This was a joke. It had to be a joke.
A quick glance at his classmates showed gobsmacked expressions. There was some polite applause from the visiting students and those from Hogwarts that had no idea who Newt was. But those that were aware of Newt were stunned, some looking disappointed that this was to be the student representing their school. Even the teachers that had taught Newt were looking confused at this turn of events. Only Professor Dumbledore wore a thoughtful frown on his face, already well on his way to working out what had probably happened.
As Newt walked up towards the staff table and the room beyond, he heard a disgusted “Well there goes our chances.” He kept his head down and didn’t stop walking.
The other champions looked up at him as he entered. It didn’t take them long to silently assess, and dismiss, him as being very little threat to the competition. He seemed to be the youngest there, the other champions in their 6th or 7th years at a guess. The girl from Durmstrang was tall with dark hair and darker eyes. She stood confidently, watching everything in the room with interest. The Beauxbatons student was also tall but athletically built, with fair hair. He stood leaning against the back of a chair with an air of ease that Newt couldn’t understand under such circumstances. Newt himself decided to stay out of the way by the far wall as the minutes stretched by, until finally the three headmasters, and two Ministry officials entered and proceeded to explain what was to happen next.
“Congratulation Champions,” one of the ministry officials stepped forward to address them. He was the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, though Newt hadn’t caught his name.
“You have the very great honour of representing your schools in the upcoming Triwizard Tournament. As I’m sure you’re aware the tasks ahead will be dangerous and do carry risk of injury or indeed death. But I would remind you that you have entered into a magically binding contract to compete and safety measures have been put into place to reduce those risks wherever possible.
Now, the first task is to be a test of daring. It will take place on the 24th of November. You will be told more on the day.” He looked around the room, bid everyone a good evening and then turned to leave, his colleague giving a congenial nod to the room at large before following.
Was that it? Newt felt the whole meeting to have been quite an anti-climax. He glanced around the room watching the Beauxbatons student and headmaster whispering animatedly on one side while the girl from Durmstrang was having a more focused discussion with her headmaster on the other.
As for Newt, “Well Scamander, I think it’s time you returned to your dormitory. I’m sure the rest of Hufflepuff will be waiting to celebrate with you.” Newt wasn’t so sure, but he chose not to reply. He simply left the room and decided to head to bed.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The beginning of November held a despondency around the school as everyone quickly became aware of how hopeless the odds were of Hogwarts winning the Triwizard Cup. After a lesson with Professor Dumbledore, Newt was asked to remain behind. Since they both had time Dumbledore decided a chat and a cup of tea was in order.
“Well, Newt. I’d like to offer my sincerest congratulations.”
Newt was watching his tea, still swirling where it had been stirred and didn’t look up to respond. “Thank you, Professor.”
“It was a bit of a surprise to hear your name. I’m curious, what made you want to put your name into the Goblet?”
This time Newt didn’t say anything. He knew that with Professor Dumbledore, he didn’t need to. A few minutes passed while Dumbledore and Newt sipped their tea in silence.
“I imagine your family are going to be very proud.”
A frown flickered across Newt’s face for a brief moment before an awkward smile took its place. “Um, yes well…I suppose they will.”
“Would you tell me who put your name into the Goblet?”
Newt’s gaze flicked to the side before returning to his tea. “No, Professor.”
“Hmm. No, I didn’t think you would, though I have my suspicions. I’m sure you’re already aware that you have to compete now that you have been chosen, regardless of how your name was entered.”
“Yes Professor. No way around it.”
“Indeed.” Dumbledore was used to the quiet nature of the teen in front of him, but he was still surprised by how calm Newt seemed about the whole thing. “I’m not allowed to help you with the tasks but if you ever need to talk Newt, my door is always open.”
Dumbledore was renowned for being approachable for any student that needed advice. “Thank you, Professor Dumbledore.” Newt looked up, his fringe hiding his eyes but a small smile on visible his face. “But I’m not going to worry about this.”
“No?” Dumbledore smiled, “That doesn’t surprise me so much.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A couple of weeks later Newt was called out of class to attend the Wand Weighing ceremony. He found himself in an unused classroom with the other champions, accompanied as always by the three headmasters and the ministry officials. Also in attendance was a man that Newt recognised as Ollivander; the wandmaker from Diagon Alley. And to Newt’s displeasure, a photographer who was introduced as being from the Daily Prophet.
