Chapter 11: Of Nutters and the First Task
I took some deep breaths as I stood inside the Triwizard Champion tent, the school in a complete frenzy outside. Like seriously, I think someone peed their pants.
Scratch that, I think more than one person has peed their pants.
Now I can’t exactly say I’m completely new to this whole being-in-the-centre-of-attention thing, since I’ve been in my fair share of Quidditch Games, but this was taking it to a whole new level. The crowd was screaming for blood, and I just hoped it wasn’t mine.
There weren’t just students though; there were heaps of adults crowding the stands, looking absolutely thrilled.
We were currently crowded around the Minister, who had a grim expression on his face as he began explaining the task. James wrapped his fingers around mine, and I gave his hand a little squeeze.
To any third party watching our interactions, you’d think that we like each other. You know, in that way. But we don’t. No. Not even slightly. Nup, nup, nup, nup, not all.
Besides, I’ve failed to mention that James has gotten alarmingly chummy with his new slag (I mean lady friend) Erica. She was out there right now, wearing his Quidditch jersey.
Bitch was wearing his jersey. And everyone knows that means something.
Why the hell was I stressing about this? I was about to hear the first task for crying out loud!
‘Champions,’ Kingsley began, ‘The Challenges have been selected and developed so as to result in the lowest chances of death. The First Task is anything from easy, so we have put in place two safety words, to yell out if one believes themselves to be in mortal danger without rescue.
Be warned, the use of these words, even once, will incinerate the challenge completely, putting you in complete and instant safety. However you will be disqualified from the First Task, earning you zero points for the Tournament.’ he looked around to make sure everyone understood.
I nodded earnestly, say magic word, bye-bye monster, hello safety.
‘What’s ze safety word?’ asked Adrianne.
‘We’ve chosen an odd word so you don’t say it by accident- Pygmy Puff.’
‘Pygmy puffs are cute. Happy thoughts, Halle, happy thoughts,’ I muttered to myself. James smiled amusedly down at me, but subtly retracted his hand from mine.
BASTARD WAS TOTALLY EMBARRASSED OF ME!
Like hell if I care, I already know I’m sexy.
‘Is that clear?’ asked Kingsley, ‘The safety words are PYGMY PUFF.’
We all nodded, and David gestured for him to continue.
The Minister took a deep breath and continued explaining, ‘A box, with an object inside, has been placed in the care of a Boggart. You’re task is to retrieve said box, and without it you will be not be able to proceed onto future tasks. But, do not sigh in relief, for these are not your regular Boggarts.’
I visibly stiffened as he continued; nervousness began eating away in my stomach.
‘These Boggarts have been magically engineered to be immune to the Ridikulus charm, meaning they will quite literally, turn into your biggest fear. It has been programmed however, to flick through your top fears and morph into the most appropriate one for the challenge. If you’re worst fear, for example, was seeing your mother dying, it wouldn’t exactly prove to be a very interesting Tournament. So, the Boggart will turn into something you will either need to trick or fight.’
As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, Kingsley’s face turned graver.
‘However I am afraid that is not all, as these Boggarts will harness your fear and magnify it ten times, amplifying its intensity. Now, I believe it is clear why the safety words are needed.
The acquiring of this box is vital, and if you fail to do so you miss out on an imperative part of the Second Task. To fail now, is to fail in the Tournament. Understood?’
There was a solemn silence as everyone soaked up what Kingsley had said.
I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I died a little on the inside.
Boggarts were bad enough when they weren’t amplified ten times. And magically engineered to be immune to the Ridikulus charm? Was that even possible?
I have one question.
WHY, MERLIN, WHY?
The other champions were wearing identical petrified expressions, although I’m sure mine, somehow, was even more petrified.
‘Good. The order will be alphabetical, so David,’ Kingsley said, turning to the Durmstrang Champion.
David and James both scored thirty.
Thirty freaking points out of forty.
I don’t know how and I don’t know why (No champions were allowed to watch each other’s tasks, as it gave them an unfair advantage) but they got 75%.
That’s a good mark.
To top it all off, both the boys managed to claim the box as their own, and David didn’t even need to go to the hospital wing. James did though, although at the time I didn’t give a fuck.
But I promise I really did care about his safety.
BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I CARED ABOUT MINE.
Yes, I know, aren’t I such a wonderful human being?
