*Day before the second task*Hogwarts*Ravenclaw common room*
"Hey, bro, I'm going to be kidnapped, see you tomorrow," Nicte walked through the common room to Flitwick's office, where he, the headmaster and Hagrid were waiting.
Nahil, at his post on Luna's side, helping her with some homework, "Kick and scream, and be back for lunch tomorrow"
"I will, and don't tell Harry that I'm his hostage until before the task"
"He will notice when you're not here by breakfast"
"You and your sister are odd" some nameless sixth year commented when Nicte was dragged out of the common room by the arms, kicking and screaming.
"As is your dress, but you don't see me pointing out this stuff" Nahil answered, pointedly ignoring the outrage of the teen he had offended.
*Next day*Black lake*
"Can someone please explain why they thought that us swimming in the lake that is almost FREEZING was a good idea?" Harry, always one to question stupidity, asked.
"Because it is a task of resourcefulness," Ludo Bagman explained.
"And you forget that the one creature of fire in the group, daughter of a politician, is stepping into the total opposite of her element," This time it was Cedric, who had spent quite a bit of time with the Veela that spoke.
"Ah, yes, well, the tasks were selected before the champions, so the binding contract was very specific," this time he was not as confident before.
"Never mind that, imagine what the Bulgarians will do if anything happens to their star seeker," Harry pushed the pole further, and Bagman could not find it in him to answer.
"And that will not happen" Barty Crouch came into view, "all of you are going to be given a portkey to this platform that will activate as soon as you wish it to, but at the price of the points you could have won."
"What if we activate it as soon as we get out hostages?" Neville asked.
"In that case then it will be only half the points, the task ends when both you and your hostage are in the platform" Crouch answered
"Alright, then all of you into the starting point," Bagman dragged them to the small boat, where some of them started to smell some fresh fruits.
"WELCOME TO THE SECOND CHALLENGE OF THE TRI-WIZARD TOURNAMENT, LAST NIGHT FIVE PEOPLE WERE TAKEN, ALL OF THEM DEAR TO ONE CHAMPION OR THE OTHER, AND FOR THIS TASK, THE CHAMPIONS SHALL SWIM TO THE MERPEOPLE VILLAGE, WHERE THEY WILL RESCUE THEIR HOSTAGES, BUT THEY HAVE ONLY ONE HOUR TO DO SO, POINTS WILL BE TAKEN OFF FOR EVERY MINUTE AFTER THE HOUR, AND ALL POINTS WILL BE REMOVED IF YOU HARM A MERMAN OR MERMAID.
"See you at the finish line Krum" Harry had already changed his neck and eyes to fit life under water, his wetsuit was already working to keep him at 37 Celsius.
"I vill velcome you as you arrive," The Bulgarian grinned, his wand at the ready.
"START" And they jumped.
Everyone went on their own, only Krum and Harry getting their bearings fast enough to make fast progress.
Surprisingly, apart from some gryndilows, and a weird ball that had legs but no other limb, the way for Harry was silent, and allowed him to think on the letter he had received a week ago.
'I know you don't know me, and that you have no reason to trust me, but I do know you, from when you were just a little babe, you were a chick magnet back then.
'My name is Sirius Black, I was your father's best friend back during our school years, and then a good friend of your mother as well during the two years of war we had between our graduation and their death.
'I was supposed to raise you, since you are my godson, but when the traitor Peter got James and Lily killed I ignored you, left you with Hagrid and chased him.
'Twelve years in prison made me regret that decision.
'When I escaped two years ago, I did not look for you, since Hagrid had told me that he took you to Dumbledore, and I tried to get the traitor killed, or better, captured, but in the end he escaped depite Neville's help and I'm on the run and…
'Listen, I do not have any claim on your guardianship, even less since Neville told me that you looked happy with some bird from Mexico (I really hope that she is an exotic beauty instead of those ugly ones from the documentaries Lily showed me once), so you can stay there and contact me any time you want.
He had, at the time, been the angriest he had been since Jaime had insulted his mother, but then, after a session with Nicte, brought by with extreme force on her part, he had calmed down and looked at the facts put down on the letter.
The man was hotheaded and did not make good decisions under pressure, but the heart was on a good place, unlike the brain, which seemed to vary from being in the gutter to being on the hands, and he was a good friend of his parents, so he was willing to look past the idiocy.
So he had sent a letter back asking for several things: 1-to tell, on another piece of paper, what had happened from Sirius's discovery of the bodies to his capture, which would be sent to the authorities; 2-favorite meal, dessert and pastime of his parents, the first two being needed for one of the most modern spirit calling rituals, the third being a bonus; 3-presents to compensate for 10 birthdays, preferably books on alchemy or exotic runes; 4-not to use any of the possible puns in front of him.
