Character: Viktor Krum
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 1K words
Summary: Viktor walked out of the tent, clutching his wand tightly. He looked up and there it was, a mass of smooth scarlet scales with bug eyes and orange spikes around its snub snout. It didn't look very friendly, and Viktor didn't hesitate.
Note: Originally written as a qualifying entry for the hogwarts_elite Triwizard Tournament. Uses several character quotations lifted directly from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
"Come on, Viktor, we must walk to the champions' tent now."
It was lunch hour and Viktor hadn't really been able to eat; he kept thinking about dragons. Now that Karkaroff said they had to leave, Viktor was suddenly hungry. It was funny how that worked. Still, he got out of his chair and followed Karkaroff out of the Great Hall.
The November afternoon was supposedly cold by local standards, but Viktor found it pleasant - at Durmstrang, cold was a far stronger word. They made their way to a clump of trees around the edge of the large forest by the school grounds. Karkaroff kept babbling about something, but Viktor paid him no heed.
He'd listened to - and put up with - enough of the man's prattle over his years at Durmstrang. He couldn't wait for the year to be over so he could finally be free of Karkaroff's infuriating presence. He'd kept his head down and acted cordial out of respect for his parents, but he had no respect for this man, this former Death Eater.
Karkaroff wasn't allowed in the champions' tent. Viktor was glad; he couldn't take much more yammering. He walked in and found Delacour and Diggory already there. Delacour was sitting in a corner on a low wooden stool, looking pale. Diggory was pacing up and down the tent; he didn't look at Viktor. Ludo Bagman, the man from the local Ministry, kept trying to engage them in conversation but none of them paid any attention to him.
Several minutes later, Potter walked in. He looked very small. Viktor doubted he'd get through this alive.
"Harry! Good-oh!" said Bagman "Come in, come in, make yourself at home!"
Potter walked a little closer and cast apprehensive glances at the rest of them.
Bagman held up a bag of purple silk and shook it as he explained that it contained small models of the things they were about to face. They were to take turns pulling a model from the bag after the audience had assembled, and their task was to collect the golden egg. Viktor assumed what he hoped was a stony face and stared at the bag. A moment later, he heard many feet pass the tent amidst chatter and laughter.
Then Bagman opened the neck of the silk sack.
"Ladies first," he said, offering the sack to Delacour. She drew a Welsh Green and the number two. She didn't seem surprised and Viktor nodded slightly to himself. It made him feel a bit better that Karkaroff wasn't the only one cheating - for all her haughtiness, the Beauxbatons Headmistress clearly wasn't above unfair advantages.
Viktor pulled out the scarlet Chinese Fireball with the number three. He knew what he had to do, of course. These types of dragons were especially aggressive, and Viktor had to be very fast and precise, otherwise he'd go up in flames quicker than one could say "Quidditch". Viktor stared at the floor until Bagman said he was leaving because he was commentating. He told Diggory to go after he heard a whistle, then asked Potter for a word outside.
Potter got up and went out of the tent. Viktor wondered if Bagman was going to tell Potter how to deal with the dragon. The locals were probably all betting on Potter and Diggory. He tried to focus his mind on the spell he'd need. Just one direct hit and he'd buy himself enough time. Just one.
He was barely aware of Potter walking back into the tent, of Delacour and Diggory leaving, of the crowd roaring outside. He had a goal, and he had to keep his mind clear and focussed. This would be just like Quidditch, only he would not be flying and the Snitch was larger than usual.
"And here comes Mr Krum!" cried Bagman. Viktor walked out of the tent, clutching his wand tightly. He looked up and there it was, a mass of smooth scarlet scales with bug eyes and orange spikes around its snub snout. It didn't look very friendly, and Viktor didn't hesitate.
"Conjunctiva!" he yelled, pointing his wand at the dragon's face.
"Very daring!" yelled Bagman, just as the dragon let out a horrible, roaring shriek and stumbled sideways.
Viktor watched in horror as it trampled one of its own eggs. They were going to take marks off for that, for sure. He started running towards the eggs in a zigzag pattern, while keeping an eye on the dragon and trying to avoid it as it thrashed about blindly.
"That's some nerve he's showing - and - yes, he's got the egg!"
Viktor clutched the egg to his chest as he ran out of the dragon's path, just as handlers were running towards it from all sides.
"Impressive!" yelled one of them. He was a red-headed young man who reminded Viktor of someone he couldn't quite place. "You should consider working with us!"
Viktor blinked. Work as a dragon tamer? That certainly sounded less harrowing than Quidditch; at least he wouldn't have reporters following him around. He didn't have time to finish thinking; he was pulled aside by the deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts.
"Your scores, young man," she said, indicating a platform with gold-draped seats.
Madame Maxime had given Viktor eight points; Crouch, seven; Dumbledore, eight; Bagman, seven. Viktor watched as a long, silver ribbon shot out of Karkaroff's wand, then twisted itself into a large number ten.
Viktor cursed silently. Even he understood that he did not deserve a perfect score for his performance. Yes, the curse had been effective, but the dragon had destroyed some of its real eggs; that was inexcusable and sloppy. How dare Karkaroff do this? Now everyone would think that the Durmstrang champion was receiving an unfair advantage. Viktor did not want to win this tournament because Karkaroff refused to judge fairly.
If there had ever been a day Viktor Krum's outright hatred for Igor Karkaroff began, this was it.