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Retribution for Harry James Potter

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Chapter 1: No Cheater achieved Anything Ever!

Ron and Harry wandered into the Great Hall to see the legendary Goblet of Fire for the Triwizard Tournament and watch as the older students of Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons put their names in. There was a line barrier that the students needed to pass to put their name in the Goblet. Even though they were underage, the boys could only imagine what it could be like if they were older and able to enter. The two boys were in awe at the wooden cup. This one cup was going to change the lives of the Champions who won and one of the two boys wanted that more than anything.

"If we were only a few years older Harry, we could participate in the Triwizard Tournament!" Ron said. "It would be brilliant!"

"Better you than me," Harry said.

"Just think about it for a second, Harry," Ron continued, taking no notice of Harry's mention. "Me being called to play and winning the tournament would be a dream. I would finally get the notoriety that I always wanted."

Harry simply smiled at Ron's insight on the matter. Harry was not on the same view as Ron. Ron wanted fame and fortune. As for Harry, he simply wanted a simple life given his past for being the boy who lived and being known by which in the Wizarding World.

"Getting notoriety doesn't make your situation any better, Ron," Hermione said behind them starling both Harry and Ron.

"Be quiet, Hermione you would be jealous of all the fame and fortune I would get," Ron said.

"No, I would not I don't want to be part of the tournament at all. It sounds dangerous," Hermione replied.

"Oh poor Ronniniks," Fred said joining the conversation with his twin brother, George. "We see you can't join The Triwizard Tournament because you are too young, but I think we have a solution to that problem."

"Oh, what is that? How are you going to get past the age limit line? You are underage too!" Ron said. "Professor Dumbledore said he put a spell around the Goblet which will kick you out once you jump in."

"Oh dear naive brother of ours," George said. "We always have a trick up our sleeve." Fred and George took out of their pockets two vials of a green potion.

"Isn't that an aging potion?" Hermione asked.

"Spot on, Miss Granger," Fred smiled.

"So you aren't going to tell your own brother about this?" Ron said. "We could have shared."

"Nah, we couldn't risk it," George said.

"You know the more the names in the cup the fewer chances you will be called into playing in the Tournament," Fred said as Ron began to pout but his older brothers didn't have any sympathy for him and just laughed it off.

"That is not going to work," Hermione chimed in.

"Just watch, you will be surprised!" Fred said.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron stood back as the twins crossed arms and toasted to each other before drinking the green liquid out of the vial. They jumped into the line with some happy relief that they weren't kicked out immediately. but all happiness subsided when the twins were catapulted back to the other end of the room with white hair and white growing beards along with it. Ron and Harry cringed when they landed as Hermione rolled her eyes. Utterly humiliated the twins ran out of the room to go get their minor mishap fixed.

Days afterward on the day the names would be called out of the Goblet of Fire, Ron still daydreamed about being called and what he would do with the subsequent money and fame he would win after winning the Triwizard Tournament.

"Ron, will you quit daydreaming about being called out for the Tournament!" Hermione exclaimed snapped Ron back to reality. "Don't you think it's going to be dangerous if you actually get called."

Ron shook his head, "Hell Hermione, you worry too much. They are going to probably make it a lot safer this time around. Harry would join me in this argument as well. Don't you Harry you would jump at the chance of getting into Triwizard Tournament if you had the chance and were old enough?"

"I actually don't want to join the Triwizard Tournament," Harry said. "I think it's a fun idea but I don't think it's for me."

"See he wouldn't do that..." Hermione started but Ron was already tuning her out. Ron observed Harry and Hermione talk about the upcoming tournament. Harry continued his argument of watching it would be cool while Hermione expressed her thoughts that this whole tournament was stupid. As they continue to talk, Ron felt an insignificant burning sensation arousing in his body as he watched. He didn't understand why his body was burning at that moment, but he dismissed it and thought it was a hunger pain slowly growing.

Professor Dumbledore caught the last piece of parchment that flew out of the goblet. The last of the Triwizard Tournament participants were already called so this was a little suspicious. Everybody in the room, professors and students, were confused about who else would be participating in the tournament.

"Harry Potter!" Professor Dumbledore announced to the Great Hall. Harry was utterly bewildered to the announcement. He did not want to be a part of these games, like explained to Ron and Hermione time and time again, unlike his peers who wanted nothing but to be in the tournament and winning the gold for themselves. The cold envy could be felt all around the room and they were all directed to Harry everyone including Ronald Weasley his best friend. Hermione Granger his more sensible friend shook him back to reality and he answered Dumbledore's call.

Ron continued to glare at his supposedly best friend as he went up to join the other champions in the room adjacent of the Great Hall later followed by every Hogwarts teacher. Things always had to be Harry's way. Nothing with his best friend, Nothing I could do to be called a hero myself or something to share the limelight in. He has everything the fame, the fortune. He must have to drink a potion or cast a spell to make himself to be older to be in this tournament. Yeah, that was what he wanted more and the Triwizard Tournament was the best way to get notoriety in the Wizarding World. Ron assumed.

"Can you believe this, Hermione?" Ron scoffed.

"Shut up, Ron!" She says elbowing him to knock it off. Ron rolled his eyes at her.

Whatever she always picked sides between us two and it was always Harry's. Can't she see Harry wanted this! Harry is the boy who fucking lived just add one more title to that already existing name. But it shouldn't be a Triwizard Tournament champion but a fucking liar! Ron continued to consider.

Professor McGonagall came back out to announce to the rest of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang students to go back to their dorms and wait for further instruction by their head house.

As Ron went back to Gryffindor Tower with Hermione walking with him, he noticed Hermione kept on looking back over her shoulder for Harry. Something Ron didn't understand why Hermione was doing this when she should already know Harry was doing this on purpose; for his own benefit. Just thinking about Harry somehow getting his name into the goblet and getting away with it made Ron feel fire all over.

"Forget about him, Hermione," Ron said.

Hermione whipped her head around so fast Ron could hear the air crack with a glare upon her face. Ron jumped not knowing what she would do next as she went ahead of Ron into the portrait hole. "I see she is up her own ass with this," He mumbled low she couldn't come back to retaliate or worse scold him.

About an hour and a half later Professor McGonagall and Harry comes through the portrait hole explaining Harry will participate in the Triwizard Tournament this year. The rest of Gryffindor either scoffed or booed at the idea, but it was short lived when Professor McGonagall shooed everyone to bed.

Harry was the last one in his year to enter their shared dorm room. He was greeted by his best friend Ron in the most snark he has ever heard from him.

"Oh, look it's the Triwizard champion Cedri- oh wait it's the fame seeker and cheater Harry Potter."

"Ron, you know I didn't put my name into the Goblet of Fire, you have to believe me," Harry replied. "You know I don't want to do this. I don't need the money. I don't need any more notoriety than I already have. Please believe me!"

"Yeah, right!" Ron said.

"Ron!" Harry confused.

Ron ignored him and pulls the curtains around his bed him away from his now ex-friend. Harry looked around the Dormitory and saw that Seamus, Neville, and Dean were doing the same closing the curtains to their beds and ignoring the supposed cheater of the Triwizard Tournament.

That next morning Harry came down from his dormitory to find Hermione getting ready for breakfast that morning. timid in his actions he walked towards her hoping to not get a big reaction of her. "Hi, Hermione..."Harry said.

" good morning Harry," Hermione smiled surprising Harry but in the back of his mind he reminds himself to keep things as simple as possible he replied with:

"So about yesterday...You believe me right Hermione?" He was losing hope this newfound hatred of Harry all around Hogwarts with something unheard of. Harry did have his fair share of enemies like Draco Malfoy and Professor Snape but the whole school was a level that Harry never thought he would ever hit.

Hermione was flabbergasted to the fact that he asked, " Harry you don't even have to ask that question. I know that you didn't want to be in this tournament at all."

Harry's face lit up at the sound of those words at least one person believed him and was not going to blame him for something that he knew that he never would've done.

"Thank you so much, Hermione," Harry said taking her hand gazing into her eyes with an overjoyed distinction in his eyes. There was hope for him after all. Afterward, Harry and Hermione decided to have a small morning picnic under a tree in the courtyard near the Forbidden Forest. They both could have sat with the rest of the Gryffindors in the Great Hall but Harry knew it would be a nightmare just by sitting there so he recommended this, good thing Hermione thought it would be nice.

"Are you nervous about the tournament, Harry?" Hermione asked.

"To some extent."Harry sighed. "But I want to know is why is everyone else doesn't believe me?"

"They want to be in your place," Hermione explained. "I think that's why Ron is being such a git. Ron wants nothing, but to be better than his brothers and, to some extent, Ginny and you getting into this tournament he feels as though he's insignificant to everyone he crossed paths with. He's friends with the boy who lived and his brothers are doing well for themselves and he is doing nothing extraordinary."

"You're ahead of him as well, Hermione."

"What do you mean?"

"You're the brightest witch of our age so both of his friends are excelling and he's not."

"Yeah, I guess he can be jealous of both of us. At least he's still talking to me maybe I can change his mind."

"Let's hope so..." Harry took another bite of his sandwich when a blond Ravenclaw female student came towards them. Harry and Hermione looked at each other baffled to who she was. They barely knew anyone from Ravenclaw personally, but for Cho Chang and that wasn't even personally; it was more acquaintance situation with her. This Ravenclaw student was younger than them maybe about a year under them or two. They for sure knew she wasn't older than them by any means.

"Hello," The young girl said to Harry.

"Hello?" Harry replied.

"I am Luna Lovegood, I am a 3rd year Ravenclaw. I want you to know I know you didn't put your name into the Goblet. I know it couldn't possibly be you who put your name in. I want to let you know I will be cheering for you as well."The girl said nervously.

Harry gained the biggest smile upon his face when she expressed her support. One more person that believes him at least. "Thank you so much, Luna, it means a lot to me!"

"You're welcome," Luna bowed her head slightly to both of them. "Bye!"

She skipped back up to the Hogwarts Castle. Hermione turned to Harry once more, "That girl was weird."

"She may be weird but I have one more person to add to my team who believe me." Harry beamed. Hermione shrugged in response.

All that next week Ron refused to talk to Harry along with most of Hogwarts. Ron would go back into his mind when things got bored in his classes would go back into his mind and think on how Harry really did it. At one point Ron thought that maybe one of the Durmstrang teachers gave him a potion to make him physically older to put his name into the Goblet of Fire. Or maybe there was a possibility he asked someone to put his name in but who would do it was still a mystery to Ron.

During this time Hermione was the only one talking to the both of them. Even though her intentions are good, Ron was starting to get more and more irritated she was doing this.

"Hermione, stop being a saint a pick between one of us," Ron burst out at her one day while walking to class.

"Ron, you know I can't do that, you're both my friends," Hermione said.

"Well, I believe you should pick between him or me. And I think you should choose carefully because he is a liar and a cheater for getting into the tournament when he's not even of age yet."

"You know this whole debacle it's not his fault. You know he is just as worried and scared about this tournament than anybody else in it!"

"Please, Hermione he has continuously lie to you. All he wants is the money and the fame that comes with playing in this tournament. He just wants what everybody else wants the fame and fortune but for him, it's more of an added title to his already name of the boy who lived."

Hermione gaped at his words, "I didn't know that you had this much negatively towards Harry and all he wants is your companionship."

"Companionship? Hermione after he wins the tournament or even the first task he will never need companionship anymore. Guys will jump at the opportunity to be his best mate and girls will be all over him especially the purebloods having his kid would set them for life. Hell, I don't believe you haven't even jumped your chance yet Hermione your status will be through the roof once you get with him."

