The Final Task Part 2
Warning: This chapter contains character death, abduction of a female, direct intent and mild (if you can call any type of torture mild) physical torture. Please be cautious and do not read if you find these notions offend, upset or insult you in anyway. Although these situations are not described in gross detail, discretion is advised. Thank you.
"Morning, Harry!" called Ron, his mouth half full of toast as the green-eyed teenager made his way towards the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall.
Harry ruffled his hair as he let out a yawn. "Morning," he replied sleepily to Ron.
"Good morning, Hermione," he added to the bushy-haired witch before sitting in between Neville and Dean.
Hermione smiled in response before shoving a plate of toast under his nose. "Toast, Harry?" she offered.
"Thanks," Harry said, taking a piece. Neville grinned at Harry before asking, "A-are you nervous, Harry? About the final task?"
Harry didn't have time to answer, as Cedric had come up to Harry and said in a rush, "The teachers want all the champions to meet them in the hall in ten minutes, or some other rubbish. Bye!"
Harry yawned again before saying, "Good morning to you too, Cedric," at the Hufflepuff's retreating form.
Dean grinned at Harry, who again had yawned. "I take you and Parvati were out for quite a while last night; everyone had gone to bed and you weren't back yet…."
Harry laughed nervously.
"We got caught by Filch, and he made Parvati go back to the dorm and I had to listen to him ramble about good-for-nothing students for an hour and a half; that's why I'm so tired."
Dean nodded appreciatively. "Sometimes I wonder if Binns and Filch are related; they both rave on..."
Ron frowned, looking to be seriously contemplating the matter. "Now that's a weird concept," he muttered.
Hermione, beside the redhead, was frowning too. "Harry," she said, as though confused, "Parvati didn't come back before you."
Lavender Brown, who was eating her muesli, leaned forward. "Not that I'm trying to make anyone nervous, but Parvati wasn't in her bed this morning."
Dean laughed. "What, do you think she's been kidnapped or something?"
Seamus, who has just stumbled into the great hall (he was not a morning person) mumbled, "Snape probably has her locked up in the dungeons."
Hermione rolled her eyes as Lavender said, "I'm sure there's nothing to worry about…she's probably visiting Trelawney or something; she goes up the tower fairly often."
The black-haired boy turned around to see Viktor, Cedric and Fleur standing before him.
"We've got to go meet our teachers down at the Quidditch Pitch," Cedric continued. "We'll be there all day, so you better say your goodbyes and stuff now."
Harry turned around to face his friends. "Good luck," chorused Neville, Dean and Seamus.
"Break a leg," the Irish boy added with a cheeky smile.
"Best of luck, Harry," offered Lavender, hugging him quickly without thinking as she said, "I'll get Pav and we'll see you down there!"
Harry nodded and turned to Hermione and Ron. Hermione looked to be nearly in tears and Ron's face was pale.
"Oh, Harry!" cried Hermione, flinging her arms around him. "You'll be safe, won't you?" she mumbled into his shoulder before letting go.
"Of course, Hermione," assured Harry as he grasped Ron's hand.
"Good luck, mate," wished Ron.
"Come on, 'Arry," said Fleur, and Harry rose out of his seat, the four Champions making their way out of the hall.
Cedric chuckled at Harry before saying, "You look as nervous as I feel." Harry smiled weakly in return. You're worrying about nothing! Harry inwardly scolded himself. Parvati's just probably at the Divination tower, like Lavender said…
"I as vell am also nervous," added Viktor. Apparently, the other champions thought Harry was nervous about the task. The green-eyed-teen decided to just stop worrying about his girlfriend for the moment and try to relax; he did not want to be too hyped up before the maze.
"At least it weel be over soon," commented Fleur, as they reached the Pitch and headed into the tent labelled 'CHAMPIONS'. "I cannot wait unteel I get back 'ome."
Cedric had a wicked look in his eyes. "Judging by the way Roger Davies was talking to you, I didn't think you wanted to leave!"
Fleur's cheeks tinged a pretty pink as she swatted Cedric on the arm. "Cedreec!" she shrieked as Harry grinned and Viktor let out a deep chuckle.
Madam Maxine stuck her head in the tent. "Fleur?" she questioned. "What 'as 'appened? Is sometheeng wrong?"
"Non, non," said Fleur in a rush as Cedric now slid off his chair onto the floor, laughing, "Ce n'est pas grave ; It does not matter !" she affirmed quickly.
The exceedingly tall teacher frowned, but nevertheless went away.
Harry wondered aloud; "Cedric, how do you know Bill?"
