I don’t think most people would have considered Fred and me ‘dating.’ We certainly weren’t off snogging in broom cupboards or walking around holding hands or doing other ridiculously mushy dating things. That would have felt very uncomfortable and unnatural for me and probably Fred too. Mostly Fred would come down to the common room around half past six on weekdays and we’d enjoy a half hour alone before other Gryffindors began to rise. We also tended sit across from each other at meals, which Fred was adamant that I attend, Moody or not. Despite how little we were publicly affectionate, George was endlessly amused. He continuously sent winks my way and called me ‘darling’ using a posh accent. I’d roll my eyes as Fred would give him a quick punch or tell him to shove off.
There were times however, when I would find the twins huddled together and whispering. They always stopped if anyone approached though. I was curious about it, yes, but since I had my fair share of secrets, I figured they should be able to have a few of their own too. Still, what would Fred and George be hiding from everyone, including Lee Jordan who always seemed to know what the twins were up to?
The days passed until the first task of the Triwizard Tournament was only a week away. I’d been able to spend some time with Victor, showing him around the castle, especially the library which impressed him. Hogwarts library was much bigger than Durmstrang’s and had a wider range of topics. Victor asked about books I thought might be helpful with the tournament. I didn’t actually have any idea about what the tournament might have but I directed him to some charms and defensive spell books. I’d sit across from him working on homework as he read, occasionally asking me to clarify something he didn’t understand because of the language.
Unfortunately being seen together so often led others to start rumors. There was one particular group of girls who’d always watch from behind book shelves and give me dirty looks whenever they passed me in the halls. It wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t been involved with Fred already. Awkwardly I’d felt obliged to explain what was happening to Fred one morning.
“Of course you’re not attracted to him,” Fred said looking at me oddly. “You’ve already got me and I’m much better looking.”
“Git,” I muttered, glaring at him.
“You’d prefer I thought you fancied him?”
“Hmph,” I responded, turning back to my book.
“That’s what I thought,” Fred said grinning as he placed his head above mine.
“Sometimes I think you only like me for my shampoo.”
“Only partially,” he answered. “Ouch!” he exclaimed after I punched him on the arm. “I was only kidding!”
“That’s what I thought,” I replied smugly.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three days before the first task I was sitting in the library working on a History of Magic essay. I looked up when a book was dropped on the table across from me. Victor sat down looking annoyed.
“Karkaroff or fan girl stalkers?” I asked.
“The first one,” Victor replied while roughly opening a book on dragons.
“We could knock him out and toss him in the lake. After the squid ate him there’d be no evidence. Doubt anyone would even miss him.”
“Do not tempt me,” Victor said miserably.
“I thought I would be able to work on the tournament in peace. That was rather…foolish to think.”
“Ignore him. You would do better on your own. I am sure all of his plans are rubbish anyways.” Victor frowned and flipped through a few pages.
“He wants me to use you,” he said at last, sounding disgusted.
“Use me?” I asked dubiously.
“He knows you have a brilliant mind. He wants me to receive your help because he cannot think of anything.”
“You do not need me,” I told Victor confidently, “and you certainly do not need Karkaroff. Stick to your strengths and keep it simple, you will be fine.”
“Thank you,” he muttered. “I keep imagining what you would do, or what I think you would do.”
“I would push Karkaroff in front of a dragon,” I responded, glancing at Victor’s book.
He let out a laugh then looked deep in thought. “That could work.”
“Well now I am wishing I was a champion.”
“How many ways of getting past the age spell did you think of?”
“At least ten. Not really Dumbledore’s finest work.”
“Maybe your mind just sees things differently.”
“Hmm,” I said thoughtfully, “maybe.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Morning,” Fred greeted, sitting down next to me.
“Excited about today?”
“More curious than anything.”
“Krum have any insights about what’s happening?”
“I think he knew. He didn’t want my help though. No telling anyone that by the way.”
“Why wouldn’t he want your help? You know like…a billion different spells.”
“You’d want my help if it was you?” I asked skeptically.
