Part Two: Chapter Two
-△⃒⃘- The Greengrass Contract -△⃒⃘-by ncronan
A/N: I'll keep this AN as short as possible. If you have time, please go to my profile and look at my bio to see more information, and check out my PJO story, Privileged Victim, as well. I am far more proud of where that story is going rather than this one. There may be a long author's note for the next chapter, though, so watch out.
Disclaimer: I don't own any significant portion of the Harry Potter franchise. Unfortunately.
Part IIChapter Two: The First Task
Another involuntary shiver wracked Harry's body as he bounced his leg out of sheer anxiety for the event taking place. Even after over a month of preparation, he felt he would never be prepared enough for the Hungarian Horntail that awaited him.
He glanced around the room, hopelessly trying to get his mind off what would come as his throat constricted slightly. There was no way around it. The judges and Headmaster and Mistresses had already told them what they would have to do; capture the golden egg that each of their dragons was tasked to protect. He growled and shook his head, marveling at the stupidity of the judges. The fact that this arena was being held in an arena made purely from wood showcased the logic that the wizards possessed. He looked down at this gloved hands and unclenched them, going over what he and the other champions had discussed countless times in their training sessions.
Stunning spell was useless unless cast by multiple people. In fact, most spells would not get past any dragon's hide. He would have to somehow distract it, because there was no way he could overcome it by sheer spell force. Collectively, the champions had decided to go for the same strategy: use the conjunctivitis curse on the dragon's eyes right away (in order for its eyes to become swollen shut) and then rush to the egg and run away as fast as possible. They had at first discussed using the Flame-Freezing Charm to become impervious to the most dangerous weapon of a dragon (the dragon-fire), but after research found that because dragon-fire was so powerful, they would not feel pain but their bodies would feel the effects of the fire. After trying many times to find another strategy, they decided upon the Conjunctivitis curse.
There was suddenly cheering from outside of the tent, and the familiar roar of the dragon. "Miss Angelina Johnson is the third champion to use the Conjunctivitis curse on her dragon, and it appears to be affective. It seems that the three champions so far have used the same strategy." The narrator announced, his tone a bit bored.
This was true. Both Viktor and Fleur had gone already, both managing to steal the egg but also suffering minor burns as well. The four had practiced the curse so much that they were all practically experts at it; they could do it with their eyes swollen shut.
"Oh, but she appears to have missed, and the Norwegian Ridgeback is not happy! She dives to the left, but . . . oh! Ouch! She is caught on the shoulder by the dragon's tail! She appears to be gravely injured. The team of dragon-handlers have been deployed." The announcer said, joy evident in his voice that something else had finally happened.
Harry's heart stopped for a split second, and he cursed under his breath: at the tournament, at Dumbledore, and at Angelina for getting hurt. Anger rushed through him, along with adrenaline as he realized that he was next.
He jumped up and began to pace around, reminding himself how to cast the curse and practicing the wand motion. Nervous sweat appeared about his body, and he tried to let out a long, calming breath, reminding himself that out of the four champions, he was the most likely to survive; for he was excellent at the conjunctivitis curse, he was very agile and because of his physique, he knew his spell-craft would be much more powerful than it had been in the past, when he was skinny and weak. He cracked his neck as the narrator announced that the Hungarian Horntail was being chained in the arena.
Viktor and Fleur walked in, both with bandages and a strange orange goo on some portion of their bodies. Fleur hugged him, and Viktor clasped forearms with him.
"Good luck, Harry." Viktor said deeply. "You got the worst of the lot. Just avoid the fire and get out of there fast as possible."
"Is Angelina alright?" Harry said, nervously. He was too distracted by his friend's 'grave injury' to think about the dragon at the moment.
"I saw her in ze medical tent." Fleur said. Her english had steadily improved, and now her French accent was less noticeable. "I think she will be alright. Ze nurse is with her."
Harry closed his eyes and nodded, before taking a long deep breath as he heard a massive roar from the arena. Viktor touched his shoulder.
"You can do it, Harry. The rating they give you doesn't matter right now: none of us care what we get. Just survive." He said gravely. Harry nodded quickly, fighting the urge to throw up when the booming voice of the announcer rang out.
"The dragon is ready! The fourth campion will now come out. Harry Potter will face the Hungarian Horntail!" He said, enthusiasm laced into his voice. Harry grimaced, and closed his eyes for a moment. Fleur hugged him again and Viktor clapped him on the back.
Without another word to his friends, Harry strode forth out of the tent and into the arena.