"He was in his seventh year when I was I first," explained Cedric offhandedly. "Saved me from detention one day."
All of a sudden, Ludo Bagman popped his head in.
"Hello, again, you four," he said, chipper. "I'm just here to tell you that you need to get out there; only ten minutes remaining, you know! Good luck, Harry," he added with a wink before leaving as quickly as he had come.
Cedric quirked an eyebrow before whispering, "I think he fancies you, Harry!"
It was Fleur's turn to laugh now, although she quickly sobered, and fear darted across her face before she pulled the three boys into a hug. Harry wondered where the French girl got her strength.
"Good luck," she whispered, "all of you."
Ludo Bagman made his way into the tent, an excited gleam in his eyes. "Come on, now! The Task is about to commence!"
Lavender flopped into her seat in the Quidditch stands next to Seamus and a gaping Ron.
"What's up with him?" she asked Seamus.
"He's upset because his pitch has become Greenhouse number five."
Having spotted Lavender, Hermione asked, "Did you find Parvati?"
Lavender looked to be on the verge of tears. "No!" she half-sobbed. "I looked everywhere!"
"Did you try the infirmary?"
"Maybe we should tell a teach-"
Hermione was cut off, however, by a loud horn being blown.
"WELCOME!" boomed Ludo Bagman's voice as Harry Potter, Cedric Diggory, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum walked out onto the start of the maze, "TO THE THIRD AND FINAL TRIWIZARD TOURNAMENT TASK!
As the crowd cheered, Bagman gave a short blast of his whistle, and Harry ran into the maze, Cedric hot on his heels.
It seemed like an age before the next whistle blew, signalling that Krum had entered, and then Fleur. Harry and Cedric ran side by side for a good ten minutes or so until they reached a fork in the road.
Cedric's grey eyes darted back and forth before going right. Harry sighed before running down the left path.
Sometime later, Harry slowed down to a brisk walk. So far, he had not come across any sort of monsters.
Harry heard a bush rustle, but decided that it was just the wind blowing. It was only when a Dementor appeared before him that he decided to revaluate. The awful creature started to glide out of the dense fog that surrounded the maze towards Harry.
"Dementor?" he gasped. "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" he cried, and a silver stag darted out of his wand and chased after the Dementor. However, the Dementor did not yield.
"Hang on," said Harry more to himself than the Dark creature, "you're a Boggart! Riddikulus!"
Panting, Harry continued to make his way through the maze. After a number of sharp turns, Harry whispered, "Point Me," to his wand. He headed straight ahead.
Parvati groaned. Her head was throbbing painfully. She slowly opened her eyes to see Mad Eye Moody standing above her, his fake eye whizzing around in it socket, making her feel sick.
"Professor?" she asked weakly. The man just grinned wickedly. It was then that Parvati looked down and saw golden, magical ropes binding her middle to the wooden chair she had been seated upon. She knew these ones; these were unbreakable ropes…what was going on here?
"Make sure she doesn't escape," Moody said to a figure behind him, fiddling with his wand. Parvati's dizziness became even more pronounced as she saw whom he was talking to.
"I weel make sure of eet," the Beauxbatons boy replied evilly, his French accent heavy. His eyes were slightly out of focus.
Moody walked towards the door, each step pronounced with the heavy clunk of his wooden leg.
Moody raised his wand again. "And make sure that no one comes in this room but I."
Luc's out-of-focus eyes suddenly became right again. "As you weesh," he said.
Parvati gulped as Moody exited. She knew exactly what spell Luc was under;
The Imperius Curse.
Harry cursed. Ten minutes ago, he had thought the worst thing he would have to face was a Boggart. Staring hopelessly down at his singed clothes, Harry vowed to have a serious talk to Hagrid about his Blast-Ended Screwts.
Over the other side of the right hedge, someone screamed; Cedric.
Hit by sudden adrenaline, Harry powered on, darting roots that tried to grab his ankles.
"Cedric!" he cried.
Icy tendrils seemed to envelope Harry's heart as he saw what Cedric had screamed about; directly above him was the largest spider Harry had ever seen; even bigger than Aragog.
Cedric was clinging to a nearby hedge, a long gash across his chest. His shirt was smeared with blood.
But it was too late; one of the gargantuan arachnid's pincers had cut through Harry's left leg, and its leg had caught in Harry's sock. Before he knew it, Harry was dangling high in the air.
The spider shook Harry off, and the fourteen-year-old landed on the ground. He heard a terrible, sickening crack, and a moan of pain escaped Harry's lips as he stared down at his left ankle; it was definitely broken.
