Status: I am a terrible human being who went on hiatus without telling anybody! But I'm back now and writing more for you wonderful people!

In Her Eyes Lies Her Heart

The Second Task

Eve was no longer beside Harry when he woke the next morning. But she had left the jar of gillyweed on top of his clothes for the day. He pulled on the lightweight swimming clothes, followed by warm robes to ward off the chill, frosty morning. Ron and Hermione were not waiting for him in the common room as he expected, nor were they in the Great Hall. He sat alone, feeling nervous again. The excited chattering of his classmates sounded loud and threatening in his ears. Eve plopped down next to him, and thrust a plate of sausages and toast in front of him.

“Morning, Harry,” she said brightly. “Eat.”

He ate, not because he actually wanted food, but because he knew better than to disobey Eve.

“Where are Ron and Hermione?” He asked, drinking some pumpkin juice, pushing away his empty plate.

“I don’t know, probably down at the lake already. The teachers have been corralling students to the boats for the last hour, to give everyone enough time to get to the stands. They’ve been set up in the middle of the lake,” she added when Harry looked confused.

They sat for some time in comfortable silence while Harry digested, watching the other students slowly trickle out of the Hall. “We should head down there, ourselves,” Eve said, finally, “Dumbledore said they will go over the task with you again before the task begins.”

She stood and Harry followed, grudgingly. The entrance hall contained a few last-minute stragglers, all leaving the Great Hall after breakfast and heading through the double oak doors to watch the second task.

They stared as Harry and Eve walked briskly past. Harry pulled his cloak tighter around him as they walked down the stone steps and out onto the bright, chilly grounds.

As they trekked down the lawn he saw that the seats that had encircled the dragons’ enclosure in November were now ranged in a line in the center of the lake, rising in stands that were packed to the bursting point and reflected in the lake below. The excited babble of the crowd echoed strangely across the water as Harry and Eve made their way towards the boats. They got a boat to themselves. Eve waved her hand, and the craft began gliding smoothly across the surface of the water.

Eve settled herself comfortably in the prow, and removed one glove to trail her fingers in the water, completely at ease. A light mist had formed over the surface, and Harry thought Eve looked every bit the Lady of the Lake. The iron grey water made her pale skin seem ghostly, and her dark auburn hair whipped in a light breeze, stark color in the flat mist. Harry flushed and looked away.

This was a mistake, for he looked directly at the approaching stands, and felt that familiar heavy weight drop into his stomach. When they reached the stands, golden robed wizards lifted them from the boat and sent it back to the shore with a wave of their wands. The wizard who had helped Harry gestured for him to follow, and led him to the judges, who were sitting at another gold-draped table at the platform’s edge. Cedric, Fleur, and Krum were beside the judges’ table, watching Harry come toward them.

“Where have you been?” said a bossy, disapproving voice. “The task’s about to start!”
Harry looked around. Percy Weasley was sitting at the judges’ table - Mr. Crouch had failed to turn up again.

“Now, now, Percy!” said Ludo Bagman, who beaming at Harry. “He still has 20 minutes before the task is set to begin!”

Dumbledore smiled at Harry, but Karkaroff and Madame Maxime didn’t look at all pleased to see him… It was obvious from the looks on their faces that they had hoped he wasn’t going to turn up. He smiled at them, and felt the heavy weight of fear turn into solid determination to beat their champions.

Ludo Bagman gave them a quick speech, reminding them that they would have one hour to retrieve the treasure that was stolen from them. He then moved among the champions, spacing them along the bank at intervals of ten feet. Harry removed his robes, and shivered, his swim shirt did nothing to keep out the chill, and he dreaded the moment he would have to sink below the surface of that icy water. Harry was on the very end of the line, next to Krum, who was wearing only swimming trunks and was holding his wand ready. Harry thrust his own wand into a holster on his thigh, and retrieved the gillyweed from his robe pocket. Eve gathered up his robes and glasses, then gave him an encouraging smile.

“I’ll hold onto these. Good luck, Harry.”

“All right. Harry?” Bagman whispered as he moved Harry a few feet farther away from Krum. “Know what you’re going to do?”

“Yeah,” Harry stuttered through chattering teeth rubbing his arms in a vain effort to make himself warm again.

Bagman gave Harry’s shoulder a quick squeeze and returned to the judges’ table; he pointed his wand at his throat as he had done at the World Cup, said, “Sonorus!” and his voice boomed out across the
dark water toward the stands.
Harry put the gillyweed in his mouth and began to chew.
“Well, all our champions are ready for the second task, which will start on my whistle. They have precisely an hour to recover what has been taken from them. On the count of three, then. One… two… three!”