Hermione glowered at Ron, "What are you trying to say for that last part, Ron?"

"Isn't it obvious in The Wizarding World you are in the lowest status and with a legendary boy like him, the Harry Potter. I don't believe it when you say you haven't jumped at the chance to be with him and you have no competition ahead of you. You must be a fool. Or that's what you're doing right now on your knees every night? Is the view good? Is the way he looks upon your face the best thing that has ever happened to you? Does he tell you your beautiful? Does it taste good? Oh my Merlin, you are the brightest witch of our age you probably already thought about it way before I even thought of it. Hell, are you pregnant now?" Ron extended his arm close to her stomach but Hermione slapped it away before he even touched her.

Hermione clenched her fists as her nose flared, slowly losing her self control. She stopped in her tracks. "Ron I want you to take everything back before you ruin everything, now!"

"And why should I? I know what you do with him and guess what he's going to throw you away just for another one in your place maybe even someone with more experience. Hell, you might leave him once you get the news that you want."

Hermione was astonished at Ron's words. She has never felt so low in her life. Trying to keep it together and not start a yelling battle between him or worst slapping him into oblivion, Hermione exhaled trying to keep her cool. "Ron you want me to pick a side I think I just did!"

"Oh, well run to Harry then see if I care but I'll keep your secret but all bets are off once I find you and him the closet together!" Ron called out letting a few people overhear the conversation.

Hermione stormed off in the other direction having enough of this dead conversation to a now dead person to her who would never understand her or Harry. 'How dare he say all this stuff about us, his friends?!' Hermione thought before the tears started streaming down her face. 'Who does he take Harry and me for?'

Ron's body raged up like fire again he knew she would resort to him sooner or later. He didn't know if all that he said was true but in a way, it would be true sometime in the future. He was never the first person on her mind. Harry Potter was always on her mind first, so good riddance to her. Ron split in her general direction.

But that was not the end of it, later that night Harry came up to the dormitory red-faced and ready to defend Hermione. Ron was the only one there and was trying to find a book in his bag when Harry burst through the door.

"Ron you can be mad at me being a hellspawn for entering this tournament even though I clearly said I never did but do not blame Hermione for anything." Harry ranted.

"What's the problem? She wanted to be with you. Wasn't she willing to blow you?" Ron replied continuing looking for what he was looking for.

"No! That is not the point Ron. You went out of your way to actually call her a slag."

"And who am I to blame her! Hell at this point in time you can take whatever you can get and guess what she would be a willing participant!"

Harry exhaled trying to keep his temperament to a minimum even though he really wanted to punch him in the face, "Ron we just want you to believe us and that's not just only for Hermione it goes for me too. I wouldn't want her to do that. Hell before the names was called I told you that I never wanted to be in this. I had enough of this type of treatment all my life I just want to live a simple life like you-"

"No, you do not want to be like me that's what you don't get. The last boy out of all your family and when you were born your mother wanted a daughter. Always overshadowed by your brothers and your little sister because of things like 'oh Percy you got to be a prefect again' Or 'Bill did this and Charlie traveling the world while I do nothing that excites my family to fawn over me."

"I'm sorry for wanting that Ron but your family is like a family to me I never had one and they were happy to accept me in. There is no need to blame me for gaining more attention just because I was born a person that I'll probably never live up to be ever again."

"So doing this tournament will give you another title to your name I understand completely, as a sidekick to a hero. You know what you can replace me at any time they will always be a sidekick to your hero, Harry. And guess what I'm probably the best sidekick you'll ever have and I don't want to be that person in your life. You're a cheater and a liar you want nothing but your name plastered everywhere. Also, my family is not your family to claim! I don't need another person to upstage me to be included in my family so piss off!" Ron gave up his search for his book and stormed out shoving Harry in the process with his arm, leaving Harry in a distraught state. Was Ron really that mad at him for something he didn't even do?

"Number one rule from now on never trust Harry Potter or anything he says, nothing!" Ron said to himself as he walked out of Gryffindor Tower. He needs to take a walk there was too much to handle in one day. Two best friends left him just because they can see the flaws and the debauchery that was happening. Harry was lying and everyone knew that but Hermione and Harry at this point. Hell at this point Harry was lying to himself. He didn't need to be friends with a glorified savior. He needed to change his environment for the better or better yet to benefit himself.

It was early evening when Ron reached the courtyard to begin his brainstorming on how to go on from here because he was most definitely not returning to his ex-best friends.

"Oh look who it is the Weasel!"An arrogant voice said behind him. Ron knew exactly who he was when he uttered his first word.

"Fuck off Malfoy, it's not a good day."Ron kept on walking in the opposite direction of Draco Malfoy.

"Oh, who's got you pissed off?" Draco jeered. "And it wasn't me? Maybe someone more terrible than me? Was it your mum?"

"Shut up Malfoy I'm in the mood to punch," Ron said turning a walk in small trot to leave him behind.

Draco saw what he was trying to do and caught up with him, "So it wasn't your mum maybe it was Potter."

"Wow, I even hate the name now," Ron mumbled but Draco heard it and garnered a sly smile to his face.

"Yeah, Potter was always that type of name you will always hate," Draco agreed. "But what really happened between you two?"

"You know what happened this whole tournament is what happened. He is a fucking dirty liar and I know it."

"Yes, we all knew he was a narcissistic twat even before this stupid Triwizard Tournament. The thing I don't get is why do you enable him so many times?"

"I didn't know that I was doing it until now," Ron confessed.

"Typical weasel stuff always in the background letting other people step all over them." Draco mocked.

"Do you have anything else better to do Malfoy than insult me. I'm trying to think what to do next in my life without the supposed savior."

"Well since you are thinking what to do next without Potter in your life, I was thinking we should get revenge on Potter ourselves."

"Us two! No way! There has to be something a catch!" Ron sneered.

"No, no catch. That's all I want is to put Potter in his place. I believe you want that as well. So what do you say?"

"No!" Ron trotted faster away from Draco as he stops chasing him as he called out. "I will give you about two weeks to think about it I think you'll come around and once you have made your decision meet me again and tell me I'm ready."

Ron sneered at Draco's snide remark. There was no way in hell he was going to work with Draco even if it was for revenge on a person they both despise at the moment. Ron continued his walk not even giving Draco a second thought.

Meanwhile...

Harry climbed down to the Gryffindor common room after Ron stormed out to find Hermione reading on the couch by the fireplace. At this point, Harry thought Ron wouldn't believe him no matter what he said. Harry found himself more and more alone the past few days than his younger years at the Dursley's. Even when he was living there the feeling of loneliness didn't feel this despairingly dreadful. Ron was his first real friend in his life and now he couldn't believe the words he was saying. Ron virtually called Harry a senseless cheater and Hermione a girl who only wanted Harry for his baby juice for a higher status. Harry couldn't wrap his head around why Ron went from a trusting and loyal friend to a person who thought he was the vilest person on the planet. Harry sighed this fight would be harder to settle than any other fight between the golden trio that ever happen before it.

"Ron is still not believing us," Hermione asked.

"No," Harry said. "I'm sorry Ron insinuated you were a nice shag to me than a friend. I don't know what has gotten into him. He would never say that."

"Harry, why are you saying sorry to me?" Hermione said flipping a page in her book. "Ron said all those things, not you. You would never think of me that way anyway."

Harry joined her on the couch and folding his arms. "Yeah, I just felt I needed to say something in place of Ron."

"Thank you, Harry but you are not him."

"I am hopeful that he will come around soon. This tournament has made Hogwarts little bit more lonely than it should be."

"I'm here if you want to talk, Harry."

"If I take you up on the offer would not nag me to do homework?"

Hermione sighed and looked him into his green eyes, "Okay Harry I'll keep it to a minimum."

"Thanks..."

A few weeks go by Ron was busy into his potions work one day, the only time that week he had taken his mind off of Harry. He wasn't talking to Harry or Hermione ever since the fight he thought to himself he burns those bridges and he was never looking back. In Ron's mind, Harry and Hermione were the couple they always wanted to be without him. He had better friends in Seamus and Dean then Harry or Hermione could ever be. The three of them like to play Quidditch and were already placing bets on which Champion would win the Triwizard Tournament. All of them voted for Krum to win. Ron's new set of friends were better than Harry and Hermione in every way there was no possible way he would change this anytime. The knocking at the door was inevitable But what comes next would be the defining moment in Ron's mind.

"Hello!" a shrill high pitched woman's voice came through the door as Professor Snape open the door not even having enough time to control the situation before this woman barged right in. The woman was a blonde haired who carried a crocodile-skin bag in her hand while a piece of parchment and quill drift through the air behind her. "I am Rita Skeeter. I am a journalist from the Daily Prophet. I am escorting all of the Champions that will be in the Triwizard Tournament this year into a meeting with me for interviews and photo ops. I would like to meet Mr. Harry Potter and I wish for him to come with me! Is he here?" She looked around curiously for him. Harry look meekly at this strange woman. He had never met anyone from the Daily Prophet before and he secretly hoped the other journalists at the Daily Prophet did not act like this.

Professor Snape grumbled at this woman's actions and snapped at Harry for him to come. Harry quickly put his books into his bag and went to this Rita Skeeter. Rita Skeeter greeted Harry with a handshake but Harry's face read he didn't want to meet this woman at this time. With Rita Skeeter's entrance, Harry felt as though this woman was making a scene to make a scene. Some of the girls in the class, for example, Lavender and Parvati were very interested in what Rita Skeeter had to say even though it wasn't much they thought her enthusiasm was fun. While the rest of the class thought of her as annoying.

Ron, on the other hand, did not see Harry's timid face; he saw Harry gleefully take Rita Skeeter's hand as they both led their way out of the potions classroom. 'This was probably the moment Harry was waiting for the tabloids will have a field day with him. 'Damn him! He doesn't deserve this! He should let someone else being that limelight...someone like Viktor Krum or the real Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory!' Ron thought. He found Draco on the other side of the room. They meet each other eyes and Ron nodded to him as Draco gained a smile. 'Maybe I should take Draco at his offer. Harry has been living in the spotlight for too long, time for him to get his retribution.'

Chapter Text

After finding the quietest and reclusive place in the castle one of the closets on the third floor, Rita Skeeter pushed Harry into the small cramped closet and began her interview.

"So how do you feel about the Triwizard Tournament?" Rita started quickly. not giving Harry enough time to be comfortable in the situation that she pushed him in. "Confident? Fearless?"

Harry had his back to the wall from the overwhelming quickest of this lady's questions. There were no places to sit either in this limited room so the wall was his only support system and it didn't help that Harry was still shorter than the woman, "Um, uh, I'm s-sorry, but I d-don't feel that way at all."

"Harry, may I call you that," Rita said and Harry gives a small nod to her but Rita overlooked his response and continued on to what she was saying. "Harry, the boy who lived, would you say that you are doing this to cope with the trauma of losing your parents?"

"N-no, why would you say th-" Harry confused but was cut off by her next question.

"Since you are the boy who lived would you say that you will win?"

"Uh-"

"How about that little female friend of yours? Do I see a future between the two of you?" Rita's notepad and pen were writing profusely beside her. Harry didn't know where to look: Rita's mouth throwing out words a million miles a minute or the notepad suspiciously writing things down that have not been said.

"No, you have it all wro-"

"Teenage love in so fascinating, isn't it? Especially whoever falls head over heels for a star like you."

"But me and Hermione are not dating-!"

Rita gasped, "Hermione is her name that is a cute name-" She was the one being interrupted this time as the bell rang for dinner. Harry sighed in relief, overjoyed that this interview finally ended. "I hope to talk to you more in the future, Harry."

