The Hungarian Horntail
disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, just Arabella. Hope you like it!
The Hungarian Horntail
The only thing Arabella was looking forward to was the talk she and Harry were going to have with Sirius and Remus on the 22nd. She didn't know what they were going to talk about, but it was the only thing that was going to keep her and Harry sane at the moment. They wrote back to Sirius and Remus saying that they would be at the Gryffindor Tower alone when the time came and they had a plan if people were still there.
Life had become worse for Harry in the castle, as Rita Skeeter had published her piece about the Triwizard Tournament, which was mostly about Harry's life. She reported about him saying things Arabella knew would never come out of his mouth in a million years.
I suppose I get my strength from my parents. I know they'd be very proud of me if they could see me now…Yes, sometimes at night I still cry about them, I'm not ashamed to admit it…I know nothing will hurt me during the tournament, because they're watching over me…
But Rita Skeeter had gone even further than transforming his "er's" into long, sickly sentences. She had interviewed other people about him too.
Harry has at last found love at Hogwarts. His close friend, Colin Creevey, says that Harry is rarely seen out of the company of Arabella Black, a stunningly pretty daughter of the late Auror Kassandra Black and mass murderer Sirius Black, who is still on the run for murdering 12 Muggles and 1 wizard. More detail on page 5.
From the moment that article appeared, Harry and Arabella had to endure taunts from Slytherins, even the ones that crawled out of their snake pits. The thing that really irked her was that they weren't even clever.
'Got a hanky for your boyfriend, Black?'
'Daddy met Potter yet? I'm sure he'll walk you down the aisle.'
'Yes!' yelled Arabella, throwing her hands in the air without seeing who the speaker was. 'I have a box full of tissues for my so-called boyfriend and we are going to cry together about our dead parents before we get married and, of course my father, mass murderer Sirius Black, is going to walk me down the aisle and give Harry his blessing!'
'And I wasn't invited?'
It was Nikola. He was giving her an amused grin. Arabella felt extremely foolish.
'Oh - sorry,' Arabella muttered. 'Didn't see you there.'
'Figure that much,' said Nikola. 'I heard there's a Hogsmeade trip on Saturday, the day before the first task. Will I be seeing you there?'
'Maybe,' said Arabella. 'I'm mostly going to spend my time with Hermione. I haven't been spending as much time as I liked with her.'
'Then I shall be seeing you both there,' said Nikola, smirking.
'Okay, then,' said Arabella, turning around and walking towards the dungeons where a group of Slytherin girls were waiting for her.
'Stunningly pretty? Her?' Pansy said as loudly as she could when she saw Arabella walking down the corridor. 'She was probably being compared to walrus.'
'Ignore it,' said Hermione, pulling back Arabella and Harry. 'Just ignore it.'
'I've been trying,' snapped Arabella. 'I wasn't going to go up to her and curse her for making that comment. I was going to curse her because it wasn't clever. I mean, if you're going to insult me, at least do it properly.'
The unoriginal insults from the Slytherins Arabella could take, but Harry and Ron not talking to each other almost makes her blood boil. She thought that they might be able to patch things up when the three of them had detention, but ever since Rita's article came out, Ron's belief that Harry enjoyed the attention was pretty much confirmed.
Hermione was even more furious with the pair of them than Arabella was. Hermione spent most of her time trying to get Ron to talk to Harry as Arabella was doing the same thing with Harry. It was no use.
'You miss him' said Arabella firmly. 'I know you do and don't bother lying.'
'I do not miss him,' said Harry obviously lying.
'Idiot,' muttered Arabella.
On the Saturday before the first task, Arabella and Hermione managed to peruse Harry to go with them, saying that it would do him some good to get out of the castle.
'What about Ron, though?' he said. 'Don't you want to go with him?'
'Oh… well…' Hermione went slightly pink and looked at Arabella for some support. 'We thought – I thought – that we might meet up with him in the Three Broomsticks…'
'No,' said Harry flatly.
'Oh Harry, this is so stupid –'
"I'll come, but I'm not meeting Ron, and I'm wearing my Invisibility Cloak."
