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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 12:06 pm

Games Almost Played, Pt 1; PG.

Summary: Three unusual Tasks which could have happened in three Triwizard Tournaments that never did. R/S implied, Harry/Cedric
Warnings: None.
Notes: Alternate Universe. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] heidi8 for the concept, [livejournal.com profile] metallumai for the title, and the Monday Night Pandomonium for help with the plot and indiscriminant encouragement.

First Posted: Nov. 22, 2005

Also available at AO3.




PROLOGUE: UNLIKELY CHAMPION

"Oh, come on, Moony," James said.

This was never a good thing to hear from James, or for that matter from Sirius; it was the herald of an argument at the least, and at the most it had been the trumpet which sounded to announce the coming of some of their worst pranks into the world. Nothing good ever came of James and Sirius appealing to Remus to come on.

"Oh, come on, Moony," James said. "Don't tell me you haven't thought about it. You probably know more about it than the three of us combined."

Remus looked up from his book, annoyed. "Of course I've thought about it. I've thought about the mortality statistics associated with it."

"Nobody's going to die," Sirius scoffed. "Nobody dies at Hogwarts anymore. The last person who died at Hogwarts was -- thirty years ago at least!"

"So long ago?" Remus asked drily.

"You can't not put your name in," James said. "Even Peter's putting his name in. It's a compact. One of us is bound to be the Triwizard Champion and the other three'll help him out, won't we?"

"I'm entirely committed to helping one of you out if you are chosen, because I do not wish to see my friends die in violent and terrifying ways," Remus said, bending back to his book and picking up his quill to make a note. "That doesn't mean I have to put my own neck in the noose. Besides, who knows how the Goblet would react."

"React to what?" Sirius asked, leaning forward. Above Remus' head, he glanced at James and winked.

"To -- you know what," Remus muttered.

"Why would it react? The Hat didn't, did it?" James asked.

Remus looked up at him, turning away from Sirius. "No. It didn't react. And I still have nightmares about the idea that it might have."

Sirius' hand closed around a roll of parchment near Remus' elbow on the library table, sliding it toward himself silently.

"But it didn't, is my point," James said.

"James, I don't need a case of nerves right now. And I don't need to be worrying about the Cup when NEWTs are coming, either," Remus said, returning to his book once more. Sirius flicked the parchment into the loose sleeve of his robe. James raised an eyebrow at him.

"Well, I'm putting my name in tomorrow night," Sirius said. "Tonight I'm taking that Durmstrang bird to dinner in Hogsmeade."

"Which one?" James asked.

"Oh, what's her name," Sirius said dismissively. "High cheekbones, green eyes -- pretty girl. Brown hair."

"Right -- the one who dumped that bowl of stew on Nox Malfoy's head."

"That's the one! She suits me, don't you think?" Sirius asked.

"You just wish you had thought of dumping a bowl of stew on Nox Malfoy's head," Remus murmured.

***

"James! Psst! C'mere!"

James followed Sirius, who was gesturing with an incredible lack of subtlety, into the shadow of the Gryffindor banner in the Great Hall. It was just after dinner; in half an hour the Goblet of Fire would vomit out the names of the three school champions. The last of the sixth and seventh years were putting their names in.

Sirius held up two pieces of paper, one in either hand. Both were torn strips of parchment; one of them had Sirius Aedelbert Malfoy Christopher Black written in his own spidery handwriting; in the other, in Lupin's elegant copperplate script, was the name Remus John Lupin.

"Sirius, you madman! Is that why you stole his notes?"

"He puts his name on every bloody page," Sirius grinned. "They only said that the person had to write their name themselves, not that they had to be the ones to put it in. I fold it up in mine like so, and...."

***

"Elizabet Karkaroff!" Dumbledore announced. "Elizabet Karkaroff will be Durmstrang's Champion. Congratulations, Miss Karkaroff."

Sirius grinned, leaning back against the Gryffindor table, feet propped on the bench of the Hufflepuff table across the aisle. The green-eyed, high-cheekboned girl he'd taken to Hogsmeade stood up and bowed to the Headmaster.

"Told you I can pick 'em," Sirius said around a mouthful of the apple he was eating. Remus sat on the other side of the table, paying interested attention to the procedure and probably taking mental notes for an essay of some kind later.

"I think the Durmstrang professor approves, don't you?" he asked, pointing at the grinning young man who was applauding Elizabet. Another piece of paper came wafting out of the cup, and Dumbledore snatched it out of the air with a smile.

"Felix Malefoi," he announced. "As I am sure our own Slytherin house will be satisfied to hear....congratulations, Mr. Malefoi."

