The next twenty-four hours passed quickly, the tournament was becoming a looming reality and Chelsea couldn’t seem to escape the whirlpool that sent her spinning. Fred barely spoke to her, even switched places with Lee Jordan to sit next to a fellow Ravenclaw by the name of Sunny Douglas in Potions. He barely spoke to anyone. Charles Tanner was seen at every corner of the castle, his cool blue eyes following her. She felt her become flustered every time she saw him because they hadn’t really talked and right now, she needed clarity.
Yet, he was constantly surrounded by the Beaubaxtons girls and their friends. Every girl smiling and attempting to talk with him. He didn’t seem phased in the slightest by the attention.
Ever since the night kissing Charles, the memories kept flooding back into Chelsea’s mind; leaving her emotionally weary and unable to focus on any of the work in front of her. She worried about Fred because of everything she felt yet was simultaneously angry with him for his constant, nearly-cruel pranking of Charlie. It had happened twelve times in the last eighteen hours, so constant that Chelsea tried to approach George but Fred would pull him away before any words were spoken. She couldn’t figure out what she felt for Fred, but it was clearly something. He made her feel things she hadn’t felt in months. He made her happy.
Tomorrow night was Halloween, and the goblet would return the names of the four it judged most worthy to represent their schools. The goblet would be placed in the Entrance hall that night, where it would be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete. Chelsea prayed none of her friends would attempt to surpass the age line, knowing the consequences.
Saturdays always meant most students would have breakfasted late. Chelsea was not alone in rising much earlier than she usually did that weekend. When she went down into the entrance hall, she saw about twenty people milling around it; including Harry, Ron, and Hermione, some of them eating toast, all examining the Goblet of Fire. It had been placed in the center of the hall on the stool that normally bore the Sorting Hat. A thin golden line had been traced on the floor, forming a circle ten feet around it in every direction.
“Anyone put their name in yet?” Ron asked a third-year girl eagerly. Her youthful face flushed red.
“All the Durmstrang lot,” she replied. “But I haven’t seen anyone from Hogwarts yet.”
“Bet some of them put it in last night after we’d all gone to bed,” said Harry. “I would’ve if it had been me . . . wouldn’t have wanted everyone watching. What if the goblet just gobbed you right back out again?” Someone laughed behind Harry.
Turning, she saw Fred, George, and Lee Jordan hurrying down the staircase, all three of them looking extremely excited and almost too pleased with themselves. Chelsea looked at Hermione and saw the same weary look on her face.
“Done it,” Fred said triumphantly, “Just taken it.” He smirked.
“What?” said Ron, confused by his brother.
“The Aging Potion, dung brains,” said George, slinging his arm around his little brother’s shoulders.
“One drop each,” said George, rubbing his hands together with glee. “We only need to be a few months older.”
“We’re going to split the thousand Galleon prize between the three of us if one of us wins,” said Lee, grinning broadly, “I didn’t need the potion, turned seventeen this summer.”
“I’m not sure this is going to work, you know,” said Hermione warning “I’m sure Dumbledore will have thought of this.“Fred, George, and Lee ignored her. Chelsea vocally agreed with the young witch.
“Come on, Dumbledore is one of the smartest wizards alive. This isn’t going to work!” Chelsea rolled her eyes.
“Ready?” Fred said to the other two, quivering with excitement.“C’mon, then — I’ll go first —“Harry watched, fascinated, as Fred pulled a slip of parchment out of his pocket bearing his name. Fred walked right up to the edge of the line and stood there. Then, with the eyes of every person in the entrance hall upon him, he took a great breath and stepped over the line. For a split second Chelsea thought it had worked — George certainly thought so, for he let out a yell of triumph and lept after Fred — but next moment, there was a loud sizzling sound, and both twins were hurled out of the golden circle as though they had been thrown by an invisible shot-putter.
They landed painfully, ten feet away on the cold stone floor, and to add insult to injury, there was a loud popping noise, and both of them sprouted identical long white beards. Chelsea had an urge to run and check on them but did not, knowing it would not matter.
The entrance hall rang with laughter. Even Fred and George joined in, once they had gotten to their feet and taken a good look at each other’s beards.
“Blimey Fred, we look like old men!” George chuckled, “We are going to be awesome old men!”
