Four - The Perfect Year

Four - The Perfect Year

A Chapter by Alex
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Rosie's final year at Hogwarts will be interesting indeed, as a certain tournament is revived yet again...

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The twinkling lights of the many illuminated windows of a grand castle winked from a distance. A minute later, they were bright enough to reveal the towering silhouette of Hogwarts against the ever fading twilight of the evening sky, with all of its towers and turrets, its twisting spires, and sloping lawns.

 

Rosie felt her stomach flutter. This would be the last time she would get to take in this view. The others seemed to be thinking the same thing, for the entire car was silent as the train crossed one final bridge, and the castle was brought into full view.

 

The castle slowly fell from their view as the train made its final turn into Hogsmeade Station. It came to a full stop, and Rosie’s car was full of movement as everyone hoisted their luggage down from the overhead racks. Beolet leapt into his compartment on the side of Rosie’s trunk. It was a full ten minutes before everyone was off the train, and onto the Thestral-drawn carriages - at least, that’s was Rosie had been told was pulling them; she couldn’t see them, much to her disappointment.

 

As the carriages took them to the front of the castle, Rosie tried to tune out the white noise of chattering students and focus on scanning the grounds for signs of patrols from Yuri and his associates. The grounds seemed untouched, though. As the carriages pulled up to the giant front doors, Rosie thought she saw a cloaked figure - silhouetted by moonlight - appear between two nearby trees, but then it was gone, hidden by the darkness.

 

Caught in the current of her fellow students, Rosie was urged on, through the impressively tall front doors, and into the Entrance Hall, flanked by four giant hourglasses, which tracked house points. Without stopping, the flow of students turned and emerged into the Great Hall, where four tables stretched the length of the room, perpendicular to a fifth table at the far end, which sat the school’s staff.

 

After everyone was seated, Professor Garrett - the Potions Master - appeared with the old school sorting hat. Professor Garrett had the look of an old wolf, with a grey and black mane of hair, a sturdy jaw, and the confidence of one who hasn’t yet been kicked out of the pack after so many years. A few catcalls could be heard from the students’ tables as he placed the sorting hat on a stool in front of the staff table.

 

After straightening up, and a sly wink, he stepped back and turned his attention back to the hat, which had opened up at a torn seam, and began to sing:

 

Many years ago,

In the Wizarding World of old,

Four young minds did dream

Of a place where children could go

 

A place of learning,

A place of structure and privacy

Away from Muggles

Where magic was taught complacently.

 

By now, you know this tale,

About the Hogwarts founders four;

Ambitious Slytherin,

And loyal, brave, Gryffindor.

 

Kind Hufflepuff, then,

Both humble and group-minded.

And last was Ravenclaw;

Her mental prowess uncontended.

 

To help youngsters excel,

An inter-house contest was born.

So fierce, friendly rivals

Would urge them all to try more.

 

A millennia passed,

A thousand cups and more were won.

Though take it from this old hat:

Four separate schools aren’t better than one.

 

So, compete this year

For the glory of the House Cup,

But forget this not:

One family in this hall does sup.

 

Professor Garrett joined everyone in applause before unrolling a parchment and saying to the formed crowd of terrified-looking first years “When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted.”

 

As Rosie was surveying the crowd of first years, Delilah nudged her, gazing at the staff table, and said “What’s the Minister of Magic doing here?”

 

Rosie looked at the staff table, and immediately saw the rich purple robes and ebony skin of Kingsley Shacklebolt sitting next to her Uncle Percy, who was turned the other way to talk to another dark-skinned man with dreadlocks who Rosie didn’t recognize. On the other side of the man with dreadlocks was a woman with grey hair in a tight bun, who was quietly sipping at her goblet.

 

“And that’s Mindred Crair,” Delilah continued, spotting the grey-haired woman, “Head of the Department of International Cooperation.”

 

“Arnold, Gregory!” Professor Garret began.

 

Something about all this was starting to sound very familiar to Rosie. She looked back at the wizard with dreadlocks, and remembered a name spoken by her dad. “I think that man with the dreadlocks is Lee Jordan, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.”

 

“Gryffindor!” The Sorting Hat barked. Cheers from the Gryffindor table followed.

 

“Do you think they have anything to do with Russia?” Delilah asked offhandedly.

 

Suddenly, it all clicked in Rosie’s head. One of Uncle Harry’s old stories came flowing through her mind; dragons, Merpeople, a maze, and two other schools. The Goblet of Fire. A thousand galleon prize money.

 

“What?” Delilah prodded her with a spoon. Rosie must have been staring into space, unresponsive.

 

“Wiggam, Harriet!” A mousey-faced girl with freckles stumbled up to the stool.

 

She leaned in close to Delilah and said under the thrum of noise at their table (Ravenclaw!) “Triwizard Tournament!”

 

Daisy groaned behind her. “You guessed the surprise!”

 

Rosie’s heart was pounding in her throat as she turned around to face Daisy. “The Triwizard Tournament?” Rosie gasped, practically breathless. “It’s coming back to Hogwarts?”

