Being back at Hogwarts is always a good feeling for me in all honesty. The castle just feels in tune with me if that makes sense, and I think that's one of the reasons why so many never forget their time here. As we grow, learn and improve, the magic permeating the place nurtures us and we give some of our own magic back to it. I believe this is the reason behind the semi-sentience of the school and the existence of Peeves.
The atmosphere of the place was rather interesting after the break though.
Instead of feeling emotions of reluctance, nervousness or resignation which comes after people come back from their vacations, their was excitement mounting in the air and various pink auras could be spotted throughout the grounds.
"Guess the ball made a lot of new couples huh?" I said to my friends as we walked down the halls to get lunch, spotting two couples snogging in a courtyard.
"I feel like this is something we should do while we are in school. There are different types of romances depending on the age of the participants and it is good to experience the more innocent ones when we can." Added James with a calm smile as usual.
"Yeah right, innocent romance. Speaking of romance, when are you gonna ask out your little flower then?" Asked Christian as he wanted to tease our friend.
"When are you going to admit to being a lolicon then?" Victoria asked as she smiled at him with slightly predator-like eyes.
"The hell is a lolicon?" He asked back in complete confusion.
"It's something Aedan taught me about when we were discussing different magical countries and had an in depth discussion on Japan and its culture. I thought the word would suite you perfectly." She said with a light tone as she explained but didn't answer the question.
"Ok so it's Japanese. What does it mean then mighty witch queen?" He asked as he suddenly felt a bit of dread when he looked at her and saw her amusement.
"Oh nothing bad. It is just the title for certain men of a particular preference and culture." She said as she twisted a lock of her hair around her finger.
"Merlin be damned woman! What does it mean?" He asked again as his temper started to get worse.
"Just that you and certain gentlemen prefer less developed ladies is all. I am pretty grateful since it means I don't have to beat you up for ogling me all the time." She dismissively answered, resulting in Christians face get pale, then red and then an even deeper shade of red as he realized what she meant.
"I don't like little girls!" He shouted a bit too loudly as some passing students gave him a look.
"I thought you liked Luna though?" I suddenly asked as I joined the teasing, getting a sly look from Tory.
"I do! I mean don't! I mean... why would that make me a lolicon!? I never said I like any other girls!" He desperately said as he tried to get out of this hole.
"But you just said you liked such a cute and innocent little girl. Barely halfway through her third year. Pure as a bunny." Victoria said with a 'thoughtful' look on her face.
"And you my friend are basically a big bad wolf who's fangs are hovering right above her. So how do we know if you won't just take a little bite from some other little bunny to sate your urges?" I added as Victoria and I looked at each other to see the fun we were having as we messed with our friend.
Seeing our teasing, James decided to finally intrude and put an end to our little fun and approached Christian kneeling on the ground in despair. I swear I could almost see the black depression aura from anime.
"I think that's enough playing around with Christian's feelings you two." He said with a little smile which he was trying to suppress before continuing, "And Christian, I believe I will deepen my relationship with both Fleur and Gabrielle further before asking her. I have been studying French as well and I am making plans to go abroad after graduation if it works out. So there's you answer."
Our wild friend looked up at James with hope as he stopped our merciless teasing.
"But yeah, try not to flirt with anyone else who's under 4th year." He added with a playful look, causing Christian to wail in defeat as the three of us just have a hearty laugh.
We do cheer him up after, since we are trying to tease him while getting him to just admit he really likes her once and for all.
A few days later, I heard that our friendly neighborhood half-giant was depressed and was really showing it in class.
This is definitely because he tried to confront Madame Maxime about her parentage and ended up violently rejected when he opened his heart to the woman.
It's not as bad as it was in the canon though. That resulted in the man nearly losing his job because Skeeter had to write an incriminating article about two people's parents fucking a giant. There are more skeletons in Hagrid's closet because of the Chamber of secret thing, but I got him a proper pardon for that, so it doesn't even matter anymore. Christian, Hermione and myself have helped turn the man into a fairly popular teacher after last years success. And he's been learning some more magic through some recorded lessons and books I've given him, with all those he's close to helping him out when he has some questions.
What I've always found ridiculous about the situation is Maxime's reaction during this event.
The woman is basically 12 ft tall and can probably crush a normal person with relative ease, but she keeps saying she's 'big boned' like she's a fat chick. Her excuse is pretty stupid since the tallest human to ever be properly recorded was one Robert Wadlow, who didn't even reach 9ft since he stopped at 8 ft 11in. So having two people in the same place measuring over 11ft and saying they are big boned is just stupid to me.
I get that the wizarding world is full of assholes, bigots, racists and dumbasses, but she managed to become the headmistress of one of the top schools of magic in the world even when it's pretty obvious she has giant blood in her vains. She must have achieved plenty in her life to reach such a coveted position as well, but she still vehemently denies her heritage. It's pretty much just an open secret at this point anyway.
She was lucky I'm having Skeeter's life slowly break piece by piece. A poetic punishment in my opinion since she's made the lives of many witches and wizards crumble in front of their own eyes. She deserves to feel the love too.
But Maxime's actions make me want to tell her a fun little quote from a rather interesting character: 'Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.'
As a result of her not being able to accept herself, I had to spend an evening drinking with a very mopey Hagrid. And don't look at me like I'm just a teen, I am a fully legal adult wizard. Plus it takes literal kegs of booze to even get me tipsy because my body is so high spec, so I could easily keep up with the sobbing mess.
It took a few hours, a shit ton of fire whiskey, some intervention from the golden trio, a bit of a pep talk from Christian, a call to Sirius since they are buddies and even a promise to let him cuddle some baby dragons from one of the reserves under the Bones family in order to get him right and proper again.