At the Slytherin table, Nox Malfoy slapped his second-cousin on the shoulder, grinning at him. Felix stood and saluted, looking very tall and imposing and dignified. The Slytherins pounded their table with delight.

"Which leaves only the Hogwarts school Champion," Dumbledore announced, and the Goblet obediently released a third slip of paper. Dumbledore took it from the air and smiled, mysteriously, as he read the name aloud.

"Remus Lupin," he said.

The hall actually fell silent for a moment. Of all the unlikely people to be Champion...

Then the Gryffindors burst into applause, and James shoved Remus to his feet. He bowed, stunned, and as he did so Sirius tilted his head back and grinned up at him.

"You son of a bitch, I will gut you for this," Remus said under the roar of the Gryffindors. "I will find out how you did it and I will cut you open."

"Save all that competitive spirit for the game, mate," Sirius said.




ACT ONE: FIRST TRY

"I hate you, I hate you, I hate you," Remus muttered as James and Sirius walked him out to the playing field where the first task was to be held.

"Can't get out of it now, Moony," James said, unconcerned. "Listen, you do cut a striking figure in that uniform."

"I feel like a ruddy fool. It's too tight," Remus complained.

"The term is properly tailored," Sirius answered. "Thank Merlin the school paid for it or you'd have shown up in a pair of Hogwarts pyjamas two sizes too large or something."

"I like my pyjamas," Remus sulked.

"Lily told me that Andrea told her that Bess Parkinson and Alice Drooble got into a fight over you," James said. "I guess Alice said she was going to ask you to Hogsmeade if you survived the first task -- "

"Let's stop right there for a minute," Remus said, holding up a hand, "and contemplate the phrasing of if you survived the first task. Besides, the bloody Slytherins certainly aren't fighting over me."

"Well, in a way they are. I mean..." James furrowed his brow. "Sort of....if you weren't really a threat to them, they wouldn't even bother with those stupid badges and all."

"Loony Loopy Lupin," Remus mumbled.

"No," Sirius corrected patiently, holding up a badge in front of him. "Lovely Likeable Lupin."

Remus gave him a sardonic look. "Yes, Sirius. That's so much better. Listen, I know people are saying I'm a sad case to be Champion and that Hogwarts hasn't got a chance, I'm resigned to my fate. You don't have to try cheering me up."

"Who says I did it to cheer you up?" Sirius asked. "I did it to show Snape I can beat his badge charms any day."

"Besides, you've all kinds of brains, and Dumbledore said the Tournament isn't ever about brute strength," James added, as Sirius pinned the badge to his shirt. Immediately, Lovely Likeable Lupin began to alternate with Slimy Smelly Snivellus. "And you've got us!"

"And I've got to spend all morning on a broomstick, dodging homicidal sports equipment," Remus groaned. "I hate flying."

"But you're good at it!" James said.

"So? I'm allowed to hate things I'm good at. I hate Divination, too."

"Buck up; I heard Dumbledore say that this Task could have had dragons in, but they couldn't lay hold of three full-grown ones in time," Sirius said. "So, you know, you could be anticipating being roasted werewolf nuggets instead of Mildly Concussed Lupin."

They arrived at the Quidditch field then, and James gave him a friendly shove.

"There's Lily; I'm off," he said. "Good luck, Moony. We're rooting for you."

Remus looked gloomily at the middle of the field, where the professors and Elizabet Karkaroff were standing. Malefoi didn't appear to have arrived yet.

"Listen, Moony, really," Sirius said, ducking his head a little. "I wouldn't have pulled a dirty trick like that if I didn't think you were up to it. I'm glad it's you. The Slytherins don't know anything anyway. They're rooting for someone from a whole different school, the traitorous bastards."

"Well, Malefoi's a bit more heroic than I am," Remus replied. "I didn't need this, Sirius."

Sirius studied him. "Yeah you did, actually. You'll see; you're stronger than they are."

"Elizabet could snap me in half."

"Not that kind of strength," Sirius said. "Listen, you think either of them have anything like the raw deal you've had? You'll surprise yourself. I know you will."

Sirius came with him onto the field, walking him as far as the table where the three regulation-standard broomsticks rested, each tied with a different coloured cord to indicate whose was whose -- Beauxbatons blue, Durmstrang brown, Hogwarts scarlet. Next to each broomstick was a Beater's bat in a corresponding colour.

"Sirius," Elizabet said, grinning at him. "I am going to humiliate your friend today."

"You know I love it when you talk dirty," Sirius said, as Malefoi arrived on the field. "Good luck. Remus'll win; I hope you come in second."

