One week before Harry had to somehow divine a plan to jump into the Black Lake for the second task. One week before the eternal hell he currently called a life was going to continue, and he could potentially drown or something. The only solace he had was a Hogsmeade weekend to himself for a change.
He needed some time to himself, promising he’d meet Hermione and Ron at the Three Broomsticks later. Harry knew that all eyes were going to be on him and right now he wished he could blend into the crowd of bustling people and disappear entirely.
Stepping out of the warmth of Honeydukes and into the cold and dreary roads, he bit into the chocolate bar and let the warmth and taste wash over him. He sighed out in contentment, a puff of cold air escaping his mouth, cradling a warm cup of hot cocoa in his hand.
Taking another step forward, he jumped a little as he bumped into an older gentleman, the hot cocoa spilling out onto his cloak. The old man didn’t even seem bothered by the stain as he placed a gloved hand on Harry’s shoulder. “My dear boy, are you alright? That was awfully rude of me to knock into you.”
Harry shook his head, cheeks gently flushing with shame. “No sir, I’m alright. I should apologize for bumping into you as well, and I’ve stained your robes.”
The old man peered down at his cloak, before holding it up and taking a whiff. “Ah, hot cocoa. No, my boy, it is of no trouble at all. Nothing a quick wash couldn’t fix! Now, since I have you here, would you be so kind as to inform us about where we are?”
Harry blinked at him, and was about to reply when he heard another voice. “Doctor! There you are!”
A man wearing a warm looking jumper approached him, followed by a woman wearing a similar jumper and a young girl with a warm overcoat draped over her shoulders. The man approached them. “Doctor, we’ve been looking all over for you!”
“Yes yes Chatterton.” The man identified as the Doctor tutted. “I was merely talking to one of the locals, my boy, would it be too much trouble to ask where we are?”
It took Harry’s brain a moment to process the question, and he stared at the four strangers a little before shaking his head to answer. “You’re at Hogsmeade, sir.”
The Doctor’s eyes lit up with glee, and he turned towards who Harry could only assume to be his family. “Hogsmeade! Hogsmeade! Do you three realize what that means?”
Clearly, they didn’t, and they all shook their heads, looking just as clueless as Harry felt. The Doctor sounded practically giddy. “It means we are in a wizarding village! A genuine, wizarding village!”
The woman frowned, taking a step closer. “I’m sorry Doctor, but did you say wizarding village?”
“My dear Barbara, I did indeed! While perhaps calling it magic might be a bit outdated, none the less we are undoubtedly in a wizard’s village! Look at how everyone is dressed! All robes of all kinds!”
“Yes…” Chatterton agreed, looking around at the other patrons about their business. “It does seem like we’re a bit of a sore thumb around here…”
“Excuse me, sir.” Harry chimed in, unable to keep his curiosity from spilling out. “Are you…muggles?”
The Doctor clapped his hands together, looking like Crookshanks after he managed to capture a particularly large bird. “A muggle! Hohoo a muggle! My dear boy, I guess we are all muggles in a sense, hm?”
“Is that some kind of wizard’s terminology?” The young girl piped up, stepping up to the Doctor’s left. “Can we find a dictionary perhaps?”
“My child, that is an excellent question. Ah! But here we are, chattering about and we didn’t even have the courtesy to introduce ourselves. I am The Doctor, and these three are my companions. Vicki.” He indicated the young girl. “Ian.” The man nodded. “And Barbara.” The older woman smiled and nodded as well. “May we ask for your name, my boy?”
Harry’s brain stalled again. Did these four not recognize who he was? Even with his hair covering his scar, at this point he was sure his face was nationally recognizable. “I-I, erm…Harry Potter, sir.”
His eyes darted back and forth at the strangers, who now he wasn’t sure about whether they were magical or muggle. Still, none of them showed even a hint of recognition at his name, and none of their eyes darted to his forehead.
Even more confusion washed in with a wave of relief. The Doctor merely smiled warmly down at Harry. “Mr. Potter, would you be so kind as to point us towards the nearest bookshop?”
“Bookshop?” Vicki echoed in disbelief. “Doctor, what century is this where they still use books?”
“An excellent question my child!” The Doctor exclaimed, turning his gaze expectantly at Harry. “Mr. Potter?”
“You don’t know what year it is?” He found himself asking incredulously. Ian snorted a little, while Barbara just shook her head in a manner that reminded him of Hermione.
