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" he admitted18禁裸露啪啪网站免费漫画

发布日期:2022-08-03 12:49    点击次数:105

" he admitted18禁裸露啪啪网站免费漫画

Chapter 16Wow, over 300 reviews! I'm so happy you all like it, and thank you so much for telling me!So, it only took 15 chapters, but the summer is finally over. The story will pick up a bit from here.Disclaimer: don't ownAugust thirty first saw a very boisterous group of people celebrating the last day of summer vacation. They were all once more gathered on the Quidditch pitch at McGonagall Castle. Bill and Charlie were pleased to be let in on the secret the rest of their family had kept for weeks, and offered Sirius their heartfelt congratulations on his freedom.It ended in the early evening, as most of the Weasleys still needed to pack.The next morning, Harry was up early making sure all his books were in his new trunk, and that he had everything he would need.Minerva gave him a hug before she stepped through the Floo to see to last minute details before the students arrived that evening. Sirius and Remus would take Harry to Kings Cross.They arrived early, and Harry managed to pick out a compartment for his friends, before he returned to the platform to spend a little more time with his godfather and the man he was quickly coming to see as a pseudo uncle. From what he could tell from the stories, Remus had been a lot like Hermione in school – he was smart and studious, but also the voice of reason with his friends. That didn't mean the werewolf didn't have a mischievous side though. In fact, his studious nature just meant that he didn't get caught nearly as often.Amelia and Susan were the first to join them, Amelia greeting Sirius with a peck on the lips and a blush, as she realized that both their charges – and Remus – were watching them with knowing smirks. They had officially gotten together at the party the day before, and Amelia couldn't be happier. Time had aged both of them, and Amelia found herself wanting to have a family, while Sirius was no longer the confirmed bachelor he had been at twenty-one.She helped Susan deposit her trunk in the compartment Harry had chosen, before they returned to the platform as well.Hermione and Neville arrived almost at the same time, and both dropped off their luggage before Hermione introduced her parents to her friends. The Grangers were a cheery couple, amazed at the magical world as a whole. They were happy to meet the friends their daughter had spoken so much about over the last few years, and were pleased that she seemed to be fitting in well.When there were five minutes until the train was to leave, Sirius told them they should all board, and they would send the Weasleys in their direction.The Weasleys arrived less than two minutes before the train was to depart, running through the barrier dragging their trunks behind them. Huffing and puffing, they made their way onto the train, and quickly found the rest of the group. Fred and George said goodbye and headed off to search for Lee, while Ron and Ginny settled down for the ride.Their conversation was interrupted periodically by various people stopping by to say hello. It confused Harry a bit, as he didn't really remember being this popular before, but Hermione just rolled her eyes when he voiced that thought."Honestly, Harry, don't you see it? Your life has been splashed all over the Prophet, the last few days. Sirius has been freed, and publicly claimed you as his charge. That means that he's most likely made you his heir as well. You're now the heir of two Ancient and Noble Houses, which is rather unusual, though not unheard of. Plus, you've grown a lot over the summer. You're taller, and have more muscle, and without your glasses, you're… well, you're quite good looking." Hermione blushed a little, and Ron looked almost as uncomfortable as Harry. "There's also the fact that your other guardian is McGonagall. People may be sucking up to you in order to get on good terms with her."Harry just stared. "Blimey, people are mental," he groaned, closing his eyes and shaking his head.The door opened again, and Harry's eyes snapped open, intending on giving a piece of his mind to whomever thought they could flatter their way into a friendship.He was pleasantly surprised when the intruder was discovered to be Cedric Diggory. The older boy grinned ruefully, and gave a small wave. "I just wanted to say hi, Harry. And to congratulate you on your godfather's release. My dad says it caused quite the stir in the Ministry."Harry nodded, grinning. "Thanks, Cedric," he replied.Cedric made small talk for a few more minutes, before he left to return to his own friends.The customary visit from Malfoy couldn't be skipped, of course. The young Malfoy heir seemed quite put out to have the Black lordship snatched away from him, and made his displeasure known with a bit of pouting, some threats about what his father would do, and, most intriguing, a hint of something occurring at Hogwarts that year.When the burr in their side had disappeared, Ron turned to look at the rest. "What do you suppose that was about?" he asked.Harry shrugged. "Aunt Minerva mentioned something," he admitted. "She didn't tell me what it was, and she made me swear not to say anything, but she told me there was going to be some sort of big contest or something this year."They all speculated as to what it could be, and the remaining trip passed by quickly.The moment Harry saw Hogwarts again, he felt the welcome rush of magic race across his skin. It was like the castle was welcoming him home. Which it might be, he thought with a start as he followed his friends out of the carriage. Now that he knew he was Gryffindor's heir, that comforting buzz made a little more sense.He had sworn Ginny to secrecy, and he hadn't told anyone else yet. He wanted to tell his friends, but he wasn't sure how they'd react.The sorting took forever, but Harry dutifully clapped every time they received a new Gryffindor, making a mental note of their names and faces, so that he could remember them later, and soon enough, Dumbledore was telling them all to "Tuck in!"Conversation increased as the food appeared, and Harry found himself telling Seamus and Dean about his summer – an abridged version, of course – before he managed to steer the conversation elsewhere. Quidditch was safe enough, and the Weasleys dominated here, talking about the matches they had played on McGonagall's regulation sized pitch, which had all the Gryffindors laughing. Clearly, their head of house was obsessed – but then, they all knew that. She coveted the Quidditch Cup almost as much as Oliver Wood had.The rest of the group began to share their summers, and before they knew it, the meal was over, and Harry was feeling uncomfortably tired.Dumbledore stood up once more, spreading his arms wide. "Welcome back, to another year at Hogwarts! Now that you are all fed and watered –""Why do I suddenly feel like a mule?" Harry muttered to Ginny, causing her to try and stifle her burst of laughter. Many people turned to look at them, and from the head table, McGonagall gave them a stern look, but someone who knew her would see the upturn of her lips."–I have a few start of term announcements to make," Dumbledore continued over the interruption. "First of all, I would like to welcome Alastor Moody to our teaching staff. Professor Moody is a decorated Auror, and we are lucky to have him with us."Everyone clapped as the grizzled man stood up. Harry's first thought was that he wouldn't be winning any beauty pageants any time soon. One eye was heavily scarred, while the second appeared to be bright blue and whirling in every direction. He leaned heavily on the table, and sat back down almost immediately. Harry heard Ron talk about how his dad had had to help Moody out of a jam recently – something about attacking dustbins, and needing to obliviate a few muggles."My next announcement!" Dumbledore called their attention back to him. "It is with sadness that I regrettably inform you that the Quidditch cup will not be taking place this year." A great shout rose out, but the headmaster just spoke over them. "Instead, Hogwarts will play host to an historic event. It is with great pleasure that I inform you that the Triwizard Tournament has been resurrected.""You're joking!" Fred Weasley shouted, drawing a laugh from the rest of the hall.Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I assure you, Mr. Weasley, I am quite serious. For those of you who do not know, the Triwizard Tournament was once a great contest that took place every few years, bringing three separate magical schools together to compete for glory and honor. I believe it was abandoned because of the high death toll, but for the last four years, our Ministry has been working with the Norwegian and French Ministries, and the result is what you will experience this year. Next month, Beaubaxton's Academy and Durmstrang Institute will be arriving with a pool of candidates. I expect that you will treat them with kindness and courtesy, as expected of the host school and Hogwarts students." Dumbledore looked around the room, as if expressing upon them the seriousness of his request. His next statement drew more than one angry shout, but he remained firm. "Due to the dangers the champions will experience, all three Ministries have consented to an age limit. Therefore, no one under the age of seventeen will be allowed to enter their name. We will be making sure this rule is upheld." He waited for the grumbling to die out, before he spoke again. "I implore you all to think seriously before choosing to enter. Your name being chosen constitutes a binding agreement, and cannot be undone. The danger is quite real, so please, do not put your name in on a whim. And now," he clapped his hands cheerfully, "You must all be tired, so off to bed. Off you trot!""Seriously," Harry grumbled as he stood up, subconsciously offering his hand to Ginny so that she could use him to clear the bench. "Off you trot? Fed and watered? I'm feeling more and more like a horse."Ginny giggled again, and the two led the rest of their friends upstairs, falling in with Katie Bell and a boy Harry didn't really know well, named Jason, the two fifth year Gryffindor Prefects, who were leading the new first years up to the common room.They waved good night to Susan as they left the Great Hall, and were now left with the daunting task of traversing the many staircases and hallways between them and Gryffindor tower.Harry smiled and answered a hesitant question from a shy first year boy who didn't seem to want to speak loudly enough for the whole group to hear, and soon enough, they were giving the Fat Lady the password.Ginny, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville headed over to the couches to talk for a bit, and Ginny couldn't help but smile at the boy she just realized she was still holding hands with. She blushed, but didn't let go. "You're pretty good with the younger years," she observed.Harry shrugged. "I remember what my first year was like," he admitted. "I had no idea where anything was, but I was afraid to ask any of the upper classes. If I can help, I should, right?"Ginny beamed, and Hermione looked equally happy. Ron looked nonplussed, and Neville looked thoughtful. "Maybe we can do something to help them settle in," he offered hesitantly. The summer had definitely seen him coming into his own, but he was still unsure sometimes, and wasn't certain how he would fit in once back at school.Harry's eyes lit up. "That's a great idea, Nev," he smiled. "We could offer to show them to their classes, and maybe help with homework. Maybe we could see about getting a study group together."Hermione nodded eagerly. "We should open it up to all the houses, though, Harry," she added, eyes gleaming. "Susan would help us out, and I think you could probably get Cedric to as well. I don't know anyone in Ravenclaw well enough, though Parvarti may be willing to talk to her sister. I'm not sure about Slytherin either."Harry thought it over. "Cedric mentioned he's friendly with Cho Chang, from Ravenclaw, so he could probably talk with her. As for Slytherin… well, Blaise and Daphne have always been relatively neutral. They might be willing to help, especially if it will get them something as well."Hermione nodded. "They're both in Arithmancy, and as they're the only Slytherins there, we could probably talk to them then." Ron looked less than pleased to have Slytherin involved, but wisely held his tongue.Ginny added, "I'll talk to Luna Lovegood. She's a Ravenclaw in my year. She's a bit odd, but she's nice. Harry, you should talk with Professor McGonagall about this, see if we can get it officially sanctioned."Harry nodded, and they decided to bring it up with the professor after their first Transfiguration class, and they would talk with the other students when they could.That act done, it was time for bed.XXXThat night, Harry had a rather strange dream. Wormtail was there, as was an unknown man. They were talking about some contest, and he heard his name mentioned. The dream was a bit fuzzy around the edges though, so he didn't quite catch everything.When he woke up, his head ached, but not nearly as bad as he had had before. He pushed the dream to the back of his mind, and got ready for his first day of school.He woke Neville and Ron, and the three of them met Hermione and Ginny in the common room, before going down for breakfast.McGonagall handed out schedules when they were nearly finished, and stopped by Harry's place as she gave him his. "I have arranged for you to take the third year Arithmancy and Ancient Runes end of year exams this afternoon, as you have no classes, so please report to my office after Defense Against the Dark Arts."Harry nodded and looked over his schedule. He