same time his fingers started to twitch, as if wanting to tighten his hold on Harry.

"Is it okay if Draco comes with us?" Harry quickly asked not wanting Draco to lose control like he did with Madam Pomfrey tried to take him away. Haiden opened his mouth before closing it and looking to the side at someone.

"Is it-? Is he-?" He asked and Harry looked in the direction Haiden was looking to find Mind Healer Krystan sitting there watching them causing Harry to blanch. How long had she been there? How much had she heard? How much had she seen.

"As long as you don't try to remove Harry from his sight, Draco should be stable enough to leave the Hospital Wing for a few hours." Mind Healer Krystan said. "But, Haiden, you are to keep an eye on both of them, if either one of them looks to be slipping, you are to stop whatever you are doing and come get me. Do not touch either of them, especially Harry, do I make myself clear."

"Yes ma'am." Haiden said and Mind Healer Krystan searched Haiden's face for a good minute.

"I'm serious Haiden, Draco getting a partial creature inheritance this young is dangerous for not only Draco but also Harry. If we are not careful with this, Harry could get hurt or worse killed by Draco losing control." Harry felt Draco tense up and move from holding his face to hugging Harry close to him at that it almost hurt. "And if that happens, Draco will go mad and start killing everyone around him." Harry tensed up and gripped the front of Draco's shirt as Haiden gulped. "And we wouldn't want that, now would we?" Haiden quickly shook his head, fear in his eyes. After being reassured that Haiden understood her, Mind Healer Krystan smiled. "Have fun." She said as she got up and turn to walk away only to remember something. "Oh, and Harry, I have scheduled a session for us for tomorrow, Draco will be joining us." Harry, knowing what would be discussed in that session, nodded refusing to look at her.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

The walk to the prefect bathroom was filled with a slight awkward silence as Haiden lead Harry and Draco who had his arm around Harry's waist while glaring around them as if expecting someone to come out of the dark and take Harry from him. Now that he had calmed down, Harry's mind recalled something Mind Healer Krystan has said. "What did she mean when she said that Draco had gotten a partial creature inheritance?"

"I don't know the whole story. But what I do know was that about an hour after our talk, the whole school started shaking. At first I feared that you had lost control of your magic again. But it turns out that the shaking was caused by Draco." Haiden explained as they came to the statue of Boris the Bewildered, a lost-looking wizard with his gloves on the wrong hands. Haiden quickly located the right door, leaned close to it and muttered the password. The door creaked open and Haiden motioned for him and Draco to go in before him.

Harry's immediate reaction was that it would be worth becoming a prefect just to be able to use this bathroom. It was softly lit by a splendid candle-filled chandelier, and everything was made of white marble, including what looked like an empty, rectangular swimming pool sunk into the middle of the floor. About a hundred golden taps stood all around the pool's edges, each with a differently colored jewel set into its handle. There was also a diving board. Long white linen curtains hung at the windows; a large pile of fluffy white towels sat in a corner, and there was a single golden-framed painting on the wall. It featured a blond mermaid who was fast asleep on a rock, her long hair over her face. It fluttered every time she snored.

It was only then that Harry realized where they were and why. "Why are we here?" He asked just as Haiden moved forward, his footsteps echoing off the wall, towards the taps.

"To solve the egg." Haiden told him slowly, and Harry got the feeling that Haiden thought he wasn't fully there. Harry crossed his arm and glared at his brother, this seemed to catch the attention of Draco, who had been searching the room, causing his eyes to snap to him.

"Did you forget that I already know what the clue is." Harry told him in annoyance causing Haiden to pause in turning the pipes on to look at him in shock.

"You mean that was real?" Haiden asked.

"Real?" Harry asked and Haiden shook his head.

"I mean, you really stole Viktor's egg when he was sleeping?" Haiden asked.

"Why would I lie?" Harry asked. He yelled in shock when Draco suddenly pulled him flush to his chest with his mouth right next to his ear, causing Harry's face to heat up.

"You slept with Viktor?" Draco growled out and Haiden's eyes widened looking at Harry in shock.

"Not like that!" Harry cried. "I just didn't want to go back to the room and Viktor let me have his bed while he slept on the floor." Harry blushed and had to force himself to not push Draco away when the boy suddenly buried his nose in the crook of his neck and began to smell him.

"Um..." Haiden said awkwardly locking eyes with Harry for a minute before he turned and, after setting the egg on the edge of the bath, began to continue filling the bath while testing all of the taps. One tap gushed pink and blue bubbles the size of footballs; another poured ice-white foam so thick that Harry thought it would have supported his weight if he'd been wrapped in Draco's arms and had been able to test it; a third sent heavily perfumed purple clouds hovering over the surface of the water.

When the deep pool was full of hot water, foam, and bubbles, which took a short time considering its size, Haiden turned off all the taps and all three of them pulled off their clothes and Haiden and Draco slipped into the water while Harry sat on the edge. Draco turned and held out his arms for Harry to slip into them, Harry's eyes widened when he realized what Draco wanted before he quickly shook his head. Draco's eyes narrowed as he made grabby hands.

"I don't know how to swim." Harry whispered in shame causing Draco to pause for a second before he made his way over to Harry.

"We'll stay in the shallow end and you can hold on to me." Draco told him gently before holding out his hand for Harry to take. With a slight hesitation, Harry took Draco's hand and allowed him to gently pull him into the bath. As the water rose higher, Harry's mind began to slip into a memory he had thought was long forgotten.

"What are you doing in here?" Uncle Vernon demanded catching Harry in the bathroom with a wash cloth in his hand. Harry's eyes widened in fear. Uncle Vernon was supposed to be deep asleep by now. He was always deep asleep by now, Harry new this, and took advantage of that and always snuck out of their cupboard at this time to get whatever they needed at the time. Haiden needed to be washed, he had taken most of the beating from Uncle today and his cuts needed to be cleaned.

"Trying to steal water for a bath? You want a bath?" Uncle Vernon demanded seeing the washcloth in his hand. Harry shook his head. "Don't lie to be boy!" Uncle roared and launched himself at Harry who, without much thought, dove way from Uncle Vernon causing Uncle to crash into the wall.

"You'll pay for that." Uncle Vernon growled as he threw his arm out and caught Harry by the throat. "You want a bath, boy, I'll give you a bath." Uncle held Harry by his throat as he began to fill the tub. Harry tried to struggle, tried to pry Uncle's fingers from around his throat, but Uncle was too strong. And then Harry suddenly found his head under water. Not expecting that, Harry tried to breath in. His body began to lash out, to try and fight off whatever was holding him under the water.

Harry's mind was snapped out of the memory by a soothing growl. He blinked and was shocked to find himself not in the bathroom at his Aunt and Uncle's house, but in the Prefect's bathroom at Hogwarts clutching on to Draco. "There you are." Draco growled soothingly in his ear.

"I went somewhere?" Harry asked weakly.

"For a little while." Draco told him while running a soothing hand through his hair. Harry saw Draco look off to the side at someone, he glanced over and found Haiden standing off to the side with the egg. He was clearly giving them space, but ready to jump in the second he needed to. "I believe your brother is ready to finally figure out what that damned egg means."

"Okay." Harry said and tightened his grip on Draco when he began to walk through (glide through) the water. And if Harry wasn't so scared he would have laughed, he was so short that even the 'shallow' part of the bath was still too deep for him as his feet couldn't even touch the ground. Harry glanced at Haiden and noticed that he had to stand on his tip toes to be able to have his head out of the water.

"So, what now?" Haiden asked.

"Place the egg all the way in the water, take a deep breath, and then open it." Harry told him. Haiden nodded before placing the egg fully in the water, took a deep breath, and went under before opening the egg. A gurgling song began to come out of it, a song whose words Harry had memorized.

"Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you're searching ponder this:
We've taken what you'll sorely miss,
An hour long you'll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour - the prospect's black,
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back."

Haiden came back up with a gasp and looked at Harry in confusion. "Hear it?" Harry asked as he caught Moaning Myrtle peering at them from her hidden spot in the corning of the ceiling,

"Yeah... 'Come seek us where our voices sound...'" Haiden said struggling to remember the words.

"'Come seek us where our voices sound... We cannot sing above the ground... And while you're searching ponder this:... We've taken what you'll sorely miss,... An hour long you'll have to look,... And recover what we took,... But past an hour - the prospect's black,... too late, it's gone, it won't come back.'" Harry recited from memory and Haiden nodded.

"So, someone who can't use their voices above ground are going to steal something we treasure from us and we have to get it back." Haiden said beginning to try and piece everything together. "Underwater..." He muttered looking at the egg that was still under the water. "Harry, what lives under the late, apart from the giant squid?"

"Oh I'm sure there are a tone of things." Harry told him with a look.

"Siren. You kept saying something about Sirens. There aren't Sirens living in the Black Lake, are there?" Haiden asked.

"Sirens don't live in the lake. That lake is fresh water, Sirens need salt water to live in." Harry informed him and Haiden nodded. "But their cousins, the Merfolk, can live in either fresh water or salt water. And I happen to know there is a clan of Merfolks living in the bottom of the lake." Haiden nodded and it was clear he didn't really understand what was happening.

"That's it, isn't it?" Haiden asked excitedly. "The second task's to go and find the Merfolk in the lake and... and..." Suddenly Haiden paled and Harry knew it just hit him. "At the bottom of the lake? Haiden asked slowly looking at Harry who nodded. "I have to swim to the bottom of the lake. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BREATH?" Haiden cried, his voice much louder than usual thanks to the bathroom and Harry flinched away causing Draco to bare his teeth at Haiden.

"Calm down. We'll find a way to help you breath. There's the Bubble Head spell, but that's too advanced for you. And you're not at the level to transfigure yourself into anything that can breath underwater. But I'm sure there is a potion that can help." Harry told his brother who took a few deep, calming breaths before nodding.

"Right. Tomorrow we'll began to search for away for me to be able to breath underwater." Haiden said as closed the egg and brought it back above the water while Draco carefully lead Harry back over to the edge of the bath and helped him out. Harry quickly moved from the edge as he magically dried himself as Draco climbed out and shook himself like a dog. Harry watch in amazement as all the water flew off Draco's body and hair, leaving him dry. Harry glanced around half expecting to find water droplets everywhere, but there were none. Draco caught Harry's amazed look and smirked at him.

"Okay." Harry squeaked out with a giggle as Haiden tossed the egg out of the bath and climbed out as well. Harry quickly dried Haiden and the three of them got dressed once more. Before they left the bathroom, Haiden pulled out the map and checked it

"Right, the coast is clear." Haiden told them and they stepped out into the dark corridor with Haiden's attention locked on the Marauder's Map. "Wait, what the hell?" Haiden whispered and instinctively Harry wrapped them in his magic, willing them to be invisible to everyone else. Harry turned and glanced at the map. The dots belonging to Filch and his cat, Mrs Norris, were safely in their office... nothing else seemed to be moving apart from Peeves, though he was bouncing around the trophy room on the floor above. And then, he saw what Haiden had seen.

Peeves was not the only thing that was moving. A single dot was flitting around a room in the bottom left-hand corner - The room where Severus kept all his potions ingredients. But the dot wasn't labeled "Severus Snape"... it was Bartemius Crouch. That didn't make sense. Mr Crouch was supposed to be too ill to go to work or to come to the Yule Ball - so what was he doing, sneaking into Hogwarts at one o'clock in the morning? Harry watched closely as the dot moved around the room, pausing here and there...

The Storage Room! The only room in Hogwarts with all the ingredients to make the Polyjuice Potion!

"We have to get there!" Harry hissed out before turning and began to running towards the dungeons. This was his chance to get absolute proof that someone was making the Polyjuice Potion! He would prove to Dumbledore that he was telling the truth! Harry flew out of a secret passage with Draco and Haiden right behind him only to slam into someone, and both Harry and who ever he slammed into fell to the floor. In shock, Harry dropped the invisibility spell on him, Draco, and Haiden.

"What the-? Harry?" Someone grunted, having had their breath knocked out of them when Harry slammed into them. Harry glanced up and found himself laying on Severus's chest. He was wearing a long grey night shirt and he looked both livid and confused. "What is going on here?" He demanded.

"We've just come back from the Prefect's bathroom, which we used to figure out the clue, and caught sight of Mr Crouch, on the map, rummaging in your storage room." Harry panted out as he got off Severus.

"So he was the one who broke my seal." Severus growled glaring down the hall. "And you're sure it was Mr Crouch?"

"Positive. The dot was labeled Bartemius Crouch." Harry told him.

"And once you saw this on the map you started rushing down here to, what? Apprehend him? Catch him in the act?" Severus asked and Harry opened his mouth only to close it moments later. He had no idea what he had planned to do. He had been so eager to get proof for Dumbledore that he hadn't even stopped to think how he would get the proof. Harry felt his eyes tear up in frustration and heard Severus sigh seconds before he was pulled into a loving embrace. "You're just like you're mother. You and her both need to prove yourselves. And I'm going to tell you exactly what I told her, and hopefully I'll get you to believe this: You are perfect the way you are, there is no need to prove yourself to anyone. If they can't see how perfect you are then they don't deserve your attention and they definitely don't need the time you've given them already. You don't need anyone's approval, the only approval you need is yours." Harry collapsed in his father's arms and cried. He hadn't realized until it was said that he had been desperately trying to get Dumbledore's approval. To get the man to see him as Harry Potter and not Haiden Potter's younger brother. He wanted Dumbledore to see him as his own person and not just a shield.

Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.

Harry stiffened up. Severus's arms tightened around him. Draco stepped closer and began to growl low in his throat threateningly. Harry quickly whipped his eyes before glaring at the man that now stood in front of them wearing a traveling cloak over his nightshirt. "Pajama party, is it?" He growled at them eyes taking in everything. No one said anything, the silence was tense. Harry saw the man's eyes travel to Haiden and the egg.

"I believe it is time to get you back to the Hospital Wing, Draco, Harry. Thank you, Haiden, for escorting them back to me." Severus growled out before sweeping them away.

"Haiden, let me see that map." Harry said once they were far enough away from 'Moody'. Haiden pulled the map out and handed it to him. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." He muttered revealing the map before quickly opening the map to the dungeons.

"What are you looking for?" Haiden asked.

"This." Harry said stopping to kneel and spread the map out. Everyone looked at the map.

"What?" Haiden asked and Harry sighed before he magically drew a circle around where they were and where they had just been. There were five names in that circle, theirs and Bartemius Crouch. "I still don't see it."

"Read the names." Harry said.

"'Harry Potter', 'Severus Snape', 'Draco Malfoy', 'Haiden Potter', 'Bartemius Crouch'." Severus read, it took a minute for him to understand what Harry was say. "Where is Alastor Moody's name?" Everyone whipped their head to look towards where they had just been. "Which 'Crouch' were we just talking to?"

"'Which Crouch?'" Harry asked.

"There are two Bartemius Crouch's. The Senior and the Junior. Were we talking to the older one or the younger one?" Severus asked glaring down the corridor.

"He's younger than Mr Crouch." Harry said causing Everyone to look at him in confusion. "The man we were just talking to, he's younger than Mr Crouch."

"And how do you know this? Another 'feeling'?" Severus asked.

"No. I see him." Harry said.

"You've seen him without his disguise? When? And why did you not report him?" Severus asked.

"I never see him in his disguise. I only see him." Harry told them uncertainly wondering how they would react to yet another freakish nature about him.

"Are you tell me that you can see through the Polyjuice?" Severus asked and Harry nodded. Severus gave a humorless laugh before he began to pace while running his hand through his hair.

"I've already told Dumbledore this, but he needs proof before he can do anything." Harry told him quietly.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Severus asked.

"I was afraid you wouldn't believe me either. I wanted to get absolute proof. I mean it is supposed to be impossible to see through the Polyjuice without magical assistance." Harry explained and Severus sighed but didn't argue alerting Harry that Severus would have most likely questioned his ability.

"I would have believed you." Draco suddenly whispered causing Harry to look at him in shock. "You could tell me that you could make the whole world disappear or create a portal to a different universe and I would believe you without any proof." He walked over to him and pulled Harry into a hug. "You could tell me that the sky is purple and the ground is made entirely out of cake and I would believe you." Harry gripped onto Draco and began to cry once more, if felt too good to have someone trust and believe him so much, it was almost painful.

"Draco..." Harry whispered not knowing what to say.

"I believe," Mind Healer Krystan said suddenly announcing her presence shocking everyone, "that it is very late and Harry and Draco have had a long tiring day. I believe that this discussion should be continued another day."

"Right." Severus muttered and Harry suddenly felt very drained and tired. As if sensing this, Draco scooped him into his arms and lead the group the rest of the way back to the Hospital Wing.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17- The Second Task

"You said you'd already worked out that egg clue." Hermione whispered to Haiden. They were in sitting at the very back of the Charms class with Ron at a table of their own, Harry and Draco were already in their meeting with Mind Healer Krystan. Hermione's voice, though quite, was full of disappointment and it made Haiden feel worse than if she had yelled.

"I'm sorry I lied." Haiden told her causing her to sigh and focused back on the class. They were supposed to be practicing the opposite of the Summoning Charm today- the Banishing Charm. Owing to the potential for nasty accidents when objects kept flying across the room, Professor Flitwick had given each student a stack of cushions on which to practice, the theory being that these wouldn't hurt anyone if they went off target. It was a good theory, but it wasn't working very well. Neville's aim was so poor that he kept accidentally sending much heavier things flying across the room -Professor Flitwick, for instance.

"Can we please put the fact that I lied to you on the back burner for now?" Haiden begged as Professor Flitwick went whizzing resignedly past them, landing on top of a large cabinet. "I'm trying to tell you about the Map and Harry's ability to see through Polyjuice potion."

This class was an idea cover for a private conversation, as everyone was having far too much fun to pay them any attention. Haiden had been recounting everything that had happened the previous night in whispered installments for the last half hour.

"What I can't believe is that you actually believe Harry's lie about seeing through Polyjuice potion." Ron whispered rolling his eyes receiving a glare from both Hermione and Haiden as he Banished a cushion with a sweep of his wand (it soared into the air and knocked Parvati's hat off). "Oh come on, it is literally impossible to see through the potion."

"You weren't there, Ron, you didn't hear his voice, see him break down when confronted with the possibility that Severus, you know the man Harry see's as his father, wouldn't believe him without proof like Dumbledore." Haiden hissed out. "You didn't see the desperation in him that needed someone, anyone, to believe him. You didn't see him practically collapse with relief when someone finally did believe him. I'm not good a seeing things the way him and Hermione can, but even I could see in that moment that being able to see through 'Moody's Polyjuice and not having anyone to rely on about it had been weighing on him." He waved his wand without paying much attention, so that his cauldron did an odd sort of belly flop off the desk. "It couldn't have been easy knowing that someone isn't who they say they are and not having anyone believe you."

Haiden turned to glare at Ron when he snorted in disbelief. "You can't really be that gullible. The reason he was so desperate to have someone believe him is because it would ruin his plan if no one did."

"And what plan would that be?" Hermione asked threateningly.

"To kill Haiden." Ron hissed out and Hermione scoffed at him. "I don't know how none of you can't see that something about Harry is evil. He's got this aura like a killer's. He's killed someone, and he'll kill again."

"Ron, Harry hasn't killed anyone!" Hermione cried angrily as she waved her hand in anger and Banished a cushion and it flew across the room and landed in the box they were all supposed to be aiming at. Haiden and Ron looked at her in amazement that she had just done wandless magic. "What!?" Hermione demanded and it didn't take Haiden long to realize she hadn't noticed what she had done. "I am getting sick and tired of you attacking Harry any chance you get, Ron! I don't know why you hate Harry so much! He has never done anything but respond to your anger!"

Hermione's eyes were alight with what looked like fire and her hair was starting to softly float like Harry's when he let his magic out. And Haiden was enchanted. There seemed to be a light glow about her and soft heat coming off of her almost like a candle. Hermione sighed in anger, and Haiden smelt what smelt like old books surround them. Without thought, Haiden gently took a hold of Hermione's face and pulled her into a kiss, shocking them both.

"I'm sorry, I don't know what just came over me." Haiden told her after pulling from the kiss, his face heating up in embarrassment. Hermione blushed so bright that she suddenly resembled a tomato as she began to stutter.

"W-w-w-we're in class!" She finally managed to squeak out before she hid her face in her arms. Haiden found her reaction to be absolutely adorable and couldn't help smiling at her. He waved his hand, still thinking about Hermione and their impromptu kiss, and barely noticed when his cushion flew straight across the room and landed neatly on top of Hermione's. But he did notice the annoyed sigh Ron let out.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Obedient to Sirius's wishes of hearing about anything odd at Hogwarts (and slightly scared of Hermione's reaction if he didn't), Haiden sent him a letter by a brown owl that night, explaining all about Harry's ability and the younger Crouch hiding as Moody. Then Haiden rushed to see how Harry was doing, he hadn't seen his brother since the night before and knew that his brother nor Draco had gone to class after their meeting with Mind Healer Krystan. He flew into their family rooms and went to enter his and Harry's room when Severus stopped him.

"Is Harry alright?" Haiden asked before Severus could say anything. "He wasn't in class and neither was Draco. I know that Mind Healer Krystan wanted to talk to him and Draco. Is everything okay with them?" He went to ask more questions but Severus held up his hand and Haiden snapped his mouth shut.

"Physically and mentally Harry is fine, but emotionally Harry is damaged." Severus told him and Haiden went to ask more questions but stopped when Severus raised his hand again. He took a deep, shuttering breath before continuing. "He believes he is nothing but a freak, he pushed Draco away because he was afraid of his feelings. And the reason he's afraid of his feelings is because he feels like he doesn't deserve to feel like that."

"But- but he was... he was.. why is this happening now?" Haiden asked in a loss of words. His brother was fine, had been fine earlier this year.

"No he wasn't." Severus told him sadly. "He just wasn't ready to face everything, his mind hadn't felt safe enough."

"But he's ready now?" Haiden asked and Severus nodded, Haiden suddenly found himself hugging Severus. "Thank you." He whispered.

"You should be thanking Draco." Severus told him returning the hug. "It was the bond him and Harry created that helped him feel safe enough to finally start healing." It was quite between them. "Mind Healer Krystan said she wants to keep a close eye on you as well." Haiden pulled away in confusion.

"Me? Why me as well?" Haiden asked and Severus sighed before gently, yet firmly leading him to the couch.

"You and Harry both lived in that abusive home." Severus started slowly as if unsure of his words or how he'd react to his words.

"But I'm not- I know I deserve love. I know I'm not a-a freak." Haiden told him, slightly panicked. Would he start pushing people away? Would he push Hermione away? Would he hurt her as bad as Harry hurt Draco? Would she ever forgive him like Draco forgave Harry if he ever did?

"No one is saying that you don't deserve love or that you are a freak. No one believes that, and no one believes that you believe you don't deserve love or that you are a freak." Severus told him snapping him out of his thoughts. "We want to make sure that if you start feeling over whelmed we can be there to listen." There was a long, pregnant pause as Haiden fought the urge to deny everything and push everything to the back of his mind.

"Okay." Haiden said awkwardly. "I'm going to go check on Harry before meeting Hermione in the library."

"Okay, try not to touch Harry right now, Draco is very protective of him right now." Severus informed him and Haiden nodded as he stood up. He walked over to their door and knocked on it lightly alerting both Harry and Draco that someone was coming in before he opened the door. He locked eyes with Draco who was laying under a silently crying Harry on the bed. Haiden walked as close as he could to the bed before Draco narrowed his eyes threateningly.

"Harry." Haiden called softly and his only response was Harry burying his head in Draco's chest, he didn't want to talk so Haiden turned his attention to Draco. "How is he?"

"He'll be fine." Draco told him and Haiden nodded.

"I know he will, because you'll help him, we all will." Haiden said and Draco nodded as he tightened his arms around Harry. "I'm entrusting Harry to you." Draco's eyes snapped to his again, this time instead of a guarded look in them they held shock. "You belong with him, and he belongs with you. You both belong to each other." With that said he turned and left the rooms and headed to the library where Hermione was waiting with Ron.

"How's Harry?" Hermione asked softly. Haiden gave a shuttering sigh as he sat down next to Hermione and rested his head on her shoulder. "That bad?" Hermione asked concerned sounding like she was trying not to cry.

"I've being told he'll be fine." Haiden told her. "I also think I just gave Draco permission to marry Harry." That got Hermione to laugh.

"Are we or are we not going to figure out how to help Haiden breath under water for an hour. I think you should use the Summoning Charm to summon that Aqua-Lungs thing you told be about this summer." Ron said and Haiden felt and heard Hermione sigh angrily.

"Ron, Haiden just learned how to do the Summoning Charm, he can barely summon something from the other side of the castle." Hermione told Ron before looking at him. "No offense or anything."

"No, it's true." Haiden said and Hermione continued.

"And even if Haiden could summon an Aqua-Lung from a Muggle town within the hour limit, Haiden would surely be disqualified for breaking the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy because a Muggle is bound to spot an Aqua-Lung zooming across the countryside to Hogwarts." Hermione told Ron before turning her attention back to Haiden. "Of course, the ideal solution would be to Transfigure yourself into a submarine or something as Harry said. If only we'd done human Transfiguration already! But I don't think we start that until sixth year, and it can go badly wrong if you don't know what you're doing..."

"Yeah, I don't fancy walking around with a periscope sticking out of my head." Haiden joked receiving a playful slap from Hermione making him smirk. "I s'pose I could always attack someone in front of... never mind." Haiden caught himself from saying 'in front of Moody' remembering that 'Moody' might not actually be Moody.

"Well, even if he was the real Moody, I don't think he'd let you choose what you wanted to be turned into, though." Hermione said letting Haiden know she knew what he was about to say. "No, I think your best chance is some sort of charm." With that said, they began to busy themselves with looking for any spell that might enable a human to survive without oxygen. However, though, he, Ron, Hermione, and Harry and Draco (who had made their way to the library just before lunch) searched through their lunchtimes, evenings, and whole weekend - though Haiden asked Professor McGonagall for a note of permission to use the Restricted Section, and even asked the irritable, vulture-like librarian, Madam Pince, for help - they found nothing whatsoever that would enable Harry to spend an hour underwater and live to tell the tale.

Panic began to flutter in Haiden's stomach now and he was finding it difficult to concentrate in class again. The lake, which Haiden had always taken for granted as just another feature of the grounds, drew his eyes whenever he was near a classroom window, a great, iron-gray mass of chilly water, whose dark and icy depths were starting to seem as distant as the moon.

And time seemed to be slipping away as though somebody had bewitched the clocks to go extra fast and he wondering if this was how Harry felt just before he faced the Horntail. There was a week to go before February the twenty-fourth (there was still time)... there were five days to go (he was bound to find something soon)... three days to go (please let me find something... please)...

With two days left, Haiden started to go off food... just like Harry had (so he had felt like this). The only good thing about breakfast on Monday was the return of the brown owl he had sent to Sirius. He pulled off the parchment, unrolled it, and saw the shortest letter Sirius had ever written to him.

Haiden turned the parchment over and looked at the back, hoping to see something else, but it was blank.

"Weekend after next." Hermione whispered reading the note over his shoulder. "Here - take my quill and send this owl back straight away." Haiden scribbled the dates down on the back of Sirius's letter, tied it onto the brown owl's leg, and watched it take flight again. What had he expected? Advice on how to survive underwater? He had been so intent on telling Sirius all about the Map, Harry, and 'Moody' he had completely forgotten to mention the egg's clue.

"What's he want to know about the next Hogsmeade weekend for?" Ron asked with a mouthful of egg.

"Dunno." Haiden said dully. The momentary happiness that had flared inside him at the sight of the owl had died.

"Probably going to try and visit you." Harry muttered and Haiden felt an awkward sadness at how small and week he sounded right now. It hurt to know that his brother was scared and there really wasn't anything he could to help him.

"Come on... Care of Magical Creatures." Haiden said.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

By the evening before the second task, Haiden felt as though he were trapped in a nightmare. He was fully aware that even if, by some miracle, he managed to find a suitable spell, he'd have a real job mastering it overnight. How could he have let this happen? Why hadn't he got to work on the egg's clue sooner? Why had he ever let his mind wander in class - what if a teacher had once mentioned how to breath underwater?

He sat with Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Harry in the library as the sun set out-side, tearing feverishly through page after page of spells, hidden from one another by the massive piles of books on the desk in front of each of them. Haiden's heart gave a huge leap every time he saw the word "water" on a page, but more often than not it was merely "Take two pints of water, half a pound of shredded mandrake leaves, and a newt..." Part of Haiden wondered why Harry wasn't suddenly remembering a book that held what they needed like he always did, but the other part figured that he was distracted by everything he was going through.

"I don't reckon it can be done." Ron said flatly from the other side of the table. "There's nothing. Nothing. Closest was that thing to dry up puddles and ponds, that Drought Charm, but that was nowhere near powerful enough to drain the lake."

"There must be something." Hermione muttered, moving a candle closer to her. Haiden glanced at her and could tell that her eyes were tired that she was poring over the tiny print of Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charms with her nose about an inch from the page. "They'd never have set a task that was undoable."

"They have." Ron grumbled tossing down the book onto the table. "Haiden, just go down to the lake tomorrow, right, stick your head in, yell at the merpeople to give back whatever they've nicked, and see if they chuck it out. Best you can do, mate."

"There's away of doing it!" Hermione said crossly. "There just has to be!" She seemed to be taking the library's lack of useful information on the subject as a personal insult; it had never failed her before.

"I know what I should have done," Haiden said resting, face down, on Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts. "I should've learned to be an Animagus like Sirius." An Animagus was a wizard who could transform into an animal. Haiden glanced at Harry when he heard him sigh to see him with his head on the table and Draco rubbing the back of his neck while reading the book in front of him. The scene they made caused a warmth to grow in his chest making him smile.

"Yeah," Ron said causing Haiden to look way from Harry and Draco to look at him, "you could've turned into a goldfish any time you wanted!"

"Or a frog." Haiden yawned. He was exhausted.

"It takes years to become an Animagus, and then you have to register yourself and everything." Harry said vaguely, his voice muffled by the table.

"Harry's right. Professor McGonagall told us, remember... you've got to register yourself with the Improper Use of Magic Office... what animal you become, and your markings, so you can't abuse it..."

"Haiden, Hermione, I was joking." Haiden said wearily. "I know I haven't got a chance of turning into a frog by tomorrow morning..."

"Oh this is no use." Hermione said, snapping shut Weird Wizarding Dilemmas causing Harry to straighten up with a flinch which caused Draco to growl at her. "Sorry." She whispered. "Who on earth wants to make their nose hair grow into ringlets?"

"I wouldn't mind." One of the Weasley's voice. "Be a talking point, wouldn't it?" They all looked up. Fred and George (how could Harry know who was who?) had just emerged from behind some bookshelves.

"What are you two doing here?" Ron demanded.

"Looking for Hermione, and Harry (and Draco)." They said. "McGonagall wants you, Hermione, and Flitwick wants you, Harry (and Draco)."

"Why?" Hermione asked looking surprised.

"Dunno... They were looking a bit grim, though." Fred (George) said.

"We're supposed to take you to them." George (Fred) said. Hermione and Draco looked at Haiden while Harry looked resigned as if he had known this was going to happen. Looking at Harry's resigned it didn't take long for him to realize what was happening. Haiden felt his stomach drop. Hermione and Harry were the things that were being stolen.

"We'll meet you in your rooms," Hermione told Haiden as she, Harry, and Draco stood up. Haiden had to bite back that no, they wouldn't, that they would be at the bottom of the lake. "Bring as many of these books as you can, okay?"

"Right." Haiden said uneasily.

By eight o'clock, Madam Pince had extinguished all the laps and came to chivvy Haiden and Ron out of the library. Staggering under the weight of as many books as they could carry, Haiden and Ron returned to their Gryffindor common room (Ron's idea), pulled a table into a corner, and continued to search. There was nothing in Madcap Magic for Wacky Warlocks ... nothing in A Guide to Medieval Sorcery ... not one mention of underwater exploits in An Anthology of Eighteenth Century Charms, or in Dreadful Denizens of the Deep, or Powers You Never Knew You Had and What to Do with Them Now You've Wised Up.

Crookshanks crawled into Haiden's lap and curled up, purring deeply. The common room emptied slowly around them. People kept wishing him luck for the next morning in cheery, confident voices, all of them apparently convinced that he was about to pull of a stunning performance like the one Harry had managed in the first task. Haiden couldn't answer them, he just nodded feeling as though there were a golfball stuck in his throat. By ten to midnight, he was alone in the room with Crookshanks, Ron having gone to bed about an hour ago. He had searched all the remaining books and he had not been able to find anything to help him.

It's over, he told himself. You can't do it. You'll have to go down to the lake in the morning and tell the judges...

He imagined himself explaining that he couldn't do the task. He pictured Bagman's look of round-eyed surprise, Kakaroff's satisfied, yellow-toothed smile. He could almost hear Fleur Delacour saying "I knew it... 'e is too young, 'e is only a little boy, ze both are." And then he saw Hermione and Harry lying at the bottom of the lake forever because he left them there...

Forgetting that Crookshanks was on his lap, Haiden stood up very suddenly; Crookshanks hissed angrily as he landed on the floor, gave Haiden a disgusted look, and stalked away with his bottlebrush tail in the air, but Haiden was already hurrying up the spiral staircase to his dormitory... He would grab the Invisibility Cloak and go back to the library, he'd stay there all night if he had to...

"Lumos," Haiden whispered fifteen minutes later as he opened the library door.

Wand tip alight, he crept along the bookshelves, pulling down more books - books of hexes and charms, books on merpeople and water monsters, books on famous witches and wizards, on magical inventions, on anything at all that might include one passing reference to underwater survival. He carried them over to a table, then set to work, searching them by the narrowing beam of his wand, occasionally checking his watch...

One in the morning... two in the morning... the only way he could keep going was to tell himself, over and over again, next book ... in the next one... the next one...

"Haiden?" Someone whispered scaring him into dropping the book he was holding and suddenly the cloak was gently pulled off him. "You're still looking?" Haiden turned to see a half asleep Neville standing behind him.

"How did you know I was here?" Haiden asked.

"Harry." Neville told him confusing him, Harry was back? He had gone to Neville instead of coming to help him? "I just got a letter from Harry, he said that you would be here. He said that you..." He started before stopping, there was an awkward silence between them as Haiden waited to hear what Harry had told Neville. "You know, if you're interested in plants," He continued confusing Haiden, "you'd be better off with Goshawk's Guide to Herbology."

Haiden looked at Neville like he was crazy, had he lost his mind? Had he fallen asleep? Was he sleeping talking?

"Do you know there's a wizard i-in Nepal who's growing gravity-resistant trees?" Neville told him excitedly.

"Neville." Haiden snapped out. "No offense, but I really don't care about plants." Neville deflated with a confused look at that. "Now, if there's a... Tibetan turnip that will allow me to breathe underwater for an hour, than great." Suddenly Neville looked as he finally understood something and smiled at him.