“Yes,” Fred said instantly. “On second thought no,” he amended after a pause. “It would be too easy for you. I’d want me and George to figure it out on our own.”
“I don’t even want to imagine what you two would think of.”
“What? It would be brilliant. Even you’d be awed.”
“I’d be worried sick about you,” I replied truthfully.
“Thanks for the confidence boost, mum,” Fred muttered sarcastically.
“I’m always worried about you.”
“You worry too much. And read too much.” He took the book I was reading and tossed it on the other side of the couch. Next he put his arm around me and pulled my head onto his chest. I still tensed whenever he did something like this but slowly I would relax. “Isn’t this better?”
“I can hear your stomach growling,” I pointed out.
“You are the least romantic girl I’ve ever met.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled, embarrassed. It wasn’t like I knew how to act in these situations.
“Don’t be. I like you this way,” he responded.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Everybody was anticipating the first task, lunch was nearly unbearable. When we arrived at the stands I sat next to Fred with George and Lee Jordan on his other side. Ginny Weasley was in front of me, beside Hermione, along with the rest of the Gryffindor fourth years. Cedric Diggory was up first, this is where we learned the task was to collect the golden egg from a dragon. Well that explained Victor’s reading choices.
Cedric had a decent idea of how to accomplish his task, but it could have been better. He really should have used a Disillusionment Charm on himself after transfiguring a rock into a dog. I cringed with the rest of the crowd when the dragon, bored of the dog, went for Cedric. It burned the side of his face, although Cedric did get the egg in the end.
“It’s Charlie!” Ginny shouted, pointing at the dragon handlers who were approaching the dragon now that Cedric was done. I found the Weasley brother quickly since he was the only one with red hair. The other Weasleys and Hermione spotted Charlie too.
“Oh, I don’t know if I could do that for a living,” Hermione said, looking worried as the dragon handlers subdued the dragon.
Cedric was given his marks and then Fleur Delacour was up. She seemed to be putting her dragon in a trance, a bit hard to do while hundreds of students are roaring around you. It took some time but eventually Fleur was able to approach the nest of eggs slowly while still focusing her wand on the dragon. Just as she reached for the golden egg the dragon’s snore sent a blast of flame her way. She was lucky only her skirt caught on fire but in her panic to put it out the dragon started to stir. She quickly grabbed the egg and backed away.
Now it was Victor’s turn. The first thing he did was aim a spell at the dragon’s eye. Well you can imagine how the dragon reacted to that. It started thrashing around in pain. Next I noticed Victor tap the top of his head with his wand, disappearing. I smiled proudly, the Disillusionment Charm was always handy to know. The other students didn’t recognize the spell and started shouting. “Where’d he go?!” and “He Disapparated!” were repeated quite a bit.
“Honestly, how many times do I have to say it?!” Hermione cried out, annoyed. “You can’t Apparate or Disapparate on Hogwarts grounds!”
“What did he do?” Fred whispered in my ear.
“Disillusionment Charm. Watch the eggs,” I answered.
Sure enough, a minute later the golden egg was seemingly floating up and backing away from the still thrashing dragon. Once he was far enough away, Victor removed the spell, shimmering back into view causing the crowd to roar in approval. Ten points were taken off for the regular eggs that were smashed but currently Victor was in the lead.
Lastly there was Potter. He cast a spell right away though I didn’t know which one. Hermione was clutching her face looking nervous as she looked around the sky. I could hear other people murmuring around the stands, unimpressed. Finally I spotted something coming – a broomstick. A summoning charm? Potter hopped on the broom and took off as the Gryffindors started cheering. He started taunting the dragon, making it become annoyed with him. Finally the dragon rose up and Potter made his move, quickly speeding down and gathering the golden egg. He’d been the fastest champion and his only injure was a gash on his shoulder. He was tied with Victor for the lead despite the fact that Karkaroff gave him four (even I knew Potter deserved higher than that). The stands, especially the Gryffindors went crazy. As much as I hated to admit it, I was rather impressed too.