"If I lose to that, I will kill myself," she said, indicating Malefoi with a jerk of her head.

"Well, safe flying, anyway," Sirius said. She kissed him on the cheek.

"No kiss for me?" Malefoi asked Elizabet, smirking as he arrived.

"Sorry, I don't fancy blokes," Sirius answered.

"Play nice," Remus murmured. "People are watching."

"All right," Sirius agreed. He offered Malefoi his hand, smiling. "I hope you drop dead of venereal disease."

"May your genitals fall off at an inconvenient moment," Malefoi answered, also smiling as he shook Sirius' hand. Sirius clapped Remus on the shoulder, not at all reassuringly as it caused him to stumble a little, and walked off the field. A younger Durmstrang girl, apparently a friend of Elizabet's, took the cue and followed. Malefoi had come alone.

"Now then," Dumbledore said, approaching the table. "You have all been informed of the rules; three golden snitches have been released into the air above the field. As soon as you are aloft, five bludgers will also be released. You will be awarded points on a relative scale; Twenty points for first place, fifteen points for second, and ten points for third. The other thirty possible points will be awarded for style, as judged by myself and the other schools' professors," he concluded. "Please bear in mind that these snitches have been...altered slightly; you may experience some unpleasantness as you attempt to capture them. They are also marked, in order to indicate whose snitch is whose; we can't have you stealing them from each other willy-nilly."

He handed each of them a card with a rune on it. Remus sighed. Laguz; probably it was only chosen to correspond to his name (he saw Elizabet clutching Kenaz and Malefoi studying Mannaz) and anyway using runes in Divination was a very new tradition, but his scholar's brain couldn't help but toss up the fact that Laguz could represent ruin, destruction, and suicide.

Then again, just about anything could, if you looked at it in the right light. Or, as James would call it, the Highly Focused Remus Lupin Light of Doom.

"Do you have any questions before we begin?" Dumbledore asked. They shook their heads. "Very well; please take up your broomsticks and bats."

Remus picked up his broomstick and, with the other two, mounted; he swung the bat a few times, experimentally. He'd played Quidditch as a kid, of course -- who hadn't? -- but he'd never gone for the Gryffindor team, content to scrimmage with the other three when James felt he needed the practice. Beating certainly wasn't his forte; basic physics dictated that every time he hit a bludger, he overbalanced in the other direction.

"Don't blow away," Elizabet said, grinning even as she looked straight ahead at her professor, who was about to blow the starting whistle.

The three of them shot up at about equal speed, at the same time a handful of Hufflepuffs released the Bludgers. Elizabet went for height; Remus dropped a little lower and darted to the other end of the field, away from Malefoi. Snitches were tricky, but it was a bright day and the thing was to constantly keep your eyes moving. He'd learned from the best; he'd learned from James.

He began to understand the strategy involved in the game after Elizabet did a sudden dive, coming parallel with a small, sparkling object. He sucked in his breath, batting a bludger her way; she ducked the projectile, but eventually pulled away from the snitch.

Not hers.

Remus kept his eye on the little glittering ball, spiralling lazily towards it; if it wasn't hers, after all, there was a fifty-fifty chance it would be his. Malefoi didn't seem to have noticed.

He glanced up to see what the others were doing and saw Malefoi finally taking an interest; he might as well go for broke. He dipped his broomstick down slightly and put on the speed, chasing after the little Snitch. It was nearly impossible to get a good look at the rune marking it, but it paused and reversed suddenly and he skewed around, looking up as it went past --

The first thing that registered was the Laguz stamped on the snitch; the second was that it was not a golden snitch at all. Even from a few feet away and moving at considerable speed, he could feel the frission over his skin.

Those bastards. The snitch was silver.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Elizabet dive suddenly, and then just as suddenly stop; the snitch in front of her was holding deadly still, but she was backing away from it. Closer inspection showed a look of horror on her face, her eyes darting blindly --

Blindly.

She couldn't see.

"All right, Karkaroff?" he called, as she slowly backed her broomstick away from the snitch. Eventually she seemed to relax a little -- enough to throw him a rude gesture as her snitch darted away again. It zipped past his own head, in fact, and he saw that hers was white, with a black spo --

White. With a pupil. Her snitch was an eyeball.

"Sadists," he muttered. Malefoi, at the moment, was being actively pursued by his and was running fast from it, beating Bludgers out of his way furiously as he went. Remus couldn't see what his snitch was, but he could guess that it wasn't pleasant.

It's never just about strength, he thought. They were right.

House Champions did have to be strong, but it was more important, he knew, to be smart and brave. Jasper Flitwick, who was all of four feet tall and weighed ninety pounds, had won the Triwizard Tournament back in the seventeen hundreds, hadn't he?