"I don't know about a turnip. But you could always use gillyweed. I'm sure Professor Snape has some." Neville told him. Both of the looked at each other before they bolted out of the library. It seemed that Harry had ended up remembering something before he had been sent to the bottom of the lake.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Haiden and Neville were walking up the path to the lake were everyone was waiting, the crowd was loud and Haiden wished they would shut up. Neville pulled the gillyweed that they had gotten from Severus that morning before he had gotten called to Dumbledore's office. "You're sure about this, Neville?" Haiden asked as he took the gillyweed, it was wet and slimy.

"Absolutely." Neville told him as Haiden slipped the gillyweed into his pocket.

"For an hour?" He asked.

"Most likely." Neville told him nervously.

"Most likely?" Haiden hissed at him, he was betting losing Harry and Hermione forever on a maybe.

"Well, there is some debate among herbalist as to the effects of fresh water versus salt water..." Neville told him.

"You're telling me this now?" Haiden hissed glaring at him. "You must be joking!"

"I-I just wanted to help. Harry said I could help." Neville muttered and Haiden felt guilty, Neville never had the confidence for anything in any class except Herbology, and Herbology wasn't really usefully very often.

"I'm sorry, you did help. I'm just tired and worried." Haiden told him getting a small, relieved smile from Neville as hopped into a boat and got taken to three towers that had been erected in the middle of the lake. The ride there seemed to be painfully long even though it was only five minutes.

Once at the towers, Haiden was pushed and pulled to stand next to the other champions and next to Bagman who gave his shoulder a quick squeeze and returned to the judges' table; he pointed his wand at his throat as he had done at the World Cup, said, "Sonorus!" and his voice boomed out across the dark water toward the stands.

"Well, all our champions are ready for the second task, which will start on my whistle. They have precisely an hour to recover what has been taken from them. On the count of three, then. One... two... three!"

The whistle echoed shrilly in the cold, still air; the stands erupted with cheers and applause; without looking to see what the other champions were doing, Haiden pulled the gillyweed out of his pocket and stuffed it into his mouth before jumping into the lake intending to get his brother and girlfriend back.

It was so cold he felt his skin searing as though this were fire, not icy water. His sodden robes weighed him down as the gillyweed slid down his throat. It felt unpleasantly slimy and rubbery, like octopus tentacles. The first gulp of icy water felt like the breath of life. His head, that had begun spinning because of the lack of air, had stopped spinning; he took another great gulp of water and felt it pass smoothly through his newly formed gills, sending oxygen back to his brain. He stretched out his hands in front of him and stared at them. They looked green and ghostly under the water, and they had become webbed. He twisted around and looked at his bare feet - they had become elongated and the toes were webbed too: It looked as though he had sprouted flippers.

The water didn't feel icy anymore either... on the contrary, he felt pleasantly cool and very light... Haiden struck out, marveling at how far and fast his flipper-like feet propelled him through the water, and noticing how clearly he could see, and how he no longer seemed to need to blink. He had soon swum so far into the lake that he could no longer see the bottom. He flipped over and dived into its depths.

Silence pressed upon his ears as he soared over a strange, dark, foggy landscape. He could only see ten feet around him, so that as he he sped through the water new scenes seemed to look suddenly out of the oncoming darkness: forests of rippling, tangled black weed, wide plains of mud littered with dull, glimmering stones. He swam deeper and deeper, out toward the middle of the lake, his eyes wide, staring through the eerily gray-lit water around him to the shadows beyond, where the water became opaque.

Small fish flickered past him like silver darts. Once or twice he thought he saw something larger moving a head of him, but when he got nearer, he discovered it to be nothing but a large, blackened log, or a dense clump of weed. There was no sign of any of the other champions, merpeople, Harry, Hermione - nor, thankfully, the giant squid.

Light green weed stretched ahead of him as far as he could see, two feet deep, like a meadow of very overgrown grass. Haiden staring unblinkingly ahead of him, trying to discern shapes through the gloom... and then, without warning, something grabbed hold of his ankle.

Haiden twisted his body around and saw a grindylow, a small, horned water demon, poking out of the weed, its long fingers clutched tightly around Haiden's legs, its pointed fangs bared - Haiden stuck his webbed hand quickly inside his robes and fumbled for his wand. By the time he had grasped it, two more grindylows had risen out of the weed, had seized handfuls of Haiden's robes, and were attempting to drag him down.

"Relashio!" Haiden shouted, except that no sound came out... A large bubble issued from his mouth, and his wand, instead of sending sparks at the grindylows, pelted them with what seemed to be a jet of boiling water, for where it struck them, angry red patches appeared on their green skin. Haiden pulled his ankle out of the grindylows grip and swam, as fast as he could, occasionally sending more jets of hot water over his shoulder at random; every now and then he felt one of the grindylows snatch his foot again, and he kicked out, hard; finally, he felt his foot connect with a horned skull, and looking back, saw the dazed grindylow floating away, cross-eyed, while its fellows shook their fists at Haiden and sank back into the weed.

Haiden slowed down a little, slipped his wand back inside his robes, and looked around, listening again. He turned full circle in the water, the silence pressing harder than ever against his eardrums. He knew he must be even deeper in the lake now, but nothing was moving but the rippling weed.

"How are you getting on?"

Haiden thought he was having a heart attack. He whipped around and saw Moaning Myrtle floating hazily in front of him, gazing at him through her thick, pearly glasses.

"Myrtle!" Haiden tried to shout- but once again, nothing came out of his mouth but a very large bubble. Moaning Myrtle actually giggled.

"You want to try over there!" She said, pointing. "I won't come with you... I don't like them much, they always chase me when I get too close..." Haiden gave her a thumbs-up to show his thanks and set off once more, careful to swim a bit higher over the weed to avoid any more grindylows that might be lurking there.

Haiden swam for what felt like at least twenty minutes. He was passing over vast expanses of black mud now, which swirled murkily as he disturbed the water. Then, at long last, he heard a snatch of haunting mersong.

"An hour long you'll have to look,
And to recover what we took..."

Haiden swam faster and soon saw a large rock emerge out of the muddy water ahead. It had paintings of merpeople on it; they were carrying spears and chasing what looked like the giant squid. Haiden swam on past the rock, following the mersong.

"...your time's half gone, so tarry not
Lest what you seek stays here to rot..."

A cluster of crude stone dwellings stained with algae loomed suddenly out of the gloom on all sides. Here and there at the dark windows, Haiden saw faces... faces that bore no resemblance at all to the painting of the mermaid in the prefects' bathroom...

The merpeople had grayish skin and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth, and they wore thick ropes of pebbles around their necks. They leered at Haiden as he swam past; one or two of them emerged from their caves to watch him better, their powerful silver fish tails beating the water, spears clutched in their hands.

Haiden sped on, staring around, and soon the dwellings become more numerous; there were gardens of weed around some of them, and he even saw a pet grindylow tied to a stake outside one door. Merpeople were emerging on all sides now, watching him eagerly, pointing at his webbed hands and gills, talking behind their hands to one another. Haiden sped around a corner and found them.

A whole crowd of merpeople was floating in front of the houses that lined what looked like a mer-version of a village square. A choir of merpeople was singing in the middle, calling the champions toward them, and behind them rose a crude sort of statue; a gigantic merperson hewn from a boulder. Four people were bound tightly to the tail of the stone merperson.

Harry was tied between Hermione and Cho Chang. There was also a girl who looked no older than eight, whose clouds of silvery hair made Haiden feel sure that she was Fleur Delacour's sister. All for of them appeared to be in a very deep sleep. Their heads were lolling onto their shoulders, and fine streams of bubbles kept issuing from their mouths.

Haiden sped toward the hostages, half expecting the merpeople to lower their spears and charge at him, but they did nothing. The ropes of weed tying the hostages to the statue were thick, slimy, and very strong. For a fleeting second he thought of the knife Sirius had bought him for Christmas - locked in his trunk in the castle a quarter of a mile away, no use to him whatsoever.

He looked around. Many of the merpeople surrounding them were carrying spears. He swam swiftly toward a seven-foot-tall merman with a long green beard and a choker of shark fangs and tried to mime a request to borrow the spear. The merman laughed and shook his head.

"We do not help." He said in a harsh, croaky voice.

"Come ON!" Haiden said fiercely (but only bubbles issued from his mouth), and he tried to pull the spear away from the merman, but the merman yanked it back, still shaking his head and laughing. Haiden swirled around, staring about. Something sharp... anything...

There were rocks littering the lake bottom. He dived and snatched up a particularly jagged one and returned to to the statue he went to strike at the ropes binding Harry when at once, several pairs of strong gray hands seized him. Half a dozen mermen were pulling him away from Harry, shaking their green-haired head, and laughing.

"You take your own hostage." One of them said to him. "Leave the others..."

"No way!" Haiden said furiously - but only two large bubbles came out.

"Your task is to retrieve your own girlfriend... leave the others..."

"But he's my brother!" Haiden yelled, gesturing towards Harry, an enormous silver bubble emerging soundlessly from his lips. "And I don't want them to die either!"

Cho's head was on Hermione's shoulder; the small silver-haired girl was ghostly green and pale. Haiden struggled to fight off the mermen, but they laughed harder than ever, holding him back. Haiden looked wildly around. Where were the other champions? Would he have time to take Harry to the towers and come back down for Hermione and the others? Would he be able to find them again? He looked down at his watch to see how much time was left - it had stopped working.

But then the merpeople around him pointed excitedly over his head. Haiden looked up and saw Cedric swimming toward them. There was an enormous bubble around his head, which made his features look oddly wide and stretched.

"Get lost!" he mouthed, looking panic-stricken. "Fleur and Krum're coming now!" Feeling enormously relieved, Haiden watched Cedric pull a knife out of his pocket and cut Cho free. He pulled her upward and out of sight. Haiden looked around, waiting. Where were Fleur and Krum? Time was getting short, and according to the song, the hostages would be lost after an hour...

Merpeople started screeching animatedly. Those holding Haiden loosened their grip, staring behind them and saw something monstrous cutting through the water toward them: a human body in swimming trunks with the head of a shark... It was Krum. He appeared to have transfigured himself - but badly.

The shark-man swam straight to Harry and began snapping and biting at his ropes; the trouble was that Krum's new teeth were positioned very awkwardly for biting anything smaller than a dolphin, and Haiden was quite sure that if Krum wasn't careful, he was going to rip Harry in half. Darting forward, Haiden hit Krum hard on the shoulder and held up the jagged stone. Krum seized it and began to cut Harry free. Within seconds, he had done it; he grabbed Harry by the waist, and without a backward glance, began to rise rapidly with him toward the surface.

Now what? Haiden thought desperately. If he could be sure that Fleur was coming... But still no sign. There was nothing to be done except... He snatched up the stone, which Krum had dropped, but the mermen now closed in around Hermione and the little girl, shaking their heads at him. Haiden pulled out his wand.

"Get out of the way!"

Only bubbles flew out of his mouth, but he had the distinct impression that the mermen had understood him, because they suddenly stopped laughing. Their yellowish eyes were fixed upon Haiden's wand, and they looked scared. There might be a lot more of them then there were of him, but Haiden could tell, by the looks on their faces, that they knew no more magic than the giant squid did.

"You've got until three!" Haiden shouted; a great stream of bubbles burst from him, but he held up three fingers to make sure they got the message. "One..." (he put down a finger) "two..." (he out down a second one) -

They scattered. Haiden darted forward and began to hack the ropes binding not only Hermione but also the small girl to the statue, and at last she was free. He seized the little girl and Hermione around the waist and kicked off from the bottom.

It was very slow work. He could no longer use his webbed hands to propel himself forward; he worked his flippers furiously, but Hermione and Fleur's sister were like potato-filled sacks dragging him back down... he fixed his eyes skyward, though he knew he must still be very deep, the water above him so dark...

Merpeople were rising with him. He could see them swirling around him with ease, watching him struggle through the water... Would they pull him back down to the depths when the time was up? Did they perhaps eat humans? Haiden's legs were seizing up with the effort to keep swimming; his shoulders were aching horribly with the effort of dragging Hermione and the girl...

He was drawing breath with extreme difficulty. He could feel pain on the sides of his neck again.. he was becoming very aware of how wet the water was in his mouth... yet the darkness was definitely thinning now... he could see daylight above him...

He kicked hard with his flippers and discovered that they were nothing more than feet... water was flooding through his mouth into his lungs... he was starting to feeling dizzy, but he knew light and air were only ten feet about him... he had to get there... he had to...

Haiden kicked his legs so hard and fast it felt as though his muscles were screaming in protest; his very brain felt waterlogged, he couldn't breathe, he needed oxygen, he had to keep going, he could not stop -

And then he felt his head break the surface of the lake; wonderful, cold, clear air was making his wet face sting; he gulped it down, feeling as though he had never breathed properly before, and, panting, pulled Hermione and the little girl up with him. All around him, wild, green-haired head were emerging out of the water with him, but they were smiling at him.

The first thing he heard was the deafening roar of what sounded like an angry dragon coming from the direction of the castle. A wave of magic flew from the direction of the castle and hit the lake, hard, and pushed a huge wave water and waking Hermione and the young girl. They both opened their eyes; the girl looked scared and confused, but Hermione merely expelled a great spout of water, blinked in the bright light, turned to Haiden, and said "Where's Harry? He was freaking out." She then spotted Fleur's sister. "Why did you get her?"

"Fleur didn't turn up, I couldn't leave her." Haiden panted. "Harry freaked out?"

"He's terrified of the water and Dumbledore didn't make anything better by having to knock Draco out." Hermione told him before shaking her head at him. "Please tell me you didn't take that song seriously, did you? Dumbledore wouldn't have let any of us drown!"

"Why did Dumbledore knock Draco out? And the song-"

"It was only to make sure you got back inside the time limit!" Hermione told him. "When Harry began to freak, Draco went into... beast mode, which made Harry's fear worse which caused Draco to lose even more control, I'm sure you see where this is going." Haiden nodded. "Well, Draco was... he had begun to... to change, physically. The only way Dumbledore saw to save both Harry and Draco was to place Draco under a sleep spell and then put him into stasis." There was another roar from the direction of the castle. "And now, Draco is awake... without Harry." They shared a look.

"C'mon," Haiden said shortly, "help me with her, I don't think she can swim very well."

They pulled Fleur's sister through the water, back toward the bank where the judges stood watching, twenty merpeople accompanying them like a guard of honor, singing their horrible screechy songs. Haiden could see Madam Pomfrey fussing over Harry, Krum, Cedric, and Cho, all of whom were wrapped in thick blankets. Dumbledore and Ludo Bagman stood beaming at Haiden and Hermione as they swam nearer. Meanwhile Madame Maxime was trying to restrain Fleur Delacour, who was quite hysterical, fighting tooth and nail to return to the water.

"Gabrielle! Gabrielle! Is she alive? Is she 'urt?"

"She's fine!" Haiden tried to tell her, but he was so exhausted he could hardly talk, let alone shout. After making sure that Hermione and the young girl got out of the water, he allowed Dumbledore and Bagman to practically drag him out of the water. Fleur had broken free of Madame Maxime and was hugging her sister.

"It was ze gringylow... zey attacked me... oh Gabrielle, I thought... I thought..."

"Come here, you." Madam Pomfrey. She seized Haiden and pulled him over to Harry and the others, wrapped him so tightly in a blanket that he felt as though he were in a straitjacket, and forced a measure of very hot potion down his throat. Steam gushed out of his ears.

"I want all the judges over here, now!" Dumbledore ordered pulling all the judges to the back of the tower as Fleur rushed over to them, holding her sister's hand tightly.

"You... saved her, even though she wasn't yours to save." She told him with tears in her eyes and Haiden knew how she felt, had he not been sure that Harry was not going to be left at the bottom of the lake, he would be freaking out even with Hermione safe beside him. "My little sister. Thank you!" She kissed him on both cheeks before turning her attention onto Hermione. "And you! You helped." She kissed her cheeks as well before taking her sister into her arms and walked away.

"Haiden!" Harry cried running over to him and hugged.

"Harry, ow!" Haiden cried as Harry threw his arms around him.

"Are you alright? You must be freezing!" Harry said and forced himself not to look at the castle as another roar sounded.

"Go to him." Haiden told him.

"I can't." Harry said.

"Harry." Hermione started.

"No, I really can't leave to go to him until the boats get back. And the boats won't be called back until after the results are tallied." Harry explained with a shaky sigh. "Anyway, I think you behaved admirably."

"I finished last, Harry." Haiden said sadly and was shocked when Harry suddenly kissed him on the top of the head.

"Next to last. Fleur never got past 'ze Gringylows.'" Harry told them and then Dumbledore was back.

"Attention!" He yelled but the crowd was too rowdy so he placed his wand to throat. "Attention!" He yelled, his voice being amplified. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached our decision, Merchieftainess Murcus has told us exactly what happened at the bottom of the lake, and we have therefore decided to award marks out of fifty for each of the champions, as follows...

"Fleur Delacour, though she demonstrated excellent use of the Bubble-Head Charm, was attacked by grindylows as she approached her goal, and failed to retrieve her hostage. We award her twenty-five points."

Applause from the stands.

"I deserved zero." Fleur said throatily, shaking her magnificent head.

"Cedric Diggory, who had also used the Bubble-Head Charm, was first to return with his hostage, though he returned one minutes outside the time limit of an hour." Enormous cheers from the Hufflepuffs in the crowd. "We therefore award him forty-seven points." Haiden's heart sank. If Cedric had been outside the time limit, he most certainly had been.

"Viktor Krum used an incomplete form of Transfiguration, which was nevertheless effective, and was second to return with his hostage. We award him fort points." Karkaroff clapped particularly hard, looking very superior.

"Haiden Potter used gillyweed to great effect," Dumbledore continued. "He returned last, and well outside the time limit of an hour. However, the Merchieftainess informs us that Mr Potter was first to reach the hostages, and that the delay in his return was due to his determination to return all hostages to safety, not merely his own." Harry and Hermione both gave Haiden half-exasperated, half-commiserating looks.

"Most of the judges," and here Haiden saw Bagman give Karkaroff a very nasty look around Dumbledore, "feel that this shows moral fiber and merits full marks. However... Mr Potter's score is forty-five points." Haiden's stomach leapt - he was not trying for first place with Cedric. Harry and Hermione, caught by surprise, stared at Haiden, then laughed and started applauding hard with the rest of the crowd.

"Thank you, Harry, had you not sent Neville that letter to find me in the library..." Haiden started only to stop at Harry's confused look as Neville pushed his way to them.

"I never sent Neville a letter." Harry told him confusing both him and Neville.

"But-but I got the letter here." Neville said pulling out the letter and handing it, shakily, to Harry who looked scared. Hesitantly, Harry opened the letter and everyone leaned in to read it.

 

It was Harry's hand writing, and yet, it wasn't. It was the same and yet it wasn't. It looked older. Another roar sounded from the castle and suddenly Harry and the letter disappeared with a loud pop.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18- Padfoot Returns

It took Harry longer than he knew it should have to realize what had just happened: he had run away again. And it took even longer for him to realize where he was: in the corner of his closet at home. The letter was still in his hand, the cold wind hidden from him by the warmth of his home, and the freezing waters of the Black Lake were far away at Hogwarts.

His blank eyes stared at the letter in his hand. He didn't write this.

His eyes traced over the cursive that was so much like his. He didn't write this.

His closet door flew open. He didn't write this.

Draco was suddenly kneeling before him. He didn't write this!

The letter suddenly burst into flames. He didn't write this!

Draco's hands wrapped around his and the flames grew brighter. HE DIDN'T WRITE THIS!

Ashes were all that was left of the letter. "I didn't write this." Harry whispered as Draco rested his forehead on his. "I didn't write this." Harry muttered wrapping his arms around Draco. "I didn't write this." He said as he allowed Draco to pick him up. "I didn't write this, yet." He told Draco as he carried him out of the closet where Remus was standing looking both scared and worried.

"What's going on at that school?" Remus demanded.

"He'll be fine." Draco told him walking past him only to be forced to stop when Remus grabbed his arm. Draco growled at him and Remus growled back with a more threatening and dangerous growl, an Alpha's growl.

"That is not what I asked, boy, you may be his mate and you may be taking care of him, but you have seem to have forgotten something very important about Harry." Remus was suddenly in Draco's face, his hand around his throat, his eyes golden and fangs out. "His is my pup."

"Harry and Haiden were entered into the Triwizard Tournament as the fourth champion. Harry had to do the first challenge and Haiden just completed the second. Haiden and the other champions had to retrieve what was stolen from them from the bottom of the Black Lake, Harry was one of the things stolen. Harry doesn't know how to swim and is terrified of the water. That's all I know because Dumbledore knocked me out." Draco growled out glaring into Remus's golden eyes. Harry shifted and suddenly they were looking at him. Harry reached up and gently pulled Remus's hand from around Draco's throat and held it to his heart. They stayed like that for a few minutes with Harry in Draco's arms and Harry holding Remus's hand to his heart letting him feel it beating.

"It is late, you two should be getting back to Hogwarts." Remus said sounding a lot calmer as he gently pulled his hand from Harry's grip, his eyes were now their usual brown again. Draco nodded before silently following Remus from the room. Remus escorted them back to Hogwarts through the floo and sent them to their rooms before Dumbledore could say anything to them.

No one dared to even say anything to Harry (or Draco) about their disappearing act. And the one time someone tried to ask Harry about the letter he had sent to Neville, they nearly got thrown through a wall by Draco. For weeks after the second task, everyone seemed to walk on egg shells around Harry, afraid to set him (and by extension Draco) off. And even though him and Draco had been meeting Mind Healer Krystan everyday for a session, they didn't help because Harry would just stare at the wall and refuse to talk. They were in one such session right now.

Mind Healer Krystan was relaxing on the couch in front of them crocheting a mile long, multicolored scarf while humming a soothing song that she always hummed. Harry was sitting in Draco's lap while Draco calmingly ran his fingers through Harry's hair. The atmosphere they created was safe, comforting, and calming. They were safe, Mind Healer Krystan would help him heal while Draco would protect him. Harry knew that, and yet this was not the place he needed to be right now.

Without thinking, Harry stood up shocking Draco and gaining Mind Healer Krystan's attention. Harry locked eyes with Mind Healer Krystan before he turned and walked out of the door with both her and Draco following him. He was searching for something, but he didn't know what he was searching for. The only thing he knew was that he would know it when he saw it. Hours passed as Harry searched the castle with Draco and Mind Healer Krystan watching him. And then, he found what he was looking for: Neville.

Harry found Neville leaving the Herbology building. He stood in front of Neville as a circle of students surrounded them waiting for something to happen. Harry knew the rumors that had begun to circulate about Neville being the cause of the disappearing act weeks ago. And now, with Harry standing in front of Neville, everyone was waiting for a confrontation. Harry took a step towards Neville who tensed up. Another step closer, and Neville closed his eyes. Harry lifted his arms and hugged Neville close to him.

"I'm sorry." Harry told him softly. "I did write that letter. I must have forgotten about it with everything happening and freaked out. And because of that I caused you trouble, I'm sorry." He lied smoothly, a heavy weight lifting off him. Neville gave a shaky breath before he nervously hugged him back.

"I-it's okay." Neville muttered.

"No, it's not." Harry told him kindly holding him tighter. "You helped Haiden when I couldn't and for your trouble I freaked out and ran away causing nasty rumors about you to start up." Tears hit his shoulder as Neville began to cry. Harry caught the snippets of whispers beginning, Neville didn't need to have people watching him release his pent up feelings. Harry went to call up his magic to hide them when Neville's magic beat him to it as vines suddenly sprouted out of the ground and surrounded them in a cacoon. Glowing flowers sprouted and lit up the inside of their cacoon.

After another minute of Neville crying, he pulled away as he whipped his eyes. "You didn't write that letter." Neville said sadly. "You only said that to make me feel better."

"You're wrong." Harry shook his head. "I will write you that letter... sometime in the future." Neville looked at him in confusion.

"What?" He asked.

"That letter, it did come from me, the future me." Harry muttered knowing how crazy that sounded. Silence surrounded them and Harry waited for Neville to call him a crazy freak and for Harry to leave him alone.

"So, sometime in the future you're going to write me a letter to help your brother with the second task and figure out a way to send it through time to me the night before the task." Neville said slowly before laughing. "That sounds like something you could and would do." Harry looked at him in shock, Neville actually believed him. Harry suddenly fell to his knees and began crying shocking Neville who began to panic. "What's wrong? Are you hurt? Did I say something wrong?" Harry shook his head.

"You believe me." Harry told him.

"Should I not have?" Neville asked and Harry laughed wetly while looking at him.

"I just told you the most unbelievable thing and you just accepted it without proof." Harry told him in amazement, Neville looked away in thought for a minute before looking back at him with a warm smile.

"That's because you said that you would send it from the future. Had you said that someone other that you would send it from the future than I would know you were joking." Neville told him truthfully.

"But why?" Harry asked desperately as he stood up.

"Because this is you we're talking about. Once you put your mind into something you'll figure out a way to do it. Any thing is possible for you, Harry." Neville told him.

"I'm not some all powerful person, Neville, I'm just a freak!" Harry told him and his response was getting slapped.

"You are not a freak!" Neville yelled. Anger suddenly swelled up inside Harry and before he even raised his hand to strike at Neville, Uncle Vernon flashed across his mind and Harry froze. He would not be like Uncle Vernon lashing out at anything he didn't like or that didn't go with his idea of things. Harry and Neville locked eyes. "You're not a freak." Neville told him.

"I'm not a freak." Harry said suddenly drained. Neville nodded and slowly the cacoon of vines disappeared back into the ground just in time for Haiden to catch Neville who collapsed from using too much of his magic. "He'll be fine, he just needs to rest." Harry told his brother before turning and walking away with Draco and Mind Healer Krystan. Out side of the room they had their sessions in, Harry paused with his hand on the handle. "I'm not a freak."

"No, you're not." Mind Healer Krystan told him and Harry nodded before entering the room.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

As they entered March the weather became drier, but cruel winds skinned their hands and faces every time they went out onto the grounds. There were delays in the post because the owls kept being blown off course. The brown owl that Haiden had sent to Sirius with the dates of the Hogsmeade weekend turned up at breakfast on Friday. Haiden had no sooner torn off Sirius's reply than it took flight, clearly afraid it was going to be sent outside again.

Sirius's letter was almost as short as the previous one.

"He hasn't come back to Hogsmeade?" Hermione asked incredulously.

"Looks like it, doesn't it?" Harry said.

"I can't believe him," Haiden said tensely, "if he's caught..."

"Made it so far, though, hasn't he?" Ron said through a mouth full of food causing Harry to roll his eyes. "And it's not like the place is swarming with dementors anymore. Haiden sighed and folded up the letter, deep in thought, a happy look in his eyes. He was obviously looking forward to meeting Sirius once again. The rest of the day went by normally, but as the time drew closer to the last lesson of the day - Double Potions - Harry suddenly got a bad feeling.

Parkinson and her gang of Slytherin girls along with Crabbe and Goyle were standing in a huddle outside the classroom door. All of them were looking at something Harry couldn't see and sniggering heartily. Parkinson's pug-like face peered excitedly around Goyle's broad back as they approached.

"There they are, there they are!" She giggled, and the knot of Slytherin broke apart. Harry saw that Pansy had a magazine in her hands - Witch Weekly. The moving picture on the front showed a curly-haired witch who was smiling toothily and pointing at a large sponge cake with her wand.

"You might find something to interest you in there, Potter!" Pansy said loudly, and she threw the magazine at Harry, which was caught by Draco before it could get close to Harry who looked startled. At that moment, the dungeon door opened, and Severus beckoned them all inside.

Draco, still holding the magazine, led Harry to their normal table at the front of the dungeon as with Haiden, Hermione, and Ron following them as usual. Once Severus had turned his back on them to write up the ingredients of today's potion on the blackboard, Draco began to hastily rifle through the magazine under the desk. At last, in the center pages, Draco found what they were looking for. Harry leaned in closer while Hermione and Haiden carefully bent over their table to see as well. There were two color pictures of Harry: One just after Victor pulled him from the lake with Harry wrapped in blankets while being held by Victor, the other a picture of Draco and Harry in a loving embrace while star gazing. These pictures headed a short piece entitled:

Playboy Harry Strikes Again!

A boy like no other, perhaps - yet a boy suffering
all the usual pangs of adolescence, write Rita
Skeeter. Deprived of love since the tragic demise
of his and his brother's parents, fourteen-year old
Harry Potter tries to find solace in his multiple lovers.
One such lover being one young Draco Malfoy is said
to be his favorite for the simple fact that he is the one
seen most often around Harry. But little did Draco know
that Harry would soon find a new favorite.

Harry Potter, a violent tempered boy, has caught another
lover in his web. Since the arrival at Hogwarts of Viktor
Krum, Bulgarian Seeker and hero of the last World Cup,
Harry has been toying with both boy's affections. Krum,
who is openly smitten with the Playboy Harry, has already
invited Harry to visit him over the summer holidays, and
insists that he has "never felt this way about anyone else."

However, it might be Harry Potter's doubtful natural charm
that have captured these unfortunate boy's interest.

"He's really ugly," Says Pansy Parkinson, a pretty and
vivacious forth-year student who was said to be Draco's
girlfriend until this year, "but he's be well up to making
a Love Potion, he's quite brainy. I wouldn't put it past him,
I mean, he's already been accused multiple times cursing
Hermione Granger into being his friend."
Love Potions are, of course, band at Hogwarts,
and no doubt Albus Dumbledore will want to
investigate these claims. I am truly worried about
the safety of the other students.

"This is bullshit." Draco hissed as his grip on the magazine tightened to the point Harry was surprised it hadn't ripped yet. "Father is going to be hearing about this. I will not let this woman continue to trash your name." Harry looked back at Hermione when he heard a loud smack to see she had reached across Haiden to slap Ron.

"Look what your false accusation of Harry did!" She hissed angrily.

"Their watching us." Haiden whispered motioning towards Parkinson and her group. Harry looked over at them and saw that Haiden was right, they were all watching him closely from across the room to see if he had been upset by the article. Harry blew them a kiss with a flirty wink causing Hermione to snort out a laugh. And then they started unpacking the ingredients they would need for their Wit-Sharpening Potion.

"There's something funny, though," Harry said ten minutes later, holding his pestle suspended over a bowl of scrab beetles. "How could Rita Skeeter have known...?"

"Known what?" Ron asked quickly, "You have been mixing up Love Potions, haven't you?" Ron accused. Harry calmly turned and looked at him with a blank face.

"Yes, and I've been slipping them into your food and drink so that one day you will love me back, because I am absolutely madly in love with you." He told Ron with a monotoned voice causing Draco to practically fall to the ground in laughter. "Stop talking, Ronald, you lower the IQ of the whole school." He snapped out with a glare before turning back around to start to pound up his beetles again. "No, it's just... how did she know Viktor asked me to visit him over the summer?"

This caught Draco's attention and he instantly stopped looking to glare at Harry. "You're not going!" He told Harry who huffed and glared right back.

"He invited you too!" Harry told him. "He asked me right after he'd pulled me out of the lake," Harry began to explain. "After he'd got rid of his shark's head. Madam Pomfrey gave us both blankets and then he sort of pulled me into his lap to help warm me up. It was then he whispered to offer into my ear so that no one would hear, and he said, if we weren't doing anything over the summer, would we like to-"

"And you obviously told him no." Draco growled out as the air around them began to get colder, their potions even began to freeze.

"Stop being childish, Draco! I told him I would have to get back to him with the answer after we had talked!" Harry said not caring that everyone was now watching them, most of the students had backed away as the freezing air had made it to them and froze not only their potions but also the fire under their cauldrons.

"Well, the answer is 'Hell no'!" Draco growled out loudly.

"Why are you being so childish! I Chose You!" Harry yelled, his magic escaping from him causing everything that had not been frozen down to fly into the air.

"And it's the fact that there was even a choice between me and him infuriates me!" Draco yelled back, his magic exploding out of him with a wave of ice and snow. And suddenly, before Harry could respond, Harry was shocked out of his anger by the feeling of ice water flowing over him, taking his anger with it. Harry gasped and blinked in shock finding Draco doing the same. They looked around to find Mind Healer Krystan and Myari standing on either side of them with their hands over them.

"Welcome back." Mind Healer Krystan said with a smirk. Harry looked around in embarrassment to find the dungeon a frozen waste land.

"Did we do this?" Harry asked in amazement.

"It would seem that class has been canceled for the day." Severus said with a heavy sigh. Harry and Draco shared a look of embarrassment before sharing a giggle.

-Burn Me Into Your Memory-

As Harry, Haiden, Hermione and Ron began to leave the castle at noon the next day they were met by Draco, Myari, Luna and a weak silver sun shining down upon the grounds. The weather was milder than it had been all year, and by the time they arrived in Hogsmeade, all seven of them had taken off their cloaks and thrown them over their shoulders. The food Sirius had told them to bring was in Haiden's bag; they had snuck a dozen chicken legs, a loaf of bread, and a flask of pumpkin juice from the lunch table.

Once in Hogsmeade, Luna grabbed Harry's hand and quickly drug him away form the group and hid inside different stores in a game of hide-n-seek. Once everyone realized what she was doing, they had fun searching for the pair within the crowded stores. It helped distract them from the stares and whispers that they were receiving. Then, half past one, Harry, Haiden, Ron and Hermione left Luna and Myari with Draco watching them to make their way up the High Street, past Dervish and Bangers, and out toward the edge of the village.

None of them had ever been in this direction before. The winding lane was leading them out into the wild countryside around Hogsmeade. The cottages were fewer here, and their gardens larger; they were walking toward the foot of the mountain in whose shadow Hogsmeade lay. Then they turned a corner and saw a stile at the end of the lane. Waiting for them, its front paws on the topmost bar, was a very large, shaggy black dog, which was carrying some newspapers in its mouth and looking very familiar...

"Hello, Sirius." Haiden said throwing Harry a concerned look when he paused in walking. He wanted to get closer to the man who was a close friend with his birth parents, wanted to get to know him as he had Remus. But he couldn't, not while he was in the form of a dog. Hermione, noticing his fear, stopped beside him and gently took his hand in a comforting hold while gently pushing Haiden forward to keep Sirius from getting closer to Harry.

Harry never took his eyes off the black dog, ready to bolt if it came too close, he couldn't see past the animal to the man it truly was. The black dog sniffed Haiden's bag eagerly, wagging its tail once, then turned and began to trot away from them across the scrubby patch of ground that rose to meet the rocky foot of the mountain. Haiden and Ron quickly followed him after Haiden had received a nod from Hermione who began to gently lead Harry after them, careful to keep a certain distance from the dog.

The dog led them to the very foot of the mountain, where the ground was covered with boulders and rocks. It was easy for him, with his four paws, but Haiden, Ron, and Hermione were soon out of breath, but thanks to Harry's martial arts training he had an easier time than the others. He was glad he had forced himself to find time to train even just a little this year with everything that had happened, even if that training was just jogging either in the early mornings, at night, or to and from classes.