Harry cringed at the use of his first name; it felt like they were friends when the interaction was jarring to say the least. Harry quickly grabbed his bag and left the closet to join the rest of his classmates not even once looking back.

Once he found his way to the stairs, He found Hermione quickly but unbeknownst to him Rita Skeeter didn't let him leave without evidence for her story. As Harry and Hermione walked to the great hall to get some food for their picnic outside in the courtyard, Rita transformed herself into her unlicensed Animagus form and flew onto the back of Harry's robes. Rita hears every single word that Harry and Hermione said to each other.

Harry and Hermione made small talk as they made their way outside for their picnic, this time heading for the lake just because it was a nice day out. But the real juicy part that Rita Skeeter wanted to hear started when Hermione asked about his time with Rita Skeeter.

"So, how was your interview with Miss Skeeter?" Hermione asked.

"I'd rather not talk about it," Harry grimaced as he quickly changed the subject. "How much homework did Professor Snape give us this time?"

"Half a scroll of parchment on the theory of the Polyjuice potion and when to use it."

Harry rolled his eyes and sighed; even though he was away from Rita Skeeter, there was still the other reality to enter; school and the tournament, "Do you mind helping me with our homework, Hermione?"

"Of course not," Hermione smiled.

"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said while taking a bite of his fish and chips. "By the way, since you read the Daily Prophet every day, what do they talk about usually?"

"I thought you didn't want to talk about it?"

"I don't want to talk about the interview, but I'm just curious about what they write in general."

"In my opinion, they're a gossip tabloid newspaper. Just this past week the headlining story what Victor Krum and his love life in the UK is, and they have many theories surrounding you, of course, since you're in the tournament."

"So, it's the whole lot that are mad about rumours and gossip well good on them for finding things that are the most important in the world," Harry's sarcasm bleeding with implication.

Hermione started to snicker at his comment, "So, I take it the interview was horrible, to say the least because that was a horrible but funny joke."

Harry started to chuckle with Hermione at his joke the more he thought about it, "Yeah, it wasn't the most brilliant moment of my life."

Since hearing all of their conversations while ate their lunch by the lake, Rita Skeeter found her fascinating story for the next day's headlining story with a sweet sweet undeniable picture perfect evidence.

The Boy Who Lived's Secret Love Life

Harry Potter, everyone's beloved savior and Triwizard Champion, has been hiding a secret from the Wizarding World, and it is that he has fallen head over heels in love. And this is no ordinary girl to him; he has fallen in love with his best friend Hermione Granger. Miss Granger is a fifteen-year-old Gryffindor student that is in the same year as Mr. Potter and is top of her year also. Rita Skeeter has the inside scoop on their budding romance. Ms. Skeeter has described their romance as inseparable and fun. Ms. Skeeter says that "from what I can tell Harry makes Hermione laugh and that is a textbook example of young love. Also, they resemble James and Lily a lot and you know what they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Harry is like his father, fancying smart girls. I believe the love between the two will stand the test of time and I can't wait for a wedding in the future."

Hermione's jaw dropped; she could not believe what she was reading. Harry's interview with Rita Skeeter turned into a scandal that she could not fathom to think in her head, but here it was in her hands the article and the picture that went with it. The picture was of Harry and Hermione sitting close to each other by the lake, as friends, laughing and talking with one another. The picture showed their faces in full view like it was taken in front of them. Hermione's face fully expressed joy and laughter while Harry looked on at her with a wide smile too.

Hermione tried to rethink to yesterday to where and how Rita Skeeter got this photo. No one else was out by the lake, so no person could really get such a photo of Harry and her together. Did Rita Skeeter make this all up on her own? But that still didn't explain the photo. There was no doubt it was a real photo, but there was no way for someone to get it when no one was around.

Since it was the early morning breakfast time in the Hogwarts Castle Harry and Hermione could not go outside like they always did or liked to during lunch and dinner because of a school rule, they had to endure the Gryffindor table too much to their dismay.

Hermione looked up from the new daily prophet to see Harry across from her looking down and eating his toast and eggs, making sure that his eyes didn't wander into territory that he wasn't ready to face at this moment.

"H-Harry," Hermione started she could not find the words to even start this conversation. "H-Have you read the new daily prophet with Rita Skeeter's interview with you in it?"

"No," Harry said, making contact with her only. "What did she say?"

"You might want to read it..."Hermione cringed as she handed Harry the newspaper.

Harry began to read the Daily Prophet from the headlining page. He read the big main story of Harry's interview which to him was how he expected it to be. He expected it to be something he never said in the first place. When he got to the place where Hermione was concerned, at first, he was confused that the Daily Prophet was so enamored with Harry's love life when there was none to find. He had crushes like Cho Chang. who was in Ravenclaw, but he didn't really talk to her to start the idea of a romance. Hermione and he were friends. Then, he looked at the magical picture of him and Hermione laughing by the lake and started to think, like Hermione, where did Rita Skeeter get her information and how did she get the photo.

"What did the Skeeter lady ask you?"

Harry shook his head in disgust before speaking on the matter, "It is not what you're thinking Hermione, plus it's just a scandal that she made up."

"I know, but is there anything Ms. Skeeter asked of you to make her think this?" Hermione asked, gaining concern as Harry handed the Daily Prophet back to her.

"She didn't really let me talk at all. I was basically stuttering. She talked about how I thought the tournament and then asked me about my love life."

"And I was included?" Hermione raised an eyebrow.

Harry nodded, "But I could never really get her to stop asking questions and she must have filled in the blanks where I was stuttering."

"Well, that explains some of it but I think we have a bigger problem."

"What do you mean?"

Hermione dug into the pocket of her robes and took out a folded letter, "Mrs. Weasley sent this morning and I think she read the article before we could ever."

"Was it a howler?"

"Yes! I was taking a letter to the owlery to send to my parents and then I get a letter dropped at my feet and it started to yell at me how could I do this to her and her family. I was very confused about what she meant as she never got around to explain what I did wrong."

"I guess everyone is blaming us in some way," Harry consoled as he put a hand over hers from across the table. "We'll work through this."

From the other end of the Gryffindor table sat Ron who also received the Daily Prophet as well and it fed into his inevitable perception of Harry and Hermione.

There was always something between those two; I'm glad the press has finally got into the story. But the scandal that comes with what's really going on will be brilliant. I can see it now, Harry exposed for being a liar, and as for Hermione, hopefully, she'll get what she wants in the end. But Harry will see she's only using him for his fame before anyone else.

Ron sipped his orange juice and glanced over to the Slytherin table and met Draco's eyes, and Draco gave a single nod back at him. Ron and Draco were giving each other the go-ahead for their planned meeting today. A secret meeting to plan what was the best way to get revenge on Harry. Karma was going to be a bitch for Harry. After Professor Dumbledore released the students from the Great Hall to their first class of the day, Ron, having free time, caught up with Draco in a secluded place in the castle. A room on the third floor which had no purpose to any of the staff or the students of Hogwarts.

Ron knew vaguely that Harry and Hermione didn't have class as well so he knew he had to be careful of who he ran into. He couldn't afford to bump into any other Gryffindor student, especially his older brother or anyone from the other houses. If he is caught talking civilly to Draco, of all people, it will most definitely put a word out around the school saying some is up.

Ron was uncomfortable with the idea of working with Draco but he was going to take a chance on the Slytherin. What was going through Ron's mind was that maybe Draco had a plan. A plan better than anything that he could ever come up with. But since this was Draco, Ron was taking precaution to what he would do with this plan.

"Malfoy, I think I am ready to join you," Ron said, after finding out that they were alone in this secluded place in the castle. The room was small, to say the least, and also had no candles around so it made this meeting with the two boys dark. From what the two boys could see from the small window light from the door there were about three different chairs in various shapes around the room. each boy picked one and started their conversation on their future plans.

"Good, you won't regret this, Weasley," Draco said. "But I have to ask what changed your mind so fast?"

"The skeeter lady; she came in wanting Harry, and he jumped at the chance"

Draco agreed patting Ron on the shoulder. Ron was uncomfortable with Draco doing this but he let him continue, "Weasley I knew you were good for it. Now We want you to be seen to us as not a blood traitor so-"

Ron's eyes narrowed, "Wait-wait who is us?"

To contrast to Ron's unsteady and uncomfortable stance to the situation, Draco was eager for this plan to start, "My father and I made a plan-"

"Why does this involve your father?"

"You'll understand once you hear the plan..."

"And what about the blood traitor thing?"

"We see your family as less and to work with us, we want you to shake that idea of blood mixing that's your family loves to do off."

Ron rolled his eyes and shook his head, "Why can't this just be a plan that involves us getting Harry into a lot of trouble?"

"It will, ugh, why does the weasel family always have to be difficult to work with?"

"If that's how is it going to be working with you I don't want to do it." Ron stood up and walked out of the room leaving Draco looking confused and with a glint in his eye a bit fearful. He had to pull his best foot forward and get Ron to their side. "Weasely, I'm the best you are going to do! No one is going to help you like I am!" Ron just continued down the corridor rejecting everything Draco said. This was a stupid idea.

Later that night in the Dungeon corridor in Hogwarts Castle Draco was sitting in his dormitory with Crabbe and Goyle looking out his window watching for an owl that his father said he would send tonight. Crabbe and Goyle were talking amongst themselves and was ignoring Draco at that time as Draco was fearful of what his father, Lucius, had to say. He knew Lucius didn't know everything but from what had happened he knew Lucius wouldn't like it at all.

Draco kept replaying the events that happened that day. He knew it was a failure. But the consequential act of explaining that to his father is what kept him usually quiet. Draco tried his best to keep his emotions under wraps. He could not afford Crabbe and Goyle to see his weaknesses so to Crabbe and Goyle Draco was sitting on his bed plotting something.

Finally, he saw the dreadful owl flying toward and landing on his window. Crabbe notice the arrival of the owl before Goyle did and stupidly asked, "Did Lucius sent you something?"

"Shut up!" Draco said taking the letter from the animal as Crabbe and Goyle continued back to talking amongst themselves.

Draco breathed before opening the letter and reading the contents.

Dear Draco,

I hope the Weasley boy has joined our side, and I hope you set up our meeting with him soon. I'm usually disappointed with you on various things like the fiasco I call 'you pulling Potter onto our side' but I want to see you redeem yourself. I think this is the best plan that you've ever come up with against Potter, and I do not wish for it to fail.

I want to talk with you tonight after everyone's gone to bed in the fireplace; I say about 2 a.m. sharp and don't be late!

Lucius

Draco closed his eyes to the idea of what the conversation between him and his father will be. He knew that it wasn't going to be good.

2 a.m. couldn't come any faster for Draco he was dreading it but 2 came faster than he was prepared for. He was sweating down his back as he sat in the Slytherin boy dormitory in his bed. He would every few seconds he would eye his table clock in anticipation. Once the clock ticked over to 1:59 a.m. he hurried down the stairs to the Slytherin common room's fireplace and waited the extra minute before his father would appear. Draco put on a confident face as his father appeared in the flames of the fireplace.

"Draco, did your first phase of your plan succeed to your expectations?" Lucius asked With a knowing look. "And don't you lie to me; I know when you're lying to me Draco."

Draco's facade dropped as he gained a worried look on his face. If his father was physically in the Slytherin common room with him; he knew that he would get a slap to the face. Trying to get Potter in his first year cause his father in do this when he came home that Christmas.

Draco gulped before speaking, "Weasley didn't join us…"

"Draco not only am I disappointed in you but how foolish could you be in letting this first phase fail." Lucius turning his nose up to him. "We need either the Weasley boy or the Weasley girl to join us, and since the Weasley boy was best friends with Potter he's our best chance of getting Potter's trust."

