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As usual, I don't own Harry Potter.
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Chapter 4 - Coverage

Over the next few days, the Hogwarts students had splintered predictably following the Triwizard champion announcements. The majority of the Gryffindor students were supporting Harry out of house pride, but there were some who did not, like Ron Weasley. The Hufflepuffs were unanimously against him, feeling that Harry had stolen their chance at glory, despite Cedric's repeated attempts to convince them otherwise. The Ravenclaws were fairly neutral on the subject, and the Slytherins banded together behind the Hufflepuffs out of spite towards Harry. However, having gone through these events before, the time-traveling wizard paid it little mind; even if he had not, then his newfound interest in his studies would have most likely softened the blow.

Much to Hermione's delight, Harry had decided to take an increased initiative in his studies, revising his previously done essays before beginning those that he had not yet started. While his revisions were nowhere near the length that Hermione's novella-length essays, Harry's works showed legitimate effort in his research, and would undoubtedly impress his teachers (except for Snape, who would probably sneer and give the paper a failing grade out of spite). However, at the moment Harry's mind was not on his studies.

Harry's mind was currently on the Horcruxes - particularly, the Resurrection Stone. Harry had no idea where it was, and he could not simply walk up to Dumbledore's office and ask him where the old Gaunt cottage was without raising suspicion. There was also the issue of Gryffindor's sword, unattainable for similar reasons. Harry also doubted that after two years of decomposing in the Chamber of Secrets, that there would still be any usable basilisk venom. And of course, there was the small issue of the Horcrux contained within his scar. Mara had not explicitly stated whether she had removed the Horcrux this time or not, and Harry did not wish to find out.

Ultimately, Harry decided that on the next Hogsmeade weekend, Harry would Apparate to Little Hangleton and dispose of the bones of Tom Riddle Senior, delaying Voldemort's resurrection. Harry also made a mental note to tactfully ask Sirius whether the Black library contained any books on Necromancy; it would help immensely to know about and appropriately counter any alternative methods of resurrection that Voldemort might resort to.

“Harry, are you okay?” Hermione asked as she laid her hand on his arm, concern in her voice. “You've been staring at the same page for the past ten minutes.”

“Yeah, I'm fine; I just got lost in my thoughts,” Harry said, shaking his head. “I need a break,” he added, standing up and closing his book. While he wandered the hallways of Hogwarts, Harry became lost in his thoughts again and bumped his shoulder into someone. “Sorry,” he muttered absently.

“That's okay; the nargles can grab your attention like that,” a dreamy voice said behind him, causing Harry to stop in his tracks. He spun around and saw a younger Luna Lovegood skipping away, humming tunelessly to herself. Suddenly gaining an idea, Harry sprinted to catch up with her.

“Excuse me, do you read the Quibbler?” Harry asked innocently as he walked with long strides in order to keep up with the skipping girl.

“Yes, I'm the daughter of the editor,” Luna said, grinning dreamily at a distant sight, “why do you ask?”

“I saw a copy for sale one day, and thought it looked interesting,” Harry lied, “but no one will tell me how much it costs to get a subscription.” Luna's absent grin grew into a genuine smile when she heard he was interested in her father's magazine.

“It's nine Sickles a year, are you interested?” she asked excitedly.

“Wow, that's cheap,” Harry muttered softly to himself. “Umm, sure, when do I pay?” Harry asked, genuinely clueless.

“Just give the payment to the delivery owl when it arrives next week,” Luna explained, “it's a one-time fee, you know.”

“Okay, thanks,” Harry said, waving goodbye as he walked away.

“Always a pleasure to help someone interested in finding the truth,” Luna said, skipping away merrily.

The next several days had passed by with little incident. Ron still refused to speak with him, but Harry paid it little mind. Even if he had not been advised to cut off his ties with the redheaded boy, Harry had more important things to worry about than his petty jealousy.

In Potions class, Snape was teaching the class about poisons and their antidotes, as well as making underhanded insinuations of poisoning Harry later, when a breathless first-year ran into the classroom.

“Harry Potter...needed...champions...ceremony...” the winded first-year panted. Snape wrinkled his nose in disgust at the display.

