"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." Phoenix Lancaster is just as extraordinary as she appears, she is a muggle-born metamorphmagus, and she has never had a quiet life. Thanks to her courageous and troublesome best friends, Fred and George Weasley.


14. Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

The rest of the day's lessons were full of excitement. Nobody was very alert in their lessons and even Phoenix had accidently transfigured George's hair to a bright vibrant blue. He was still trying to cover it with his hat after they had deposited of their bags in Gryffindor Tower and they were all lining up in front of the castle.

"I can't believe you turned his hair blue," Fred said, who almost burst into tears of laughter when he had seen his brother.

"I didn't mean to!" Phoenix said who had been apologising to George for the past twenty minutes.

"It would make me feel better if your hair was a bright colour," said George as Ron spotted him and roared with laughter. Phoenix rolled her eyes and her hair turned the exact same bright blue as George's.

"Now we match," said Phoenix brightly. "The effects only last an hour anyway, McGonagall said so." George pouted childishly and Phoenix nudged his arm and he looked at her. "If it makes you feel any better, I think you look dashing with blue hair." She whispered before she looked away.

Although she did not see it, George smiled widely at the back of her hair.

"It's nearly six," said Angelina as she stared down the drive, towards the front gates. "How are they getting here?"

"They're probably going to make a big entrance," said George. "As Phoenix said, Magic schools always try to impress one another."

"Unless I am very much mistaken," Dumbledore called from the very back row where the teachers stood, "The delegation from Beauxbatons approaches!"

Students all looked around in every direction. Phoenix looked down the drive again, but she couldn't see the slightest glimpse of anything impressive.

"Where?" said several students, which included Alicia and Fred.

"There!" yelled Angelina, pointing towards the forest.

They all stared in the direction to where she was pointing. Something very large was bolting through the sky towards the castle, growing larger and larger.

"It's a dragon!" yelled a first year.

"Don't be stupid… it's a flying house!" shrieked another.

Phoenix's eyes widened as the shape soared over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and the lights from the castles windows illuminated it into view. It was a large, a startling powder blue, horse-drawn carriage which was in fact the size of a large house, it was being pulled by a dozen of winged horses that were golden in colour and had a snow white mane of hair, and were all the approximate size of an elephant.

Students moved backwards quickly as the large hooves of the horses' hit the ground and seconds later, the carriage followed suit. Phoenix stared in awe at the magnificent golden horses whose eyes, she noticed, were a bright, fiery red.

"What an entrance," muttered George.

"I give that an eight out of ten," said Phoenix as the door to the carriage door, which bore a coat of arms, opened.

A boy, dressed in light blue robes, jumped down from the carriage, leaned down and seconds later, a set of golden steps unfolded themselves from the floor of the carriage. The boy drew backwards in a respectful manner. For a moment, Phoenix was confused as to why, then a woman stepped out of the carriage and descended the golden steps and she gasped and so did a few other students.

The woman was large and Phoenix had only seen one other person in her life who was this large, and that was Hagrid. The woman stepped forward into the light that came from the entrance hall and brought her face into view. Her eyes were large and black as her stain robes. Her olive-skinned face was handsome and her nose was rather beaky.

Dumbledore began to clap and the students too began to clap also. At this welcoming gesture, the woman smiled pleasantly and walked towards Dumbledore.

Somebody nudged Phoenix and she turned to see Alicia pointing towards the carriage, where around a dozen boys and girls, who all looked around seventeen and eighteen, stood behind the woman. In their robes, which looked to be made from fine silk, they were shaking from the cold. None of them wearing cloaks, though few had scarves or shawls around their heads.

"Look at that boy," giggled Angelina, pointing to the boy who was closet to them. Phoenix looked and she immediately fell into giggles with Alicia and Angelina. He was extremely good looking. He had the most defined jaw line that Phoenix had ever seen, chocolate brown hair that was styled in a kind of quiff on his head and his bright green eyes stood out on his pale face.

"I'd eat that boy for breakfast," Angelina whispered and Phoenix and Alicia had to cover their mouths to stop themselves from snorting.

"How old are you girls?" Fred asked, raising an eyebrow as he craned his neck to look at the boy. "He looks like a bit of a prat."