The party in Gryffindor common room was nearly as loud as the one last year after Gryffindor had won the quidditch house cup. Fred and George nicked a lot of food from the kitchens, and I mean a lot. How could they even carry this much? There were fireworks going off and Dean Thomas even drew up some banners. The ones of Cedric Diggory with his head on fire amused me the most, as I was admiring them, someone approached me.
“Enjoying yourself?” a voice from behind me asked as an arm wrapped around me.
“George, if you don’t let go I’m going to make sure you can never have children,” I told him in a level voice.
“Point taken,” he responded, quickly letting go. “All yours mate,” he said to an amused Fred Weasley behind him.
Fred came towards me and offered a Butterbeer. “That was brilliant,” he said, unable to stop grinning.
“Should I be worried that you find your brother flirting with me so amusing?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“No, I find you threatening him amusing. Very big difference,” he explained. “Still not a fan of parties I see.”
“Sorry. Just…too much time alone, I guess.”
“Definitely need to get you to a Weasley party,” he replied while putting his arm around me.
“Yeah,” I scoffed, “Lucius would love that idea as much as your parents,” I told him sarcastically.
“We can invite Dumbledore and the Bulgarians too. We’ll just invite everyone and make it the party of the century. Years from now people will still be talking about the Weasley Party of '94.”
“Let me know when to R.S.V.P.” I teased.
“R.S.V.P? You don’t need to worry about that, you’re a guest of honor.”
Lee’s voice interrupted us and caught everyone’s attention. “Open it Harry, go on!”
Fred and I stepped closer to where Potter was as Lee passed the golden egg. A second after Potter pried the halves apart a screeching voice filled the air.
“Come seek us where our voices sound, we cannot –”
“Shut it!” Fred yelled from beside me.
“No, wait!” I called out instantly. Everyone in the common room turned to give me a confused, disbelieving look. “Keep it open!” I shouted at Potter.
“–too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.” There was a short pause before it began again. I listened carefully to the poem while everyone else was covering their ears, most of them looked annoyed as well.
“Alright,” I yelled at Potter as the poem ended, “you can shut it.”
Everyone looked relieved and a fifth year rudely yelled out. “Hey, why’d we have to listen to that racket?!”
“Purely to annoy you,” I responded sarcastically. I headed towards a table in the corner of the room as the party started up again. I saw Hermione whispering something to Ron Weasley and Potter.
“You know what it means already, don’t you?” Fred asked, sitting down beside me.
“I have an educated guess.”
“Going to share?”
“That would ruin the fun.”
“You know, I reckon the other champions should be thankful they aren’t up against you.”
“I wouldn’t have entered.”
“No,” Fred said frowning, “not really in your nature is it?"
“That bothers you?”
“No. Just weird I guess. I’d be the most obnoxious bloke on the planet if I knew all the spells and stuff you knew.”
“Oh, Fred,” I said seriously, “you don’t need a photographic memory to be the most obnoxious bloke on the planet.”
Fred placed his hand over his heart while looking pained. “Why must you break my heart so?” he asked feigning sadness.
“Drama queen,” I muttered while rolling my eyes.
“Do I get a crown?”
“I’m all out.”
“That seems unjust. What’s a queen without a crown?”
“I’ll get you one for Christmas.”
“Make sure it matches my eyes.”
A/N: I did adjust Victor’s strategy a bit, just a hint of influence Jade’s had on Victor. And about Fred and Jade, just because they are “together” doesn’t mean Jade’s completely given into the idea of an open, honest, blissful relationship(even if she’s convinced herself that she can be carefree and happy with Fred) There are some things that can’t be replaced, no matter how hard you try, or in Jade’s case, ignore them. She’s been alone (I’m not counting adults) for a long time and she wants to be happy with someone. The person who makes her the happiest is Fred, for now that will be enough.
The details of how each champion collected their golden egg are from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 20, The First Task. The quotes and scene of Harry opening the golden egg are from Chapter 21, The House-Elf Liberation Front.
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