Tribulations in the Tournament

“Well, what do you want to do for the next twenty-one hours?” Hermione asked Harry as some first class people started coming in.

“I was sure you had a schedule for what we should do,” Harry asked, making her blush with embarrassment. “What’s the time zone difference?” Harry asked, reclining in his chair to match Hermione’s.

Hermione was thankful to him for changing the conversation. “Up to four hours,” she said, looking back up.

Harry looked over to her and smiled. “You are a walking atlas,” he said playfully.

“And knowing a lot of stuff is bad?” She countered.

“Of course not, seeing as it’s thanks to your ‘knowing stuff’ that I lived for seven years. Thanks… for everything. I don’t believe I say that a lot, so thanks.”

Hermione smiled back at him. “Harry, you don’t have to say that. Think of it as paying you back for saving me… how many times was it? About six times?” She counted in her head.

“I saved you that many times?” Harry asked, dumbfounded. “Well, you saved me a few more than six times, that’s for sure. Well I don’t plan on getting the opportunity to even the score.”

“That’s a definite. I didn’t know I saved you a lot.”

“Yeah, save somebody one time and you just keep on doing it, sometimes not even thinking about it. I believe you have a serious case of a ‘saving people thing’.”

Hermione laughed. “I can’t say I know what you mean, since you saved the whole world.”

“But not by myself,” Harry started seriously, looking Hermione square in the eyes. “You were the brains of the whole thing. I just followed my instincts.”

“I may have been the brains, but you are the leader,” Hermione said, looking back defiantly, as if daring him to counter.

Harry, however, was determined to give credit where credit was due. “Name one thing that I led that we succeeded in all by myself.” Harry mentally thought of all the things that Hermione did to help him.

“Dumbledore’s Army ( You talked me into it )… Breaking into Gringotts ( I was under the cloak while you were out in the open, risking your life ) and the Ministry ( both times, you helped me and I wouldn’t call the first break-in successful )… and just two weeks ago ( I died and you didn’t )… “

“Okay, I get your point,” Harry said with a small grin, “but what about the things that I did alone?”

Hermione, who didn’t notice the grin, continued. “The Triwizard Tournament.”

Harry decided to think out loud for Hermione to get the point. “You trained me and Crouch Jr. kept dropping hints.”

“The Chamber.”

“You gave me the clues, and Fawkes saved my sorry arse.”

“But I didn’t help you kill the Basilisk!”

“I would have looked it in the eye if you hadn’t warned me.”

“Battling Voldemort at the end of the Tournament.”

“And if I didn’t have the brother wand?”

“Taking out Quirrel.”

“All I had to do was touch the git.”

Hermione sighed, admitting defeat. “Well, that was all you did by yourself.”

“Exactly.” Harry said, looking ahead. “I hope you realize that without you or Ron… okay, mainly you… I wouldn’t have lived this far. My life is in your hands every year. And somehow… you always save it. Thanks.”

Hermione smiled brightly with pink cheeks and looked over to the window. They were moving the stairs that they use to load the plane with fuel. They were about to leave.

“It’s what friends do.” She said simply.

“Well, I’m very glad you’re my friend, then.” Harry said, giving her hand a squeeze.

“Thank you, Harry,” she said as she turned back to him. “You were the first friend I ever made, you know.”

“Did you know that you were the first friend I ever made… excluding Ron?”

“You know, I just might stop by the Dursleys when I find out where they are.” She said, scowling, as though if they got him some better clothes and didn’t keep him in the dreaded cupboard all those years, Harry would at least have a few friends.

“And I’m going to help.” Said Harry proudly, trying to lighten the mood.

Hermione then remembered something. “Harry?” She asked.

“Hmm?” said Harry, buckling his seatbelt and reaching in his pocket for bubble gum.

“You’re going to show me that cupboard.” It wasn’t a statement, but a command.

“Sure.” He said happily as he pulled out a stick of gum and kept it in his hand. After seeing the shocked expression on Hermione’s face, he explained. “They can’t do anything to me now or ever again. And I think I want to show them what magic I can do.” He thought for a moment, them smiled widely. “If you want to irk them off, use the word ‘magic’ a lot.”