They followed the dog higher, up onto the mountain itself. For nearly half an hour they climbed a steep, winding, and stony path, following the dog's wagging tail, sweating in the sun, Harry helping Hermione when ever she started to slip. Then, at last, the dog slipped out of sight, causing Harry to panic slightly, and when they reached the place where he had vanished, they saw a narrow fissure in the rock. They squeezed into it and found themselves in a cool, dimly lit cave. Tethered at the end of it, one end of his rope around a large rock, was Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Half grey horse, half giant eagle, Buckbeack's fierce orange eyes light up in happiness at the sight of Harry. All of them bowed low to him and seconds later Buckbeak bent his scaly front knees and allowed Hermione, who had to drop Harry's had to get through the fissure, to rush forward and stroke his feathery neck.

Harry, however, was looking at the black dog, which had just turned into Sirius. He was wearing ragged gray robes: the same ones he had been wearing when he had left Azkaban. His black hair was longer than it had been when he had last seen the man a year ago, it was still matted and untidy. He looked very thin.

"Chicken!" He said hoarsely after removing the old Daily Prophets from his mouth, and throwing them down onto the cave floor. Haiden pulled open his bag and handed over the bundle of chicken legs and bread. "Thanks." Sirius said, opening it, grabbing a drumstick, siting down on the cave floor, and tearing off a large chunk with his teeth. "I've been living off rats mostly. Can't steal too much food from Hogsmeade; I'd draw attention to myself." He grinned up at Haiden and Harry which Haiden returned instantly, but Harry just gave him a guarded look not knowing how to feel about this dog-man who was their godfather.

"What're you doing here, Sirius." He asked.

"Fulfilling my duty as godfather." Sirius said, gnawing on the chicken bone in a very doglike way. "Don't worry about it, I'm pretending to be a lovable stray." He was still grinning, but seeing the anxiety in Haiden's face, he added more seriously: "I want to be on the spot. Your last letter... well, let's just say things are getting fishier. I've been stealing the paper every time someone throws one out, and by the look of things, I'm not the only one who's getting worried."

Sirius nodded at the yellowing Daily Prophets on the cave floor, and Haiden picked them up and unfolded them. Harry, however, continued to stare at Sirius trying to read him.

"What if they catch you? What if you're seen?" Haiden asked as he skimmed over the papers.

"You four and Dumbledore are the only ones around here who know I'm an Animagus." Sirius shrugged while continuing to devour the chicken leg. Haiden nudged Harry and passed him the Daily Prophets. There were two: The first bore the head line Mystery Illness of Bartemius Crouch, the second, Ministry Witch still Missing - Minister of Magic Now Personally Involved.

Harry went to scan the story about Crouch when suddenly he got a painful, head splitting headache that caused him to cry out in pain, and grip his head.. Flashes of images filled his mind. Bartemius Crouch meeting someone in the woods, a hedge maze, Dumbledore falling towards the ground from a tower, Bartemius Crouch's dead body, a grave yard, Severus's lifeless body, a pale and nose-less face, Hogwarts destroyed, his wand being dropped next to Crouch's dead body, and finally the goblet.

And then, the headache and the flashes were gone allowing him to see everyone (except Ron) staring at him in shocked concern. Sirius had abandoned his meal and had started to stand up, Hermione had turned from Buckbeak, and Haiden had started to reach towards him. What had felt like minutes to him had only been seconds. Without knowing why, Harry dodged Haiden's hand by taking a couple steps back before forcing a smile on his face.

"Sorry, I should have warned you all, that happens occasionally. Mind Healer Krystan says its nothing to worry about." He lied smoothly.

"Are you sure? Do we need to get you to Draco or Mind Healer Krystan?" Hermione asked worriedly.

"This was just a mild one, its fine. However, if it eases your worry, I'll tell Mind Healer Krystan about it when I next see her." Harry continued to lie.

"Mind Healer Krystan?" Sirius asked in worry continuing to his feet and taking a step towards Harry, but when Harry's eyes flashed over towards him, Sirius froze before taking a few steps away.

"Nothing for you to worry about." He told Sirius with a forced smile. "They're making it sound like Crouch is dying." Harry said changing the subject away from him.

"But he can't be that ill if he managed to get up here..." Haiden said slowly obviously not wanting to drop the previous subject, but also not wanting to cause Harry to become stressed encase that would cause another attack.

"My brother's Crouch's personal assistant," Ron informed them. "He says Crouch is suffering from over work."

"Mind you, he did look ill, last time I saw him up close." Haiden continued slowly, still watching Harry. "The night our name came out of the goblet..."

"Getting his comeuppance for sacking Winky, isn't he?" Hermione said, and edge to her voice. She had gone back to stroking Buckbeak, who was crunching up Sirius's chicken bones. "I be he wishes he hadn't done it now - bet he feels the difference now she's not there to look after him."

"Hermione's obsessed with house-elves," Ron muttered to Sirius, casting Hermione a dark look. Sirius, however, looked interested.

"Crouch sacked his house-elf?"

"Yeah, at the Quidditch World Cup." Harry said, he launched into the story of the Dark Mark's appearance (leaving out a few details about Lucius), and Winky being found with Harry's wand clutched in her hand, and Mr. Crouch's fury. When Harry had finished, Sirius had begun to pace up and down the cave.

"Let me get this straight." He said after a while, brandishing a fresh chicken leg. "You three first noticed the elf in the Top Box." He said motioning to Ron, Haiden, and Hermione. "She was saving Crouch a seat, right?"

"Right." Haiden, Ron, and Hermione said together.

"But Crouch didn't show up for the match?"

"No." Haiden said. "I think he said he'd been too busy." Sirius paced all around the cave in silence.

"Harry, did you check your pockets for your wand after you'd left the Top Box?" Sirius asked.

"No." Harry said.

"He doesn't use his wand." Hermione said, missing the look Harry shot her afterwards.

"What does she mean?" Sirius asked Harry in confusion. Harry sighed, not liking the fact that even more people were finding out about his wandless magic, even though the whole school knew it by now.

"I can use wandless magic." Harry muttered just loud enough for Sirius to hear him.

"Not just wandless but wordless-" Hermione started to brag.

"What happened to not saying anything about you-know-what?" Harry snapped out glaring at Hermione who stopped stroking Buckbeak to stare at Harry in shock.

"I'm sorry, I thought that since the whole school knew that it was okay... sorry." Hermione muttered and Harry sighed in annoyance.

"I don't want to be singled out because of how powerful my magic is. People already think I can do the impossible." Harry muttered before turning his attention back to Sirius. "I don't usually carry my wand, and if I do its mainly just for show. I wasn't carrying my wand that day, I had left it in a protective trunk in my room. The only way for anyone to it is to get past not only the wards around the house and Remus, but also all of my protection spells." Harry stopped himself from mentioning all of them would only release when told to in Parselmouth.

"Then how did Winky have your wand?" Hermione asked.

"Someone could have ordered her to sneak into Harry's room and take it." Haiden suggested. Harry bit back the urge to tell him that would be impossible unless he, himself, told her to fetch his wand. That would be the only way for a house-elf to be able to get past his spells.

"Winky didn't steal that wand!" Hermione insisted, stomping her foot in anger.

"Crouch couldn't have been the only one in the box with a house-elf." Sirius said, his brow furrowed as he continued to pace. "Who else was sitting behind you?"

"Loads of people." Haiden said. "Some Bulgarian ministers... Cornelius Fudge... Harry sat with the Malfoys."

"The Malfoys!" Ron cried out suddenly only to be hit with a blast of wind from Harry, shocking Sirius seeing as this was his first time ever seeing Harry use wandless and wordless magic.

"The Malfoys have nothing to do with this." Harry growled out.

"Anyone else?" Sirius asked.

"No one." Harry said.

"Yes, there was, there was Ludo Bagman." Hermione reminded them.

"Oh yeah..." Haiden muttered.

"I don't know anything about Bagman except that he used to be a Beater for the Wimbourne Wasps." Sirius said continuing his pacing.

"He's a Haiden Fanboy." Harry muttered. "Kept trying to him, and me by extension, help with the Triwizard Tournament."

"Is he now?" Sirius muttered, frowning more deeply.

"We saw him in the forest just before the Dark Mark appeared." Hermione told Sirius. "Remember? Draco was there frantically looking for Harry while we were searching for Haiden." She said to Ron.

"Yeah, but he didn't stay in the forest, did he?" Ron pointed out. "The moment we told him about the riot, he went off to the campsite."

"How d'you know?" Hermione shot back. "How d'you know where he Disapparated to?"

"Come off it." Ron said incredulously. "Are you saying you reckon Ludo Bagman conjured the mark."

"It's more likely he did it than Winky." Hermione said stubbornly.

"Or," Haiden cut into the fight that was about to happen, "we can just ask Harry who he saw conjure it."

"Wait, you saw the person who conjured it?" Sirius asked worried.

"I didn't get a good look at him, it was dark and I was terrified. However, he got a great look at me, had even started to come towards me. I don't know what would have happened to either me or Haiden had Hermione, Ronald, and Draco called for us, scaring him off."

"Okay, let's put a pin on that." Sirius said running a hand through his hair. "When the Dark Mark had been conjured, and the elf had been discovered holding Harry's wand, what did Crouch do?"

"He went to look in the bushes," Hermione recalled, "but there wasn't anyone else there."

"Of course," Sirius muttered, pacing up and down, "of course, he'd want to pin it on anyone but his own elf... and then he sacked hr?"

"Yes," Hermione said in a heated voice, "he sacked her, just because she hadn't stayed in her tent and let herself get trampled- and this was after Harry had told Crouch about the man he had seen conjuring the Dark Mark, but because he couldn't continue questioning Harry because Lucius had taken him to get his leg fixed-"

"What happened to your leg?" Sirius asked cutting off Hermione's rant.

"It got broken after I tripped and got stepped on." Harry told him.

"-And then that poor elf just stumbled upon Harry's wand and-"

"Hermione, will you give it a rest with the elf!" Ron yelled.

"She's got the measure of Crouch better than you have, Ron. If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors not his equals." Sirius said with a shake of his head. He ran a hand over his unshaven face, evidently thinking hard.

"All these absences of Barty Crouch's... he goes to the trouble of making sure his house-elf saves him a seat at the Quidditch World Cup, but doesn't bother to turn up and watch. He works very hard to reinstate the Triwizard Tournament, and then stops coming to that too... It's not like Crouch. If he's ever taken a day off work because of illness before this, I'll eat Buckbeak." Sirius growled.

"I take it you know Crouch, then?" Harry said. Sirius's face darkened. He suddenly looked as menacing as he had the night he had attacked Harry, the night when everyone still believed Sirius to be a murderer.

"Oh, I know Crouch all right." He said darkly. "He was the one who gave the order for me to be sent to Azkaban - without a trial."

"What?" Ron and Hermione asked together.

"You're kidding!" Haiden cried out in shock.

"No, I'm not." Sirius said, taking another great bite of chicken. "Crouch used to be Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, didn't you know?" Haiden, Hermione, and Ron shook their heads while Harry nodded causing Hermione and Haiden to look at him in confusion.

"He was tipped for the next Minister of Magic," Sirius said. "He's a great wizard, Barty Crouch, powerfully magical - and power-hungry. Oh never a Voldemort supporter," he said reading the look on Haiden's face. "No, Barty Crouch was always very out spoken against the Dark Side. But then a lot of people who were against the Dark Side... well, you wouldn't understand... you're too young..."

"That's what my dad said at the World Cup," Ron said with a trace of irritation in his voice. "Try us, why don't you?" A grin flashed across Sirius's thin face.

"All right, I'll try you..." He walked once up the cave, back again, and then said, "Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working

for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing... the Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere... panic... confusion... that's how it used to be.

"Well, times like that bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Crouch's principles might've been good in the beginning - I wouldn't know. He rose quickly through the Ministry, and he started ordering very harsh measures against Voldemort's supporters. The Aurors were given new powers - powers to kill rather than capture, for instance. And I wasn't the only one who was handed straight to the dementors without trial. Crouch fought violence with violence, and authorized the use of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects. I would say be became as ruthless and cruel as many on the Dark Side. He had his supporters, mind you - plenty of people thought he was going about things the right way, and there were a lot of witches and wizards clamoring for him to take over as Minister of Magic. When Voldemort disappeared, it was looked like only a matter of time until Crouch got the top job. But then something rather unfortunate happened..." Sirius smiled grimly. "Crouch's own son was caught with a group of Death Eaters who'd managed to talk their way out of Azkaban. Apparently they were trying to find Voldemort and return him to power."

"Crouch's son was caught?" Hermione gasped

"Yup," Sirius said throwing his chicken bone to Buckbeak, flinging himself back down on the ground beside the loaf of bread, and tearing it in half. "Nasty little shock for old Barty, I'd imagine. Should have spent a bit more time at home with his family, shouldn't he? Ought to have left the office early once in a while... gotten to know his own son." He began to wolf down large pieces of bread.

"Was his son a Death Eater?" Haiden asked.

"No idea," Sirius said still stuffing down bread, "I was in Azkaban myself when he was brought in. This is mostly stuff I've found out since I got out. The boy was definitely caught in the company of people I'd bet my like were Death Eaters - but he might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, just like the house-elf."

"Did Crouch try and get his son off?" Hermione whispered causing Sirius to let out a laugh that was much more like a bark.

"Crouch let his son off? I thought you had the measure of him, Hermione! Anything that threatened to tarnish his reputation had to go; he had dedicated his whole life to becoming Minister of Magic. You saw him dismiss a devoted house-elf because she associated him with the Dark Mark again - doesn't that tell you what he's like? Crouch's fatherly affection stretched just far enough to give his son a trial, and by all accounts, it wasn't much more than an excuse for Crouch to show how much he hated the boy... then he sent him straight to Azkaban."

"He gave his own son to the dementors?" Haiden asked quietly.

"That's right." Sirius said, and he didn't look remotely amused now. "I saw the dementors bringing him in, watched them through the bars in my cell door. He can't have been more than nineteen. They took him into a cell near mine. He was screaming for his mother by nightfall. He went quiet after a few days, though... they all went quiet in the end... except when they shrieked in their sleep..." For a moment, the deadened look in Sirius's eyes became more pronounced than ever, as though shutters had closed behind them.

"So he's still in Azkaban?" Haiden asked confused while sharing a look with Harry.

"No." Sirius said dully. "No, he's not in there anymore. He died about a year after they brought him in."

"Impossible." Harry said. "I've seen him, I'm sure of it."

"Where?" Sirius asked.

"In the castle, posing as Mad-Eye Moody. I can see through his Polyjuice Potion." Harry informed him deep in thought.

"That's impossible Harry, no one can just see through Polyjuice Potion without the help of a Magical Eye." Sirius said waving him off before continuing with his story. "He wasn't the only one. Most go mad in there, and plenty stop eating in the end. They lose the will to live. You could always tell when a death was coming, because the dementors could sense it, they got excited. That boy looked pretty sickly when he arrived. Crouch being an important Ministry member, he and his wife were allowed to a deathbed visit. That was the last time I saw Barty Crouch, half carrying his wife past my cell. She died herself, apparently, shortly afterward. Grief. Wasted away just like the boy. Crouch never came for his son's body. The dementors buried him outside the fortress; I watched them do it." Sirius threw aside the bread he had just lifted to his mouth and instead picked up the flask of pumpkin juice and drained it.

"So old Crouch lost it all, just when he thought he had it made," he continued, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Once moment, a hero, poised to become Minister of Magic... next, his son dead, his wife dead, the family name dishonored, and, so I've heard since I escaped, a big drop in popularity. Once the boy had died, people started feeling a bit more sympathetic towards the son and started asking how a nice young lad from a good family had gone so badly astray. The conclusion was that his father never cared much for him. So Cornelius Fudge got the top job, and crouch was shunted sideways into the Department of International Magical Cooperation." There was a long silence.

"Draco's calling, it's time to go back to the Castle." Harry announced before suddenly grabbing Hermione and Haiden, and Haiden had barely enough time to grab Ron before Harry apparated them away.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19- The Madness of Mr. Crouch

After apparating them to the entrance of Hogsmeade and finding Luna, Myari, and Draco waiting for them. The group trudged along the path back towards the castle, no one pointing out that they were the only ones heading back. "What's wrong?" Draco asked quietly.

"I don't need his approval." Harry muttered darkly and Draco sighed.

"You don't need the approval of anyone but yourself." Draco told him wrapping his arm around Harry's waist. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"He didn't believe me." Harry told him, Draco gave a soft growl.

"Screw him. I believe you, Haiden believes you, and so do your friends. What does it matter if Sirius doesn't believe you? It's not like him believing you or not will change much of anything." Draco told him as Luna and Myari made their way over to them.

"It'll change more than you know." Harry muttered darkly, his voice not his own. Draco's arm tightened around Harry. "It's just, it'll make everything so much easier if people would just listen and believe me when I tell them something important." Harry sighed out, his voice back to normal, yet Draco's arm never loosed from around him.

"They'll learn to listen to you." Luna told him.

"Yeah, after everything has happened." Harry said. "And by then it'll be too late. Two would have entered and one would have returned."

"Entered what? Returned from where?" Myari asked.

"What?" Harry asked her.

"You said- You don't remember?" Myari asked and fear flashed through Harry's eyes. "You know, it would be nice to have a little warning whenever you get possessed and say random things that make no sense."

"Yeah, that would be nice." Harry told her dryly causing her to look blush in embarrassment before looking away with an awkward cough. Luna gave an airy laugh.

"All will be well, he will see to it." Luna sang out.

"Who?" Draco asked.

"The King's Shadow."

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Harry, Haiden, Hermione, Draco, and Ron went up to the Owlery after breakfast on Sunday to send a letter to Percy, asking whether he had seen Mr. Crouch lately. They used Hedwig, because it had been so long since she'd had a job. When they watched her fly out of sight through the Owerly window, they proceeded down to the kitchen to give Dobby (who had been ordered by Draco to stay at Hogwarts until Draco left for the summer to keep him from this mysterious man in a black cloak) his new socks that Haiden had picked out the day before at Hogsmeade. At first Haiden was worried about giving Dobby the socks, scared he would accidentally set the house-elf free. But was reassured by both Ron and Draco that only the head of the family could set the house-elf free.

The house-elves gave them a very cheery welcome, bowing and curtsying and bustling around making tea again. Dobby was ecstatic about his present. "Haiden Potter is good to Dobby!" He squeaked, wiping large tears out of his enormous eyes.

"No chance of more of those eclairs, is there?" Ron, who was looking around at the beaming and bowing house-elves, asked.

"You've just had breakfast!" Hermione hissed out irritably, but a great silver platter of eclairs was already zooming toward them, supported by four elves.

"We should get some stuff to send up to Snuffles." Haiden muttered.

"Good idea," Ron said. "Give Pig something to do. You couldn't give us a bit of extra food, could you?" He asked to the surrounding elves, and they bowed delightedly and hurried off to get some more.

"Dobby, where's Winky?" Hermione asked looking around. After the house-elf had been sacked just from finding his wand, Harry had ordered Dobby to suggest to the house-elf to come to Hogwarts, that she might be able to find a new owner there.

"Winky is over there by the fire, Miss." Dobby told her quietly, his ears drooping slightly.

"Oh dear." Hermione gasped out as she spotty Winky. Harry looked over at the fireplace too. Winky was sitting on the same stool she had taken over to after Dobby had finally gotten her to agree to coming to Hogwarts a few weeks ago, but she had allowed herself to become so filthy that she was not immediately distinguishable from the smokey-blackened brick behind her. Her clothes were ragged and unwashed. She was clutching a bottle of butterbeer and swaying slightly on her stool, staring into the fire. As they watched her, she gave an enormous hiccup.

"Winky is getting through six bottles a day now." Dobby whispered to Haiden as Harry sighed. He should have seen this coming.

"Well, it's not strong, that stuff." Haiden said causing Dobby to shake his head.

"'Tis strong for a house-elf, sir." He said. Winky hiccuped again. The elves who had brought the eclairs gave her disapproving looks as they returned to work. "Winky is pining, Haiden Potter." Dobby whispered sadly. "Winky wants to go home. Winky still thinks Mr. Crouch is her master, sir, and nothing Dobby says will persuade her that Professor Dumbledore is her master now."

"Hey, Winky." Harry said, struck by a sudden inspiration, walking over to her, and bending down. "You don't know what Mr. Crouch might be up to, do you? Because he's stopped turning up to judge the Triwizard Tournament." Winky's eyes flickered.

Her enormous pupils focused on Harry. She swayed slightly again, and then said, "M-Master is stopped -hic- coming?"

"Yeah," Harry told her nodding, "we haven't seen him since the first task. The Daily Prophet's saying he's ill." Winky swayed some more, staring blurrily at Harry.

"Master -hic- is ill?" Her bottom lip began to tremble.

"But we're not sure if that's true." Hermione said quickly.

"Master is needing his -hic- Winky!" The elf whimpered. "Master cannot -hic- manage -hic- all by himself..."

"Other people manage to do their own housework, you know, Winky." Hermione said severely and Harry rolled his eyes.

"Winky -hic- is not only -hic- doing housework for Mr. Crouch!" Winky squeaked indignantly, swaying worse than ever and slopping butterbeer down her already heavily stained blouse. "Master is -hic- trusting Winky with -hic- the most important -hic- the most secret-"

"What?" Haiden asked. But Winky shook her head very hard, spilling more butterbeer down herself.

"Winky keeps -hic- her master's secrets." She said mutinously, swaying very heavily now, frowning up at Haiden with her eyes crossed. "You is -hic- nosing, you is."

"Winky must not talk like that to Haiden Potter!" Dobby said angrily. "Haiden Potter is brave and noble and Haiden Potter is not nosy!" Harry heard Draco give an annoyed huff at how his house-elf was obsessed with Haiden.

"He is nosing -hic- into my master's -hic- private and secret -hic- Winky is a good house-elf -hic- Winky keeps her silence -hic- people trying to -hic- pry and poke -hic-" Winky's eyelids drooped and suddenly, without warning, she slid off her stool into the hearth, snoring loudly. The empty bottle of butterbeer rolled away across the stone-flagged floor. Half a dozen house-elves came hurrying forward, looking disgusted. One of them picked up the bottle; the others covered Winky with a large checked tablecloth and tucked the ends in neatly, hiding her from view.

"We is sorry you had to see that, sirs and miss!" A nearby elf squeaked out, shaking his head and looking very ashamed. "We is hoping you will not judge us all by Winky, sirs and miss!"

"She's unhappy!" Hermione said, exasperated. "Why don't you try and cheer her up instead of covering her up?" Harry and Draco shared an exasperated look.

"Begging your pardon, miss," the house-elf said, bowing deeply again, "but house-elves has no right to be unhappy when there is work to be done and masters to be served."

"Hermione, it's never going to work. Why not try researching more about the house-elves themselves instead of all that they do." Harry cut in before Hermione could continue to accidentally offend the house-elves. "Dobby, cut off her supply, Winky is not allowed any more butterbeer." Dobby bowed as Hermione glared at Harry.

"We has your extra food!" An elf at Haiden's elbow squeaked before he shoved a large ham, a dozen cakes, and some fruit into Haiden's arms. "Good-bye." The house-elves crowded around the group and began shunting them out of the kitchen, many little hands pushing in the smalls of their backs.

"Thank you for the socks, Haiden Potter!" Dobby called miserably from the hearth, where he was standing next to the lumpy tablecloth that was Winky.

"You couldn't keep your mouth shut, could you, Hermione?" Ron asked angrily as the kitchen door slammed shut behind them. "They won't want us visiting them now! We could've tried to get more stuff out of Winky about Crouch!"

"Oh, as if you care about that!" Hermione scoffed. "You only like coming down here for the food!" Harry sighed just knowing it was going to be that type of irritable sort of day and he would never get any homework down if he stayed with them t hat day. So him and Draco quickly excused themselves.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

By breakfast the next day, Ron's and Hermione's bad moods had burnt out to everyone's relief. When the post owls arrived, Hermione looked up eagerly; she seemed to be expecting something. "Percy won't've have time to answer yet." Ron told her with a mouth full of food. "We only sent Hedwig yesterday."

"No, it's not that." Hermione said distractedly as she continue to wait eagerly. "I've taken out a subscription to the Daily Prophet. I'm getting sick of finding everything out from Pansy's group of Slytherins."

"Good thinking!" Haiden said, also looking up at the owls. "Hey, Hermione, I think you're in luck-" A gray owl was soaring down toward Hermione.

"It hasn't got a newspaper, though." She muttered looking disappointed. "It's-" But to her bewilderment, the gray owl landed in front of her plate, closely followed by four barn owls, a brown owl, and a tawny.

"I wouldn't open those if I were you." Draco told her as he caught Hermione's goblet before it was knocked over by the cluster of owls, all of whom were jostling close to her, trying to deliver their letter first."

"Why?" Hermione said taking the letter from the gray owl, opening it, and started reading it. "Oh really!" She sputtered angrily, going red.

"Told you so." Draco told her gently taking the letter from her reading the letter himself. "I'll see if my father can help keep these away from you, if you want." Harry leaned over and read the letter. It wasn't handwritten, but composed from pasted letters that seemed to have been cut out of the Daily Prophet.

"They're all like that!" Hermione said desperately, opening one letter after another. "'Haiden Potter can do much better than the likes of you...' 'You deserve to be boiled in frog spawn...' Ouch!" She had opened the last envelope, and a yellowish-green liquid smelling strongly of petrol gushed over her hands, which had begun to erupt in large yellow boils. At that Harry leaned back enough to look down the Gryffindor table at Ginny who had been watching Hermione with a smirk. Once she saw Harry watching her, Ginny blanched and looked at her plate.

"Undiluted bubotuber pus!" Myari said, picking up the envelope gingerly and sniffing it.

"Ow!" Hermione said, tears starting to fall as she tried to rub the pus off her hands with a napkin, but her fingers were now so thickly covered in painful sores that it looked as though she were wearing a pair of thick, knobbly gloves.

"Take her to the Hospital Wing, Haiden." Harry said finally looking away from Ginny to magically clean up the table, incinerating the letters at the same time. "We'll tell Professor Sprout where you've gone..." Haiden nodded before helping Hermione up and leading her away. The rest of the group stayed at the table for a few more minutes before they, too, got up from the table.

"Did the Weasleyett send the letter?" Draco asked as they walked out of the Great Hall.

"I don't think so, but then again, she still could have." Harry told him. "But I would like you to see if your dad can do something about those letters, I don't think these will be the last of them." Draco nodded in agreement, both of them knowing from experience as Harry had been receiving letters like the ones Hermione had gotten today.

Hermione didn't turn up for Herbology, but Haiden did. As Harry, Draco, Haiden, and Ron left the greenhouse for their Care of Magical Creatures class and Harry's free period, they saw Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle descending the stone steps of the castle. Pansy caught sight of Haiden and called, "Potter, have you split up with your girlfriend? Why was she so upset at breakfast? Is she leaving you for your brother?"

Harry and Haiden ignored her; neither of them wanted to give her the satisfaction of knowing how much trouble the Witch Weekly article had caused. Harry stood off to the side away from the class and pulled out one of his newest 'fan' letters that had slipped through the screening Lucius and Severus had set up. He knew he should have burned, should have let Draco know about it. Harry sighed and, knowing he was going to regret it, opened the letter.

 

Harry closed his eyes as anger began to fill him, he couldn't tell if he was angry at himself for even reading the letter when he knew what was in it or at Rita for even writing those stupid articles about him. Harry crumbled the letter up before lighting it on fire. Once the letter was gone, Harry turned around and caught Hermione walking toward the class. The anger in him swelled when he saw her hands were heavily bandaged and she looked miserable. Harry caught Pansy Parkinson watching Hermione beadily and his anger hit almost boiling point. Harry took a few deep breaths and extinguished his anger for the moment before he made his way towards the class as well.

"Well, let's check how yeh've done!" Hagrid said as Harry's eyes swept over the class trying to figure out what was going on in the class. He saw every student with a fluffy black creature with long snouts, their front paws were curiously flat, like spades. "Count yer coins! An' there's no point tryin' ter steal any, Goyle," he added, his beetle-black eyes narrowed. "It's leprechaun gold. Vanishes after a few hours."

Goyle emptied his pockets, looking extremely sulky. It turned out that Ron's creature (a niffler) had been most successful, so Hagrid gave him an enormous slab of Honeydukes chocolate for a prize. The bell rang across the grounds for lunch; the rest of the class set off back to the castle, but Haiden, Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Harry stayed behind to help Hagrid put the nifflers back in their boxes. Harry noticed Madame Maxime watching them out of her carriage window.

"What yeh done ter your hands, Hermione?" Hagrid asked looking concerned. Hermione told him about the hate mail she had received that morning, and the envelope full of bubotuber pus.

"They're jus' nutters, Hermione." Hagrid said, heaving the niffler crates over by his cabin wall. "Don' open 'em if yeh get any more. Chuck 'em straigh' in the fire."

"I'm going to talk to my father to see if he can set up the same monitoring system we've set up for Harry's mail. Now, it won't get everything," Draco gave Harry a look that let Harry know that he knew about the letter, "but it will get the worst of them."

"What do you mean? Harry's been getting letter's as well?" Hermione asked and Harry nodded.

"Since the first article Rita wrote about us, it got worse after the Witch Weekly." Harry informed them.

"What?!" Haiden asked. "Why didn't you tell me?" Harry looked away not wanting to admit that at the time he believed everything the letters were saying about him.

"You missed a good lesson." Draco told Hermione as he took Harry's hand before beginning to lead the group back towards the castle.

"They're good, nifflers, aren't they, Ron?" Haiden said catching on to what Draco was doing. Ron, however, was glaring at the chocolate Hagrid had given him. "What's the matter? Wrong flavor?"

"No." Ron growled out turning his glare onto Haiden. "Why didn't you tell me about the gold?"

"What gold?" Haiden asked.

"The gold I gave you at the Quidditch World Cup." Ron snapped out. "The leprechaun gold I gave you for my Omnioculars. In the Top Box. Why didn't you tell me it disappeared?" Haiden was silent for a couple of minutes as he tried to figure out what Ron was talking about."

"Oh," He said as he finally figured out what Ron was going on about. "I dunno.. I never noticed it had gone. I was more worried about finding Harry at the time." They climbed the steps into the entrance hall and met Luna and Myari outside the Great Hall for lunch.

"Must be nice." Ron snapped out angrily as they sat down and started serving themselves roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. "To have so much money you don't notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing."

"Listen, I had other stuff on my mind that night!" Haiden told him impatiently. "We all did, remember?"

"I didn't know leprechaun gold vanishes." Ron growled out. "I honestly believed I was paying you back. You shouldn't've given me that Chudley Cannon hat for Christmas."

"Forget it, all right. It was a gift, not charity. You're my friend, you don't have to pay me back." Haiden told Ron who speared a roast potato on the end of his fork, glaring at hit.

"I hate being poor." He muttered darkly causing Haiden and Hermione to look at each other before sharing a look with Harry and Draco, none of them liking his tone. "It's rubbish." Ron continued, still glaring at his potato. "I don't blame Fred and George for trying to make some extra money. Wish I had a niffler."

"Well, I know what to get you next Christmas." Haiden joked only to receive a dark glare from Ron.

"It could be worse, Ron. At least your fingers aren't full of pus." Hermione muttered having a lot of difficulty managing her knife and fork, her fingers were so stiff and swollen. "I hate that Skeeter woman!" She growled out savagely throwing down her fork and knife. "I'll get her back for this if it's the last thing I do!" Haiden pull Hermione's plate closer to him and began to not only cut up her food for her, but also feed her food to her.

Lucius tried to set up the same mail monitoring system he sat up for Harry, but needed Hermione's parents permission. Hermione, not wanting to worry her parents, decided not to tell them about the hate mail. And so, hate mail continued to arrive for Hermione over the following week, although she followed both Draco's and Hagrid's advice and stopped opening them, several of her ill-wishers sent Howlers, which exploded at the Gryffindor table and shrieked insults at her for the whole Hall to hear. Haiden was getting sick and tired of watching his girlfriend fighting back her tears at all the cruel and spiteful things these people were calling Hermione.

"It'll die down." Hermione would mutter to him, "If we just ignore it... it has to."

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Hedwig didn't return until the end of the Easter holidays. Percy's letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent. Both Haiden, Hermione's and Ron's were the size of dragon eggs and full of homemade toffee. Harry's, however, was smaller than a chicken egg, Hermione's and Haiden's face fell when they saw it.

"Your mum doesn't read Witch Weekly, by any chance, does she, Ron?" Haiden asked.

"Yeah. Gets it for the recipes." Ron said with a mouth full of toffee. Harry sat his tiny egg down before taking Percy's letter.

"Let's see what Percy's written." Harry said. Percy's letter was short and irritated.

As I am constantly telling Daily Prophet, Mr. Crouch is
taking a well-deserved break. He is sending in regular owls
with instructions. No, I haven't actually seen him, but I think
I can be trusted to know my own superior's handwriting. I
have quite enough to do at the moment without trying to
quash these ridiculous rumors. Please don't bother me again
unless it's something important. Happy Easter.

The start of the summer term would normally have meant that Haiden was training hard for the last Quidditch match of the season. This year, however, it was the third and final task in the Triwizard Tournament for which he and Harry needed to prepare, but they still didn't know what they would have to do. Finally, in the last week of May, Professor McGonagall held him and Harry back in Transfiguration.

"You two are to go down to the Quidditch field tonight at nine o'clock." She told them. "Mr. Bagman will be there to tell the champions about the third task." So at half past eight that night, Haiden and Harry left their family rooms and went downstairs. As they crossed the entrance hall, Cedric came up from the Hufflepuff common room.

"What d'you reckon it's going to be?" He asked them as they went together down the stone steps, out into the cloudy night. "Fleur keeps going on about underground tunnels; she reckons we've got to find treasure."

"That wouldn't be too bad." Haiden said, thinking that he would simply ask Hagrid for a niftier to do the job for them.

"That's too simple, they'd have us do something that not only test our courage, but mental will as well. Most likely they'll have us face our worst nightmares while trying to navigate the tunnels, if there are tunnels." Harry said as they walked down the dark lawn to the Quidditch stadium. They turned through a gap in the stands, and walked out onto the field.

"What've they done to it?" Cedric said indignantly, stopping dead. The Quidditch field was no longer smooth and flat. It looked as though somebody had been building long, low walls all over it that twisted and crisscrossed in every direction.

"They're hedges!" Haiden said, bending over to examine the nearest one.

"Hello there!" A cheery voice called. Ludo Bagman was standing in the middle of the field with Krum and Fleur. Haiden, Harry, and Cedric made their way toward them, climbing over the hedges. Fleur beamed at Harry and Haiden as they came nearer. Her attitude towards Haiden had changed completely since he had saved her sister from the lake.

