Chapter 31 : Disaster of a Third Task
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A/N: What you see here belongs to the wonderfully talented J.K. Rowling. I only own the plot and original characters.
The day I was dreading most was finally here. Draco, Blaise, Rose, and I made our way to what used to be the Quidditch pitch. According to Harry, the grass was grown to extreme heights and turned into a maze of some sort.
I was holding onto Draco’s hand as tight as I could; acting as if it was my lifeline. He kept rubbing his thumb over my palm to calm me down. However, it did not produce the results intended. I was an emotional wreck. I felt like I did during the first task; all worried and sick to my stomach at the possibilities of what could happen. Part of my brain was telling me that Harry would be fine and make it through just like he did with the previous tasks. The other part took over my entire thinking process and making me think the worst.
We finally made it into the stands and sat down near the other Slytherins. I looked around at the crowd and noticed the Gryffindors immediately. They were the ones wearing all red and gold and had Harry painted across their heads. Well, only a few of them had at least.
Music started playing all of a sudden and the champions came out in procession. They lined up in a circle at each entrance to the maze. Dumbledore made a quick speech, but I didn’t hear him because I was totally focused on Harry. He looked so calm for going into something that had unknown risks and dangers. I knew him better than that, though. He was most likely freaking out on the inside. Dumbledore then sent the champions on their way into the maze. Harry and Cedric went first. I noticed Professor Moody give Harry a gesture, but I couldn’t see what it was. Krum entered the maze second, finally followed by Fleur. It was now a waiting game.
I leaned my head on Draco’s shoulder and he kissed the top of my head. No words were necessary; him being there was all I needed to feel comforted.
“I hate being quiet.” Blaise said grumpily. Rose and Draco chuckled.
“That’s nothing new.” Dray said. Rose looked over and offered me a reassuring smile.
“Perk up, Nat. It’ll all be fine in the end.” I sighed.
“I know, but I can’t help worrying. He is my brother after all.” Draco put his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him.
“D, you’re being awfully quiet.” Blaise stated. When Dray didn’t say anything, Blaise got up and shook his butt in his face. Apparently that’s all that was needed to break the ice because we all started cracking up and talking animatedly.
We sat there for another hour talking until Professor Moody came over to us. “Miss Potter, may I have a word with you?”
“Sure, Professor.” I said looking up at him.
“In private, if you will.” I nodded, gave Draco a kiss, and followed him out of the stands. I was really confused as he led me out of the stadium.
“Um Professor, what are we doing here?” I asked as Moody grabbed a broom and mounted it.
“Come!” he exclaimed. I did as I was told and we flew over the maze. We landed and then I saw it; the Triwizard Cup.
“Professor, what are we doing here?”
He began laughing maniacally. “Oh, you’re such a naïve girl. I’m not a professor.” He came out of the shadows and there stood a man I didn’t recognize.
“W-Who are you?”
“Barty Crouch Jr.”
“Why are you here? Why did you pose as a professor?”
“I don’t need to answer to a child like you. But if you want to know, I guess I will tell you. I am a Death Eater doing a mission for the Dark Lord.” I was frightened, but I didn’t let it show. “Now,” Crouch said as he circled me. “I want you to do something for me.”
“And why would I do that?” I spat.
“Because….if you don’t, I will hurt you.”
“Go ahead. I won’t do anything for a Death Eater!”
He laughed darkly. “Okay, if you don’t mind me hurting you, what if I hurt your precious brother? You wouldn’t want that, would you?”
I took a deep breath. “What do you want me to do?” He smiled.
“That’s a good girl. I want you to call for him. Get him to come to you; that will lead him to the Cup.”
I closed my eyes and bit my lip. I knew that if I did get Harry to come something bad would happen, but if I didn’t, Crouch would hurt him.
I tried to use our sibling-type powers of knowing if each other were in danger, just to see if he sensed it. I sat there for a few minutes trying to radiate my panic into the environment around me. I heard footsteps from a distance. They seemed careful and hesitant.
“Harry?” I called out. The footsteps got quicker and I turned around to look for Crouch, but he disappeared.
“Natalie, what the bloody hell are you doing here?!” I looked back to see Harry looking at me dumbfounded. I ran to him and he caught me up in his arms. He held me protectively and I glanced to see Cedric standing there.
