(Hogwarts, Great Lake)
Harry watched as Cedric, Fleur and Krum finally reached him and while Krum and Cedric looked quite annoyed with him, which was to be expected, Fleur's expression however was unreadable. He had found it hard to get a feel for the quarter Veela and right now she was harder to read than ever. He had been expecting them to confront him eventually, ever since his name had come out of the damn Goblet of Fire.
"We need to talk Potter," Krum snapped, his voice tinged with frustration as well as anger. "You have avoided us enough, we deserve some answers," he growled.
"You deserve?" Harry couldn't help to ask. "What about me? You all seem to think I did this," he continued as he looked them each in the eye. "But I didn't. I wanted nothing to do with this damn tournament," he spat as his anger quickly began to build.
"Do you actually expect us to believe that Harry?" Cedric responded in a tone that conveyed that he was even angrier than Krum was about this whole thing.
Indeed Cedric was pissed because in his eyes he saw this as Harry attempting to steal his chance for fame and glory and of Gryffindor stealing Hufflepuffs thunder. Hufflepuff had not had a lot of things to crow about during school term. This time was going to be different until Harry somehow cheated his way in. Nearly his entire house was up in arms about it. The only ones who still believed in Harry were those with crushes on him, but they kept quiet and didn't show their support for the great Boy Who Lived. They knew if they did their own House would turn on them. He glared at Harry who met his glare with a calmness he had not expected the boy to process.
"Yes I agree. Who would not want the glory and fame offered to the one who wins this tournament?" Krum added with a nod of his head.
"I think we should actually listen to what Harry says instead of accusing him," Fleur finally stated, breaking her silence. "His Headmaster believed him and Dumbledore is not one who can be easily fooled," she pointed out. "And there are ways he can ensure we know he speaks the truth if he is willing to use them," she offered as she locked eyes with Harry.
Harry frowned wondering what the French girl was going on about. He knew there were ways to force someone to tell the truth, but he doubted they could be used here. He glanced at Cedric and Krum who were exchanging angry looks between themselves and then at Fleur who ignored them. He didn't exactly like where this was heading.
"Why should we trust anything he has to say Veela?" Krum growled out in a way that showed Harry what he thought of them and he noted the glare Fleur now shot at him. "We have been told many times what a liar he is. How he flaunts rules and gets himself into trouble," he told her. "Even Diggory has confirmed most of these things," he added.
"You mean you've been listening to the snakes like Malfoy and his ilk?" Harry spat as he quickly realised who he meant. "They are the liars Krum as Cedric well knows," he stated with a glance at Cedric who only glared back fully consumed by his own anger and not willing to concede anything. "They cannot be trusted, they have no clue as to what led to my so called adventures in the last three years," he explained. "If they knew the truth, they would not be so quick to judge me and nor would you," he concluded.
"Forget it," Cedric spat and stormed off, having had enough of what he saw as more lies from the boy.
"Watch your back Potter," Krum growled with a sinister smile. "I will ensure your reputation is destroyed when we meet in the tournament," he assured him before he too stormed off.
Harry shook his head in frustration and no small amount of anger as he watched two of his competition storm off. They hadn't listened to a thing he had said. ‘No surprise,' he thought and it seemed he had gained two more enemies thanks to all this. However he finally took note that Fleur hadn't stormed off and was still watching him. He had to say she was beginning to intrigue him.
"Surprised I'm still here, Harry?" Fleur inquired with a raised eyebrow.
"To be honest, yes," Harry admitted. "Krum and Cedric have already condemned me. Why haven't you, if you don't mind me asking?" he asked.
Fleur smiled a little pleased he was at least honest "Something that is not wildly known about Veela is that they are slightly empathic and can feel one's emotions if they are enflamed," she informed him. "Hence I can feel you are telling the truth Harry. I felt it after your name came out of the cup and everyone was arguing about it" she continued as she turned to look out over the lake. "I didn't say anything because I knew they would not listen to me. I tried to find you afterwards, but I could not," she admitted with a sheepish look. "This is the first time I've been able to find you since that point," she stated.
"For future reference this is my favorite spot when I want to be on my own," Harry told her with a smile of his own, feeling a little better now he knew at least one of his competition knew the truth. He turned and stared out across the lake once more. The giant squid surfaced once again and began to play with the nearby log once more. "I find it peaceful to look out across the lake, no one usually bothers me here," he told her.