"Well, what d'you think?" Bagman asked happily as Harry, Haiden and Cedric climbed over the last hedge. "Growing nicely, aren't they? Give them a month and Hagrid'll have them twenty feet high. Don't worry," He added, grinning, spotting the less-than-happy expressions on Haiden's and Cedric's faces, "you'll have your Quidditch field back to normal once the task is over!" Haiden noticed Harry kneel down to examine the hedge closely. "Now, I imagine you can guess what we're making here?" No one spoke for a moment.

"Maze." Krum grunted.

"That's right!" Bagman said. "A maze. The third task's really very straight forward. The Triwizard Cup will be placed in the center of the maze. The first champion to touch it will receive full marks."

"We seemply 'ave to get through the maze?" Fluer asked.

"There will be obstacles." Bagman told her happily, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Hagrid is providing a number of creatures... then there will be spells that must be broken... all that sort of thing, you know. Now, champions who are leading on points will get a head start into the maze." Bagman grinned at Haiden and Cedric as Harry stood up. "Then Mr. Krum will enter... then Miss Delacour. But you'll all be in with a fighting chance, depending how well you get past the obstacles. Should be fun, eh?" Haiden, who knew only too well the kind of creatures that Hagrid was likely to provide for an event like this, thought it was unlikely to be any fun at all. However, he nodded politely like the other champions.

"Very well... if you haven't got any questions, we'll go back up to the castle, shall we, it's a bit chilly..." Bagman hurried alongside Haiden and Harry as they began to wend their way out of the growing maze. Haiden had the feeling that Bagman was going to start offering to help him and his brother again, but just then Krum tapped Harry on the shoulder.

"Could I haff a vord?" He asked.

"Of course." Harry said gripping Haiden's hand, Haiden was glad that Harry was going to 'force' him to stay with him to talk to Krum.

"Vill you two valk vith me?" Krum asked, having seen Harry grab Haiden.

"Sure." Harry said, Bagman looked slightly perturbed.

"I'll wait for you two, shall I?" He asked.

"No, it's okay, Mr. Bagman." Haiden said, suppressing a smile. "I think me and my brother can find the castle on our own, thanks." Harry, Haiden and Krum left the stadium together, but Krum did not set a course for the Durmstrang ship. Instead, he walked toward the forest.

"What're we going this way for?" Haiden asked as they passed Hagrid's cabin and the illuminated Beauxbatons carriage.

"Don't vant to be overheard." Krum told him. When at last they had reached a quiet stretch of ground a short way from Beauxbatons horses' paddock, Krum stopped in the shade of the trees and turned to face them.

"How ist everything vith you und Draco?" He asked Harry who blushed but smiled at the ground.

"We are doing well, we're working through my darkness." Harry told him and Haiden was shocked when a soft smiled appeared on Krum's face.

"Das ist gut. You have been looking much happier." Krum told Harry who smiled at him. Haiden stood slightly off to the side awkwardly when he saw the shift in Harry's body. "Vas ist it?" Haided went to move to be able to see Harry's eyes, worried that he had been possessed once more, but something moved behind Krum in the tress, and Harry grabbed Krum's arm and pulled him around. "Vas ist it?" He asked again. Harry shook his head, creating a barrier around the three of them, staring at the place where the movement had been. Haiden's hand slipped inside his robe, grabbing his wand, as Harry's body fell into a fighting stance.

Suddenly a man staggered out from behind a tall oak. For a moment, Haiden didn't recognize him... then he realized it was Mr. Crouch. He looked as though he had been traveling for days. The knees of his robes were ripped and bloody, his face scratched; he was unshaven and gray with exhaustion. His neat hair and mustache were both in need of a wash and a trim. His strange appearance, however, was nothing to the way he was behaving. Muttering and gesticulation, Mr. Crouch appeared to be talking to someone that he alone could see. He reminded Haiden vividly of an old tramp he had seen once when out shopping with the Dursleys. That man too had been conversing wildly with thin air, Aunt Petunia had seized Dudley's hand and pulled him across the road to avoid him; Uncle Vernon had then treated the family to a long rant about what he would like to do with beggars and vagrants.

"Vasn't he a judge?" Krum asked staring at Mr. Crouch. "Isn't he vith your Ministry?" Haiden nodded, hesitated for a moment, then walked slowly towards Mr. Crouch, who did not look at him, but continued to talk to a nearby tree.

"...and when you've done with that, Weatherby, send and owl to Dumbledore confirming the number of Durmstrang students who will be attending the tournament, Karkaroff had just sent word there will be twelve..."

"Mr. Crouch." Haiden said cautiously.

"...and then send another owl to Madame Maxime, because she might want to up the number of students she's bringing, no Karkaroff's made it a round dozen... do that, Weatherby, will you? Wiill you? Will..." Mr. Crouch's eyes were bulging. He stood staring at the tree muttering soundlessly at it. Then he staggered sideways and fell to his knees, Harry took a couple steps away from the man. Haiden shot him a concerned look.

"It is best that this body does not come in contact with his." Harry said, his voice hinting at that he was once again possessed.

"Why?" Haiden growled out at the person possessing his brother. The possessed eyes of his brother looked at him, and Haiden had to fight the urge from backing away from the dark and murderous look in them.

"To make it easier." The person told him.

"Make what easier?" Haiden demanded.

"Spoilers." Was his answer.

"Dumbledore!" Mr. Crouch gasped, reminding Haiden he was there. He reached out and seized a handful of Haiden's robes, dragging him closer, though his eyes were staring over Haiden's head. I need... see... Dumbledore..."

"Okay," Haiden said, "if you get up, Mr. Crouch, we can go up to the-"

"I've done... stupid... thing..." Mr. Crouch breathed. He looked utterly mad. His eyes were rolling and bulging, and a trickle of spittle was sliding down his chin. Every word he spoke seemed to cost him a terrible effort. "Must... tell... Dumbledore..."

"Get up, Mr. Crouch," Haiden said loudly and clearly. "Get up, I'll take you to Dumbledore!" Mr. Crouch's eyes rolled forward onto Haiden.

"Who...you?" He whispered.

"I'm a student at the school." Haiden said, looking around at Krum for help, but Krum was now blocking Harry's body from view.

"You're not... his?" Crouch whispered, his mouth sagging.

"No." Haiden said, without the faintest idea what Crouch was talking about.

"Dumbledore's?"

"That's right." Haiden said. Crouch was pulling him closer, Haiden tried to loosen Crouch's grip on his robes, but it was too powerful.

"Warn...Dumbledore..."

"I'll get Dumbledore if you let go of me." Haiden said. "Just let go, Mr. Crouch, and I'll get him..."

"Thank you, Weatherby, and when you have done that, I would like a cup of tea. My wife and son will be arriving shortly, we are attending a concert tonight with Mr. and Mrs. Fudge." Crouch was now talking fluently to a tree again, and seemed completely unaware that Haiden was there, which surprised Haiden so much that he didn't notice that Crouch had released him.

"Yes, my son has recently gained twelve O.W.L.s, most satisfactory, yes, thank you, yes, very proud indeed. Now, if you could bring me that memo from the Andorran Minister of Magic, I think I will have time to draft a response..."

"You stay here with him!" Haiden ordered Krum. "We will get Dumbledore, we'll be quicker, Harry knows where his office is-"

"He ist mad." Krum said doubtfully, staring down at Crouch who was still gabbing to the tree, apparently convinced it was Percy.

"He's not mad, he's trapped in a memory." Harry whispered, back to his normal self.

"Just stay with him." Haiden said, starting to get up, but his movement seemed to trigger another abrupt change in Mr. Crouch, who seized him hard around the knees and pulled Haiden back to the ground.

"Don't... leave... me!" He whispered, his eyes bulging again. "I... escaped...must warn... must tell... see Dumbledore... my fault... all my fault... Bertha... dead... all my fault... my son... my fault... tell Dumbledore... Harry Potter... the Dark Lord... stronger... Harry Potter... danger..."

"I'll get Dumbledore if you let me go, Mr. Crouch!" Haiden said. He looked furiously around at Krum. "Help me, will you?" Harry gave Krum a push towards him and Crouch, Krum glanced back at Harry who nodded before moving forward and squatted down next to Mr. Crouch. "Just keep him here." Haiden said, pulling himself free of Mr. Crouch. "We'll be back with Dumbledore."

"Hurry, von't you?" Krum called after him as Haiden sprinted away form the forest and up through the dark grounds. They were deserted; Bagman, Cedric, and Fluer had disappeared. They tore up the stone steps, through the oak front doors, and off up the marble staircase, toward the second floor.

Five minutes later they were hurtling towards a stone gargoyle standing halfway along an empty corridor.

"Sherbert lemon!" Harry told it as Haiden tried to catch his breath amazed that Harry seemed unfazed by the sprint they had just done. This was the password to the hidden staircase to Dumbledore's office- or at least, it had been two years ago. The password had evidently changed, however, for the stone gargoyle did not spring to life and jump aside, but stood frozen, glaring at them malevolently. "Move!" Harry shouted at it. "C'mon!" Harry balled up his fist and would have most likely struck the gargoyle if Haiden hadn't grabbed his wrist.

"Violence won't solve this problem." Haiden panted out.

"What are you two doing here?" Both boys snapped their heads to look at where the gargoyle had been to see Severus there.

"We need to see Professor Dumbledore!" Harry told him, latching onto Severus's robes. "It's Mr. Crouch... he's just turned up... he's in the forest... he's asking-"

"Harry, calm down. Deep breaths. That's it. Now, tell me what's happening." Severus demanded and Harry took a few deep breaths.

"It's Mr. Crouch, he's in the forest. He's been spelled, he's trapped in an illusion or something. He's trying to fight it, but can't. All he's been able to get out is that he needs Dumbledore." Harry told Severus, before muttering something in Severus's ear that Haiden couldn't hear.

"Right." Severus said nodding and pulling Harry closer to him as the stone wall behind him slid open. Dumbledore was standing there, wearing long green robes and a mildly curious expression.

"Is there a problem?" He asked looking between the three of them.

"Professor!" Haiden cried out. "Mr. Crouch is here- he's down in the forest, he wants to speak to you!" Haiden expected Dumbledore to ask questions, but to his relief, Dumbledore did nothing of the sort.

"Lead the way." He said promptly, and he swept off along the corridor behind Haiden, leaving Harry and Severus standing next to the gargoyle.

"What did Mr. Crouch say, Haiden?" Dumbledore asked as they walked swiftly down the marble staircase.

"Said he wants to warn you... said he's done something terrible... he mentioned his son... he mentioned his son... and Bertha Jorkin... and- and Voldemort... something about Voldemort getting stronger... and Harry..."

"Indeed." Dumbledore said quickened his pace as they hurried out into the pitch-darkness.

"He's not acting normally." Haiden said, hurrying along beside Dumbledore. "Harry thinks he's been spelled. He doesn't seem to know where he is. He keeps talking like he thinks Percy Weasley's there, and then he changes, and says he needs to see you... we left him with Viktor Krum."

"You did?" Dumbledore asked sharply, and he began to take longer strides still, so that Haiden was running to keep up. "Do you know if anybody else saw Mr. Crouch?"

"No." Haiden said. "Krum and Harry were talking, Mr. Bagman had just finished telling us about the third task, we stayed behind and then we saw Mr. Crouch coming out of the forest-"

"Where are they?" Dumbledore asked as the Beauxbatons carriage emerged from the darkness.

"Over here." Haiden said, moving in front of Dumbledore, leading the way through the trees. He couldn't hear Crouch's voice anymore, but he knew where he was going; it hadn't been much past the Beauxbatons carriage... somewhere around here... "Viktor?" Haiden shouted. No one answered. "They were here." Haiden told Dumbledore. "They were definitely somewhere around here..."

"Lumos." Dumbledore said, lighting his wand and holding it up. It's narrow beam traveled from black trunk to black trunk, illuminating the ground. And then it fell upon a pair of feet. Haiden and Dumbledore hurried forward. Krum was sprawled on the forest floor. He seemed to be unconscious. There was no sign at all of Mr. Crouch. Dumbledore bent over Krum and gently lifted one of his eyelids.

"Stunned." He said softly. His half-moon glasses glittered in the wandlight as he peered around at the surrounding trees.

"Should I go and get someone?" Haiden asked. "Madam Pomfrey?"

"No." Dumbledore said swiftly. "Stay here." He raised his wand into the air and pointed it in the direction of Hagrid's cabin. Haiden saw something silver dark out and of it and streak away through the trees like a ghostly bird. Then Dumbledore bent over Krum again, pointed wand at him, and muttered, "Rennervate." Krum opened his eyes. He looked dazed. When he saw Dumbledore, he tried to sit up, but Dumbledore put a hand on his shoulder and made him lie still.

"He attacked me!" Krum muttered, putting a hand up to his head. "De old madman attacked me! I vas looking around to see vhere Harry und Haiden had gone und he attacked form behind!"

"Lie still for a moment." Dumbledore said. The sound of thunderous footfalls reached them, and Hagrid came panting into sight with Fang at his heels. He was carrying his crossbow.

"Professor Dumbledore!" He said, his eyes widening. "Haiden- what the-?"

"Hagrid, I need you to fetch Professor Karkaroff." Dumbledore said. "His student had been attacked. When you've done that, kindly alert Professor Moody-"

"No need, Dumbledore." A wheezy growl said. "I'm here." Haiden glared as the impostor limped towards them, leaning on his staff, his wand lit. "Damn leg." He said furiously. "Would've been here quicker... what's happened? Snape said something about Crouch-"

"Snape?" Haiden asked suspiciously, knowing that Severus would never go to this impostor now that they knew he wasn't Moody.

"Karkaroff, please Hagrid!" Dumbledore said sharply.

"Oh yeah... right y'are, Professor..." Hagrid said before turning and disappearing into the dark trees, Fang trotting after him. "I don't know where Barty Crouch is," Dumbledore told Moody, "But it is essential that we find him."

"I'm onto it." 'Moody' growled, and he pulled out his wand and limped off into the forest. Haiden wanted to stop him, to alert Dumbledore that that wasn't Moody, but fear gripped him. Dumbledore hadn't believed Harry, and he could see through the disguise, what chance was there that Dumbledore would believe him without proof.

Neither Dumbledore nor Haiden spoke again until they heard the unmistakable sounds of Hagrid and Fang returning. Karkaroff was hurrying along behind them. He was wearing his sleek silver furs and he looked pale and agitated.

"What is this?" He cried when he saw Krum on the ground and Dumbledore and Haiden beside him. "What's going on?"

"I vas attacked!" Krum told him, sitting up now and rubbing his head. "Mr. Crouch or vasever his name-"

"Crouch attacked you? Crouch attacked you? The Triwizard judge?"

"Igor," Dumbledore began, but Karkaroff had drawn himself up, clutching his furs around him, looking livid.

"Treachery!" He bellowed, pointing at Dumbledore. "It is a plot! You and your Ministry of Magic have lured me here under false pretenses, Dumbledore! This is not an equal competition! First you sneak the twins into the tournament, though they are underage! Now one of your Ministry friends attempt to put my champion out of action! I smell double-dealing and corruption in this whole affair, and you, Dumbledore, you, with your talk of closer international wizarding links, of rebuilding old ties, of forgetting old differences- here's what I think of you!" Karkaroff spat onto the ground at Dumbledore's feet. In one swift movement, Hagrid seized the front of Karkaroff's furs, lifted him into the air, and slammed him against a nearby tree.

"Apologize!" Hagrid snarled as Karkaroff gasped for breath, Hagrid's massive fist at his throat, his feet dangling in midair.

"Hagrid, no!" Dumbledore shouted, his eyes flashing. Hagrid removed the hand pinning Karkaroff to the tree, and Karkaroff slid all the way down the trunk and slumped in a huddle at its root; a few twigs and leaves showered down upon his head. "Kindly escort Haiden back up to the castle, Hagrid." Dumbledore said sharply. Breathing heavily, Hagrid gave Karkaroff a glowering look.

"Maybe I'd better stay here, Headmaster..."

"You will take Haiden back to school, Hagrid." Dumbledore repeated firmly. "Take him right up to Gryffindor Tower. And Haiden- I want you to stay there. Anything you might want to do- any owls you might want to send- they can wait until morning, do you understand me?"

"Er- yes," Haiden said, staring at him. How had Dumbledore known that, at that very moment, he had been thinking about sending Pigwidgeon straight to Sirius, to tell him what had happened?

"I'll leave Fang with yeh, Headmaster." Hagrid said, staring menacingly at Karkaroff, who was still sprawled at the foot of the tree, tangled in furs and tree roots. "Stay, fang. C'mon Haiden." They marched in silence past the Beauxbatons carriage and up toward the castle.

"How dare he." Hagrid growled as they strode past the lake. "How dare he accuse Dumbledore. Like Dumbledore'd do anythin' like that. Like Dumbledore wanted you or Harry in the tournament in the firs' place. Worried! I dunno when I seen Dumbledore more worried than he's bin lately. An' you!" Hagrid suddenly said angrily to Haiden, who looked up at him, taken aback. "What were yeh doin', wanderin' off with ruddy Krum? He's from Durmstrang, Haiden! Coulda jinxed yeh right there, couldn' he? Hasn' Moody taught yeh nothin'? 'Magine lettin' him lure yeh off on yer own-"

"Krum's all right!" Haiden said as they climbed the steps into the entrance hall. "He wasn't trying to jinx me, nor was I alone with him, he wanted to talk to Harry-"

"I'll be havin' a few words with him, an' all." Hagrid said grimly, stomping up the stairs. "The less you lot 'ave ter do with those foreigners, the happier yeh'll be. Yeh can' trust any of 'em."

"You were getting on all right with Madame Maxime." Haiden reminded him, annoyed.

"Don' you talk ter me abou' her!" Hagrid said, and he looked quite frightening for a moment. "I've got her number now! Tryin' ter get back in me good books, tryin' ter get me ter tell her what's comin' in the third task. Ha! You can' trust any of 'em!"

Hagrid was in such a bad mood that Haiden didn't dare tell him that he wasn't staying in the Gryffindor Tower anymore, but with Severus and Harry, that he was glad to say good-bye to him in front of the Fat Lady. He clambered through the portrait hole into the corner where Hermione was reading in, to tell her everything that had happened.

Chapter Text

Chapter 20- The Dream

"It comes down to this," Hermione said rubbing her forehead, "either Mr. Crouch attacked Viktor, or somebody else attacked both of them when Viktor wasn't looking."

"It had to have been Harry." Ron said immediately. "Haiden admitted that Harry had stayed behind with Snape. He must have planned this with Krum."

"How many times do we have to tell you that Harry would never do that!" Hermione told him angrily and would have gotten up to hit Ron had Haiden not wrapped his arm around her.

"And how many times do I have to tell you that Harry has the aura of someone who has killed someone!" Ron growled out. It was daybreak. Haiden, Ron, and Hermione had crept out of the Gryffindor tower very early and hurried up to the Owlery together to send a note to Sirius. Now they were standing looking out at the misty grounds. All three of them were puffy-eyed and pale because they had been talking late into the night about Mr. Crouch.

"Just go through it again, Haiden." Hermione said with a sigh. "What did Mr. Crouch actually say?"

"I've told you, he wasn't making much sense." Haiden told her with a heavy sigh. "He said he wanted to warn Dumbledore about something. He definitely mentioned Bertha Jorkins, and he seemed to think she was dead. He kept saying stuff was his fault... He mentioned his son."

"Well, that was his fault." Hermione huffed out.

"He was out of his mind." Haiden said. "Half the time he seemed to think his wife and son were still alive, and he kept talking to Percy about work and giving him instructions."

"And remind us about what he said about Harry and You-Know-Who?" Ron said.

"I told you." Haiden repeated dully, glaring at him having a feeling where he was trying to go with this. "He said that Harry was in danger and that Voldemort was getting stronger." Ron opened his mouth only to pause at the dark look he was getting from Haiden before closing his mouth.

"But he was out of his mind, like you said, so half of it was probably just raving..." Hermione said hopefully.

"I wish, but he was sanest when he was trying to talk about Harry and Voldemort. He was having real trouble stringing two words together, but that was when he seemed to know where he was, and know what he wanted to do. He just kept saying he had to see Dumbledore." Haiden turned away from the window and stared up into the rafters. The many perches were half-empty; every now and then, another owl would swoop in through one of the windows, returning from its night's hunting with a mouse in its beak. His mind flashing back to when Harry had gotten possessed wondering if he should inform Hermione and Ron about it. Haiden sighed, he knew exactly how Ron would try to spin everything the possessed Harry had said.

"But what had he meant?" Haiden muttered to himself.

"What?" Hermione asked and Haiden shook his head. Haiden opened his mouth to whisper that he would tell her later when Hermione shushed him. Somebody was climbing the steps up to the Owlery. Haiden could hear two voices arguing, coming closer and closer.

"-that's blackmail, that is, we could get into a lot of trouble for that-"

"-we've tried being nice, done everything she asked; it's time to play dirty, like her. She wouldn't like the Ministry of Magic knowing what she's been doing-"

"I'm begging you not to do this! She'll expose everything about us! We haven't even told Kitten!"

"I'm tired of you up all night scared and worried that she'll publish that article. It's time to end this! And this might also give us a nice fat payoff." The Owlery door banged open. Fred and George came over the threshold, then froze at the sight of Haiden, Ron, and Hermione.

"What're you doing here?" Ron and Fred asked at the same time.

"Sending a letter." Haiden and George said in unison.

"What, at this time?" Hermione and Fred asked causing George to grin.

"Fine - we won't ask you what you're doing, if you don't ask us." George said. He was holding a sealed envelope in his hands. Haiden glanced at it, but George, whether accidentally or on purpose, shifted his hand so that the name on it was covered. "Well, don't let us hold you up." George said, his tone hard as he did a mock bow and pointed at the door. Ron didn't move.

"Who're you blackmailing?" He asked, his eyes narrowed. The grin vanished from George's face. Haiden saw Fred half glance at George, before smiling at Ron.

"Don't be stupid, we were only joking." He said easily.

"Didn't sound like that." Ron said. Fred and George looked at each other.

"I've told you before, Ronald, keep your nose out if you like it the shape it is. Can't see why you would, but-" George said darkly, eye flashing dangerously.

"It's my business if you're blackmailing someone." Ron told him. "Fred's right, you could end up in serious trouble for that."

"I told you, we were joking." Fred said. He walked over to George, pulled the letter out of his hands, and began attaching it to the leg of the nearest barn owl. "You're starting to sound a bit like our dear older brother, you are, Ronald. Carry on like this and you'll be made a prefect."

"No, I won't!" Ron said hotly. Fred carried the barn owl over to the window and it took off. Fred turned around and grinned at Ron.

"Well, stop telling people what to do then. See you later." He and George left the Owlering. Haiden, Ron, and Hermione stared at one another.

"You don't think they know something about all this, do you?" Hermione whispered. "About Crouch and everything?"

"No," Haiden said, shaking his head, "if it was something serious, they'd tell someone. They'd tell Dumbledore." Ron, however, was looking uncomfortable.

"What's the matter?" Haiden asked.

"Well..." Ron said slowly, "I dunno if they would. They've... they've been acting weird lately. They've been more secretive than usual and George has become more aggressive than usual. Snapping at everyone, and he's become more protective of Fred. While Fred has become quieter, and has been throwing up a lot lately. And they've both have become obsessed with making money lately. I noticed this when I was hanging around with them -when- you know-"

"We weren't talking." Haiden finished the sentence for him. "Yeah, but blackmail..."

"It's this joke shop idea they've got." Ron said. "I thought they were only saying it to annoy Mum, but they really mean it, they want to start one. They've only got a year left at Hogwarts, they keep going on about how it's time to think about their future, and Dad can't help them, and they need gold to get started." Hermione was looking uncomfortable now.

"Yes, but... they wouldn't do anything against the law to get gold."

"Wouldn't they?" Ron asked looking skeptical. "I dunno... they don't exactly mind breaking rules, do they?"

"Yes, but this is the law." Hermione said looking scared. "This isn't some silly school rule... They'll get a lot more than detention for blackmail! Ron... maybe you'd better tell Percy..."

"Are you mad?" Ron asked glaring at her. "Tell Percy? He'd probably do a Crouch and turn them in." He stared at the window through with Fred and George's owl had departed, then said, "Come on, let's get some breakfast."

"D'you think we should ask Severus if he knows anything new about Crouch?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah." Haiden said. "However, he'd probably blast us through the door or turn us into potion ingredients if we wake him up at the crack of dawn; Severus isn't much of a morning person. Let's give it till break."

History of Magic had rarely gone so slowly. Haiden kept checking Ron's watch, having finally discarded his own, but Ron's was moving so slowly he could have sworn it had stopped working too. All three of them were so tired they could have happily put their heads down on the desks and slept; even Hermione wasn't taking her usual notes, but was resting her head on Harry's shoulder as he took the notes for her while she gazed at Professor Binns with her eyes out of focus.

When the bell finally rang, they hurried out into the corridors towards the Potion's Classroom to find Severus standing there seemingly waiting for them. "Professor Snape?" Haiden called as they made their way toward him through the crowd.

"About time you got here." Severus said as he began to lead them towards his office just passed the classroom. "Lets talk in here." He opened the office door and held it open for them to find Draco, Myari, and Luna waiting for them, Severus followed them in and closed the door.

"Has he been found?" Haiden asked once Severus had settled in his chair.

"No." Severus informed them as he rested his elbows on the desk before steepling his hands and rested them on his chin.

"Did you use the map?" Haiden asked.

"Of course." Severus said with a sigh nodding at the desk where Haiden saw the opened map. "He wasn't anywhere on there, and that is worrying."

"So he did Disapparate?" Ron asked.

"You can't Disapparate on the grounds, Ron!" Hermione hissed. "There are other ways he could have disappeared, aren't there, Professor?"

"I suggest you become an Auror, Miss Granger, your mind certainly works the right way." Severus told her. Hermione flushed pink with pleasure.

"Well, he wasn't invisible," Harry said. "The map shows invisible people. He must've left the grounds, then."

"But under his own steam?" Hermione asked eagerly, "or because someone made him?"

"Yeah, someone could've pulled him onto a broom and flown off with him, couldn't they, Harry?" Ron asked glaring at Harry who just gave him a blank stare.

"If you're trying to accuse me of kidnapping Mr. Crouch, then try a different method, I hate flying." Harry told him and Ron flushed with anger causing Myari to giggle.

"We can't rule out kidnap." Draco pointed out.

"Or dead." Luna said causing everyone to look at her in shock, Haiden's head suddenly whipped around to stare at Haiden as what Possessed Harry made sense a little.

"What is it? Did you figure something out?" Ron asked smirking.

"I think someone may try to frame Harry." Haiden muttered out.

"What?" Everyone asked.

"Where did this come from?" Hermione asked.

"Last night, when we were talking with Mr. Crouch, Harry became possessed." Draco wrapped his arm around Harry. "And while he was possessed he told me that it would be easier if Harry's body didn't come in contact with Crouch's."

"Let's say that that is a possibility, who would want to frame Harry, and why?" Severus asked.

"I-I don't know." Haiden muttered.

"Maybe the person possessing Harry is going to frame him?" Myari suggested.

"But if that were true, wouldn't the thing possessing him want Harry to touch Crouch instead of keeping him away from him?" Hermione asked. "And what did he mean by 'to make it easier'?"

"To make it easier to prove he didn't do it?" Luna suggested. That caused everyone to sit in silence for a minute before Severus broke the silence with a sigh.

"Let's not automatically assume Crouch is dead until there is a body or proof he is dead." He told them. "Right, I've got classes to prepare for; Harry and Draco, you've got a meeting with Mind Healer Krystan; and the rest of you need just need to get out." Everyone but Ron chuckled at his playful tone as they got up and began to leave. "Oh, and Ronald, if I ever catch you accusing anyone of murder or kidnapping without proof again, you will regret it. And that's a promise."

-Burn Me Into Your Memory-

Sirius sent their owl back the very next morning. It fluttered down beside Haiden at the same moment that a tawny owl landed in front of Hermione, clutching a copy of the Daily Prophet in it's beak. She took the newspaper, scanned the first few pages. "Ha! She hasn't got word of Crouch!" She told them before joining Haiden, Harry, and Ron in reading what Sirius had to say on the mysterious events of the night before last.

"Who's he, to lecture us about being out-of-bounds?" Haiden said in mild indignation as he folded up Sirius's letter and put it inside his robes. "After all the stuff he did at school!"

"He's worried about you both!" Hermione said sharply. "Just like Hagrid and the rest of us."

"No one's tried to attack us all year." Haiden argued. "No one's done anything to use at all-"

"Except put your names in the Goblet of Fire." Hermione told him. "And they must've done that for a reason, Haiden. Snuffles is right. Maybe they've been biding their time. Maybe this is the task they're going to get you."

"Look," Haiden said impatiently, "let's say Sirius is right, and someone Stunned Krum to kidnap Crouch. Well, they would've been in the trees near us, wouldn't they? But they waited till me and Harry were out of the way until they acted, didn't they? So it doesn't look like we're their target, does it?"

"They couldn't have made it look like an accident if they'd murdered you two in the forest!" Hermione told him obviously frustrated. "But if you die during a task-"

"They didn't care about attack Krum, did they?" Haiden told her, also obviously frustrated. "Why didn't they just polish us off at the same time? They could've made it look like we had a fight or duel or something."

"Haiden, think logically. At that time, there were three of us there, all with wands, and, as far as we know, only one of them. Had they attacked either one of us, the other two would have been alerted and it would have been harder to sneak around and not only attack but also kidnap Crouch. So, logically, it would have been smarter to wait until either one or both of us left." Harry said calmly as he ate, never looking up from his plate.

"But why would they kidnap Crouch though?" Hermione asked.

"Again, thinking about this logically, Crouch might have either found out who they were, their plan, or both. So, to make sure them and their plan doesn't get exposed before they can finish it, they kidnapped Crouch and spelled him to be trapped in his mind. However, Crouch fought the spell enough to escape, the person was probably searching for him when we found him. Not wanting his plan to be exposed, he took down Krum while we were getting Dumbledore and re-kidnapped Crouch." Harry theorized.

"That... makes sense." Haiden said.

"Sirius is right, you two've got to get in training for the third task, straight away. And you need to make sure you both write back to Sirius and promise him you're not going to go sneaking off alone again."

-Burn Me Into Your Memory-

The Hogwarts grounds never looked more inviting than when Haiden had to stay indoors. For the next few days he spent all of his free time either in the library with Hermione, Draco, and Harry, looking up hexes, or else in empty classrooms, where they sneaked into to practice. It surprised him how good Harry was at teaching him the Stunning Spell. The trouble was that practicing it on anyone but Harry involved certain sacrificed on Hermione's, Draco's, Myari's and Luna's part.

"Can't we kidnap Mrs Norris?" Myari suggested on Monday lunchtime as she lay flat on her back in the middle of their Charms classroom, having just been Stunned and reawoken my Haiden for the fifth time in a row. "Let's Stun her for a bit. Or you could use Dobby, Haiden, I bet he'd do anything to help you. I'm not complaining or anything-" she got gingerly to his feet, rubbing his backside- "but I'm aching all over..."

"Well, you keep missing the cushions, don't you!" Hermione said impatiently, rearranging the pile of cushions they had used for the Banishing Spell, which Flitwick had left in a cabinet. "Just try and fall backward!"

"Hermione, you know very well that once you're Stunned, you can't aim too well." Draco told her.

"Why don't you take a turn, Hermione." Myari suggested.

"Well, I think Haiden's got it now, anyway." Hermione said hastily causing Myari and Draco to smirk. "And we don't have to worry about Disarming, because he's been able to do that for ages... I think we ought to start on some of these hexes this evening, if that's okay with you, Harry." She said looking down at the list Harry had made in the library.

"We'll start with the Impediment Curse. It should slow down anything that's trying to attack you, Haiden, should I not be fast enough or busy with something else." Harry said and Haiden nodded. The bell rang. They hastily shoved the cushions back into Flitwick's cupboard and slipped out of the classroom.

"See you at dinner!" Hermione said as she and Harry set off for Arithmancy, while Draco and Haiden headed toward North Tower for Divination, and Luna and Myari stood outside the Charms room waiting to have their Charms class. Broad strips of dazzling gold sunlight fell across the corridor from the high windows. The sky outside was so brightly blue it looked as though it had been enameled.

"It's going to be boiling in Trelawney's room, she never puts out that fire." Draco said as they started up the staircase toward the silver ladder and the trapdoor, where Ron was angrily waiting for them, having refused to work along side Draco and Myari to help Haiden.

Draco was quite right. The dimly lit room was swelteringly hot. The fumes from the perfumed fire were heavier than ever. Haiden's head swam as he made his way over to one of the curtained windows. While Professor Trelawney was looking the other way, disentangling her shawl from a lamp, he opened it an inch or so and settled back in his chintz armchair, so that a soft breeze played across his face. It was extremely comfortable.

"My dears," Professor Trelawney said, sitting down in her winged armchair in front of the class and peering around at them all with her strangely enlarged eyes, "we have almost finished out work on planetary divination. Today, however, will be an excellent opportunity to examine the effects of Mars, for he is placed most interestingly at the present time. If you will all look this way, I will dim the lights..."

She waved her wand and the lamps went out. The fire was the only source of light now. Professor Trelawney bent down and lifted, from under her chair, a miniature model of the solar system, contained within a glass dome. It was a beautiful thing; each of the moons glimmered in place around the nine planets and the fiery sun, all of them hanging in thin air beneath the glass. Haiden watched lazily as Professor Trelawney began to point out the fascinating angel Mars was making to Neptune. The heavily perfumed fumes washed over him, and the breeze from the window played across his face. He could hear and insect humming gently somewhere behind the curtain. His eyelids began to droop...

He was riding on the back of and eagle owl, soaring through the clear blue sky toward an old, ivy-covered house set high on a hillside. Lower and lower they flew, the wind blowing pleasantly in Haiden's face, until they reached a dark and broken window in the upper story of the house and entered. Now they were flying along a gloomy passageway, to a room at the very end... through the door they went, into a dark room whose windows were boarded up...

Harry had left the owl's back... he was watching, now, as it fluttered across the room, into a chair with its back to him... There were two dark shapes on the floor beside the chair... both of them were stirring...

One was a huge snake... the other was a man... a short, balding man, a man with watery eyes and a pointed nose... he was wheezing and sobbing on the hearth rug...

"You are in luck, Wormtail," a cold, high-pitched voice said from the depths of the chair in which the owl had landed. "You are fortunate indeed. Your blunder had not ruined everything. He is dead."

"My Lord!" the man on the floor gasped. "My Lord, I am... I am so pleased... and so sorry..."

"Nagini," the cold voice said, "you are out of luck. I will not be feeding Warmtail to you, after all... but never mind, never mind... there is still Harry Potter..."

The snake hissed. Haiden could see it's tongue fluttering.

"Now, Wormtail," the cold voice said, "perhaps one more little reminder why I will not tolerate another blunder from you..."

"My Lord... no... I beg you..."

The tip of a wand emerged from around the back of the chair. It was pointing at Wormtail.

"Crusio!" The cold voice said.