"Oh all right then…" Hermione snapped, "but I hate talking to you in that cloak, I never know if I'm looking at you or not."
'You have me,' said Arabella, insulted. Hermione rolled her eyes. Harry left to go to his dormitory to get his Invisibility Cloak.
'Listen,' said Arabella, quickly, 'we might meet Nikola there.'
'What?!' Hermione whisper shouted. 'Why?'
'I don't know,' said Arabella, shrugging. 'He just said he might meet us there.'
'You and me?' asked Hermione, widening her eyes.
Before Arabella could answer, she felt a tap on her shoulder and saw that nobody was there.
'Ready?' Arabella asked nobody. She took the silence as a yes. Together, with invisible Harry, they set off for Hogsmeade.
'Why don't we go and have a butterbear in Three Broomsticks?' said Hermione, pointing at the end of the street. 'It's a bit cold, isn't it? And you don't have to talk to Ron,' she added to Harry.
Three Broomsticks was packed, mostly with Hogwarts students and some foreign ones. Hermione managed to get a spare table as Arabella went to go order their drinks. She rejoined them a moment later and slipped Harry a butterbear under his cloak.
'Hermione,' said Arabella, peering at her pockets, 'what's that?'
Hermione looked at what caught Arabella's eye and pulled the object out. It was a notebook that kept a record of all S.P.E.W. members.
'You really brought that?' said Arabella, exasperated.
'Brought what?' asked a voice behind her.
Arabella and Hermione turned around. It was Nikola and Victor Krum.
'Spew,' said Arabella.
'It's not spew!' snapped Hermione. 'It's S.P.E.W. It stands for Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.'
'I've never heard of it,' said Nikola, taking a seat next to Arabella.
'I've only just started it,' said Hermione.
'Trying to save the world, Miss Granger?' teased Nikola with that smirk Arabella got used to seeing on his face.
'No,' said Hermione, narrowing her eyes. 'Just trying to make it a little bit better.'
Nikola was about to retort but was interrupted by Krum clearing his throat, who looked uncomfortable and wasn't looking at Hermione.
'Ve have to go,' he said, slyly taking a peak at Hermione.
'Very well, I'll see you later,' said Nikola, not bothering to mask his disappointment. He said goodbye to Arabella and Hermione before exiting Three Broomsticks with Krum by his side.
'Well, that was fun,' said Arabella sarcastically.
'I don't like him,' said Hermione, her narrowed eyes on the door of the pub.
'You and me both,' muttered Harry from under the cloak.
'All right there, girls?' said Hagrid loudly. He made his way across the pub with Mad-Eye just behind him.
'Hello Hagrid,' said Arabella and Hermione.
Mad-Eye limped around the table and bent down, looking at Hermione's S.P.E.W. notebook. It looked like he was reading it, but she saw him muttering something to Harry. Arabella knew that he could see through Invisibility Cloaks. Nothing gets by him.
'Nice cloak, Potter,' said Mad-Eye, grinning.
"Can your eye - I mean, can you -?"
"Yeah, it can see through Invisibility Cloaks," Mad-Eye said quietly. "And it's come in useful at times, I can tell you."
Hagrid was smiling at Harry too, but Arabella knew that he would be able to see Harry if Mad-Eye didn't tell him where he was. Hagrid bent down a bit, pretending to read the S.P.E.W. notebook and whispered something in a very low voice that Arabella couldn't hear.
Hagrid soon straightened up and said loudly, 'Nice ter see yeh, Arabella, Hermione,' winked, and left the pub with Mad-Eye following him.
'Why does Hagrid want me to meet him at midnight?' Harry said, surprised.
'Does he?' said Hermione, looking startled. 'I wonder what he's up to? I don't know whether you should go, Harry…' She looked nervously around and hissed 'It might make you late for Sirius.'
Arabella agreed with Hermione, but that made no difference with Harry. At half past eleven that evening, Harry pulled out his Invisibility Cloak and left through the portrait hole. Hermione went to sleep about an hour earlier. The only people left there were Arabella and the Creevey brothers. They managed to get a stack of Support Cedric Diggory! Badges and were trying to bewitch them to make them say Support Harry Potter! instead. So far, all they managed to do was get the badges stuck on POTTER STINKS.