 

Whatever Daisy was about to say was interrupted by sudden silence. Rosie turned around again to see Uncle Percy standing at his seat at the staff table, conjuring silence from the Great Hall. Rosie couldn’t help but smirk as her uncle glared impatiently through his horn-rimmed glasses at the straggling conversations that lingered at the Gryffindor table, conjuring crow’s feet to the corners of his eyes. When their owners finally realized they were being waited on, true silence finally rang through the hall.

 

Uncle Percy cleared his throat importantly. “Now, then, if everyone is done talking over their headmaster, we can continue.”

 

“Not at all, Uncle Percy!” Lilly’s voice called faintly from the Gryffindor table.

 

Rosie bit her lip to stifle her laughter. Uncle Percy’s face reddened slightly and waited for the hall to be silent once more. Uncle Percy continued to fidget uncomfortably. He seemed to have lost his thought. Finally, he motioned behind him to the staff table.

 

“Please join me in welcoming Lee Jordan, the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Mindred Crair, the Head of the Department of International Cooperation, and Kingsley Shacklebolt - the Minister of Magic himself - to our feast tonight.” Uncle Percy paused while he and the rest of the hall clapped in welcome. After the last of the applause ended, Uncle Percy continued. “They will be accompanying myself and any seventh years who wish to participate to the far-off school of Durmstrang Institute, which has been chosen to host the newly revived Triwizard Tournament.”

 

Uncle Percy was never much for speeches. Indeed, this announcement was made so quickly and casually that there was about five seconds of silence before the majority of the students had realized that he had said something important. After a slow startup, though, the hall soon shook with applause, cries of amazement, and whoops.

 

Rosie was still thunderstruck. A thousand galleons would ensure that she wouldn’t need to rush into a job right after school like her parents had been pestering her for all summer. And when she did decide she was ready to look for a job, who would turn down the application of the Triwizard Champion? Soon, a wide smile had stretched across Rosie’s face, and she was joining the rest of the students in their jubilation.

 

After the hall had again become quiet, Uncle Percy cleared his throat. “Yes, yes, it’s all quite exciting; many of you have likely been told stories of how Hogwarts hosted the last Triwizard Tournament nearly thirty years ago. Though it didn’t end smoothly, an enormous amount of preparation, updated standards, and accountability has given us an opportunity to once again reinstate this historic tradition. After all, the heart of the Tournament is the growth of international magical relationships, which is extremely important to myself, our Minister of Magic, and the Ministry itself.

 

“Now, in case I was not clear before, I’ll again say that Hogwarts will NOT be hosting the tournament this year; instead, Durmstrang Institute will hold that honor.” There were scattered groans at this - clearly, Uncle Percy had not been clear before. “Also, I’ll repeat that only Seventh Years will be allowed to compete.”

 

At this, the hall erupted into outraged shouts as most of the Sixth Years cried foul. Rosie could see Lily jump to her feet at the Gryffindore table, shaking a finger at Uncle Percy. Rosie was glad that whatever she was saying was being drowned out by the rest of the noise, for she was sure it would have gotten her a detention.

 

Over the boos and jeers, Uncle Percy bellowed “This is to ensure that only the most experienced witches and wizards of each school are permitted to attempt the extremely dangerous tasks of the tournament! It’s for your safety! LILY POTTER BE SEATED!”

 

Lily crossed her arms and sat down with a huff. The rest of the hall seemed to abandon their tirade as she did. With silence again restored, Uncle Percy took a breath while he straightened his glasses. “As I said, it’s for your own safety. Any Seventh Years who wish to compete will accompany me to Durmstrang Institute on the 30th of October.”

 

Rosie couldn’t remember a start-of-year feast quite like this one. As Uncle Percy continued onto other announcements of safety and conduct at Hogwarts, the level of interruptions and side conversations steadily climbed, until poor Uncle Percy gave up on any semblance of order and sat down, allowing the first course of the feast (mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, oysters, and steamed carrots and broccoli) to begin, magically appearing on large serving plates throughout the tables.

 

The noise level in the great hall continued to climb as the evening crept by. Wild rumors of what the Champions would face during the Triwizard Tournament had already started circulating. “They’ll need to stare a Basilisk in the face for a solid minute in the first task!”; “Don’t be stupid, Bruce, you’d die. They have to swordfight a Vampire.”

 

By the end of the third course (creamed peaches, chocolate eclairs, and ice cream), a thought occurred to Rosie, who turned to Daisy and asked “How are we getting to Durmstrang?”

 

This question had the unintended, albeit satisfyingly rare effect of wiping Daisy’s all-knowing grin away, replaced by an almost panic look - she didn’t know the answer. Rosie enjoyed the sight for a few seconds, then asked, with a tone of naïve politeness “Daisy, didn’t they tell you?”

 

Daisy recovered quickly enough, wearing another grin of confidence. “Oh, you know professor Garret - he must have forgotten to include that in his letter to me. A man of his age - I’m not all that surprised. I’ll ask him tomorrow morning, I’m sure he’ll thank me for reminding him.”