Wormtail screamed, screamed as though every nerve inf his body were on fire, the screaming filled Haiden's ears as the scar on his forehead seared with pain; he was yelling too... Voldemort would hear him, would know he was there...

Hands pulled his head into a lap... a cool finger with a long, sharp nail gently ran up and down his scar...

Pain, pain, go away... Pain, pain, go away... Pain, pain, go away... Pain, pain, go away...

...A flash of Harry when he was five..

"Haiden! Haiden!"

Haiden opened his eyes. He was laying on the floor of Professor Trelawney's room with his head in a very worried Draco's lap. His scar was still burning, but not as much as before. The pain had been real. The whole class was standing around him, and Ron was kneeling next to him, looking terrified.

"You all right?" He asked.

"Of course he isn't!" Professor Trelawney, looking thoroughly excited. Her great eyes looming over Haiden, gazing at him. "What was it, Potter? A premonition? An apparition? What did you see?"

"Nothing." Haiden lied. He sat up with Draco's help. He could feel himself shaking. He couldn't stop himself from looking around, into the shadows behind him; Voldemort's voice had sounded so close...

"You were clutching your scar!" Professor Trelawney. "You were rolling on the floor, clutching your scar! Come now, Potter, I have experience in these matters!" Haiden looked at her.

"I need to go to the hospital wing, I think." He said. "Bad headache."

"My dear, you were undoubtedly stimulated by the extraordinary clairvoyant vibrations of my room!" Professor Trelawney said. "If you leave now, you may lose the opportunity to see further than you have ever-"

"The only thing I want to see is a headache cure." Haiden said. He stood up. The class backed away. They all looked unnerved. "See you guys later." Haiden muttered to Ron and Draco, and he picked up his bag and headed for the trapdoor, ignoring Professor Trelawney, who was wearing and expression of great frustration, as though she had just been denied a real treat.

When Haiden reached the bottom of her stepladder, he did not set off for the hospital wing. He had no intention whatsoever of going there. Sirius and Harry had told him what to do if his scar hurt him again, and Haiden was going to follow their advice: He was going straight to Dumbledore's office. He marched down the corridors, thinking about what he had seen in the dream... it had been as vivid as the one that had awoken him at the Burrow... He ran over the details in his mind, trying to make sure he could remember them... He had heard Voldemort accusing Wormtail of making a blunder... but the owl had brought good news, the blunder had been repaired, somebody was dead... so Wormtail was not going to be fed to the snake... Harry was going to be fed to it instead... His brother was in danger...

Haiden had walked right past the stone gargoyle guarding the entrance to Dumbledor's office without noticing. He blinked, looked around, realized what he had done, and retraced his steps,

stopping in front of it. Then he remembered that he didn't know the password.

"Sherbet lemon?" He tried tentatively.

The gargoyle didn't move.

"Okay," Haiden said, staring at it, "Pear Drop. Er- Licorice Wand. Fizzling Whizbee. Drooble's Best Blowing Gum. Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans... oh no, he doesn't like them, does he?... oh just open, can't you?" He said angrily. "I really need to see him, it's urgent!"

The gargoyle remained immovable.

Haiden kicked it, achieving nothing but an excruciating pain in his big toe.

"Chocolate Frog!" He yelled angrily, hopping on one leg. "Sugar Quill! Cockroach Cluster!"

The gargoyle sprang to life and jumped aside. Haiden blinked.

"Cockroach Cluster?" He said, amazed. "I was only joking..."

He hurried through the gap in the walls and stepped onto the foot of the spiral stone staircase, which moved slowly upward as the door closed behind him, taking him up to a polished oak door with a brass door knocker. He could hear voices from inside the office. He stepped off the moving staircase and hesitated, listening.

"Dumbledore, I'm afraid I don't see the connection, don't see it at all!" It was the voice of the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. "Ludo says Bertha's perfectly capable of getting herself lost. I agree we would have expected to have found her by now, but all the same, we've no evidence of foul play, Dumbledore, none at all. As for her disappearance being linked with Barty Crouch's!"

"And what do you think has happened to Barty Crouch, Minister?" 'Moody's growled out.

"I see two possibilities, Alastor." Fudge said. "Either Crouch has finally cracked - more than likely, I'm sure you'll agree, giving his personal history - lost his mind, and gone wandering off somewhere-"

"We wandered extremely quickly, if that is the case, Cornelius." Dumbledore said calmly.

"Or else - well..." Fudge sounded embarrassed. "Well, I'll reserve judgment until after I've seen the place where he was found, but you say it was just past the Beauxbatons carriage? Dumbledore, you know what that woman is?"

"I consider her to be a very able headmistress - and an excellent dancer." Dumbledore said quietly.

"Dumbledore, come!" Fudge said angrily. "Don't you think you might be prejudiced in her favor because of Hagrid? They don't all turn out harmless - if, indeed, you can call Hagrid harmless, with that monster fixation he's got -"

"I no more suspect Madame Maxime than Hagrid." Dumbledore said just as calmly. "I think it possible that it is you who are prejudice, Cornelius."

"Can we wrap up this discussion?" 'Moody' growled.

"Yes, yes, let's go down to the grounds, then." Fudge said impatiently.

"No, it's not that," 'Moody' said, "it's just that Potter wants a word with you, Dumbledore. He's just outside the door."

Chapter Text

Chapter 21- The Pensive

The door of the office opened.

"Hello, Potter." The person Haiden now knew was an impostor said. "Come in, then." Haiden walked inside, knowing that if he didn't he would draw suspicion. He had never been in Dumbledore's office before, but it was a very beautiful, circular room, lined with pictures of previous headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts, all of whom were fast asleep, their chests rising and falling gently. Cornelius Fudge was standing beside Dumbledore's desk, wearing his usual pinstriped cloak and holding a lime-green bowler hat.

"Haiden!" Fudge said jovially, moving forward. "How are you?"

"I'm fine." Haiden lied.

"We were just talking about the night when Mr. Crouch turned up on the grounds." Fudge told him. "It was you who found him, was it not?"

"Yes." Haiden said, something telling him not to mention that Harry had been there as well. Then, knowing that it was pointless to pretend that he hadn't overheard what they had been saying, he added, "I didn't see Madame Maxime anywhere, thought, and she'd have a job hiding, wouldn't she?" Dumbledore smiled at Haiden behind Fudge's back, his eyes twinkling."

"Yes, well," Fudge said looking embarrassed, "we're about to go for a short walk on the grounds, Haiden, if you'll excuse us... perhaps if you just go back to your class-"

"I wanted to talk to you, Professor." Haiden said quickly, looking at Dumbledore, who game him a swift, searching look.

"Wait here for me, Haiden." He told him. "Our examination of the grounds will not take long." They trooped out in silence past him and closed the door. After a minute or so, Haiden heard the clunks of 'Moody's' wooden leg growing fainter in the corridor below. He looked around.

"Hello, Fawkes." Haiden said once he caught sight of the beautiful phoenix standing on his golden perch beside the door. "I never got to thank you for saving us." He told it sheepishly as the phoenix swished his long tail and blinked benignly at him.

Haiden sat down in a chair in front of Dumbledore's desk. For several minutes, he sat and watched the old headmaster and headmistresses snoozing in their frames, thinking about what he had just heard, and running his fingers over his scar. It had stopped hurting now.

He felt much calmer, somehow, now that he was in Dumbledore's office, knowing he would shortly be telling him about the dream. Haiden looked up at the walls behind the desk. The patched and ragged Sorting Hat was standing on a shelf. A Glass case next to it held a magnificent silver sword with large rubies set into the hilt, which Haiden recognized as the one Harry had forced him to pull out the Sorting Hat in their second year.

He was gazing at it, remembering everything that had caused Harry to fall into a coma, when he noticed a patch of silvery light, dancing and shimmering on the glass case. He looked around for the source of the light and saw a sliver of silver-white shining brightly from within a black cabinet behind him, whose door had not been closed properly. Haiden hesitated, glanced at Fawkes, then got up, walked across the office, and pulled open the cabinet door.

A shallow stone basin lay there, with odd carvings around the edge: runes and symbols that Haiden did not recognize. The silvery light was coming from the basin's contents, which were like nothing Haiden had ever seen before. He could not tell whether the substance was liquid or gas. It was bright, whitish silver, and it was moving ceaselessly; the surface of it became ruffled like water beneath wind, and then, like clouds, separated and swirled smoothly. It looked like light made liquid - or like wind made solid - Haiden couldn't make up his mind.

He wanted to touch it, to find out what it felt like, but nearly four years' experience of the magical world told him that sticking his hand into a bowl full of some unknown substance was a very stupid thing to do. He therefore puled his wand out of the inside of his robes, cast a nervous look around the office, looked back at the contents of the basin, and prodded them.

The surface of the silvery stuff inside the basin began to swirl very fast.

Haiden bent closer, his head right inside the cabinet. The silvery substance had become transparent; it looked like glass. He looked down into it, expecting to see the stone bottom of the basin - and saw, instead, an enormous room below the surface of the mysterious substance, a room into which he seemed to be looking thought a circular window in the ceiling.

The room was dimly lit; he thought it might even be underground, for there were no windows, merely torches in brackets such as the ones that illuminated the walls of Hogwarts. Lowering his face so that his nose was a mere inch away from the glassy substance, Haiden saw that rows of witches and wizards were seated around every wall on what seemed to be benches rising in levels. An empty chair stood in the very center of the room. There was something about the chair gave Haiden an ominous feeling. Chains encircled the arms of it, as though its occupants were usually tied to it.

Where was this place? It surely wasn't Hogwarts; he had never seen a room like that here in the castle. Moreover, the crowd in the mysterious room at the bottom of the basin was comprised of adults, and Haiden knew there were not nearly that many teachers at Hogwarts. They seemed, he thought, to be waiting for something; even though he could only see the tops of their hats, all of their faces seemed to be pointing in one direction, and none of them were talking to one another.

The basin being circular, and the room he was observing square, Haiden could not make out what was going on in the corners of it. He leaned ever closer, tilting his head, trying to see...

The tip of his nose touched the strange substance into which he was staring.

Dumbledore's office gave an almighty lurch - Haiden was thrown forward and pitched headfirst into the substance inside the basin-

But his head did not hit the stone bottom. He was falling through something icy-cold and black; it was like being sucked into a dark whirlpool -

And suddenly, Haiden found himself sitting on a bench at the end of the room inside the basin, a bench raised high above the others. He looked up at the high stone ceiling, expecting to see the circular window through which head had just been staring, but there was nothing there but dark, solid stone.

Breathing hard and fast, Haiden looked around him. Not one of the witches and wizards in the room (and there were at least two hundred of them) was looking at him. Not one of them seemed to have noticed that a fourteen-year-old boy had just dropped from the ceiling into their midst. Haiden turned to the wizard next to him on the bench and uttered a loud cry of surprise that reverberated around the silent room. He was sitting right next to Albus Dumbledore.

"Professor!" Haiden said in a kind of strangled whisper. "I'm sorry - I didn't mean to - I was just looking at that basin in your cabinet - I - where are we?" But Dumbledore didn't move or speak. He ignored Haiden completely. Like every other wizard on the benches, he was staring into the far corner of the room, where there was a door.

Haiden gazed, nonplussed, at Dumbledore, then around at the silently watchful crowd, then back at Dumbledore. And then it dawned on him...

Once before, Haiden had found himself somewhere that nobody could see or hear him. That time, he had fallen through a page in and enchanted, right into somebody else's memory. . . and unless he was very much mistaken, something of the sort had happened again...

Haiden raised his right hand, hesitated, and then waved it energetically in front of Dumbledore's face. Dumbledore did not blink, look around at him, or indeed move at all. And that, in Haiden's opinion, settled the matter. Dumbledore wouldn't ignore him like that. He was inside a memory, and this was not the present-day Dumbledore. Yet it couldn't be that long ago . . . the Dumbledore sitting next to him now was silver-hared, just like the present-day Dumbledore. But what was this place? What were all these wizards waiting for?

Haiden looked around more carefully. The room, as he had suspected from when observing it from above, was almost certainly underground - more of a dungeon than a room, he thought. There was a bleak and forbidding air about the place; there were no pictures on the walls, no decorations at all; just there serried rows of benches, rising in levels all around the room, all positioned so that they had a clear view of that chair with the chains on its arms.

Before Haiden could reach any conclusions about the place in which they were, he heard footsteps. The door in the corner of the dungeon opened and three people entered - or at least one man, flanked by two dementors.

Haiden's insides went cold. The dementors - tall, hooded creatures whose faces were concealed - were gliding slowly toward the chair in the center of the room, each grasping one of the man's arms with their dead and rotten- looking hands. The man between them looked as though he was about to faint, and Haiden couldn't blame him . . . he knew the dementors could not touch him inside a memory, but he remembered their power only too well. The watching crowd recoiled slightly as the dementors placed the man in the chained chair and glided back out of the room. The door swung shut behind them.

Haiden looked down at the man now sitting in the chair and saw that it was Karkaroff. Unlike Dumbledore, Karkaroff looked much younger; his hair and goatee were black. He was not dressed in sleek furs, but in thin and ragged robes. He was shaking. Even as Haiden watched, the chains on the arms of the chair glowed suddenly gold and snaked their way up Karkaroff's arms, binding him there.

"Igor Karkaroff." A curt voice to Haiden's left said. Haiden looked around and saw Mr. Crouch standing up in the middle of the bench beside him. Crouch's hair was dark, his face was much less lined, he looked fit and alert. "You have been brought from Azkaban to present evidence to the Ministry of Magic. You have given us to understand that you have important information for us."

Karkaroff straightened himself as best as he could, tight bound to the chair. "I have, sir." He said, and although his voice was very scared, Haiden could still hear the familiar unctuous note in it. "I wish to be of use to the Ministry. I wish to help. I-I know that the Ministry is trying to-to round up the last of the Dark Lord's supporters. I am eager to assist in any way I can..."

There was a murmur around the benches. Some of the wizards and witches were surveying Karkaroff with interest, others with pronounced mistrust. Then Haiden heard, quite distinctly, from Dumbledore's other side, a familiar, growling voice saying, "Filth."

Haiden leaned forward so that he could see past Dumbledore. The real Mad-Eye Moody was sitting there- except that there was a very noticeable difference in his appearance. He did not have his magical eye, but two normal ones. Both were looking down upon Karkaroff, and both were narrowed in intense dislike.

"Crouch is going to let him out." Moody breathed quietly to Dumbledore. "He's done a deal with him. Took me six months to track him down, and Crouch is going to let him go if he's got enough new names. Let's hear his information, I say, and throw him straight back to the dementors." Dumbledore made a small noise of dissent through his long, crooked nose. "Ah, I was forgetting. . . you don't like the dementors, do you, Albus?" Moody said with a sardonic smile.

"No," Dumbledore said calmly, "I'm afraid I don't. I have long felt the Ministry is wrong to ally itself with such creatures."

"But for filth like this. . ." Moody said softly.

"You say you have names for us, Karkaroff." Mr. Crouch said. "Let us hear them, please."

"You must understand," Karkaroff said hurriedly, "that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named operated always in the greatest secrecy. . . . He preferred that we - I mean to say, his supporters - and I regret now, very deeply, that I ever counted myself among them-"

"Get on with it." Moody sneered.

"-we never knew the names of everyone of out fellows - He alone knew exactly who we all were-"

"Which was a wise move, wasn't it, as it prevented someone like you, Karkaroff, from turning all of them in." Moody muttered.

"Yet you say you have some names for us?" Mr. Crouch said.

"I-I do." Karkaroff said breathlessly. "And these were important supporters, mark you. People I saw with my own eyes doing his bidding. I give this information as a sign that I fully and totally renounce him, and am filled with remorse so deep I can barely-"

"The names are?" Mr. Crouch said sharply. Karkaroff drew a deep breath.

"There was Antonin Dolohov." He said. "I-I saw him torture countless Muggles and- and non-supporters of the Dark Lord."

"And helped him do it." Moody murmured.

"We have already apprehended Dolohov." Crouch said. "He was caught shortly after yourself."

"Indeed?" Karkaroff said, his eyes widening. "I-I am delighted to hear it!" But he didn't look it. Haiden could tell that this news had come as a real blow to him. One of his names was worthless.

"Any others?" Crouch asked coldly.

"Why yes... there was Rosier," Karkaroff said hurriedly. "Evan Rosier."

"Rosier is dead." Crouch said. "He was caught shortly after you were too. He preferred to fight rather than come quietly and was killed in the struggle."

"Took a bit of me with him, thought." Moody whispered to Haiden's right. Haiden looked around at him once more, and saw him indicating the large chunk out of his nose to Dumbledore.

"No - No more than Rosieer deserved!" Karkaroff said, a real not of panic in his voice now. Haiden could see that he was starting to worry that none of his information would be of any use to the Ministry. Karkaroff's eyes darted toward the door in the corner, behind which the dementors undoubtedly still stood, waiting.

"Any more?" Crouch asked.

"Yes!" Karkaroff said. "There was Travers- he helped murder McKinnons! Mclciber- he specialized in the Imperius Curse, forced countless people to do horrific things! Rookwood, who was a spy, and passed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named useful information from inside the Ministy itself!" Haiden could tell that, this time, Karkaroff had struck gold. The watching crowd was still murmuring together.

"Rookwood?" Mr. Crouch said, nodding to a witch sitting in front of him, who began scribbling upon her piece of parchment. "Augustus Rookwood of the Department of Mysteries?"

"The very same." Karkaroff said eagerly. "I believe he used a network of well-placed wizards, both inside the Ministry and out, to collect information-"

"But Travers and Mulciber we have," Mr. Crouch said. "Very well, Karkaroff, if that is all, you will be returned to Azkaban while we decide-"

"Not yet!" Karkaroff cried, looking quite desperate. "Wait, I have more!" Haiden could see him sweating in the torchlight, his white skin contrasting strongly with the black of his hair and beard. "Snape!" He shouted. "Severus Snape!"

"Snape has been cleared by this council." Crouch said disdainfully. "He has been vouched for by Albus Dumbledore."

"No!" Karkaroff shouted, straining at the chains that bound him to the chair. "I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!" Dumbledore had gotten to his feet.

"I have given evidence already on this matter." He said calmly. "Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort's downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am." Haiden turned to look at Mad-Eye Moody. He was wearing a look of deep skepticism behind Dumbledore's back.

"Very well, Karkaroff," Crouch said coldly, "you have been of assistance. I shall review you case. You will be returned to Azkaban in the meantime..."

Mr. Crouch's voice faded. Haiden looked around; the dungeon was dissolving as though it were made of smoke; everything was fading; he could only see his own body - all else was swirling darkness...

And then, the dungeon returned. Haiden was sitting in a different seat, still on the highest bench, but now to the left side of Mr. Crouch. The atmosphere seemed quite different: relaxed, even cheerful. The witches and wizards all around the walls were talking to one another, almost as though they were at some sort of sporting event. Haiden noticed a witch halfway up the rows of benches opposite. She had short blonde hair, was wearing magenta robes, and was sucking the end of and acid-green quill. It was, unmistakably, a younger Rita Skeeter. Haiden looked around; Dumbledore was sitting beside him again, wearing different robes. Mr. Crouch looked more tired and somehow fiercer, gaunter. . . . Haiden understood. It was a different memory, a different day. . . a different trial.

The door in the corner opened, and Ludo Bagman walked into the room. This was not, however, a Ludo Bagman gone to seed, but a Ludo Bagman who was clearly at the height of his Quidditch-playing fitness. His nose wasn't broken now; he was tall and lean and muscular. Bagman looked nervous as he sat down in the chained chair, but it did not bind him there as it had bound Karkaroff, and Bagman, perhaps taking heart of his, glanced around the watching crowd, waved at a couple of them, and managed a small smile.

"Ludo Bagman, you have been brought here in front of the Councle of Magical Law to answer charges relating to the activities of the Death Eaters." Mr. Crouch said. "We have heard the evidence against you, and are about to reach our verdict. Do you have anything to add to you testimony before we pronounce judgment?" Haiden couldn't believe his ears. Ludo Bagman, a Death Eather?

"Only," Bagman said, smiling awkwardly, "well - I know I've been a bit of an idiot-" One or two wizards and witches in the surrounding seats smiled indulgently. Mr. Crouch did not appear to share their feelings. He was staring down at Ludo Bagman with an expression of the utmost severity and dislike.

"You never spoke a truer word, boy." Someone muttered dryly to Dumbledore behind Haiden. He looked around and saw Moody sitting there again. "If I didn't know he'd always been dim, I'd have said some of those Bludgers had permanently affected his brain..."

"Ludovic Bagman, you were caught passing information to Lord Voldemort's supporter," Mr. Crouch said. "For this, I suggest a term of imprisonment in Azkaban lasting no less than-" But there was an angry outcry from the surrounding benches. Several of the witches and wizards around the walls stood up, shaking their heads, and even their fists, at Mr. Crouch.

"But I've told you, I had no idea!" Bagman called earnestly over the crowd's babble, his round blue eyes widening. "None at all! Old Rookwood was a friend of my dad's . . . . Never crossed my mind he was in with You-Know-Who! I thought I was collecting information for our side! And Rookwood kept talking about getting me a job in the Ministry later on . . . once my Quidditch days are over, you know . . . I mean, I can't keep getting hit by Bludgers for the rest of my life, can I?" There were titters from the crowd.

"It will be put to the vote," Mr. Crouch said coldly. He turned to the right-hand side of the dungeon. "The jury will please raise their hands . . . those in favor of imprisonment . . ." Haiden looked toward the right-hand side of the dungeon. Not one person raised their hand. Many of the witches and wizards around the walls began to clap. One of the witches on the jury stood up. "Yes?" Crouch barked.

"We'd just like to congratulate Mr. Bagman on his splendid performance for England in the Quidditch match against Turky last Saturday." The witch said breathlessly. Mr. Crouch looked furious. The dungeon was ringing with applause now. Bagman got to his feet and bowed, beaming.

"Despicable." Mr. Crouch spat at Dumbledore, sitting down as Bagman walked out of the dungeon. "Rookwood get him a job indeed. . . . The day Ludo Bagman joins us will be a sad day indeed for the Ministry. . . ."

And the dungeon dissolved again. When it had returned, Haiden looked around. He and Dumbledore were still sitting beside Mr. Crouch, but the atmosphere could not have been more different. There was total silence, broken only but the dry sobs of a frail, wispy-looking witch in the seat next to Mr. Crouch. She was clutching a handkerchief to her mouth with trembling hands. Haiden looked up at Crouch and saw that he looked gaunter and grayer than ever before. A nerve was twitching in his temple.

"Bring them in." He said, and his voice echoed through the silent dungeon. The door in the corner opened yet again. Six dementors entered this time, flanking a group of four people. Haiden saw the people in the crowd turn to look up at Mr. Crouch. A few of them whispered to one another.

The dementors placed each of the four people in the four chairs with chained arms that now stood on the dungeon floor. There was a thickest man who stared blankly up at Crouch; a thinner and more nervous-looking man, whose eyes were darting around the crowd; a woman with thick, shinning dark hair and heavily hooded eyes, who was sitting in the chained chair as though it were a throne; and a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing the short of petrified. He was shivering, his straw-colored hair all over his face, his freckled skin milk-white. The wispy little witch beside Crouch began to rock backward and forward in her seat, whimpering into her handkerchief.

Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face. "You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law," he said clearly, "so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous-"

"Father." The boy with the straw-colored hair. "Father . . . . please . . ."

"- that we have rarely heard the like of it within this court," Crouch said, speaking more loudly, drowning out his son's voice. "We have heard the evidence against you. The four of you stand accused of capturing an Auror - Frank Longbottom - and subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse, believing him to have knowledge of the present whereabouts of your exiled master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named -"

"Father, I didn't!" The boy shrieked. "I didn't, I swear it, Father, don't send me back to the dementors -"

"You are further accused," Mr. Crouch bellowed, "of using the Cruciatus Curse on Frank Longbottom's wife, when he would not give you information. You planned to restore He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to power, and to resume the lives of violence you presumably led while he was strong. I now ask the jury-"

"Mother!" The boy screamed, and the wispy little witch beside Crouch began to sob, rocking backward and forward. "Mother, stop him, mother, I didn't do it, it wasn't me!"

"I now ask the jury," Mr. Crouch shouted, "to raise their hands if they believe, as I do, that these crimes deserve a life sentence in Azkaban!" In unison, the witches and wizards along the right-hand side of the dungeon raised their hands. The crowd around the walls began to clap as it had for Bagman, their faces full of savage triumph. The boy began to scream.

"No! Mother, no! I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't know! Don't send me there, don't let him!" The dementors were gliding back into the room.

The boy's three companions rose quietly from their seats; the woman with the heavy-lidded eyes looked up at Crouch and called, "The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!" But the boy was trying to fight off the dementors, even though Haiden could see their cold, draining power starting to affect him. The crowd was jeering, some of them on their feet, as the woman swept out of the dungeon, and the boy continued to struggle.

"I'm your son!" He screamed up at Crouch. "I'm your son!"

"You are no son of mine!" Mr. Crouch bellowed, his eyes bulging suddenly. "I have no son!" The wispy witch beside him gave a great gasp and slumped in her seat. She had fainted. Crouch appeared not to have noticed. "Take them away!" Crouch roared at the dementors, spit flying from his mouth. "Take them away, and may they rot there."

"Father! Father, I wasn't involved! No! No! Father, please!"

"I think, Haiden, it is time to return to my office." A quiet voice in Haiden's ear said. Haiden startled. He looked around. Then he looked on his other side. There was an Albus Dumbledore sitting on his right, watching Crouch's son being dragged away by the dementors - and there was an Albus Dumbledore on his left, looking right at him.

"Come." Dumbledore said on his left, and he put his hand under Haiden's elbow. Haiden felt himself rising into the air; the dungeon dissolved around him; for a moment, all was blackness, and then he felt as though he had done a slow-motion somersault, suddenly landing flat on his feet, in what seemed like the dazzling light of Dumbledore's sunlit office. The stone basin was shimmering in the cabinet in front of him, and Albus Dumbledore was standing beside him.

"Professor," Haiden gasped out, "I know I shouldn't've - I didn't mean - the cabinet door was sort of open and -"

"I quite understand." Dumbledore said. He lifted the basin, carried it over to his desk, placed it upon the polished top, and sat down in the chair behind it. He motioned for Haiden to sit down opposite hime. Haiden did so, staring at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery-white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze.

"What is it?" Haiden asked shakily.

"This? It is called a Pensieve." Dumbledore said. "I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind."

"Er." Haiden said, he couldn't truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort.

"At these times," Dumbledore said, indicating the stone basin, "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thought from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form."

"Certainly." Dumbledore said. "Let me show you."

Dumbledore drew his wand out of the inside of his robes and placed the tip into his own silvery hair, near his temple. When he took the wand away, hair seemed to be clinging to it - but then Haiden saw that it was in fact a glistening strand of the same strange silver-white substance that filled the Pensive. Dumbledore added this fresh thought to the basin, and Haiden, astonished, saw his own face swimming around the surface of the bowl. Dumbledore placed his long hands on either side of the Pensieve and swirled it, rather as a gold prospector would pan for fragments of gold . . . and Haiden saw his own face change smoothly into Severus's, who opened his mouth and spoke to the ceiling, his voice echoing slightly.

"It's coming back . . . Karkaroff's too . . . stronger and clearer than ever . . ."

"A connection I could have made without assistance," Dumbledore sighed, "but never mind." He peered over the top half-moon spectacles at Haiden, who was gaping at Severus's face, which was continuing to swirl around the bowl. "I was using the Pensieve when Mr. Fudge arrived for our meeting and put it away rather hastily. Undoubtedly I did not fasten the cabinet door properly. Naturally, it would have attracted your attention."

"I'm sorry." Haiden muttered knowing the lecture he would be receiving from Hermione when he told her what he had found out and how he had come across this information.

Dumbledore shook his head. "Curiosity is not a sin." He told Haiden. "But we should exercise caution with our curiosity . . . yes, indeed . . ."

Frowning slightly, he prodded the thoughts withing the basin with the tip of his wand. Instantly, a figure rose out of it, a plump, scowling girl of about sixteen, who began to revolve slowly, with her feet still in the basin. She took no notice whatsoever of Haiden or Professor Dumbledore. When she spoke, her voice echoed as Severus's had done, as though it were coming from the depths of the stone basin. "He put a hex on me, Professor Dumbledore, and I was only teasing him, sir. I only said I'd seen him kissing Florence behind the greenhouses last Thursday. . . ."

"But why, Bertha," Dumbledore said sadly, looking at the now silently revolving girl, "why did you have to follow him in the first place?"

"Bertha?" Haiden whispered, looking up at her. "Is that - was that Bertha Jorkins?"

"Yes." Dumbledore said, prodding the thoughts in the basin again; Bertha sank back into them, and they became silvery and opaque once more. "That was Bertha as I remember her at school." The silvery light from the Pensieve illuminated Dumbledore's face, and it struck Haiden suddenly how very old he was looking. He knew, of course, that Dumbledore was getting on in years, but somehow he never really thought of Dumbledore as an old man. "So, Haiden." Dumbledore said quietly. "Before you got lost in my thoughts, you wanted to tell me something."

"Yes." Haiden said suddenly remembering the real reason he had come here: his dream. "Professor - I was in Divination just now, and - er - I fell asleep."

He hesitated here, wondering if a reprimand was coming, but Dumbledore merely said, "Quite understandable. Continue."

"Well, I had a dream." Haiden said. "A dream about Lord Voldemort. He was torturing Wormtail . . . you know who Wormtail -"

"I do know." Dumbledore said promptly. "Please continue."

"Voldemort got a letter from an owl. He said something like, Wormtail's blunder had been repaired. He said someone was dead. Then he said, Wormtail wouldn't be fed to the snake - there was a snake beside his chair. He said - he said he'd be feeding Harry to it, instead. Then he did the Cruciatus Curse on Wormtail - and my scar hurt." Haiden said. "It woke me up, it hurt so badly." Dumbledore merely looked at him.

"Er - that's all." Haiden said.

"I see." Dumbledore said quietly. "I see. Now, has your scar hurt at any other time this year, excepting the time it woke you up over the summer?"

"Actually, Harry woke me up then, by stroking my scar. . . wait, how did you know about that?" Haiden asked, astonished. Had Harry told Dumbledore? No, even though Harry had told him to come to Dumbledore if his scar hurt again, Harry, himself, would not confide in Dumbledore like that. It was almost like Harry hated Dumbledore, and Haiden always wondered why.

"You are not Sirius's only correspondent." Dumbledore told him. "I have also been in contact with him ever since he left Hogwarts last year. It was I who suggested the mountainside cave as the safest place for him to stay." Dumbledore got up and began walking up and down behind his desk. Every now and then, he placed his wand tip to his temple, removed another shining silver thought. and added it to the Pensieve. The thoughts inside began to swirl so fast that Haiden couldn't make out anything clearly: It was merely a blur of color.

"Professor?" He asked quietly, after a couple of minutes. Dumbledore stopped pacing and looked at him.

"My apologies." Dumbledore said quietly. He sat back down at his desk.

D'you -d'you know why my scar's hurting me?" Haiden asked nervously. He wanted to know, yet at the same time he didn't.

Dumbledore looked very intently at Haiden for a moment, and then said. "I have a theory, no more than that . . . . It is my belief that your scar hurts both when Lord Voldemort is near you, and when he is feeling a particularly strong surge of hatred."

"But-but why?"

"Because you and he are connected by the curse that failed." Dumbledore told him. "That is no ordinary scar."

"So you think . . . that dream . . . did it really happen?"

"It is possible." Dumbledore said. "I would say - probable. Haiden - did you see Voldemort?"

"No." Haiden said, shaking his head. "Just the back of his chair. But - there wouldn't have been anything to see, would there? I mean, he hasn't got a body, has he? But . . . but then how could he have held the wand?" Haiden asked.

"How indeed?" Dumbledore muttered. "How indeed . . ." Neither Dumbledore nor Haiden spoke for a while. Dumbledore was gazing across the room, and, every now and then, placing his wand tip to his temple and adding another shining silver thought to the seething mass within the Pensieve.

"Professor," Haiden said at last, "do you think he's getting stronger?"

"Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked, looking at Haiden over the Pensieve. It was the characteristic, piercing look Dumbledore had given him on other occasions, and always made Haiden feel as though Dumbledore were seeing right through him in a way that even Moody's magical eye could not. "Once again, Haiden, I can only give you my suspicions." Dumbledore sighed again, and he looked older, and wearier, than ever. "The years of Voldemort's ascent to power," he said, "were marked with disappearance. Bertha Jorkins has vanished without a trace in the place where Voldemort was certainly known to be last. Mr. Crouch too has disappeared . . . within these very grounds.

"And there was a third disappearance, one which the Ministry, I regret to say, do not consider of any importance, for it concerns a Muggle. His name was Frank Bryce, he lived in the village where Voldemort's father grew up, and he has not been seen since last August. You see, I read the Muggle newspapers, unlike most of my Ministry friends." Dumbledore looked very seriously at Haiden. "These disappearance seem to me to be linked. The Ministry disagrees - as you may have heard, while waiting outside my office." Haiden nodded. Silence fell between them again, Dumbledore extracting thoughts every now and then. Harry felt as though he ought to go, but his curiosity held him in his chair.

"Professor?" He asked again.

"Yes, Haiden?" Dumbledore said.

"Er . . . could I ask you about . . . that court thing I was in . . . in the Pensieve?" Haiden asked.

"You could." Dumbledore said heavily. "I attended it many times, but some trials come back to me more clearly than others . . . particularly now . . ."

"You know- you know the trial you found me in? The one with Crouch's son? Well . . . were they talking about Neville's parents?" Dumbledore gave him a sharp look.

"Has Neville never told you why he has been brought up by his grandmother?" He asked. Haiden shook his head, wondering, as he did so, how he could have failed to ask Neville this, in almost four years of knowing him.

"Yes, they were talking about Neville's parents." Dumbledore said. "His father, Frank, was an Auror just like Professor Moody. He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort's whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard."

"So they're dead?" Haiden asked quietly.

"No." Dumbledore said, his voice full of a bitterness Haiden had never heard there before. "They are insane. They are both in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him." Haiden sat there, horror-struck. He had never known . . . never, in four years, bothered to find out. "The Longbottoms were very popular," Dumbledore continued. "The attacks on them came after Voldemort's fall from power, just as everyone thought they were safe. Those attacks caused a wave of fury such as I have never known. The Ministry was under great pressure to catch those who had done it. Unfortunately, the Longbottom's evidence was - given their condition - none too reliable."

"Then Mr. Crouch's son might not have been involved?" Haiden said slowly, his mind trying to figure out what the hell was going on at Hogwarts. Dumbledore shook his head.

"As to that, I have no idea." Haiden sat in silence once more, watching the contents of the Pensieve swirl. There were three more questions he was burning to ask . . . but two concerned the guilt of living people . . . and the other had nothing to do with the Pensieve.