“I did warn you,” said a deep, amused voice, everyone turned to see Professor Dumbledore coming out of the Great Hall. He surveyed Fred and George, his eyes twinkling. “I suggest you both go up to Madam Pomfrey. She is already tending to Miss Fawcett of Ravenclaw house, and Mr. Summers of Hufflepuff house, both of whom decided to age themselves too. Though I must say, neither of their beards is anything as fine as yours.” Fred and George set off for the hospital wing, accompanied by Lee, who was howling with laughter, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione, also chortling, went in to breakfast. Chelsea followed behind, watching the boys runoff. She thought she saw Fred turn around and look at her but Hermione was already calling her name from inside the hall.
The young Gryffindors were eagerly talking about who was of age and who was not when cheering came from the entryway. They all swiveled around in their seats as they watched Angelina Johnson coming into the Hall, grinning in an embarrassed sort of way. She was a tall, beautiful hazelnut-hued girl who played Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Angelina came over to them, slinging her arm around her young teammate; she was beaming from ear to ear. “Well, I’ve done it! Just put my name in!”
“You’re kidding!” said Ron, looking impressed.
“Are you seventeen, then?” asked Chelsea.
” ’Course she is, can’t see a beard, can you?” said Ron.
“I had my birthday last week,” said Angelina.
“Well, I’m glad someone from Gryffindor’s entering,” said Hermione. “I really hope you get it, Angelina!”
“Thanks, Hermione,” said Angelina, smiling at her. Angelina truly was a beautiful girl, her chocolate eyes mesmerizing. Her ebony hair curled delightfully around her soft features; Chelsea couldn’t help but be drawn to such a person.
“Yeah, better you than Pretty-Boy Diggory,” said Seamus loudly, causing several Hufflepuffs passing their table to scowl heavily at him.
Chelsea passed on her congratulations and luck to Angelina as well, due to obligation. Miss Johnson had been a friend of her brother’s for a long time. They spoke a few short words before Chelsea excused herself.
When leaving the Great Hall, Chelsea watched as all of the Beaubaxtons steps over the Age-Line and place their names into the blue fire. Each paper entered turned the flame red and emitted sparks.
From behind the silvery-blue silk, uniforms emerged Charlie. He looked well-rested and put together. He caught sight of Chelsea before stepping over the Age-Line. The goblet accepted his submission.
“Why?” Chelsea whispered as he walked away. She knew something bad was going to happen. He just flashed her a dazzling smile over his shoulder.
The Halloween feast seemed to take much longer than usual. Perhaps because it was their second feast in two days, Chelsea didn’t seem to fancy the extravagantly prepared food as much as she would have normally. Like everyone else in the Hall, judging by the constantly craning necks, the impatient expressions on every face, the fidgeting, and then standing up to see whether Dumbledore had finished eating yet, Chelsea simply wanted the plates to clear, and to hear who had been selected as champions.
At long last, the golden plates returned to their original spotless state; there was a sharp upswing in the level of noise within the Hall, which died away almost instantly as Dumbledore got to his feet. On either side of him, Professor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime looked as tense and expectant as anyone. Ludo Bagman was beaming and winking at various students. Mr. Crouch, however, looked quite uninterested, almost bored.
“Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision,” said Dumbledore.“I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions’ names are called, I would ask them to please to come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through into the next chamber” — he indicated the door behind the staff table — “where they will be receiving their first instructions.”
He took out his wand and gave a great sweeping wave with it; at once, all the candles except those inside the carved pumpkins were extinguished, plunging them into a state of semidarkness. The Goblet of Fire now shone more brightly than anything in the whole Hall, the sparkling bright, bluey-whiteness of the flames almost painful on the eyes. Everyone watched, waiting. . . . A few people kept checking their watches. . . .“Any second,” Lee Jordan whispered, two seats away from Harry. Chelsea watched from the Ravenclaw, she was tightly holding her roommate’s hand who was holding her breath.
The flames inside the goblet turned suddenly red again as if tainted by blood. Sparks began to fly from it. The next moment, a tongue of flame shot into the air, a charred piece of parchment fluttered out of it — the whole room gasped.
Dumbledore caught the piece of parchment and held it at arm’s length so that he could read it by the light of the flames, which had turned back to blue-white. “The champion for Durmstrang,” he read, in a strong, clear voice, “will be Viktor Krum.”
