Can't Have It Both Ways

If you are forced to participate in a competition that's reserved for adults only, doesn't that mean you should be considered an adult? Harry gets some much needed help and advice before having some fun by allowing his marauder heritage out to play. H/Hr


15. Chapter 15

Peter was getting more and more nervous, the Potter brat should have been here by now. All Igor had to do was plant the portkey in the correct hostage's bindings, it was timed to activate when the task began and would bring the next person to touch the hostage directly here. It would also bring the hostage but his orders were very simple, kill any spares.

His master was not noted for his patience, five minutes after the deadline was enough, "Potter is not here therefore Karkaroff's incompetence will cost the fool his life."

They had just begun to walk away when the portkey delivered a bound Ronald Weasley with two floundering mermen into the graveyard. Peter followed his instructions and quickly dispatched the creatures while the dark lord had his wand trained on the terrified Ron.

"You are not Harry Potter, Crucio!"

Peter watched the boy writhing in agony and was aware it was dangerous to interrupt his master, but it would soon be too late to act. "Master, Potter must not have been able to save the boy in time. Perhaps Harry Potter is not as powerful as everyone thought?"

This stayed Voldemort's hand and made him reconsider, "You may be right, his founder's heir status would only help him within the castle walls."

"This boy here is most definitely your enemy my lord. Can you imagine Potter's pain when he couldn't save what he'd miss most, only for you to take it from under his and Dumbledore's very noses? It will totally destroy the boy."

Peter could see his master liked the idea, and it would save him having to go chasing after Potter to somehow bring him back here. He continued to press his luck. "We could use this boy for the ceremony, then send his blood traitor friend back to Potter." Peter thought he might just have pushed things a little too far so quickly added a proviso. "Of course, sent back a small piece at a time my lord."

The opportunity of returning to a real body which had the added bonus of causing Potter so much pain was just too great a temptation for Voldemort to resist, especially since he didn't actually have to touch the Potter brat to kill him. "Very well Wormtail, we'll use the boy we have. Just remember how I reward failure so make no mistakes!"

Ron was barely conscious as Peter secured him to a headstone before triple checking his preparations. He'd seen it happen enough times to know exactly how his master rewarded failure, it was not an easy way to die.


All eyes were on Harry but it was Hermione who reacted first, "Harry you can't, not now."

"Hermione, you of all people know I must. I was the one who left him down there, I even made a flippant comment to Dumbledore about finally getting rid of the prat. If it were you Voldemort had captured, I would already have left!"

"Then I'm coming with you!"

Harry held her face gently in his hands and brushed her lips with his. He knew this decision could be disastrous but it had to be this way. There would be lethal spells and curses flying about soon and Hermione wouldn't be protected outside the castle. The mere thought of her being attacked by that psycho filled him with dread. "Not this time love, it's too dangerous for you to be there. Voldemort is going to be raging that his trap missed me, this is going to be brutal. I can't and won't allow anything to happen to you. Anything else you can ask me for, but I'm sorry, not this."

Hermione looked into his green eyes and saw the determination set within them. All she could think of was that Harry didn't want or need her and Hermione's world crashed. She pulled away and ran out the room in tears. Harry's rejection unleashed the friendless little girl inside her that Hermione misleadingly thought she had banished forever. Those feelings of loneliness and heartache came rushing back with a vengeance and totally overwhelmed the crying girl.

Harry was not entirely surprised by her reaction but still felt gutted, an argument he could have handled better than the tears. He couldn't change his mind though, he didn't want Hermione anywhere near Voldemort. She may hate him for it but at least she would be alive to do so. Harry attempted to focus on what needed to be done, there was no time to lose. "I placed a tracking charm on Ron so I can make a portkey that will lead me directly to him."

"Lead us directly to him you meant to say," Victor quipped.

"Yes, he's getting forgetful in his old age," answered Fleur

Cedric always thought actions spoke louder than words so just drew his wand and stood by Harry's side.

"Shit, you know we're coming!" Sirius may have just volunteered Remus as well but Moony didn't seem to mind.

Amos just had to say something, "Harry, I can have the aurors handle this, that's what they're trained for."

