Chapter 19

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Harry blinked. And then blinked again. He looked around, seeing all the eyes on him, and swallowed.

"Harry Potter," Dumbledore called out again, also looking in his direction.

He turned to Ginny, his eyes pleading.

Ginny nodded, understanding. "I know you didn't do it, Harry," she said, voice wavering as the implications began to make themselves known to her.

Hermione and Neville looked worried, as Harry turned towards them, and stated calmly and surely, "I didn't enter myself."

They nodded, believing him, as Dumbledore called for him a third time. Ron didn't say anything, but he did have a somewhat hostile look on his face.

With the dread settling in his stomach and making him regret eating so much, Harry slowly made his way towards the door that the other champions had disappeared behind. His look at Dumbledore was partly accusing, partly searching. Wasn't it the headmaster's responsibility to make sure things like this didn't happen? What if this was just another one of his tests? If he hadn't had that dream about Voldemort, he may have seriously considered that line of thought.

He heard some muttering from the room as the door closed, though it wasn't from as many people as he would have thought.

Unbeknownst to him, the members of the DA were quickly reassuring nonmembers that the Harry Potter they had come to know over the last couple of months wouldn't have entered himself. He had made a point of shooting down several wide-eyed first years when they asked if he wished he could compete, stating the dangers, and his wish to live a long, healthy life. He had also impressed upon them how much he hated the fame.

The three champions looked up as he entered. Fleur was the first to speak. "Yes? Do zey need us for somting?"

Harry just shook his head numbly, as the cavalry arrived behind him. Minerva immediately went to his side, giving him a reassuring one-armed hug. He looked at her, their conversation from the previous night coming to the forefront of his mind. She nodded her understanding.

Ludo Bagman was positively beaming, even as Madam Maxime spluttered, "What is ze meaning of this, Dumbly-door? I do not recall reading in ze rules zat ze host school gets two champions!"

Fleur, Victor, and Cedric looked at Harry, Fleur and Victor with suspicion, and Cedric with worry.

"Vat do you mean?" Victor asked, his brow furrowed.

Ludo Bagman was bouncing on his toes now. "An unprecedented surprise, indeed!" He grinned. "It would seem that Mr. Potter is our fourth champion!"

Minerva shook her head. "Surely there is a way out of this. Harry didn't enter himself, how can he be bound to compete?"

Snape sneered, "Of course he entered himself. Just like his father, arrogant down to the last -"

"Be quiet, Severus," Minerva snapped, causing both Harry and Cedric to smile, looking at each other in amusement as the Transfiguration professor cut off the Potions master. "If you weren't so set on your petty revenge, you would be able to see what's right before your eyes." She turned to Dumbledore. "Wasn't it your job to make sure this didn't happen? Where were your protections?"

Dumbledore had no wish to be on the wrong side of a maternal Minerva, so he just focused on Harry. "Harry, did you enter your name?" Harry shook his head. "Did you ask an older student to do it for you?"

Harry shook his head again, standing up a little straighter as his eyes flashed. "I've already got all the fame I can stand, professor. And I certainly have no need of more money." There was a definite bite to his words as his gaze shifted to the Potions professor for a moment, before turning back to the headmaster.

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