"Of course Fred would say that," whispered Alicia. "He wants Angelina to eat for breakfast."

Phoenix grinned as she looked back at the group of students behind the woman. The boy, along with his fellow students, were all looking at the castle with apprehension. Then the woman clicked her fingers imperiously and her group of students followed her inside the castle.

"Don't go," Alicia whispered dramatically, extending her hand out and following the good looking boy and Angelina and Phoenix couldn't hold it in any longer and they broke in fits of laughter.

"Why are they laughing?" George asked.

"They saw a good looking boy," said Fred, rolling his eyes.

"Oh," said George, "Right."

The Hogwarts students stood waiting for the Durmstrang students to arrive, shivering. Phoenix's teeth were chattering and she had to hug herself to try and keep warm.

It was silent and the only sound was from the large houses that were stamping and snorting. But then there was a loud and eerie noise that came from, seemingly nowhere. It was a slightly muffled rumbling and there was a sucking sound, Phoenix stared around, completely bewildered.

"The lake!" Lee yelled, pointing towards the dark, rippling waters of the lake. "Look at the lake!"

They could all clearly see the lake from their position on the top of the lawns. Phoenix could see that there seemed to be a disturbance on the surface of the lake. Bubbles were forming at the centre of the lake and waves were lapping onto the banks – and then, suddenly, in the middle of the lake, what looked like a whirlpool materialised out of nowhere. At the very heart of the whirlpool, a long, black mast rose slowly out of it. Very slowly, a magnificent ship rose out of the water, gleaming eerily in the ghostly lights from the castle.

"Wow!" George said, staring open-mouthed as there was a loud splash and an anchor was thrown down into the shallows of the lake and then a thud as a plank had been lowered onto the bank.

"I give that a nine out of ten," Phoenix said to George as people began to leave the ship. They all walked up the lawns; the students were all wearing very matted fur coats. The man who was leading their way, however, cloak had a different sort of fur; it was sleek and sliver which classed magnificently with his hair. He was tall and thin and had short, white hair and a goatee, which finished with a small curl. His presence, for some odd reason however, made Phoenix fell on edge, uneasy.

"Dumbledore!" he called in an oily sort of voice as he headed up the slope. "How are you, my dear fellow, how are you?"

"Blooming, thank you, Professor Karkaroff," Dumbledore replied shortly.

"Dear old Hogwarts," Professor Karkaroff said in admiration, staring up at the castle and smiling toothily, which were rather yellow. "How good it is to be here, how good… Viktor, come along, into the warmth… you don't mind, Dumbledore? Viktor has a slight head cold…"

Fred, George, Angelina, Alicia, Lee, and Phoenix's mouths fell open as a boy approached Karkaroff. It was Viktor Krum.

"Ron is going to faint!" George said, whose hair had now returned to its natural red as they all walked over to the Gryffindor table and sat down.

"I heard him asking Harry for a quill," Fred chuckled. "But I see Krum has joined the Slytherin table… and is talking to Malfoy."

"Where has that boy gone?" Alicia asked impatiently, craning her neck to look over the heads of students.

"He's with the other Beauxbaton students at the Ravenclaw table," said Phoenix, looking over there as she said so. The Beauxbaton students looked around the Great Hall, with rather glum expressions on their faces. The boy that she, Angelina, and Alicia had been ogling over looked around with an interested expression.

"Oh god," said Alicia dreamily. "He is so cute!"

"Yeah he is Alicia but you are starting to sound a little crazy," said Phoenix, laughing at the groggily-eyed blonde. "Just stop staring at him!"

"I'm not – oh Merlin! He's looking over here!"

Clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth, Phoenix looked back around to see that the boy was indeed looking over at them. He smiled and winked at Phoenix before he returned to staring around the hall.

"He totally winked at me!" Alicia squealed as Phoenix turned to look at her, her face slightly redder than usual.

"He didn't wink at you," said George. "He winked at Phoenix."

Phoenix felt herself feeling slightly hot as she said, "Alicia you are beginning to sound like a desperate school girl, calm down."

"I'm sorry," said Alicia, laughing at herself. "It's just there aren't many boys in Hogwarts who are like really good looking, I mean, there is Diggory, maybe Roger Davies… but that is just about it–"

"What about me?" said Lee, looking incredibly hurt.

