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Chapter 6: Chosen
Harry sat eagerly at the Gryffindor table as the Great Hall began to fill with lively students. Just like the night before, everyone was chatting loudly in their excitement. Tonight was Halloween night, the night that the three champions would be picked.
Ron groaned as the Durmstrang students walked in the hall, followed by a group of Hogwarts girls who were all sighing dreamily. But he quickly perked up when the Beuxabaton's girls entered the room, taking their seats at the Ravenclaw table once again.
It didn't take long for the entire room to be packed, and soon Headmaster Dumbledore took center stage to welcome them all to the feast.
He held out his hands and smiled joyfully at all the students and guests, "Welcome, everyone. Tonight is finally the night that we choose our champions! But first, let us enjoy a feast."
And just like normal the tables sprung to life with plates of delicious food, the students all eagerly tucking into their dinners.
“Where's Fred and George? They're missing out.” Harry asked as he noticed the twin's absence.
“They tried to add their names to the Goblet and are now in the hospital wing.” Ron answered with a laugh, “They tried to get past the age line with an aging potion but it backfired and now they're stuck as old men.”
“Why would they do something so stupid?” Hermione replied with a sigh, “There's no way they could have fooled Dumbledore.”
“Well at least they gave it a go.” Ron said, “I would love to be able to enter... I hope they have another tournament when we're older.”
Harry scoffed into his spoon of chocolate cake, “Seriously? I get enough drama in my life as it is, thank you very much. You wouldn't see me putting my name forward.”
“So who has entered for it?” Ron asked with his mouth full.
Hermione glared at him as she gestured down the table. “There's been lots of people. Angelina did, and you already know about Cedric Diggory and Cal Warrington.”
“What? But he's a Slytherin! We can't have a Slytherin champion!”
“You know exactly what the teachers would say,” Harry grumbled, “that he's still a Hogwarts student and that we'd have to support him.”
“It's true though.” Hermione said, “Wouldn't you rather have a Slytherin win the cup than someone from Durmstrang or Beauxbatons?”
“I suppose... Still, I hope the goblet has enough sense not to pick him.” Ron mumbled just as the room fell silent once more and Dumbledore stood up.
“The Goblet of Fire is almost ready.” he said with a smile as he watched the flames inside the cup. Almost every pair of eyes followed his gaze. “Once a champion has been called I would like for them to step up here onto the stage, and once we have all three we will be heading into the chamber to the right to await further instructions.”
Suddenly the blue flames inside the Goblet turned to a dark pink colour, before finally they burned bright red, signaling that the Goblet was ready.
A gasp left the throats the students as a single spark of flame shot up, and ever so slowly a piece of parchment floated down into Dumbledore's waiting hands. He read the paper and then looked out over the anxious students who were waiting with bated breath.
“The champion for Durmstrang will be Viktor Krum.”
The hall was filled with clapping and cheering as the Durmstrang student and Quidditch player, Viktor Krum stood from his seat and made his way to the front.
Seconds later and another spark of fire flew upwards into the air, another name had been selected. Dumbledore read it out loud once more. “The champion for Beauxbatons will be Fleur Delacour.”
Another round of applause filled the room as the french student glided up to the font to stand next to Viktor.
The Hogwarts students held their breath as a third piece of parchment fell from the Goblet and Dumbledore caught it. “The Hogwarts champion will be Cedric Diggory.”
The applause for Cedric was twice as loud as it was for the previous two. The Hufflepuff student waved as he stepped up to the front and stood beside Fleur. The three champions eyed each other as Dumbledore stepped in between them.
“So there we have it! Our champions!” When the noise finally died down he continued on, “I'm sure I can count on all of you to give our champions as much support as you can muster, and I'm sure I say this on behalf of everyone when I say good luck. It is a great pleasure to finally be able to say, let the tournament begin!”
The hall was once again filled with shouts and cheers as the champions waved and Dumbledore gestured for them to leave the stage.
The noise in the room quickly faded, however, when the watching students noticed that the Goblet of Fire was still burning a deep red, its flames flickering along the edge of the goblet.
A fourth shot of flame burned upwards and another piece of parchment drifted downwards. Dumbledore stood still, completely shocked at the strange turn of events. He plucked the paper from the air and read the name on it. His voice wavered slightly as he read it out loud.
Harry sat in stunned silence as all eyes turned to him. This had to be a mistake...
His eyes drifted up to Dumbledore, then past him to the teachers table. Buffy looked just as shocked as he did, if even a little angry. She was mouthing something to him but his mind couldn't register what she was saying.
He felt like he was dreaming... His name was called again and he slowly got to his feet and walked down to the front, ignoring the whispers as he passed. Everyone stared at him with shocked eyes, their mouths hanging open.
As soon as he reached the stage he felt someone grab his shoulders and lead him into the side room with the other champions and their teachers. He turned t the last minute and came face to face with Buffy who frowned down at him.
“Harry, please tell me you didn't-”
“No, I didn't put my name in the Goblet! I couldn't have! I'm not over seventeen!”
She nodded, having heard enough to believe him. He heard the click of the door as Dumbledore entered, having just dismissed the other students, followed by Ludo Bagman, Bartemius Crouch and Ray Silverthorn.
“Zis must be some kind of joke. 'E is too young!” Fleur yelled while gesturing to Harry.
“You saw it yourself, his name came out of the Goblet.” Ludo Bagman said with awe etched on his face. “It's amazing.”
“But I didn't put my name in there!” Harry cried out.
“Hogwarts isn't allowed two champions! I've never heard of any rules involving the host school having two champions!” Igor complained, having completely ignored Harry's words.
“Oui, and as Fleur said, 'e is not of age.” Madame Maxime added angrily.
“But we can't ignore that his name was pulled from the Goblet, that makes him a champion, no matter what!” Ludo replied, sounding far too happy for Harry's liking.
Harry stood back as everyone else argued around him. He was hardly paying attention to them anymore, all he could think of was that Goblet and his name being pulled out. How had he been chosen when his name had never been entered?
He didn't want this... He'd never wanted this.
He caught Buffy's gaze and she nodded to him before calling out to everyone. Her voice overpowered theirs and instantly everyone turned to look at her expectantly, “Hey! Look can you all just stop arguing for one second and listen to me?”
When she had all of their attention she looked to Harry, placing a hand on his shoulder for support. “I think we can all agree that this is just a mistake. That Harry didn't put his name in the Goblet and that he doesn't want to be a champion.”
“Then that is it? We just stop him from entering, call it a mistake.” Mr. Crouch said with a nod, “Yes, we could do that.”
“That is all very well but you are missing the point...” Came the voice of Ray Silverthorn, who up until now had been content in listening to the others argue. “The rules clearly state that all champions called forth from the Goblet must take part in the tournament. There is no backing out.”
The room was very still and silent as they all digested that information. Truthfully, they had all known about that rule but had not wanted to bring it up.
“Of course,” Ludo Bagman said with a smile, “Then it is sorted. Harry is a champion as much as the others are.”
There were murmurs of disagreement and nods of approval but eventually one by one people began leaving the room. Bartemuis Crouch gave the four champions their instructions and then walked away, giving Harry an apologetic look in the process.
Then the other champions left, each of them glaring at Harry, followed by their respective teachers. Finally Ludo and Ray left, talking animatedly together about how exciting it was to have four champions.
Eventually Harry was left alone with Dumbledore and Buffy who both gave him sympathetic looks.
“I'm sorry this happened, Harry. But you have no choice but to follow this path now.” Dumbledore told him.
Harry nodded to himself with a sigh. So much for having a nice, quiet year at Hogwarts.