noted with a grin that she had already added Arithmancy and Ancient Runes to it, even though he hadn't taken the exams yet. That was one thing he really did like about her; she had an unwavering belief in him.Schedule for Harry James Potter:Monday:0900-1050: Potions1100-1150: Charms1300-1450: Herbology2300-0100: AstronomyTuesday:1000-1150: Transfiguration1300-1350: History of Magic1400-1550: Defense Against the Dark ArtsWednesday:0900-1050: Charms1100-1150: Arithmancy1300-1450: Herbology1500-1650: Care of Magical CreaturesThursday:0900-1050: Potions1100-1150: Arithmancy1300-1350: Ancient Runes1400-1450: History of Magic1500-1650: TransfigurationFriday:0900-1050: Ancient Runes1300-1450: Defense against the Dark ArtsRon read through his schedule, pleased that he had a free period that morning. Harry would be taking one as well, since he hadn't gotten into Ancient Runes yet. However, he would not have to go to Divination like Ron would in a couple of hours."Man, look at this, Potions first thing on Monday mornings! And Divination first for me today, why do they have to do this to us?"Harry grimaced, looking up at the head table, where Snape was scowling into his breakfast. "I don't know, mate, but if you ask them, you might also want to find out why they keep putting us together with Slytherin as well. That's just asking for something to happen."Ginny giggled. Relations between Gryffindor and Slytherin were definitely tense, though anyone with half a brain would understand that Harry's role was mostly in retaliation, as Malfoy was usually the one to start things. Unfortunately, Snape did not seem to possess half a brain.Hermione picked up her bag and waved goodbye to the rest of them, before she headed up to grab her Ancient Runes book for class. Neville glanced over at the Hufflepuff table, before blushing and telling them he'd catch up with them later.Harry smiled as he saw his friend approach Susan, and the two struck up a conversation on their way out of the hall. He then looked down the Gryffindor table, and noted that most of the first years were huddled towards the end, looking around nervously and studying their schedules. He gestured to Ron and Ginny, before he stood up and walked over to them. "Hey guys, what's your first subject?"Most of them jumped and squeaked as he addressed them, but the boy who had asked him a question on their way up to the tower the night before, Evan Harrison, replied shakily, "Transfiguration."Harry nodded, smiling. "Do you need to go get your books before class?" On their affirmative nod, he gestured for them to stand up. "Come on, we'll help you find your way. None of us have class this period, so don't worry about it. I know it took me and Ron a week to be able to find our way to the Great Hall without getting lost." That drew a few chuckles as the large group made their way out of the hall.They were watched by several people, most of whom were pleased with the initiative the young man was making. Snape just kept glowering, but Dumbledore's eyes had a definite twinkle, and Minerva just looked proud.Harry and Ginny answered most of the questions the first years had, while Ron threw in a comment now and then, mostly about what students did for fun in their free time.Harry also mentioned the study group they were thinking about starting, which was met with approval by the whole group. When he dropped them off at the Transfiguration classroom, he blushed at the smile his guardian bestowed on him. "Thank you for your initiative, Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley," she said, before they left the room.The three of them headed back up to the tower, where Ginny spent the next forty five minutes watching Harry get pounded at chess by Ron, before her brother had to head off to Divination, and she to Transfiguration.Harry spent the rest of the morning reading up on the two subjects he was hoping to get into.Hermione had brought back the work he had missed for the first class, entering the common room shortly after Ron and Ginny left, and went over it with him during their free period before lunch. They both were pleased when he seemed to understand it with no problems.XXXDefense Against the Dark Arts was interesting, to say the least. Moody seemed quite a bit off his rocker, in Harry's opinion, though he couldn't dispute the man's record. The worst part was when he showed them the three Unforgivable curses. Harry felt sick at seeing the spider keel over with a flash of green light, but his eyes were more drawn towards Neville as Moody used the Cruciatus curse. He could see the pain and anguish in the boy's gaze, and was dragging his friend out of the room as soon as class was over, with a look that stopped Hermione and Ron from following. Hermione just nodded, silently telling him they'd see them back in the common room later, and she'd bring his bag.Harry led Neville towards the lavatory, where he employed his newly learned skills to lock the door to prevent anyone from entering.Once there, he just settled back and waited. It only took a few minutes before Neville broke down, tears streaming down as he once more heard his worst nightmares. As he had only been a year old, he didn't really think what he saw in his dreams was true, but it was still horrible.Harry offered himself up for an embrace, and just held on as Neville cried himself dry. When he was calmer, Harry stepped back and leaned against the wall. He contemplated the sinks as he commented offhandedly, "You know, I have this dream sometimes, where I can hear Voldemort laughing. He's telling my mum to step aside, but she refuses, so there's this flash of green light, and then everything goes black. I've had variations of this dream since before I knew about magic, so I think it's my memories of that night." He looked over at Neville, who was listening intently. "My point is, Neville, we may have been young, but that doesn't mean we don't remember. You were there when your parents were tortured, right?"Neville nodded, sniffling. "Gran always said it was just my memory filling in gaps, and it wasn't real. But it was, wasn't it?"Harry reached out to pat his shoulder. "We've seen true horrors others couldn't even dream about. Why do you think the Dementors affect me so much? But we don't have to let it rule us, Nev. Our future is all ours. We owe it to our parents to be the best we can be, and to work as hard as we can, so that we don't end up the same way. I realize that sounds harsh, but Sirius and I had a lot of really good talks this summer. He told me that my parents wouldn't want to see me before they had had a chance to look down on their grandchildren and great grandchildren, so I better work hard to avoid joining them too early."Neville chuckled weakly, but nodded again, this time more firmly. "You're right," he said. "I want my parents to be proud of me, but really, they're not here. I shouldn't be trying to please them. I shouldn't keep dwelling on it, and how I'm not like my dad. I want to keep up the dueling practice Sirius and Remus were teaching us. Could we continue?"Harry grinned his agreement, and the two of them left the loo, Harry walking with Neville until they separated, so that Harry could go take the tests for Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, and Neville continued on to the common room.XXXHarry said goodbye to Neville and made his way to McGonagall's office nervously, where he was met by Professor Vector, and his guardian. Minerva informed him that Professor Babbling would join them in an hour, when he would hopefully be finished with the Arithmancy test, and able to take the Ancient Runes one.Harry nodded and sat down at the desk set up for him, picking up the quill and getting started.He wasn't sure what it meant that he thought the test was too easy, but he hoped it was a good thing.When Professor Babbling arrived, Professor Vector took his completed exam and settled in to grade it while he took the Ancient Runes test.He finished in just under an hour, and was asked to stay for a few minutes so that he could get the results immediately.Professor Vector spoke with him first, giving him the good news. "I'll admit to some surprise, Mr. Potter," she said with a smile, "I was a little skeptical when Minerva asked me to consider this, but to be honest, I'm disappointed you didn't start taking Arithmancy last year! Your score on the exam was beaten out only by Hermione Granger, so congratulations. May I ask what prompted your decision to change electives?"Harry shrugged and grimaced, though he replied readily enough. "Honestly, when I was signing up for electives, I really didn't know what I wanted, so I just chose the same things as my friend Ron. It's something that could perhaps be remedied in the future. I know when you're twelve, you don't know what you want to do when you grow up, but if someone had just talked with me about what I liked and disliked, I might have made different choices. I always liked maths at school, and Arithmancy is a lot like it. I've also become rather interested in wards, so Ancient Runes was quite interesting to learn, though I didn't really know any of this a couple years ago." He grinned ruefully. "And I really didn't fancy sitting through another two years of Trelawney predicting my death in increasingly gruesome ways."Professor's Vector and Babbling both laughed, though Minerva looked like she didn't know whether to laugh or be disapproving.Professor Babbling finished grading, and also praised Harry for his prowess, telling him he had received an easy O on the exam, definitely one of the top five for the class.Both professors left, and Minerva wasted no more time in giving Harry a congratulatory hug. "I'm so proud of you, Harry," she told him, stepping back and giving him a smile.Harry blushed and ducked his head, but he looked pleased. Minerva nodded towards the door, suggesting that they head on down to dinner, and as they walked, she informed him that Dumbledore had asked to speak with him after the evening meal."Be careful, Harry," she warned him. "Albus is neither unintelligent nor opaque, though he can be a bit thick at times. Just remember that he cannot force you to answer anything that isn't school related. He's just your headmaster, nothing more."Harry nodded, and they broke apart as they entered the Great Hall, Minerva heading to the head table, and Harry to join his friends.Hermione looked eager to hear how he did, but Harry made a point to sit down first and fill his plate.Finally, she couldn't take it anymore "Well?" She demanded. "How did you do?"Harry looked up, grinning. "I passed, Hermione."She squealed. "Oh, I just knew you would! That is so wonderful, Harry, congratulations!"Harry nodded, blushing a little. "Thanks," he replied, smiling as the rest of them passed on their own congratulations, though without the squealing.Ginny saw his shifty eyes, and her own narrowed. "How well did you do, Potter?" she asked lowly.Harry flinched, and looked down. "Professor Vector said the only one who beat my score was Hermione," he admitted, causing the bushy-haired girl to let out another squeal, louder this time, which drew the attention of several people towards them. Harry continued, "and Professor Babbling said I got an 'easy O'."Ginny grinned and threw her arms around Harry, before she sat back, suddenly aware that they were surrounded by people.In the awkward silence that followed, they all decided to start on their meals.It was a few minutes later that Harry informed them of his meeting with Dumbledore.Ginny looked at him nervously while Hermione speculated as to what it could be about.Harry grimaced. "I think he wants to know why I wasn't a good boy and just stayed with my relatives this summer."Hermione stopped talking and looked at him, slightly reprovingly. "Harry," she admonished, but Harry just shook his head."No, Hermione, after everything I've learned this summer, I think that's about right on the nose." She still looked skeptical, so Harry sighed. "I'll tell you a little more when I get back, all right?"She nodded, and Harry turned to Ron. Ron just shrugged. "I believe you, mate. Some things that have been happening around here don't really add up, you know?"Harry nodded his agreement, and finished his supper, heading off towards the headmaster's office with a heavy weight in his stomach.He reached the gargoyle statue, and barely had time to remember that he didn't know the password, before the stone figure was moving aside.Harry shrugged and stepped onto the moving staircase. He knocked on the door before entering, and was greeted by a slightly shocked Dumbledore, before he hid his surprise behind the twinkling eyes.Harry filed that away to think on later, as he courteously greeted the headmaster. "You wanted to see me, professor?" he asked.Dumbledore smiled. "Yes, my boy, thank you for coming. Lemon drop?"Harry shook his head as he took the offered seat. Dumbledore leaned forward in his seat slightly. "I was very sorry to hear about your uncle, Harry. I hope he will not be judged too severely."Harry's eyes narrowed, as he replied, his voice hard as diamonds. "Considering all the abuse he put me through, not to mention how they were stealing my money for years, I don't think he can be judged severely enough. Professor."Dumbledore's eyes widened slightly, as he tried to diffuse the situation, even as he felt some confusion as to what Harry had alluded to. He knew that things hadn't been ideal, but his relatives had kept him safe for many years. "Well, I am sorry to hear that. I only wish you had come to me, so that I could have helped you."Harry shrugged, revealing nothing. The silence stretched on, until Dumbledore broke it. "I don't believe he could be charged with theft, Harry. After all, they were given a stipend for your care."Harry's eyes flashed as he met the headmaster's gaze. "As I never saw a pence of that money, I think he could be, headmaster."There was a slight pressure in Harry's mind, causing him to wince. The pressure tapered off, and then intensified. Harry stood up, outwardly remaining calm, as he politely asked, "Is that all you needed to speak with me about, sir?"Albus frowned, but nodded. "I truly am sorry for the way things have turned out, my boy. I hope that you will come talk to me, should you feel the need or desire."Harry just nodded and quickly made his exit. He fled down the stairs, and tried not to look like he was running away as he headed back up to Gryffindor tower. His headache was intensifying, and he needed to look through one of the books Sirius and Minerva had given him for his birthday. He wanted to double-check something.Ok, this chapter is getting out of hand, so I need to end it now. We will pick up next week with the conclusion of this evening. Points to whoever can guess what Harry wants to check! And bonus points for anyone who can figure out why it didn't seem to work.And according to the Harry Potter Wiki, Durmstrang is located either in Norway or Sweden. I just picked one.