Hermione looked at the brightly smiling Harry and smiled herself. They stared at each other for a moment, just glad to be in each other’s company, until the pilot started speaking in the PA system.

The roach’s thirty minutes of orders were up, and it crawled onto Harry’s lap. Harry looked around to see that no one was watching, so he unwrapped the cloak and pulled both of their wands out and handed Hermione’s to her. Hermione put her wand in her pocked while Harry removed the sticking charm. Harry noted that at the same time he cast the counter-spell, the Pilot’s voice distorted for a short moment. Hermione noted this too, apparently.

“So magic does interfere with electricity, then?” She asked curiously.

“I guess so. I just thought it was another ward at Hogwarts. Do you think we can find a spell that can make a phone or something work near magic?”

“I don’t think it would be possible, but I’ll try and find out. Harry, Our luggage is crawling away,” She said, looking at the roach crawl down Harry’s leg with a bit of amusement and disgust.

wand and transfigured the roach into a brown, leather purse. He put it under the chair in front of Hermione like the pilot said and sat back. He handed the pack of gum to Hermione and two ear plugs. He then took out two for himself, ready to put them on.

When the pilot stopped talking, they put the earplugs on and Hermione started chewing her gum. They looked out of the window and saw the plane slowly back up… slowly turn onto a lane… going faster… almost at the end of the stretch… lifting up … higher … higher… and above the clouds, on its way to Australia. Harry looked out of the window the entire time in awe. A broom had nothing on this. He then wondered how high he could go on a broom. He would have to try that the next time he had a chance.

They took their earplugs out and put them in their pockets for when they land.

“Well, what do you want to do? We just woke up, and the broom flight made sure that I’ll stay awake for a while.”

Hermione reached in the back pocket and pulled out a magazine. “Well… I wanted to talk to you about… Hogwarts.” She said nervously.

“Yeah?” Asked Harry, seeing her fumbling the pages.

“Well… as you know, we didn’t go to school last year… and I was wondering… “

“If we could have one more year at Hogwarts?” Harry finished.

Hermione nodded. “Hermione, are you really that desperate to take your NEWTS?”

“Not exactly… it’s something else that I always wanted to do… well, be… “

Harry smiled. “Head Girl, huh? You’ll definitely get it if you went back.”

“Harry, there’s a chance I’ll get it.” Hermione explained, blushing at the compliment.

“Yes, a two-hundred and ten percent chance. You have the initials, right? HG, the HG. I can see that.” Harry said jokingly.

“So… will you come with me?”

“I’ll have to think about it… I mean, I never thought about returning. I could be Quidditch captain again, but I don’t really feel like ending up in the Hospital Wing this year. I think Madame Pomfrey has a trophy for me somewhere.” Said Harry. “I know Ron isn’t going… unless… give me some more time to think, Hermione. Alright?”

“Okay.” Hermione said, feeling hurt. If Harry wasn’t going, she didn’t want to go. Harry was the only true friend she ever had, besides Ginny. Students will try to be her friend because of her being friends with Harry, which will drive her mad.

“Hermione, I said I’ll think about it.” Said Harry, hearing the hurt in her voice. “And, just to tell you, it’s leaning towards a yes.”

Hermione smiled brightly. She leaned over and hugged him fiercely. “If I keep getting hugs like that, my answer will be yes.” Said Harry before he could stop himself. Hermione’s eyes widened at that statement, but Harry couldn’t see her face. She then whispered, “By the time we get back, your answer will be yes, then.” She replied. She couldn’t believe what just came out of her mouth. Am I flirting?

Harry had the same thought. Is she flirting? With a very pink face, she pulled back and pulled out a pair of headphones in front of her. She leaned into the chair once more, plugging the headphones into the jack on her armrest and closed her eyes, not seeing the baffled look on Harry’s face.

As she was sleeping, she was thinking of what happened during the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament…

Hermione was in the stands, sitting next to Ron, waiting for Harry to come out with the cup in his hands and a wide grin on his face. They were waiting for a few hours. Ron was sleeping since an hour into the task, but not snoring ( ‘Thank Merlin’ , Hermione thought) and the twins were still placing bets on the game, with Harry at the top. That made Hermione smile a little.