The whistle echoed shrilly in the cold, still air; the stands erupted with cheers and applause; without looking to see what the other champions were doing, Harry dove into the water.
It was so cold he felt the skin on his legs searing as though this were fire, not icy water. He surfaced, for he had not managed to swallow the gillyweed yet. He was chewing the gillyweed as hard and fast as he could; it felt unpleasantly slimy and rubbery, like octopus tentacles. He finally managed to swallow, then, quite suddenly, Harry felt as though an invisible pillow had been pressed over his mouth and nose. He tried to draw breath, but it made his head spin; his lungs were empty, and he suddenly felt a piercing pain on either side of his neck - Harry clapped his hands around his throat and felt two large slits just below his ears, flapping in the cold air… He had gills. Without pausing to think, he did the only thing that made sense - he flung himself back under the water.

The first gulp of icy lake water felt like the breath of life. His head had stopped spinning; he took another great gulp of water and felt it pass smoothly through his gills, sending oxygen back to his brain. He stretched out his hands in front of him and stared at them. They looked green and ghostly under the water, and they had become webbed. He twisted around and looked at his bare feet - they had become elongated and the toes were webbed too: It looked as though he had sprouted flippers.
The water didn’t feel icy anymore either… on the contrary, he felt pleasantly cool and very light… Harry struck out once more, marveling at how far and fast his flipper-like feet propelled him through the water, and noticing how clearly he could see, and how he no longer seemed to need to blink. He felt exhilarated, and used his powerful fins to propel himself, whooping with glee, out of the water. He performed a somersault, purely for Eve’s benefit, then dived back into its depths.

Eve watched the surface of the lake anxiously, until Harry propelled himself from the water. She laughed and clapped appreciatively at his antics, then settled herself next to Ginny for the long wait. Ron and Hermione were still conspicuously absent, and it suddenly dawned on her that the stolen treasure was not a thing at all, but a person. Every now and again, a merperson would surface and discuss the goings on with Dumbledore in their harsh, screaming voices, and Dumbledore would in turn announce what had been reported. With each report, Fred and George bustled around, taking bets, changing previous wagers, and hunting down those who had not coughed up the coin yet.

Fleur surfaced first, hysterical and sputtering. Grindylows had attacked her, and in the struggle she dropped her Bubblehead charm and could not return it without surfacing. She was the only one to surface within the hour time limit. Cedric appeared next, with Cho beside him, then Krum and Hermione not long after.

But Harry had still not surfaced. A cold stone fist was squeezing Eve’s lungs. The gillyweed was only guaranteed to last for an hour. After that, there was no predicting how long the effects would stay, how long Harry could continue to survive under water. Eve had seen a portion last nearly two hours, but that was fresh, and a much larger dose than what she had given Harry. Why hadn’t she gotten him more? Why hadn’t she found the biggest ball of gillyweed she could, to make sure he would survive?

And then she saw his head break the surface of the lake. He looked wretched, gasping for breath, with red angry looking sores in the shape of tentacles across his neck and shoulders. Panting, clearly straining from exhaustion, he pulled Ron and the little girl Eve recognized as Fleur’s sister up with him. All around him, wild, green-haired heads were emerging out of the water with him, smiling at him.

“Idiot,” Eve said, but she smiled too.

The crowd in the stands was making a great deal of noise; shouting and screaming, all on their feet. Eve rushed to the water’s edge to give Harry his clothes and congratulate him. She arrived while they were still some ten feet from the platform.

Dumbledore and Ludo Bagman stood beaming at Harry and Ron from the bank as they swam nearer, but Percy, who looked very white and somehow much younger than usual, was kneeling at the platform edge, waiting anxiously to help. Meanwhile Madame Maxime was trying to restrain Fleur Delacour, who was quite hysterical, fighting tooth and nail to return to the water.

“Gabrielle! Gabrielle! Is she alive? Is she ‘urt?”

“She’s fine!” Harry said weakly, so only Eve and the others near the edge could hear. He was so exhausted he could hardly talk, let alone shout.

Percy seized Ron and was dragging him back onto the platform (“Gerroff, Percy, I’m all right!”); Dumbledore and Bagman pulled Harry upright, and Fleur broke free of Madame Maxime and threw herself onto her sister.

“It was ze grindylows… zey attacked me… oh Gabrielle, I thought… I thought…”

“Come here, you,” said Madam Pomfrey. She seized Harry and pulled him over to Hermione and the others, wrapped him so tightly in a blanket that he looked as though he were in a straitjacket, and forced a measure of very hot potion down his throat.
Steam gushed out of his ears.

She soon thrust Ron down beside him and administered the same treatment before going off to pry Gabrielle from Fleur’s tight embrace. The girl looked scared and confused, and Fleur’s hysteria was not helping.