“No my boy, I’m afraid that we don’t keep track of time much. We’re travelers, you see. Out to see the world and all of it’s sights.” The Doctor hummed out, clutching his lapels through his cloak and looking around at the buildings.
“Right. Well, it’s 1995.” Harry told them, and he took a sip of his rapidly cooling hot cocoa to combat the headache he was sure to get if this conversation kept up any longer.
“1995?” Barbara exclaimed incredulously, looking around at the buildings and even walking up to Honeyduke’s wall to examine it. “But these buildings look like they’ve jumped right out of the 1800s!”
“My dear Barbara.” The Doctor said soothingly, patting her arm sympathetically. “Wizarding culture is often behind the times compared to modern society, as it were. What good is technology and science when magic is an ample replacement, right Mr. Potter?”
“Err…right. I guess. I wouldn’t know, really.” Why did he feel so awkward answering such a simple question? He knew though, that his exposure to magic was vastly limited. He was once again keenly made aware of how much he didn’t know about the magical world. “Anyways, the bookstore is down there, next to Zonko’s Joke Shop.”
Vicki’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Oh, a joke shop! Can we visit Doctor, please?”
Despite the protests of Ian and Barbara, the Doctor’s eyes lit up in the same manner as Vicki’s, and Harry swore he saw them twinkling. “My child, that would be most exciting! Engross ourselves in the culture fully, wouldn’t you agree, you two?”
“No, I would not! We can barely keep you two out of trouble without the aid of pranksters toys!” Ian scolded them firmly, before turning to Harry as if nothing had ever even happened. “Would you happen to know a place to eat? I’m awfully starved.”
“The Three Broomsticks.” Harry replied automatically. In truth, he wasn’t sure where a restaurant was supposed to be located here, if they even had one, but it was closest thing he could think of. “I could show you the way, if you like.”
“That’s awfully kind of you Mr. Potter.” Barbara said, smiling kindly at him.
“Yes yes! Most charitable! Now, I should have some wizarding money on me somewhere…” The Doctor patted his pockets, before producing a few golden coins. “Aha! Yes yes, here we are. Now, these coins are called Galleons.”
Ian held one of the galleons up to the light, staring at them in awe. “Why, it looks like it’s made of gold!”
“Looks like?” The Doctor echoed, tapping the coin with his finger. “That my boy, is real gold! Wizards use precious metals as currency! Now, this silver one is called a Sickle, while this bronze one is called a Knut.”
“They use real gold? That seems awfully archaic, doesn’t it?” For once, Harry had to agree with the strange people he was talking too. Even he found it a bit outdated to walk around with a sack of coins instead of just carrying some notes around.
“I suppose you’re all here for the tournament, then?” Harry asked them.
The Doctor gave him his full attention again. “Hm? The what?”
Harry once again found himself staring in complete shock at the old man in front of him. “The…the Triwizard Tournament, sir.”
“Triwizard Tournament eh? I’ve never heard of it! It must be an exciting competition then, are you watching it as well young man?”
Watching? The Doctor had said they were out of touch, but this was starting to get ridiculous. “Erm…no sir. I’m one of the competitors”
“Aha! Silly me, silly me! A bit young to participate, but no matter. I assume the other two competitors are here as well?”
“Three.” Harry corrected him.
“Three. There are three other competitors.”
Vicki frowned in confusion. “But…if it’s a Triwizard tournament, why are there four competitors?”
“Honestly, I’ve been asking that every bloody day…” He grumbled, taking another sip of his hot cocoa and sighing out. “You’d think that there would only be three competitors, but I guess not. They still never found out how the Goblet was tampered with.”
“Tampered with?” Ian asked, stepping forward to look Harry in the eye. “Do you mean that your participation wasn’t willing?”
“Not in the slightest.” Harry confirmed bitterly. “But, it’s a magical binding contract, so I have to compete. Hooray. Shall we go to the Three Broomsticks? It’s awfully cold, and I’m supposed to meet my friends there soon.”
“Yes yes, you and Barbara may go Chesterton.” Barbara gave the Doctor a shrewd look as he waved the two of them off with Harry. “Mr. Potter, would you happen to know where the Goblet is located at this particular moment in time?”
“Honestly? I haven’t the faintest idea. My best guess would be at Mr. Crouch’s office or somewhere in the school, but I haven’t seen it since the ceremony.” He shrugged a little and inclined his head. “Three Broomsticks? Cold?”