___Chapter 17Well, most people guessed correctly what he wanted to check, but, as great as some thoughts were as to why it didn't work, nobody got it, though a few came close. I hope no one's disappointed with the way I took it. Enjoy!Disclaimer: not mineNeville, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were seated on the couches near the fireplace. Harry rushed passed them and hurried up to his dorm, much to their confusion and worry.He quickly opened the library section of his trunk, set his hand to the engraving of a book, and calmly stated "Occlumency and Legilimency." It only took a moment for the book The Mind Arts Identified jumped to the front. He smiled slightly, truly happy that Aunt Minerva had insisted on getting that feature added. All he had to do was request a specific subject or topic, and the book would jump out, without him having to actually activate the bookshelves. As long as the book was in that section of the trunk, it would come when called.He hurried back downstairs and joined his friends. He asked them to hold on for a minute while he thumbed through the book. After a few minutes of silence and worried looks exchanged, he slammed the book shut angrily. "I knew it!" he growled angrily.Hermione looked at the book in his hands with interest, while the rest just looked more confused. Harry held up the book so they could all see it. "Dumbledore's been reading my mind," he informed them.Hermione looked scandalized, but the purebloods looked furious."How dare he." Neville's voice was low and enraged.Hermione looked at him, cocking her head. "What am I missing?" she asked, seeing the way they were all reacting. "I mean, it's awful, sure, but that doesn't explain your reactions."Neville turned to face the bushy haired witch. His voice didn't lose any anger, but his expression softened as he explained, "The mind is the most sacred thing a person can protect. Using Legilimancy without permission is a heinous crime. A hundred years ago, it carried a sentence of a minimum of ten years in prison. If it was used on a minor, the sentence was upgraded to the Dementor's Kiss. You have to understand, Hermione, that pureblood's prize their secrets more than anything else. The old families have a lot to hide. Family Magic is taught from father to son, and they keep it within the bloodlines. If anybody could just use Legilimancy to get the information out of them, nobody would be safe."Hermione looked like she had a lot of questions but didn't know where to start."Harry, how did you know?" Ginny asked curiously. "From what I've heard, Dumbledore is one of the best at Legilimancy. With little or no training, you shouldn't have been able to tell when he entered your mind."Harry looked down briefly, before he shook back the sleeve of his robe to show them the bracelet Ginny had given him for his birthday. "I'm practicing, but Aunt Minerva said it'll take time and a lot of hard work. So we put the same protections on my bracelet that we did on the necklace I gave you. It should stop most attacks until I'm able to do so by myself."Ginny looked relieved that her necklace would be powerful enough to stop even Dumbledore, but Hermione looked even more shocked."Harry, if Dumbledore's as good at this as Ginny says, it would take a tremendous amount of power to be able to stop him by using a charm like that."Harry grimaced, but nodded dutifully. "Yeah, Hermione. It would." The reason these spells weren't more commonly used was because of their origins. Harry had found them when looking through one of the few books Sirius had brought with him from Grimmauld Place. His godfather had told him that the book contained some of the Black Family Magic, spells that were only known to those in the Black Family, and that, as his heir, Harry had both the right and the responsibility to learn them.They all paused for a moment, but Harry didn't explain any more - Neville had been right when he told Hermione how secretive Family Magic was; as the heir to the Black Family, Harry couldn't share any more information on the spell or its origins. After another minute, Hermione asked to borrow the book. Learning that Dumbledore had committed such a grievous crime seemed to have destroyed the last vestiges of hope she had that there was some other explanation.Harry smiled and nodded. "You should all read it, and I can help you get started with the meditation exercises. Aunt Minerva should be able to help us if we get stuck. This is pretty hard, so she said not to be disappointed if it takes a while to see results. I'll tell Susan tomorrow, and when you're done, she should read it as well."They were interrupted at that moment by a couple of first year students. Hermione looked a little startled, but she couldn't help but smile when one of them – Evan – shyly asked Harry if he could help them understand something.Harry smiled at the younger boy, and looked down at his book for a moment, concentrating for a brief second as he tapped his wand to the cover. He stood up and handed what was now a very passable representation of Potions Making: A Complete Guide to Hermione. He winked, before nodding towards the young Evan and his friend – Sheila, if he wasn't mistaken."Lay on, Macduff," he grinned.Evan looked confused, but Sheila smiled cautiously. "That's Shakespeare," she said.Harry nodded, his own smile putting her at ease. "I'm impressed. Are you muggle raised?"She nodded, looking down. "I had no idea, until I got my letter," she admitted. "It's so exciting though, and ever so fascinating!"Harry chuckled. "I think you'd get on well with my friend Hermione," he explained. "She's muggleborn as well, and still finds this world captivating. If you have any questions about anything, you can feel free to ask. I know it can be a bit overwhelming."Sheila nodded shyly, a light pink running across her cheeks.Harry sat down with the rest of the first years, and started helping them untangle their first ever Transfiguration assignment. He offered a grateful nod when Ginny sat down next to him a few minutes later, immediately diving in to help. Hermione, Neville, and Ron moved closer, the latter two working on their Divination and Defense homework assignments, and Hermione – who was already mostly caught up – began to formulate their plan for an inter-house study group, so that they could have something to present to McGonagall on Tuesday after their first class with her.From time to time, the witch would look up from her parchment and smile, seeing the way her friend was interacting with the young first years, and with Ginny. Those two were very into the assignment, remembering their own first week, trying to keep up with everything, trying to figure out the expectations placed upon them. Her eyes lit up as she saw the closeness Harry and Ginny shared. She had known that Ginny had always harbored feelings for Harry, and it seemed like the black haired boy was finally starting to return them.When it started to get late, Harry sent the protesting eleven-year-olds up to bed, before he suggested they all do the same. He was shocked when he received more than one hug from the younger children.Ginny had to laugh at his bemused expression. "Face it, Potter," she grinned, "You're their new favorite tutor."Harry just shook his head, giving her a hug – which she returned – before saying good night and heading up to his dorm, followed by Ron and Neville.XXXDear Sirius,Wow, it feels really great to be able to write you and actually use your name now! Well, I promised I'd let you know how the term started.The feast was brilliant, as always, Ginny almost had to roll me up to the tower at the end of the night! I passed the Ancient Runes and Arithmancy exams, no problem, so I officially never have to take Divination again, thank Merlin.Defense with Moody was interesting, to say the least. He showed us the Unforgivable curses, which I guess I understand, but I wish he could have been a little more thoughtful. I had to talk with Neville after class, he was a little upset at seeing the Cruciatus demonstrated.I think I've made eleven lifelong friends, just in the first couple of days! It all started at breakfast yesterday. As we didn't have a class first period, Ginny, Ron, and I offered to show the new first year Gryffindors to the Transfiguration classroom for their first class. Hermione and I have also started planning an inter-house study group for all the first years – and maybe even upper years as well. Just because we're all in different houses shouldn't mean that we don't ever spend time together. The Gryffindor first years were really excited by the idea, but we still need to talk to a few upper years in other houses, and Aunt Minerva as well. I hope we can do this, I think it would be really great for the students.I hope you and Mooney are behaving yourselves. How's Amelia? Will McGonagall Castle still be standing when I return?I miss you, and I can't wait to see you again.Love,HarrySirius read the note from his godson and smiled. It was good to know that Harry was enjoying himself, and he was happy that the term had started well, though the thought of Moody demonstrating Unforgivables in class was slightly worrying.Reading the part about the study group…. Sirius groaned and looked over at his longtime best friend. "Bad news, Mooney," he said, pausing long enough for the werewolf to get worried, before he smiled. "Looks like Harry's meaning to follow in your footsteps. The boy's a definite shoo in for Prefect next year."Remus growled and swatted Sirius' head. "Prat," he grumbled. Sirius just laughed.XXXThe weekend passed relatively quietly. Harry finished all his homework, helped Hermione put together a plan for their study group, and tried to talk with all the upper class students they had marked out to help.Susan was more than willing, and she said she'd talk with Cedric, as having a Prefect on board could only be a good thing. Hopefully, they'd get two, if Cedric was interested, and able to get Cho involved as well, as she was the fifth year girl Prefect for Ravenclaw.Ravenclaw was a bit more of a challenge, but Ginny was able to ask Luna for a word a lunch on Saturday. The flighty girl was a bit of a mystery to Harry, but he liked her well enough. He had to decipher her response, but around the mention of various mythical creatures, he was able to discern that she was willing to help, though she didn't think many of her housemates would listen to her.Cedric found them after supper that night, and asked for a few more details before he grinned. "This sounds like a great idea, Harry. Hogwarts could use a little inter-house unity. Do you have anyone for Ravenclaw yet? Susan mentioned that was a trouble spot for you."Harry and Ginny looked at each other. "We've spoken with Luna Lovegood," Ginny replied. "She wants to help, but she doesn't think the Ravenclaw students will listen to her."Cedric nodded. "I'll talk to Cho," he said. "I think she'll be on board with this, especially as it has to do with schoolwork."Harry grinned. "So are you two officially together now?" he asked. Cedric's blush was answer enough, as the sixth year prefect made a hasty exit.Harry and Ginny looked at each other and started laughing.Slytherin was the hardest to coordinate, as they knew they wouldn't be welcome anywhere near their dungeon common room.Sunday morning, Harry suggested that he and Ginny head for a walk around the Quidditch pitch. She followed, willing though confused, and Harry explained as they made their way outside. "Last year I saw Blaise and Daphne on the Pitch a few times on the weekends. I know Blaise enjoys Quidditch a lot, but he's never gone out for the team. I think he's more interested in playing for the sport, rather than the farce the Slytherin games turn into. From what I've gathered, winning through force just seems beneath him."Ginny nodded, and complimented his observation skills. Harry looked down, ashamed all of a sudden. "I'm pretty used to noticing things," he admitted quietly as they opened the doors and stepped out onto the lawn. "I had to know when Uncle Vernon was just going to deliver a slap or a punch, or if he was going in for the serious punishments. Usually, that depended on how angry he was."Ginny felt upset with herself for bringing it up, but didn't want to offer an apology, as she knew from their conversations that he hated when people apologized for things they had nothing to do with. So the two just walked in silence down to the Pitch.Luck was with them, and Ginny once more silently praised Harry's deduction skills, as she saw Blaise Zabini flying around, with Daphne Greengrass sitting in the stands, a book propped on her lap.Daphne looked up, eyes narrowing as she stood up, wand in hand watching the two Gryffindors approach.Harry held up his hands in a peaceful manner, showing her that he was unarmed. "We just want to talk, Daphne," he said calmly.Daphne glowered. "So talk," she retorted.Harry smiled. "We'd actually like to speak with you and Blaise together. Could you call him down here? You might feel a little more comfortable if the numbers were evened out."Daphne's glare didn't soften, though she did feel some confusion as to why Potter was here, wanting to talk with her, and even more why they wanted her to have backup. She let out a whistle, and Blaise quickly made his way to her location.His wand was in his hand as well as he landed next to his friend. "What do you want, Potter?" he asked warily.Harry remained calm, sitting down and gesturing for the rest to do the same. Ginny was the only one to comply. He took a deep breath. This conversation was too important to screw up. "We're putting together an inter-house study group for the younger students – though we're hopeful it might spread to the older ones after a while – and we're trying to get people in each house to speak with their first years, and to be sort of like leaders of the group. We've already got people in the other houses, but you can understand why Slytherin's a bit of a challenge. We were hoping you two might be interested."Daphne and Blaise looked at each other. "Why us?" Daphne asked, putting her wand away now that she felt better about not being cursed. However, she remained standing.Harry shrugged. "Well, I certainly wasn't going to ask Malfoy," he replied, causing all of them to snort. "You two have always remained neutral, and I get the distinct impression that all this rivalry between our houses is beneath you. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it as well. I just want to go to school and hang out with my friends, but it's a little hard to relax when I have to watch out for Malfoy all the time." He sighed. "Look, I'm not suggesting that we all of a sudden become the best of friends. But this will help the new students, and perhaps do more for inter-house unity than has been achieved since before Voldemot's rise." Both Slytherin's flinched at the Dark Lord's name, but Harry was pleased to see that Ginny had no reaction.Blaise answered for both of them. "We'll have to think about it, Potter, but I think it sounds like a good idea. You'll let us know when the first meeting is?"Harry nodded, and he and Ginny stood up. Harry held out his hand, which both Blaise and Daphne shook warily, and watched carefully as the two Gryffindors left the Pitch.Daphne turned to Blaise. "What do you think?" she asked her friend.Blaise shook his head, pocketing his wand. "I think Potter's gearing up to change the wizarding world," he admitted, picking up his broom and leading her back up to the castle.Daphne chuckled. "And what do you think we should do?" she pressed.Blaise sighed. "We're Slytherins, Daph. Haven't you been paying attention to the events of this summer? In particular, the Wizengamot meeting this week?"Daphne nodded. Her father had told her about it immediately after returning home that evening, and told her that it would be in their best interests to distance themselves from both sides until a strong victor emerged.Blaise continued, "I'm guessing your dad had the same talk about watching for the stronger side with you that my mum had with me. From what I've seen recently, there's going to be a new faction, with Potter and Lord Black in the lead. Even better, from what my mum says, they'll be people I wouldn't mind standing behind. No leader of the light Dumbledore, and definitely not a Dark Lord. I think we should observe what happens this year, but helping Potter out would definitely be the smart thing to do."Daphne nodded again, indicating her agreement, and the two headed back to their common room, hoping that they could keep this a secret for a few more days, before they had to deal with Malfoy and his cronies.XXXPotions first thing Monday morning was not something Harry looked forward to, but he was relieved when it went by much better than he could have hoped. Gryffindor only lost twenty points, he had managed to keep Malfoy from throwing anything into his cauldron, and he actually felt like he handed in a passable potion.Snape's eyebrow rose slightly at the correctly colored brew, but he didn't comment, and schooled his face back into his typical glower. He would think on the sudden change in prowess later, but for the moment Potter was still arrogant, and a dunderhead. Maybe he'd talk with Minerva later, to get some answers. Or maybe not. One correct potion did not mean Potter was any good at the subject. More likely, he had had Granger do all the work - he conveniently ignored the fact that Potter had been working with Longbottom that class.Tuesday was the day Harry and his friends were looking forward to, however. As soon as Transfiguration ended, Harry and Hermione made their way up to McGonagall's desk while Neville and Ron hung in the background.Minerva listened to their idea with interest. Hermione handed her the written proposal, while Harry concluded, "We've already spoken with representatives in the other houses, and they're all on board. We were hoping there could be a classroom set aside as a sort of study lounge, that we could use for formal sessions maybe once a week?"Minerva glanced through the proposal. "Did you have a specific time in mind?"Harry and Hermione looked at each other. "We haven't really thought about it. Maybe one night after dinner? This year we don't have to worry about Quidditch practices, and after dinner, no one will be in class."Minerva nodded. "In order for this to be officially sanctioned, you need a faculty sponsor. I am assuming you are asking me?"Harry and Hermione shared another glance. "We were actually thinking maybe two sponsors would be better. If we just asked you, people might think we were favoring Gryffindor. We were hoping Professor Flitwick might be interested as well."Minerva had to applaud their thinking. They were really trying to get a school wide study session going that would bridge many gaps between students. It was impressive, and based on what she saw, they had things well thought out.She nodded. "Very well, I will speak with Filius, and see if we can't get the first meeting underway in the next week or two."Harry and Hermione beamed, and thanked the professor before turning around to leave with their friends."Harry." Harry turned back to face his guardian as his friends filed out in front of him. Minerva smiled. "I'm very proud of you. This sounds like a well thought out idea, and a very good one. Hopefully it will forge friendships that outlast any house divisions."Harry blushed. "That's sort of what we were thinking," he admitted. "Just because we all get separated into different houses shouldn't mean we don't look for friendships outside those boundaries. Susan's a great friend, and I know Ginny really likes Luna Lovegood. We won't always be divided by house, so we should look for connections anywhere we can, right?"Minerva nodded, her smile widening as pride shone through. "You've grasped a concept that not many learn, Harry. Now run along, or lunch will be over, and Poppy will have my hide if you skip a meal."Harry grinned and left the room, catching up with the others before they entered the Great Hall. He summed up their meeting for Ginny, who was pleased that it had been approved, and the five of them made plans to get together with the other house leaders to work out the first few sessions.- - - For anyone who might be confused, or caught a little change (not a huge one), I went back and changed chapter 13 slightly - originally I wrote that Minerva helped Harry make Ginny's birthday present, but then I changed the origins of the spell work to be Black Family Magic, because that fit better - also, it would explain why everyone isn't just enchanting an object to carry with them to protect them from Legilimancy. Harry also won't give the same sort of present to his other friends that he gave to Ginny - she was a special case, and Sirius knew that, so he let Harry use the Family Magic, as a one time deal.___Chapter 18I think there was a problem with the site for a little while, so maybe people didn't get notified that there was an update on Saturday. If not, you might want to go back and read chapter 17 first. I know I didn't get any email notifications for several days.Anyway, here's the next chapter, enjoy!Disclaimer: not mineSirius looked up as the fireplace flared, and took a deep breath, steeling himself. He smiled and stepped forward, greeting his visitors. He was very glad that Minerva had offered him her home to live in, even though she was not in residence for the majority of the year. He was glad she trusted him enough – or thought he had grown up enough – to not burn it to the ground. Another visit to Grimmauld Place, and a rather trying conversation with his family's house elf, Kreacher, had been executed shortly after he had seen Harry off to school. He had had to get firm with the elf, but a direct order to begin cleaning up his Ancestral Home had yielded results. Seemingly, Kreacher had been getting a little bored. He didn't think he would ever actually want to live there, but it would be nice to have the option, without having to be wary of anything he touched.Andromeda Tonks stepped out first, followed quickly by her husband Ted, and their daughter Nymphadora.Andromeda steadied herself and looked for her cousin, smiling. It had been a long time since she had seen him; as two disgraced members of the Black family, they had clung to each other. When she had run away from her family to marry Ted, a muggleborn, she had been cast out from the family. Sirius had received the same treatment after he had run away to the Potters at sixteen, and after Walburga's brother Alphard had left his nephew a sizable inheritance Andromeda had made sure to invite him over for supper at least once a week, and had happily hosted his friends as well, many times."Sirius, it is so good to see you." She stepped forward and embraced her favorite relative.Sirius grinned back, as the two separated. He shook Ted's hand, and gave Nymphadora a light hug as well. "Thanks for coming," he replied, gesturing for the family to take a seat.Andromeda led the conversation, asking Sirius about his recovery, and generally catching him up on everything he had missed.Tibby popped in a while later, announcing that dinner was ready, and the four witches and wizards made their way to the dining room. Remus joined them there, knowing that Sirius had wanted some time alone with his family first."Hey, Mooney," Sirius grinned as the werewolf entered the room.Remus smiled and moved over to shake hands with Andromeda and Ted. "Andromeda, right? I remember you from a long time ago."Andromeda nodded, her face lighting up. "Little Remus Lupin, you've certainly grown up!"Remus blushed, turning to her husband. "Ted, how are you?"Ted shook the younger man's hand firmly. "I'm doing well, Remus. It has been a while, hasn't it?"Remus and Sirius both nodded.Nymphadora tripped forward, offering her own hand as she blushed. "Hi, I'm Tonks."Remus smiled as he shook her hand. "I remember you, though it was a long time ago. You've certainly grown."Tonks' blushed deepened. She didn't really remember meeting him, but she figured it would have been when Sirius was still in school, and she had been quite young then.The group sat down to eat, and the meal passed in a whirlwind of laughter and stories about the past.Tonks kept sneaking glances at Remus, blushing every time he asked her a question about her work, or what she did with her free time.All in all, Sirius thought it was a great night, and when the Tonks' left, they promised to spend some more time together, with the only family they had that they weren't ashamed of.XXXThe first meeting of the inter-house study group took place the following Thursday, starting at six thirty in the evening, which gave everyone enough time to eat supper first. It would last an hour and a half, giving everyone plenty of time to make it back to their common rooms before curfew.The meeting of the leaders took place over the weekend before, and included Minerva and Flitwick, as they hammered out last minute plans. All told, it was a rather large group, consisting of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville from Gryffindor; Susan and Cedric from Hufflepuff; Cho and Luna from Ravenclaw; and Blaise and Daphne from Slytherin.The Slytherins were wary of the rest of the group, but they soon relaxed slightly when they realized that no one was judging them, and they were actually trying to involve them.Ron had been a bit of a challenge, but Harry had given him a very stern warning not to start anything, and to actually get to know them personally before he judged based on a thousand year old feud that probably had nothing to do with what they fought about now.It was Daphne who suggested they needed a better name than 'Inter-House Study Group', but no one could come up with anything good. Finally, Blaise suggested the Defense Association. "I know we're not strictly talking about defense," he reasoned, "but it sounds good, and we are going to be helping them be able to better defend themselves." Everyone stared at him, and he looked down. "We could call it the DA for short," he mumbled.Harry grinned. "I like it," he declared, and just like that, the DA was born.XXXThe meeting was a great success. Minerva and Flitwick stayed in the background, ready to help if needed, but letting the students take control.Harry started out rather