"I know, father," Draco bowed his head.

With Draco bowing his head to his father, Lucius knew exactly what happened between the two. "So, what did you say to the Weasley boy that he didn't join us?"

"I explained to Weasley about the blood traitor name that he has to shake off, and he got mad at the idea. I'm sorry," Draco apologized.

Lucius growled into a fiery rage at his ungrateful and displeasing son. Lucius wanted to yell from the top of his lungs to how foolish he was, but this was not the time or place. "Draco, your plan was to get Potter expelled from Hogwarts and for Potter to vulnerable to any of the Death Eaters once it's done."

Draco nodded but stayed silent. Lucius growled one last time he was finished with the conversation to his hopeless son but before ending it he had one last order for his son to do, "Tomorrow morning I want you to meet with that Weasley boy and persuade him into joining us, and don't you dare mock him! We want him on our side for our plan to work." Lucius ended the call, and finally, Draco could hold his head up and breathe once more.

That next morning before breakfast even started, Draco found Ron entering the Great Hall. Ron saw him coming from the corner of his eye and knew that Draco wanted desperately to join him. It was early for breakfast so there very few people were in the Great Hall leaving very few witnesses to notice the two fourteen-year-old boys talking to each other.

"Weasley, can we talk in private?" Draco called out before Ron could open the door.

Ron rolled his eyes to the blonde-haired boy, "What?"

Draco motioned to the corridor adjacent to the Great Hall, and Ron followed him but from a good steady distance. Making sure the coast was clear, Draco's started his proposition again."Weasley, I think you will like our plan for getting back at Potter."

"What makes you think that I will join you if you're going to bash me as you did?" Ron said, folding his arms and waiting for his explanation.

"Maybe we can make a deal," Draco smirked as he gained a perfect idea for Ron to join in on the plan.

"A deal?"

"Yes, my father and I will not berate you in any sense; we will only call you Weasley and that will be all but you'll have to renounce your title of blood traitor."

Ron took this into account but was somewhat willing to take him up on the deal but there is no way for Draco to only be nice to him, "Is there anything else for this deal? How can I know that you'll keep this promise?"

"We can make an oath, or we can make an unbreakable vow, but it has to be administered by my father."

"Can your father make that vow as well to me?"

"I'll make sure of it," Draco nodded knowing that this will be hard.

"Okay, I will join you in your plan..."

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Dear Draco,

I assume that you were successful in gaining The Weasley Boy alliance. I want to meet with you and him this Thursday night to go over the plan with him. I will send you a portkey in the next few days that will transport you to our meeting/hideout. Do not fail me, Draco!

Lucius Malfoy

Draco sighed, reading the letter his father sent him a few days ago. He was going to have to explain to his father that he was going to make a deal with Weasley to make him totally on board with the plan. Draco knew it wouldn't go over well. When Draco initially came up with the plan of getting back at Potter, Lucius was livid with the idea saying that it was ludicrous. Even going so far as to send Draco a howler, which, lucky for him, only yelled at him in the owlery.

Draco looked over to the red vase that his father sent him. This was the portkey that was going to transport him and Weasley to the hideout. It was expensively beautiful, to say the least. With this beauty and expense, it almost said that his father really wanted Weasley to be overwhelmed with the glory and luxury that he could not say no. But that was the least of his problems. If Ron behavior toward his father is negative all bets are off.

He knew there was going to be repercussions when Weasley and his father met that day. Weasley already made his mind the first time that he wanted to join but working with Lucius turned him away, and his father wanted nothing to do with a family that was so beneath him. So, he thought of a plan to soften the blow a bit to what his father wanted when Weasley went to him. In order to get Weasley to go with him, if he couldn't persuade his father to be nice, he could show that Weasley could be worth his father's presence. Weasley needs to be in his father good graces for him to approve of him. Also, he didn't want Weasley to be scared off again this had to work no matter what happened.

Draco had given a handwritten note to Weasley that morning, letting him know to meet him in another discreet place on the 5th floor in the castle so they could transport to their meeting. In the note, he scheduled Weasley to be there by sunset and wear dark clothes so both of them could be inconspicuous in the night.

"I'm here, Malfoy," Ron announced coldly as Draco's back was turned.

"It took you long enough," Draco snared and looked him up and down examining his clothes to make sure he was ready for the journey. Ron wore black trousers with a dark red jumper. It was acceptable.

"Now, Weasley, we are leaving by portkey, which is this red vase over here. Once you look behind you and see if the coast is clear, we are going to both touch the portkey at the same time and leave."

After checking that the coast was clear, Draco and Ron simultaneously touched the vase and were transported to the outskirts of Hogsmeade. That part of Hogsmeade was completely deserted with a bunch of abandoned shops and houses thoroughly creeped Ron out.

"Are you sure he wants us to meet him here?" Ron asked. "Are we even allowed to be here?"

"Shut up Weasley and just follow me," Draco said as he lifted up his dark cloak hood over his head and began the walk to an abandoned shack which was odd, compared to the other buildings, it was losing its paint chip by chip while the rest were just black in color. Draco opened the heavy wooden door and held it open for Ron to go in as well. Once the Gryffindor was in the room, he inspected the place to check for anything to pop out. Even though it was fairly dark in the room.

Draco rolled his eyes and cast a Lumos bright enough to shine on everything in the room. Everything to the chairs and the tables that were spread out all over the room to the back bar indicating that the shack used to be a pub, "There are no tricks here, Weasley just continue to follow me."

Ron whipped his head around to give Draco a well-deserved glare but Draco was none the wiser as he continued with his wand out to a back door. He went in leaving the door opened as an invite for Ron to continue in his footsteps. Ron was still uncomfortable with this whole idea working of with the Malfoys, but as he was already on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, he had no choice in following the blonde haired boy into this other room which was oddly descending downward as Ron watched Draco step down. To Ron, the whole plan was too good to be true in the end. Getting harry his well-deserved revenge did not call for Lucius Malfoy to join in but he was willing to do anything to make this revenge a reality.

Ron followed Draco downstairs, which was made out of the best black marble that he has ever seen in his life with gold trimmings and had a railing a rich copper. The staircase was lit by candlesticks that hung on the wall as they descended down to this hideout.

When Draco reaches the bottom, he noticed that his father had not arrived yet, so he could conduct his plan of making Weasley better presented to his father.

"Weasley! I want you to go wash your hands in the restroom over there," Draco instructed, pointing to a closed-door that sat at the other end of the room which was fairly small. Enough for it to be a narrow dining table for four which was half true since it had a glass table and wooden chairs sitting in the middle of the room with a small chandelier above it. "My father will be here any minute and he wants cleanliness over everything else!"

"What? Your father can't touch a blood traitor?" Ron snarked.

"Just go do it. You want this plan the work, don't you?"

Ron rolled his eyes and headed to the restroom as Draco started casting spells all around the room so that his wand was not the only thing lighting this place.

Once finished lighting the room Draco was startled when his father spoke about how well he was doing with the lighting up the room. Small talk really.

"Draco, you have really outdone yourself," Lucius started with a booming voice. Lucius stood at the bottom of the stairs with his cane in hand. He wore a black cloak that with his stature made Draco immobilized with his head down. "I can see every spider web that hangs in every corner."

Draco continued to bows his head, not saying anything as Lucius continues. "Is Weasley here?"

"Yes, Father, he is in the restroom," Draco answered. Lucius hit Draco on the shin with his cane in which had Draco starting to hunched over and hiss in pain. Lucius grabbed Draco by the collar, and he whispered into his face. "That was for your first fuck up for your first attempt in getting Weasley anything like that again this whole cane will whip your back!" Lucius quickly shoved his son out of the way as Draco stumbled a bit to stand up straight. Lucius changed his attitude to one of a very disappointed stern father to his son to the Weasley boy with a smirk on his face. Lucius had to keep up appearances so nothing of his real nature comes to light to anyone.

"Good boy," Lucius said as he wiped his finger across the glass table for any dust. Ron comes out of the restroom, and he and Lucius make eye contact.

"Weasley, I see that you have taken on the plan of avenging Potter. Is that correct?"

"Yes, but I want to know why this revenge plan includes you?"

"It is a bigger plan than you think. Didn't Draco explain this to you?"

"No, the first time we talked he belittled me, so I told him that I didn't want to work with him."

"What about the second time?" Lucius glanced over his shoulder to see the blond haired boy still bowing his head. Sensing his lookover, Draco flinched.

"I only agreed to join was because we would make an unbreakable vow on you to not berate me every chance you got; I want some respect in working with the both of you. If you don't then I won't do anything you want me to do with this plan," Ron gave a stern look as he cut the air with his hand.

"Sounds like a good deal, but I want to explain what this plan entails," Lucius gave a sly smile. In Lucius' mind, He thought of a way to sell the plan to the youngest Weasley boy and he knew how to do it. From how Draco described his and Potter's relationship before their friendship ended, Lucius knew how to get Weasley on board with the plan.

The older Malfoy invited the two fourteen-year-old boys to sit with him at the glass table.

"First of all, I should explain this plan will get Harry expelled."

"Expelled?" Ron asked. "That's mad; how are we going to get that to happen?"

"Yes, this plan seems a bit excessive but you did say that Potter is always in the spotlight for all the heroic things that he has done?" Lucius calmly explained.

"I haven't said that."

"Oh, I think it's my mistake; Draco's explains a lot to me. "

Ron glared at Draco as a blonde haired boy just glanced at him. "I guess that's true; he is always the heroic one that ends up in all the papers."

"Since all of the news coverage of Potter is positive, why don't we make him Public Enemy Number One?"

"That's not an easy thing to do; the Wizarding World sees him as a savior."

"That's where you come in Weasley. We want you to make Potter around Hogwarts more disliked by more people than yourself and Draco here?"

"By who exactly?"

"Professor McGonagall and Headmaster Professor Dumbledore are mainly the key people for this expulsion to happen."

"How about Professor Snape; he would be a good enough candidate?"

"I think it would be a good starting place," Draco chimed in still feeling the wrath of his father's glare. "He hates him already."

"Yes, good idea, why not push Professor Snape into hating him a little bit more?" Lucius agreed with a hint of animosity.

"What does this have to do with me?" Ron asked, confused.

"We know our plan needs to take some time, but if you are patient with us, it will fall through very swiftly."

"How much time do you think this will go on for?"

"A year and a half maybe even two."

"A year-and-a-half?! Why so long?!"

"Weasley, we know Professor McGonagall will treat him unconditionally well so to change her mind will take some time. Also, this goes for Professor Dumbledore but also included in our plan we need for you to befriend Potter again."

"What?!" Ron growled banging his fist onto the glass table; almost breaking it.

"Weasley, it takes you out of people of interest if our plan is discovered."

Ron rolled his eyes to the idea that the Malfoys would let him hide from this if shite hits the fan. "I don't believe you when you say that!"

"We know that we will not get caught with this plan because we always work in the shadows, so by you befriending Potter again, you will serve as the weakest link to the connection of us working together. To Potter and the whole Wizarding World. The betrayal won't be noticed by anyone. Also, we want to keep tabs with Potter through you we don't want him to think that he is alone in this and kill himself off. That's not part of our plan."

"I don't think he'll kill himself; he's too much of an egomaniac," Ron waived as he thought back and thought more about the proposition at hand and made a small nod in understanding. If Harry is alone for too long this may come true. "B-But I still don't understand how are you going to get Harry expelled from Hogwarts?"

"My plan has an idea once we get there but everyone has to turn their backs to him first, mainly the staff," Lucius said.