Because honestly, Sirius Black was a name that had nearly limitless potential on the puns.
At least he did not have a middle name.
Back on track, two days ago the man had delivered, ignoring, and perhaps even encouraged by number four, as the letter had been signed 'Black'
This had been just after 'What do mean hold back on the puns? Siriusly?'
So he was not someone to go for advice.
Back on track, again, the letter had said exactly what he had wanted to know: his father was partial to treacle tart and roasted lamb, and loved to fly whenever he could, while his mother preferred to eat a green apple after a pork chop, afterwards preening her little window garden.
He would have to rely on his father and their pictures to drag them, as soon as he found the correct rune schematics in the ritual section of the prepa library.
So, if he could get himself free with the description of the events that was to be sent to Amelia Bones, whom he knew from listening in on conversations of the Hufflepuff table was both the aunt of a student and the head of the Law department of the British Ministry of Magic.
And finally, he received ten books, three books on exotic runes, five on dueling strategies, one top-of-the-line broom and one in alchemic brews
Back to the task, Harry's danger senses went off, and he shot out of the way of an eel that had set itself the task of dragging Harry into its nest.
Two swings of the macahuitl later and its head was no longer attached to its body.
So he was going to stay focused for the remaining…time check…ten minutes of the task.
He should be nearing the mervillage soon.
Some other two had not been so lucky.
Fleur Delacour, weakened by the pressure and cold around her, had not been able to react in time to block a grindilow swarm, taking bites in one arm and both legs, her portkey had been activated once her monitoring charms detected her unable to continue.
Neville was a different case, as his gillyweed had performed beyond expectations, for the thirty minutes that his ration had lasted.
He had spit half of it during the few seconds of chewing, due to the disgusting taste, and activated his portkey once his oxygen supply had started to run low, those two would be at the bottom of the list by the third task, and almost no one would bet on them.
Krum had much better luck, as his shark head, achieved by transfiguration, scared away all the things that tried to attack him, with the exception of a pair of foolishly brave gryndilows.
He would need a toothpick by the end of the day.
And he would beat the Mexican boy, unless he got caught by an eel or those legged balls.
He came to a halt, noticing a slight pressure on his leg.
It had been snagged by swinging weed.
Right, he would get free, and then proceed to the merman village.
Potter passed right by him, throwing a two finger salute. Bloody Mexican
Krum got his leg free with a wordless cutting curse, and using a shoving spell behind him, Victor accelerated, propelling himself as fast as he dared without tearing a muscle, in hot pursuit of the Mexican mage.
Harry for his part was also pushing himself to go as fast as possible, not wanting to get caught up and left behind by the Bulgarian, but the increasing number of grindylows, little known fact that mermen kept them as pets, was making it both difficult and invigorating.
The rush of adrenaline, something he loved and usually got only when flying, was getting stronger, and it was only by reminding himself that Nicte was down in the lake that he kept moving to the village rather than just fending off the water dwellers.
That and he wanted to show up the Bulgarian.
Twenty minutes left in the hour, more than enough to grab her, get to the surface and swim back.
IF he could get through the hordes of grindylows.
Krum broke through, Harry following closely, enough to be able to grab the Bulgarian, but not so much as to get within biting range of his jaw.
Up in the surface things were not so interesting, as the only things that could be seen were five dots in a bird-eye view of the lake, only three of them close to the center of the lake, Krum and Harry the closest.
Neville's and Fleur's were close to each other, in the tent assigned to the mediwitch of the castle, where she was buzzing over the two.
There were also the five point that represented the five hostages, two of them were making their steady way to the starting platform, thanks to a pair of wizards that had volunteered as lifeguards.
Ginny Wesley and Gabrielle Delacour
Victor and Harry stopped moving; right on top of their respective hostages, and now the crowd could only wait for them to break the surface.
"AND THE WINNER OF THE SECOND TASK IS VICTOR KRUM, FOLLOWED THREE SECONDS LATER BY HARRY POTTER, AWARDING THEM FORTY AND THIRTY-FIVE RESPECTIVELY, BOTH THREE MINUTES UNDER THE HOUR LIMIT.
"THE SCORE TABLE, AS OF NOW, STANDS WITH BOTH OF THEM TIED AT SEVENTY FIVE POINTS EACH, DIGGORY JUST SURFACED, ONE MINUTE AFTER THE LIMIT, WITH A TOTAL OF SIXTY POINTS, LONGBOTTOM LAGS BEHIND WITH THIRTY FIVE AND DELACOUR IS LAST WITH THIRTY"