The ground was rough and rocky, with large boulders protruding at random points from the ground. At a slightly elevated level, there sat a shining golden egg surrounded by large white ones. But on top of that was a massive, black-scaled dragon. Its massive horns were bronze-colored, with spikes protruding from along its back and especially on its tail. Its beady yellow eyes studied the newcomer viciously before opening its mouth and delivering an ear-splitting roar.
If the announcer was saying anything, Harry wouldn't hear it, for blood was pounding loudly in his ears. He drew his wand and crouched down, sneaking up to hide behind the closest boulder to him. His first step would be to use the conjunctivitis on the creature, but for that he would have to get much, much closer. Peaking over his hiding place, Harry saw the dragon's head, tilted slightly and glaring into the boulder.
As quickly as he could, Harry turned and sprinted to the next closest boulder some ten feet away. The dragon reacted with surprising speed, spewing dragon-fire wildly in his direction. He rolled into place, noting that even from far away, he could feel the heat from the orange flames. Noticing a large rock on the ground, Harry snatched it up and threw it far to his left. Immediately, a column of fire flew after it, and as Harry turned to run the other way he saw the dragon whip its tail around and smash the spikes into the ground, causing a large indent in the rock to form.
Thankfully, Harry was already far closer to the dragon than before, hiding behind another boulder. He could hear and feel the dragon shift its feet around the mound, searching for the intruder who planned on stealing its egg. Harry took a deep breath, knowing that there were no more boulders any closer to the nest. When he felt ready, he jumped up and threw two curses towards the dragon's eyes.
Unable to see if he had hit is mark, Harry ducked down again as there was another roar and fire blasted into the opposite side of the boulder. He could actually feel the rock he was leaning against begin to warm, so he muttered a flame-freezing spell over himself to just save him from cringing at the heat.
He took another risk and looked over. Unfortunately, only one spell had hit its mark: the dragon was growling and hissing at him, one of its eyes swollen completely shut, the other yellow one glaring at him with pure hatred, now struggling against its massive chain.
Harry closed his eyes and took one more deep breath before putting all his faith into another spell.
Leaping to the side of the boulder, he paced forward and yelled, "Aguamenti!"
Just in time to meet the dragon-fire, a spiral of clear water burst forth from his wand. With a deafening hissing sound, the water and fire connected and disappeared into steam that exploded upwards from the connection. He held the spell for another five seconds before fire off another quick conjunctivitis spell right away, rolling to one side. Some of the dragon-fire connected with his arm as he rolled, but all he felt was a warm breeze; however, he remembered that it just felt that away. He now had severe burns covering his left forearm, but thankfully the dragon had stumbled backwards in its blind rage. Harry quickly climbed the mound, grabbed the surprisingly heavy golden egg before rushing off towards the exit as the dragon roared in rage.
As he passed the gate out of the arena, a dozen wizards and witches leapt out and went to work at subduing the dragon, who was in its greatest fit yet. Harry was just grateful to leave as he was rushed into the medical tent.
Madame Pomfrey muttered about the dangers of dragons and stupidity of the tournament while Harry held out his burned forearm for treatment. His attention was not on the orange liquid she applied to his arm; rather, it was on the sleeping form of Angelina, who was in a hospital gown with bandages al over her left side, going up the side of her neck. As soon as Pomfrey had bandaged his arm and he had thanked her, he got up and went to Angelina's side. She opened an eye and recognized her former boyfriend.
"Heya, Harry. Sorry if I scared you, before. I missed the bloody curse." She sighed, regretfully. Harry chuckled and touched her healthy arm.
"You better be sorry. When I heard you were hurt I freaked out." Harry admitted, caressing her arm. She sighed and closed her eyes.
"I'm just happy you're okay." She said to him, and he nodded.
"Me, too. But, with you." He said awkwardly while Angelina giggled.
Unbeknownst to the two, a dark-haired Slytherin girl clenched her fists and walked away from the entrance of the tent, anger palpable around her. She roughly shoved past Fleur and Viktor, who entered and sat by the two other champions.
"Zey are announcing ze scores soon." Fleur said. "You did amazing, Harry."
Viktor nodded in agreement. "I can't believe your water spell was powerful enough to match dragon-fire. It's unheard of."
Harry just shrugged modestly as someone came in and ushered the three healthy champions outside, back to the arena. The dragon had gone (although not without a fight, which was evident from the scorch marks all over the rock), and above them, in the stands, the four judges sat next to one another, holding a large white square: Dumbledore, Maxine, Karkaroff, Ludo Bagman and a Russian wizard that was apparently high up in the Ministry. The announcer raised his voice.