"He is not really going to do anything outrageous like you Malfoy so how are we going to do this?"

"We have a series of mishaps as you would say to set up for Potter," Lucius explained, putting his hands together and laying his chin on top of them.

"So, if I join you I'll be setting Potter up for failures until he gets expelled?"

"No, not all the mishaps will be class related. We're looking into getting him caught breaking one of the school rules and some other things that are morally wrong as well."

"M-Morally wrong?"

"We are thinking on what degree we will put him in for the moral transgression we want him to commit now."

"The more horrible the better," Draco said. Lucius rolled his eyes for his son's precipitousness.

"We will have meetings throughout our time together with this plan to explain what happens next to get Harry in trouble again," Lucius said

Ron folded his arms and thought to himself, this could be the most ultimate revenge that he could ever think of but with Harry's likability, there's no way he could ever devise a plan to virtually get Harry out of his life. He could just imagine Professor Dumbledore kicking Harry out for all the trouble he'd caused and the life that he, Ronald Weasley, could live without him. No more playing sidekick to his hero! No more of his mother's favoritism towards him! No more of stories of the Harry Potter, a hero to The Wizarding World! If their plan goes right Harry Potter will be the most hated man of the Wizarding World, so no more savior! His name will be a bitter taste in people's mouths! But there were a few things that needed to be addressed before he made the unbreakable vow with the Malfoys.

"First of all, I want the respect that I should have with this plan. No berating no calling of me blood traitor or that I am poorer than you I want teamwork from both sides. Agreed?" Ron declared.

"If we are asking for promises we want you to work with us no matter what we asked of you. No 'no, I can't do it' for any reason."

Ron extended his right arm to officially accept their offer to join them. Lucius was the first to shake his hand.

"Thank you, Weasley, it will be a pleasure to work with you," Lucius grinned a callous grin. Lucius, Draco, and Ron all made a pact that day with two successful unbreakable vows spells cast between Lucius and Ron and Draco and Ron.

That day commemorated Ron's betrayal of his best friend Harry Potter.

"Mr. Potter, I need to speak to you," Professor McGonagall said as the rest of her class packed up their books and parchment to leave. Some of the other students started to murmur in gossip as Harry signaled to Hermione with a nod to just wait outside. Once all the other students left out of the room.

"Mr. Potter, can I ask you about your flying skills?"

"Yes, Professor, but what about them?" Harry asked, confused to what she was alluding to.

"I say that you are the best flyer I have ever seen at Hogwarts since I have started teaching. I think since there isn't any Quidditch games this year. I think you should work on your speed."

"My speed, Professor?"

"Yes, go and practice your speed, it will help you in the future." Professor McGonagall said nonchalantly. Harry was aware of his skills on Nimbus 3000; he could do flips and tricks that would wow a whole stadium, but Professor McGonagall was telling him to work on his speed. What whatever she was trying to get him to understand, he didn't.

"Uh, thank you, Professor, I will do that..."

"Can you send in Ms. Granger?"

While having the conversation with McGonagall, Hermione was standing outside the door, waiting for Harry to come out. She was staring off in space just patiently waiting for him as a few other students passed her, minding their own business when a girl with jet black hair approached her.

"You're Hermione, right?" the girl said. Hermione found herself talking to Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw girl that Harry had a crush on.

"Uh, yes?" Hermione replied.

"I want to ask you what your relationship with Harry is?"

"Oh, we're just friends nothing more. Why have you been reading the daily prophet?"

"Yeah, I just wanted to know if it was true or not thank you," Cho smiled and waved to leave the bushy-haired girl alone before the door to transfiguration opened. 'Why is everyone believing the Daily Prophet? Mrs. Weasley with her threats and now Cho Chang! Why don't they see that nothing is going on between us?'

"Hermione, Professor McGonagall wants to talk with you too," Harry said.

Confused she went in as Harry switched places with her. As Harry stood outside and watched other students pass by. He saw a few of the first year Slytherins walked past with very big buttons that said: "Support Cedric Diggory" with his face underneath the words. then the button started to change with a flash to "Potter Stinks" with an unflattering picture of Harry rolling his eyes with his tongue out.

Harry gave a sigh 'if everyone believed me now it wouldn't matter now. It would be impossible to win these people back now I'm virtually robbed Cedric Diggory of winning for Hogwarts. I wish Professor Dumbledore would look into this and not let me play in Triwizard Tournament.'

In the meantime, Hermione and Professor McGonagall start of their conversation just says as Harry's was, confusing to the student but to the professor a small hint was given.

"Excuse me, Professor, you want me to show you how well I do the accio spell?" Hermione puzzled.

"Yes, child, I know you can do it, see how well you can do it," Professor McGonagall said, pulling out an apple and setting it on her teacher's desk. "Do it on this apple here make it come to your hand and take a few steps back to the fifth desk in the centre row."

Hermione did as she was told and took out her wand and got in position to start the spell. She made a frown like shape line in the air with her calling out the Accio Apple. The Apple flew across the room to Hermione's hand and she caught it with precision inturn Professor McGonagall applauded her on skill.

"Absolutely brilliant, Miss Granger! Now that I know you can do that I want you to take time out of your day to tutor Potter until he gets good at it."

"But why does he need to know the accio spell doesn't he need to do something for the tournament?"

"As one of the coordinators of the tournament I cannot disclose what will happen and what is needed for the first task but enough about that; ask me about the weather?" Professor McGonagall smiled.

"Uh, how is the weather?"

"It's very cloudy today, very gloomy, but did you know witches and wizards can control the weather just by teaching 'the clouds' to do as such?"

"No, I did not Professor McGonagall. Uh, how would you go about teaching one?" Hermione asked feeling confused as she tried to keep up with the conversation.

"Just like every other wizard and witch has done before teach each other!" Professor McGonagall raised an eyebrow and signaled her head two points at the door hoping Hermione would get it.

"Oh, I see Professor I'll do my best to teach the 'clouds'!" Hermione said finally understanding that Professor McGonagall meant by 'clouds' as in Harry. Teach Harry.

"Thank you, Miss Granger. Don't tell the clouds that I'm doing this." Professor McGonagall said. Hermione smiled and nodded.

As Harry and Hermione started the walk to their usual picnic spot away from glaring eyes and stuck up noses. Harry started to notice a lot more students with the buttons of 'Potter stinks' pass them and began to worry.

"Have you seen all the badges that people are wearing around school today Hermione?" He asked.

"No, I haven't noticed," Hermione replied. "Do the badges have a saying?"

"Support Cedric Diggory, then it changes to Potter stinks."

"Let's not worry about that for now, Harry, I know you don't have much support but the tournament will not require you having support or not. You need to focus on surviving the task."

"I guess you're right. From hearing from Professor Dumbledore's explanation of why the tournament was canceled first that should be motivation to focus on staying alive in it."

Hermione gave a faint smile to him as she tried to somewhat change the subject, "Harry, how are your skills with the Accio spell?"

"I am not as good at it as you are." Harry replied. "Why?"

"I think we should practice that spell just so you can be good at it," Hermione offered.

"Uh, okay, do you want to start now?"

"Yes, but once we're in the courtyard."

"So have you talk to Mrs. Weasley?"

"No, she won't talk to me, but I think I have some good news for you; Cho Chang asked for you."

Harry gained a curious look, "Brilliant, what she say?"

"She was asking if I was dating you. and I told her I wasn't."

"So, she's still my side she doesn't believe that I put my name into the goblet!" Harry gleamed.

"Well, I didn't say that, but she did want to know if we were dating or not so that's a positive."

Harry felt very content in that moment; three people were on his side and believe him when he said that he didn't put his name in the Goblet. Hermione watched him smile to himself and was starting to muster up the courage to admit to liking the idea of seeing him smile.

Once settled into their lunch, Hermione picked up an apple and told Harry to go to the nearest tree and try to practice a spell. Good for them the nearest tree was several yards away, so this was good practice for Harry to start on. Hermione signaled with her other hand for Harry to start. Harry took a deep breath and started his stance with his wand at the ready.

"Accio Apple!" Harry called as he waves his wand in a frown shape. It barely wobbled in Hermione's hand, and Hermione shook her head to Harry, saying to him that he should try to call the spell again. This time the apple flew through the air and Harry catches it. Hermione applauds him as Harry runs back to Hermione giving her apple back.

"Let's try that one more time for Old Times Sake," Hermione said.

Harry ran back to the tree with a bit of a boost of confidence. He tried again but this time the spell cast the Apple to fling out of Hermione's hand backwards to the stone wall of the castle and smashed it into mush. Hermione turns back to Harry with her jaw dropped.

"Sorry!" Harry called. 'Professor McGonagall was right; he does need practice…' Hermione thought.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: The First Task

Harry determinedly raised his wand into position. Today was the morning of the first task. So far Harry had been practicing nonstop to make his spell perfection. Hermione was having to do this final test run before going the first task.

A couple of nights ago, Harry was shown by Hagrid that the first task involved fire breathing dragons. Harry was intimidated by the idea of facing dragons, he didn't know how he was going to defeat them and come out alive. Once Harry explained this to Hermione, she maximized her time with Harry for him to master the spell.

Harry exhaled, "Accio picnic basket!" The said basket answered the call from Hermione's palm zooming into Harry's freed hand.

Hermione applauded, "That was your best yet!"

"Thank you, Hermione!" He called to her. "Couldn't do it without you!"

"You're welcome!" Hermione said and ran over to hug him. "I am worried about you about I am also confident that this will help immensely."

Harry smiled for her added confidence for his already low confidence. The happy moment shared between two good friends was being watched through glaring eyes from the Gryffindor tower. Ron preparing to leave with Seamus and Dean to the stadium where the first task would be when he saw that sickening moment. 'I can't wait until you're expelled' Ron gave a silent sigh as he massaged his right hand.

A few days ago…

It had been a few days since the first meeting with Lucius and Draco, Ron wondered why they were called him back for a practice meeting. He knew that he probably needed to practice in doing something discreetly, but when he got to The Hideout he was surprised the only meet Lucius there. There was no Draco anywhere in sight.

"Now, Weasley I want you to practice your self-control with us," Lucius said, getting up from dining chair table, which had not moved from the previous meeting.

"Self-control?" Ron cried. "Why do I need to practice my self-control? Why not something to practice my sneakiness around Harry?"

"We don't want our plan to be blown at all, so you have to master your self-control if you don't want to seem suspicious," Ron rolled his eyes; he knew that Lucius and Draco had doubts about him but this was a bit much.

"If you fight with Potter at any time when our plan is in motion, our vow will be broken, do you understand?" Lucius scowled.

"It's okay, Mr. Malfoy!" a very familiar voice from behind said with the utmost arrogance. "Ronald here never really understood why I'm the best, and he'll always be second best!"

Ron flashed around to see Harry Potter with his arms folded, sneering at the redhead standing at the entrance steps of the hideout.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Ron growled with so much venom in his words that you could feel it throughout the skin.

"What you mean what the hell am I doing here? Shouldn't I be asking you that? You come here alone to talk with Draco Malfoy's father of all people?"

"How dis you find this place?" Ron asked.

"Does it matter? You're too stupid to figure that I was following you the whole time!" As Ron rolled his eyes, he gathered his fingers into a fist; Lucius just sat and watched Ron's actions. Ron 's stupidly made actions. "Ronald, we can't have you running around talking with the Malfoys. Just face it, I am the better one out of the both of us. I am the boy who lived, after all." Harry held his nose high, obviously feeling smug and pleased with himself but his words were what made Ron crack. A crack that could only be described as fire flaming throughout Ron's body, and it made him feel more angry and powerful in his belief that what he was doing was right. The rage inside him was built over the last several years of his life constituting in everything that he was about to do. Ron tackled Harry when he heard those words. If Harry was going to be that daring and gloat and belittle him like that then Harry deserved a fist to the face.