I felt like I was going to throw up when Kingsley waltzed into the tent and turned to me, ‘Your turn, Halle. Best of luck, you’ll do fine out there.'
I was afraid if I opened my mouth to thank him, I would up-chuck.
I took a few deep breaths as I willed my confidence to grow. There was no point being nervous, I had to grow some balls and get this fucking thing over and done with.
I stepped out in the arena, which looked exactly like the Quidditch pitch, except instead of grass there was stone. Stone everywhere, beneath my feet, above my head. The crowd went ecstatic as I stepped out into the light, and I could see Elle and Jordin all the way from here both looking as nauseous as I did.
Don’t know why though, it’s not like they were in the fucking Tournament or anything.
OK, that was mean, I take it back. But you have to cut me some slack; IT’S THE MORTAL TERROR TALKING.
James was there too, side by side with Albus. He looked terrible, bruise above the left eye, scratches everywhere. His right arm was in a sling and he was sitting down instead of standing up. I think he may have even had a cast.
He caught me staring and he shot me an encouraging smile. I couldn’t bring myself to smile back.
I managed a weak wave, which sent the crowd crazy. Suddenly, silence fell, as the Minister took the podium and yelled, ‘Let the Challenge begin!’
A creature was dropped into the middle of the arena, and everyone inched forward to see what it was. I’ve got to say, I was impressed, this was a pretty clever idea. No one knew what my worst fear was. Not even me.
But I was going to find out.
The creature began to morph, and it flicked through a couple of shapes, most of them too blurry to discern. There was a crunch and a slurp as the creature took a rough, humanoid silhouette.
I frantically wracked my brain for what my biggest fear could be. A werewolf was a possibility, since back in Third Year I was terrified of those things. But instinct told me the Boggart was to eerily human to be anything supernatural.
I, along with the crowd gasped as the creature turned into none other than James Potter, with an uncharacteristic evil glint in his eye. I nearly toppled over from surprise.
Alright. This was some weird shit. How on earth was James freaking Potter my biggest fear?
Then, with the horrid feeling in my stomach that the worst was yet to come, I forced myself to concentrate. If the Boggart was meant to magnify your fear by ten…
Boggart-James began to duplicate, and soon I was surrounded by a ring of ten people.
Albus, Jordin, Elle, Freddie, Connor, Dom, James and worst of all Bob, Derek and Dad.
They seemed to be the people I loved the most.
They all wore identical evil expressions, wands drawn, and Boggart-James was holding a box. I felt my courage crumble, what exactly did I have to do to get that stupid thing?
So what was my fear? My friends? My family? I wasn’t scared of them.
But then, it all came falling into place.
In complete synchronization, spells were shot at me from every direction. I zoned out, giving complete control to my survival instinct.
So this is what they were making me do? Fight my best friends and family?
BRING. IT. ON.
Easier said than done, of course.
‘Protego!’ I yelled, a shield erupting around me from all directions, sending the spells straight back at my friends. Inhaling sharply when Boggart-Elle fell due to her own full body bind curse, it took all my resolve to not rush over and revive her.
I couldn’t hear the crowd anymore; I was blocking everything out, focusing only on that box. Boggart-James was leaning casually against the wall, an amused expression on his face as he levitated the box in front of him.
I had a feeling I would have to deal with him last.
Why was James even here? When did he even become part of my life?
Boggart-Jordin shot a spell towards me, and I ducked and commando rolled behind a boulder.
Distinctly I could hear a collective ‘oooh’ around the audience, and I beamed with pride.
Focus, Halle, focus.
I turned from both sides of the boulder, sending spells flying haphazardly, ‘Expelliarmus! Petrificus Totalus! Incendio! Confringo!’ I yelled, a stream of varying curses flowing out of my mouth, getting worse and worse as the seconds wore by.
After at least two minutes of non-stopping, random spell-shooting, I stepped away from the boulder to see the damage I had caused. Boggart-Dom was locked in a body-bind curse, and I looked for Boggart-Jordin but I think my Incendio charm turned him to ash. Both Boggart-Freddie and Boggart-Connor were disarmed.
Again, handing over to my survival instinct, I yelled the first spell to come to my mind, ‘Reducto!’ I screamed, aiming at the two Boggarts.
Freddie and Connor vanished in a blink. Both murdered with my crude choice of spell.