"Yeah," said Fred. "There is still me," he gestured to himself. "I consider myself to be Hogwarts' Casanova."

"Yeah," said Angelina mockingly. "How lucky are we girls for Fred Weasley to bless us with his presence."

"He blessed you with more than just his presence though hasn't he Angelina," said Phoenix and George roared with laughter, the others looked confused but Fred and Angelina both turned red.

"Don't you mean Angel," added George and it was Phoenix's turn to laugh.

When finally all of the students had entered the Hall and settled down, the staff entered through the large doors and filed up graciously in a line and took their seats. Last in the line were Professor Dumbledore, Professor Karkaroff, and the large woman (who Angelina said was called Madame Maxime as she had overheard Dumbledore calling her this). When Madam Maxime had approached the table where her Beauxbaton students sat, they all jumped to their feet and did not take their seats until Madame Maxim had sat down beside Dumbledore, who had remained standing. As always when Professor Dumbledore stood in front of them, silence fell in the Great Hall.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and - most particularly - guests," said Dumbledore impressively, beaming fondly around at the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton students. "I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to Hogwarts. I hope and trust that your stay here will be both comfortable and enjoyable. The tournament will be officially opened at the end of the feast," said Dumbledore, Fred and George grinned at one another as he continued. "I now invite you all to eat, drink, and make yourselves at home!"

As they all began to dig into their food, the students all seemed to have noticed that there was a much greater variety of foreign and unfamiliar dishes.

"What is that?" asked Lee, poking his fork at some large shells with that had some sort of sickly green liquid in them.

"Snails," said Angelina as she helped herself to some Bouillabaisse.

"Snails?" Lee said loudly, looking at the plate in disgust. "Who in their right mind would eat snails?"

"They eat them in France," said Phoenix. "I've never tired them but Cecilia says they are very nice."

Lee made a noise that sounded as though he was greatly reframing from throwing up.

"You don't like ze snails?"

They all looked up to see the boy who had winked at Phoenix. He was a lot more handsome close up. His green eyes were the exact shade of shamrocks and his teeth where a dazzling white.

"Hello," said Alicia in a cheery and welcoming voice.

"Good evening," the boy replied in husky voice. "My name ez Jerome Lenoble."

"What do you want?" George asked in a slightly irritated voice.

"I wanted to – er – introduce myself, az they say," Jerome said throatily.

They all introduced themselves to Jerome. But when Phoenix introduced herself, he leaned down and grabbed her hand and kissed it softly, which made her face turn bright red and her blue hair turn fuchsia.

"You ave a very beautiful name, Fhoenix," he said and Fred and George scoffed from beside her.

"Thanks," Phoenix said, blushing. Jerome waved at them all and they all waved back, apart from George who seemed too interested in his chicken and mushroom soup.

"Fhoenix," Angelina said in a scarily accurate impression of Jerome's throaty accent.

"I thought it was very lovely of him to introduce himself," said Alicia happily. "Though I do wish he had kissed my hand."

Phoenix, feeling mortality embarrassed looked at George, who was still eating hungrily. Although Phoenix was flattered and embarrassed by Jerome, she wasn't all that interested in him, he seemed more Alicia's type. She took a bit of her beef and looked back around at the staff table and saw that there were two more people joining the feast. She began to choke on her food and Fred and George thumped her on the back.

"Slow down Nix," said Fred, patting her shoulder.

She spluttered as she regained her breath. She nudged them and pointed frantically towards the staff table as she took a long gulp of pumpkin juice.

"What are we looking at?" said George, his eyes darting up and down the table.

"Look who is sitting next to Karkaroff!" Phoenix whispered so that Lee, Angelina, and Alicia could not hear them.

"Wha – It's Bagman!" Fred exclaimed.

Ludo Bagman was sitting beside Karkaroff, looking excited. On the other hand, Mr. Crouch, Percy's boss, who was beside Madame Maxime, looked miserable.

"What is that prat doing here?" Fred asked darkly, narrowing his eyes at Bagman.

"They organized the Tournament," said Phoenix, feeling an increasing dislike for Ludo Bagman as he chatted merrily. He had nerve, she thought, ridding Fred and George of all their savings that they had rightfully won and ignoring their letters. Something told Phoenix that there was something fishy going on with Ludo Bagman.