Lucius sighed at the sight before him; there was an embarrassment of the amount of work to be done with the youngest Weasley boy. He took out his wand off the table and lifted the redhead boy off the raven-haired boy. He magically tied Ron's hands to his back and let the raven-haired boy stand up to reveal the redhead's mistake.

The raven-haired boy took off a seam at the bottom of his neck to reveal that it had been Draco the whole time in a magical mask that resembled Harry perfectly.

"Wait, what about the vow? You promised me not to talk down to me!" Ron said once he realized it was Draco started to thrash a bit with not much success.

"Weasley, this was a test," Lucius sighed. "It was the only way around the vow. We will continue not to berate you, but in these tests, we must do it for your self-control."

Ron sneered as Lucius glared down into his blue eyes, "Weasley, I want you to do a technique to keep your anger in check. I call it 'Rubbing your souls.' In this technique I want you to rub the palm of your hands with your fingers of your other hand to give you a sense of self-control." Even though Ron didn't see Lucius' wand in hand, he felt his hand released.

Lucius continued with his lecture, "Close your eyes and imagine that Harry is still here and still berating you but once you get in too deep, I want you to do my technique and see how well it works for you."

Ron did as he was told and imagined Harry continued in his tirade of boasting and belittling him, and it didn't take long either. After a few seconds into his overthinking, Ron was grinding his teeth. Draco thought fast and put Ron's hands together, and Ron obliged by practicing the technique. Lucius glared at his son's actions as Draco knew that he would, so he avoided eye contact. Draco knew that his father would be the first one to break and force Ron into doing something that would jeopardize the alliance with Weasley and the Malfoys.


Since then Ron has been massaging his palms it has worked wonders on his self-control. Every time he saw Harry and Hermione together, he would do the technique. Every time Rita Skeeter tried her best to get Harry's attention for the Daily Prophet and Harry obliging her, he would do the technique. The technique helped in not punching Harry in the face and to remember the plan.


On the other hand an hour before the first task, Harry was a bit more confident in his spell casting, believing he could do no wrong. The only mystery to him was what Professor McGonagall was suggesting when she asked of him to practice more on his speed on his broomstick; he did the very thing that she asked but she wanted him to do was getting across with him what she wanted him to do with that skill. As he walked down a corridor in Hogwarts Castle still seeing students with buttons with Cedric's face on it, he bumped into the said Hufflepuff champion.

"Hey, Harry, are you ready for the first task?" Cedric smiled.

"I'm a little bit more confident than when my name was first called," Harry replied.

"Good... just to let you know," Cedric said feeling sad that he was ever called in the first place. "That I believe is unfair that you have to participate in the games when you clearly don't want to," Cedric said. "I do think we both have luck on our sides. If one of us doesn't win the championship, the other will after all!" Cedric held his hand to shake Harry's. Harry obliged. "I just wish that we knew what the first task was about..."

"Cedric, I know I'm not supposed to tell anyone this but..." Harry looked around to see if anyone was watching them and then whispered to Cedric, "Something to do with dragons, and that's all I know."

"Dragons, you say?"Cedric intrigued. "I'll keep that in mind. Thanks, Harry!"

As Harry and Cedric went their Separate Ways Harry finally understood what Professor McGonagall was alluding to a few days back. His flying skills should help him out of the Dragon pit and realizing and picturing the dragons fire breathing. All he has to do is to enact the Accio spell call his broom from his room and it was written down to him. Why didn't I think of that before?

An hour later Ron, Seamus, and Dean found a seat together for the first task. As Seamus and Dean finalized their bets on who would win this task, Ron search the arena for the other half of his former friends, Hermione. He already knew she was trying to find Harry once more. While Harry was in the tent she was sitting in her seat looking at the tent anxiously. It was disgusting how her loyalty was to him when, in Ron's mind, Hermione's friendship with Harry was all formality.

"Hello, I'm Luna," a blonde Ravenclaw girl who was looking for a seat started. "Were you friends with a brunette girl that's in your house?"

"Hermione?" Ron replied. Why is this girl asking for Hermione? Are they making a pact against Harry? "I haven't talked to her since she took sides with Harry."

"Oh, sorry to have bothered you," Luna disappointed and continued to look for a seat in the other direction as Ron shugged to what her deal was.

At the same time that this was happening Harry and the champions randomly pick which order they were going to go and Harry was the last to go.

Harry sighed nervously to all the pressure of how he would do out there. Maybe the Accio spell he'd been practicing for the past few days wouldn't work. And how stupid could he be to not realize that he could call his broom for the Accio spell? Even though he had all these worries about the first task and his spell casting, he was going to show that his Gryffindor bravery was going to get him through this.

As he was walking around the tent, he heard Hermione calling out his name from outside the tent. "Harry, Harry, are you there?"

Harry found the opening where Hermione's voice was clear and near to him physically. "I'm here, Hermione."

"I want to wish you luck out there," Hermione said. "I-I'm just worried about you. You are my first best friend, and don't want to see you lose this."

Harry knew what she was alluding to the fact that he could die during this task. Another thing that he pushed into the back of his mind. "I think I'll be okay, Hermione."

Hermione whimpered out a small sob, knowing the stakes were too high for his statement to be totally true; she pulled back the tent sheets and pulled him into an embrace for only for a picture to be taken.

"Aww! How cute!" Rita Skeeter squealed as she took another photo of the two. The young Gryffindor students gave a disdainful look to the intrusive woman, but she paid no attention to this; in her mind, the looks that the two were giving her were more of an annoyance that they were caught in the act than of her being there. "Young love is such a beautiful thing. I wish for you two to show more. Our readers are eating that up your love-"

"I think that is enough photos of the champions, don't you agree, Miss Skeeter?" A familiar grandfatherly voice came from behind them. Harry and Hermione look over their shoulders to see Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall coming into the tent where Hermione had entered from.

"I guess so; I have all that I need, anyway. You two make a good couple," Rita Skeeter gave the last gush and left the tent.

"I think you should go ahead and find your seat, Miss Grainger," Professor McGonagall said. Hermione gave one last 'good luck' to a friend and left as well to the stands to cheer on her best friend. She found Luna on the stands toward the back and joined her in cheering on Harry. Hermione did not notice that her ex redheaded friend was glancing over to her and the Ravenclaw sitting together as they casually talked to one another.

Ron made up his mind not to give Hermione as much attention as she needed. Her plans were not apart of his plans. If Hermione wanted to use Harry, she could go right ahead but that didn't interfere with Ron's plans.

As the first task started, Hermione and Luna gritted their teeth as they watched the first three champions accomplish their task at hand. Viktor Krum distracted the Dragon and then stole away her egg. As Victor was going out of the pit, he kept on glancing over to Hermione. Luna noticed, but Hermione wasn't one hundred percent sure.

As for Fleur Delacour, she cast a sleeping spell on to the dragon, which put the fire breathing animal into a deep sleep and after that, she's safely got the egg without injury. As for Cedric, he was a little bit less fortunate in his way of getting the egg; his dragon started breathing fire at him, which burned his shoulder in the process of him casting a barrier spell to cover him. In his fight, he finally found a way to get the dragon away from the egg by having the Dragon follow him with this barrier covering him as he circled around the dragon pit to the egg, and once he had it in his hands, he made a disappearing charm to cover himself out of the arena.

Then it was Harry's turn…

Harry gulped as he entered the dragon pit; he was overwhelmed by the size of the dragon even though he'd already seen the Magical Animal a few days ago. Maybe it was the dragon pit that made his perspective a lot more intimidating for the fourteen-year-old. Harry breathed in, letting go of all the access worrying that he had in the tent. He had to get through this; he knew what to do. All he had to do was to cast the Accio Spell correctly to call his broomstick to get him out of the dragon pit.

Harry didn't inspect the Dragon to be as agitated as he thought it would be. Once he let go of his worries the dragon started spitting out fireballs at him. Barely missing him as he jumped out of the way just in time, Harry pulled out his wand and waved it in motion for the Accio spell. Just as he was about to conjure the spell one of the Fireballs is thrown toward Harry's arm. In which Harry ducks his hand out of the way just in time. ' I should do this fast if this dragon keeps this up.' Harry thought on his toes. He raised up his arm again and quickly as he could before the dragon could spit out another Fireball at him cast the Accio spell with no hesitation. He was going to get out of this dragon pit unscathed. On the first try, he had done it perfectly, his Nimbus 2001 broomstick flew from the Gryffindor Tower down to the dragon pit where he instantly caught it and took off with high speeds.

The Hogwarts students that were watching on from the stands were flabbergasted at his actions and instantly cheered Harry on once he got on his broomstick and flew high enough over the dragon so he couldn't be touched by the animal's teeth. Since he was over high enough over, the Dragon he could see the golden egg unprotected below. He counted his luck and dived right back into the dragon pit and scooped up the golden egg. With the egg tucked under his arm, he zoomed high enough above dragon pit so he could again untouchable to the wrath of the Dragon.

The crowd was going wild for Harry, well everyone but Ron, who was keeping his appearance up in clapping with the crowd, but in between claps, he was rubbing his palm trying to keep his self-control down. This reaction was better than Harry or Ron could ever originally expected. The crowd is going wild lawn get there flabbergasted. After successfully completing the first task, Harry landed on the ground to astonishing applause.

Going back to the Gryffindor Tower, Harry was hoisted up by Fred and George as the rest of the Gryffindors cheered, "Harry! Harry! Harry!" Fred yelled over the crowd for Harry to open it to see what's inside this glorious egg. Harry did not want to keep his audience or his curiosity, he eagerly opens the egg which astonishedly burst into a loud yelp sound which all of the students of the Gryffindor House groaned and moaned. Once he closed the egg, he went to Hermione, who hugged him; delighted he was still alive and was able to cast the Accio spell so well.

"H-Harry, I want to say that I am sorry for acting like that to you," Ron said catching the attention of the both of them out of their delusional celebration in Ron's mind. "I didn't know that would be dragons in this tournament."

"Thanks, Ron this means a lot to me," Harry smiled, pulling him into a brotherly hug. "I think you should apologize to Hermione as well."

Harry stepped aside to let Ron and Hermione's space be known to each other. Ron looked at the bushy-haired girl that's stood before him and put his hands behind his back; constantly massaging them.


A few days before…

"Should I be nice to Hermione as well?" Ron asked even though in his mind he could care less what Hermione thought of him. She was just in the way to the plan in general. Harry was going to get expelled, not her in which made Ron a little bit proud of himself without Harry Hermione wouldn't get what she wants. in that she wouldn't be able to gain a status within the Wizarding World. She will most likely ultimately be back to her ways of being a bossy bookworm like she always had.

"I say that the mudblood is not needed, besides she's a nuisance anyway," Draco said.

"No, wait now," Lucius said, raising a finger. " If Potter is friends with her we should go by his example and continue the friendship between you three. Even though we would like to get rid of mudblood as soon as possible but as I'm thinking now it will mess up our plan to get Harry hated by everyone."

"Does that mudblood have any stance in getting Harry out of Hogwarts?" Draco said.

"Yeah, Hermione is just as important as you think she is!" Ron exclaimed.

"Listen, boys, I am going to explain this once; only once the mudblood stays. If we get rid of her too soon, our plan won't work," Lucius explained. "We want everyone to hate him mostly the ones that are close to him. First, the professors so he can easily be kicked out. Secondly his friends mostly the mudblood we got to get him out of her good graces for this plan to work out nicely."