He got aloft, ignoring the other two -- Elizabet was playing some kind of strange game of chicken with hers -- and found his own again, hovering at the other end of the field.

Right. Brave it is.

He put on all the speed he had, choosing to dodge the Bludger that was following him rather than bat it away, and got going fast enough that even the braking charms on the broomstick wouldn't be able to stop a collision with the little ball of pain that was his immediate destiny.

He stretched out his fingers for it and saw, to his horror, that fine bristling hair was growing out of the back of his hand; claws erupted from the ends of his fingers and he could feel the bones in his arm begin the familiar shift from man to wolf. Still, he couldn't stop; he was going too fast to even veer away without falling, and he was high enough up that the fall would snap his neck.

The burn of close-by silver and the agonisingly slow crack of bone and shift of muscle filled his world, but after an unendurable few seconds he felt something small and hard smack into his palm --

And immediately, the world cleared.

He automatically brought his hand close and looked down; five human fingers, a whole and perfectly-formed arm under his Champion uniform, and a golden snitch nestled in his palm, Laguz engraved deeply in one side.

***

"Thirty seven Hogwarts, thirty five Durmstrang, twenty four Beauxbatons. That was bloody brilliant," James crowed for the ten thousandth time.

He was sitting on his bed, one arm around Lily, the other occupied with a bottle from the case of highly alcoholic moonshine butterbeer Sirius had wheedled out of Rosmerta. Sirius was sitting on James' trunk, so as to be close to the booze, and Peter was sitting on Remus' trunk. Remus himself was lying flat on his bed, hands covering his face, breathing deeply. The little golden snitch, now strangely inactive, sat on his chest, wings half-furled.

"I still say he was cheated," Peter said. "I mean, who's a judge of style, am I right? I thought it had loads of style. He deserved more for style."

"Well, he's never been the most graceful bloke on a broomstick, has our Moony," Sirius admitted. "I mean, even you can't deny that Elizabet jumping off her broom to catch hers and then accio'ing it back under her was genius."

"It was the only way she could be sure she wouldn't pull back from grabbing it," Remus said quietly. "You saw what I had to do. The snitches played on our worst fears, and we had to prove they were harmless by grabbing them. Rather trite, really. Anyway, Malefoi didn't catch on until Karkaroff jumped, so they marked him down for imitating her, and besides he caught his the last, how stylish could he have been?"

"It wasn't very fair to blind her whenever she went near it," James said.

"She told me her mum's blind. Muggle, nothing to be done about it," Sirius replied.

"It wasn't any less fair than trying to turn me into a ruddy wolf right there on my damn broomstick," Remus said, sitting up and crossing his legs, catching the snitch in his left hand as it fell. James tossed him a bottle; he caught it instinctively in his right, then set it on the bed unopened.

"Did you ever even find out what Malefoi's was?" Lily asked.

"Clown nose," Remus answered absently. James and Sirius broke into sniggers.

"I don't blame him," Peter said stoutly. Remus held up the snitch, studying it intently.

"Now," he said, "I just have to figure out what to do with this pretty bauble."

Go to Part Two: Act 2, Intermission, and Act 3

[identity profile] danceswchopstck.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
"...roasted werewolf nuggets..."

SUCH a bastard you write, there, Sam!

"Now," he said, "I just have to figure out what to do with this pretty bauble."

My thought was that it should be inserted, with significant force, into an appropriate orifice of said bastard. Did you imply that, or must I take responsibility? ;)

Cool use of boggarting on the snitches, BTW.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I think that's all you *grins* By seventh year, Remus would be well used to Sirius being a bastard, I have a feeling....

Woot!!!

(Anonymous) 2005-11-23 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
Still cackling hysterically over:

"So, you know, you could be anticipating being roasted werewolf nuggets instead of Mildly Concussed Lupin."

[i]and[/i]

"All right," Sirius agreed. He offered Malefoi his hand, smiling. "I hope you drop dead of venereal disease."

"May your genitals fall off at an inconvenient moment," Malefoi ..."

[i]and[/i]

"...the Highly Focused Remus Lupin Light of Doom. "


[identity profile] bright-weavings.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
May your genitals fall off at an inconvenient moment
I forgot to mention earlier that this had to be my favorite line ever.

[identity profile] rudetuesday.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 04:12 am (UTC)(link)
I've always wished wizards and witches would have elaborate and ghastly curses. Thanks for fulfilling that wish.