nervously, but he soon gained momentum. He was pleased with how many students came. They were beginning with the first and second years, hoping that they might gain some older students with time, but the younger years were the ones who were more likely to need the assistance. All in all, the majority of the first years had come, and about half of the second years.He introduced the leaders from each house, and asked them to form twelve groups, which would each consist of four or five students each. He told them to make sure there was at least one student from each house if possible, and if not, there had to be at least three houses represented in each group, and then waited as they formed up around the small round tables that had been placed in the room.Each leader then took one group, and they spent the next fifteen minutes just getting the students to introduce themselves and getting to know each other a bit. Harry had decided that they would spend some time each meeting doing this, having the students form different groups each week, until everyone was familiar with their classmates. This wasn't just a study group, he really wanted these kids to get to know their peers. It was about forming friendships, and bonds that would last longer than the seven years they spent in school.After fifteen minutes, the leader for each group would ask what they wanted to go over that night, and they would spend the rest of the time looking over school assignments and asking questions.At eight o'clock, Harry sent them all back to their dorms,午夜福利视频 and watched, smiling, as he saw groups of Hufflepuffs and Slytherins heading towards the dungeons and kitchens, and Ravenclaws and Gryffindors heading up to the towers, talking about what they had learned. More than one waved at their tutors and fellow classmates as they left, smiling happily.Ginny walked up to Harry and gave him a hug. As she pulled back, she kissed him on the cheek. "Nice going, Potter," she smiled.Harry grinned back, and looked at the rest of his friends. "What'd you guys think?" he asked, as Ginny stepped to the side, her arm still wrapped around him, and his arm snaked around her waist.Cedric smiled his approval. "I think it went really well," he said, taking his girlfriend in his arms.Cho nodded. She had been a little skeptical at first, but Cedric had talked her into it, and after listening to what Harry had planned out with his friends, she had to admit, it was a really good idea. "I thought so as well," she agreed. "I think some friendships were born tonight.""They're realizing that without the walls of different houses, they have very real similarities and interests," Luna chimed in dreamily. "I suspect the fuzwumps have something to do with it."They all respectfully ignored her final statement, but agreed with the first.Minerva and Flitwick then spent another fifteen minutes going over the high and low points of the session, and discussing what they would change for the next week. They ended by telling the students how pleased they were with all of their hard work.The Gryffindors, with Cho and Luna, headed up to the towers, while Cedric, Susan, Blaise, and Daphne headed downstairs, all saying good night to each other before they parted for their separate common rooms.It wasn't only the younger students who were forming bonds of friendship that eclipsed the house separations.XXXHarry had another dream that night, but once more, he woke up wondering how a dream could be fuzzy around the edges. He definitely saw Wormtail, and some ugly looking thing that spoke with Voldemort's voice. Again, they mentioned something about a competition, and he heard his name.Harry was getting confused, and wondered if he should tell someone what he was dreaming about. He vowed to talk with Ginny, since she was definitely smarter than him. He wondered if he should tell Aunt Minerva, but he didn't really know what he would say. 'I'm having dreams that I kind of think might be real, but please don't ask me how' probably wouldn't go down that well. He wasn't a seer, after all, so how could he prove that this wasn't just some figment of his imagination?Ginny, of course, told him to speak with Minerva, or write to Sirius, but Harry managed to put it off for the next few weeks.On October the thirtieth, the students of Hogwarts found themselves standing outside, waiting for the envoys from Beaubaxtons and Durmstrang to arrive.Harry was starting to fidget from the cold, when a shout drew all their eyes. A Hufflepuff third year was pointing skyward."Is it a dragon?" someone cried."No, it's a house," was another guess.As the object grew closer, Harry realized that it was actually a carriage, being carried by several gigantic horses.The carriage set down and came to a stop, and the largest woman he had ever seen stepped out."Madam Maxime, welcome," Dumbledore stepped forward, offering his hand and grasping hers, giving it a kiss."Dumbly-door," the giantess rumbled. "It is wonderful to see you again."The carriage doors opened, and a number of students stepped out, and stood there, shivering in their silk blue robes.Dumbledore smiled and spread his arms. "Welcome, students of Beaubaxtons. I hope you find your stay to be relaxing and enjoyable. Would you care to wait with us for the Durmstrang contingent, or would you prefer to warm up inside?"Madam Maxime surveyed her students. "I think we would prefer to wait inside, Dumbly-door. It is much colder this far north than we are used to."The French students made their way inside, with one particular student drawing a number of eyes. Her hair was a silvery blond, and she stood tall and proud. Her figure was as perfect as it was possible to be. Many of the Hogwarts males sighed lustfully.Harry looked around at his friends, his question on what was going on, on the tip of his tongue, when he stopped. Both Ron and Neville also seemed to be affected. Instead, he turned to Ginny. "Gin? What's wrong with Ron and Neville?"Ginny looked at him, surprised. "That girl is probably a Veela, Harry. They're classified as magical creatures, they have an allure that draws males in."Harry looked confused. Why wasn't he affected then?Hermione looked at him sidelong. "From what the books say, the only men who can resist them are those who are already in love."Harry looked at his friend, and then over at Ginny. The two of them blushed and looked down.Durmstrang arrived a few minutes later, their ship rising up out of the Black Lake like the Flying Dutchman myth, while everyone was still collecting themselves.The only real thing of note was the fact that Quidditch star Viktor Krum was in the group.Ron wondered aloud if he would be able to get an autograph, while the rest of them rolled their eyes. That boy was way too Quidditch obsessed, sometimes.Once they were all inside, Dumbledore made his official welcome, before they tucked into the feast with relish.After they were finished, the headmaster stood up again. "Once more, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our fellow witches and wizards from Beaubaxtons and Durmstrang. Should you have need of anything during your stay here, please do not hesitate to ask." He then moved to stand beside the large case that had been placed in the hall before the meal. "As you all know the rules, I will not review them again. But I must warn you to think through your decision with care. Should you choose to enter your name, you are agreeing to commit to the Tournament for its duration. It is a binding magical contract that cannot be undone. Names will be chosen by a magical artifact. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the Goblet of Fire!" He tapped his wand to the crate, and it melted away to reveal a rather impressive goblet spouting blue flames out of the top. "You have until supper tomorrow to enter your name." With that, he dismissed the students to their beds.The Triwizard Tournament had begun.XXXGinny pulled Harry along with her as they made their way down the hall. He tried to protest, but she was relentless.She stopped him outside Minerva's office, and he swallowed. "Gin," he tried, but she shook her head."You told me you'd talk to her, Harry, and you haven't. She needs to know what you saw. I feel like it could be important."With that, she knocked on the door, entered the room - dragging Harry along behind her - and wasted no time in telling their Transfiguration professor what Harry had dreamed.Minerva was quiet for a minute, before she asked her charge for a few clarifying details. Harry tried to answer as best he could, but it was challenging."I'm not really sure how to describe the fuzziness," he admitted. "It was almost like looking through a foggy window or something. Like it was supposed to be clear, but for some reason, it wasn't. I could make out a few details, and I'm certain of what we've told you, I just wish I could tell you more."Minerva nodded. "Do you have any thoughts?" she asked.Harry bit his lip, looking down. "I think they were talking about getting me to compete in the tournament," he confessed, drawing gasps from both women. He explained, "They were talking about a contest, and I know my name was mentioned. Something about making sure I was chosen. And given who was involved, and my luck, the rest isn't hard to figure out."Minerva nodded shakily. She was about to say something, when Harry looked up, his expression pleading. "You know I wouldn't try to enter my name, right? I don't want the fame, and I certainly don't need the prize money. It's just not worth it!"Ginny calmed him down by pressing herself to his side. "We know you wouldn't, Harry," she reassured him.Minerva nodded again, this time more surely. "I would never accuse you of such a thing, Harry. I like to think I know you better than that."Harry seemed relieved that they knew he wouldn't do such a thing, and Minerva walked them back up to Gryffindor tower, giving her young charge a hug before bidding them goodnight.XXXSpeculation on who would be the champions was all anyone would talk about the next day. While they didn't know the visiting students well enough, most thought Krum was the favorite from Durmstrang.The Weasley twins had a pool going on who would be the Hogwarts champion. Most houses were cheering for their own to get chosen. Harry personally thought that Cedric, who had just turned seventeen the previous month, was a likely choice. He would be happy to see Angelina get chosen, as her seventeenth birthday had taken place barely a week earlier, but he really felt that Hufflepuff deserved its chance to shine.Halloween passed quickly with the excitement, and soon enough, everyone was enjoying a rather fantastic feast, complete with gigantic pumpkins and live bats. Harry had to applaud Hagrid for the pumpkins, and Flitwick for his impressive charmed carvings, though he thought the professor may have gone a little too far, after a first year ran away screaming as a troll carving raised its club above its head as if to smash her. It was amusing, perhaps to everyone but the first year girl in question.As the food disappeared, Dumbledore stood up and made his way to stand next to the Goblet. The flames had slowly been turning purple, with a reddish tinge, over the last few hours. "Now that you are all fortified with food and drink, it is time for the champions to be chosen! It appears that the Goblet is almost ready to make its decision." Barely a minute later, the flames turned bright red and a piece of parchment shot out. Dumbledore plucked it out of the air. "The champion for Beaubaxtons is… Fleur Delacour!"The silver-haired witch Ginny had identified as being at least part Veela stood up, flinging her hair over her shoulder and heading to the front of the hall, where she was directed to a small door behind the head table. Once more, most of the males in the room stared after her. More than one was drooling.The flames turned red again, and Dumbledore read the next name. "The champion for Durmstrang is… Viktor Krum!"The Quidditch star stood up to massive applause, and stoically followed Fleur.Dumbledore caught the third piece of parchment. "The champion for Hogwarts is… Cedric Diggory!"Someone standing outside the Great Hall may have thought a bomb had gone off, the explosion of sound was so loud. Everyone was cheering as the likeable Hufflepuff joined his fellow champions. Slytherin was less enthusiastic, but Blaise, Daphne, and the members of the DA were cheering for their friend. It had expanded quite a bit in the last few weeks, and now included many third and fourth years as well. They had had to restructure the groups, and were now focused more on separating the students by which subject they needed help with, though Harry's stipulation that different houses work together had not changed. It caused some tension, but his fellow classmates were slowly getting used to it. It was slow going, but even the Slytherin students were becoming integrated in the group.In Slytherin, about half the third years were coming regularly, and in fourth year, Millicent Bullstrode and Tracey Davis had joined, and Theodore Nott seemed to be on his way, if the rather confusing conversation he had had with Blaise the week before was any indication.Hufflepuff was of course ecstatic that their house would be represented, and Ravenclaw was supporting the significant other of one of their own. Gryffindor was just happy that the champion hadn't come from Slytherin, though of course, all of the DA members were cheering as loudly as Hufflepuff. Cedric was well liked amongst his peers.Dumbledore waited until the noise died down, before he smiled. "Yes, yes, well met to all the champions! Now that they have been chosen, we will –"But he stopped, as the flames turned red once more, and a fourth piece of parchment was spat out. He unfolded it, somehow knowing what would be written there, and called out, "Harry Potter."