Draco gasped in realization to what he meant and keeping the mudblood in Harry's life, "Oh I see she's part of the girls in the final plan."

"Yes, boy, she's essential to the final plan now."

"Will I be getting to know what this final plan is anytime soon?" Ron asked.

"No, not yet, everything has to fall into place; if you don't do something right, the plan will fall apart."

"So, what do I do in the meantime? I hate Hermione, already."

"Continue with your self-control practices, and once you are back again friends with Potter, I want you to befriend the mudblood as well."

"Why? She pisses me off more than Harry slightly!"

Lucius grinned at the sentiment, maybe a few more steps, and Ron can hate her a lot more. He was already used to him and Draco calling her a mudblood, so it would be only a matter of time, "Persuade her and also just remember our main goal; get Harry expelled and everything will be better; better for all our lives..."

Back in Gryffindor Tower, Ron gained a fake smile as he looked to the bushy-haired girl in front of him, and knew what to do next. "Hermione, I am so sorry for assuming the worst of you. We're all friends here let's forgive and forget," Ron said sticking out his hand for her to shake for a truce.

Hermione glared but she was going to do this for Harry's sake but it would be on her terms only, "We're okay for now, but you're going to have to work for my trust again." Hermione shook his hand.

Once everything was fine between Hermione, Harry, and Ron, Ron took a step back and watched Harry and Hermione talk amongst themselves, as he grinding his teeth together as he fiercely rubbed and rubbed and rubbed the palm of his hand...

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: The First Strike

To the students of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang I would like to present to all of you the Yule Ball. This is a dance for welcoming our guest students and champions in celebrating together the Triwizard Tournament. The dance will be held on Christmas Day, and 4th-year students and up are allowed to go. 3rd-year students can only be asked by an older year student. This is a time for relaxing for our champions, but not too much fun…

Professor McGonagall echoed throughout the minds of the student body. Some students were ecstatic about the Yule Ball itself what they would wear and especially who they were going with. Ron, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with this ball because the champions of the Triwizard Tournament will be on full display. The Yule Ball proudly presents the champions of Triwizard Tournament the outstanding Viktor Krum, the marvelous Fleur Delacour, the wonderful Cedric Diggory and the incomparable boy who lived Harry Potter, Ugh! Just the thought of that made Ron want to puke.

However, Harry was thinking up of a way to ask Cho Chang to go with him to the Yule Ball. Several people have already asked their dates out to the Yule Ball in huge displays of affection, and he knew for sure that he wouldn't make it big. He didn't want everyone to stop what they're doing and notice them; he would make it private. Why? For one, he was nervous if she said no, that would be a big embarrassment to him. If she said yes, he would be overjoyed, but he knew the students of Hogwarts would not let him live that down. This was his first crush if he was going to mess it up he rather do it in a way that doesn't cause a distraction.

Then there was Hermione who was up to this point had the Yule Ball in the back of her mind. She didn't care too much about it at all. She saw the other girls in her dorm like Lavender squeal with the excitement of who was the best candidate to take her and Ginny was dreaming for the hopeful wish that Harry would ask. Hermione was more focused on the school work which garners in the past week's and trying to help Harry out with the second task than the Yule Ball. The things were too important to have her mind there.

It was about two weeks after the first task when Harry got back into everyone's good graces. Well most of them, some still didn't believe him, mainly the whole of Slytherin. Even Mrs. Weasley apologize for her actions of sending Hermione a howler. She said it was uncalled for her to assume that Harry and Hermione were dating before she even asked if any of the stories were true. Harry and Hermione forgave her for her transgression, but the student body of Hogwarts was it going to take some work and changing their minds.

The trio was in the library finishing Professor McGonagall's Transfiguration homework when Hermione's eye caught with Viktor Krum's. He had been watching her from behind the closest bookshelf from where they sat. The last several days, Hermione had noticed him in places just watching her. Hermione always knew Victor had a group of girls that followed him around almost everywhere also and probably were not too far. Hermione thought about the group and wondered if they were jealous of her getting all the attention from Viktor Krum instead of them but good for them she actually wishes that he would follow someone else. It was getting too uncomfortable the way he was following her. Especially in her favorite place in all of Hogwarts: the library. What did he want was a mystery to her?

As Harry talked to Ron, Hermione made it known to Victor that she knew he was watching her. She grabbed a book to take back to the bookshelf off the table where they sat where she and her friends were doing homework on and headed over.

Hermione's head held high and with an almost angry look on her face she turns the corner when Hermione gets rammed into another person who she thought would be Victor but this person was a lot shorter and also female. After saying they're sorry to one another Hermione realized that she ran into was Cho Chang, who had a sense of urgency to her.

"Hermione, right?" Cho asked with a nervous smile.

"Uh, yeah hi?" Hermione said, losing her angered demeanor.

"You're just the person I wanted to speak to. Now I know you have answered this before but I just want to know is there anything going on with you and Harry?"

Hermione sighed what made people think she and Harry were a couple so much. It was getting exhausting having to explain, "No we're not together; we're just good friends." Hermione tried to her best abilities to reassure Cho by giving her a brave and confident smile.

"It's just that you two are always together and the way you to talk to each other makes me doubt Hermion-"

"H-Hermy-own?" A thick Bulgarian male voice said, which caught the two younger girls by surprise. Cho didn't notice him until now, and Hermione was too focused on the present situation she forgot why she left her studies in the first place. "I am sorry to break conversation but if you not going with anyone else to the Yule Ball would you want to go with me?" Victor asked carefully so he won't mess up in his broken English.

Hermione thought for a minute and realize that going with Victor would put to rest this ongoing rumor about her and Harry and also put to rest Cho's worried feelings about the two of them. This would be the perfect time to reassure her.

"I would love to!" Hermione smiled and Victor's face lit up with delight.

"Oh, thank you Hermy-own, I promise you will have a good time," Victor promised and walked away with a big smile on his face.

"Cho, you now have my blessing to ask Harry out to the Yule Ball," Hermione said.

"Thank You, Hermione, you don't know how much this means to me!"

This may seem in vain but to Hermione, she was going to treat this outing with Viktor Krum like her homework and her studies: to the best of her abilities. Even though she was never intending to go at all, she was going to have a good time. What was the worst that could happen?


A couple of days later Harry hasn't asked Cho out to the Yule Ball yet and he was getting a little desperate on his way of asking her. He turns to his Godfather Sirius. As his only father figure in his life, he thought his advice would help him not be nervous in the way he would ask her. He went to the owlery with a letter for Hedwig to send off as he was leaving he ran into his one and only crush.

He knew that he wasn't ready for this encounter, but waiting for Sirius's advice was not going to happen. This might be his only chance in asking her to the Yule Ball. He would have to wing this to the best of his abilities.

"Uh, Hi Cho," Harry nervous.

"Hi, Harry," Cho smiled.

"Uh, I was hoping to meet with you soon." Harry tried to smile without seeming nervous in his actions.

"Really well I'm here now."

Harry exhaled to get rid of his excess anxiousness before he spoke again, "I want to ask you something… If you weren't going with anyone to the uh, Yule Ball I was wondering if you would, uh, go with me." Harry smiled in anticipation of her answer. Was he too late? Was she not interested? These questions spun throughout his mind; he had to give another exhale and say bravely to himself that he had gone this far just wait for the inevitable.

The Ravenclaw girl's smile turned upside down as she was finding the words to say. Harry's heart sank to the floor. Since the meeting with Hermione a few days earlier, Cho's original plans changed a bit. "I am so sorry Harry but I was tending to go with you but something changed."

"Change like what?"

"Someone has already asked me," Cho admitted.

"W-Who?" Harry said dreading the answer.

"Cedric…"


Later that day while Harry and his friends were sitting at the Gryffindor table, Harry could only feel a great sadness in his body. He knew he was waiting too long to ask her so this would be the fate but he couldn't get over the fact and keep beating himself up for it. He had already told Ron about Cho turning him down for the Yule Ball. In which made Ron on the inside satisfied, but to keep up his act and he looked sad for his friend. When all Harry wanted to do at that moment was to sink into the floor and never to be seen again, Ron was celebrating a bit in his mind. That's a satisfying feeling of knowing that something was wrong with Harry's life, even if it was small, it gave him a boost of enjoyment within. That's all he has to do is keep Hermione from comforting him; the last thing he wanted was Harry to be coddled.

"I say Hermione since you are always in the library, I don't see anyone going with you to Yule Ball anytime soon." Ron started trying to hold her attention and not focus on Harry and inadvertently luring Harry in.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "What is it about me being in the library all the time guarantee me not to have a date to the Yule Ball?"

"Me and Harry probably have chances with some girls but you are not on anyone's list."

Harry stayed silent to listen to what she had to say and maybe weighing his options.

"Ron, there has to be someone that would ask me. Why do you doubt me?"

Harry felt as though was being kicked in the stomach by that comment and just for a slight moment he was thinking about asking her. As a friend, nothing more. But it hurt more to know that he was foolish to think that she wouldn't already have a date.

"I didn't know Hermione! You always hang out with us you're like one of the guys hell you're practically a boy already."

"Practically a boy already!" Hermione snarled. "I don't care what you think Ronald. I have a date."

"Who was it, Ginny? You always hanging out with her?" Ron provoked with a clownish smile on his face.

"Only a few times from your perspective as we are coming out of Ancient Ruins."

"Oh..?" Ron said questioningly testing her patience.

"Shut up, Ron!" Hermione was livid with Ron's insinuation of her not being able to get a date and have to resort to asking a girl. "I have a date and you'll never meet him until the day of the Yule Ball and if you don't mind I am going to leave to the aforementioned library that you always despise." Hermione got up to leave.

"Oh, I just thought you would ask her because no one would ask you. Or is it another reason why?"

Hermione's nose flared but not wanting to cause a scene she lowers her voice, "And what if it was that, Ginny would have punched you in the face for the judgment!"

"So you're admitting it!"

"Ron, I have a date and it's a boy. Why don't you worry about finding a date yourself?"

With that Hermione got up from the Gryffindor table and stormed out of the Great Hall. Ron was pleased with his results as Harry continued to wallow in his disappointment.

Sometime later that day Harry, Ron and Hermione were all in their Potions class make a Draught of Peace. Business as usual for Harry and Hermione but for Ron on the other hand…


"So, what do you want me to do?" Ron asked. "What is our first strike against Harry?"

"Potion would be the right start," Draco said.

"Yes, you did mention that Professor Snape does not care too much about Potter," Lucius said with intrigue. "Weasley, what is the fourth-year class learning right at this moment?"

"We have been studying the Draught of peace for the past few weeks I think we are making the potion next week," Ron replied.

"The Draught of Peace is a perfect potion for a strike," Lucius said, caressing his chin with his pointer finger and thumb.

"Why?"

"In Draught of Peace has powdered moonstone in it which is fine on its own but if we can change this moonstone to moonseed which is more radioactive, it will explode on contact. I did this back in my potions class back in my 5th Year. The student that got hurt went to the infirmary for months and inconsequentially blamed for the accident."

"So we're going to hurt him?"

"No, not exactly Weasley," Lucius gained a grin. "We will have you get hurt."

This news startled Ron the plan didn't really say that he would get hurt. He was rightfully getting nervous to the severity of this idea of hurting himself.

"Why do I have to get hurt in this?"

"Just like my prank in my 5th year, we do not want a paper trail that leads to you to us. If Potter gets hurt, it will only be him to blame, but if you get hurt and Potter doesn't, it'll be a different story. Potter will feel disheartened to find that by his hand he hurt his friend."