Then, rumors started spreading that someone died… no, someone was killed… or scared to death—in the maze. Hermione knew that all rumors are sketchy, but they all had one thing in common… someone might be dead. She instantly began to worry and prayed that it wasn’t Harry. If something happened to him, she didn’t know what she was going to do. She couldn’t seem to think of her life without Harry Potter. It was just… completely illogical.

‘But nothing could have happened’ , Hermione told herself mentally. ‘Dumbledore specifically said that they made precautions and none of the champions would be in mortal danger.’ Fleur had been taken out of the maze just five minutes prior, so only Harry, Viktor, and Cedric were left in the maze.

She then saw a small flash of blue light in the maze. At first, Hermione relaxed with the others in the stands. She was just glad it was not a green light. Then, she looked curiously at the maze where the light had come from. It was the center, where the cup was supposed to be. Was the cup glowing? She thought. ‘Was it to show the champions where the cup was, so they could have the chance to find it faster?’ She dismissed that thought almost immediately. The light wasn’t that strong for the champions to see, as they can’t see to the other side of the large, bushy walls. They wouldn’t be able to see the light by looking up from down there, either. ‘Was a charm placed on the cup as a trap?’ She asked herself frightfully.

Apparently, Professor Dumbledore must have reached a grim conclusion as well, as he stood up from his purple squishy chair that he transfigured from a leaf and ran with the agility that an old man shouldn’t have over to the entrance of the maze. The teachers quickly stood up also, but stopped short when Dumbledore raised his hand for them to stay still.

Hermione saw the most serious look she has ever seen on the Headmaster’s face. Something was very wrong.

Hermione stood up. “Ron, let’s go,” She said grimly.

“Why? Wha’s happened?” Ron said sleepily. Apparently he was just waking up. The blue light or the murmuring probably did it.

“Just come on,” Hermione said impatiently.

Ron nodded and followed her curiously as she ran down the stands, pulling out her wand as she ran. She yelled out “ Accio Marauder’s Map!” and prayed that her summoning spell is as powerful as Harry’s. She heard a small whistling noise and arched her head back. The blank parchment came soaring to her hand.

She touched it with her wand and hurriedly said, “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.” She looked at the words filling out the parchment, and looked for Harry’s name. Harry’s name was not in the maze. She looked closer. Only Krum was in the maze, and he seemed to be walking very slowly for someone who wanted to win. Harry and Cedric were missing.

She started running faster, praying that nothing had happened to him. She didn’t notice Ron tire out and stare at her in disbelief and shock, wondering what’s gotten into her. He slowed down a bit while she kept running faster and faster, soon skidding to a stop as she reached Professor Dumbledore. Too out of breath to speak, she handed the map to the professor. At first, he looked intrigued and impressed by the map’s magic, and then looked for Harry’s name. Hermione was finally able to catch her breath after a few seconds.

“Harry… Cedric… not there.” Ron finally got to them and stopped in his tracks when he heard what Hermione said. “What!” Ron shouted as Dumbledore was shocked also, as he found the maze and saw only one name in it. Dumbledore then ran to the staff, ordering them to surround the maze, while he starts to go inside of it.

Shortly after, Professor Dumbledore came out of the maze levitating a stunned Viktor Krum.

He walked over to the teachers and told them something, but she was to distraught to hear anything but one word, which was all she needed to know for the tears to fall and her knees to crash down to the ground to hunch over.

‘Imperius’.

Someone planned this. Someone wanted to do Harry harm, and it was most likely a Death Eater, the same one who placed his name in the cup, most likely. She immediately suspected Karkaroff, but the thought left her as quick as it came. He wouldn’t have Imperio’ed his own student. He would’ve put the Unforgivable on Cedric. She looked up at the teachers and saw that Karkaroff was in a panic, or pretending to be in one. He was looking at Snape rolling up his sleeve and although she couldn’t see what Snape was pointing at, Hermione could bet that it was the Dark Mark. She saw Karkaroff walk away slowly towards the Forbidden Forest. She was convinced that he didn’t do it and was probably getting away so they could (possibly wrongly) place the blame on him. She resumed her crying.