 

“Good idea,” Rosie said before eating another spoonful of chocolate ice-cream.

 

A spoon clattered to the table on Rosie’s other side, and she looked over to see Delilah frozen in shock.

 

“Whap pah mammer?” Rosie said, spoon still in her mouth.

 

Delilah turned to Rosie, fear on her face. “Rosie, what if one of the tasks is Dementors?”

 

Rosie laughed, but as Delilah continued to look at her, the idea seemed less and less impossible. She shook her head and quickly said “No, Uncle Harry wouldn’t mess with Dementors.”

 

Still, couldn’t Uncle Harry’s conversation with Yuri have been about keeping Dementors penned up, and off the grounds, until the Champions were fated to deal with them in some way? Such an endeavor would require a great deal of caution, and Uncle Harry WOULD look for any reason to pull the plug on something like that.

 

At that moment, though, Scorpius came over from the Slytherin table, and Rosie’s concerns were forgotten. Daisy moved over a seat to make room and gave Rosie a sly wink.

 

As he sat down, his hand slipped into hers. “Sorry, I wanted to tell you, but we weren’t allowed to tell the other students anything before the feast.”

 

Rosie gazed into his handsome brown eyes and smiled. “You can make it up to me later.”

 

Scorpius smiled back. “So what do you think?”

 

Rosie knew what he meant: entering the tournament. “What do YOU think?”

 

“I’ll be entering. Father wants me to.”

 

Rosie raised an eyebrow. “Don’t YOU want to?”

 

Scorpius laughed, then kissed her gently on the lips. “Only if it means keeping you out of trouble.”

 

“What, you don’t think I could handle it?”

 

Scorpius didn’t look like he wanted to answer the question. After a sideways glance, he quickly recovered and said “I’d rather handle it for you.”

 

Rosie was a bit annoyed that he didn’t answer her question properly, but his response still brought a begrudging grin out of her. “Cute.”

 

After what seemed like hours, it was time for students to leave the Great Hall and journey back to their respective common rooms. In Rosie’s case, this meant the very long hike up to Ravenclaw Tower. She kissed Scorpius goodnight in the entrance hall, for his common room was located in the dungeons - the farthest common room from Ravenclaw’s.

 

Rosie and Delilah followed the stream of students - led by Daisy and the first years - up several different staircases, until they came to a halt at a large door with no handle. Instead, there was a bronze knocker in the shape of an eagle. Daisy turned to the crowd of first years and winked before grabbing the eagle and knocking three times.

 

At once, a woman’s voice emanated from the knocker. “If you have it, you want to share it. If you share it, you don’t have it. What is it?”

 

Daisy pressed the tip of her index finger to her lips in thought. After a few seconds of silence, she turned to the crowd of first years. “Any ideas?”

 

There was a lot of head shaking. Daisy smiled slyly at the group. “Well, if I have it, I want to share it. If I share it, I don’t have it. That means it only exists if I don’t share it; in other words, no two people can have it without it vanishing. And yet, it’s still something you should want to share.”

 

More silence. This wasn’t uncommon. Ravenclaw’s common room didn’t have a password like the others; it only opened after correctly answering a question. First years usually took some adjusting to this system.

 

Daisy looked over the heads of the first years at the rest of the Ravenclaws. “Any of the older students?”

 

Rosie raised her hand as if in a class. “A secret.”

 

“Indeed.” Responded the eagle knocker. The door then swung open, letting the crowd through.


Five minutes later, Rosie was in her dormitory, under the covers of her four-poster bed, quickly falling asleep, the days excitement finally catching up to her. Rosie couldn’t be happier to be back at Hogwarts, where she could be with Scorpius without fear of either of their fathers snooping about. Even more exciting was the prospect of entering the Triwizard Tournament. Rosie could see herself standing proud at the first task, whatever it might be, with the support and cheers of Hogwarts at her back. She envisioned late nights with Scorpius, studying up for the next task, and after winning the whole tournament, the news that she couldn’t have done it without Scorpius finally proving to her dad that he could be trusted.

 

Yes, Rosie thought as she finally nodded off, her sheets tucked snugly under her chin, and Beolet purring cozily on top of her, this year will be perfect.


© 2017 Alex


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Stitches
TS might not be Frost or Eliot but combined with Nix they made music. Perhaps another colab?...

Author's Note

Alex
Thank you to Sukieblackmore for the amazing drawing of Rosie I used for this book’s picture!

I am not British, and I am not a girl. I'm curious to know how apparent that is to anyone who read this. I'm trying to keep this writing as close to the Harry Potter books as I can, as far as style and atmosphere goes, so feedback on that will also be welcome, as well as pretty much any feedback. I hope HP fans will enjoy this!

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Added on February 13, 2017
Last Updated on February 14, 2017
Tags: Harry Potter, Fanfiction, fantasy


Author

Alex
Alex

Cohoes, NY



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