“Why are you here? Only champions are allowed in the maze.” I sighed.
“Cr-Moody brought me in here.”
“No time for questions! Let’s just grab the Cup and get out of here.” He moved so he held me around the waist protectively and both guys jumped for the Cup. I felt a pull at my navel and all of a sudden we landed on hard ground. The only problem; it wasn’t Hogwarts.
I slowly stood up and scanned my surroundings. There was a big cauldron that looked as if it could fit an entire person in it. I shivered. “Harry, the cup is a portkey.” Cedric stated.
“You don’t say?!” I exclaimed sarcastically. “Instead of admiring the thing that brought us to hell, why don’t you try to find a way out of this place?! Isn’t that what you Hufflepuffs are particularly good at?” He rolled his eyes and stood up.
“We need to get out of here guys.” Harry said, with a bit of fright in his voice.
“No, really?! I thought, you know, we could stay and have a nice little tea party!” I said.
“Harry, get your stupid sister to shut up!”
I glared at Cedric and started after him. Before I could touch him, Harry caught me and held me back.
“Don’t.” he whispered in my ear.
“He’s getting on my nerves though!”
“Just let it go.” I sighed.
“Kill the spare!” a raspy voice said from behind us. In a matter of seconds, a green light flashed and Cedric went flying in the air. He was dead.
“Cedric!” Harry exclaimed. All of a sudden, I was ripped out of Harry’s grasp and thrown to the ground. He was being levitated and the grim reaper type thing on the tombstone was enchanted to hold him still. He was screaming out in pain and I could see blood trickling down from his scar. That only really happened when Voldemort was near.
I ran towards the man, who I realized was Wormtail, who was holding the bundle of blankets in his arms. Before I could reach him, he yelled “Stupefy!” and I was thrown backwards into the rocks. I saw a mass of something being dumped into the cauldron before I fell unconscious.
I woke up to the sound of men talking. I slowly crawled towards the sound and noticed a group of men surrounding someone. They were wearing the silver masks that I had seen at the Quidditch World Cup. That could only mean one thing; the Death Eaters had come back to see their master. Voldemort had returned.
I stood up shakily and noticed Harry crying out in pain and panting in the exact same spot he was; considering he couldn’t move. I slowly walked toward him so I couldn’t be detected by the Death Eaters and his eyes widened when he saw me.
“You’re bleeding.” I touched the back of my head and felt a warm, wet substance.
“Doesn’t matter. How are you?” He grimaced.
“Wormtail took blood out of my arm with a knife. It hurts, to say the least.” I bit my lip. “Nat, I want you to grab Cedric and the portkey and get out of here.”
“No!” I exclaimed. “I’m not leaving you here. I’m staying. There’s no point in even arguing with me over it.” He sighed, but nodded.
“Oh, and what do we have here? Some brotherly/sisterly love?” a snake-like voice said.
I turned around to see a menacing man (well you couldn’t even say that) looked down on me. He had slits for a nose like a snake and he had scaly-like skin. He didn’t even look human. He smirked and placed a long-fingered hand on my shoulder.
I flinched as Harry yelled, “Don’t you touch her!” He turned his attention from me to Harry and waved his wand. He fell to the ground.
“Pick your wand up, Potter! Now!” He did as was told and then his back curved in a weird angle. I looked over at Voldemort and realized he was making Harry do that. “Let’s duel.” Voldy stated.
“CRUCIO!” Harry collapsed to the ground and screamed in agony and pain.
“Stop! Stop it, please!!” I screamed. One of the Death Eaters put his arms around me and pulled me away from where I was standing. “Let go of me! Harry!!” I screamed again.
The man’s hold only got tighter and he kept pulling me away. I thrashed around and tried to get out of his grasp. “Calm down, brat!” a familiar voice came from behind the mask.
“Lu-Lucius?” I whispered.
“Yes,” he said in a low tone. “Now I suggest you stop making such a fuss or the Dark Lord will go after you next.” He pulled me harder. “Come, brat!”
I realized he was only putting up a façade around his fellow Death Eaters and pretended that I was the enemy. We were standing with the other Death Eaters and Lucius had his hands on my shoulders in a tight grip.