“No surprises there!” yelled Ron as a storm of applause and cheering swept the Hall. Viktor Krum rose from the Slytherin table and slouch up toward Dumbledore; he turned right, walked along the staff table, and disappeared through the door into the next chamber. His face did not show any emotion, he only wore the faintest of smirks.
“Bravo, Viktor!” boomed Karkaroff, so loudly that everyone could hear him, even over all the applause. “Knew you had it in you! The clapping and chatting died down.
Now everyone’s attention was focused again on the goblet, which, seconds later, turned red once more. The second piece of parchment shot out of it, propelled by the flames. “The champion for Beauxbatons,” said Dumbledore, “is Fleur Delacour!”
“It’s her!” Elisabeth shouted as the girl who so resembled a Veela got gracefully to her feet, shook back her sheet of silvery blonde hair, and swept up between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables.“Oh look, they’re all disappointed,” Juno said over the noise, nodding toward the remainder of the Beauxbatons party. “Disappointed” was a bit of an understatement, Chelsea thought. Two of the girls who had not been selected had dissolved into tears and were sobbing with their heads on their arms. When Fleur Delacour too had vanished into the side chamber, silence fell again, but this time it was a silence so stiff with excitement you could almost taste it. The Hogwarts champion next... And the Goblet of Fire turned red once more; sparks showered out of it; the tongue of flame shot high into the air, and from its tip, Dumbledore pulled the third piece of parchment. “The Hogwarts champion,” he called, “is Cedric Diggory!”
“No!” said Ron loudly, but nobody heard him except Harry; the uproar from the next table was too great. Every single Hufflepuff had jumped to his or her feet, screaming and stamping, as Cedric made his way past them, grinning broadly, and headed off toward the chamber behind the teachers’ table. Indeed, the applause for Cedric went on so long that it was some time before Dumbledore could make himself heard again.
The Ilverymorny champion next . . . And the Goblet of Fire turned red once more; sparks showered out of it; the tongue of flame shot high into the air, and from its tip, Dumbledore pulled the fourth piece of parchment. “The Ilvermorny champion,” he called, “is Charles Tanner!” Chelsea wept as her former classmates roared in excitement. Charles Tanner, in his manner, stood erect and smiled his most royal smile before disappearing to the chamber.
“Excellent!” Dumbledore called happily as at last the tumult died down. “Well, we now have our three champions. I am sure I can count upon all of you, including the remaining students from Beauxbatons, Ilverymorny, and Durmstrang, to give your champions every ounce of support you can muster. By cheering your champion on, you will contribute in a very real —“But Dumbledore suddenly stopped speaking, and it was apparent to everybody what had distracted him.
The fire in the goblet had just turned red again. Sparks were flying out of it. A long flame shot suddenly into the air, and borne upon it was another piece of parchment. Automatically, it seemed, Dumbledore reached out a long hand and seized the parchment. He held it out and stared at the name written upon it. There was a long pause, during which Dumbledore stared at the slip in his hands, and everyone in the room stared at Dumbledore. And then Dumbledore cleared his throat and readout —
Chelsea watched as Harry sat there, aware that every head in the Great Hall had turned to look at him. He was stunned. He felt numb. He was surely dreaming. He had not heard correctly. There was no applause. A buzzing, as though of angry bees, was starting to fill the Hall; some students were standing up to get a better look at Harry as he sat, frozen, in his seat. Up at the top table, Professor McGonagall had got to her feet and swept past Ludo Bagman and Professor Karkaroff to whisper urgently to Professor Dumbledore, who bent his ear toward her, frowning slightly. Harry turned to Ron and Hermione; beyond them, he saw the long Gryffindor table all watching him, open-mouthed.“I didn’t put my name in,” Harry said blankly. “You know I didn’t.”
Both of them stared just as blankly back. Chelsea felt her heart lurch.
Chelsea caught Fred’s eye and she saw the confusion in his eyes, and he in hers.
As soon as Harry disappeared, the voices grew. Chelsea seemingly slipped through the cracks, almost totally unnoticed. Fred watched her go and followed again. He couldn’t stay mad at her.
He found her sitting on the steps leading to the lake. He reached for her hand and pulled her into a hug as she cried. He thought he knew why.