Over an hour later, the teachers all returned to have a meeting and murmurs were even louder, while Ron was walking around aimlessly, thinking, with a small frown on his lipsas he kept taking subtle glances at Hermione. She was crying and on her knees on the Quidditch Pitch as she had been doing since she came down to the pitch, but now whispering.

“… Harry… please be safe… please be safe, Harry… please… don’t leave us… don’t leave me… “

Just then, Harry and Cedric appear out of nowhere and Harry landed face-first on the ground, clutching Cedric’s side with one hand and the cup with his other hand. Harry was shaking madly, his arm deeply bruised, but Cedric was completely still. Hermione would have jumped for joy if she was still on the ground. Harry had won the tournament, (even though he was bleeding, he was still alive) but Cedric fainted in the maze, so he brought him out. That at least, is what Hermione thought… until she saw that Cedric’s eyes were opened—and he wasn’t blinking. Cedric Diggory was dead.

Before she could even move, the professors and Minister Fudge ran over to Harry with Dumbledore getting there first. Hermione stood up and was about to run over to him until a certain greasy-haired git got in the way. Professor Snape, clutching his forearm, urgently told Hermione and an approaching Ron to leave the area, but they refused.

“I’m not asking you two to leave!” Snape yelled vehemently. Apparently his forearm was in pain because he became impatient with them a little bit too easily.

“And I’m not advising you that I stay!” Hermione yelled back with even more anger than Snape. She was not going to let this Death Muncher/Potions Bastard get in the way of her seeing Harry.

Ron stopped and stared at Hermione as if she had gone mad. She just yelled at an adult. She just yelled at a professor, and more importantly, Snape. Then Ron looked at Hermione’s face. She looked angrier than he has ever seen her, even when they were arguing at the Yule Ball. Is she doing all this… for Harry?

Severus was completely speechless. Hermione Granger just yelled back at him. She had fire in her deep brown eyes at the moment, and looked like she could hex someone at any given time. He suspected that if he was a student, Hermione would have put him in a body bind by now. Or worse.

Before the hot-headed professor could respond, she ran past him to Harry’s crowd. Most of the students and Mr. Diggory were already there from the stands, mourning over the loss of a fellow Hogwarts student. When she got there, there was no sign of him. She looked at the map that was still in her hands, searching frantically for Harry’s name. Then she found it. He was in a room with… Bartemius Crouch and Alastor Moody. Hermione’s mind went racing. Barty Crouch was dead… the other Barty Crouch—his son, Jr.—died in Azkaban, for being a Death Eater… So who is this guy?

She found the professor, who was patting the back of a crying Mr. Diggory, and showed him the map. She pointed to the three names wordlessly. Dumbledore looked at the map and came to a stared at it for a moment, his blue eyes seeming to pierce the map. He got up and asked her, “Miss Granger, if someone dies, does their name still appear on that map?” Hermione thought for a second. She never really got to test that. Moody borrowed the map when Barty Crouch Sr. died and she just summoned it from his study. She looked frantically on the map, searching for a name. Then she found it.

“I see Nearly Headless Nick,” she said. That was all Dumbledore needed to hear, apparently, as he ran past Hermione to Moody’s tower, and as always, leaving everyone in the dark. Apparently, Professors McGonagall and Snape were having none of this, as they ran to Dumbledore’s side.

Hermione started to run also, until Ron caught her arm.

“Ron, what—”

“You should stay here.” He said gravely. “We can see him in the hospital wing later. By the look of his bruises, he will go to the hospital wing very soon.”

“Ron, I can’t just stand here!” Hermione barely screamed, wanting to curse Ron at the moment. She tried to yank her arm out, of Ron’s hand, but he kept gripping tighter. She did yank one last time until she was tired once again. Ron did stumble a little, but held his hold. She narrowed her eyes at him. She pulled out her wand and pointed it threateningly at his arm, not letting her eyes waver from Ron, unblinking. “Let go.” She said in a frighteningly dark voice. Ron’s eyes widened, as he had never seen her with so much hatred in her eyes before, but he didn’t let go.

“No.” he replied, his voice quivering, thinking what hex or curse Hermione might put on his arm.

She narrowed her eyes even more dangerously. “I thought you were Harry’s best friend? You should’ve been running to him with me.”

“Shouldn’t you be checking on Vicky?” Ron asked, turning irritated by the second.