"It is time for the scores. First, Fleur Delacour, Beauxbatons champion, who used a conjunctivitis curse to blind the dragon and steal the egg, suffering minor burns on her legs. The judges will score her out of ten. Judges?"
Dumbledore gave a 7, Maxine gave an 8, Karkaroff gave a 5, Bagman gave a 7 and the Russian gave a 6. There were cheers from the girls of Beauxbaton and polite applause from the rest.
"Fleur Delacour's total score is 33 out of 50. Next was Viktor Krum, champion of Durmstrang, who used a conjunctivitis curse to blind the dragon and steal the egg, suffering minor burns on his legs." The announcer repeated rather dully. "Judges?"
Dumbledore gave a 7, Maxine gave a 7, Karkaroff gave a 10, Bagman gave an 8 and the Russian gave a 7. Manly hoots came from the Durmstrang crowd, and there was applause in the arena.
"Next was Angelina Johnson, champion of Hogwarts, who tried to use a conjunctivitis curse but was unfortunately hit and injured by her dragon's tail. She was unable to retrieve the egg. Judges?"
Dumbledore gave a 5, Maxine gave a 4, Karkaroff gave a 0, Bagman gave a 4 and the ministry man gave a 3. Although most in the stands attended Hogwarts, the fact that she was injured caused them to not cheer with very much enthusiasm.
"Her total is 19. Lastly, our second Hogwarts champion, Harry Potter, successfully blinded the dragon with a conjunctivitis and proceeded to fend off its dragon fire with a powerful water-conjuring spell, successfully taking the egg, but was seriously burned on his right arm in the process. Judges?"
Dumbledore held up a 9, Maxine gave an 8, Karkaroff gave a 4, Bagman gave a 10 and the Russian ministry man gave a 9. The announcer said, "His total is 40 points, putting him in first place ahead of Krum, Delacour, and then Johnson. Please give your champions a round of applause."
There was much cheering at Harry's score, and Dumbledore looked down at him and gave him a big smile, which Harry did not reciprocate. The boy simply looked his headmaster in the eyes and shrugged, before leaving the arena with his friends.
Dinner in the Great Hall was held shortly after; however, Harry urged his friends to go on without him, telling them that he needed to change his clothes in his dorm. Instead, he was grabbed on his way there, and his eyes were met with the angry gaze of Daphne Greengrass.
"Good job today, Potter." Daphne said, almost spitting out his surname. "I'm sure you and your friends had a great time."
Harry narrowed his eyes at her. She was acting suddenly extremely bitter and he was not sure why. "What's wrong with you, Daphne? Aren't you happy I survived?"
For a moment, her eyes softened, as she remembered that he had been in a life-threatening situation, before they hardened again. "Sure. I'm sure Angelina was glad as well. Actually, you seemed just as glad to see her."
Harry growled. "Oh, that's what this is about. I'm not allowed to talk to my friend after she almost dies?"
"Oh, you can do whatever you want, Potter." Daphne hissed, glad that she was getting him angry too. "You can just go around dating whoever the hell you want and snogging whoever you want as well. I don't care."
"Oh, shut up, Greengrass." Potter snarled, one of his familiar angry fits beginning to overcome him. "I said I was bloody sorry for that before. What do you want me to do now, Ice Queen?"
Despite the fact that she had purposefully riled him up, Daphne was still surprised that Harry had responded so scathingly. She had heard rumors that recently he was having anger problems, but she hadn't witnessed it first hand. Narrowing her eyes, she said, "I wan you to apologize."
Suddenly, at the switch of her tone, Harry became aware of what was happening. He took a quick glance around. He had backed her up into a wall, and his hands were clenched into fists. He closed his eyes for a moment, and found that his blood was boiling with unnecessary rage, and he took a very deep breath.
Daphne watched all of this in surprise. There were two aspects of Harry Potter that had just been revealed: the dangerously angry side and the cool and controlled side. The way he had just suddenly switched confused her greatly, but she decided not to mention it for now.
"Fine. I'm sorry for touching Angelina. Happy?" Harry said in a low tone. Daphne's anger dissipated when he looked into his eyes and saw that he was hurting; probably because one of his close friends had been hurt. Daphne reflected for a moment and realized that she, too, would have felt the same way.
"Not quite." Daphne said, before fiercely grabbing him and hugging him close. Harry lifted his arms up slightly in surprise at the hug, but slowly lowered his arms and wrapped them around her. He sighed and returned the embrace.