“Very well. Potter, leave your things and go do whatever they need you for,” the potions master said, waving Harry off.

“Umm, Professor, there'll be an interview there too,” the first-year added hesitantly, afraid of angering the greasy-haired man. Snape's features twisted into a scowl.

“Fine. Potter, take your things and get out of my class,” he snapped. Harry gathered his materials and followed the first-year to the room where the other champions were gathered, as well as Dumbledore, Rita Skeeter and Ollivander. After the wand inspections, Rita Skeeter had grabbed Harry and dragged him away to conduct her “interview,” but Harry cut her off before she could fire her first question.

“Before we conduct this interview, we need to get a few things clear,” Harry said firmly. “Firstly, lose the Quick-Notes Quill; if you're going to write anything down, write it yourself.” Skeeter sighed as she stowed away the bottle-green quill and drew a considerably plainer vulture-feather quill. “Secondly, be honest. I don't mind you embellishing things a bit, but don't put words in my mouth that I didn't say,” Harry continued. “Thirdly, don't devote the entire article about me; I want the other three champions to have at least as much coverage as me. Fourthly, keep your questions about the tournament; my personal life is just that: personal.”

“And if I don't?” Skeeter asked, the reporter deciding to push her luck.

“Well...” Harry trailed off, smiling grimly, “let's just say that your new boggart will be a flyswatter,” he finished vaguely. Skeeter chuckled nervously as she reaffirmed her grip on her quill.

“So Harry, how do you feel about being in the tournament?”

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For the rest of the day, Harry had remained tight-lipped about the interview, simply saying to anyone that would ask to wait until the next day's Prophet. Even Hermione could not pry any information out of Harry.

“It's just some stuff about the tournament; wait until tomorrow's paper comes out,” Harry would say, frustrating his friend.

The next day, a delivery owl swooped in front of Hermione, a copy of the Daily Prophet clutched in its talons. Hermione paid the owl and unrolled the newspaper, reading the bold headline.

A GLIMPSE INTO THE MINDS OF CHAMPIONS

By Rita Skeeter

Below the headline, a photograph of the four champions posing for the camera. Hermione shifted her gaze to read the article body.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview the four champions for the 1994 Triwizard Tournament, currently taking place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The champions are international Quidditch celebrity Viktor Krum (18) of Durmstrang, Fleur Delacour (17) of Beauxbatons, Hufflepuff Cedric Diggory (17) of Hogwarts, and strangely, Harry Potter (14), also representing Hogwarts.

“This is a mistake; I shouldn't even be in this tournament,” Mister Potter said when asked about his entrance into the tournament. “Someone who wished me harm - which would be pretty much everyone who supports You-Know-Who - entered my name, and due to a stupid law concerning magical contracts, bound me to compete in this tournament.” 

When asked about the rather fractured opinions about him within his peers, Mister Potter merely shrugged. “They're entitled to their own opinions; what I think of them doesn't matter,” he explained. “Some of the opinions, especially the Hufflepuffs, are not entirely invalid, even if the circumstances are not what they think they are. I imagine that when I and the other champions start the tasks, I'll be too busy trying to survive to worry about what other people think of me.” 

Mister Potter affirmed that Cedric Diggory was the true Hogwarts Champion before politely ending the interview....

Hermione set down the paper and turned to Harry, who simply shrugged innocently.

“I told you it was just stuff about the tournament; I don't know what everybody got so worked up about,” he said as he sipped his pumpkin juice. Hermione sighed in exasperation and shook her head.

“I guess I was half expecting her to write you as a blubbering, attention-seeking prat and completely ignore the other champions,” Hermione said, looking back down at the paper.

“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence,” Harry muttered sarcastically. “And I don't think that'll happen anytime soon; we've come to something of an agreement,” he continued cryptically.

“What sort of an agreement?” Hermione asked, partly in suspicion and partly in intrigue.

“I managed to find out a dirty little secret of hers,” Harry said vaguely. “She writes the truth, I don't tell people about it. A fair trade, I think.” Hermione sighed and began massaging her temples.

“My best friend is a bloody extortionist,” she muttered to herself, not caring that she had cursed.

“And yet you love me anyway,” Harry chuckled, patting Hermione on the shoulder. 
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