Ron nudged Harry, grinning, “Wet, this, isn’t it?”

Harry laughed, “yeah, a bit.”

Ron jerked his head at Fleur’s sister. “What did you bring her for?”

“Fleur didn’t turn up, I couldn’t leave her,” Harry said, shivering slightly despite the towels. Eve threw his cloak over him to add warmth and he nodded his thanks.

“Harry, you prat,” said Ron, “you didn’t take that song thing seriously, did you? Dumbledore wouldn’t have let any of us drown!”

“The song said -”

“Oh, Harry,” said Eve, a smile playing on her lips. “That was only to make sure you got back inside the time limit.”

“I hope you didn’t waste time down there acting the hero!” said Ron, huffing in exasperation.

Harry looked embarrassed and angry, so Eve didn’t needle him like she wished to.
Hermione joined them, congratulating Harry and throwing her own cloak over Ron, as she had been provided a plush dressing gown.

“You haff a water beetle in your hair, Herm-own-ninny,” said Krum, joining them as well. It seemed Krum was drawing her attention back onto himself; perhaps to remind her that he had just rescued her from the lake, but Hermione brushed away the beetle impatiently and said, “You’re well outside the time limit, though, Harry… Did it take you ages to find us?”

“No… I found you okay…”

Harry flushed slightly, and Eve could tell he realized he had been stupid.

Dumbledore was crouching at the water’s edge, deep in conversation with what seemed to be the chief merperson, a particularly wild and ferocious-looking female. He was making the same sort
of screechy noises that the merpeople made when they were above water; clearly, Dumbledore could speak Mermish. Finally he straightened up, turned to his fellow judges, and said, “A conference before we give the marks, I think.”

The judges went into a huddle. Madam Pomfrey then shooed Fleur and Gabrielle towards them, seeming to think it would be easier to watch them all if they were all together. Fleur had many cuts on her face and arms, her swimming suit was torn, and she had the same angry red tentacle marks on her as Harry.

She knelt before Harry, flushed, still holding Gabrielle’s hand tightly in her own. “You saved ‘er,” she said breathlessly. “Even though she was not your ‘ostage.”

“Yeah,” said Harry, sounding irritable.
Fleur bent down, kissed Harry twice on each cheek, (He flushed a deep maroon, and looked shocked. Eve suppressed a giggle.) then said to Ron, “And you too-you ‘elped.”
“Yeah,” said Ron, looking extremely hopeful, “yeah, a bit -”

Fleur swooped down on him too and kissed him. Hermione looked simply furious, but just then, Ludo Bagman’s magically magnified voice boomed out beside them, making them all jump, and causing the crowd in the stands to go very quiet. “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…

“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.”

Applause from the stands.

“I deserved zero,” said Fleur throatily, shaking her magnificent head.

“Cedric Diggory, who also used the Bubble-Head Charm, was first to return with his hostage, though he returned one minute outside the time limit of an hour.”
Enormous cheers from the Hufflepuffs in the crowd.
“We therefore award him forty-seven points.”

Bagman allowed a few moments of applause.

“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.”

Karkaroff clapped particularly hard, looking very superior.

“Harry Potter used gillyweed to great effect,” Bagman continued. “He returned last, and well outside the time limit of an hour. However, the Merchieftainess informs us that Mr. Potter was 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.”

Ron and Hermione both gave Harry half-exasperated, half-commiserating looks.

“Harry, you idiot,” Eve said, squeezing his shoulder and shaking her head with a smile on her face.

“Most of the judges,” and here, Bagman gave Karkaroff a very nasty look, “feel that this shows moral fiber and merits full marks. However… Mr. Potter’s score is forty-five points.”

“You’re tied for first place with Cedric!” Cried Eve, thumping him on the back of the head lightly.

“There you go. Harry!” Ron shouted over the noise. “You weren’t being thick after all - you were showing moral fiber!”

Fleur was clapping very hard too, but Krum didn’t look happy at all. He attempted to engage Hermione in conversation again, but she was too busy cheering Harry to listen.

“The third and final task will take place at dusk on the twenty-fourth of June,” continued Bagman. “The champions will be notified of what is coming precisely one month beforehand. Thank you all for your support of the champions.”
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Hello! So I just got back from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Universal Studios, and it was just so magical, I've been so inspired. I have so many new great ideas that I can't wait to put into action, so look forward to more chapters soon :) I will warn you, I'm going to be a camp counselor from 5/25 until 7/05, and will have limited access to internet, but I intend to continue writing by hand during that time. So I'm aiming to get at least 1 more chapter done before I leave for Camp, and 2-3 chapters while at camp, to be posted after Camp ends. PLEASE stay with me :) I love you all!

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