"I'm sorry for being so angry. Seeing you close to her just reminded me of before." She mumbled in to his chest. Harry sighed again as Daphne felt his heart rate slow down in his chest.
"And I'm sorry for getting angry back. I'll be more careful around her from now on." He promised, resting his chin on her head. This hug lasted for another minute before Harry's stomach growled, and reminded them that dinner was ready.
The next day, the hype around Harry's defeat of the dragon had faded somewhat, especially when it came time for another Defense Against the Dark Arts class. For the past month since the boggart incident, they had been studying low-level curses, but apparently Moody had deemed it time once again to kick the lesson up a notch, at the urging of Professor Snape.
"Come in, all of you. Hurry up. Sit down. We're doing something new in class today." Moody said. He turned to write something on the chalkboard. "Do any of you know what Legilimency is?"
Harry froze for a second in his seat next to Parvarti, greatly confused. Apparently, Snape had a chat with Moody, because there was no other way Legilimency would be in the curriculum. He raised his hand.
Moody turned back around and spotted the dark-haired student. "Potter?"
"Legilimency is the act of magically navigating through the many layers of a person's mind and correctly interpreting one's finding's. But it's highly illegal and is only used with consent or in trial." Harry recited, and Moody nodded, his ugly face splitting into a grin.
"Perfect. It is true that Legilimency is illegal. But when was the last time Death Eaters ever cared about something being illegal, aye?" Moody chuckled. "All of you, line up, single-file. Today, I will attempt to skim over the surface of your mind and see what you ate for dinner last night. You will attempt to hide that information from me."
"But sir, how are we to defend ourselves?" Hermione asked, her hand shooting up. Harry rolled his eyes from the back of the line. In truth, he deeply regretted fighting with Hermione all that while ago. Since then, she'd stopped being friends with Ron and instead spend even more time in her studies. Harry felt bad about how he had treated her and resolved to make it up to her soon.
"I will teach you the most basic form of Occlumency: the art of defending your mind. All you have to do is focus on one thing, and only that one thing. If your mind wanders in the slightest, that will be a large enough window for me to slip past you and see what you stuffed in your faces for dinner. Understood?" He looked down the line of students. "Now, who would like to go first?"
And so it began. The student would go up and stand in front of Moody, who would look them in the eyes and in just a few seconds would say something along the lines of, "Buttered bread." or "Pumpkin pie." or "Treacle tarts." And as the line went down, it seemed that no one was able to fend him off.
As he neared his teacher, Harry sighed and practiced within his own head. The concept was so simple: there had to be something that was throwing everyone off. He closed eyes and, and then realized. It was their eyes. Every student looked him in the eyes, and somehow he was able to read their minds. He thought Snape had mentioned something about eye contact, and Harry decided that would be his lifeline.
Harry stepped forward in front of the Auror, who looked down at him with a grotesque, almost sadistic smile. "And so we begin." His professor said. Harry nodded, and then proceeded to close his eyes, making Moody laugh grimly at the boy's intelligence.
In his mind, he cleared out every thought except for one moment in the past: when he had walked in on Petunia and Vernon Dursley having sex for the first and last time. He focused on the overweight, red-faced man above the pencil-thin woman and almost gagged himself at the memory, but forced himself to think about it.
As he did, he felt something brushing up against his consciousness. When it made full contact, Harry pushed the thought of the incident towards his professor, who, upon seeing it, withdrew from his mind and proceeded to burst into laughter, falling back and leaning against his desk for support. His laugh sounded like nothing he'd ever heard before, but it was definitely a laugh. Moody's head was thrown back, his chest heaving as he cackled. Harry himself opened his eyes, forced the thought away and began to chuckle, much to the surprise of the rest of the class, who were already confused at Moody's reaction.
Just as Moody began to calm down, Harry chuckled again. "Just thinking about that made me want to throw up what I ate for dinner last night, Professor. Did it work?"
Moody broke out into laughter again before glancing up at the clock. "Class – class dismissed."
His hand came down to pat Harry's shoulder as he continued to chuckle. "Excellent work, Potter. You get an O for the week."
With that, the class began to disperse, and once they were outside, Parvarti questioned him as to why he and Moody had been laughing. Beginning to laugh again himself, he told Parvarti what had happened, who turned very red-faced and suddenly laughed as well.
"I can't believe you showed that memory to a professor!" She laughed, and Harry chuckled with her until he heard a giggle from behind him. Turning, he saw Hermione walking alone, listening to their conversation with a red face and hiding behind her books. Upon seeing him, Hermione turned slightly away, but Harry decided it was time.