Hermione blanched. “Why the hell would I worry about Krum while Harry is hurt?”

Ron dropped his jaw in shock. Hermione just cursed and called Viktor by his last name. She was completely out of her boring character right now. He thought if that as a little… no, very… attractive. He let go of Hermione’s arm in shock, which was pure white from his tight grip. Hermione ran as soon as she felt Ron’s hand loosen, but stopped in her tracks when Ron spoke again.

“Do you like Harry?”

Hermione snapped her head at Ron with a stare that could petrify him. “Of course I like Harry, Ron. He’s my best friend.”

“You know what I mean!”

“No, Ron I don’t. What do you mean? I love Harry… like a brother. He is the most important person in the world to me, and I’m worried about him. He should be in Madame Pomfrey’s office right now. I’m going to take him there right now, whether you want to help or not.” She stamped back up to Ron, who backed up a little. She reminded him of his mother’s temper.

“But Dumbledore’s got him. Don’t worry—”

“Of course I’m going to worry, Ron!” Hermione didn’t scream, yet her voice was oddly venomous and powerful. “This is Harry that we’re talking about! When do we have to not worry about him? Sometimes I wonder if he’s my only friend.” She muttered as she looked at the Marauder’s Map once more. “They still hadn’t left Moody’s tower, yet. “What is taking them so long?” Hermione grumbled, running her hand through her bushy hair in frustration. “Dumbledore probably put a ward or something around the place by now.”

Ron’s eyes widened. Did she say ‘or something’? She didn’t even say ‘Headmaster’. And that’s when he knew. Hermione likes Harry. Possibly even more. He suddenly felt empty. He knew that he liked Hermione, but never thought that Hermione might not like him back.

Hermione spent the next few minutes grumbling furiously while Ron was thoughtful, taking a few side-glances at her.

Hermione smiled when she chanced a look at the map again a few minutes later. “Harry and Professor Dumbledore are leaving. They’re going to the Hospital Wing!” She exclaimed, her old self returning, making Ron groan. “Come on, Ron!” She said, breaking into a run towards the castle. Ron stared at Hermione in disbelief before running to catch up, which was impossible, as Hermione was too giddy to slow down, but instead, speed up, even with Ron’s long legs. Ron decided then and there that he liked Hermione a lot more only when she was angry like that. It was just… so much sexier than her usual self. He mentally took note of that and made sure he was going to make use of that note in the future.

That night, Hermione went to Madame Pomfrey’s office under the Invisibility Cloak and looked at Harry. He was frowning and shivering a bit, as if he was having a nightmare, since Madame Pomfrey placed a strong warming charm on the blankets and since it was fairly late, the Dreamless Sleep potion must’ve worn off. The curse scar was probably helped. She could surely understand why he would have a nightmare. You-Know-Wh—no, V-V-Voldemort had returned, and he was blaming himself for it. He saw a friend die in front of him by the hands of his parents’ so-called friend, who just happened to indirectly kill them also. He definitely needed someone, now. She had been crying all day for him and the things that he’s seen that day. His parents’ direct murderer had been revived by his own blood. No one would’ve been able to be at ease with that.

She reached out of the cloak and placed her hand on his. He instantly relaxed and stopped shaking, but he was still asleep. Hermione took off the cloak and took a good look at his now cleaned face. He looked peaceful whenever he slept. She knew that he was the most vulnerable in his sleep, and suspected that he knew that too. He seems to forget that often, though.

While she was busy looking at the features on his face, she didn’t notice her own getting closer and closer. She finally realized it as her lips touched Harry’s. She felt a sensational rush spread throughout her whole body. Her knees went very weak just from their lips touching, and she had the feeling that if she didn’t stop soon, she would have no way of leaving the hospital. That was when Hermione confirmed her feelings for Harry.

She pulled back from the kiss after ten seconds to look at the sleeping Harry again. Sometime during the kiss, he started smiling, but he was still in a deep sleep, according to his breathing. Hermione, also smiling and pink, pulled the covers over Harry some more and whispered in his ear.

“Good night, Harry… … I… I love you.”

She placed a tender kiss on Harry’s scar and quickly put on the invisibility cloak. She walked somewhat dazedly back to her dorm.