"I would love to let them deal with it sir but Ron doesn't have that luxury. If he follows his usual procedure, Voldemort will spend some time spouting rubbish about how he's the greatest, baddest, coolest, cleverest wizard on the planet before he tries to kill Ron. He's probably got less than ten minutes left to live."

Amos tried again, "What about Dumbledore? He's the only wizard you-know-who has ever been afraid of."

"Sir, I've fought Voldemort twice before. Both times inside Hogwarts and he didn't seem too scared of Dumbledore. I suspect that's a rumour started by the old coot to enhance his dwindling reputation. From what I've heard, Dumbledore wasn't fairing too well before Voldemort cursed me as a baby. We're wasting time here, time Ron doesn't have."

Fred and George stepped forward only for Harry to shake his head, "Sorry guys, not this time."

Barchoke was a different proposition altogether. "Harry, I have ten goblin guards outside. All would be willing to accompany us."

Harry smiled at the 'us' part and the room heard the ring hiss as he considered the offer. "Thank you Barchoke but I would feel better knowing your guards are here to protect those we leave behind. I don't believe this is a feint but we can't take that chance."

Claude Delacour, Marko Krum, Graham Bulstrode and Amos all kissed their wives before stepping forward, Harry didn't get to say any more as he was attacked.

Emma had raced after her daughter and found her lying face-down on her bed, sobbing her heart out. She none-too-gently grabbed her daughter by the shoulder and turned her around so she could see her face. "Hermione Jane Granger, I've never been ashamed of you before but I am now. That young man you profess to love is leaving here to try and perform a dangerous rescue, and you're in here, crying like a baby!"

"Harry doesn't want me mum," she sobbed.

"Hermione, do you honestly think your father or I would have let you go? There is not a hope in hell we would have stood there and let you leave. Harry is just being very sensible, unlike you."

She could see that penetrated her daughter's brain, Emma pressed home her advantage. "You should be down there reminding Harry what he has to come home to, not letting him leave here worried if you're going to speak to him when he does return. It's time to grow up Hermione and face the facts. You yourself told me this is who Harry is, of course he's going to try to rescue this boy. If you can't accept that then…"

Emma never got to finish her sentence as Hermione leapt from the bed and shot off down the corridor as fast as she could run, praying she wasn't too late and he'd already gone.

Spying her love, she screamed "Harry!" before pouncing on him. Her kiss pushed away any thoughts of hurt out of both their minds. When it ended she whispered in his ear, "Tonight I'll be in your room, you'd better be there Potter. This you can and will allow."

Harry gave her a quick kiss, "That's a date love, sorry but we've got to rush." When he saw Barchoke with the blade in his hand, Harry called for the Sword of Gryffindor and placed it in his shoulder holster before turning a piece of rope into a portkey.

Harry looked at all the faces watching them, "I promise we'll take care and be back as soon as we're able. Dan please look after everyone." He activated the portkey and the eleven of them disappeared.

Hermione felt slightly better when she saw the number of people accompanying Harry but still dropped to her knees crying the moment they had left.

The room was descending into tears as Gabrielle hugged her mum and cried, Ginny cried in Neville's arms, Millie had to be comforted by her mum and Hermione was a basket case.

It was Luna who took command, "We are so not doing this, Harry promised they'd be back and he never breaks his promises." The little blond was just getting into her stride, she began barking out orders. "George, go and fetch Madam Pomfrey, we may have injured returning. Fred, inform your parents exactly what's happening, if they're beating up Dumbledore don't dare interrupt until they're finished."

It was the Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Slytherin girls turn to be given orders from Lieutenant Luna, "Girls, can you turn the training room into a makeshift infirmary? We hopefully won't need it but better get it ready just in case. Dan you need to let the guards know that there will be people coming and tell them who's allowed entry." She then turned to Colin and the vulnerability she was feeling wasn't as easily hidden, "Colin, could you get my dad?" He gave her a quick hug before running out the door.

Luna felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to find Tabitha Diggory there. "You know, there's a perfectly good infirmary at the castle and St Mungo's available as well."

Luna couldn't manage a smile for the kind woman who was the minister's wife and Cedric's mum. "I know ma'am, it's more to give people something to do rather than sitting worrying about what could be happening."