I stood there, mouth agape, horrified by what I just did.
Did I just kill two of my best friends?
In my state of complete shock, I was completely ignorant of Albus stepping out from behind another boulder. I was even more ignorant when he shot an expertly aimed, ‘Expelliarmus.’
I watched in terror as my wand flew across the arena, a couple of feet away. I was at Albus’s complete mercy.
Biting my lip, I dodged and ducked his armada of spells, an uncomfortable sensation spreading through me as one of his curses skimmed the top of my head, singing off my fringe.
I managed to make it to another boulder, which I quickly ducked behind. I closed my eyes and concentrated; hard. But I didn’t plan out my time, because in a matter of seconds, Boggart-Al was standing above me, wand outstretched and cutting into my throat.
I squeezed my eyes shut as pure adrenaline coursed through my body. My vision seemed sharper, and it all seemed to zoom in on jagged, weapon-like rock laying inches from my fingers.
‘What a horrible way to die, being killed by your best friend. But that’s alright, it’s not like I ever loved you anyway,’ Boggart-Al taunted, readying himself for the final blow.
In one swift movement, so quickly I didn’t even see myself doing it, I grabbed the stone and clubbed him across the head. He fell to the floor, his body collapsing on top of mine, trapping me underneath his Quidditch-toned chest.
I could have shoved him off easily, but my whole situation was getting to me. I know I didn’t do anything to harm the real Albus, but the fact that his unconscious body was atop mine weakened my will to do anything.
The crowd remained in sombre silence, as I noticed my pathetic sniffling was resonating throughout the whole arena. The whole school was hearing me cry, just because I clubbed a Boggart on the head.
Suddenly, a voice cut through the air, which was already heavy with tension. It was Al’s. The real Al.
‘Halle! I’m fine! Get your bloody wand!’
My eyes grew wide as his achingly familiar voice boomed throughout the arena, reminding me that I had to finish this.
I just had to.
With the muscles toned from my James Training Sessions, I flipped Boggart-Al’s unconscious body off me with ease, and I raced through the arena with a renewed will.
My wand soon entered my line of sight, and I looked around the crowd to remind myself that all my friends and family were safe. Being the easily distracted nutter I am, I inevitably tripped over a protruding stone, and was sent flying to the ground. I did a quick check.
Everything seemed to be working; a couple of grazes but those were insignificant.
Grabbing my wand, I realised I was high on pure adrenaline. Al was fine. Everyone was fine. These were just Boggarts. That’s all.
But I felt my new resolve crumble, when Boggart-Bob, Boggart-Derek and Boggart-Dad approached me.
They were so real, so life-like. I had to pinch my arm to remind myself they weren’t.
Boggart-Dad looked down at me, a cruel sneer on his face, and he whispered, ‘Crucio.’
The pain was blinding. Absolutely horrific. It was as if every inch of my skin had been pulled and bitten, and then burnt, and then bitten again. My screams echoed through the arena, and everyone looked down in some sort of horrified fascination. I bit down on my lip to stop my squeals and clutched my wand till my knuckles turned white, and I felt a foot land hard on my chest.
‘Last words, Thomas?’ Boggart-Derek sneered.
My Derek never sneers.
Through my straggled breaths, I managed to nod, clutching my wand as if it was my lifeline, ‘Yes. Just two. Petrificus Totalus.’
I spat the words out with venom. These things were not my family, and I wasn’t going to let them steal their identities. I had to stay strong.
All three were sent flying backwards, and hit the stone walls of the arena with a sickening crunch. As soon as they hit the ground, everyone vanished.
Albus, Jordin, Elle, Freddie, Connor, Dom, Bob, Derek and Dad. They just turned into mist and shot upwards.
I sighed in relief, and the crowd erupted into cheers. I looked up to see everyone beaming with pride, Jordin, Elle and Dad. But Al still looked petrified.
Why was he petrified?
‘Good show, good show!’ said a voice from behind me. It was cold, and sarcastic, and so achingly familiar.
I froze in shock. Of course. All the other Boggarts had disappeared, because it was time for the finale.
It was time to fight James.
He pushed himself off the wall, just like he did during Potions, and began to make his way towards me. I pushed myself off the ground, ignoring my body as it screamed in protest.
‘Expelliarmus!’ I cursed, but he deflected it with a jerk of his arm. I tried again. And again.