"Er," he said, "Mr. Bagman . . ."

". . . has never been accused of any Dark activity since." Dumbledore told him calmly.

"Right," Haiden said hastily, staring at the contents of the Pensieve again, which were swirling more slowly now that Dumbledore had stopped adding thoughts. "And . . . er . . ." But the Pensieve seemed to be asking his question for him. Severus's face was swimming on the surface again. Dumbledore glanced down into it, and then up at Haiden.

"No more has Professor Snape." He told him and relief flashed through him. Haiden began fighting himself about asking the last question or not. Haiden looked into Dumbledore's light blue eyes, and the thing he really wanted to know spilled out of his mouth before he could stop it.

"Why does Harry hate you so much?"

Dumbledore held Haiden's gaze for a few seconds, and then said, "That, Haiden, is a matter between Harry and myself." Haiden froze at that. There had been an incident between Harry and Dumbledore? It couldn't have been Dumbledore not believing Harry about Moody, this hatred seemed to have started long before that. Haiden knew that the interview was now over, Dumbledore did not look angry, yet there was a finality in his tone that told Haiden it was time to go. He stood up, and so did Dumbledore.

"Haiden." He said as Haiden reached the door. "Please do not speak about Neville's parents to anybody else. He has the right to let people know, when he is ready."

"Yes, Professor." Haiden said, turning to go.

"And-" Harry looked back. Dumbledore was standing over the Pensieve, his face lit from beneath by its silvery spots of light, looking older than ever. He stared at Haiden for a moment, and then said, "Good luck with the third task."

Chapter Text

Chapter 22- The Third Task

"So Dumbledore reckons Voldemort's getting stronger again as well?" Myari whispered.

Everything Haiden has seen in the Pensieve, nearly everything Dumbledore had told him and shown him afterward, he had now shared with Harry, Hermione, Draco, Myari and Luna - and, of course, with Sirius, to whom Haiden had sent an owl the moment he had left Dumbledore's office. The group sat up late in Harry and Haiden's shared bedroom, Harry looked around at the group. Hermione was sitting next to Haiden with her forehead in her hands, staring at her knees, Myari and Luna were huddled together with Luna leaning on Myari looking, and acting, as if all of this information wasn't new to her, and Draco was looking worriedly at him.

Harry looked away from them to look into the darkness, that surrounded their bed. So Voldemort was going to feed him to his familiar? Was this a part of Dumbledore's plan? Was this vision of Haiden true or had Dumbledore fabricated it somehow? Or had Haiden misunderstood it? Visions were not always clear cut.

"Rita Skeeter." Hermione muttered after not speaking for ten or so minutes.

"How can you be worrying about her now?" Myari asked in confusion.

"I'm not worrying about her." Hermione said to her knees. "I'm just thinking . . . remember, awhile back, she said 'I know things about Ludo Bagman that would make your hair curl.' This is what she meant, isn't it? She reported his trial, she knew he'd passed information to the Death Eaters. And Winky too, remember . . . 'Ludo Bagman's a bad wizard.' Mr. Crouch would have been furious he got off, he would have talked about it at home."

"Yeah, but Bagman didn't pass information on purpose, did he?" Myari asked, Hermione shrugged.

"And Fudge reckons Madame Maxime attacked Crouch?" Draco asked, turning to look at Haiden.

"Yeah, but I think he's only saying that 'cause Crouch disappeared near the Beauxbatons carriage."

"You know he's only accusing her because she has giant blood, and she doesn't want to admit it-" Myari started.

"Of course she doesn't!" Hermione cut in sharply, looking up. "Look at Fudge, jumping to conclusions about her, just because she's part giant. Who needs that sort of prejudice? I'd probably say I had big bones if I knew that's what I'd get for telling the truth." Hermione looked at her watch. "We haven't done any practicing!" She said, looking shocked. "We were going to do the Impediment Curse! We'll have to really get down to it tomorrow! Come on, Harry, Haiden, you two need to get some sleep."

"It's too late for you guys to try and make it back to your dorms, stay, sleep here tonight." Harry said, magicking the bed large enough to fit all of them. They all quickly slid under the covers and got settled in for the night. As Harry laid down with his back against Draco's chest, snuggling in his warmth, Harry knew that he could not let Voldemort, or Dumbledore, kill him. He would fight, he would not leave his brother or Draco alone.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Draco and Hermione were supposed to be studying for their exams, which would finish on the day of the third task, but they were putting most of their efforts into helping Harry and Haiden prepare, mostly Haiden.

"Don't worry about it," Hermione said shortly when Haiden pointed this out to them and said he didn't mind just practicing with Harry for awhile, "at least we'll get top marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts. We'd never have found out about all these hexes in class."

"Good training for when we're all Aurors." Draco said excitedly, attempting the Impediment Curse on a wasp that had buzzed into the room and making it stop dead in midair.

The mood in the castle as they entered June became excited and tense again. Everyone was looking forward to the third task, which would take place a week before the end of term. Haiden was practicing hexes at every available moment, Harry made sure of it.

Tired of walking in on Harry, Haiden, Hermione, Draco (and occasionally Luna and Myari), all over the school, Professor McGonagall had given them permission to use the empty Transfiguration classroom at lunchtimes. And with Harry's great way of teaching, Haiden soon mastered the Impediment Curse, a spell to slow down and obstruct attackers; the Reductor Curse, which would enable him to blast solid objects out of his way; and the Four-Point Spell, a useful discovery of Hermione's that would make his wand point due north, therefore enabling him to check whether they were going in the right direction within the maze; and Harry taught him a Locate Person spell, a spell that would help him locate Harry if they were to ever get separated in the maze. Haiden was still having trouble with the Shield Charm, though. This was supposed to cast a temporary, invisible wall around himself that deflected minor curses; Hermione managed to shatter it with a well-placed Jelly-Legs Jinx, and Haiden had wobbled around the room for ten minutes afterwards before she had looked up the counter-jinx, having refused Harry's offer to do it for her.

"You're still doing really well, thought," Hermione told Haiden encouragingly, looking down her list and crossing off those spell they had already learned, as Harry sat on the window seal, and looked out the window. He had been planning to look out at the grounds absentmindedly, but Pansy Parkinson caught his attention. She was standing in the shadow of a tree below, Crabbe and Goyle were with her. Crabbe and Goyle seemed to be keeping lookout; both were smirking. Pansy was holding her hand up to her mouth and speaking into it.

"What are you doing?" Harry muttered.

"What is who doing?" Draco asked shocking Harry who had been so focused on Parkinson that he hadn't realized Draco had made his way to him.

"Parkinson." Harry said nodded his head out the window.

"What's going on?" Haiden asked and him and Hermione made their way over to the window. "She looks like she's using a walkie-talkie."

"She can't be," Hermione said, "I've told you, those sorts of things don't work around Hogwarts. Come on, Haiden," She added briskly, turning away from the window and moving back into the middle of the room, "let's try that Shield Charm again."

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Sirius was sending them daily owls now. Like Hermione, he seemed to want to concentrate on getting them through the last task before they concerned themselves with anything else. He continually reminded both of them, in every letter, that whatever might be going on outside the walls of Hogwarts was not their responsibility, nor was it within their power to influence it. And this was constantly getting on Harry's nerves.

Harry's nerves mounted as June the twenty-four drew closer, but they were not as bad as those he had felt before the first task. For one thing, he was not going to be alone this time. For the another thing, he was confident in his brother's ability, they had done everything in their power to prepare Haiden for this task. And for the last thing, this was the final hurdle, and however well or badly they did, the tournament would at last be over, which would be an enormous relief.

~Burn Me In Your Memory~

Breakfast was a very noisy affair at the Gryffindor table on the morning of the third task. The post owls appeared bringing Harry and Haiden a good-luck card from Sirius. It was only a piece of parchment, folded over and bearing a muddy paw print on its front, but Harry could tell that Haiden appreciated it all the same. A screech owl arrived for Hermione, carrying her morning copy of the Daily Prophet as usual. She unfolded the paper, glanced at the front page, and spat out a mouthful of pumpkin juice all over it.

"What?" Draco, Haiden, and Myari asked as everyone in their group stared at her.

"Nothing." Hermione said quickly, trying to shove the paper out of sight, but Myari grabbed it. She stared at the headline and said, "Oh hell no! Not today! That-that old cow!"

"It's about me, isn't it?" Harry asked.

"No." Myari said

"Then it's about me." Haiden said.

"Why would you think that?" Myari asked in an entirely convincing tone. But before Haiden or Harry could demand to see the paper, Pansy Parkinson shouted across the Great Hall from the Slytherin table.

"Hey, Potter! Potter! How's your head? You feeling all right? Sure you're not going to go berserk on us?" Parkinson was holding a copy of the Daily Prophet too. Her gaggle of Slytherin followers began to snicker, twisting in their seats to see Haiden's reaction. Harry notice the other Slytherins looking terrified and scooting away from her and her followers.

"Let me see it." Harry said, reaching over and snatched the paper before Myari could hide it. Harry turned it over and found himself staring at a picture of Haiden, beneath the banner headline:

 

"Well, now we know what she was doing by the trees." Harry said lightly, folding up the paper. Over at the Slytherin table, Parkinson, Crabbe, and Goyle were laughing at them, tapping their heads with their fingers, pulling grotesquely mad faces, and waggling their tongues like snakes.

"How did she know your scar hurt in Divination?" Draco asked. "There's no way she was there, there's no way she could've heard-"

"The window was open." Haiden said. "I opened it to breath."

"You were at the top of North Tower!" Hermione said. "Your voice couldn't have carried all the way down to the grounds!"

"Well, you're the one who's supposed to be researching magical methods of bugging!" Haiden snapped. "You tell me how she did it!"

"I've been trying!" Hermione snapped back. "But I . . . but . . ." An odd, dreamy expression suddenly came over Hermione's face. She slowly raised a hand and ran her fingers through her hair.

"Are you all right?" Myari asked, frowning at her.

"Yes." Hermione said breathlessly. She ran her fingers through her hair again, and then held her hand up to her mouth, as thought speaking into an invisible walking-talkie. Haiden, Myari, Draco, and Harry looked at each other. "I've had an idea." Hermione said, gazing into space. "I think I know . . . because then no one would be able to see . . . even 'Moody' . . . and she'd have been able to get onto the window ledge . . . but she's not allowed . . . she's definitely not allowed . . . I think we've got her! Just give me two seconds in the library - just to make sure!" With that, Hermione seized her school bag and dashed out of the Great Hall.

"We've got our History of Magic exam in ten minutes!" Draco called after her before turning to look at Haiden. "She must really hate that Skeeter woman to risk missing the start of an exam. What will you two be doing in Binns's class - read again?" Exempt from the end-of-term tests as a Triwizard champion, Harry and Haiden had been sitting in the back of every exam class so far, looking up fresh hexes for the third task.

"S'pose so," Haiden said shrugging his shoulder; but just then, Professor McGonagall came walking alongside the Gryffindor table toward them.

"Harry, Haiden, the champions are congregating in the chamber off the Hall after breakfast." She told them.

"But the task's not till tonight!" Haiden said, accidentally spilling scrambled eggs down his front, afraid he had mistaken the time.

"I'm aware of that, Potter." She said. "The champions' families are invited to watch the final task, you know. This is simply a chance for you to greet them." She moved away. Haiden gaped after her.

"She doesn't expect the Dursleys to turn up, does she?" He asked Harry and Draco.

"I don't know." Harry said.

"Me either." Draco said. "I better hurry or I'm going to be late for Binns. See you later." Draco said before kissing Harry and leaving.

Harry and Haiden finished their breakfast in the emptying Great Hall. Harry saw Fleur Delacour get up from the Ravenclaw table and join Cedric as he crossed to the side chamber and entered. Krum slouched off to join them shortly afterward. Harry finished and stood up, looked over at Haiden who was just sitting there. Harry could tell that Haiden really didn't want to go and either see the Dursleys or no one there waiting for him.

"Look, Haiden, even if they did or did not come, it doesn't mean they are your only family. You've got me, Severus, and Remus, and I know I will be there and I'm positive that Severus will be there too." Harry told Haiden who looked up at him in shock. "Just keep that in mind." Haiden smiled and got up. The two of them walked across the Hall and opened the door into the chamber.

Cedric and his parents were just inside the door. Viktor Krum was over in a corner, conversing with his dark-haired mother and father in rapid Bulgarian. He had inherited his father's hooked nose. On the other side of the room, Fleur was jabbering away in French to her mother. Fleur's little sister Gabrielle, was holding her mother's hand. She waved at them, who waved back, grinning. Then he saw Severus, Remus, Mrs. Weasley, and Bill standing in front of the fireplace, beaming at them, well Remus, Mrs. Weasley and Bill were beaming at them, Severus looked annoyed.

"Surprise!" Mrs. Weasley said excitedly as Harry smiled broadly at them as him and his brother walked over to them. "Thought we'd come and watch you boys!" She bent down and kissed Haiden on the cheek.

"You guys all right?" Bill asked, grinning at them and shaking their hands. "Charlie wanted to come, but he couldn't get time off. He said you were incredible against the Horntail, Harry."

"And of course I wouldn't miss the chance to come and check up on my pups." Remus said hugging each of them.

"I have no idea why I'm here, I see both of you every day." Severus told them earning a playful glare from Remus, an annoyed look from Mrs. Weasley, and laughs from Bill, Harry, and Haiden. Fleur Delacour, Harry noticed, was eyeing Bill with great interest over her mother's shoulder. Harry could tell she had no objection whatsoever to long hair or earrings with fangs on them.

"This is really nice of you." Haiden mutter to Mrs. Wealsey. "I thought for a moment - the Dursleys -"

"Hmm." Mrs. Weasley said, pursing her lips as Severus's eyes flashed dangerously and Remus glared into the distance. This was always their reactions whenever anyone mentioned the Dursleys around them.

"It's great being back here." Bill said, looking around the chamber (Violet, the Fat Lady's friend, winked at him from her frame). "Haven't seen this place for five years. Is that picture of the mad knight still around? Sir Cadogan?"

"Oh yeah." Haiden said, who had met Sir Cadogan the previous year.

"And the Fat Lady?" Bill asked.

"She was here in my time." Mrs. Weasley said. "She gave me such a telling off one night when I got back to the dormitory at four in the morning -"

"What were you doing out of your dormitory at four in the morning?" Bill asked, surveying his mother with amazement. Mrs. Weasley grinned, her eyes twinkling.

"Your father and I had been for a nighttime stroll." She said. "He got caught by Apollyon Pringle - he was the caretaker in those days - your father's still got the marks."

"Fancy giving us a tour, Harry, Haiden?" Bill asked.

"Yeah, sure." Haiden said, and they made their way back toward the door into the Great Hall. As they passed Amos Diggory, he looked around.

"There you are, are you?" He said, looking Harry and his brother up and down. "Bet you're not feeling quite as full of yourself now Cedric's caught you up on points, are you?"

"What?" Harry asked.

"Ignore him." Cedric said in a low voice to them, frowning after his father. "He's been angry ever since Rita Skeeter's article about the Triwizard Tournament - you know, when she made out you were the only Hogwarts champion."

"Didn't bother to correct her, did they?" Amos Diggory said loud enough for them to hear as they started to walk out of the door with their family. "Still . . . you'll show them, Ced. Beaten Haiden once before, haven't you?"

"Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos!" Mrs. Weasley said angrily. "I would have thought you'd know that, working at the Ministry!"

"Says the person who actually believed her." Harry muttered darkly under his breath. Remus laid a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it. Mr. Diggory looked as though he was going to say something angry, but his wife laid a hand on his arm, and he merely shrugged and turned away.

Harry had a very enjoyable morning walking over the sunny grounds with Remus, Bill, and Mrs. Weasley (Severus had been able to escape with the excuse that he had classes to attend to), showing them the Beauxbatons carriage and the Durmstang ship. Mrs. Weasley was intrigued by the Whomping Willow, which had been planted after she had left school, and reminisced at length about the gamekeeper before Hagrid, a man called Ogg.

"How's Percy?" Haiden asked as they walked around the greenhouses.

"Not good." Bill said.

"He's very upset," Mrs. Weasley said, lowering her voice and glancing around. "The Ministry wants to keep Mr. Crouch's disappearance quiet, but Percy's been hauled in for questioning about the instruction Mr. Crouch had been sending in. They seem to think there's a chance they weren't genuinely written by him. Percy's been under a lot of strain. They're not letting him fill in for Mr. Crouch as the fifth judge tonight. Cornelius Fudge is going to do it."

They returned to the castle for lunch.

"Mum - Bill!" Ron said, looking stunned, as he joined the Gryffindor table, for once not carrying when Draco and Myari sat down by Harry. "What're you doing here?"

"Come to watch Haiden and Harry in the last task!" Mrs. Weasley said brightly. "I must say, it makes a lovely change, not having to cook. How was your exam?"

"Oh . . . okay." Ron said. "Couldn't remember all the goblin rebels' names, so I invented a few. It's all right," he said helping himself to a Cornish pasty, while Mrs. Weasley looked stern, "they're all called stuff like Bodrod the Bearded and Urge the Unclean; it wasn't hard." Fred, George, and Ginny came to sit next to them to, Ginny taken this chance to sit next to Haiden.

"Are you going to tell us -?" Haiden asked when Hermione sat down across from him. Hermione shook her head warningly and glanced at Mrs. Weasley.

Harry, Haiden, Remus, Bill, and Mrs. Weasley whiled away to afternoon with a long walk around the castle, and then returned to the Great Hall for the evening feast. Ludo Bagman and Cornelius Fudge had joined the staff table now. Bagman looked quite cheerful, but Cornelius Fudge, who was sitting next to Madame Maxime, looked stern and was not talking. Madam Maxime was concentrating on her plate, and Harry thought her eyes looked red. Hargid kept glancing along the table to her.

There were more courses than usual, but Harry, who was starting to feel really nervous now, didn't eat much, and neither did Haiden. As the enchanted ceiling overhead began to fade from blue to a dusky purple, Dumbledore rose to his feet at the staff table, and silence fell.

"Ladies and gentlemen, in five minutes' time, I will be asking you to make your way down to the Quidditch field for the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament. Will the champions please follow Mr. Bagman down to the stadium now." Harry and Haiden got up. The Gryffindores all along the table were applauding them; the Weasleys, Remus, Hermione, Draco, Myari, and Luna all wished him good luck, and he headed off out of the Great Hall with Cedric, Fleur, and Viktor.

"Feeling all right, Haiden, Harry?" Bagman asked as they went down the stone steps onto the grounds. "Confident?"

"We're okay." Harry and Haiden said together as they reached out and grabbed the other's hand at the same time. A bit of Harry's nerves left him at the feel of his brother's hand in his. As long as they were together, they would be all right.

They walked onto the Quidditch field, which was now completely unrecognizable. A twenty-foot hedge ran all the way around the edge of it. There was a gap right in front of them: the entrance to the vast maze. The passage beyond it looked dark and creepy.

Five minutes later, the stands had begun to fill; the air was full of excited voices and the rumbling of feet as the hundreds of students filed into their seats. The sky was a deep, clear blue now, and the first stars were starting to appear. Hagrid, Professor 'Moody', Professor McGonagall, and Professor Flitwick came walking into the stadium and approached Bagman and the Champions. They were wearing large, red, luminous stars on their hats, all except Hagrid, who had his on the back of his moleskin vest.

"We are going to be patrolling the outside of the maze," Professor McGonagall said to the champions. "If you get into difficulty, and wish to be rescued, send red sparks into the air, and one of us will come and get you, do you understand?" The champions nodded.

"Off you go, then." Bagman said brightly to the four patrollers.

"Good luck, Haiden, Harry." Hagrid whispered, and the four of them walked away in different directions, to stations themselves around the maze. Bagman now pointed his wand as his throat, muttered, "Sonorus," and his magically magnified voice echoed into the stands.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Let me remind you how the points currently stand! Tied in first place with eighty-five points each- Mr. Cedric Diggory and Mr. Haiden and Harry Potter, all of which are of Hogwarts School!" The cheers and applause sent birds from the Forbidden Forest fluttering into the darkening sky. "In second place, with eighty points - Mr. Vikor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute!" More applause. "And in third place - Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!"

Harry could just make out Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Remus, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Myari and Luna applauding Fleur politely, halfway up the stands. He nudged Haiden and nodded his head towards their group, and, once Haiden had spotted them, Haiden waved up at them, and they waved back, beaming at them.

"So . . . on my whistle, Haiden, Harry, and Cedric!" Bagman said. "Three - two - one -" Harry and Haiden tightened their grip on each other's hands and took off into the maze.

"The towering hedges cast black shadows across the path, and, whether because they were so tall and thick or because they had been enchanted, the sound of the surrounding crowd was silenced the moment they entered the maze.

Harry used his free hand to reach into his hidden pocket to grab his wand (having promised himself to use it in this final task to try and not draw any more attention to himself) only to find it missing. Harry's heart dropped, he knew he had had his wand just moments before they entered the maze, he had made sure of it. He gave a silent curse, someone had stolen his wand without him knowing it.

"Lumos." Both Haiden and Cedric said at the same time. The three of them walked together until they reached a fork about fifty yards in. They looked at each other.

"See you." Haiden said before leading Harry down the left one. Harry heard Bagman's whistle for the second time. Krum had entered the maze. They sped up. Their chosen path seemed completely deserted. They turned right, and hurried on, Haiden was holding his wand high over his head, trying to see as far ahead a possible. Still, there was nothing in sight. Bagman's whistle blew in the distance for the third time. All of the champions were now inside.

Harry made sure nothing was following them as the old feeling that he was being watched was upon him. The maze was growing darker with every passing minute as the sky overhead deepened to navy. They reached a second fork. Harry and Haiden looked at each other, wondering if they should split up or stick together. They tightened their hold on each other, silently asking, begging, the other to stay with them. They smiled at each other, the decision having been made.

"Point Me." Haiden whispered to his wand, holding it flat in his palm. The wand spun around once and pointed toward his right, into solid hedge. That way was north. They needed to go northwest for the center of the maze. The best they could do was take the left fork and go right again as soon as possible.

The path ahead was empty too, and when they reached a right turn and took it, they, once again, found their way unblocked. Harry didn't know why, but the lack of obstacles was unnerving him. Surely they should have met something by now? It felt as though the maze were luring them into a false sense of security. Then he heard movement right behind them. without thought, Harry spun them so that he was positioned in between Haiden and whatever was behind them and put up a barrier while falling into a fighting stance.

A beam of light from Haiden's wand fell upon Cedric, who had just hurried out of a path on the right-hand side. Cedric looked severely shaken. The sleeve of his robe was smoking. "Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts!" He hissed. "They're enormous - I only just got away!" He shook his head and dove out of sight, along another path. Keen to put plenty of distance between themselves and the skrewts, Harry and Haiden took off again. Then, as they turned a corner, they saw . . . a Dementor gliding towards them. Twelve feet tall, its face hidden by its hood, its rotting, scabbed hands outstretched, it advanced, sensing its way blindly toward them. Harry froze as memories of third year began to flood his mind.

"Expecto Patonum!" Haiden yelled. A silver stag erupted from the end of Haiden's wand and galloped toward the Dementor, which fell back and tripped over the hem of its robes... that knocked Harry out of his memories. Dementors don't trip or stumble!

"That not a Dementor!" Harry shouted, advancing in the wake of Haiden's silver Patrounus. "That's a Boggart! Riddikulus!" There was a loud crack, and the shape-shifter exploded in a wisp of smoke. The silver stag faded from sight. Harry took a deep breath and shoved the memories that the Dementor shaped Boggart had drug up into the back of his mind, he would talk to Krysten about them once him and Haiden had gotten out of his damned maze. Once he was able to focus back on his task of helping him and Haiden out of the maze, he grabbed Haiden's hand and they continued to move through the maze as quickly and quietly as they could, both of them listening hard, Haiden's wand held high once more.

Left . . . right . . . left again . . . Twice they had found themselves facing dead ends. Haiden did the Four-Point Spell again and found that they were going too far east. They turned back, took a right turn and saw an odd golden mist floating ahead of them.

They approached it cautiously, Haiden pointing his wand's beam at it. This looked like some kind of enchantment. Harry went to dispel the mist when a scream shattered the silence. "Fleur!" Harry yelled. There was silence. Both him and Haiden stared all around them. What had happened to her? Her scream seemed to have come from somewhere ahead. Harry took a deep breath, gathered his magic, closed his eyes and pictured a sword in his hands, and swung. When he opened his eyes again, the mist was gone and Haiden was looking at him in amazed wonder.

"What was that? What did you just do." Haiden asked as Harry took his hand once more and took off running. Harry ignored him, too focused on finding Fleur. What had she met? Was she all right? There was no sign of red sparks - did that mean she had got herself out of trouble, or was she in such trouble that she couldn't reach her wand? They came to a junction of two paths. Harry made them take the right fork with a feeling of increasing unease . . . yet at the same time, a dark voice kept whispering One champion down... two more left to go...

The cup was somewhere close by, and it sounded as though Fleur was no longer in the running. They had gotten this far, hadn't they? What if they actually managed to win? Fleetinlyg, and for the first time since he'd found him and his brother as a champion, he saw again that image of him and Haiden, raising the Triwizard Cup in front of the rest of the school. . .

They met nothing for ten minutes, but kept running into dead ends. Twice they took the same wrong turn. Finally, they found a new route and started to jog along it, Haiden's wandlight waving, making their shadows flicker and distort on the hedge walls. Then they rounded another corner and found themselves facing a Blast-Ended Skrewt.

Cedric was right - it was enormous. Ten feet long, it looked more like a giant scorpion than anything. Its long sting was curled over its back. Its thick armor glinted in the light from Haiden's wand, which he pointed at it.

"Stupefy!" Haiden said before Harry could stop him. The spell hit the skrewt's armor and rebounded, Harry pushed Haiden to the ground while creating a barrier around Haiden, before batting the rebounded spell away. The skrewt issued a blast of fire from its end and few forwards toward him.

Harry let his mixed martial arts training kick in, he dodged the blast, he gathered his magic and sent a wave of it at the skrewt with a round house kick. The wave of magic hit the skrewt knocking it onto its back. Harry gathered his magic once more and sent it through the earth with a stomp of his foot, he then directed his magic to flow through the earth towards the skrewt, mixing with the natural magic in the ground, before, with a simple hand gesture, directed the magic to shoot straight into the air sending the skrewt up and out of the maze.

Harry took a deep breath while letting go of his magic, releasing the barrier around Haiden in the process. "When did you learn to do that." Haiden asked him as he got up off the ground.

"This is the first time I've been able to put that into action. Come on, lets continue." Harry said taking his brother's hand. The two of them took off once more. They took a left path and hit a dead end, a right, and hit another; forcing them to stop, hearts hammering, Haiden performed the Four-Point Spell again, backtracked, and chose a path that would take them northwest.

They had been hurrying along the new path for a few minutes, when Harry heard something in the path running parallel to his and Haiden's that made him stop dead.

"What are you doing?" Cedric yelled. "What the hell d'you think you're doing?" And then Harry heard Viktor's voice.

"Crucio!"

The air was suddenly full of Cedric's yells. Horrified, Harry began sprinting up his and Haiden's path, trying to find a way into Cedric's. When none appeared, Harry blasted a hole in the hedge through which both him and Haiden ran through. Looking to his right, Harry saw Cedric jerking and twitching on the ground, Krum standing over him. When Krum looked up, Harry saw that his eyes were white, he was being controlled. Haiden pointed moved to point his wand at Krum as he turned and began to run.

"Stupefy!" Harry yelled. The spell hit Krum in the back; he stopped dead in his tracks, fell forward, and lay motionless, face-down in the grass. Harry dashed over to him and rolled him over, tears running down his face. "Why weren't you strong enough to fight it? You promised me you would fight it." Harry whispered to him before pointing up towards the sky, shooting off red sparks. He got up and turned towards Cedric who was being held up by Haiden and watching him with barely concealed disgust.

"Please do not blame Viktor for this, he wasn't in his right mind. He was being controlled, I know that once he is in his right mind he, himself, will apologize to you." Harry said. The three of them stood there in the dark for a moment, looking around them.

"Well. . . I s'pose we'd better go on. . . ."

"What?" Haiden asked. "Oh. . . yeah. . . right. . ." It was an odd moment. The three of them had been briefly united against the controlled Viktor - now the fact that they were opponents came back to Harry. The three of them proceeded up the dark path without speaking, then Harry and Haiden turned left, and Cedric right. Cedric's stumbling footsteps soon died away.

Harry and Haiden moved on, continuing to use the Four-Point Spell, making sure they were going in the right direction. It was between them and Cedric now. Harry's desire to reach the cup first was now burning stronger than ever, but he could hardly believe that someone would control Viktor and make him do what he just did. The use of an Unforgivable Curse on a fellow human being meant a life term in Azkaban.

Every so often Harry and Haiden hit more dead ends, but the increasing darkness made Harry feel sure that they were getting near the heart of the maze. Then, as they strode down a long, straight path, he saw movement once again, and Haiden's beam of wandlight hit an extraordinary creature, one which Harry had only seen in picture form.

It was a sphinx. It had the body of an over-large lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eye upon them as they approached. From the corner of his eye, Harry saw Haiden raise his wand to attack her, Harry quickly pushed Haiden's arm back down. Then she spoke, in a deep, hoarse voice.

"You are very near your goal. The quickest way is past me."

"So . . . so will you move, please?" Haiden asked.

"No." She said, continuing to pace. "Not unless you can answer my riddle. Answer on your first guess - I let you pass. Answer wrongly - I attack. Remain silent - I will let you walk away from me unscathed." Harry saw Haiden look at him and he rolled his shoulders, he could do this. And anyway, if he believed the riddle was too hard he would just remain silent and then him and Haiden would walk away from the sphinx unharmed, and try and find an alternative route to the center.

"Okay." Harry said. "Can I hear the riddle?"

The sphinx sat down upon her hind legs, in the very middle of the path, and recited:

"First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?"

"A Spider." Harry said and Haiden gapped at him. The sphinx smiled broadly, got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for them to pass. "Thank you." He said before leading as still amazed Haiden by her. They had to be close now, they had to be. . . Haiden's wand was telling them that they were bang on course; as long as they didn't meet anything too horrible, they might have a chance. . . .

Harry forced them into a run. They has a choice of paths up ahead. "Which way, Haiden?"

"What?" Haiden asked.

"Which way?" Harry repeated.

"Oh, uh, Point Me!" Haiden whispered again to his wand, and it spun around and pointed them to the right-hand one. Harry forced them to dash up that one and saw light ahead.

The Triwizard Cup was gleaming on a plinth a hundred yards away. Suddenly a dark figure hurtled out onto the path in front of them.

Cedric was going to get there first. Cedric was sprinting as fast as he could toward the cup, and, unless he used magic to speed him and Haiden up, Harry knew they would never catch up, Cedric was much taller, had much longer legs -

Then Harry saw something immense over a hedge to his left, moving quickly along a path that was that intersected with his own; it was moving so fast Cedric was about to run into it, and Cedric, his eyes on the cup, had not seen it -

"Cedric!" Both Harry and Haiden bellowed at the same time. "On your left!" Cedric looked around just in time to hurl himself past the thing and avoid colliding with it, but in his haste, he tripped. Harry saw Cedric's wand fly out of his hand as a gigantic spider stepped into the path and began to bear down upon Cedric.

"Stupefy!" Haiden yelled; the spell hit the spider's gigantic, hairy black body, but for all the good it did, he might as well have thrown a stone at it; the spider jerked, scuttled around, and ran at them instead. "Stupefy! Impedimenta! Stupefy!" But it was no use - the spider was either so large, or so magical, that the spells were doing no more than aggravating it.

Harry quickly pushed Haiden to safety before he, himself, dropped into the splits to dodge the spider's pincers. He quickly fell onto his back and rolled to the side before flipping back onto his feet. Harry gathered his magic and sent a wave of it in a round house kick, the wave hit the spider and caused it to slam into the hedge. He quickly planted his feet, gathered more magic, before sending small amounts of it out while punching the air five times, the magic hit the spider causing it to go limp.

Harry stood there panting, as the adrenaline left his body, while Haiden and Cedric both slowly stood up, both of them staring at Harry in shock.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing you do that." Haiden said.

"What was that?" Cedric asked. "I've never seen anything like that in my life."

"I wouldn't think so. It's a mix of a Muggle fighting style called Mixed Martial Arts with an old way of Magical fighting, when witches and wizards used swords and staffs to conduct their magic with instead of wands." Harry informed them. "I could teach it to you, if you want."

"But I don't know how to use wandless magic." Cedric said.

"You don't have to know how to use wandless magic, you just have to imagine your limbs as your wand. It's easier than it sounds. After the celebration of your winning of the Cup, and after you rest up, I'll teach it to you." Harry said looking at Cedric was standing feet from the Triwizard Cup. "Gon on, take it. You're there." But Cedric didn't move. He merely stood there, looking at Harry with an undefined look. Then he turned to stare at the cup. Harry saw the longing expression on his face in its golden light. Cedric looked around at Harry again. Cedric took a deep breath.

"You take it. You two should win. Not only did both of you save my neck twice in here, but you, Harry, deserve it more." Harry shook his head.

"That's not how it's supposed to work." Harry said. He felt angry; him and his brother were forced to take part in this tournament against their own will, their lives had been turned upside down, their reputation tarnished by Ritta, and after all their efforts, Cedric had beaten them fair and square. "The one who reaches the cup first gets the points. That's you. I'm telling you, I'm not going to win any races on foot without any assistance from my magic." Cedric took a few paces nearer to the Stunned spider, away from the cup, shaking his head.

"No." He said.

"Stop it! Stop being noble!" Harry snapped out irritably. "Just take the damn thing so that we can get out of here!" Haiden took Harry's hand. Cedric watched them carefully.

"You told me about the dragons." Cedric pointed out. "I would've gone down in the first task if you hadn't told me what was coming."

"I had help on that too." Harry snapped. "You helped us with the egg - we're square."

"I had help on the egg in the first place." Cedric told him.

"We're still square." Harry told him.

"You should've got more point on the second task." Cedric told Haiden mulishly. "You stayed behind to get all the hostages. I should've done that."

"I was the only one who was thick enough to take that song seriously." Haiden told him bitterly.

"Just take the cup!" They both told Cedric.

"No." Cedric said stepping over the spider's tangled legs to join them, who stared at him. Cedric was serious. He was walking away from the sort of glory Hufflepuff House hadn't had in centuries. And Harry just knew that he would be accused of tricking Cedric into doing it. "Go on." Cedric said. He looked as though this was costing him every ounce of resolution he had, but his face was set, his arms were folded, he seemed decided.

Harry looked from Cedric to the cup. For one shining moment, he saw himself and Haiden emerging from the maze, holding it, not caring if he was accused of cheating and tricking Cedric to give up. He saw him and Haiden holding the Triwizard Cup aloft, heard the roar of the crowd. . . and then the picture faded, and he found himself staring at Cedric's shadowy, stubborn face.