"You're a very bright girl Luna, I just wish you had something for me to do."

"I know exactly what you mean," Luna then knelt beside Emma who was trying in vain to comfort a distraught Hermione.


Down at the temporary dock, the leader of the merpeople was conversing with Dumbledore while Cho and Roger were being handed over to the waiting arms of their relieved families.

Arthur didn't need to speak mermish to understand that something was seriously wrong. If the body language indicated by their leader was anything to judge, he was currently tearing strips off Dumbledore.

When he saw Fred come racing round the corner, Arthur was sure that Ron's hand on the family clock was now pointing at mortal peril. He'd never seen either of the twins appear so serious, therefore it must be really bad news.

"Mum, Dad, Ron's been taken by you-know-who, portkeyed right out of the lake."

Dumbledore attempted to get a grip on the situation before it got out of hand, "We don't know exactly what's happen yet…"

Fred was furious, "Yes we do! Harry had tracking and monitoring charms on all the hostages."

This stunned Albus and Fred couldn't believe what he was seeing. "The great Albus Dumbledore hadn't even considered doing that! You claimed they were all safe while Harry was the only one keeping watch on them."

This was too much for Arthur, his fist connected with Dumbledore's jaw and the old fool ended up in the lake. The merpeople rather pointedly left him splashing about before Amelia Bones levitated him out.

Fred could see his mother was in a state so got to the good news, "Harry's leading a rescue party to go and get him back, you're to come up to his accommodation and wait on them returning."

Dumbledore got shakily to his feet, "A rescue party? I'd better get up there right away, they're sure to need me." The old man, standing there dripping wet with a bloody lip and offering to rescue someone suddenly appeared ludicrous. Albus looked as if he'd have trouble getting a goldfish out a bath with a net.

Fred drowned the last of Dumbledore's illusions. "They've already left and besides Harry, there's French, Bulgarians, a goblin, a couple of Hogwarts professors and even the minister of magic. All left to save my brother, my brother that you kidnapped and put down there. Your name was mentioned but nobody trusted you enough to stand with them."

Amelia Bones had been called when the champions left, she was intending to charge Dumbledore with endangering these children. Now that the Weasley boy was missing, the charges just got a lot more serious. "Dumbledore, you have an appointment at the ministry, the length of stay will depend on the outcome of Mr Potter's rescue mission. Your future's tied to that boy's welfare because I'm quite prepared to charge you with anything that happens to him."


The rescue party found themselves appearing in a graveyard with wands and weapons ready, there were obviously wards up since the portkey hadn't led them directly to Ron. There was no trouble locating him though as his cries for help could clearly be heard. They spread out and cautiously made their way forward, Ron was at least still alive so this was not the time to go charging into an unknown situation.

They found Ron tied to a gravestone and Peter standing over him with a wand in his hand, "Bone of the father, unknowingly given. You will renew your son."

His wand began transporting something from the ground to the biggest bloody cauldron Harry had ever seen, the fire underneath it had the contents bubbling away like mad.

"There's no escape this time Peter," Sirius growled.

Peter's response was to instantly fire of a brace of killing curses aimed in their general direction. Amos just managed to pull Cedric to the ground as the green beam flew through the space his son had been occupying a split second earlier. Their good fortune was short lived however as they found themselves at eye level with Nagini. The giant snake was in mid-strike when the razor-sharp blade wielded by Barchoke halted its forward process. The severed head landed beside the minister of magic and his son, both of whom looked toward the goblin with gratitude.

Peter had transformed into his rat form and scurried away, dodging curses as he went, only to transform back behind a large headstone and fire another couple of killing curses.

They were all forced to take cover as Peter continued this deadly game of hide and seek which saw pieces of marble shrapnel flying through the air as both sides blasted headstones apart, attempting to connect with the person hiding behind it.

Peter's animagus ability, and the fact that he was throwing killing curses while in human form, was keeping their superior numbers pinned down. They had no idea where he would pop-up next and those green beams had to be avoided at all cost.

It all ended with a high pitched squeal as Peter tried his trick just once too often and a big black dog emerged, violently shaking the squealing rat in his jaws. Padfoot tossed the rat onto a clear patch of grass and multiple stunners hit Wormtail. Sirius transformed with a huge grin on his face, only to be punched on the shoulder by a raging godson.