Fleur watched the giant squid play with a smile on her face, finding its antics amusing. She turned back to Harry and noted that he seemed a lot more relaxed now. "I was speaking the truth when I stated there are ways to ensure you tell the truth, but the one I was thinking of was a magical vow," she explained, regaining his attention with this. "No one can fake a magical vow Harry. Once it is given you cannot tell a lie and even Cedric Diggory and Victor Krum would have to believe you," she told him. "But I guess they are in no mood to listen to logic. They are fools and in the end the truth will come out and they will realise this," she finished with a grin which he shared.
"I hope so Fleur, but to be honest this is just another year where something crazy happens that puts my life and others in danger," Harry responded, his grin quickly vanishing. "Only this time it feels worse. I have no idea who put my name in the Goblet, but I have a feeling that's not all they have done," he admitted.
Fleur felt a shiver run down her spine at his admission as it put a whole new perspective on what lay ahead. She was already nervous about the coming tasks, but now she was even more worried "What exactly do you mean Harry?" she inquired, making Harry turn to face her and look her dead in the eye.
Peter ‘Wormtail' Pettigrew stared out of the window of the broken down manor in which he was confined, wishing more than ever that he had never begun to walk the path he was now on. He was hunted by his former friends Sirius Black and Remus Lupin as well as the son of the friends he had betrayed James and Lily Potter. If he encountered Harry again he doubted he would show mercy as he did last year and if his Master's plan went off without a hitch, then he guessed there would be no way for him to escape his eventual fate should they capture him again.
He glanced behind himself to see the chair in which his Master sat, stuck in a parody of a baby's body until they could capture Harry and perform the resurrection ritual. Every time he looked at the thing sent chills up and down his body, the giant snake that guarded it made it even worse. He sometimes wished he had never gone looking for his Master, but then what choice did he have once his hiding place had been found. Having to help keep the thing alive until the ritual was the worst thing he had to suffer these days and soon it would be that time again.
Albus Dumbledore looked up as he heard a knock at his door. He hadn't been expecting anyone. He waved his hand and watched as the doors opened to admit Harry Potter in the surprising company of Fleur Delacour, the champion from Beauxbatons. He wondered why they were hanging out as the saying goes. Granted this whole tournament was about fostering cooperation between countries, but it was still a surprise.
"Ah Harry welcome," he said as he leaned forward. "And to you too Miss Delacour," he added as his eyes twinkled a little as he should have suspected Harry would actually follow the true meaning of the tournament even if he had not expected to be in it. "How may I help?" he inquired.
"I wanted a little help sir, Fleur knows I was telling the truth about not putting my name in the Goblet," Harry answered as he noted that Fawkes the Phoenix was asleep on his perch. "We've been discussing a few things and I mentioned how I think this tournament is going to be far more dangerous than people could imagine," he continued. "Even compared to my past adventures and she inquired in what way," he added. "Without proof of my previous struggles I doubted she would truly understand what may be at risk," he finished.
"I see," Dumbledore mused and he had to admit he was surprised by how quickly the two seemed to be making friends and yet it warmed his heart to see the young man embracing the true meaning behind this tournament. "So you wish me to help you show Miss Delacour what you mean?" he asked to which Harry nodded.
"If you don't mind sir," Harry responded.
Dumbledore nodded and stood and moved towards one of the many hidden cabinets in his office, opening it he revealed a glowing basin which seemed to be filled with some kind of liquid. The stone basin was covered in runes and seemed to glow every now and then. Harry glanced at Fleur and noted she seemed a little confused as well so clearly she did not recognise this device.
"This is a pensive," Dumbledore informed them with a small smile as they both looked the device over. "A device to store and replay one's memories, once extracted they are placed in the basin and you can then enter the memory and relive it as if it is actually happening," he explained at their perplexed looks.
"I've never heard of such a device," Fleur stated as she looked at the glowing basin.
"They are rare and only useful to those who find their minds a little full" Dumbledore responded his eyes twinkling merrily. "It is also useful for Aurors to go over important evidence, but other than that there are not many uses for them unless you are a sentimental person," he concluded. "Are you sure you wish to show Miss Delacour what you have encountered Harry?" he inquired turning serious.
"She is the only champion who did not judge me sir and the only one who even tried to talk sense into the other two, but they didn't want to listen," Harry answered his own tone serious as he looked at the man who he often came to for advice. "Cedric has allowed jealousy and anger to cloud his mind and Krum I think is just annoyed he has another in the tournament who is as famous as himself," he continued with a slight frown. "Fleur deserves to know the real risks and what may lie ahead," he stated.