"All of us." Harry and Haiden said together.

"What?"

"All three of us will take it at the same time. It's still a Hogwarts victory. We'll tie for it." Haiden said. Cedric stared at them. He unfolded his arms.

"You - you sure?"

"Yes." Harry said. "We've helped each other out, haven't we? We both got here. Let's just take it together." For a moment, Cedric looked as though he couldn't believe his ears; then his face split in a grin.

"You're on." He grabbed Harry's other hand and the three of them walked toward the plinth where the cup stood. When they had reached it, Cedric let go of Harry's hand and all three of them held a hand out over one of the cup's gleaming handles.

"On three, right?" Haiden asked.

"One -" Harry said.

"Two -" Cedric said.

"Three -" Haiden said. Cedric grasped his handle while Harry and Haiden grasped theirs at the same time. Instantly, Harry felt a jerk somewhere behind his navel. His feet had left the ground. He could not unclench his hand holding the Triwizard Cup; it was pulling him onward in a howl of wind and swirling color, Cedric on one side and Haiden on the other.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23- Flesh, Blood, Bone, and the Death Eaters

Haiden felt his feet slam into the ground and fell forward, his hand let go of the Triwizard Cup at last. He raised his head.

"Where are we?" He asked. Cedric shook his head. He got up, pulled Haiden and Harry to their feet, and they looked around.

They had left the Hogwarts grounds completely; they had obviously traveled miles - perhaps hundreds of miles - for even the mountains surrounding the castle were gone. They were standing instead in a dark and over grown graveyard; the black outline of a small church was visible beyond a large yet tree to their right. A hill rose above them to their left. Haiden could just make out the outline of a fine old house on the hillside. Cedric looked down at the Triwizard Cup and then up at Haiden.

"Did anyone tell you the cup was a Portkey?" He asked.

"Nope." Haiden said looking over at Harry who had begun to walk around looking at everything he could. "Harry?"

"No." Harry said. Haiden also began to look around the graveyard. It was completely silent and slightly eerie.

"Is this supposed to be part of the task?" Haiden asked.

"I dunno." Cedric said, sounding slightly nervous.

"I don't think so." Harry said, sounding guarded and that sent Haiden on edge. It was obvious that Harry was feeling danger.

"Wands out, d'you reckon?" Cedric asked.

"Yeah." Haiden said, glad that Cedric had made the suggestion rather than Harry, because if Harry had told him to be ready, then he knew something bad was going to happen. Him and Cedric pulled out their wands, Haiden thankful of the show Harry had put on earlier that left Cedric not even questioning why Harry hadn't pulled his wand out (Haiden wondered if Harry had even brought his wand). Haiden had, yet again, the strange feeling that they were being watched.

"Someone's coming." Harry whispered suddenly. Squinting tensely through the darkness, they watched the figure drawing nearer, walking steadily toward them between the graves. Haiden couldn't make out a face, but from the way it was walking and holding its arms, he could tell that it was carrying something. Whoever it was, he was short, and wearing a hooded cloak pulled up over his head to obscure his face. And - Several paces nearer, the gap between them closing all the time - Haiden saw that the thing in the person's arms looked like a baby . . . or was it merely a bundle of robes?

Haiden lowered his wand slightly and glanced sideways at Cedric, and noticed that Harry had moved so that he was positioned behind Cedric (and still in his defensive position). Cedric shot him a quizzical look. They both turned back to watch the approaching figure.

It stopped beside a towering marble headstone, only six feet from them. For a second, Haiden and Cedric and the short figure (Harry's line of sight being blocked by Cedric's body) simply looked at one another.

And then, without warning, Haiden's scar exploded with pain. It was agony such as he had never felt in all his life; his wand slipped from his fingers as he put his hands over his scar; his knees buckled as he glared at the person.

"Kill the spare." Haiden heard the raspy voice of Voldemort that he had heard in his vision. The person held up a wand.

"Avada Kedavra!" The person screeched. Haiden watched with horror as a blast of green light flew straight at Cedric (and Harry). It was all happening so fast and yet he watched in slow motion as Cedric's limp body flew through the air, taking what appeared to be the unconscious body of Harry with him. The hard thud of Cedric and Harry's bodies landing on the ground just slightly behind him.

"HARRY! CEDRIC! NO!" Haiden cried in shock. He had just witnessed the death of his brother and school mate. This was his fault, had he not insisted that Cedric also take the cup along side him and Harry then Cedric would still be alive. Cedric had been the 'spare' he was sure of it, had Cedric not been here then, both him and Harry would still be alive.

For a second that contained an eternity, Haiden stared at Harry and Cedric's limp and unmoving bodies. And then, before Haiden's mind had accepted what he was seeing, before he could feel anything but numb disbelief, he felt himself being pulled to his feet.

The short man in the cloak had put down his bundle, lit his wand, and was dragging Haiden toward the marble headstone. Haiden saw the name upon it flickering in the wandlight before he was forced around and slammed against it.

TOM RIDDLE

The cloaked man was now conjuring tight cords around Haiden, tying him from neck to ankles to the headstone. Haiden could hear shallow, fast breathing from the depths of the hood; he struggled and the man hit him - hit him with a hand that had a missing finger. It was then that Haiden realized who was under the hood. It was Wormtail. Anger flared up inside him.

"You!" He growled out.

But Wormtail, who had finished conjuring the ropes, did not reply; he was busy checking the tightness of the cords, his fingers trembling uncontrollably, fumbling over the knots. Once sure that Haiden was bound so tightly to the headstone that he couldn't move an inch, Wormtail drew a length of black material from the inside of his cloak and stuffed it roughly into Haiden's mouth; then, without a word, he turned from Haiden and hurried away. Haiden couldn't make a sound, nor could he see where Wormtail had gone; he couldn't turn his head to see beyond the headstone; he could see only what was right in front of him.

Cedric's body was lying some twenty feet away (something was wrong, something was missing but what?) Some way beyond him, glinting in the starlight, lay the Triwizard Cup. The bundle of robes that Haiden had thought was a baby was close by, at the foot of the grave. It seemed to be stirring fretfully. Haiden watched it, and his scar seared with pain again . . . and he suddenly knew that he didn't want to see what was in those robes . . . he didn't want that bundle opened. . .

He could hear noises at his feet. He looked down and saw a gigantic snake slithering through the grass, circling the headstone where he was tied (if only Harry were still here, he would be able to talk with it and have it leave him alone). Wormtail's fast wheezy breathing was growing louder again. It sounded as though he was forcing something heavy across the ground. Then he came back within Haiden's range of vision, and Haiden saw him pushing a stone cauldron to the foot of the grave. It was full of what seemed to be water -Haiden could hear it slopping around - and it was larger than any cauldron Haiden had ever used (Severus would love to use this one, he was sure); a great stone belly large enough for a full-grown man to sit in.

The thing inside the bundle of robes on the ground was stirring more persistently, as though it was trying to free itself. Now Wormtail was busying himself at the bottom of the cauldron with a wand. Suddenly there was crackling flames beneath it. The large snake slithered away into the darkness, something having caught its attention. The liquid in the cauldron seemed to heat very fast. The surface began not only to bubble, but to send out fiery sparks, as though it were on fire. Steam was thicken, blurring the outline of Wormtail tending the fire. The movement beneath the robes became more agitated. And Haiden heard Voldemort's high, cold voice again.

"Hurry!" The whole surface of the water was alight with sparks now. It might have been encrusted with diamonds.

"It is ready, Master."

"Now . . ." Voldemort said. Wormtail pulled open the robes on the ground revealing what was inside them, and Haiden let out a yell that was strangled in the wad of material blocking his mouth.

It was as though Wormtail had flipped over a stone and revealed something ugly, slimy, and blind - but worst, a hundred times worse. The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, expect that Haiden had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face - no child alive ever had a face like that - flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes.

The thing seemed almost helpless; it raised its thin arms, put them around Wormtail's neck, and Wormtail lifted it. As he did so, his hood fell back, and Haiden saw the look of revulsion on Wormtail's weak, pale face in the firelight as he carried the creature to the rim of the cauldron. For one moment, Haiden saw the evil, flat face illuminated in the sparks dancing on the surface of the potion. And then Wormtail lowered the creature into the cauldron; there was a hiss, and it vanished below the surface; Haiden heard its frail body hit the bottom with a soft thud.

Let it drown, Haiden thought, his scar burning almost past endurance, please . . . let it drown. . . .

Wormtail was speaking. His voice shook; he seemed frightened beyond his wits. He raised his wand, closed his eyes, and spoke to the night.

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!" The surface of the grave at Haiden's feet cracked. Horrified, Haiden watched as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at Wormtail's command and fell softly into the cauldron. The diamond surface of the water broke and hissed; it sent sparks in all directions and turned a vivid, poisonous-looking blue.

And now Wormtail was whimpering. He pulled a long, thin, shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. His voice broke into petrified sobs. "Flesh - of the servant - w-willingly given - you will - revive - your master." He stretched his right hand out in front of him - the hand with the missing finger. He gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung it upward.

Haiden realized what Wormtail was about to do a second before it happened - he closed his eyes as tightly as he could, part of his mind was happy when he didn't hear Wormtail's scream (if he had screamed at all), the other part was impressed that Wormtail had been able to hold in his scream. Haiden opened his eyes to see that Wormtail was screaming, only silently, it took his mind a couple of minutes to realize that everything was silent. Had he put up a barrier around him to block out the scream unknowingly? And then the sound returned as the hand landed in the potion. The potion turned a burning red.

Wormtail was gasping and moaning with agony while shuffling over to him. "B-blood of the enemy . . . forcibly taken . . . you will . . . resurrect your foe."

Haiden could do nothing to prevent it, he was tied too tightly . . . . Squinting down, struggling hopelessly at the ropes binding him, he saw the shining silver dagger shaking in Wormtail's remaining hand. He felt its point penetrate the crook of his right arm (was that a hiss of pain from behind him, or had his mind ticked him into thinking his hiss of pain had come from behind him?) a cut appeared where Wormtail cut, but no blood, and yet the dagger was now covered in blood. Wormtail, still panting with pain, fumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it to Haiden's bloodless cut for a minute before maneuvering himself to be able to catch the dripping blood from the dagger into the vial.

Wormtail staggered back to the cauldron with the blood as Haiden's cut magically healed itself. He poured it inside. The liquid within turned, instantly, a blinding white. Wormtail, his job done, dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, then slumped sideways and lay on the ground, cradling the bleeding stump of his arm, gasping and sobbing.

The cauldron was simmering, sending its diamond sparks in all directions, so blindingly bright that it turned all else to velvety blackness. Nothing happened. . . .

Let it have drowned, Haiden thought angrily, let it have gone wrong. . . .

And then, suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished. A surge of white steam billowed thickly from the cauldron instead, obliterating everything in front of Haiden, so that he couldn't see Wormtail or Cedric or anything but vapor hanging in the air (something slid into his robe where he usually kept his wand). . . . It's gone wrong, he thought happily . . . it's drowned . . . please . . . please let it be dead. . . .

But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from the inside of the cauldron.

"Robe me." The high, cold voice of Voldemort said from behind the steam, and Wormtail, sobbing and moaning, still cradling his mutilated arm, scrambled to pick up the black robe from the ground, got to his feet, reached up, and pulled them one-handed over his master's head.

The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Haiden . . . and Haiden stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake's with slit for nostrils. . .

Lord Voldemort had risen again.

Voldemort looked away from Haiden and began examining his own body. His hands were like large, pale spiders; his long white fingers caressed his own chest, his arms, his face; the red eyes, whose pupils were slits, like a cat's, gleamed still more brightly through the darkness. He held up his hands and flexed the fingers, his expression rapt and exultant. He took not the slightest notice of Wormtail, who lay twitching and bleeding on the ground. nor of the great snake, which had slithered back into sight and was circling Haiden, hissing. Voldemort slipped one of those unnaturally long-figured hands into a deep pocket and drew out a wand. He caressed it gently too; then he raised it, pointed it at Wormtail, who was lifted off the ground and thrown against the headstone where Haiden was tied; he fell to the foot of it and lay there, crumpled up and crying. Voldemort turned his scarlet eyes upon Haiden, laughing a high, cold mirthless laugh.

Wormtail's robes were shining with blood now; he had wrapped the stump of his arm in them. "My Lord . . ." he choked, "my Lord . . . you promised . . . you did promise . . ."

"Hold out your arm." Voldemort said lazily.

"Oh Master . . . thank you, Master . . ." He extended the bleeding stump, but Voldemort laughed again.

"The other arm, Wormtail."

"Master, please . . . please . . ." Voldemort bent down and pulled out Wormtail's left arm; he forced the sleeve of Wormtail's robes up past his elbow, and Haiden saw something upon the skin there, something like a vivid red tattoo - a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth - the image that had appeared in the sky at the Quidditch World Cup: the Dark Mark. Voldemort examined it carefully, ignoring Wormtail's uncontrollable weeping.

"It's back," he said softly, "They will all have it . . . and now, we shall see . . . now we shall know . . ." He pressed his long white forefinger to the brand on Wormtail's arm. The scar on Haiden's forehead seared with a sharp pain again, and Wormtail let out a fresh howl; Voldemort removed his fingers from Wormtail's mark, and Haiden saw that it had turned jet black. A look of cruel satisfaction on his face, Voldemort straightened up, through back his head, and stared around the dark grave yard.

"How many will be brave enough to return when they feel it?" He whispered, his gleaming red eyes fixed upon the stars. "And how many will be foolish enough to stay away?" He began to pace up and down before Haiden and Wormtail, eyes sweeping the graveyard all the while. After a minute or so, he looked down at Haiden again, a cruel smile twisting his snakelike face

"You stand, Haiden Potter, upon the remains of my late father." He hissed softly. "A Muggle and a fool . . . very like your dear mother. But they both had their uses, did they not? Your mother died to defend you and your brother as children . . . and I killed my father, and see how useful he had proved himself, in death. . . ." Voldemort laughed again. Up and down he paced, looking all around him as he walked, and the snake continued to circle the grass. "You see that house upon the hillside, Potter? My father lived there. My mother, a witch who lived here in this village, fell in love with him. But he abandoned her when she told him what she was. . . . He didn't like magic, my father . . .

"He left her and returned to his Muggle parents before I was even born, Potter, and she died giving birth to me, leaving me to be raised in a Muggle orphanage . . . but I vowed to fine him . . . I revenged myself upon him, that fool who gave me his name . . . Tom Riddle. . . ."

Still he paced, his red eyes darting from grave to grave.

"Listen to me, reliving my family history . . ." he said quietly, "why, I am growing quite sentimental. . . . But look, Haiden! My true family returns. . . ."

The air was suddenly full of swishing of cloaks. Between graves, behind the yew tree, in every shadowy space, wizards were Apparating. All of them were hooded and masked. And one by one they moved forward . . . slowly, cautiously, as though they could hardly believe their eyes. Voldemort stood in silence, waiting for them. Then one of the Death Eaters fell to his knees, crawled toward Voldemort, and kissed the hem of his black robes.

"Master . . . Master . . ." He murmured.

The Death Eaters behind him did the same; each of them approaching Voldemort on his knees and kissing his robes, before backing away and standing up, forming a silent circle, which enclosed Tom Riddle's grave, Haiden, Voldemort, and the sobbing and twitching Wormtail. Yet they left gaps in the circle, as though waiting for more people. Voldemort, however, did not seem to expect more. He looked around at the hooded faces, and though there was no wind, a rustling seemed to run around the circle, as though it had shivered.

"Welcome, Death Eaters," Voldemort said quietly. "Thirteen years . . . thirteen yeas since last we met. Yet you answer my call as though it were yesterday. . . . We are still united under the Dark Mark, then! Or are we?" He put back his terrible face and sniffed, his slit-like nostrils widening. "I smell guilt." He said. "There is a stench of guilt upon the air."

A second shiver ran around the circle, as though each member of it longed, but did not dare, to step back away form him.

"I see you all, whole and healthy, with your powers intact - such prompt appearances! - and I ask myself . . . why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?" No one spoke. No one moved except Wormtail, who was upon the ground, still sobbing over his bleeding arm.

"An I answer myself," Voldemort whispered, "they must have believed me broken, they thought I was gone. They slipped back among my enemies, and they pleaded innocence, and ignorance, and bewitchment. . . .

"And then I ask myself, but how could they have believed I would not rise again? They, who knew the steps I took, long ago, to guard myself against mortal death? They, who had seen proofs of the immensity of my power in the times when I was mightier than any wizard living?

"And I answer myself, perhaps they believed a still greater power could exist," (at this point Haiden's mind flew over to thoughts of Harry, wishing that he were still here.) "one that could vanquish even Lord Voldemort . . .perhaps they now pay allegiance to another . . . perhaps that champion of commoners, of Mudbloods and Muggles, Albus Dumbledore?"

At the mention of Dumbledore's name, the members of the circle stirred, and some muttered and shook their heads. Voldemort ignored them.

"It is a disappointment to me . . . I confess my disappointment. . . ."

One of the men suddenly flung himself forward, breaking the circle. Trembling from head to foot, he collapsed at Voldemort's feet.

"Master!" He shrieked. "Master, forgive me! Forgive us all!" Voldemort began to laugh. He raised his wand.

"Crucio!"

The Death Eater on the ground writhed and shrieked; Haiden was sure the sound must carry to the houses around. . . . Let the police come, he thought desperately . . . anyone . . . anything . . .

Voldemort raised his wand. The tortured Death Eater lay flat upon the ground, gasping.

"Get up, Avery." Voldemort said softly. "Stand up. You ask for forgiveness? I do not forgive. I do not forget. Thirteen long years . . . I want thirteen years of repayment before I forgive you. Wormtail here has paid some of his debt already, have you not, Wormtail?" He looked down at Wormtail, who continued to sob. "You have returned to me, not out of loyalty, but out of fear of your old friends, and of one Harry Potter. You deserve this pain, Wormtail. You know that don't you?"

"Yes, Master." Wormtail moaned, "Please, Master . . . please . . ."

"Yet you helped return me to my body." Voldemort said coolly, watching Wormtail sob on the ground. "Worthless and traitorous as you are, you helped me . . . and Lord Voldemort rewards his helpers. . . ." Voldemort raised his wand again and whirled it through the air. A streak of what looked like molten silver hung shining in the wand's wake. Momentarily shapeless, it writhed and then formed itself into a gleaming replica of a human hand, bright as moonlight, which soared downward and fixed itself upon Wormtail's bleeding wrist.

Wormtail's sobbing stopped abruptly. His breathing harsh and ragged, he raised his head and stared at the silver hand, now attached seamlessly to his arm, as though he were wearing a dazzling glove. He flexed the shining fingers, then, trembling, picked up a small twig on the ground and crushed it into powder.

"My lord," he whispered. "Master . . . it is beautiful . . . thank you . . . thank you. . . ." He scrambled forward on his knees and kissed the hem of Voldemort's robes.

"May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail." Voldemort said.

"No, my Lord . . . never, my Lord . . ." Wormtail stood up and took his place in the circle, staring at his powerful new hand, his face still shining with tears. Voldemort now approached the man on Wormtail's right.

"Lucius," Haiden's eyes widened as he sucked in a shocked breath, "my slippery friend." Voldemort whispered, halting before him. "I am told that you have not renounced the old ways, though to the world you present a respectable face. You are still ready to take the lead in a spot of Muggle-torture, I believe? Yet you never tried to find me, Lucius . . . Your exploits at the Quidditch World Cup were fun, I daresay . . . but might not your energies have been better directed toward finding and aiding your master? Though, I do applaud you, Severus, and your son for getting close to Harry Potter."

"Thank you, my Lord. And I assure you, my Lord, that I was constantly on the alert." Lucius Malfoy's voice came swiftly from beneath the hood, Haiden glared at him. He had trusted him! Harry trusted him! They both trusted Draco and Severus! But it was all just a trick to get close to him? No! No it couldn't be true! He wouldn't believe it! "Had there been any sign from you, and whisper of your whereabouts, I would have been at your side immediately, nothing could have prevented me -"

"And yet you ran from my Mark, when a faithful Death Eater sent it into the sky last summer?" Voldemort said lazily, and Lucius stopped talking abruptly. "Yes, I know all about that, Lucius. . . . You have disappointed me. . . . I expect more faithful service in the future."

"I apologize my Lord . . . I saw a chance to gain more of Harry Potter's trust . . . You are merciful, thank you. . . ." Voldemort moved on, (was Lucius distracted by something behind the gravestone?) staring at the space - large enough for two people - that separated Lucius and the next man.

"The Lestranges should be standing here," Voldemort said quietly. "But they are entombed in Azkaban. They were faithful. They went to Azkaban rather than renounce me. . . . When Azkaban is broken open, the Lestranges will be honored beyond their dreams. The dementors will join us . . . they are our natural allies . . . we will recall the banished giants . . . I shall have all my devoted servants returned to me, and an army of creatures whom all fear. . . ."

He walked on. Some of the Death Eaters he passed in silence but he paused before others and spoke to them. "Macnair . . . destroying dangerous beast for the Ministry of Magic now, Wormtail tells me? You shall have better victims than that soon, Macnair. Lord Voldemort will provide. . . ."

"Thank you, Master . . . thank you." Macnair murmured.

"And here" - Voldemort moved on to the two largest hooded figures - "we have Crabbe . . . you will do better this time, will you not, Crabbe? And you, Goyle?"

"Yes, Master . . ."

"We will, Master. . . ."

"The same goes for you, Nott," Voldemort said quietly as he walked past a stooped figure in Mr. Goyle's shadow.

"My Lord, I prostrate myself before you, I am your most faithful-"

"That will do." Voldemort said. He had reached the largest gap of all, and he stood surveying it with his blank, red eyes, as though he could see people standing there.

"And here we have six missing Death Eaters . . . three dead in my service. One, too cowardly to return . . . he will pay. One, who I believe has left me forever . . . he will be killed, of course . . . and one, who remains my most faithful servant, and who has already reentered my service." The Death Eaters stirred, and Haiden saw their eyes dart sideways at one another through their masks. "He is at Hogwarts, that faithful servant, and it was through his efforts that our young guests arrived here tonight. . . .

"Yes." Voldemort said, a grin curling his lipless mouth as the eyes of the circle flashed in Haiden's direction. "Haiden Potter, and his brother (who unfortunately was knocked unconscious)" (Haiden was sure he saw Lucius's eyes flash to something behind the headstone before returning to looking at Voldemort) "have kindly joined us for my rebirthing party. One might go so far as to call Haiden my guest of honor." There was a silence. Then the Death Eater to the right of Wormtail stepped forward, and Lucius's voice spoke from under the mask.

"Master, we crave to know . . . we beg you to tell us . . . how you have achieved this . . . this miracle . . . how you managed to return to us. . . ."

"Ah, what a story it is, Lucius." Voldemort said. "And it begins - and ends - with my young friend here." He walked lazily over to stand next to Haiden, so that they eyes of the whole circle were upon the two of them. The snake continued to circle.

"You know, of course, that they have called this boy my downfall?" Voldemort said softly, his red eyes upon Haiden, whose scar began to burn so fiercely that he almost screamed in agony. "You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill him and his brother. Their mother died in the attempt to save them - and unwittingly provided Haiden with a protection I admit I had not foreseen. . . . I could not touch the boy." Voldemort raised one of his long white fingers and put it very close to Haiden's cheek. "His mother left upon him the traces of her sacrifice. . . . This is old magic I should have remembered it, I was foolish and overlooked it . . . but not matter. I can touch him now." Haiden felt the cold tip of the long white finger for half a second before Voldemort pulled it away with a painful hiss.

"And you'll continue to not touch him." Harry's voice called from behind the headstone. Voldemort was flung away from Haiden and the headstone as Harry walked into Haiden's field of view.

"How!" Voldemort hissed.

"Old magic. The blood Wormtail used for your spell was mine, not Haiden's." Harry said. "You underestimated me because of my age, I took advantage of that."

"I assure you, that won't happen again." Voldemort said glaring at Harry as the ropes tying Haiden to the headstone loosened before falling to the ground. Haiden, not expecting that, fell to his knees. He quickly pulled out the material from his mouth.

"Harry! You're alive!" Haiden cried out, smiling.

"Of course I am, the spell didn't hit me. The spell is only used to kill one living thing." Harry told Haiden as he slipped into a defensive stance. Haiden's smile slowly slipped from his face as what Harry told him registered in his mind as he remembered Harry slipping behind Cedric before Wormtail shot the Killing Curse at them.

"You . . . Don't tell me you used Cedric as a body shield!" Haiden cried out in shocked horror. Was Ron right? Was his brother a murderer?

"Do you honestly believe I would do that?" Harry asked after a moment of silence. Haiden didn't answer right away, and looked over to where Cedric's body was; only to find it gone. "That hurts." Harry told him.

"Crucio!" Voldemort shouted, a beam of red light hit Harry square in the chest causing Voldemort to laugh. He stopped laughing when he noticed that Harry had neither fell to the ground nor started screaming. Voldemort stopped the spell as Haiden caught sight of Cedric creeping around the headstone towards him.

"Nothing can hurt worst than your twin brother believing you would use and innocent bystander as a human shield." Cedric grabbed Haiden and pulled him back.

"I've got him, Harry, lets go!" Cedric called to him as he continued to pull Haiden backwards, but Harry didn't move from his position.

"I'll hold them off." Harry told Cedric.

"Harry! This wasn't the plan! You can't take them all! You'll die!" Cedric told him.

"Voldemort doesn't want me dead, he believes he needs me and my power, he won't let his Death Eaters kill me." Harry told them calmly.

"Kill you? Never. Break you. Yes." Voldemort said before motioning to his Death Eaters to attack (did Harry nod his head to someone?).

"Harry!" Haiden yelled a second before he felt the jerk behind his navel that meant the Portkey began once more - it was speeding him away from his brother in a whirl of wind and color, and Cedric along with him. . . . They were going back without his brother.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24- "You are under arrest."

Draco and Hermione were sitting next to each other pointing at the giant Blast-End Skrewt that had launched out of the maze and nearly landed on 'Moody' who had been limping around the Maze entrance, as if he were waiting for something. After the initial freak out and panic, the teachers got the Skrewt subdued. Now everyone was just waiting for either Cedric or Haiden and Harry to win after both Fleur and Viktor had been disqualified, both still unconscious.

"Do you think Harry was aiming for 'Moody' or was it just a happy accident?" Draco asked Hermione who laughed.

"I want to say the first one, but knowing Harry it was the latter." Hermione said causing Draco to chuckle.

"Luna? Are you okay?" Myari said from the other side of Draco catching his attention.

"Something's not right." Luna said. A second later Cedric and a screaming Haiden appeared from thin air with the Triwizard Cup. Luna shot from her seat as the crowd began to roar, Draco joined her when he noticed someone missing and who it was.

"NO! TAKE ME BACK! TAKE ME BACK! HE NEEDS ME!" Haiden's cries carried over the roar of the crowd, which was beginning to slowly die down. Haiden dove for the Cup, grabbing it. Cedric pulled him into his arms as Haiden began to shake the Cup. Cedric said something quiet to him, by this point the stadium was dead silent except for Haiden's bawling.

"HE NEEDS ME! HE CAN'T FACE THEM ALONE! HE'LL DIE! VOLDEMORT WILL KILL HIM!" Haiden cried. At that, Remus bolted from his spot, flying over everyone. Draco watched in numb shock as Remus jumped from the stands, rolling on the ground to brake his fall, before dashing up to Haiden and Cedric, just as Dumbledore, Severus, McGonagall, and 'Moody' ran out of the stands and onto the field.

"HARRY'S THERE ALONE! HE'S FACING VOLDEMORT AND HIS DEATH EATERS ALONE! I NEED TO GET BACK TO HIM!" Haiden yelled at Remus, who had pulled him from Cedric's arms to talk to him. The crowd erupted into panic.

"Someone catch Draco!" Luna shouted at someone a second before his world tilted. Something had happened to Harry, he could feel it. His legs gave out, the edges of his vision blurred, everything was too bright yet too dark at the same time. Strange golden lines appeared in his vision along with the shadowy echos of everyone that was both in slow motion and sped up. And if Draco tried to focus on the golden lines they became too loud.

"Stanna Tiden." A familiar sounding voice whispered as a man in a dark cloak seemingly appeared in front of him, the hood of his cloak pulled up to cover everything but the bottom half of his face. " Breath, Draco, just breath. Everything will be okay, just breath. Once he calms down, he'll stop accidentally sending this power to you. Just breath. Don't focus on the lines, they are too much for your mortal brain to handle." Something told Draco to trust this man and to listen to him.

Draco closed his eyes to keep himself from tying to focus on the golden lines, and began to focus on his breathing. After a few minutes Draco's world seem to right itself. "Starttid." When Draco opened his eyes again, the cloaked man was gone, his vision was clear, and the golden lines were gone, as were the shadowy echos. His head was in Hermione's lap, and everyone was still panicking, it seemed as though no time had passed.

Draco shot up, shocking Hermione, he took her hand before pulling her after him as he pushed his way through the crowed, not caring if the people he pushed fell or not. He was on a mission to get him and Hermione to Haiden. She needed to be there for Haiden and he needed to know what exactly happened and where his Harry was.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Haiden was fighting the arms around him, tears blinding him, he needed to get to his brother. Needed to save him! Why couldn't they understand that! Why were they keeping him there? Did they want Harry to die? Haiden growled at the person who was trying to pull him away from the Triwizard Cup, the one thing that would be able to take him back to his brother, and the person growled back, but their growl was dark and dangerous, threatening almost.

"Haiden! Haiden, calm down!" Someone (Dumbledore his mind whispered) told him.

"NO! HE'S BACK!" Haiden yelled, continuing to fight the person holding him. "VOLDEMORT IS BACK AND HARRY IS FACING HIM AND HIS DEATH EATERS ALONE!"

"Haiden, you have to calm down and tell us what happened." Dumbledore told him urgently. Haiden got one of his arms free and he began swinging, hoping to get the person to loosen their hold just enough for him to slip out of their hold.

"Haiden." Severus's voice cut through his panic, immobilizing him just long enough for the person to not only get a better grasp on him but to also lift him from the ground. "Haiden, I need you to calm down, tell me where Harry is and we will go get him." Haiden took a couple deep breaths.

"He's in a grave yard. I don't know where. There was a house on a hill over looking it. And Voldemort's father was buried there." Haiden told him urgently. Severus looked to the side in thought for a few seconds before nodding.

"Right, Remus, I need you to stay with Haiden, make sure he doesn't do anything rash." Severus ordered before he turned and took off.

"Let's get you to the hospital wing, both of you." Dumbledore said as the person holding Haiden, Remus, sat Haiden back on the ground. The second Haiden's feet hit the ground they gave out, Remus picking him up again, this time bridle-style, with his head resting against Remus's chest. Remus began to follow Dumbledore, who was leading Cedric, across the lawn, past the lake and the Dumstrang ship. 'Moody' began to walk along side Remus.

"What happened, Haiden, Cedric?" He asked as Remus carried him up the stone steps, Moody's Clunk, Clunk, Clunk snapping Haiden out of his mind.

"Cup was a Portkey." Cedric said as they crossed the entrance hall. "Took me, Haiden, and Harry to a graveyard . . . and He-Who-Must-Be-Named was there . . . He-he. . . I almost. . . if it wasn't for Harry's quick thinking . . ." Cedric choked out a sob. "He tossed a frog or something in front of me . . . it took the blast of the spell . . . threw us backwards . . . told me to play dead . . ." Cedric was crying now as the shock of what almost happened sat in.

"The Dark Lord was there?" Remus came to a complete stop. "What happened then?"

"You're not Mad-Eye." Remus growled out. Haiden saw Dumbledore stop and spin around to look at them.

"What?" 'Moody' asked glaring at Remus.

"Mad-Eye Moody would never call Voldemort 'Dark Lord'. Who are you?" Remus asked, his hold on Haiden tightening protectively.

"It was just a slip of the tongue in my worry." 'Moody' told him, Haiden felt Remus's muscles tense up.

"Remus, Cedric and Haiden need to be seen, we will deal with everything afterwards." Dumbledore told them.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

The second Severus has passed through the barrier around the school that kept anyone from apparating inside the grounds, he focused his thoughts on the Riddle Graveyard. He had been there but once with Lucius the summer before. At the time, neither Lucius nor Severus had believed the rumors flying around the Dark Side of Voldemort's revival, but they; along with Crabbe and Goyle; had made a stop at the Graveyard in front of Riddle Mannor. Crabbe and Goyle hoping to catch a glimpse of their Master, while him and Lucius had hoped to prove the rumors false.

The second he landed in the graveyard, Severus had to erect a barrier as a spell was shot at him. "Severus?" Lucius called out. "Is that you?"

"Where's Harry?" Severus called back.

"He's here, next to me." Lucius told him. Severus dropped the barrier and looked in the direction of Lucius's voice. He sucked in a breath. There in front of him were the bodies of three Death Eaters, and Harry was sat on the ground with his back against a gravestone, and covered head to toe in blood, Lucius was standing guard over Harry. "It not his blood. At least, most of it isn't his."

Severus forced his body to move forward. His son needed him. As he got closer to Lucius and the bodies of Death Eaters, Severus noticed that the Death Eaters on the ground were still breathing. He caught Lucius's eyes.

"He made sure to keep them alive, to only knock them out. The only two people he went all out on were Voldemort and Wormtail. That's whose blood covers him now, Voldemort's and Wormtail, mostly Voldemort." Lucius explained as Severus made it to them and knelt in front of Harry. His eyes were open yet, but they eyes he was looking into did not belong to his son, nor were they eyes of the person possessing him. No, these eyes were dark, dangerous, murderous, and non-human. And they followed him, yet Harry's body never moved.

"What happened?" Severus asked.

"I don't know what happened before we were summoned here, I just know what happened afterwards. Harry pissed Voldemort off when he somehow messed with the spell used to bring him back. And then he let both Haiden and Cedric escape. Everything happened so fast after that. Harry and Voldemort fought, I've never seen anyone move as fast or even the way Harry fought. He used his body and anything else he could as his weapon.

"But it wasn't until most of the Death Eaters had been knocked out that he snapped, Harry stopped using spells and started throwing daggers that he magically created. The fight lasted until Voldemort had to flee in fear of dying once more, Wormtail ran off somewhere after being hit only three times. Once Voldemort had left, it was only then that Harry collapsed to the ground, almost as if he had been hit with a Body-Bind curse. I moved him here. I felt it would be easier to protect him should Voldemort or any other Death Eater decided to come back and attack while he was down." Lucius explained. Through out his explanation, Severus noticed Harry's eyes flashing between him and Lucius.

"Harry, if you're in there, if you can hear me," Lucius shot Severus a confused look, "I'm going to pick you up and take you back to the safety of the school." Severus told him before carefully slipping his arms under Harry's legs and neck, his eyes locked on Harry's eyes, which were glaring at him.