"Sirius, next time forget the grandstanding. We don't need to announce our presence, just stun the bastard where he stands!" Harry ended his words by pulling the shocked marauder into a hug before checking that everyone was ok. Remus and Graham were cutting an unconscious Ron free, the killing curses flying all around him had caused the terrified Ron to faint. The worst damage they had taken was cuts and bruises from all the marble shrapnel, they had been very lucky.

When Sal started hissing the entire group quietened down, Harry as usual was left to translate. "Sal says they were attempting an extremely dark ritual here, not used since the time of the Pharaohs. Voldemort's spirit is in that cauldron, which will explode in a matter of minutes and return him to that wraith form again. Sal reckons we might be able to adapt the ritual to bind him for good, but we only have seconds here to make up our minds."

All eyes turned to Amos, so glad that it wasn't Fudge where they would have to wait until he'd run a poll to see how it would affect his public standing. "Does it involve anyone getting hurt?"

Harry glanced down at the unconscious Wormtail, "Well not anyone who matters."

This seemed to be the clincher for Amos, "That bastard nearly killed my son, do it!"

Harry was spurred into action, "Marauders, I need that rat in human form, we also need to find a headstone that says 'Tom Riddle' on it."

"Here Harry!" Graham shouted, "It's the one Ron was tied to."

He turned to his fellow champions, "I want a couple of large chunks of that placed in the cauldron."

They didn't hesitate, Victor hit the headstone with a reducto curse, then Fleur and Cedric levitated the two largest pieces over the bubbling cauldron.

"Stone of the father, unknowingly given. You will confine your son." After Harry's words, Fleur and Cedric dropped the large lumps of stone into the now hissing liquid as Harry marched over to Peter.

"Revive him!"

Peter awoke and could be forgiven for thinking he was back in the shrieking shack, leaning over him were Sirius, Remus and Harry Potter. This was a different Harry Potter though, a Harry Potter who had determination in his eyes and had just pulled the deadliest looking knife Peter had ever seen from behind his back.

"You picked the wrong side Peter and now it's time to pay!" Harry's knife flashed faster than the terrified wizard's eyes could follow as Peter screamed.

Harry dug the point of his knife into the piece of flesh now lying on the grass. Peter looked on in horror as the Potter brat walked away with his ear on the point of his knife, skewered there like some bizarre shish kebab.

Harry approached the cauldron, "Flesh of the servant, forcibly taken. You will restrict your master." He knocked the ear off the end of his knife and the cauldron emitted a great belch of steam.

Harry drew the sword of Gryffindor from his shoulder holster before verbally exploding. "What the fuck do you mean, 'get everyone clear of the blast zone', you never mentioned anything about a frigging blast zone?"

Every one waited with bated breath as Sal conversed with Harry, he didn't appear too happy with what he was hearing. "Ok, there's a good chance this whole cauldron could explode. You need to take cover now."

Sirius was at his side in an instant, casting a shield charm at the cauldron. "You think I'm going back to tell the Granger girls I hid behind a headstone while you got injured, then you my boy are nuttier than squirrel shit. I would end up needing my own headstone by the time they were finished with me."

Remus and the other three champions joined him as well, Victor gave the champions point of view. "We've stuck together so far and it's worked for us, this is not the time to change things."

Harry called a halt before things got totally out of hand. "We need some people to transport us home if we get injured, just make sure the bloody rat doesn't get away again."

Barchoke took a disk out his pocket, he twisted the centre and it transformed into a large metallic shield, a shield that accidentally and solidly whacked Peter on the head as the goblin joined Harry.

"He's not going anywhere now and neither am I." Barchoke placed himself, and his shield in front of Harry. Everyone else cast shield charms at the cauldron as Harry prepared himself.

Harry ran the edge of the sword along his palm, drawing blood which he then used to coat the blade, "Here goes nothing!" taking a deep breath he completed the ritual, "Blood of the enemy, willingly given. The sword and stone will seal your foe's soul forever!"