"Am I going to be in a lot of pain?"

"Oh, it is just for a few hours."

"Hours! So, am I going to be bleeding out?!"

"No, that will not happen. I haven't tried it, but all I know is that you will be in a lot of pain. Don't worry Madam Pomfrey will handle you until Draco comes in with the healing potion."

Ron scoffed to how they could just write off his future pain like that, but he got to thinking about a key point they had been forgetting up to this point, "What about my family? They will hear about this."

"All the more to blame Potter for the transgression and lose trust with your family."

"You are right, but it will be hard to change their minds like Professor Dumbledore and McGonagall's."

"Well, chip away at their trust for him, but in the meantime we want you to do this for the first strike..."


Ron and Harry were partners for the potions project and things were going according to plan. Harry would be the one getting the supplies from the cabinet as Ron started the cauldron. Ron told Harry to get the first batch of supplies, which he made sure included the bottle of the moonstone. Sparks and flutter jumped all around Ron's body to the fact this plan was going so well, but he was sure not to show any unique emotion toward anyone in the room while Harry concentrated on not messing the ingredients.

Harry came back with the smaller ingredients like the powdered unicorn horn, the powdered porcupine quills, and the aforementioned powdered moonstone. Professor Snape was keeping a close eye on Harry as he went back to the cabinet get the last ingredient: a bottle of Hellebore Syrup.

Hermione was across the room busy with her own potion to even glance at Ron nor Harry. It was too good to be true; the perfect chance and moment.

Ron carefully reached into his pocket and pulled out the powdered moonseed and quietly switched it out for the moonstone with anyone notices it. Perfect!

"So how are we supposed to do this?" Harry asked.

"It says that we are supposed to pour half the bottle of Hellebore Syrup into The Cauldron," Ron instructed. "Here I'll stir as you pour."

Harry and Ron switch places all the while Professor Snape was keeping a close eye on them. Just like in Ron's favorite game chess, all the pawns were in place for a great defeat. If this defeat would cause Ron's defeat, he was sure that he would dust off from this load transgression and beat Harry to the ground.

Harry blended the contents of the bottle by swaying it. He took the cork off the top and slowly poured the syrup into the cauldron. Professor Snape watched over his shoulder as he helped a nearby Slytherin student with their potion.

"In the second ingredient that goes into the potion is the powdered porcupine quills it says to put two cups in," Ron said. Harry dug out the first and second two cups of the ingredients in the cauldron with perfect ease, but there was the last ingredient to attend to.

"It says to put in three tablespoons into the potion," Ron said.

Harry did so with more ease this time with the potion turning into an ugly tan color. The original end product of the Draught of Peace potion had a color of light silver with the same color vapors. It was quite beautiful to say the least. It was a sleeping potion after all. But that was a far cry of what Harry and Ron's potion looked.

The potion did nothing out of the ordinary as it sat there stationary, but this was to be expected. Professor Snape was no longer watching them, but he saw Harry put in the final ingredient so the blame would be all on him. Ron began to stir the potion in the cauldron. He carefully watched the potion change color from the ugly light tan color to a silver color. So this is what made the kid that Lucius played a prank on fall for it.

Harry was reading the potions textbook to double-check when a flash of light and a loud boom caught him off guard. In his subconscious, he hoped that it was someone else's potion that went awry. He looked over to his potion's partner and found him on the ground holding his chest in agony and screaming at the top of his lungs in pain.

AAAAAAHHHHH!

Professor Snape came over in a flash to the accident and snarled, "What happened here, Potter?!"

Harry didn't know what to do or what was happening let alone what to say to Snape. What did they do wrong? Is Ron going to be okay? What the hell is happening?

Professor Snape quickly called two elves who quickly poofed into the room with a stretcher. Once the elves got Ron onto the stretcher, Professor Snape told them he would be there in a minute. Ron was just screaming in pain as they poofed out the room.

Harry didn't know what to do, but all he wanted to do was just follow his friend to see if he was okay but Professor Snape wanted answers.

"Potter, what did you put in the potion?!" Harry snapped back to reality, "I don't know I got everything that was in the potion's book and put in the amount as Ron read them to me."

Professor Snape quickly went over to the cauldron to see what went wrong. Inside the cauldron, the unknown potion was bubbling as if it was boiling hot even though the flumes indicated that it was freezing cold. Professor Snape knew right away what caused the explosion even without knowing what happened to the kid back in his last year at Hogwarts.

"Potter, what did you put in the potion?!

Harry snapped back to reality. "I don't know. I got everything was on the ingredients list and put in the amount as Ron read them to me."

Professor Snape quickly went over to the cauldron to see what went wrong. He found all the usual ingredients inside but one the aforementioned ingredient. The noticeability of the ingredient would have been hard to spot with a potions teacher that couldn't tell a unicorn tail from a Flying Phoenix but Professor Snape was well-seasoned in the craft. "Potter, did you put in the moonshine power?"

"Yes!" Harry said.

"He did I saw him!" Hermione spoke up in his defends.

"Ms. Granger, look over your notes again because what Mr. Potter here has made today would NEVER explode. The ingredient that he used was moonseed power a very toxic ingredient. Mr. Potter, I hope you understand Mr. Weasley will be in a lot of pain because of you."

"But-!"

"I'm going to report this to Professor Dumbledore and inform the other Weasleys about this. As for you, Mr. Potter, you will report to detention tonight with me for the next three months do I make myself clear!" Professor Snape spat.

"Wha-?!" Harry started but knew this wasn't a battle that he could possibly win in the end. Ron was in the hospital wing because of him worse than that he was in screaming pain because of him. There was no point in proving that he did all the right steps for the potion. There was a point of no return and it was passed a long time ago so Harry had to oblige the punishment without question.


By the time dinner had started Fred, George, and Ginny had made their way to the hospital wing to see how Ron was doing. Ron's injury, which was a burn scar, was across his upper chest and forearm. When they visited his screams in anguish were subdued because of the pain relief potion that Madame Pomfrey give him. He was put into a cast since the skin in the injury was very sensitive. For Ron, he couldn't wait until Draco gets to the hospital wing with the potion that cures him. Even though the pain was not as prevalent as it was when the accident initially happen but at this point, the pain was throbbing.

"I'm happy that you are going to make a full recovery, but can you tell us more about this potion that Harry mess up?" Fred was interested in what this potion contained.

Ron rolled his eyes to his brother and smiled. "Blimey, I don't know, Fred. I got hurt and that all I know."

"I know, but this might be the ingredient for a new potion that George and I are brewing," Fred continued.

"Mum, says that she will be here tomorrow," Ginny said.

"Don't tell what we are going to Mum, okay?" George said. "She won't like what we are doing."

As long as you don't find out how this 'accident' came to be, we are even. "I'm not saying anything," Ron said.

"Not like that, we have an oath remember," Fred said. "And this goes for you too, Ginny."

Ginny rolled her eyes and the two youngest Weasley raised a hand. Fred started reciting the oath. "I will never sell out my brother, even if there is an incentive. He is a good, trustworthy, and noble brother that doesn't deserve it." Ginny and Ron echoed the oath.

Meanwhile, Harry and Hermione were outside the door of the hospital wing. Harry still couldn't wrap his head around the idea that he would cause an accident to happen. Hermione was worried about how Harry was taking this.

"Harry, are you okay?" she asked.

"I just don't understand how the accident happened," he replied.

"Not that, Harry, Ron is hurt in there because of an accident that you caused."

"Yes…" Harry paused. "I mean I'm worried for him, I just- -I don't know."

"It sounds like you are confused."

"Yeah, that's it."

"Well, the accident didn't immobilize him but just be careful next time."

"I guess just don't know what to do. Ron just came friends with us again. I hate for him to leave again because of me." Harry sighed, lowering his head.

Hermione looked him in his eyes just as she was about to subconsciously raise a hand to his chin when the door to the hospital wing flew open. While Ginny went in the opposite way, Fred and George caught the two fourth years together but dismissed the current situation because he finally found the person that knew what the main ingredient of the potion was.

"Oi, Harry!" Fred and George ran over as Hermione took a side step to Harry's side.

"Hi Fred, George, look I am really sorry about Ron," Harry apologized.

"Oh, he's fine," George waved.

"Madame Pomfrey fixed him up good in there, but what we want to know is what was it that made that potion explode?" Fred asked.

"I didn't know what I did wrong I thought I pick up-" Harry started, but Hermione's hand abruptly cut him off in a hasty attempt to cover his mouth. She knew what they were after, "I don't think it would be a good idea to tell them that. You do have three months of detention with Snape because of the ingredient." Hermione said for Harry.

"Three months?!" Fred said.

"With Professor Snape?!" George said.

"We're sorry, Harry, that accident must have been big for Professor Snape to have detention like that."

The twins said their byes to the two and let them go into the hospital wing. Ron smiled a fake smile all the while his injured hand rubbed the back of the other once they came in.

"Sorry about putting you into this cast, Ron," Harry said.

Sorry is only helpful if you say the magic words that I want to hear. "Madame Pomfrey said that I will be okay for now," Ron said watching Harry closely. He could see that Harry was on edge.

"How's the pain?"

"It's throbbing but I think I'll be okay, but Madame Pomfrey said that the scaring would take some time to heal."

Harry winced at this telling. It was already bad enough that the accident even happened by his hand, now he has to face the fact that he will not only get detention with Professor Snape he will see the scar that he made to his best friend.

Ron like this the nervousness, the whole idea of Harry being the victim was soothing to his soul. Continuing a front would be easy if plans well, "Did Professor Snape gives a lot of homework after I left?"

"Yes, he did and I have to go and start on it in the library I hope you get better Ron," Hermione said getting up to give a goodbye hug to run and leave the library. Ron did not enjoy this interaction because he felt that she was putting a front for Harry.

"I'll see you after your detention Harry," Hermione waved and Harry waved back as he watched her leave out the door. Ron watched as Harry watched Hermione leave and became suspicious in his actions. That's all she is to you is a traitor to you. She will massively hurt you in the future I know it. But then again, this was only half concerning to him because he heard the word detention from Hermione.

"Detention? Professor Snape gave you detention?" Ron asked holding in his amusement and his suspicion.

"Yeah..." Harry turned back to Ron, "after finding out what caused the explosion, he gave me three months of detention with him."

"Sorry Harry. I should be joining you soon with detention since we are both at fault here." Ron said almost bursting into a sarcastic ha to his comment.

"No, I should be the one that should apologize to you. You did nothing wrong in the accident. I was the one that was not paying attention to the ingredients as I got them." Harry paused. "How much did it hurt when the explosion happened?"

It was time for Ron to stick a finger into the wound that Harry has gained over this accident, "It was like burning lava that landed on my arm and my chest just burning sensations. Painful, painful burning sensations."

Harry's jaw dropped as to how bad the level everything was. Ron was here because of him he caused Ron so much pain that he literally felt as though he was underneath a volcano eruption. He was to blame!

"I cannot find any more words than sorry to you for putting you into this."

Mission accomplished!


Hours later after everyone has gone to bed, Ron was still wide awake in his hospital bed waiting for Draco to come and give him a bit of the healing potion to help him what this agonizing pain that is going through. The mission has been accomplished so where in hell was Malfoy?

He could hear faint footsteps from the other side of the hospital door coming towards the room. This could only be Draco nobody else should be out this late at night. It was going on 3:30 in the morning. I am ready for pain relief dammit!

The door opens and the blond-haired Slytherin boy walked into the room without any repercussions coming in. He quickly went over to Ron's bedside and quickly gave him the healing potion.

"Father says good job, and he wishes to meet with us again before the Yule Ball he has another job for you to do."