'Why don't you guys try again tomorrow?' called out Arabella, watching them from her spot near the fireplace.
They spent another half hour on them and got it to say POTTER REALLY STINKS!
'I give up!' exclaimed Colin, throwing the one badge he had in his hands to the ground. He ran his hands through his hair and got up to go to his dormitory, Dennis right behind him.
'Finally,' whispered Arabella, getting bored watching them.
'Psst!' whispered a voice.
'What?' said Arabella, looking at the deserted common room.
'Down here! Fireplace!' whispered another voice.
Arabella looked at the flames and almost jumped. You'd think living in the wizarding world for all your life would make you less surprised to see certain things, but it doesn't. Sirius and Remus's heads were sitting in the fire.
Arabella's face broke into a grin, scrambled out of her chair and crouched down by the fireplace. Remus looked the same, but with more worry lines and some small scars on his face. Sirius looked completely different. His face was much fuller, and he looked younger. They both had identical grins on their faces.
'How are you?' Arabella asked the first thing that came to mind.
'Never mind about us,' said Sirius. 'How are you? Where's Harry? And what's this about a boyfriend?'
'I'm fine, Harry'll be here anytime soon and I don't have a boyfriend,' said Arabella. 'Listen, I need to know what's with Kark –'
Arabella's sentence was interrupted by the portrait hole swinging open and Harry barging into it.
'Dragons!' whispered Harry as soon as he spotted her. He looked at the fireplace and jumped before smiling.
'Sirius, Professor Lupin – how are you?' he asked, crouching next to Arabella.
'This is not about us, Harry,' said Remus in a very teacher like tone. 'How are you?'
'I'm –' for a second Arabella thought he was going to say 'fine', but he couldn't. The word wouldn't come out. Before they knew it, he was talking about everything – how nobody believed he hadn't entered the tournament of his own free will, how Rita Skeeter had lied about him in the Daily Prophet, how he couldn't walk down a corridor without being sneered at, and about how Ron didn't believed him and his jealously…
'… and now Hagrid's just shown me what's coming in the first task, and it's dragon! I'm a goner,' he finished desperately.
Sirius and Remus both looked at him with eyes full of concern.
'Dragons we can deal with, Harry,' said Sirius, 'but we'll get to that in a minute. There are things we want to warn you about.'
'What?' asked Arabella. 'What could be worse than dragons?'
'Karkaroff,' said Remus. 'You said Mad-Eye told you to keep an eye out for him? He's a Death Eater, well, he was one. You know what Death Eater are, don't you Harry?'
'Yes – wait – what?'
'He was caught,' said Sirius, 'he was in Azkaban with me, but he got released. I'd bet everything that's why Dumbledore want Mad-Eye at Hogwarts this year – to keep an eye on him.'
'Mad-Eye was the one to catch him and put him in Azkaban in the first place,' said Remus.
'Why did they release him? Is the Ministry that stupid?' asked Arabella.
'He made a deal with the Ministry, so, to answer your question, yes they're that stupid,' said Sirius bitterly. 'He said he'd seen the error of his ways, and then he named some names… he put a load of other people into Azkaban in his place… He's not very popular in there, I can tell you. And since he got out, from what I can tell, he's been teaching the Dark arts to every student who passes through that school of him. So watch out for that lot as well.'
"Okay," said Harry slowly. "But…are you saying Karkaroff put my name in the goblet? Because if he did, he's a really good actor. He seemed furious about it. He wanted to stop me from competing."
"We know he's a good actor," said Sirius, "because he convinced the Ministry of Magic to set him free, didn't he? Now, we've been keeping an eye on the Daily Prophet, Harry…"
"- you and the rest of the world," said Harry bitterly.