Harry plunged the sword into the cauldron; a blood-curling scream was the last thing he heard as it exploded with a force that made a mockery of the shield charms. Darkness overtook him.

The magical backlash Harry's actions released blew them all away like leaves in an autumn wind, their bodies lay scattered and still. There aren't words to describe Amos Diggory's feelings when he reached his son and found him still breathing. The minister glanced over to where the cauldron had stood, the sight that greeted his eyes was way easier to describe. A roundish black boulder, at least a meter in diameter with veins of red and green running through it, had the Sword of Gryffindor embedded almost to its hilt into the rock.

"We need to get some people here to help, that blast took down all the wards."

It was Claude Delacour who sounded the voice of reason, "Wait Amos, we can't let what happened here become public knowledge. We need help but we also must get that thing somewhere that nobody can ever get their hands on it."

A groaning and bleeding Barchoke just about managed to sit upright, "I agree with our French friend here, this has to be kept a secret. The blood that Harry placed on that blade means only he, or a direct descendant of his could ever remove the sword from the stone. That young man deserves some peace in his life for once. Let it be known that we prevented Voldemort returning to a body and banished him again, that is all that need be said."

Marko and Graham had been checking the extent of the injured, "Harry and Sirius are the worst, the kids armour saved their lives and Remus being a werewolf is helping him for once."

Barchoke expected this news from Graham, "The magical backlash was focused on Harry because he was the one doing the binding. I suggest getting the sword and stone to Gringotts and locking it in our deepest, most secure vault."

Amos didn't have to think for too long, "Can we do that for now and make a final decision when the entire company can give their opinion? These young people have every right to have their say as well."

Barchoke had made it shakily to his feet before clutching the medallion around his neck, a minute later four heavily armed goblins arrived, ready for a fight.

Barchoke spoke to them in their native language and the four goblins hit their blades off their shields before surrounding the item and portkeying it and them away.

A groan from Victor signalled he was coming around, Fleur wasn't far behind him. "Graham, Barchoke and Marco, could you take Harry and Sirius back, we'll follow as soon as we can." Amos could see Cedric also beginning to stir and reckoned that shortly Remus would be the only one needing levitated.

Ron Weasley awoke and looked round at the total devastation in the graveyard. Headstones were smashed to smithereens and there were bodies everywhere, he recognised Harry lying unconscious with blood coming out his nose and ears.

He also recognised that bastard Peter and hoped he was dead, hard to tell with all the blood covering his balding head. Then Ron remembered who else had been here, "You-know-who's here, we have to get out of this place."

Amos approached the terrified boy, "It's ok son, he's been dealt with. You can leave with the first batch, I'm sure Molly will be past distraught by now."

Ron's gaze fixed on his former friend, without being told he knew it was Harry's idea to save him, just as he knew it was Harry who'd 'dealt' with the problem. Ron Weasley reckoned he could live to be a hundred and still never figure out Harry Potter.

He found himself helping a goblin to walk, though hobble would be a better description. Apparently, without Harry making the portkey they had to appear outside the Hogwarts wards, as the cube came into view the goblin guards raced to help them.

Harry and Sirius now had a goblin at each corner of the conjured stretchers their unconscious forms lay on while the injured goblin was also receiving help. Ron was finally going to see inside the cube he'd heard so much about, it only took being kidnapped, then rescued from you-know-who in a graveyard to make it happen.


A clearly agitated Dobby popped into the lounge, "Mister Granger you are needed to be giving your permission, some of them have returned."

Hermione went from being barely able to function to beating her father out the door as she sped out the cube, the sight of the two stretchers just focused her determination to reach the group.

Hermione didn't ever notice Ron as she rushed right past him, Ron approached the door but was engulfed by his sobbing mother before he could step inside. Once she and his siblings had verified he was alright, Ginny and the twins headed back inside with the rest of the returning group. Ron was marched by his parents down to where Madam Bones and Headmistress McGonagall were finishing interviewing the other two un-rescued hostages.

There was relief he was alive and everyone wanted to know what happened, this was Ron's moment in the sun. He noticed Cho Chang eyeing him speculatively and Ron thought that this was more like it, all the girls loved a hero. He had no idea Cho was thinking that if Harry would risk his life to rescue this prat, then perhaps there was still a chance for her with Cedric. Turns out both of them were delusional.