"I hope you drop dead of venereal disease."

especially: "May your genitals fall off at an inconvenient moment." *giggles*

[identity profile] elucreh.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
Sam, tell me honestly...have I been pre-dreaming your fic again, or did you a)cookie this or b)write something else where you had to catch a snitch that was specifically marked for you and made you blind.

I find it very unsettling to read something that claims to be brand-new on my flist and recognise it.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-12-07 06:55 am (UTC)(link)
Ummm, no, I never cookied it, and I don't think I've written anything about catching a snitch that makes you blind, though I have written about games where you have to catch a snitch before. I mean, there's a similar game in Alternate. maybe that's what you're thinking of.

*is also slightly unsettled* :D

[identity profile] elucreh.livejournal.com 2005-12-07 07:41 am (UTC)(link)
LJ finally sending you what it should have a month or so ago? *g*

Just skimmed through Alternate, and...no, that's not it. Damn, that's creepy...

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-12-07 02:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah. Stupid LJ gremlins! *shakes fist*

That is very weird. Could it be Seeker's Match, perhaps? The one about Harry, postwar, playing Quidditch and hating it?

[identity profile] elucreh.livejournal.com 2005-12-07 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
*rereads Seeker's Match* *shakes head*

I know there was more than one Snitch, and you had to catch the one meant for you...

[identity profile] winstonmom.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 05:46 am (UTC)(link)
Truly brilliant, your take on boggart snitches wins the prices.

[identity profile] emilytheodd.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 08:21 am (UTC)(link)
most fantastic. did he ever figure out what to do with the pretty bauble?

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 03:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I'm sure he did -- I suspect Remus won the kit and caboodle. :D I may expand that part of the AU into its own story.

[identity profile] emilytheodd.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 11:40 pm (UTC)(link)
that would be fantastic!

[identity profile] roitelet.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 09:01 am (UTC)(link)
Wonderful! I love the boggart!snitches and the cunning little character details and hints of backstory. Did you mean for Sirius' initials to be an Easter egg? :) This was just loads of rollicking fun. Whee! I'm off to pimp it on my journal.

[identity profile] calliope-jones.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 04:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Sam? Can we find out what he does with the bauble? Pleease?

[identity profile] medicinal-mirth.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
This was a hoot to read. So much fun to be had here. Question -- will there be more from this era, as well as the Harry era? I really enjoy the juxtaposition.

[identity profile] medicinal-mirth.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 05:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, never mind, I just figured out that you've finished. Wishful thinking on my part.

[identity profile] evil-whimsey.livejournal.com 2005-11-23 09:10 pm (UTC)(link)
"You son of a bitch, I will gut you for this," Remus said under the roar of the Gryffindors. "I will find out how you did it and I will cut you open."

I don't tell you enough, how fantastically in love with your Remus I am. The way he can jump out of a scene and knock me flat, no warning at all, with just a few well-placed words.

The whole story is great, of course, but that one line--I keep reading it and it keeps slaying me. Wonderful.

(Anonymous) 2005-11-23 11:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Sam, you really astound me with your writing...one day, some day, I promise I'll sit down, get over my denial of Remus/Dora and read Cartographer's Craft...one day...maybe. Until then, I shall love the rest of your stories... ^_^

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-11-24 04:02 pm (UTC)(link)
*laughs* Thank you!

Sorry to spoil CC with Remus/Dora *grins* But at least it's not the major plotline....?
ext_9800: (Default)

[identity profile] issen4.livejournal.com 2005-11-24 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely take on the Triwizard tournament.

[identity profile] tentofblue.livejournal.com 2005-11-24 10:54 am (UTC)(link)
I can't say this enough: You write like a pro.

It was confusing at first, but as soon as I caught on, Wow! Sirius is so very, very magnetic and alive; I loved him from the first. Remus is so much more mature than all the other children. I wish I can imagine him smiling in this.

[identity profile] kyou-kyou.livejournal.com 2005-11-26 04:01 pm (UTC)(link)
That was amazingly written, I loved the way you wrote out the first task was awesome, very creative, *crosses fingers for more Siri/Remusy stuff....*

[identity profile] luxanebulis.livejournal.com 2005-12-06 09:57 pm (UTC)(link)
I was rereading this so I could pretend I don't have a final exam in an hour and I'm enjoying it very much. I had one minor, nitpicking thing though about the points distribution at the end of the task. It says that 1st place gets 20, 2nd gets 15, 3rd gets 10, and 30 style points are distributed, equalling out to 75 points. The characters, however, got 37, 35, and 24 points, equalling out to 96 points.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-12-16 05:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I meant to say that I did get this comment, and thank you, and now the maths are making my head hurt. If I ever do manage to write the rest of this, however, I will go back and fix it :D