Honestly, it's hard to blame or feel angry at Hagrid in general since he's kinda like a big child. He never really had someone who could guide him properly or help him grow since his dad died when he was barely eligible for Hogwarts, and only Dumbledore kept him off the streets so I do want the help the man. That's basically one of the reasons I try to help him, plus the fact that he taught Christian and I quite a bit of neat things in our younger days of running across the grounds.
He was back to praising the cuddliness of dragons in no time.
During the last week of January I decided to have a second meeting of champions to see if everyone was doing ok so far.
I am certain Fleur has her egg figured out since Maxime would probably have given some hints, I didn't tell James to not talk about this kind of stuff and she is still a fiercely intelligent young woman.
Viktor would have been in a tougher spot if not for his headmaster. Although the is skilled and experienced, the guy is not exactly the greatest thinker. Luckily for him, Karkaroff is a completely biased judge and headmaster who probably just told him the clue and then started helping him prepare.
I've been capable of acing this task for years now and I've talked to Tory about her being my treasured one. She was kinda happy and kind of upset at the same time. It was mostly a conflict between her pride as a strong witch and the happiness she felt at being called my most precious person, but she ultimately agreed since we did go to the ball together and we were starting to let people realize we are thing. If she decided to not be the one I rescued, I would have simply asked the headmaster about it since i did have two other great friends available.
The only one I worried about was Harry because Cedric isn't the champion this time around and that means no clue was given to him about how to deal with the egg. The kid is smarter and stronger than his original self, but he hasn't been able to overcome age groupes and isn't anywhere near talented enough to truly become a powerhouse as of now. He could certainly become a skilled and dangerous man, but I cannot see him having his third maturation anytime before his hundredth birthday at least. And even if Ron his better has well, he hasn't really gotten much smarter, only more open and disciplined. Hermione tends to panic too much and becomes to nervous to think properly, so even with he drive to learn she will find it difficult to help in this instance.
So the four of us met up in the Exchange for a little exchange.
"Aedan, it is a pleasure to see again. 'Ow 'as your visit to your family been?" Asked a welcoming Fleur as we did those two cheek to cheek kisses, something I never really got but if it shows were close then I'll deal with it.
"It was pretty relaxing once I had all the paperwork done. How was your own stay? I know you aren't a fan of our colder school and heavy food." I replied with a bright smile.
"Better now zat you and James went to talk wit the 'ouse-elves. Zey 'ave been making delightful food ever since. And James 'as gotten me and Gabrielle wonderful winter wear for Noël, fixing zat issue." She answered with a happy smile on her face, making Harry and Viktor quite stunned.
"That's great to hear." I say with a nod as I turned towards Viktor and give him a firm handshake. "How about you my friend?"
"The vinter here is middle compared to Durmstrang, letting me vork out vithout any issues. Christian has been a good opponent." He answers with a calm expression replacing his usually dour one.
"I am sure he was happy with the arrangement as well." I replied with a hearty laugh. "And how about you Harry? Any mischief I should know about?"
"No, but I did see Mr. Bagman getting chased by goblins in Hogsmeade. The rest of the time was with Ron, Hermione, Neville and Ginny. We did also try to help Hagrid feel better before you got back." He answered with a tinge of red from a specific name.
"Yeah, Bagman is in pretty bad debt since he keeps gambling but sucks at it. Probably why the goblins are after him." I said with a little chuckle at one of my little plans since the man won't be a département head for long.
Let's just say I've got my people in all the right places and will probably have a department head under me soon. I'm also preparing the next head of international relations, hoping to be able to have two departments running properly for once.
"Now that pleasantries are out of the way, let's talk about our next task." I announced with a smile and a clap of my hands. "Who figured out what they're gonna have to do and how?"
Unsurprisingly Viktor and Fleur both had their hands up, leaving Harry fidgeting in his seat.
"That's good. Now Harry, it's not a big deal and you still have time. I can't give you any answers about this since it's part of the magical contract of a champion, but my suggestion is to read about merpeople. They have a fascinating biology." I gently said to the boy, getting a slightly confused look in response.
"I've already got my way of completing my task, but I want to see if I can help you two a bit. So what do you have?" I then asked as I turned back to my fellow champions.
"I believe in my charms. The bubble-head Charm will do nicely." Fleur declared proudly.
"That is a good option for those proficient in it. But I would suggest you also think of a way to move quickly and practice casting underwater. The first task involved a dragon, so I doubt the second will be easy." I advised as I think about her current abilities. "I'm sure James will be more than willing to help you out."
That actually got a blush out of her, making me think that James is really smooth to have gotten that close to the prideful and defensive girl so quickly.
"I vill rely on self-transmutation." Viktor simply answered with a stern face.
"Yes that is a solution for those with experience in the field. The only thing I could really think of his attacking capabilities depending on how you do it and how fast you'll be able to move. But I'll pass you a few books to help." I said to him as I took out two books from my pouch and passed them over.
"Thank you." Krum simply said as he gave them a once over.
"What about me?" Harry suddenly asked as he looked very nervous about not getting any advice.
"You, will figure out your egg before the task and then you'll get your advice." I answered as I ruffled his messy black hair.
He's not crazy about my answer, but he does realize I can't just tell him everything so he takes my clue and what he heard the three of us talking about and heads out to find his friends.
I also say a quick goodbye to Viktor and Fleur before I lock the Exchange behind us.
The second task was coming soon and they all had to get ready.
The other two tasks aren’t really interesting in general. One happens underwater and the other is in a maze, so I wonder how anyone was even able to see what was happening.
But anyway, here’s some teasing, some drunk friend helping, a little bit of interacting between champions and you got a chapter.
I think I’m gonna get the second task started next chapter since nothing happens between now and then.
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