He looked to where Cedric was, hoping to ask for some help. However, Cedric was not looking at Harry at all; he was staring at a golden cup.
The Triwizard Cup…
Luc, who Parvati was sure was hypnotised by one of Moody's spells, seemed to be true to his word. After another hour of waiting (there was a strange looking clock on the wall), Parvati realised her plans to escape would be futile. She couldn't break the ropes and she didn't have her wand; all she could do was hope that someone noticed her missing and wait until they would rescue her. She also realised that it would not do to worry about Harry and tried to think of more pleasant things that what was happening to her boyfriend…Her heart still racing Parvati realised that she needed to calm down. She thought back to her parents, her sister, her home, her sanctuary, love…where everything was safe and warm and she was a little girl and not here…
Parvati and her sister Padma were five years old; it was a couple of months before Daddy had died. Daddy had been invited to a party by the Minister, an invite that extended to Amar Patil's family. Their mother, Leah, had bought Parvati and her twin each a 'cute' - her words, not Parvati's or Padma's - purple and blue nivi-style sari. Parvati remembered how the pallu had itched and how the weather had been too hot for a three-piece garment; but Mummy couldn't do anything about it as the invite had said to wear formal clothes, and this was as formal as they got. Even though Parvati and her family did not strictly practice Indian ways, or speak the native tongue fluently (though daddy could), they still brought the culture in some aspects into their lives. It was like Lavender's family; her mother was Italian, but the only thing Lavender really did that was Italian was eat spaghetti, and all she could do was count to ten in Italian and swear. Parvati remembered that after the party Mummy and Daddy had bought them ice-cream and Padma had fallen asleep just waiting in line for it so Mummy picked up Padma and cradled her little girl while Daddy ate Padma's ice-cream with a funny look on his face that made Parvati giggle and shriek with joy.
Daddy used to make the funniest faces…
Parvati remembered when Padma and she had raided Mummy's makeup drawer and they thought they had gotten away with until Mummy had yelled, "PADMA CHANDA PATIL! PARVATI SITARA PATIL! YOU GET DOW HERE THIS INSTANT!"
Mum had used their full names; they knew they were in trouble. Padma had tried to run until--
- As quick and as bright as the first one had been, another vision struck Parvati Patil. It was a most horrific sight; Harry was caked with blood and dirt, and the man she had seen before was towering over him; with his red, gleaming eyes and slit-like nostrils. Somehow, Parvati knew it was the past she was seeing, and knew whom the man was. As the vision rippled out of her sight, Parvati knew that You-Know-Who had returned -
Someone was fiddling with Moody's office doorknob from outside; Parvati could hear it. "HELP!" she screamed desperately, feeling as though her throat might tear. "HELP!" she shrieked again wildly, struggling against the bonds, crystalline tears dripping down her face. The bonds cut into her flesh as she thrashed, trying to break free.
Harry's body slammed into the ground, the smell of grass and blood and everything else overwhelming him. He did not know how long he lay there clutching Cedric's limp body and the cup, his eyes screwed shut. He did not know how much time had passed when he open his eyes, the horror of what had happened hitting him full force.
He could not tell what was going on; all he could hear was the throbbing of his head and his own choked sobs that racked his whole body. All he could taste was the metallic flavour of his blood as it coated his tongue and the salty tears that had fallen. All he could feel was Cedric's unnaturally cold, still body. All he could smell was the earth and the grass and the blood and the tears; and all he could see was Cedric, Cedric dead…
The word seemed to echo around in Harry's head, consuming every thought before consuming everything of him, as if it were a plague, ravaging his insides, until Harry realised that it was not in his head, that people were shouting…
"Cedric Diggory!" they called, and Harry heard them, detached. "The Diggory Boy!" they screamed. "He's dead!"
…dead…dead…he's dead…they kept shouting. Harry heard a noise like an animal in pain as he held on tighter to Cedric, his nails digging in, and it was only when Harry heard the noise again was that he realised it was coming from him. Time seemed to go too fast and too slow and everything was happening at once, and then nothing was happening at all. It was all too confusing and for just a moment, it would make sense if Harry could not feel, could not think, could not breathe…
Rough, calloused hands lifted Harry from Cedric's body, and Harry let himself being half carried, half walked through the crowd; his ankle could no longer support his weight, and was jutted out at an odd angle.
After a while, Harry realised it was Moody that was helping him. They walked silently along the corridors until they reached a door; it was the door to Moody's office…and someone inside…someone inside was screaming…