___Chapter 19Well, here's yet another chapter that I think many of you have been waiting for, in more ways than one. Enjoy!Disclaimer: not mineHarry blinked. And then blinked again. He looked around, seeing all the eyes on him, and swallowed."Harry Potter," Dumbledore called out again, also looking in his direction.He turned to Ginny, his eyes pleading.Ginny nodded, understanding. "I know you didn't do it, Harry," she said, voice wavering as the implications began to make themselves known to her.Hermione and Neville looked worried, as Harry turned towards them, and stated calmly and surely, "I didn't enter myself."They nodded, believing him, as Dumbledore called for him a third time. Ron didn't say anything, but he did have a somewhat hostile look on his face.With the dread settling in his stomach and making him regret eating so much, Harry slowly made his way towards the door that the other champions had disappeared behind. His look at Dumbledore was partly accusing, partly searching. Wasn't it the headmaster's responsibility to make sure things like this didn't happen? What if this was just another one of his tests? If he hadn't had that dream about Voldemort, he may have seriously considered that line of thought.He heard some muttering from the room as the door closed, though it wasn't from as many people as he would have thought.Unbeknownst to him, the members of the DA were quickly reassuring nonmembers that the Harry Potter they had come to know over the last couple of months wouldn't have entered himself. He had made a point of shooting down several wide-eyed first years when they asked if he wished he could compete, stating the dangers, and his wish to live a long, healthy life. He had also impressed upon them how much he hated the fame.The three champions looked up as he entered. Fleur was the first to speak. "Yes? Do zey need us for somting?"Harry just shook his head numbly, as the cavalry arrived behind him. Minerva immediately went to his side, giving him a reassuring one-armed hug. He looked at her, their conversation from the previous night coming to the forefront of his mind. She nodded her understanding.Ludo Bagman was positively beaming, even as Madam Maxime spluttered, "What is ze meaning of this, Dumbly-door? I do not recall reading in ze rules zat ze host school gets two champions!"Fleur, Victor, and Cedric looked at Harry, Fleur and Victor with suspicion, and Cedric with worry."Vat do you mean?" Victor asked, his brow furrowed.Ludo Bagman was bouncing on his toes now. "An unprecedented surprise, indeed!" He grinned. "It would seem that Mr. Potter is our fourth champion!"Minerva shook her head. "Surely there is a way out of this. Harry didn't enter himself, how can he be bound to compete?"Snape sneered, "Of course he entered himself. Just like his father, arrogant down to the last –""Be quiet, Severus," Minerva snapped, causing both Harry and Cedric to smile, looking at each other in amusement as the Transfiguration professor cut off the Potions master. "If you weren't so set on your petty revenge, you would be able to see what's right before your eyes." She turned to Dumbledore. "Wasn't it your job to make sure this didn't happen? Where were your protections?"Dumbledore had no wish to be on the wrong side of a maternal Minerva, so he just focused on Harry. "Harry, did you enter your name?" Harry shook his head. "Did you ask an older student to do it for you?"Harry shook his head again, standing up a little straighter as his eyes flashed. "I've already got all the fame I can stand, professor. And I certainly have no need of more money." There was a definite bite to his words as his gaze shifted to the Potions professor for a moment, before turning back to the headmaster."It's quite an interesting situation," Moody grunted, stepping forward. "The Goblet's a highly magical object, tricky to fool, nothing a fourth year would be able to do, no matter how advanced he may be. A strong confundus may work, perhaps to trick it into thinking there's a fourth school competing." His magical eye whirled in every direction. "The fact that he's been entered suggests a more nefarious purpose here. Someone probably wants Potter harmed, and sees this tournament as a way to make that happen."Harry's mind went to the threat he had received from Malfoy at the World Cup that summer. There was no doubt in his mind in that instant that Voldemort was gaining strength.The professors turned to Crouch, who had remained silent up to this point. "I'm afraid the rules are binding. As of this moment, Mr. Potter is our fourth champion."Ludo clapped his hands. "Well then! The first task will take place on the twenty-fourth of November, and will be a test of your daring and courage. As such, you will not be told what the task will entail until the morning of. You will be allowed nothing but your wand."The gathering broke up after that, with Minerva leading Cedric and Harry through the now empty Great Hall.When they reached the point where Cedric would turn left to the Hufflepuff common room, he stopped and turned to face Harry. "I believe you, Harry," he told the younger boy. "From what I've learned in the last few months, you're not a liar. If you say you didn't do it, you didn't. I'll make sure my housemates know that too."Harry nodded gratefully. He had known that Susan would stand beside him, but he hadn't been sure about the rest of their house. "Thanks, Cedric," he replied.Minerva smiled, bidding the prefect good night, with a parting, "Five points to Hufflepuff, Mr. Diggory, for showing true loyalty."Cedric grinned, and waved to the two before disappearing down the hall.Minerva left Harry at the Fat Lady's portrait, with a parting hug and a promise to inform Sirius and Remus of the situation.Harry took a deep breath and steeled himself to enter the common room.There was less noise coming from the room than he had expected, but the reason was made perfectly clear when he cleared the portrait hole and saw Ginny taking her brothers to task for actually thinking Harry would have entered himself.Fred and George looked properly chastised, and Harry couldn't help but smile slightly at the sight.Ron was standing off to the side, looking bemused, but there were traces of guilt in his expression that hinted to Harry that he may have said something about his competing in the tournament, and had been reamed out by Ginny as well.Hermione was the first one to notice him, and her squeal drew all their attention. People started to clap and cheer, but Harry just held up one hand – the one that wasn't currently being crushed by Hermione's hug – and told them what he had told the professors and other champions. "I did not enter my name," he implored, his bright green eyes even more piercing now that they were unhidden by glasses. "I don't need any more fame or fortune, and I really don't want to do this. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter that I didn't enter myself, just the fact that I was chosen means that I am magically bound to compete. I thank you all for your support, and I promise to do my upmost to not get myself killed."There was some scattered laughter, and fortunately, it seemed like most of them actually believed him. He suspected the efforts he had been making this year to actually get to know his peers had helped.He met Ginny's gaze, and jerked his eyes upwards, as his free hand held up one finger covertly. She nodded, and he carefully extracted himself from Hermione, promising her that they would talk more tomorrow, before he went up to bed.The gathering in the common room broke up soon after, and Seamus and Dean entered their dormitory first, assuring Harry that they believed him, but confiding that they would be rooting for him. Harry nodded, relieved. Those two had joined the DA a couple of weeks earlier, and Dean had come to Harry a few days later, almost thanking him on bended knee as he explained that he had received his first ever E in Transfiguration, thanks to the study group. Harry was proud of his dorm mate. Dean was a nice guy, but he and Seamus were not what he would call studious, so an E was a huge deal. Normally, those two tended to average A's across the board.Neville and Ron entered next, and didn't say much to their friend, knowing that they would all get together to talk tomorrow.The other four quickly fell asleep, but Harry couldn't. His mind was too overloaded, so he just lay there, thinking, until one o'clock, when he quietly got up and headed down to the common room.Ginny was waiting for him, as arranged. She wasted no time in jumping up to give him a big hug, clinging to him as if he might vanish at any moment.Harry carefully led her to the sofa nearest to the dying fireplace, and waited until she was calm enough to let go."Oh, Harry, I'm so scared for you. What did the professors say?"Harry grimaced. "Well, the visiting professors are furious, they seemed to think we were trying to cheat. Snape of course didn't believe me, blaming it on my arrogance." Ginny growled. "Dumbledore didn't really say much, but I got the impression he's trying not to appear too partial to any side. Aunt Minerva was definitely defending me, you should have seen her shut Snape up! And Moody thinks that someone entered my name to try and get me killed."Ginny gasped, but she stifled her reaction quickly. She reached for his hand and held on tightly. "Harry…"Harry quieted her by resting one finger on her lips. His eyes were kind, and there was a slight smile as he reassured her. "Gin, when have you ever known me to give up? We'll keep practicing. With you and Hermione watching my back, how could I lose?"Ginny smiled, but she didn't try to speak. Harry lowered his hand, and she leaned into him, pulling her feet up onto the sofa and curling them underneath her as she snuggled into his side.Harry for his part just lifted his arm to give her space, and then lowered it across her back. He began rubbing small circles subconsciously, and Ginny let out a sigh of satisfaction.For a few moments, they just sat there contentedly, before Ginny spoke up. "Harry?" Harry let out a questioning sound, indicating that he was listening. Ginny paused, unsure how to continue, but she forced herself to speak. "Did you really mean what you said to my brothers this summer?"Harry shifted so that he could look at her, as he thought back to that conversation he had had in the sitting room of the Burrow the day before the Quidditch World Cup. Ginny's worried brown eyes stared back. He smiled. "I can't really explain why, Gin, but somehow, you and I, we just fit. I know we're young, but why does it feel so right to be with you? Why do you fit so perfectly in my arms?"Ginny blushed, but she couldn't help but smile. "So what happens now?" she asked.Harry lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. "I'm not really sure," he admitted. "This tournament's going to put a big spotlight on me. Are you sure you want to be a part of that?"Ginny sat up sharply. "Harry James Potter," she growled, "If you think I would ever abandon you, just because of a little extra attention –" she began, but was cut off quickly by a rather surprising source.Harry's mouth closed on hers, and suddenly, she couldn't really think. Her lips molded to his, and she felt herself kissing him back. She suddenly realized what people meant when they talked about fireworks going off. The ones in her mind were closer to Fred and George's impressive displays.Harry pulled back after a few moments, looking uncertain. He almost looked like he wanted to apologize, but didn't get a chance when Ginny leaned forward, going in for a second kiss.It was still just as chaste, but something happened between the two. Ginny felt something within her respond to Harry's presence, and somehow, she knew it was her magic.When they separated this time, Harry looked slightly dazed. "Did you feel that?" he asked curiously.Ginny pondered what she had experienced. "Like a pulling sensation in my chest?" Harry nodded. Ginny sat back a little bit more, and felt something even more powerful. She looked down at Harry's chest, and then back at his face. "Does it feel like there's some sort of… link… between us?"Harry nodded slowly, touching his own chest, and then reaching out to let one hand hover in front of hers. He could almost see it, like a thick rope that linked their chests. Their hearts. His eyes widened, and he stared at Ginny. Did she see it too?Ginny was too busy watching him, but when he seemed to be touching something in thin air, she looked down. There was a slight shimmer that looked almost like a golden rope, hanging in the air between them. "Harry," she whispered, awestruck.Harry reached out to grasp her hand, and she gasped. Where there had just been a shimmer before, a mere suggestion, she could now see a defined rope, golden braided and secure. No, see wasn't right. She could sense it, it was definitely there, but it wasn't something anyone else would be able to feel.They studied this new development for a while longer, until a noise from above drew their attention back to the present. Harry stood up and offered Ginny his hand, which she took gratefully, and didn't let go until they were at the stairway leading off to the different dormitories. Harry leaned down and gave Ginny a last goodnight kiss, and watched as she ascended the staircase, noting with interest that the strange rope between them stretched a bit, thinning slightly, but it didn't vanish. When she had disappeared into her dormitory, Harry finally returned to his.Sleep came much easier this time around.XXXThe next day was both a trial, and much easier than he could have expected. Harry met Ginny in the common room for breakfast, and was able to give