Ollivander took each champion’s wand, looking it over for damage before using it to perform a quick spell to ensure it was in good working order. Then the whole group were jostled into position for the photographer, who spent a good five minutes trying to get Newt to stand up straighter. He became increasingly exasperated at the way Newt seemed incapable of looking towards the camera for more than a second but eventually took a usable picture thus ending the ceremony.
The next morning at breakfast, Newt was startled to have two owls land in front of him. They both bore letters; one from his parents and the other from his older brother, Theseus.
Your father and I were quite surprised to see you in the evening paper. We know how you are about writing to us regularly, always kept busy with school and other things, but I am a little disappointed that you haven’t written to tell us yourself.
We’re very proud of you Newt, your father especially. He tells me that this will put you in good stead to becoming an Auror after you’ve finished school. You can follow in his footsteps just like Theseus. It’s wonderful to see you taking part in such a prestigious event.
Please do be careful though. There are so many stories about how dangerous the Triwizard Tournament can be.
Make sure you eat properly and stay warm.
Love, Mother and Father
What the bloody hell have you done! I saw the paper first thing this morning, they say you’re a Triwizard Champion? I never pegged you for such a thing.
Still, I can’t say I’m not a bit jealous. I would have jumped at the chance to have a go in the Tournament.
And I know you’ll be brilliant. You’ll finally be able to show everyone what you can really do.
I’m proud of you, little brother. Try and stay in touch.
Newt grinned at Theseus’ letter. It was nice to have someone else who had confidence in his abilities. The letter from his parents however had left an uncomfortable weight in his stomach at the prospect of disappointing them with regards to his plans for the future. Newt put the letters away, giving each owl a treat before they flew off to the owlery.
Later while sat in his cupboard, Newt took the time to reply to his brother. He wrote honestly about how he hadn’t planned to enter his name, but since it had been, he was going to try and get through it without causing too much damage.
The reply the next day was not a surprise. Theseus had always taken his responsibility as a big brother very seriously, and Newt knew he would have something to say about his situation. It was a short note asking Newt to be alone in the Hufflepuff dormitory at midnight in one week. That was easily done, the dormitory was usually empty before midnight. It amused Newt how quickly Theseus had sunk into the clandestine lifestyle as an Auror, the dramatic meeting in the middle of the night, but then his brother had always been that way really.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Theseus’ head sprang out of the flames, greeting Newt with a bright smile.
“Hello Theseus.” Newt found himself with an identical smile on his face. “It’s good to see you.”
“Likewise. You’ve had an interesting term so far. Tell me what happened.”
Newt let out a huff a ducked his head. He should have known Theseus would want to get straight to the point. “I, er, had some help entering my name and it was just my luck that it got selected.”
“Help? That’s an understatement! Who was it Newt?”
Newt was looking at his brother again and it wasn’t hard to see just how furious Theseus was about this, even through the flames. “I’m not going to say,” he said firmly.
“Newt, they’ve deliberately put your life in danger, they deserve to be hauled out of Hogwarts and thrown-“
“Thes, it’s done. Besides, the joke backfired rather spectacularly. Everyone seems fairly sure that Hogwarts is out of the running for the cup.”
Theseus frowned at that. “Well, I wouldn’t be so sure. We both know you are more capable than you let on.”
Newt smiled again. It really was nice to have someone confirm that they believed he could get through the tasks in one piece.
“I’m as ready as I can be for the first task. All there is to do is wait until the 24th.”
“Worrying only means you suffer twice, right brother.” Theseus was looking fondly at Newt now. If his bother wasn’t going to hold a grudge then he could let it go, so long as his little brother stayed in one piece. “I know better than anyone you can look after yourself. Mother never did forgive us for ruining her favourite flowerbed that summer.”
“Yes, well I didn’t expect you to get thrown quite so hard. It worked much better than I expected. Which is your own fault for showing me in the first place.”
Theseus laughed at the memory, glad to see for himself that Newt really was ok.
“I have to go; we’re not supposed to use the Ministry for personal correspondence. I had to call in a favour with a friend. But listen, I’ve been hearing some rumours about the sort of tasks you’re going to be facing and if they’re true then you can handle this.” Theseus looked at Newt with a more serious expression, but Newt could tell his brother was enjoying knowing whatever it was while Newt would have to wait for the surprise. “Just do what you do best.”
Theseus gave Newt another bright smile before the flames suddenly diminished and returned to their usual flickering.
Huffing out a laugh at his brother’s theatrics, Newt headed to bed.