I turned my attention back to Harry and saw him dodge the Killing Curse just in time and duck behind a tombstone. “Come out, Potter. Face your fate!” Voldemort yelled.
I held my breath as Harry came out and shouted, “Expeillarmus!” just as Voldemort shouted,
Pretty soon, an invisible force field went around the duelers and they were raised into the air. I watched awe-struck at how something like that could happen.
As soon as they were levitated, Harry broke the spell and both of them dropped to the ground. Some white, wispy substance surrounded Voldemort and Harry bolted for the portkey. I wrenched out of Lucius’s grip and ran after him. He grabbed me and with a simple, “Accio!” I felt a dug at my navel and we fell on the ground in front of Dumbledore.
Everybody in the audience gasped and I stood up slowly. I instantly scanned the stands for Draco and saw him on his feet looking completely scared out of his mind. The noise of Harry crying finally registered in my brain and I ripped him away from Cedric’s body and held him tight to me. He cried on my shoulder and I tried to comfort and reassure him as much as possible. A few tears trickled down my own cheeks as I felt a hand come up on my shoulder. I flinched unwillingly as the memory of Voldemort doing that to me came into my mind.
“It’s just me, Nat.” a soft, loving said. Harry pulled away from my embrace and looked up at the speaker. He nodded, kissed my hair, and walked unsteadily back to the crowd; probably to find Ron and Hermione.
“Nat?” I turned around and launched myself into Draco’s arms. I started crying hysterically as he tried to calm me down.
“It was so scary; so scary, Draco.” He held me tighter and attempted to calm me down again.
“Love, it’s over. I’m here now.” I buried my face into the crook of his neck and continued to cry. I couldn’t seem to stop.
I finally calmed down and looked at Draco for the first time since I got back. I was surprised to find his cheeks tear-stained. I reached up to wipe the tears away, but he caught my hand and kissed it. He then leaned down and gave me a sweet kiss on the lips. I smiled slightly when he pulled away and then he pulled me into another bone crushing hug.
“Miss Potter.” I jumped out of Draco’s arms in fright. I turned around and saw Crouch, now disguised as Moody, standing in front of us. “Come with me.”
I backed up further and then he grabbed me roughly and pulled me away with him.
“No! Draco!” I breathed. I would have yelled, but I was too scared and couldn’t find my voice.
I was being led out of the stadium trying to squirm out of his grasp, but his hold was really tight. Before I could register what was happening, I was being thrown into his office and then realized Harry was with me. I scrambled to get as far away from Crouch as possible.
Harry started explaining what had happened at the graveyard and in the middle of his speech, Crouch let something slip that had him telling how Harry got into the tournament. He got closer to the two of us and I whimpered as he drew his wand on Harry. Harry grabbed me and pulled me into a corner behind a large chest.
“Oh, how the Dark Lord will reward me for finishing off the great Harry Potter!” Crouch hissed.
“If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to go through me first.” I said as I stood in front of him.
Before Crouch could get a word out, he was stunned into a chair on the opposite side of the room.
“Harry, get away from that chest!” Dumbledore exclaimed. Harry did as he said while I stayed put.
“Natalie,” Snape said. He took a step toward me and I backed up.
“Severus, she’ll need time to trust teachers again.” the headmaster stated.
He nodded to his left and Draco came into view. He held out his hand out to me, but I didn’t go to him. “Sweetheart, come here.” I walked over to him and he held me protectively as I hid my face in his chest. It was a few minutes before Draco rubbed my arms.
“Do you want to see who he actually is?” he whispered in my ear. I shook my head.
“I already know.”
“Mr. Malfoy, would you please take Natalie down to the Hospital Wing?” Snape asked.
“Of course, sir.” He led me out of the office and down the corridor. I felt extremely tired all of a sudden and my body felt twice as heavy. “Do you want me to carry you?”
I didn’t even have time to answer before Draco cradled me in his arms. I laid my head on his chest and drifted off to sleep in seconds.
A/N: Wow, this is the longest chapter I’ve written in a while! So, what did you think? I hope some of you at least got the reference made when Nat was speaking to Cedric. If you didn’t, well that’s okay too. There are only two chapters left! Please leave a review! I worked so hard on this chapter wanting to make it perfect! Thanks!
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