"I see you've put a lot of thought into this," Dumbledore mused, but pleased by the use of logic the boy had used showing he was indeed growing up to be a person he and hopefully the rest of the magical world could respect. "Very well Harry, please concentrate on the memory you wish to show and then place the tip of your wand to your head and slowly draw the memory out and place it in the basin," he instructed before turning to the watching Fleur who he noted looked very interested in this new bit of magic. "Miss Delacour I must stress that what you are about to see is not well known and must be kept a closely guarded secret," he told her. "While rumour and gossip of what has accrued with young Harry these last few years are going around, they have no real idea of how close to death he came each time," he explained.
"I understand Headmaster," Fleur assured him even as her curiosity and fear rose. She wanted to see what it was Harry wanted her to see and yet she feared just how dangerous it meant this tournament was really going to be. "I won't tell anyone, I swear," she stated to which he nodded as Harry finally managed to extract his memory.
"Now we shall all view the memory," Dumbledore told them as he locked the door. "We shall place our heads into the basin, from there we will be pulled into the memory," he explained with a soft smile as he noted Harry and Fleur exchanged dubious looks at this. "Believe me this is perfectly safe. I have done it many times," he added.
As one they put their heads into the basin which seemed to magically allow all of them to do it. The sensations were weird for both Harry and Fleur, but before they could grow uncomfortable they were pulled into the memory just as Dumbledore had told them they would be.
Hermione sat near the fire wondering where Harry was. It had been nearly an hour or two since she had left him near the lake. She knew he liked it down there, but usually he did not spend this much time away from the dorm. She was worried about his mind set and had been since his name came out of the goblet. Her momentary bout of stupidity probably hadn't helped. She was also worried what would happen when Ron returned, especially if he came back before Harry did. Thankfully Neville was still around, she could not believe how close Ron had come to striking her and it was now clear how dangerous he could be. A few years ago she never would have suspected he could have such a side to him, even at his worse during their first year together she never would have thought he could strike anyone, especially not a girl. Now she knew better and she feared how things would progress from here. Everything told her from here things would just get worse much worse. Harry was once again facing what she was sure to be a life and death situation and Ron could no longer be counted on and like second year the entire school was against them. Worse they had two other schools here and they both seemed to dislike Harry as well. She sometimes wondered if they were cursed or was it that they just had real bad luck?
Cedric sat on his bunk still feeling pissed at the way Harry had spoken, he just didn't see why the little brat couldn't admit the truth. As if he actually had told the truth, everyone one wanted to be in this tournament and he was certain Harry was the same. Clearly his ego was far bigger than anyone had suspected, well fine he was in the tournament now and nothing could change that. But he was certain he would show who the real Hogwarts champion was. A smirk appeared on his face as he thought of the two years of extra learning he had over Potter. He would humiliate the brat and show the others who was the better of the two, he was sure Krum was having the same idea.
Daphne and Tracy sat curled on her bed talking about how to go about training Harry the next day. They had a list of spells he might need to get through the tournament, but they still needed to discuss how to get him up to speed with them fast. Time was ticking away until the first task would begin and they still had no idea what it would be.
"Maybe we can bring Granger into this," Tracy suggested. "She is one of the smartest witches in our generation," she pointed out as she snuggled a little deeper into Daphne's side. "She is one of the main reasons Harry is alive today, even he admits that," she added.
"True and she is far more level headed than Weasley will ever be," Daphne agreed with a nod of her head as she thought over Tracy's idea. "She might not be so wary of us. I'll sound her out tomorrow after we have our first lesson with Harry on our own," she concluded after thinking it over. "Remember we want to get close to Harry and bringing Granger into it too soon and we might blow any chance of that as they are already close," she reminded her.
"True, but I don't think Granger is into Harry in that way," Tracy mused as she ran a hand down one of Daphne's legs, making the black haired girl shiver and smile at her. "At least not that I have observed and if she does have a thing for him she has kept it closely hidden," she stated as she moved her hand up Daphne's leg and closer to her centre making her begin to feel aroused.
"That would not be too surprising when you consider Weasley's jealousy and from what I've noted he has an obsession with Granger," Daphne said as she laid her own hand on Tracy's and stopped its upwards movement. "I don't think she has realised it yet, but he wants her in a bad way and I think he'd will do anything to get her," she stated somewhat disturbed by the notion, because she knew if Weasley ever tried to force Granger then Harry would destroy him and that could lead him into a lot of trouble.
"I think now she has come back to her senses the chances of that happening is zero Daphne. If he tried to force her then she would put up a hell of a fight and let's face it she is far more skilled than he is," Tracy pointed out. "He'd have to be suicidal to try and Harry would string him up and waste him," she stated, confirming Daphne's own thoughts on the matter.
