The Final Task
All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.A/N:
Thank you so much for everyone's reviews, although I'm afraid this chapter doesn't help all that much with the cliffhangers... It's a short chapter this time, but the next one will be much longer so I hope that makes up for it :).
Chapter 19: The Final Task
He awoke with a loud groan, his head throbbing in pain from where it had hit the hard floor. For a moment all he could see was darkness, and then slowly it faded away like a cloud of dust and he saw that he was lying on the floor of a classroom, his body aching all over.
His eyes scanned the silent room, he was alone for the moment.
He stayed completely still for a few minutes, just re-adjusting to the pain while he remembered the fight, remembered everything that had been said between them.
She had never denied that she was hiding something. She fought with her hands and her strength was incredible, so much more than he had expected from her. He would find out just who she was, he wouldn't rest until he knew exactly who he had faced, who had beaten him.
His arm lifted and he squinted up at his watch. It was almost time.
Standing slowly, using a nearby table to support his weigh, he stumbled into the connecting office and to the fireplace. There was somewhere he had to be.
Harry's breath came out in ragged pants as he raced through the darkened maze, completely lost and confused.
He didn't know how long he had been inside the maze now, but it felt as though he had been walking for hours, walking in circles... Or was that just the maze confusing him?
He had already come across a few creatures in the maze, but they had been easy enough to get past. He knew the main threat in this maze would be the other contestants and so far he had yet to meet any of them.
The further he walked the more hopeless he felt, and with every dead-end he came across he felt his spirits drain. There was no way he was going to find the cup now, not when the other champions were quicker, smarter, older...
He stumbled on a lone branch as he walked, his wand held out in one hand while the other traced the edges of the maze walls. Once again he came to a crossroads, and using his wand to point him north, he took the path on the right.
He walked on for another few minutes down a long pathway, the leaves rustling on either side of him as he passed. Another turn and another dead-end.
With a frustrated sigh, he backtracked and continued on in the direction he hadn't been before, stopping suddenly when a shrill cry echoed around him.
The noise was unmistakable, it was the sound of a girl screaming and that meant it was Fleur. He picked up his pace until he was jogging through the walls of leaves, finally stopping when he spotted her limp form laying on the ground, her face contorted into a look of terror.
He quickly checked her pulse, and thankfully she was still breathing perfectly. Obviously she had been stunned. The maze, which up until now had been quite noisy with the wind rustling the leaves, was suddenly silent, as if even the wind was holding its breath in anticipation.
The sudden snap of a twig had Harry spinning, coming face to face with Viktor. He was holding out his wand, his eyes white and glazed over. He was bewitched.
Viktor shot a spell his way but Harry dodged it, calling out his own disarming spell just like he had been practising that morning. “Expelliarmus!”
Viktor's wand flew through the air and the Durmstrang student disappeared around the nearest corner. Either he was running from Harry or he was preparing himself to attack again. Either way, Harry didn't want to stand around and wait.
He chanced a look behind him, and gasped in surprise to find that Fleur's body had completely vanished.
What was going on in this place?
Harry shook his head to clear his mind as he continued on, making sure to keep extra focused in case Viktor should pop up again.
After another few dead ends Harry was forced to take the only path available, and feeling a surge of power he rushed through it. Maybe it was just the maze messing around with his mind, but he could feel it now, he could tell he was almost there, almost champion.
He was getting so excited about finishing the task that he failed to notice Cedric, who was rushing down another path just opposite him. The pair stopped together, barely inches away from slamming into one another, and both of their gazes were drawn to another connecting path, where a brilliant blue light filled their vision.
With gasps the pair ran together, battling against each other to try and reach the light first. Cedric fell behind and reached out, grabbing Harry by the shirt and pulling him backwards until the older student was in front.
Harry urged his legs to move quicker as he shoved Cedric against the maze wall, watching in satisfaction as he tripped and fell to the floor.
He turned at the last minute, watching as Cedric struggled on the ground. Long strands of leaves and twigs were trying to pull him into the foliage, branches twisted around his arms and ankles, tugging him into the maze walls.
Harry turned his gaze back to the light. He was so close now, he could see the Triwizard cup in the distance. He should just leave Cedric and take the cup for his own, right?
But he couldn't help how his conscience told him otherwise. With a sigh he lifted up his wand and blasted the branches away from Cedric before running to his side, helping to pull him up to his feet.
“Thank you, Harry. For a moment there I didn't think you was going to help me.” Cedric said as he brushed himself down.
“No, neither did I.” Harry replied breathlessly, his gaze turning back to the cup. All of a sudden it didn't matter quite as much who won. He would be happy coming in second place, he would happily cheer for Cedric if he won.
The pair walked over to the cup, both of them staring at it in awe. “You take it.” Harry told Cedric, his eyes never leaving the glowing cup.
Cedric shook his head, “No, you saved me. You deserve it.”
“But...” Harry shook his head, neither of them would be happy taking it for themselves now. “Let's both take it, together.” Cedric nodded his agreement and the two of them counted down from three, the both of them lunging at the cup at the same time.
Instantly Harry gasped, feeling as if he was being pulled upwards, his vision blurred as if time was speeding by without him.
And seconds later he fell to the ground, the cup still in his grasp. Cedric on the other side, his hand on the base of the cup.
“What happened?” Cedric panted as he finally let go, getting back to his feet and looking around. They appeared to be in a graveyard in the middle of night, and all alone. They had definitely moved away from Hogwarts.
Harry stared down at the cup, recognition dawning on him. “A portkey, the cup is a portkey.”
“But why? Why would they bring us here? Unless this is part of the task...”
Harry was about to answer when a cry rang out into the night. Before either could react a jet of green light appeared, soaring through the air until it hit Cedric in the chest. Instantly his body slumped to the ground, and Harry moved forwards until he was kneeling at Cedric's side.
His hands shook in fear as he gently nudged Cedric, unable to believe that he was really gone. But the spell had killed him in an instant, and Harry realised almost too late that it wasn't a test anymore, it was real.
Harry's eyes, burning with tears, lifted to scan the darkness. If he could see who had done this, he would be able to stop them, to avenge Cedric. And then he spotted someone standing between the gravestones. Slowly the man emerged from the darkness, his dark hair hanging in his eyes as he walked.
“Welcome, Harry Potter, to the end.”
The man threw back his head and laughed, although stopping abruptly, as if the motion caused him pain. His mouth twisted into a grimace before he held up his hand once again, and Harry was lifted off his feet and slammed into a stone statue.
The statue's arms moved on their own accord, grabbing at Harry and holding him in place. He struggled as the man advanced on him, holding a wicked looking knife.
“Tonight, Harry, your blood will bring back the all powerful master. Nothing shall stand in his way, not even you. Tonight you will die, and the Dark Lord shall rise.”