her a good morning kiss before the rest of their friends showed up. Hermione looked at them, assessing, but fortunately, neither Neville nor Ron seemed awake enough to notice anything.Cedric and Susan had apparently gotten to all the Hufflepuffs the night before, and further gave him their backing when the two of them approached Harry at breakfast and publically announced their support. Cho and Luna were the next ones to find Harry, as he and his friends sat down at Gryffindor table, and also gave him their support, and wished him luck. Harry was glad that Luna had become much more of a leader in Ravenclaw, and as such, was less prone to teasing than she had been her first two years. Cho had definitely taken her fellow leader under her wing, refusing to allow the ridicule of a fellow student to continue. And with the position that Luna now held, fewer students were actually inclined to be as cruel. She still garnered odd looks frequently, but not as many - and certainly not as many Ravenclaws - were mocking her for her strange views.The Slytherins remained aloof, and he definitely was on the receiving end of a few glares, mostly from Malfoy and his cronies, but those whom he had gotten to know – Blaise and Daphne, most of the first and second years, some of the third years, and to a lesser extent Millicent and Tracey – gave him subtle nods. He nodded back, knowing that they didn't want to do anything to distance themselves from their housemates.A Hogsmeade visit was announced for that Saturday, and Harry wasted no time in asking Ginny. He received a knowing look from Hermione, a bemused look from Ron, and a congratulatory grin from Neville.Susan caught up with them as they left the Great Hall, and Harry asked them to meet in the DA lounge after classes. They agreed, and headed off in their separate directions – Susan to Charms, Ginny to Potions, and Neville, Harry, Ron, and Hermione back to the common room for a free period before Transfiguration.XXXShortly after three o'clock found all six students seated around one of the tables in the DA lounge. Once they were all there, Harry threw up some privacy wards, earning a look of approval from Hermione, before he began to explain in detail what had happened the previous night.Ron, Neville, Susan, and Ginny laughed at McGonagall's chewing out of Snape, and even Hermione cracked a smile.When he finished, Hermione leaned forward intently. Harry half expected her to take out a piece of parchment and start taking notes. "What did Dumbledore do with all this, Harry?"Harry grimaced. "Nothing," he replied. Ginny also made a growling sound. "He stood back and watched as professors accused me, and suggested that someone was trying to get me killed, and Mr. Crouch said I had no choice, and he just did nothing."Ginny's next comment certainly would have gotten her mouth rinsed out with soap, had her mother been present. As it was, the current company just looked impressed. Harry chuckled. "You've been hanging out with Fred and George too much," he commented.Ginny blushed a little. "Actually, Bill taught me that one," she admitted, smiling back.Susan leaned forward. "Harry, you should tell my aunt. She should know what's going on."Harry nodded. "Aunt Minerva said she would tell Sirius and Remus, so I'm going to guess that Amelia will know by the end of the day." The two shared a knowing grin.Sirius and Amelia had only gotten closer in the last couple of months. Harry was starting to expect that he would soon be hearing about Sirius moving out of McGonagall Castle and into the Bones Estate. He wondered where that would leave him, should Sirius move. He loved living with Aunt Minerva, but he wanted to live with his godfather as well.The six friends spent the next couple of hours discussing the situation, and putting together a plan to help Harry with the significant disadvantage he found himself with. Hermione's schedule was methodical, and would cover the most important hexes, jinxes, charms, transfigurations, and defensive spells from fourth and fifth year. They would move on to sixth year if they finished, but Harry wasn't sure if they would. It was quite a comprehensive list.As they were packing up to head to dinner, Harry coughed, drawing their attention. He took Ginny's hand and looked at her questioningly. She seemed confused only for a moment before she smiled her understanding, and nodded.Harry turned back to the other four students, and shuffled his feet slightly. "Erm, Ginny and I had something we wanted to tell you. We, well…"Ginny sighed, and shook her head exasperatedly. "What Harry's trying to say is that last night we finally stopped dancing around the issue and addressed it. We're dating, and we hope that you're happy for us."Hermione and Susan immediately hugged the two of them, and Neville expressed his own congratulations with a handshake.Ron grunted, and stepped forward. "I already said that I'm all right with it," he said, looking between the two. "It'll probably take some getting used to, but I guess if it has to be somebody, Harry's as good as you could get."Ginny smiled, and Harry smirked. "Was that a compliment?" he asked, looking between his best friend and his girlfriend.Ron shrugged, and stuck out his hand. "Congrats, mate."Harry shook it gratefully, and the six made their way to the Great Hall. Just before entering, Neville stopped, pulling Susan back with her. Stuttering, he asked, "Susan, I was wondering. Erm, would you be interested in going to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?"Susan smiled brilliantly. "I'd love to, Neville," she replied, beaming.Neville grinned, relieved, and they separated for dinner.So I think something's developing between Susan and Neville. Now here's the question: do you want to see them end up together? I'm still toying with the idea of Neville and Luna being the end couple, but I haven't decided anything yet. I don't think that will work out, simply because I've made Susan a part of their group early on, and there's not much of a place for Luna right now. But I listen to suggestions, and I'll see what I can do.___Chapter 20Well, I'm glad people are responding well to the NevilleSusan pairing. I do have a plan for Luna, so I don't think it would work out with her and Neville anyway. It won't be quite as smooth sailing, I think, since as several of you pointed out, most people don't find the person they're going to marry at fourteen - though it does seem that witches and wizards do find those significant others earlier than us mere muggles. Unless you're Harry and Ginny of course. They're not breaking up any time soon.Disclaimer: don't ownThe Hogsmeade trip was a rousing success, Harry thought. He was even surprised by Sirius and Remus, who had decided to come and see him in the village.The Marauders were ecstatic to learn that Harry was no longer single, and the smirks they wore foretold much teasing.They bought Harry and Ginny lunch, and then made themselves scarce, allowing the two Gryffindors to continue with their date.Harry hadn't really thought of what they would do, but as it turned out, he didn't really need to come up with anything. When he and Ginny were together, he didn't have to try. They wandered up and down the main street, stopping at Honeydukes, Zonkos, Scrivenshaft's, and Dervish and Bangs, before they wandered away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd, and spent the rest of the afternoon just talking, hand in hand. Harry told her more about growing up, his summer, his thoughts and fears on the tournament, and what he hoped to accomplish in the future. In return, Ginny told him more about her childhood, her fears and struggles, growing up the youngest girl in a family of boys, and what she had thought about for the future.When they entered the Great Hall for dinner that night, they both felt like it had been a wonderful day. Neville entered behind them, leading Susan over to the Hufflepuff table before joining them. His ear-to-ear grin told them all that he had enjoyed his day as well.Ron and Hermione had spent the day together by default, though it sounded like they had met up with a few students from the DA – Luna had joined them for lunch, and Blaise and Daphne had wandered through a few stores with them.XXXRon was a teenage boy, so he figured he should be used to his hormones playing with him. But as he sat at a table in the common room working on homework that his friends had all finished several days previously, he couldn't help but contemplate one certain witch who seemed to send his hormones for a ride on a daily basis.Hermione Granger had been a staple in his life for the last three years, and he had never really thought much about it. She was Hermione. But recently, he had begun to see her differently. She had done some growing up, just like they all had, and he had begun to actually realize that she was a girl.Their day in Hogsmeade had been nice, though he had been a bit put out to realize that with four of them pairing up, that left he and Hermione as the odd ones out. But he had had fun, and was happy to report that he hadn't put his foot in his mouth once.He didn't know if he would do anything with this newfound insight he had, but he vowed to think on it at a later time.XXXPotions class Monday morning got off to an interesting start. Malfoy tried to get a rise out of Harry, but it was Ron who threw the spell, which bounced off of Malfoy's.The fungus curse Malfoy used rebounded and hit Crabbe. Ron's toenail growing jinx knocked a chip out of the wall right behind Hermione, who ducked out of the way in barely enough time to avoid it.Snape's arrival was slightly less fortuitous, and he docked Gryffindor twenty points before sweeping inside and starting the lesson.Colin Creevey interrupted as they began, pulling Harry out for the wand-weighing ceremony. Harry stifled his groan and hurried to meet with the tournament officials.He was glad to see Minerva there as well. She gave him a small wink, and he smiled. He avoided a fake-looking woman who tried to corner him, and went to stand next to the other champions."Ah, good, now that we are all here, we can begin." Dumbledore gestured to Ollivander, who was seated at a wooden table.The old wandmaker nodded, and held out his hand for Krum. The Bulgarian placed his wand in the man's hands, and Ollivander nodded. "A Gregorovich creation if I am not mistaken. Hornbeam wood and Dragon Heartstring, ten and a quarter inches, correct?" Krum nodded. "Thicker than normal, and quite rigid, but if it works." He then made a fountain of wine appear. "In perfect working condition." He handed the wand back, and moved on to Fleur. "Hmm, this is an interesting creation. Nine and a half inches, rosewood and… my, oh my! Is that Veela hair?"Fleur nodded. "My grandmozzer's," she informed him.Ollivander nodded, creating a bouquet of roses from thin air, and handing it to the witch with a smile. "Very nice." Cedric was next. His ash wood and unicorn hair wand passed inspection, and soon enough the wandmaker was inspecting Harry's wand. "Yes, I remember this wand. Eleven inches, holly and phoenix feather. Nice and supple." He made a sweeping gesture, cleaning up the wine before handing it back to Harry and nodding at Dumbledore."Pictures!" Bagman cried, before the next few minutes descended into chaos, with the former Quidditch star arranging all the champions to his satisfaction, and then getting the photographer from the Daily Prophet to take the photos.Harry had just thought that he could get out of there without losing his mind, when he was once more cornered by the bottle blond woman with fake glasses and green fingernails."Harry, darling!" she cooed. "Rita Skeeter, I would just love to do an interview with you. How do you feel, being in this tournament against those so much older than you? Do you regret entering yourself now?"Minerva cut in before she could say anything more. Her voice was clipped, and it sounded like she was trying very hard not to hex the woman as she spoke. "Mr. Potter is not willing to speak with you, Ms. Skeeter. And as a minor, it falls to me, his guardian, to approve or disprove of interviews. If you publish a single word on him without his or my consent, you will face not only my wrath, but the combined wrath of the Potter and Black families." Her smile was not at all comforting. "Believe me, Lord Black takes his godson's wellbeing very seriously."Rita was left spluttering, as Minerva led the champions out of the room. "That was awesome, Professor," Cedric grinned. "I was about to hex her myself."Harry blushed at the protectiveness the older boy displayed. Cedric definitely seemed to have installed himself as Harry's older brother over the last couple of months, something Harry secretly enjoyed, but outwardly tried not to show how touched he was."Professor, why were you there?" he asked curiously. "Shouldn't you be in class right now? I know Susan has Transfiguration."Minerva smiled. "One of the things Sirius and I have discussed, Mr. Potter. As you are underage, legally, you are entitled to have your guardian with you at formal functions. I wanted to be there, just in case. I know how pushy Skeeter can be. She also takes quite a few liberties with her articles, so be on your guard around her, and know that if she publishes anything without your consent, you do have rights. You are a minor, and she needs approval first, so tell me, if she shows up again."Harry nodded, and blushed as Cedric threw an arm around his shoulders. "Don't worry, Professor. I'll look after him."Minerva looked at the Prefect and smiled gratefully. "Thank you, Mr. Diggory. I am very pleased with your display of caring for your fellow student."All three of them knew that Minerva was talking about more than just that moment. She was pleased that he had