"Listen, Hermione." Harry said, walking next to her. "I'm really sorry for exploding at you a while ago. I was just really pissed off at a lot of things, and I ended up taking it out on you. Will you forgive me?"
Hermione continued on in silence for a while before dropping her books unceremoniously across the floor and hugging him. Harry allowed the hug and gave a half-hearted one back as the bookworm began to cry.
"I – I'm so sorry for being so nosey ad bossy and stupid, Harry." Hermione whimpered, and Harry patted her back, thoroughly embarrassed about having her crying against him.
"It's alright, Hermione. I'm the one that really hurt you, so I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said those things about you and Ron." Harry said in reply. Hermione separated from him, sniffing, and he picked up her books for her and handed them back to her. As she took them, she confessed.
"You were totally right about him, though." Hermione said, tears still rolling. "I refused to give him help with homework and he got really angry and shunned me. You were right."
Harry wiped her tears away for her. "I know, but you're alright now. I promise I won't ask for any homework answers as long as you don't force me to do my school things. Deal?"
Hermione hefted her books in her hand and smiled. "Deal. Thank you, Harry." She said, with a bright, teary smile. Harry smiled back.
"You're welcome, Hermione. It's good to have you again."
Harry plopped down next to Viktor and across from Angelina Fleur with whole-hearted enthusiasm, and promptly began to eat his lunch, a happy expression on his face the whole time. Their slight confusion was cleared up when Hermione sat down next to him.
"Hey, Harry. Guys." She said, a bright smile on her face. The four greeted her nicely.
"So, you and Harry made up?" Angelina said, beginning to eat. Hermione nodded happily.
"Yeah. We're good, now." She said, starting her routine of reading and eating. Harry eyed up what she was doing and rolled his eyes and her predictability. Viktor chuckled.
"I'm glad to see you guys are friends again. Anyways, Harry, we three have been wondering who your betrothed could be, and -" Viktor was interrupted when Harry glared at him as Hermione perked up at the Bulgarian's words.
"Hush. Not so loud. Only you three know about it so far -"
"Four, actually." Hermione jumped in. "I figured you would be stuck in a marriage contract."
Harry glared at her. "You should hush, too!"
Angelina rolled her eyes. "Come on, Harry, just tell us." She said, quieter than the others. Harry looked at her, and she smirked at him.
"We've been hoping that your betrothed is cute. We want Harry to have a cute groom for his wedding." She said, and Harry sighed as the others laughed.
"It's not funny, guys. "He said, a little bit of sadness leaking into his words. "I'm stuck with this person for the rest of my life."
"Only more reason to tell us who it is!" Fleur said logically. "Can we at least have a few hints."
Harry took another bite of food before he sighed. "I'm not going to tell you who it is quite yet, but I will tell you she's not in Gryffindor."
"Damn!" Viktor said forcefully. Everyone looked at him in surprise, and he shrugged.
"Honestly, I was hoping for his betrothed to be a boy. Just imagine, our ickle Harry, dressed in a tux next to his husband-to-be." He said, smirking. Angelina and Fleur coo-ed simultaneously as Harry glared at them.
"You guys rehearsed this, didn't you?" Harry grumbled. Fleur and Angelina laughed and high-fived.
"Come on, Harry. Even you have to admit what a cute couple you and Neville would make." Angelina said, resting her head on her hands and sighing. "Imagine – clumsy little Neville all awkward while Harry is all in control."
Fleur took up her friend's stance. "Ah, yes. I ship them, very hard."
After a few seconds of deadpan, they all burst out laughing again – except for Harry, that is. He sipped his drink.
"I feel a bit violated." Harry admitted. Angelina suddenly looked at him with an accusing look.
"Not a homophobe, are you, Harry?" She said, seriously. Harry shook his head, quickly.
"No, no, not at all. I just feel violated that you guys have been imagining me with random people. I'd feel just as violated if you had imagined me having sex with McGonagall." Harry explained, just as Parvarti sat down next to Angelina.
"What's with you and older people having sex, Harry?" Parvarti asked. "Did you tell them about your older-sexual-fantasies?"
As the other three champions looked at him with questions in their eyes, Harry shook his head, and Parvarti gushed.
"Can I tell them? Please? Can I?" She begged, and Harry laughed.
"Sure, you can. Go for it." He said. And so she did; and as she told them the story, Harry smiled and continued to eat. Perhaps being in the Tri-Wizard Tournament wouldn't quite ruin his whole year.
A/N:Also, sorry for the short chapter, but I wanted to get one out again quickly. Expect most of the other chapters to be this length.