"Last thing I remember in school was Professor Dumbledore approaching me, when I woke up it was in a graveyard that had Pettigrew and you-know-who there. Pettigrew killed the two mermen while you-know-who put me under the Cruciatus, after that they tied me to a gravestone. I was in and out of consciousness but I remember the rescuers having a big fight, when I was finally cut down there were bodies lying everywhere."

Amelia needed more information, "Mr Weasley, could you be a bit more specific about these bodies? Who was down and what condition were they in? Was the minister ok?"

Ron tried to remember as best he could, "The minister was ok, all the champions and professors Black and Lupin were on the ground. Harry's goblin friend was also hurt. I think Harry and Professor Black are the worst though, that's why they brought them back first."

"What of you-know-who and Pettigrew?"

"Oh Pettigrew was definitely on the ground while the minister said you-know-who had been dealt with. From the state Harry was in, I would say it was him that did the dealing with."

Amelia had learned all she could here, she needed to get to that graveyard. "Do you have any idea where this graveyard is?"

Ron shook his head, "Sorry Madam Bones, between the torture and spells flying everywhere I just wanted to get out of there. It never crossed my mind to ask just where there was."

Arthur had also heard enough, "Minerva, it would appear Poppy is going to have her hands full very shortly. We'll take Ron to St Mungo's to get him checked over, then he's coming home with us until this can be investigated. Amelia could you please keep me informed with what's happening? My son has just been kidnapped and tortured by an unforgivable curse, someone's going to pay."

Ron was struggling to hide his disappointment, not only did he not get into Harry's home but there was nobody at the Burrow to play hero to. Even his twin brothers and sister appeared more concerned with how Harry was than his condition.

Hermione was at Harry's side and nothing or no one was going to remove her, the stretchers were heading for the make-shift infirmary. Poppy wanted to move them to the castle but all her potions and lotions then appeared, well ordered and aligned on shelves just waiting to be used.

Poppy didn't want Hermione there but was beaten into submission before she could even start to complain, Harry's armour was impervious to spells or any blade she had at her disposal. The suits were charmed-sealed and Poppy had no idea how to take it off the young wizard.

Hermione ran her finger down the centre of his chest to reveal a zipper, the same at the top of his hips and they were able to remove both articles from his heavily bruised body. With Hermione present, Poppy was pleased to see he was at least wearing underwear though she had no idea who this Calvin Klein was.

There were no tears now, her Harry had come back to her, battered, bruised and unconscious but he had come back. Hermione had been here before, ever since first year she'd visited Harry in the infirmary so this was at least familiar territory.

Poppy had completed her scan, "There doesn't seem to be any serious internal injuries, he has a concussion and two broken arms. It would appear both he and Sirius were directly in line with a blast of some sort, Harry got the brunt of it but his basilisk armour saved him from serious injury. Sirius is pretty much the same except broken ribs instead of arms."

Back in the lounge Graham was telling a captivated audience what happened, "So we had just got Pettigrew then Harry stabbed you-know-who with his sword. The magical backlash sent everyone flying but the other three champions were coming around as we left. Barchoke was in front of Harry with a metal shield of some sort, it was lying on the grass all buckled and dented when we left. I reckon it probably saved both their lives"

Emma and Dan had waited to hear what had happened before going in to see Harry, they also wanted to give Hermione a few minutes with him. They and Luna entered the modified training room to find her sitting beside Harry while running her fingers through his hair. Poppy had her lift his head as she manipulated his throat to get some potion into Harry, Dan helped her do the same for Sirius.

Hermione never took her eyes off Harry as she spoke, "He's going to be ok, I know he looks bad mum but this is where magic comes into its own. Harry will be back with us shortly."

"Graham Bulstrode said Harry defeated Voldemort, it would appear the whole thing was a plan so he could capture Harry."

Her daughter just nodded, "We both knew that the second Ron was taken, why else would Voldemort want the prat? How is everyone else?"

"From what we can gather your friends all stood with Harry and got hit with some magical blast when he finished Voldemort."

Hermione was still slowly running her fingers through his untameable hair, almost as if to reassure herself that Harry was really here. "I should have been with him mum."