'We've been reading in between the lines of what Rita Skeeter has been saying in her last article,' said Remus. 'Mad-Eye was attacked before the stark of Hogwarts, thought it might not be a false alarm, as it was reported. We think that someone tried to stop him from getting to Hogwarts. They probably thought that their job would be more difficult if he was around, and that no one would look to closely at it since Mad-Eye's got intruders coming around often. But that doesn't mean he can't still spot the real thing. Moody was the best Auror the Ministry ever had."
"So…what are you saying?" said Harry slowly. "Karkaroff's trying to kill me? But - why?"
Sirius and Remus looked at each other before continuing.
'I've been hearing some very strange thing,' Sirius said slowly. 'The Death Eaters seem to be a bit more active than usual lately. They showed themselves at the Quidditch World Cup, didn't they? Someone set off the Dark Mark…and then – did you hear about that Ministry of Magic witch who's gone missing?'
'Bertha Jorkins?' said Harry.
"Exactly…she disappeared in Albania, and that's definitely where Voldemort was rumored to be last…and she would have known the Triwizard Tournament was coming up, wouldn't she?"
'Yeah, but it's not like she's going to walk straight into Voldemort's hands, is she?' asked Arabella.
'We knew Bertha Jorkins,' said Remus grimly. 'She was a couple year above us, and she wasn't very bright.'
Sirius snorted. 'She was an idiot. Very nosy with no brains, none at all. Not a very good combination. She'd be very easy to lure into a trap.'
"So…so Voldemort could have found out about the tournament?" said Harry. "Is that what you mean? You think Karkaroff might be here on his orders?"
"I don't know," said Sirius slowly, "I just don't know…Karkaroff doesn't strike me as the type who'd go back to Voldemort unless he knew Voldemort was powerful enough to protect him. But whoever put your name in that goblet did it for a reason, and I can't help thinking the tournament would be a very good way to attack you and make it look like an accident."
"Looks like a really good plan from where I'm standing," said Harry grinning miserable. "They'll just have to stand back and let the dragons do their stuff."
'Right – these dragons,' said Remus, turning back into teacher mode. 'There's a way, Harry. Don't bother stunning them – you'll need at least about half a dozen wizard or more to overcome a dragon –'
'Yeah, I know, I just saw,' said Harry.
'But you can still do it alone,' Remus continued as though he wasn't interrupted. 'There is away, and a simple spell's all you need. Just –'
'Wait, shush,' said Arabella, putting her hands up to silence him. There were footsteps coming down the spiral staircase behind them.
'Go!' Harry hissed at them. 'Someone's coming!'
Arabella and Harry scrambled to their feet, trying to hide the fire. They heard a tiny pop in the fire behind them and knew that Sirius and Remus had left. They watched the bottom of the spiral staircase. It was Ron, who stopped dead facing them across the room and looked around.
'What are you doing down here at this time of night?' said Harry in a very angry tone.
'I just wondered where you –' Ron broke off, shrugging. 'Nothing. I'm going back to bed.'
"Just thought you'd come nosing around, did you?" Harry shouted.
'Harry!' hissed Arabella. She missed them being together. Everything was more fun, happier when they were all together, except for the constantly put into danger scenario.
"Sorry about that," said Ron, his face reddening with anger. "Should've realized you two probably didn't want to be disturbed. I'll let you get on with practicing for your next interview in peace."
Harry seized one of the POTTER REALLY STINKS! badges off the table, and was about to chuck it before Arabella grabbed it out of his hand.
'This is not the way to settle things!' she said, angry at both of them. 'You two have to talk this out, or –'
'I don't have to do anything,' snapped Harry.
'Ron,' pleaded Arabella, turning her attention at him.
Ron shook his head before turning around and heading back to his dormitory. Arabella felt like she could either cry or punch the wall, or just punch Harry now and Ron in the morning. That sounded like fun.
'You both are idiots,' said Arabella, turning back to Harry and shoving the pin straight at his chest. 'Fix this.'
She turned around and started to walk towards her dormitory.
'Arabella,' said Harry, making her turn around. 'I'm sorry.'
'I'm not the one you should be trying to make amends with, Harry,' said Arabella, sighing. 'I want my friends back.'
Thank you for reading!