But the curses just bounced off him, like he was invincible.
‘If you want this box,’ he whispered, ‘You’re going to have to kill me.’
I nearly dropped my wand in shock. Kill him? Yeah, no thanks buddy, I’d rather not go to Azkaban for killing the son of the saviour of the Wizarding world.
Unable to form a coherent sentence due to the blinding pain and the utter confusion, I adamantly shook my head.
Scoffing, Boggart-James rolled his eyes, ‘Killing someone is easy, Halle. Here let me show you. Crucio!'
My body crumpled to the floor. I opened my mouth to scream but nothing came out. It was like my lungs had been ripped apart and then rubbed against sandpaper. All I had to do was yell out two, oddly chosen words, and I would be safe.
But I was so close.
Gritting my teeth together so hard my gums split, I managed to half-crouch, half-stand while my body was still convulsing. ‘Imperio,’ I muttered.
The pain left. James was standing there, like a rag doll, a vacant look in his eye. I felt myself panicking. What the hell was I doing? This was an Unforgiveable Curse! I was going to Azkaban for this shit!
My wand grew shaky, and I could feel myself lose my temporary control over him. He came back to his senses and grinned, ‘Nice try. Alarte Ascendare.’
I shot high into the air, and then felt myself plummeting. Every single cell of my body was screaming in terror, but I let survival-Halle take over again. I shot a quick cushioning charm at the ground, it cushioned my fall, but not enough to stop my shoulder from dislocating.
I winced at the throbbing ache and stared at Boggart-James, my vision blurry from the pain.
I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die, but that wasn’t going to happen.
‘Aren’t you angry yet?’ taunted Boggart-James, ‘Kill me and it will all be over with. Finished. Just two little words, Halle, and the Challenge will be over. You’d have won.’
I shook my head violently, there was no way in hell I would ever kill James, or anyone for that matter, even if he was just a Boggart.
I gritted my teeth and instantly tasted blood, but I pushed all blood-related thoughts to the back of my mind and muttered a quick ‘Repairo’ to my shoulder. It felt monumentally better, although my healing skills were never top-notch. It was definitely still broken.
It was time to end this.
‘Accio box,’ I yelled, and even I was surprised when the wooden box came zooming through the air towards me. I smiled. Things were finally turning up Halle.
Boggart-James looked shocked, ‘How did you do that?’
Blinding pain? Check. Sacred out of my wits? Check. About to pass out from the agony? Check.
But I had to finish this Task, and I was going to do it in style.
Despite feeling like my skin was on fire, I smirked and replied, ‘With pure awesomeness.’
The crowd began cheering again. James and Al stood up, the applause growing in decibels until it was absolutely deafening. Boggart-James looked around in shock, his head twitching in disorientation. But still, no charm would work on him, except for the Killing Curse. And I was not using that.
And then an idea flashed through my mind, it was extremely crazy and probably wouldn’t work, but I already had the box, so I had nothing to lose.
Plus the noise of the crowd seemed to affect the Boggart, who was looking around uneasily at the source of the noise.
Pouring every emotion I had encountered ever since entering the arena, and trust me, I had encountered a lot; I drew my wand and leveled it at Boggart-James’s chest.
‘Riddikulus!’ I managed to shout over the crowd’s frenzy. Suddenly, all was silent, everyone’s eyes on me and the red curse which was emitting from the piece of wood clutched tightly in my grasp. I could feel the power jostling through my wand, the red sparks visibly shooting every which way, landing squarely in Boggart-James’s chest.
His eyes flew wide before he dissipated, turning into mist, and then shooting up towards the sky.
The crowd went absolutely fanatic.
I didn’t get any time to revel in my own glory, because once the spell was complete it was like a gale force wind knocked me over; stealing every fiber of energy I had left. Absolutely drained; I fell to my knees, a sickening crack resonating through the arena as I felt them break. But I didn’t care. I was already unconscious by the time they even started to hurt.
OH EM GEE IT WAS THE FIRST TASK! LOVE? HATE? PIE? KITTENS? TRAINS?
so, last chapter i wrote you a poem. i like writing poems. i'll write you a haiku.
this is a fanfic
about a weird girl and pie
please rate and review ;)
aren't i artsy? MUHHAHAHAHA. im not. BUT REVIEW PLEASE :D
disclaimer; everything belongs to jk. like you didn't already know ;)