The Unexpected Task

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Moody's POV

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Both Harry and Katrina had made it safely past the first task. Now all that I had to do was get them to open their damn eggs already and figure out the next clue! My tongue snaked over my lips as I contemplated what the best way to do this might be. This was going to take some serious thought. I couldn't run the risk of getting caught before the plan could come to fruition.

Katrina's POV

Potter! Weasley! Will you pay attention?"

Professor McGonagall's irritated voice cracked like a whip through the Transfiguration class on Thursday, and Harry and Ron both jumped and looked up. I rolled my eyes. Did they ever not get in trouble for one reason or other?!

It was the end of the lesson; we had finished our work; the guinea fowl we had been changing into guinea pigs had been shut away in a large cage on Professor McGonagall's desk (Neville's still had feathers); we had copied down our homework from the blackboard ("Describe, with examples, the ways in which Transforming Spells must be adapted when performing Cross-Species Switches") and the bell was due to ring at any moment, and Harry and Ron, who had been having a sword fight with a couple of Fred and George's fake wands at the back of the class, looked up, Ron holding a tin parrot and Harry, a rubber haddock. As funny as they looked, I couldn't help but wish that my friends would be a little more respectful towards Minnie. She was one of my ultimate favorite professors.

"Now that Potter and Weasley have been kind enough to act their age," said Professor McGonagall, with an angry look at the pair of them as the head of Harry's haddock drooped and fell silently to the floor - Ron's parrot's beak had severed it moments before - "I have something to say to you all.

"The Yule Ball is approaching - a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, the ball will be open only to fourth years and above - although you may invite a younger student if you wish -"

Lavender Brown let out a shrill giggle. Parvati Patil nudged her hard in the ribs, her face working furiously as she too fought not to giggle. They both looked around at Harry, Professor McGonagall ignored them, which I had to admit was distinctly unfair, as she had just told off Harry and Ron. Plus, I didn't like the way that they were looking at Harry. Wipe those looks off your faces, ladies! I hissed under my breath.

"Dress robes will be worn," Professor McGonagall continued, "and the ball will start at eight o'clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall. Now then -"

Minnie stared deliberately around the class.

"The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to - er - let our hair down," she said, in a disapproving voice.

Lavender giggled harder than ever, with her hand pressed hard against her mouth to stifle the sound. I could see what was funny this time: Professor McGonagall, with her hair in a tight bun, looked as though she had never let her hair down in any sense, but after the way Lavender had looked at Harry,
I was not inclined to laugh at anything she said; unless it was to laugh at her.

"But that does NOT mean," Professor McGonagall went on, "that we will be relaxing the standards of behavior we expect from Hogwarts students. I will be most seriously displeased if a Gryffindor student embarrasses the school in any way."

The bell rang, and there was the usual scuffle of activity as everyone packed their bags and swung them onto their shoulders.

Professor McGonagall called above the noise, "Potter, Katrina - a word, if you please."

Harry and I proceeded to the teacher's desk. Professor McGonagall waited until the rest of the class had gone, and then said, "Potter, Katrina, the champions and their partners -"

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