"Git," said George.

After a rather exciting desert, where more unfamiliar dishes were on the table, the golden plates were cleared, Dumbledore stood up. Silence fell almost at once and tension arose in the atmosphere. Phoenix couldn't help but feel excited; Fred and George were staring at Dumbledore with more concentration on their faces than Phoenix had ever seen.

"The moment has come," said Dumbledore, smiling around at the sea of upturned faces. "The Triwizard Tournament is about to start. I would like to say a few words of explanation before we bring in the casket–"

"The casket?" Angelina whispered her eyes wide. "Nobody has died have they?"

Phoenix held back at laugh.

"First, let me introduce, for those who do not know them, Mr. Bartemius Crouch, Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation and Mr. Ludo Bagman, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports."

There was an enthusiastic applause for Bagman, Phoenix, Fred, and George didn't clap however. Fred glared at Bagman; George crossed his arms defiantly over his chest and Phoenix let out a loud huff.

"Mr. Bagman and Mr. Crouch have worked tirelessly over the last few months on the arrangements for the Triwizard Tournament and they will be joining myself, Professor Karkaroff, and Madame Maxime on the panel that will judge the champions' efforts."

Fred and George were now leaning forwards towards Dumbledore so closely now that Phoenix felt as though she was in some sort of Fred and George Weasley sandwich. All of the students in the Hall seemed to be holding their breath.

"The casket, then, if you please, Mr. Filch."

Filch hobbled over from his far corner of the Hall and approached Dumbledore, in his hands was an old, large wooden chest that was encrusted with jewels that dazzled from the flickering flames around the hall. Filch placed the chest down slowly and carefully on the table before Dumbledore and hobble away as Dumbledore spoke.

"The instructions for the tasks the champions will face this year have already been examined by Mr. Crouch and Mr. Bagman, and they have made the necessary arrangements for each challenge. There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways… their magical prowess - their daring -their powers of deduction - and, of course, their ability to cope with danger."

The silence in the Hall after his last words was one of the loudest that Phoenix had ever heard.

"As you know, three champions compete in the tournament, one from each of the participating schools. They will be marked on how well they perform each of the Tournament tasks and the champion with the highest total after task three will win the Triwizard Cup. The champions will be chosen by an impartial selector: the Goblet of Fire."

Dumbledore frail looking hands took out his wand and tapped the top of the casket gracefully three times. The Hall seemed to hold its breath as the lid opened slowly and Dumbledore reached inside and pulled out a great wooden up. The cup was full of blue-white flames that danced around the brim of the goblet. Dumbledore then closed the casket and placed the goblet on top of it.

"Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet," said Dumbledore, his voice booming around the Hall impressively. "Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward. Tomorrow night, Halloween, the goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their schools. The goblet will be placed in the entrance hall tonight, where it will be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete. To ensure that no underage student yields to temptation," said Dumbledore and Phoenix looked across at Fred and George's mesmerised faces. "I will be drawing an Age Line around the Goblet of Fire once it has been placed in the entrance hall. Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line. Finally, I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet. Now, I think it is time for bed. Good night to you all."

"An Age Line!" said Fred; his eyes seemed to reflect the dancing blue-white flames as he stood up from his seat. "Well, that should be fooled by an Aging Potion, shouldn't it? And once your name's in that goblet, you're laughing - it can't tell whether you're seventeen or not!"

"But I don't think anyone under seventeen will stand a chance," said Hermione Granger as she, Harry and Ron caught up, "we just haven't learned enough…"

"Speak for yourself," said George shortly and Phoenix suppressed a laugh. "You'll try and get in, won't you, Harry?"

Harry turned his head to look back into the Great Hall for a fleeting second before he said, "Nah," he shook his head. "Don't really fancy putting my life in danger this year."

Fred, George, and Phoenix were the last remaining in the common room that night. Everyone else had gone to bed, all chatting excitedly about the Triwizard Tournament, about who was going to enter, what the tasks were going to be, and about Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.

Fred and George were writing their letter to Bagman while Phoenix was correcting George's Transfiguration essay, leaning against George's legs in front of the crackling fire.