Ian and Barbara were both giving the Doctor and Vicki suspicious looks, and there was a twinkle in his eye as he shooed them away with Harry. “You two have fun, Vicki and I shall explore the town, shan’t we my child?”
Together, they walked off, and if Harry didn’t know any better, he would swear The Doctor was giggling even more than Vicki was. Shaking his head. Turning on his heel, he escorted Ian and Barbara down towards the pub and shaking his head a little. Something told him he didn’t want to know what The Doctor and Vicki were up too.
“It’s a quaint little village, isn’t it?” Ian asked, his arm linked around Barbara’s. “It would be nice to retire to a place like this, wouldn’t it?”
Barbara hummed in agreement. “Yes, it would be nice. A bit too cold for my taste though, even if we’re on British soil.”
Deciding not to correct her on the geography, Harry instead pushed open the door to the pub and instantly felt the warmth crash down on him as a warm hug from the freezing cold outside. Sitting down at the bar, Ian and Barbara sat next to him, pouring over the drink menu.
“Look at this! Fire Whiskey, Butterbeer, these all sound like they leaped out of a Tolkien novel!” Ian exclaimed, Barbara pouring over her menu as Harry flagged down Madam Rosmerta.
“I’ll have a Butterbeer please.”
“Now Mr. Potter, aren’t you a little young for alcoholic beverages?” Harry cringed a little, the stern tone in Ian’s voice reminding him of his old school teachers from primary.
“Butterbeer doesn’t have any alcohol in it sir, that’s just what it’s called.”
Ian gave Harry a calculating look and nodded his head slowly. “I’ll have a Butterbeer myself then, just to be sure. Barbara?”
“I’ll have one as well, please.” Barbara confirmed. A few minutes later, all three of them were handed a bottle of the famous brew, and Ian popped the cap off and took a sip. He pulled the bottle away from his lips, then took another sip.
“It’s quite good actually! Try some!” Sipping on his own drink, Harry watched with some amusement as Barbara sipped her own drink and hummed in approval. He glanced at the door, before checking his watch for the time. Hermione and Ron were due in about 5 minutes. He took another bite of his chocolate, downing the taste with butterbeer until the door suddenly burst open, and The Doctor and Vicki ushered themselves in, Vicki cradling something in her arms.
“That didn’t take long at all!” Ian called out, and Harry couldn’t help but smile a little at the suspicion in his tone as his two friends sat down on Harry’s left.
“Now now, we didn’t travel very far, did we Vicki, hm?” Vicki nodded, and Harry almost spat his drink out when he saw what she was carrying now.
The Goblet of Fire. The actual Goblet of Fire was set beneath the bar stool as if it was the most casual thing in the world. Ian thumped Harry on the back, and the champion coughed a little before wheeling around to stare incredulously at Vicki and The Doctor. “Where did you get that?”
“Get what, my boy?” The Doctor asked.
Harry pointed down towards the Goblet. “The Goblet, Doctor. How did you get the Goblet?”
“Well we took it of course!” Vicki said cheerfully, taking a sip of her drink and smiling broadly. “How else would we have taken it?”
Harry could swear he heard something in his brain crumble and die has he tried to process what was going on. “But, but. Why? Where?”
“Where? Why that’s simple my boy! It was in its previous location, and now it’s with us! As for why, it is clear to me that the wizards who are currently in charge are utter dunderheads and cannot see an obvious tampering when they see it! No, we shall have to examine it ourselves! Would you be interested in joining us Mr. Potter, hm? There is more to this artifact that meets the eye, and your very fate is tied to this goblet.”
Harry swallowed, and he felt very small as The Doctor tapped the goblet with his finger. His eyes bore a deep intelligence within, and Harry couldn’t help but be reminded of Professor Dumbledore in a way. Running his hand through his hair, he sighed out. “Alright, what the hell…”
“Excellent! Excellent!” Standing up briskly, the Doctor swept the Goblet up and hummed in satisfaction. “I shall accompany you to my ship, it is parked just up the hill near that old shack.”
“The shrieking shack?”
“Is that what it’s called? What a fascinating name! Yes, yes yes. Come my boy, we have much to do! Come on!” Bustling out the door, Ian and Barbara could only exchange a look that told Harry this was not the first time he’s done something like this. Standing up, they set a few galleons down on the bar.
“Keep the change, come on, before he decides to loot the whole village.”
Laughing, Vicki and Barbara followed Ian, with Harry trailing behind them. Shaking his head, Harry wondered just what he was going to get himself into.