A picture of a smiling Haiden flitted through his mind, and Severus knew that it was his Harry sending it to him, begging him to tell him about whether or not he had made it back safe or not. "He is safe, along with Cedric." Severus whispered to him before looking at Lucius.

"Thank you. You took a major risk coming here tonight." Severus told him, Lucius shook his head.

"It would have been worse had I not come. My family would have been in danger of Voldemort's wrath had I ignored the call." Lucius said. "Now, get that boy to safety, I have a feeling Voldemort may try to get his hands on him to break his mind enough to try to control him." Without a word, Severus apparated them just outside the school grounds before he started to run towards the school.

~Burn Me Into Your Memory~

Haiden found himself alone and in a private room in the Hospital Wing; Cedric had been giving his own private room as well. Remus had been shoo-ed out by Madam Promfrey who had stepped out to have a word with Dumbledore. Haiden's head shot towards the door of his private room when it opened, hoping it was someone coming to tell him that his brother had been safely rescued. But, to his disappointment, it was only Mad-Eye Moody. In his hand was a cup, that, once he had hobbled close enough, he handed to Haiden.

"Madam Promfrey ordered me to give this to you . . . drink it . . . you'll feel better . . ." Moody helped tip the stuff down his throat; he coughed, a peppery taste burning his throat. It was then that he realized that he probably shouldn't have trusted this impostor, but by then it was too late as his private room came into focus, and so did the impostor himself. . . . He looked as white as Cedric had, and both of his eyes were fixed unblinkingly upon Haiden's face.

"Voldemort's back, Haiden? You're sure hes back? How did he do it?" Haiden tried to keep himself from telling this impostor anything, but without his consent, his mouth opened.

"He took stuff from his father's grave, and from Wormtail, and me - well Harry, actually." Haiden found himself saying while in his mind he was yelling at himself to stop.

"What did he take from Harry?" The impostor asked.

"Blood. But he took it from my arm." Haiden said raising his arm. His sleeve was ripped where Wormtail's dagger had torn it, though the cut had long healed since then.

"What do you mean? How did he take Harry's blood from your arm?"

"I don't understand it myself, but Harry said he used dark magic to make it so that the blood from the cut on my arm was actually his blood." Haiden told him.

"And where is your cut?" The Impostor asked as he inspected Haiden's arm.

"It healed."

"I see. And the Death Eaters? They returned?" The impostor asked. Where was Dumbledore?

"Yes." Haiden said. "Loads of them . . ." Why couldn't he keep quiet?

"How did he treat them?" The impostor asked quietly. "Did he forgive them?" Haiden tried to bite his tongue, he shouldn't be telling this Moody impostor any of this, he should be telling Dumbledore this! Especially about the Death Eater at Hogwarts.

"There's a Death Eater at Hogwarts. There's a Death Eater here - they put mine and Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire, they made sure that we got through to the end - I shouldn't be telling you this!" Haiden tried to get up, but the impostor pushed him back down.

"I know who the Death Eater is."

"Of course you do! It's you!" Haiden snapped, before covering his mouth with his hands. That got the impostor to laugh.

"Me? I'm shocked that you're accusing me instead of the obvious choice." Who was the obvious choice here? Severus or-

"Karkaroff?" Haiden asked quietly.

"Karkaroff fled tonight, when he felt the Dark Mark burn upon his arm. He betrayed too many faithful supporters of the Dark Lord to wish to meet them . . . but I doubt he will get far. The Dark Lord has ways of tracking his enemies." Why did that not surprise him?

"Karkaroff's gone? He ran away? That proves that he didn't put mine and Harry's name in the goblet!"

"Of course not." The impostor told him slowly. "It was I who did that."

"I figured." Haiden growled out.

"Did he forgive them?" The impostor asked once more, as his magical eyes swung around and fixed upon the door, and Haiden knew he was making sure that there was no one outside it. At the same time the impostor drew out his wand and pointed it at Haiden. "The Death Eaters who went free? The ones who escaped Azkaban?"

"What?" Haiden asked, looking at the wand that was pointed at him, his mind racing to remember all of the defensive spells Harry and Hermione had shoved down his throat, and wondering if he'd have enough time to draw his own wand and cast one of them before this impostor could cast one spell. Most likely not.

"I asked you," the impostor. said quietly, "whether he forgave the scum who never even went to look for him. Those treacherous cowards who wouldn't even brave Azkaban for him. The faithless, worthless bits of filth who were brave enough to cavort in masks at the Quidditch World Cup, but fled at the sight of the Dark Mark when I fired it into the sky."

"You fired it? You're the one Harry saw?" Haiden asked.

"If there's one thing I hate more than any other, it's a Death Eater who walked free. They turned their backs on my master when he needed them the most. I expected him to punish them. I expected him to torture them. Tell me he hurt them, Haiden. . . ." The impostor's face was suddenly lit with an insane smile. "Tell me he told them that I, I alone, remained faithful . . . prepared to risk everything to deliver to him the things he wanted above all . . . you and your brother." Haiden remained silent. "Who put your names in the Goblet of Fire, under the name of a different school? I did. Who frightened off every person I thought might try to hurt either you or your brother or prevent either of you from winning the tournament? I did. Who nudged Hagrid into showing you two the dragons? I did." The impostor's magical eye had left the door. It was fixed upon Haiden. His lopsided mouth leered more widely than ever.

"It hasn't been easy, Haiden, guiding both of you through these tasks without arousing suspicion. I have had to use every ounce of cunning I posses, so that my hand would not be detectable in your success."

"Well you failed at that! Harry was onto you from day one!" Haiden said.

"And yet, no one believed him. Not even you. And I have your friend Ronald and Rita Skeeter to thank for that. As I was saying, Dumbledore would have been very suspicious had you, Haiden, managed everything too easily. But thankfully your brother took the more difficult task. And as long as both of you got into that maze, preferably with a decent head start - then, I knew, I would have had a chance of getting rid of the other champions and leaving your way clear. Once again your brother's power came in handy there, able to easily take on any threat you two came across. Though that had to compete with your stupidity. The second task . . . that was when I was most afraid we would fail. I was keeping watch on the two you, Haiden. I knew you hadn't worked out the egg's clue because of a stupid fight, so I had to give you another hint -"

"You didn't," Haiden said hoarsely, "Cedric gave me the clue -"

"Who told Cedric to open it underwater? I did. I trusted that he would pass the information on to you and Harry. Decent people are so easy to manipulate, Haiden. I was sure Cedric would want to repay Haiden for telling him about the dragons, and he did. But even then, Haiden, even then you seemed likely to fail. I was watching all the time . . . all those hours in the library. Didn't you realize that the book you needed was in your dormitory all along? I planted it there early on, I gave it to the Longbottom boy, don't you remember? Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean. It would have told you all you needed to know about gillyweed. I expected you to ask everyone and anyone you could for help. Longbottom would have told you in an instant. But you did not . . you did not. . . . You have a streak of pride and independence that might have ruined all. Thankfully Harry remembered Longbottom and the book just in time. "

The impostor's wand was still pointed directly at Haiden's heart. Haiden began to wonder when and if Dumbledore or Madam Pompfrey would come in.

"You were so long in that lake, Haiden, I thought you had drowned. But luckily, Dumbledore took your idiocy for nobility, and marked you high for it. I breathed again.

"You had an easier time of it than you should have in that maze tonight, of course." The impostor said. "I was patrolling around it, able to see through the outer hedges, able to curse many obstacles out of your way, though apparently I didn't need to with your brother around. I Stunned Fleur Delacour as she passed. I put the Imperius Curse on Krum, so that he would finish Diggory and leave the path to the cup clear." Loud noised from the main room caught Haiden's attention, something big was happening out there. Had some of the crowd made it into the Hospital Wing? Or had the rescue team made it back with Harry?

"The Dark Lord didn't managed to kill you, Haiden, and he so wanted to, to help break your brother's mind." The impostor whispered. "Imagine how the Dark Lord will reward me when he finds I have done it for him, and how (if he escaped) Harry's mind at the sight of your dead body. I'll give you and your broken brother to him. I will be honored beyond all other Death Eaters. I will be his dearest, his closest supporter . . . closer than a son. . . ."

The impostor's normal eye was bulging, the magic eye fixed upon Haiden. The door was barred, and Haiden knew he would never reach his own wand in time.

"The Dark Lord and I," the impostor said, he looked completely insane now, towering over Haiden, leering down at him, "have much in common. Both of us, for instance, had very disappointing fathers . . . very disappointing indeed. Both of us suffered the indignity, Haiden, of being named after those fathers." Haiden understood who he was talking to now. "And both of us had the pleasure . . . the very great pleasure . . . of killing our fathers to ensure the continued rise of the Dark Order!"

"You're mad, Bartimus!" Haiden cried out - he couldn't stop himself - "You're mad!"

"Mad, am I?" Bartimus Jr. said, his voice rising uncontrollably. "We'll see! We'll see who's mad, now that the Dark Lord has returned, with me at his side! And soon he'll have in his control the most powerful weapon of all! He's back, Haiden Potter, you did not conquer him - and now - I conquer you!" Bartimus Jr. raised his wand, he opened his mouth; Haiden plunged his own hand into his robes -

"Stupefy!" There was a blinding flash of red light, and with a great splintering and crashing, the door of Haiden's private room was blasted apart.

Bartimus Jr was thrown backwards onto the private room's floor. Haiden's head whipped around to find a terrifying sight, one he had wished to never see again. Harry stood in the doorway covered form head to toe in blood, his normally bright and cheerful eyes were dark and murderous. A dark, and dangerous black aura surrounding him as his hair floated around him. He looked like the murderer that Ron always claimed him to be. He made to step into the room, but then his eyes fogged up and he fell backwards into Severus's arms.

Dumbledore stepped around Severus and Harry, and at that moment, Haiden fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore's face as he stared down at the unconscious form of Bartimus Crouch Jr in Mad-Eye Moody's skin was more terrible than Haiden could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore's face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold furry in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat.

He stepped into the office, placed a foot underneath Moody's unconscious body, and kicked him over onto his back, so that his face was visible. Severus, who had placed Harry's body down somewhere, followed him. Professor McGonagall rushed in and went straight to Haiden.

"Come along, Potter." She whispered. The thin line of her mouth was twitching as though she was about to cry. "Come along . . . Madam Promfrey will see you now . . ."

"Harry. I need to see Harry! Need to know he is okay."

"You'll see him as Madam Promfrey check both of you out." McGonagall told him softly.

"No." Dumbledore said sharply.

"Dumbledore, he ought to - look at him - he's been through enough tonight -"

"He will stay, Minerva, because he needs to understand." Dumbledore said curtly. "Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery. He needs to know who has put both him and his brother through the ordeal he has suffered tonight, and why."

"Bartimus Crouch Jr." Haiden said, looking at the man on the ground. "To revive his master and try to break Harry's mind so that Voldemort can control him." Haiden looked at Dumbledore sharply. "Something Harry's been trying to tell you since the beginning of the year. But you never believed him, sent him down a path of putting himself in danger to bring you the proof you needed."

"I apologize, and I shall repeat my apology to your brother when he awakes from his mind." Dumbledore bent down over Bartimus Jr's limp form and put a hand inside his robes. He pulled out the hip flask Bartimus Jr always drunk out of and a set of keys on a ring. Then he turned to Severus and Professor McGonagall.

"Severus, please fetch me the strongest Truth Potion you possess, and then go down to the kitchens and bring up the house-elf called Winky. Minevera, kindly go down to Hagrid's house, where you will find a large black dog sitting in the pumpkin patch. Take the dog up to my office, tell him I will be with him shortly, then come back here." As Dumbledore was giving his instructions, Haiden saw Remus walk in with a freshly cleaned of blood Harry in his arms and sat down with him on the bed next to Haiden. "Remus, I need you to go get the trunk from Moody's office and bring it here." If any of them found these instructions peculiar, they hid their confusion. Severus and McGonagall turned at once and left the room as Remus stood back up and carefully laid Harry down on the bed with his head on Haiden's lap, before he, too, left.

Haiden's eyes roamed over Harry's face, searching for any signs of distress or wounds. When he found none, his eyes began to check Harry's body. His clothes had been changed from the ones he had been wearing during the last task, and a bandage had been wrapped his left arm. Haiden lightly ran his finger along the bandage, this cut should have been on his arm, not Harry's. Haiden began to run his finger's through Harry's long hair, happy that his brother was alive and safe.

The door opened and Remus carried the trunk in, setting it at Dumbledore's feet before sitting next to Haiden. Dumbledore fitted the first key in the lock, and opened it. It contained a mass of spell books. Dumbledore closed the trunk, placed a second key in the second lock, and open the trunk again. The spell books had vanished; this time it contained an assortment of broken Sneakoscopes, some parchment and quills, and what looked like a silvery Invisibility Cloak. Haiden watched, astounded, as Dumbledore placed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth keys in their respective locks, reopening the trunk, and each time revealing different contents. Then he placed the seventh key in the lock, threw open the lid, and Haiden let out a cry of amazement.

He was looking down into a kind of pit, and underground room, and lying on the floor some ten feet below, apparently fast asleep, thin and started in appearance, was the real Mad-Eye Moody. His wooden leg was gone, the socket that should have held the magical eyes looked empty beneath its lid, and chunks of his grizzled hair were missing. Haiden stared, slightly annoyed and angry, there had been the proof Harry needed to convince Dumbledore, it was hiding in plain sight all along.

Dumbledore climbed into the trunk, lowered himself, and fell lightly onto the floor beside the sleeping Moody. He bent over him. "Stunned - controlled but the Imperius Curse - very weak." He said. "Of course, he would have needed to keep him alive. Haiden, throw down the impostor's cloak - he's freezing. Madam Promfrey will need to see him, but he seems in no immediate danger." Haiden carefully slip out from under Harry and did as he was told; Dumbledore covered Moody in the cloak, tucked it around him, and clambered out of the trunk again. Then he picked up the hip flask that he had sat on the ground, and turned it over. A thick glutinous liquid splattered onto the floor.

"Polyjuice Potion." Dumbledore said before closing his eyes, Haiden could tell he was regretting his decision to dismiss Harry's claims now. Something dark whispered in his mind.

"He told you so." Haiden told him, not able to stop himself.

"And I should have listened. You see the simplicity of it, and the brilliance. For Moody never does drink except from his hip flask, he's well known for it. The impostor needed, of course, to keep the real Moody close by, so that he could continue making the potion. You see his hair . . ." Dumbledore looked down on the Moody in the trunk. "The impostor-"

"Bartimus Crouch Jr." Haiden told him once more.

"Bartimus Jr," Dumbledore said, "has been cutting it off all year, see where it is uneven? But I think in the excitement of tonight, our fake Moody might have forgotten to take it as frequently as he should have done . . . on the hour . . . every hour . . ."

"His hour is almost up." Haiden said, shocking him. It almost sounded as if he had said that in Harry's voice, as if Harry had used him to speak. Remus placed a hand on his shoulder, reminding him that he was also there.

Dumbledore nodded magically conjuring a chair and sat down upon it, his eyes fixed upon the unconscious 'Moody' on the floor. Haiden and Remus started at him too. Minutes passed in silence. . . .

Then, before Haiden's very eyes, the face of the man on the floor began to change. The scars were disappearing, the skin was becoming smooth; the mangled nose became whole and started to shrink. The long mange of grizzled gray hair was withdrawing into the scalp and turning the color of damp straw. Suddenly, with a loud clunk, the wooden leg fell away as a normal leg regrew in its place; next moment, the magical eyeball had popped out of the man's face as a real eyes replaced it; it rolled away across the floor and continued to swivel in every direction.

Haiden saw a man lying before him, pale-skinned, slightly freckled, with a mop of fair hair. He had seen him in Dumbledore's Pensieve, had watched him being led away from court by the Dementors, trying to convince Mr. Crouch that he was innocent . . . but he was lined around the eyes now and looked much older . . . He was Bartimus Crouch Jr.

There were hurried footsteps outside in the main wing. Severus had returned with Winky at his heels. Professor McGonagall, Hermione, and Draco were right behind them.

"He was right." Severus said, stopping dead in the doorway.

"Good heavens!" Professor McGonagall said, stopping dead and staring down at the man on the floor.

"He told you so! Harry tried to warn you!" Draco growled out.

"Haiden!" Hermione cried, flying around everyone and jumping over Bartimus Jr's body, to launch herself at Haiden, nearly knocking him off the bed.

Filthy and disheveled, Winky peered around Severus's legs. Her mouth opened wide and she let out a piercing shriek. "Master Barty, Master Barty, what is you doing here?" She flung herself forward onto the young man's chest. "You is killed him! You is killed him! You is killed Master's son!"

"He is simply Stunned, Winky." Dumbledore told her. "Step aside, please. Severus, you have the potion?" Severus handed Dumbledore a small glass bottle of completely clear liquid: the Veritaserum. Severus moved to the bed and sat next to Harry, as Dumbledore got up, bent over the man on the floor, and pulled him into a sitting position against the wall. Winky remained on her knees, trembling, her hands over her face. Dumbledore forced the man's mouth open and poured three drops inside it. Then he pointed his wand at the man's chest and said, "Rennervate."

Bartimus Jr's eyes opened. His face was slack, his gaze unfocused. Dumbledore knelt before him, so that their faces were level. "Can you hear me?" Dumbledore asked quietly. The man's eyes flickered.

"Yes." He muttered.

"I would like you to tell us," Dumbledore said softly, "how you came here-"

"I can't, it would ruin everything, then all the pain and torment would have been for nothing." A dark and dangerous voice said, coming from Harry. "Hush, he is not speaking to us. You must rest, regain your strength, you will need it." A lighter, almost heavenly, voice said, again coming from Harry. Everyone looked at him before slowly turning to look back at Dumbledore and Bartimus Jr.

"How did you come to be here? How did you escape from Azkaban, Bartimus Crouch Jr." Crouch took a deep, shuddering breath, then began to speak in a flat, emotionless voice.

"My mother saved me. She knew she was dying. She persuaded my father to rescue me as a last favor to her. He loved her as he had never loved me. He agreed. They came to visit me. They gave me a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing my mother's hairs. She took a draft of Polyjuice Potion containing one of my hairs. We took on each other's appearance." Winky was shaking her head, trembling.

"Say no more, Master Barty, say no more, you is getting your father into trouble!" But Crouch took another deep breath and continued in the same flat voice.

"The Dementors are blind. They sensed one healthy, one dying person entering Azkaban. They sensed one healthy, one dying person leaving it. My father smuggled me out, disguised as my mother, in case any prisoners were watching through their doors.

"My mother died a short while afterward in Azkaban. She was careful to drink Polyjuice Potion until the end. She was buried under my name and bearing my appearance. Everyone believed her to be me." His eyelids flickered.

"And what did your father do with you, when he had got you home?" Dumbledore asked quietly.

"Staged my mother's death. A quiet, private funeral. That grave is empty. The house-elf nursed me back to health. Then I had to be concealed. I had to be controlled. My father had to use a number of spells to subdue me. When I had recovered my strength, I thought only of finding my master . . . of returning to his service."

"How did your father subdue you?" Dumbledore asked. Harry's body laughed insanely at that.

"The Imperius Curse," Crouch said, Harry's laughter grew more insane before it was suddenly cut off. "I was under my father's control. I was forced to wear an Invisibility Cloak day and night. I was always with the house-elf. She was my keeper and caretaker. She pitied me. She persuaded my father to give me occasional treats. Rewards for my good behavior."

"Master Barty, Master Barty." Winky sobbed through her hands. "You isn't ought to tell them, we is getting in trouble. . . ."

"Did anybody ever discover that you were still alive?" Dumbledore asked softly. "Did anyone know expect your father and the house-elf?"

"Yes." Crouch said, his eyelids flickering again. "A witch in my father's office. Bertha Jorkins. She came to the house with papers for my father's signature. He was not home. Winky showed her inside and returned to the kitchen, to me. But Bertha Jorkins heard Winky talking to me. She came to investigate. She heard enough to guess who was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak. My father arrived home. She confronted him. He put a very powerful Memory Charm on her to make her forget what she'd found out. Too powerful. He said it damaged her memory permanently."

"Why is she coming to nose into my master's private business?" Winky sobbed. "Why isn't she leaving us be?"

"Tell me about the Quidditch World Cup." Dumbledore said.

"Winky talked my father into it." Crouch said, still in the same monotonous voice. "She spent months persuading him. I had not left the house for years. I had loved Quidditch. Let him go, she said. He will be in his Invisibility Cloak. He can watch. Let him smell fresh air for once. She said my mother would have wanted it. She told my father that my mother had died to give me freedom. She had not saved me for a life of imprisonment. He agreed in the end

"It was carefully planned. My father led me and Winky up to the Top Box early in the day. Winky was to say that she was saving a seat for my father. I was to sit there, invisible. When everyone had left the box, we would emerge. Winky would appear to be alone. Nobody would ever know.

"But Winky didn't know know, no one knew, that a man in a black cloak visited me. He was invisible to everyone but me. He sat next to me through out the whole game. Watching me. He told me I had a mission to do. He made me stronger. Helped me fight my father's Imperius Curse. He told me my Master was still alive and waiting. Waiting for me to find him. He gave me a wand. I had not been allowed a wand since before Azkaban."

"Master Barty, you bad boy!" Winky whispered, tears trickling between her fingers.

"Who was this man?" Dumbledore asked, Harry laughed in a knowing way, before that, too, was cut off.

"I don't know. I never saw his face. He kept it hidden. He never spoke his name. He only allowed me to see his eyes. His Green eyes. I will forever remember those bright Emerald Green eyes." Crouch said.

"So, he gave you a wand. What did you do with it?" Dumbledore asked.

"We went back to the tent." Crouch said. "Then we heard them. We heard the Death Eaters. The ones who had never been to Azkaban. The ones who had never suffered for my master. They had turned their backs on him. They were not enslaved, as I was. They were free to seek him, but they did not. They were merely making sport of Muggles. The sound of their voices awoke me. My mind was clearer than it had been in years. I was angry. I had the wand. I wanted to attack them for their disloyalty to my master. My father had left the tent; he had gone to free the Muggles. Winky was afraid to see me so angry. She used her own brand of magic to bind me to her. She pulled me from the tent, pulled me into the forest, away from the Death Eaters. I tried to hold her back. I wanted to return to the campsite. I wanted to show those Death Eaters what loyalty to the Dark Lord meant, and to punish them for their lack of it. I used the wand to cast the Dark Mark into the sky. Then I saw those eyes once more. I wanted to thank the man for helping me. I began heading towards those eyes. But they were different. They were the same, but not. Then we were not alone. I ran. I would not be caught again.

"Ministry wizards arrived. They shot Stunning Spell everywhere. One of the spells came through the tress where Winky and I stood. The bond connecting us was broken. We were both Stunned.

"When Winky was discovered, my father knew I must be nearby. He searched the bushes where she had been found and felt me lying there. He waited until the other Ministry members had left the forest. He put me back under the Imperius Curse and took me home. He dismissed Winky. She had failed him. She had left me acquire a wand. She had almost let me escape." Winky let out a wail of despair. "Now it was just Father and I, alone in the house. And then . . . and then . . ." Crouch's head rolled on his neck, and an insane grin spread across his face. "The man came to me.

"He brought my Master in the arms of his servant Wormtail. Wormtail's eyes were unfocused. The man had put him and my Master under a spell. They do not remember him bringing them. But I do. He allowed me to remember. Said I would spread the word of him to the people who most needed to know. And then he was gone.

"My Master told me that he was the one to find out that I was still alive. That he had captured Bertha Jorkins in Albania. That he had tortured her. Told me that she had told him a great deal. She told him about the Triwizard Tournament. She told him the old Auror, Moody, was going to teach at Hogwarts. He tortured her until he broke the Memory Charm my father had placed upon her. She told him I had escaped from Azkaban. She told him my father kept me imprisoned to prevent me from seeking my master. And so my master knew that I was still his faithful servant - perhaps the most faithful of all. My master conceived a plan, based upon the information Bertha had given him. He needed me. He arrived at our house near midnight. My father answered the door."

The smile spread wider over Crouch's face, as though recalling the sweetest memory of his life. Winky's petrified brown eyes were visible through her fingers. She seemed too appalled to speak.

"It was very quick. My father was placed under the Imperius Curse my master. Now my father was the one imprisoned, controlled. My master forced him to go about his business as usual, to act as though nothing was wrong. And I was released. I awoke. I was myself again, alive as I haven't been in years. I saw the man. He made sure I saw him. He told me what he needed to tell me. And then he faded out of existence. Like a Shadow."

"And what did the man tell you?" Dumbledore asked.

"To speak the truth. To give as much detail of him to whoever asked of him. To lay the foundation he needed to come back to the people he loved and cared about. To his family. To remind her that Love and Hate have but a thin line between then. That the Head my easily be manipulated, but the Heart stands strong. That she only need to awaken both Love and Hate. That she, and only she, would understand." Crouch said.

"And what did Lord Voldemort ask you to do?" Dumbledore asked.

"He asked me whether I was ready to risk everything for him. I was ready. It was my dream, my greatest ambition, to serve him, to prove myself to him. He told me he needed to place a faithful servant at Hogwarts. A servant who would guide both Harry Potter and Haiden Potter through the Triwizard Tournament without appearing to do so. A servant who would watch over Harry Potter and Haiden Potter. Ensure that they reached the Triwizard Cup. Turn the cup into a Portkey, which would take the first person to touch it to my master. But first -"

"Moody! Moody! Moody!" Harry cried out joyously. "Shh. It's getting to the good part." He hushed himself.

"You needed Alastor Moody." Dumbledore said, his blue eyes were blazing, though his voice remained calm.

"Wormtail and I did it. We had prepared the Polyjuice Potion beforehand. We journeyed to his house. Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion. We managed to subdue him just in time. Forced him into a compartment of his own magical trunk. Took some of his hair and added it to the potion. I drank it; I became Moody's double. I took his leg and his eye. I was ready to face Arthur Weasley when he arrived to sort out the Muggles who had heard a disturbance, I made the dustbins move around the yard. I told Arthur Weasley I had heard intruders in my yard, who had set off the dustbins. Then I pack up Moody's clothes and Dark detectors, put them in the trunk with Moody, and set off for Hogwarts. I kept him alive, under the Imperius Curse. I wanted to be able to question him. To find out about his past, learn his habits, so that I could fool even Dumbledore. I also needed his hair to make the Polyjuice Potion. The other ingredients were easy. I stole Boomslang skin from the dungeons.

"But I was never able to fool Harry Potter. He warned the Potions Master. The Potions Master started keeping better watch of his ingredients. But I was able to get past his watch. Harry Potter is stronger than my master thought. Harry Potter was able to see through the Polyjuice Potion. He drew my picture. I had to steal the picture. I kept a close watch on Harry Potter after that. My master would want his strength. But he may be too strong to control. His mind must be broken. Harry Potter must become a puppet. Harry Potter's eyes remind me of the man's eyes. They are the same, yet not." Haiden's grip on Hermione's hand tightened.

"And what became of Wormtail after you attacked Moody?" Dumbledore asked.

"Wormtail returned to care for my master, in my father's house, and to keep watch over my father."

"But your father escaped." Dumbledore said.

"Yes. After a while he began to fight the Imperius Curse, the man may have helped him just as he had helped me. My master decided it was no longer safe for my father to leave the house. He forced him to send letters to the Ministry instead. He made him write and say he was ill. But Wormtail neglected his duty. He was not watchful enough. My father escaped. My master guessed that he was heading for Hogwarts. My father was going to tell Dumbledore everything, to confess. He was going to admit that he had smuggled me from Azkaban.

"My master sent me word of my father's escape. He told me to stop him at all costs. So I watched and watched. I used the map I had stolen from Harry Potter. The mat that had almost ruined everything."

"Map?" Dumbledore asked quickly. "What map is this?"

"Harry Potter's map of Hogwarts. Harry Potter saw me on it. Showed his brother, the Young Malfoy, and the Potions Master stealing more ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion from Snape's office one night. He told them who I was. I stole it from him rooms the next night. He had left his trunk open. The map was sitting there." That confused Haiden who shared a look with Hermione, she seemed to be thinking the same thing: Harry never left his trunk open, he always triple check that it was closed and locked, and he never just left the map sitting at the top of his trunk, he always hid it in the false bottom.

"For a week I waited for my father to arrive at Hogwarts. At last, one evening, the map showed my father entering the grounds. I pulled on my Invisibility Cloak and went to meet him. He was walking around the edge of the forest. Then Harry Potter and Haiden Potter came, Krum too. I waited. I could not hurt either of the Potters; my master needed them. Potter ran to get Dumbledore. Harry Potter dropped his wand. I Stunned Krum. I killed my father."

"Noooo!" Winky wailed as Hermione gasped. Had he used the wand Harry dropped? Or his own? He had used Harry's wand once before, why wouldn't he do it again?

"I think someone may try to frame Harry."

Everything was starting to piece itself together.

"You killed your father?" Dumbledore asked, in the same soft voice. "What did you do with the body?"

"Carried it into the forest. Covered it with the Invisibility Cloak. I had the map with me. I watched Harry Potter and Haiden Potter run into the castle. They met Snape. Dumbledore joined them. I watched Haiden Potter bringing Dumbledore out of the castle. Snape took Harry to the Young Malfoy. The three then vanished from the map. I walked back out of the forest, doubled around behind them, went to meet them. I told Dumbledore Snape had told me where to come. Haiden Potter didn't seem to believe me. He was starting to believe Harry Potter. Together they were dangerous. We have to break them apart. My master is no match for them when they are together. Harry Potter becomes stronger when he is protecting his brother."

"A Shield becomes stronger than the Sword when it is protecting something precious." Harry sang. "Enough of you!" He hissed to himself.

"Dumbledore told me to go and look for my father. I went back to my father's body. Watched the map. When everyone was gone, I Transfigured my father's body. He became a bone . . . I buried it, while wearing the Invisibility Cloak, in the freshly dug earth in front of Hagrid's cabin." There was complete silence now, except for Winky's continued sobs, and a strange ticking noise coming from Harry.

"And tonight . . ." Dumbledore asked.

"I offered to carry the Triwizard Cup into the maze before dinner." Crouch whispered. "Turned it into a Portkey. My master's plan worked. He is returned to power, Harry's mind will be broken, and I will be honored by him beyond the dreams of wizards."

The insane smile lit his features once more, and his head dropped onto his shoulder as Winky wailed and sobbed at his side.

"Times up. Say good bye." Harry whispered seconds before the door burst open. Four Auror's walked into the room, all of them had their wands drawn.

"What is the meaning of this?" Dumbledore asked standing up.

"Harry Potter, you are under arrest." One Auror said.

"What!" Everyone cried out in shock.

"What is going on here? Who sent for you?" Dumbledore demanded.

"We had an anonymous tip as to where to find the Transfigured body of Bartimus Crouch and the wand that killed him." He Auror in charge stated motioning for two of the other Auror's to make their way over to Harry. That wand belongs to one Harold James Potter, age 14. Known Parselmouth. Suspect in Dark Mark incident at the Quidditch World Cup" Severus stood in their way and refused to move before Dumbledore shared a look with him. He growled under his breath before stepping aside. "Suspected of controlling fellow Students. Suspected of attacking fellow students. Suspected of using Love Potions of fellow students and fellow competitors. Suspected of using Dark Arts. He has been under our watch since his second year of schooling." The Auror in charge said as the Auror's raised their wands over Harry and ropes flew out of them, ropes that twisted themselves around Harry, binding him tightly. Harry's eyes were closed as if he were sleeping.

"That's a lie! Harry would, has never, done those thing!" Hermione cried out, she went to make her way over to the Auror's next to Harry, but Remus stopped her.

"You are Hermione Jean Granger, are you not?" The lead Auror asked.

"Yes. What's it to you?" Hermione snapped, her eyes alight with what looked like fire, her hands balled into fist so tight that her knuckles were white, the tips of her hair was starting to float, there seemed to be a light glow about her and soft heat coming off her almost like a candle.

"You are to come with us to be tested." The lead Auror told her, and it was like someone had dumped water on a candle. The fire in her eyes was gone, the tips of her hair dropped, the light glow vanished as did the heat.

"What?" Hermione asked in shock.

"You are one of the students Harry Potter is accused of putting a spell over." Hermione's head began to shake, and suddenly Draco was in between her and the Auror.

"Just wait until my father hears about this!" He growled dangerously at the Auror who seemed unphased.

"You are Draco Lucius Malfoy, yes?"

"That is I." Draco told him.

"You are to come with us as well. You must be tested for a Love Potion, along with one Viktor Krum." The lead Auror informed him.

"What? I am Harry's Soul Mate!" Draco told him, by this point Harry had been carried out of the room.

"And I believe that you believe that to be true. That is what the Love Potion does to you." The lead Auror told him kindly. What was happening?! His brother was under arrest? Draco might not actually be Harry's real soul mate? Harry was doping everyone and putting them all under a spell to make them believe they were his friends and that he was innocent? No. No! That wasn't true! His brother would never stoop to something so low!

Haiden's head was swarming. He closed his eyes, covered his ears, and fell to his knees. This couldn't be happening! Why did stuff like this always keep happening to his baby brother! He was innocent! But how could he prove it? How could he protect his brother like his brother always protected him?

"He gave me a wand. I had not been allowed a wand since before Azkaban."

"I used the wand to cast the Dark Mark into the sky."

"Harry Potter dropped his wand."

"I killed my Father."

"I Transfigured my body. He became a bone . . . I buried it-"

"That wand belonged to one Harold James Potter-"

"Wait. You said you found Harry's wand." Haiden said, everyone looked at him. "Bartimus Crouch Jr just confessed to using Harry's wand to kill his father." He said pointing to the man behind him.

"He could have been lying, spelled to lie by Harry Potter." The other Auror said, speaking for the first time.

"He could not lie. He was being questioned under Veritaserum." Dumbledore said.

"Harry could have used the wand to kill Bartimus Crouch, then spelled his son to believe he was the one he did it instead. That way, to Bartimus Jr it would not have been a lie." The second Auror said.

"That is not how Veritaserum works. You should have learned this while training to be an Auror. No spell can trick Veritaserum, if it is not the truth you cannot tell it." Remus told him. The second Auror went to reply, but was stopped by the lead Auror who held up his hand.

"This issue will be looked into. Until then, Harold James Potter will be in our custody. A court date will be arranged." The lead Auror said before motioning to Bartimus Crouch Jr's body, the second Auror nodded before walking over to him and binding him with ropes as well. "We will be taking Bartimus Crouch Jr back into custody, we thank you for catching him. Miss Granger, Mr Malfoy, if you would please come with me." Hermione and Draco looked to Severus who angrily sighed before nodding to them. Draco and Haiden shared a look before Draco took Hermione's hand and lead her out of the room, following the second Auror and the floating body of Bartimus Crouch Jr. Haiden stood up and, not realizing what he was doing, went to follow after them. "I'm sorry son, but you will have to stay here." The lead Auror said before nodding goodbye to everyone and took his leave. The door closing behind him made a loud and final sounding thud.

Haiden and Harry Potter had been separated from each other.