"George this essay is terrible no offense," said Phoenix as she crossed out another of George's mistakes. "It was Agathon Tyrell not Agaetos Tyrell who transfigured himself into a gull to catch fish," she scribbled over another of his mistakes. "And he got sun stroke not sun burn that caused his spell to mutate."

"Anything else Pixy?" George asked, amused.

"Yeah," she replied. "He was trapped as a hybrid, you didn't write that and it was after eighty days that he washed up on land, not seventy."

"Honest mistake," said Fred. "Poor chap, being trapped as a hybrid, must have been an interesting eighty days. On that note, I'm going to bed," he said, getting to his feet and stretching. "We have a big day tomorrow; don't stay up too late now."

They said goodnight to Fred, Phoenix moved to sit beside George on the loveseat in front of the fire and continued to add corrections to his essay, the only sounds that could be heard were the starching of their quills and the crackling of the fire.

"Has Angelina said anything about her and Fred's… moment?" he asked as he put the letter addressed to Bagman on the table.

"Erm, she hasn't really said much," said Phoenix. "Don't tell Fred this because I'm not supposed to tell anyone but she says that she doesn't want to bring it up because she thinks that he doesn't really remember."

George laughed, "Same as what Fred thinks," He said. "He's beginning to think that she was so drunk that it was the heat of the moment type thing."

Phoenix smiled and placed George's now finished corrected essay on the table, "It's quite funny how our friends so blatantly like each other but are too scared to admit it," she said.

George coughed, "Yeah and you would think that Fred would be the last person to be embarrassed."

"He's not exactly embarrassed," said Phoenix thoughtfully, tucking her feet under body and moving a little closer to George. "He is just unsure about how to approach the whole Angelina situation…"

"It's not exactly a difficult situation though is it? I mean they snogged on Fred's bed if that doesn't say I like you then I don't know what does."

Phoenix laughed loudly and shook her head, "Very romantic George."

George smiled at Phoenix, his eyes glinting, "So… you and that Jerome guy then?"

"What about him?" Phoenix asked skeptically.

"Well…" began George, shrugging his shoulders. "…he seems like your type…"

Type? Phoenix thought. She had a type and Jerome was definitely not her 'type'. Did she even have a type?

"Type?" She laughed, looking up at George. "Since when did you know my type?"

He shrugged, "Well you blushed so I just thought that–"

"He's not my type!" she said quickly.

George's face broke into the smallest of smiles before he said, "What is your type then?"

"Well… I do like guys who are funny… I guess," she added quickly, "… I mean you wouldn't want to be with someone if they didn't make you laugh. My dad once told me that you should be with someone who makes you laugh so much that you snort milk out of your nose," George laughed loudly at this and Phoenix smiled. "But Jerome isn't my type, I just–"

"Get embarrassed easily?" George said. "Trust me I've noticed… So you don't fancy Jerome then?"

Phoenix shook her head, "No, Alicia probably does though."

"Good…" George said slowly. "Do you think he's good looking then?"

"Well yeah," said Phoenix, looking at George carefully. "But why are you asking so many questions about him? Do you fancy him George?"

"No!" George laughed, nudging Phoenix so that she fell back onto the cushions, laughing. "I'm just taking some interest in my best friend's love life."

Her face flushed and she turned her attention George's essay that lay on the table. "You mean non-existence love life. I've corrected your essay by the way; you should rewrite it with the corrections I made."

"Thanks Pixy," said George. "Are you okay now? About, you know, what happened in Defence Against the Dark Arts."

At once Phoenix tensed and the sounds of screaming filled her ears. She squeezed her eyes as, like every night since the events in Moody's classroom, she relived the vision in her mind. But there was no escaping as before her eyes, a body fell to the ground.

"I don't want to talk about it," she said quickly, wrapping her arms around her legs. It was as though she was quite literally trapping in her own mind. Everything seemed to remind her of the flashback, flashes of green or even an innocent first year screaming at their friends made her wince and the vision flash in her mind.


"George I just want to forget about it!" she snapped and George's expression fell and he looked… hurt. Phoenix let out a shaky breath and extended her hand to George's. "I'm… I'm sorry George… I just don't want to think about it."

George looked at her hesitantly, but seemed to bite his tongue and begin to make his corrections on his Transfiguration essay.

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