THIRTY-SIX

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Aurora coughed and spluttered as water escaped her lungs. She rubbed her eyes to find herself in the Black Lake next to a little blonde girl who looked extremely distressed. 

"Hey, hey, you're okay," Aurora spoke gently to the girl, her voice soothing her, "Hold my hand, I'll help you out," the black haired witch added, she pushed her hand over to the girl who immediately clasped it.

Aurora's head quickly turned around when she heard a loud cough behind her, "Harry!" she shouted, "Are you okay?" 

"Peachy," Harry smiled at her as he swam over. He helped Aurora get the little girl to safety before the pair climbed up onto the stands themselves. As soon as their feet touched the wooden floor they both got engulfed by towels and swarmed with people asking if they're okay.

"We didn't think you were going to make it, Harry," Hermione confessed, her eyebrows scrounged up in a worry as she cuddled into her own towel.

"Gabrielle! Gabrielle! Is she alive? Is she 'urt?"a French voice shouted.

"She's fine!" Harry tired to tell her, but he was too exhausted to speak let alone shout.

Madam Pomfrey quickly ran over to Aurora who was shaking madly due to the cold air. She brought her over to a more secure part of the stands where there were less students gathered around and began to warm her up.

"Drink this," she thrusted forwards a small potion bottle into Aurora's face who gingerly took it and gulped down the entirety of it. As soon as the potion ran down her throat she began to feel warm again. Her entire body visibly relaxed as she finally stopped shivering. 

As the black haired witch was about to stand up she got wrapped into two strong arms that almost squeezed the life out of her. She stiffened at first until the smelt the familiar smell that always manages to bring her comfort and then she wrapped her arms around the body just as tight.

"What on Earth were you thinking!?" Fred whispered in her ear as one of his hands stroked her dripping wet hair.

"I don't know," Aurora mumbled, she didn't know why she agreed to be one of the hostages but in the back of her mind she knew she wouldn't have wanted any of her other friends to have done it.

"We're glad you're okay, A," Lee said bringing the girl into a hug once Fred had finally let her go.

"Yeah you had us all worried sick, especially Fred, he thought you had done a runner," George laughed as he joined in the hug, comfortingly stroking Aurora's back as she chuckled.

"Well, you don't need to worry about me doing a runner, Fred," she smiled, "Well, not just yet that is," she jokingly added sending the boy a quick wink.

"Aurora!" A loud voice shouted from behind the group.

The girl quickly turned her head around to see Charlie Weasley making his way through the crowd waving his arms around in the air. She let out a soft chuckle before she ran over to the boy who instantly wrapped his arms around her in a brotherly way.

"Are you okay?" He asked once they let go of each other.

"I'm fine, Madam Pomfrey checked me over," Aurora told him sending him a gentle smile to reassure him, "We better go over there, they'll be announcing the scores soon."

Charlie nodded as he followed Aurora, Fred, George and Lee all trailed behind them too. Fred came over to stand by her and he grasped her hand in his, stroking her knuckle with his thumb as she gripped his hand tightly.

Aurora laughed under her breath as she watched Harry getting attacked with kisses from Fleur Delacour, before the blonde haired witch stood back up and looked around until her shimmery blue eyes landed on Aurora and she rushed over pulling the girl into a tight hug, "And you, you 'elped. Thank you, 'hank you!" Fleur exclaimed clinging onto a shocked Aurora before she let go and went to join her headmistress. 

The boys laughed quietly but before either one of them could make any sarcastic comments, Bagman's loud booming voice interrupted everyone's conversations, "Ladies and gentlemen we have reached our decision. Merchieftainess Murcus has told us exactly what happened at the bottom of the lake, and we have therefore decided to award marks out of fifty for each of the champions, as follows.....Miss Fleur Delacour, though she demonstrated excellent use of the Bubble-Head Charm, was attacked by Grindylows as she approached her goal, and failed to retrieve her hostage. We award her twenty-five points."

The stands applauded. 

"Mr Cedric Diggory, who also used the Bubble-Head Charm, was first to return with his hostage, though he returned one minute outside of the time limit of an hour. We award him forty-seven points."

Enormous cheers were heard from the Hogwarts students-mainly the Hufflepuffs- who proudly waved their house flags and scarfs around. 

"Mr Viktor Krum used an incomplete form of Transfiguration, which was nevertheless effective and was second to return with his hostage. We award him forty points."

The stands once again applauded, Karkaroff clapped especially loud. 

"Mr Harry Potter used Gillyweed to great effort. He returned last, and well out of the time limit of an hour. However, the Merchieftainess informs us that Mr Potter was the first to reach the hostages, and that the delay in his return was due to his determination to return all hostages to safety, not merely his own," Bagman continued, "Most of the judges feel that this shows moral fibre and merits full. However...Mr Potter's score is forty-five points."

The crowd applauded loudly as the Gryffindors cheered and hoorayed. 

Aurora ran over to her God-brother and engulfed him in a tight hug, "Well done, Harry!" she exclaimed before she let go and ruffled his wet hair. He looked speechless and he was speechless; he was tied for first place with Cedric Diggory now, something he didn't think would be possible. 

Fleur was clapping very hard too, however Krum didn't look too pleased with the final results and his shoulders stiffened and his face hardened.

"The third and final task will take place at dusk on the twenty-fourth of June," Bagman continued, the crowd died down as they listened to him, "The champions will be notified of what is coming, precisely one month beforehand. Thank you all for your support of the Champions."

Madam Pomfrey began herding the Champions and hostages back to the castle to get into dry clothes and warm up. Fred had placed another towel he had found onto Aurora's shoulders as well as his Gryffindor scarf around her neck as he helped her to the paddleboats. 




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