Daphne leaned down and kissed her, silencing her. Tracy moaned as Daphne deepened the kiss a little. When she pulled away she was almost breathless. She stared at Daphne who smirked at her as she ran a hand through her hair. "When it becomes a problem we'll help Harry and Granger deal with it, until then let's not dwell on it," she told her. "Now we should get some sleep. We have a long day ahead of us and we want to look our best if we are to catch Harry's attention," she whispered as she pulled the blankets over them and snuggled deeper into Tracy.
Tracy didn't question her and did as she was told. It wasn't exactly late, but they were both tired and she was still nervous about actually meeting Harry face to face. She felt one of Daphne's hands come around her side and come to rest on one of her breasts making her moan a little. Thankfully they had already dropped the curtains and placed locking and silencing spells around them.
Daphne was a master in making people miss the fact that the two of them had a relationship that went beyond friendship, she pushed herself against Daphne and closed her eyes and slowly began to fall asleep. Daphne remained awake for a while wondering if things would go as planned the next day. She hoped so before closing her eyes and joining Tracy in a deep sleep.
Fleur stumbled backwards as she was pushed out of the Pensieve once the memory had ended, she felt like being sick. She glanced at Harry and the Headmaster and noted neither of them seemed too affected by what they had seen. Harry quickly moved to her side and helped her to a seat. Fawkes awoke as he sensed the young woman's distress and quickly began to sing a slow melody and slowly Fleur began to calm down. She looked at the Phoenix as it sang in amazement. She had heard the stories and myths about them, but never had she been this close to one.
"Now I think you can understand what you may be walking into Miss Delacour," Dumbledore said as he retook his seat, while Harry poured them all a glass of water and handed them out. "Harry's time at Hogwarts has, I admit, been dangerous. Far more than with any other student during my time here and I think from the memory we have just viewed that hasn't been a coincidence," he explained with a sigh before he took a gulp from the drink Harry had poured. "We are in a silent war against Voldemort and those of his followers who remain active. I know too many believe the war is over, but sadly that is not true," he admitted. "He is out there in spirit form waiting to return and when he does all hell will break loose," he stated as he leaned back and steepled his fingers.
Fleur blinked a few times as she tried to grasp the full implications of what she had just seen and heard. Her head was spinning a little in result of that. She took a deep gulp from her drink and tried to focus her thoughts. In her mind's eye she could still see the gigantic Basilisk lunging at a twelve year old Harry Potter. ‘How the hell was he still alive?' she wondered as she glanced at him. He gave her a small smile understanding exactly how she must be feeling.
"Harry trusts you Miss Delacour and that is a rare thing, as he doesn't trust easily," Dumbledore told her as he locked eyes with her. "Usually I wouldn't allow this information to be spread, but I've learned to trust Harry's instincts. Maybe together and with the help of his friends you can discover who is behind his entry into the tournament as well as ensure that you come out alive and well," he stated and at this her thoughts finally cleared and she once again managed to focus.
"Why not stop the tournament?" Fleur inquired finally.
"Sadly we cannot, the Goblet constitutes a binding magical contract Miss Delacour and hence you all most compete," Dumbledore said his tone wary and sad. "I wish I could take your place, but I can't. I will however do my best to ensure you come out of it alive," he added with a smile which she found comforting. "Now I suggest you both retire to bed, we will meet again tomorrow to discuss options and I will answer what questions I can that you may think up," he suggested.
Both Harry and Fleur finished their drinks before getting up and leaving the office. Harry paused to stroke Fawkes before he finally left. Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and considered this new twist, as he had stated Harry didn't trust easily and yet he and Miss Delacour seemed to be quickly making friends. Her belief in Harry's innocence clearly started things and their talk seemed to have pushed it along he mused as he stroke his beard. "Interesting," he muttered as Fawkes flew over to his desk and began to sing a more upbeat tune as Dumbledore stroke him.
Harry had walked Fleur back to the Beauxbatons coach, which was of course enlarged on the inside. She thanked him before entering and he watched her go and hoped by showing her his memory of second year he had not scared her to badly. She may be the first real friend he had made since meeting Hermione and Ron. He winced as he recalled that Ron was no longer his friend. However he had still Hermione and now Daphne and maybe Tracy if he was right.
He quickly stated the password and entered once the portrait had swung open, he paused as he noted a rather tense atmosphere and his eyes narrowed quickly as he saw Ron and Hermione in a heated row. What really drew his attention was Neville's almost protective stance near Hermione. His eyes darkened and he stormed over to intervene.