It was Lieutenant Luna who answered her, "That's rubbish Hermione and you know it, Harry wouldn't have been able to concentrate with you there. He places a higher value on your life than anyone else's, including his own! Harry would have been so concerned about you getting hurt that he could have ended up worse than he is. This is when he needs you Hermione, to be there for him when he wakes up. Don't you dare give him a hard time for the decision he made today, the Harry Potter we both know and love couldn't have done it any other way. How would Harry feel if he came round and the first thing he saw was you lying injured in the bed next to him?"

Their discussion was saved from going any further by the remainder of the rescue party arriving, Cedric, Fleur and Victor were effectively walking wounded while Remus was being assisted by Claude and Amos. Their families were all delighted to see them as Amelia hovered in the background, desperate for news but could understand Amos being more concerned about his son at the moment. Once Amos had assured Tabitha he was fine and they both could see Cedric was going to be ok, he headed straight for Amelia.

"Pettigrew is at the front door, under the watchful eyes of the goblin guards. No chances are to be taken with him, a trial and then the verdict carried out. You-know-who has also been dealt with by Harry."

"I need more information than just 'dealt with', what the hell happened in that graveyard?"

Amos shook his head, "What happened there is known to very few and that's the way it's going to stay, let's just say Harry Potter shoved the Sword of Gryffindor so far into you-know….Voldemort we're not going to be seeing him again. There was no body but the magical backlash caused what you see here. A lot of people in this room deserve awards for their bravery but we don't want this being looked at too closely. The last thing we need is some maniacal follower trying to bring him back!"

Amelia had been an auror long enough to know that sometimes it was the information you weren't being given that told the story. If there was the slightest chance Voldemort could be returned, then she agreed that information should not be shared.

Amos was in full minister of magic mode now, "I'll make you a portkey to take you there, we need to collect the bodies of two mermen and repair a lot of damage. Anything beyond repair will just have to be credited to muggle vandals. I want someone, not Dumbledore, to be able to translate to the merpeople how sorry we are at their loss and have the bodies returned to them. Where is Dumbledore anyway? I expected him to be here."


Albus looked around his cell, it didn't take long in this eight by six box. Revealing that Igor Karkaroff had assisted him with placing the hostages in the lake had proved a revelation too far for Amelia.

What he couldn't believe was that Harry had gone off to face Voldemort and deliberately left him behind, he understood their relationship was strained but that had really hit home to him just how badly it had deteriorated. Since Halloween everything that Albus touched appeared to turn to shit, he wondered if there was a polar opposite of the Midas touch and imagined it being christened the Dumbledore grope.

Harry's name coming out of that goblet had left him groping in the dark, trying to get some control over a situation that kept spiralling more and more out of his grasp. Now he found himself jobless, booted out of the castle and the review of his position as Supreme Mugwump could no longer be in any doubt.

Amelia had also informed him that she was including the charge of casting spells on a muggle, and the far more serious one of trying to break the betrothal of Harry and Hermione.

If Harry was successful in his rescue attempt, the public would adore him and Albus was screwed for trying to break his betrothal. If Harry failed then Amelia had already promised to implicate him in the boy's murder and Albus was screwed again. He'd been sitting trying to think of a third option but so far had come up with nothing. Basically, Albus Dumbledore was screwed!


Harry emerged from his darkness to the soothing sensation of someone running their fingers slowly through his hair. He carefully opened his eyes and couldn't mistake the shape beside him, even in the dark and without his glasses. As his brain gradually came online, the results his senses were transmitting to aforementioned brain were both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. He was in a bed with Hermione Granger.

A gentle kiss on his lips was way more than he expected, getting his head chewed off was more in line with what he was prepared for. "I thought you would be angry with me?"

Hermione could hear the rasp in his voice so produced a tumbler of ice cold water for him before answering, "I wasn't angry Harry, I was bloody furious. You've been unconscious for two days though which has given my rational side time to take control, that and Luna threatened me with terrible retribution if I gave you a hard time over this."

"Two days?"

"Yes Harry but let me finish before we move on to that. My rational side understands why you did it and both my parents swore they wouldn't let me go anyway but I was still hurt. If we're together then that means we're together, facing the good and bad, as long as we're together I don't mind."