taken such an interest in her young charge.Minerva said her farewells before heading back to her classroom. Cedric left Harry at the Charms corridor, before he headed off to his next class.XXXThe DA lesson on Thursday was a relief for Harry. He had been the subject of much whispering and pointing, and he was eerily reminded of his first week at Hogwarts, when everyone was ogling the Boy Who Lived. He was happy that there wasn't much hostility, but he still didn't appreciate all the attention. Being around the DA students allowed him to get some normalcy. The students in the club weren't treating him like a celebrity, so it was nice for Harry to be able to just be Harry for a little bit, without worrying about what everyone else was saying.He was interested to hear from the Slytherin contingent at the meeting, that Malfoy had tried to cause some trouble by creating badges that insulted him, but he hadn't been able to find enough people willing to wear them.XXXThere wasn't a cloud in the sky on the morning of November the twenty fourth. Harry woke up feeling like his stomach was lined with lead. Hagrid had made him go down and meet him in the middle of the night a few days previously, and he couldn't believe it.Dragons! Apparently, they had to get something past the creatures. Harry and his friends had put their heads together to come up with a plan, and it was Ginny who suggested using the summoning charm to retrieve his broom. "You're a fantastic flyer, Harry. If anyone could get past a dragon on a broomstick, it would be you."They didn't have anything better to go with, so Harry decided to try it.He had informed Cedric of the task, as he assumed both of the other champions would already know, and he wanted to even the playing field. Hagrid had appeared to be on a date with Madam Maxime when he had shown him the dragons, and he had seen Karkaroff skulking around the forest a few times.Ginny had to force Harry to eat some toast for breakfast, which tasted like cardboard to him, and he hoped it didn't just come back up later.McGonagall came to collect him from the Gryffindor table, leading him out onto the grounds, offering him what support she could. Ginny walked with them until they reached the arena, giving him a kiss before going to find their friends in the stands. Minerva hugged her charge before she also left, and Harry entered the tent set up for the champions, his stomach churning.Cedric gave him a small smile, which he returned, before heading over to a corner and sitting down. He put his Occlumency studies to good use, and tried to quiet his mind.Bagman and Crouch entered the tent a few minutes later, calling all the champions over. "Now, inside this bag, we have what you will be facing, so, ladies first!" Bagman held out the small sack to Fleur, who pulled out a model of a Common Welsh Green dragon with a number two on it.Viktor was next, pulling out a Chinese Fireball, and the number three slot.Harry noted with interest that neither champion seemed surprised, confirming his theory that Maxine and Karkaroff had already told them.Cedric's pull revealed a Swedish Short Snout with a number one around its neck.With some dread, Harry pulled out the last dragon – the Hungarian Horntail. His dragon had a number four around its neck.Bagman set the sack down and clapped his hands together. "Now, as you may have guessed, each of these models represents a very real dragon that you will shortly be facing. Each one has been given the charge of guarding a nest of eggs. Your task will be to get past it and retrieve the golden egg hidden amongst the others. That egg will give you your clue to the second task."Bagman then disappeared, with Crouch following behind, a scowl on his face.A whistle blew a few minutes later, and Cedric took a deep breath, casting one more glance at Harry.Harry smiled encouragingly. "Good luck," he offered.Cedric smiled. "You too," he replied, before exiting.Harry looked at the other two champions, and then went back to his corner, returning to his Occlumency.He was surprised when, a few minutes later, he felt a presence sit down next to him. Opening his eyes, he saw Fleur watching him curiously. Viktor was also staring at him, though his confusion was more masked."What are you doing?" the Veela asked.Harry studied the girl in front of him. She was beautiful, no question, but to be honest, he really didn't see why so many guys were falling over themselves for her. He much preferred red hair. She had also been rather cold to him for the last month, what little interaction they had. She clearly had not believed him about not entering himself, and she rather treated him like a little boy. He was younger, sure, but she didn't have to act so self-righteous.Harry shrugged. "Meditation," he replied. "It's one of the steps to learning Occlumency, and it helps to quiet the mind."Viktor moved forward at this. "You are learning Occlumency?" He looked genuinely interested, so Harry relaxed his posture and began to talk about his progress. He was learning, though it was slow going. The hardest part was building the walls. Every time he thought he had it, they collapsed, and he had to start over again.Viktor and Fleur both seemed interested, and they spent the next few minutes talking about their various attempts at the art. When the whistle blew, they were all surprised.Fleur stood up, looking suddenly nervous."Good luck," Harry said, with Viktor echoing the sentiment.Fleur looked back at them, and smiled gratefully. Their discussion had been a good way to pass the time and keep their minds off what they were about to do. She was also surprised at how the youngest champion acted. He was much more mature than most his age. And it was quite a nice surprise to be able to hold a conversation with two men who genuinely wanted to talk to her, and who weren't too caught up staring and drooling to speak.Viktor and Harry spent some more time talking about the mind arts, trying not to pay attention to the cheers or gasps of the audience out of sight.When the whistle blew again, Viktor stood up. He offered Harry a sort of smile, before he left the tent, and Harry was alone.It took another ten minutes for the whistle to sound again, and Harry entered the arena.He took a moment to get his bearings, before he immediately ducked behind a boulder.And not a moment too soon, as a pillar of fire torched the area he had just been standing, and the crowd gasped. He tuned out the noise, and Bagman's commentary, and simply stuck his wand in the air, crying out, "Accio Firebolt!"He then moved to another location, not wanting the dragon to figure out where he was.It took a minute for his broom to reach him, and when he saw it hurtling through the air, he wasted no more time in jumping out from behind his current hiding location, and landing perfectly on the broom.The crowd cheered, and he was certain that he could hear Ginny's voice loudest of all.He ducked and dodged around the dragon, trying to get it to move. It took about five minutes before he finally got it airborne, and then it was only a matter of executing a few crazy seeker moves. Once he had the egg in hand, he immediately flew off, narrowly avoiding another stream of fire. He didn't stop until he was at the exit.The crowd was cheering loudly as Harry landed, holding up the egg for them all to see.Before he could do anything else, he was slammed backwards by a large object.This object was capped with bright red hair, and Harry recognized that flowery scent immediately. He clutched Ginny just as tightly, and comforted her as she appeared to be sobbing into his shoulder.When she stepped back a minute later, she seemed embarrassed, but Harry just smoothed her hair lovingly as he leaned in to kiss her.A wolf-whistle separated them, and Harry looked slightly embarrassed to have been caught by the entire school, though the whistle appeared to have come from his mangy godfather, who would definitely be getting a chew toy for Christmas, Harry swore.Sirius, Remus, and Amelia were waiting off to the side, by the rest of Harry's friends, all of whom were wearing identical knowing smirks.Sirius started to move forward to congratulate his godson – both on the task, and on getting the girl – when yet another large object hurtled past him and got to Harry first.Sirius stared. Remus stared. The rest of the current Hogwarts students stared.Minerva didn't care though, as she hugged her young charge for all he was worth.Harry blushed at the affection, but he was pleased with it nonetheless. Sirius was next, followed by Remus. Before the rest of his friends could do anything though, the judges began to announce his scores.Dumbledore gave him a nine, Bagman made a silvery ten appear, Maxine gave him an eight, and there were multiple outbursts when Karkaroff went with a five.Ginny was growling. "How dare he. He gave Krum a ten, and his dragon ended up crushing half the eggs."Harry shrugged, just happy to be done with the task in one piece. He didn't protest when Ginny led him towards the healer's tent.Madam Pomfrey clucked at him as she pointed him towards a bed, muttering about the dangers of the tournament, as she looked him over for injuries. Apart from a few scrapes and bruises, he was deemed fit.Pomfrey left to take care of the other champions, as Ginny began to fill Harry in. Minerva had left them before they went to get Harry checked out, but the rest of the group had followed the couple, though they had to stay outside as there wasn't enough room inside the tent.Ginny grasped Harry's hand in hers, and indicated each champion in turn as she told her boyfriend what they had done. Cedric had begun well, transfiguring a rock into a Labrador to distract the dragon. He had been successful at first, but the dragon had lost interest after a few minutes, and went after the sixth year. Cedric would be fine, but he was currently being treated by Madam Pomfrey for burns on his face.Fleur had tried to use some sort of charm – Ginny said she thought it may have been her Veela powers – to lure the dragon into some sort of trance. It had worked, but the dragon had let out a stream of fire that ended up lighting her skirt.Viktor had used a conjunctivitis curse on his dragon, though it hadn't worked out as well as he had planned, and the dragon ended up stumbling around blind and crushing half the eggs."Come on," Ginny said, dragging him up. "If I know the twins, they've already got a party set up. Let's go celebrate."Harry smiled, giving the other champions a small wave as he left the tent.The others hung back to give Harry some privacy to say goodbye to his godfather, his godfather's girlfriend, and his honorary uncle, but soon enough they were all heading back inside the castle.Ginny's prediction was right; Fred and George had managed to cajole the house elves into providing a rather impressive looking spread of sandwiches and snacks, and they had apparently also used one of the secret passages to sneak into Hogsmeade, because there was also butterbeer and Honeydukes chocolate.Despite many requests, Harry refused to try and open the egg that night. He maintained that he had just completed the first task, and he wanted to just relax for the rest of the evening.Ginny was very supportive of this idea, and spent most of the night sitting on his lap, snuggling into her boyfriend, drinking butterbeer and smiling in contentment.Most of the Gryffindors gave them their space, recognizing that they just needed to be with each other.The last few weeks, Harry had noticed a change inside him. It had started that night with his and Ginny's first kiss. That chord between them – because he didn't really know what else to call it – seemed to connect them no matter the distance. He didn't know how far it went, but it was there when they were in separate classes, and between the common room and the Great Hall.The last few days, he had noticed something different; he could feel emotions that didn't belong to him. That didn't come from him. The best he could describe it was that they seemed to be coming from that strange glowing bond that connected him to Ginny.The common room emptied out around them, until finally, around midnight, it was just Harry and Ginny alone, as Neville dragged Ron up to the dorms with a wink at the couple still sitting by the fire.Harry grinned as Ginny turned around slightly so that she was facing her boyfriend. She smiled. She was feeling a sense of contentment mingling with her own, and her brow furrowed."Harry…" she trailed off, not exactly sure how to describe what she was thinking.Harry nodded, understanding what she was saying – or not saying. Her hand moved up to rest lightly on his chest, right where the chord was resting. The feeling was more pronounced now – happiness, belonging, but also an undercurrent of uncertainty.Ginny gasped. These excess emotions, they were coming from him! Their eyes locked, and Harry nodded, thoughtful."So we can feel each other's emotions," he commented, his voice barely above a whisper. "I wonder…" He trailed off, contemplating. Ginny gave him a minute before she huffed impatiently. Harry chuckled. "Sorry, Gin," he said. "I was just thinking we need to do a little more research in the library. That one book I found on bonds mentioned soul bonds, but only in passing. It didn't have much information, but there was a suggestion that soul bonded couples could feel the other's emotions."Ginny nodded. It made sense. "We'll be sure to fit that in, in between studying for the next task, and exams," she said wryly.Harry chuckled and nodded his agreement. A glance at his watch showed that it was time and passed for bed, so he sighed and escorted his girlfriend to the staircase, said goodnight, and then headed up to bed. They would have plenty of time to think this over tomorrow.