"I have no problem with the good and the bad love, it's just facing Voldemort when you're fifteen I have a big problem with."

"Well since you've 'dealt' with him, can you promise me I'll never be left behind again? I've discovered I'm really bad at sitting waiting to find out if my betrothed is alive or dead."

Hermione's tears hurt Harry far more than his various injuries did, he held her tight and spoke softly to her. "I couldn't finish him for good love but I've done the next best thing." He could feel her entire body stiffen with fear so continued his tale, "His soul is trapped in rock, held there by the Sword of Gryffindor. Only someone of my bloodline can remove the sword from the stone."

Hermione understood immediately, "Like Merlin did with Excalibur, only Arthur could remove it."

"Yes, and I'm hoping that story doesn't get out as it paint's a large target over me and my descendants. The death eaters will want us to revive their master while someone like Dumbledore would think it acceptable to wipe out the Potters for the greater good. No more Potters and Voldemort has no way back. Did everyone make it back all right? The rumours must have been flying about like confetti for the last two days."

"The only thing reported is that you stabbed Voldemort and the magical backlash knocked you out. No lies but apparently not the whole story. Sirius woke this afternoon and everyone else was ok after a good night's sleep."

Harry had only a few worries, "I think Ron was out of it and Barchoke whacked Peter with his shield, the only thing he would be seeing was stars."

Hermione snuggled in, "He's not seeing them anymore, they kept him in a cage overnight while organising his trial. The result was never in doubt and he received the Dementor's kiss. Dumbledore is also in jail while Amelia builds the case against him, as well as endangering the hostages he's also being charged with cursing Dad and trying to break our betrothal. It looks as if he's headed for Azkaban."

Harry was suddenly very worried, "Did you sneak into my bed? What if your parents come in?"

Hermione just got comfortable so had no intention of moving, "Madam Pomfrey said it was ok to move you and Sirius back to your rooms yesterday, we set an emergency infirmary up in the training room and I have been by your side since. Mum decided I would be as well sleeping beside you since I was going to be spending the night anyway, I think they trust you more than they do me. You won a massive amount of brownie points by refusing to let me go with you, my parents love you even more for that."

Harry couldn't believe he had permission to have Hermione in his bed, he gave her a kiss before asking what he'd missed in the last two days.

"Well Colin's pictures were spectacular and showed clearly what you all faced under the lake, I didn't think Graham Bulstrode could respect you four any more until he saw those pictures. There's no chance of him saying anything after you four saved his daughter, especially as Victor hasn't left Millie's side since you returned. The Krums and Delacours are still here, with the Bulstrodes and Diggorys popping in and out. Molly and Arthur were here, trying to thank you for saving Ron. I think they're hoping for a reconciliation between the three of us but the prat is walking about playing the hero. Fleur says he looked really heroic before fainting, tied to a gravestone and screaming for help."

Harry couldn't hide his disappointment, "I thought this might have made him grow up a bit."

"Ron thinks it makes him attractive to the girls. The only one who will go anywhere near him is Romilda Vane, a little second year who loves to hang about with older boys."

"What happened with the tournament?"

"Well Karkaroff has done a runner, they think he set Ron up as a portkey to capture you. Looks like Dumbledore did you a favour by separating the hostages, didn't save him from jail though. Arthur was in no fit state to hand out marks and Barchoke was with you, fighting Voldemort." Hermione paused to gather her thoughts, "The general feeling seems to be the whole tournament has been a farce since the beginning. The picture of you four fighting the mermen to rescue Millie has swung public opinion to the champions and away from the organisers. Luna's story highlighted that the mermen were following orders from Dumbledore to be aggressive. That two of them died in the cemetery and you lot had to rescue Ron has totally destroyed Dumbledore's reputation."

"So you think they'll cancel it?"

"You couldn't be that lucky, I don't want Fleur or Victor to leave though. You need to get some rest Harry, Pomfrey recommended rest for recovery."

"Hermione I've been out of it for two days, the last thing I need is more rest."

"Oh you have no idea how much I hoped that would be your answer." There weren't too many more words exchanged after that.

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