Wolf in Friend’s Clothing by AngelMoon Girl

Disclaimer: Most regrettably, I do not own Harry Potter or any of its associated characters. JK Rowling has that pleasure.

Note: This is all rooted in canon fact, not film. I took every detail from the book, then spun fiction where it was needed. It is a one shot.

' ' denotes thoughts.
* denotes italics.

~Wolf in Friend's Clothing~

Albus Dumbledore was a man who prided himself in his mastery of emotions and prestigious skill at calm, rational thought. Few people could outmatch his proficiency at solving puzzles, or his ability to see people for who they really were. He could count on one hand the number of times he'd been successfully tricked. And manipulated, well, that occurred even less. Rare was the Headmaster found truly frightened, truly surprised or truly angered past his placid exterior.

But apparently, this night seemed bound and determined to shake all the Greatest Wizard of the Age's pre-conceived notions. And, it was dead set on tacking up one more finger in the 'I, Albus Dumbledore-have-been-fooled' tally.

But these revelations didn't, of course, all flood in at once. No, fate was cruel in that had it decided to draw out the nightmare; savor it. Albus *still* cringed when remembering how slow discovery had been, and how very nearly he had lost one of his beloved students to ruddy Time in the process.

The evening had started out like any other.

Well, if you disregarded the fact that the Triwizard Tournament was coming to a head, with the Third Task about to commence. The air had been utterly ensconced in excitement, the crowds cheering on their respective preferences for winner. Ludo Bagman had sent off the four young champions into the dark and dangerous maze, currently inhabiting the enlarged Quidditch field. Dumbledore had been seated with the judges, watching intently from his section in the stands as Harry Potter joined Cedric Diggory at the entrance. Mere moments later, they were gone, lost to the sight of the crowd by towering viridian hedges.

It was the last time anyone had heard of or seen the two boys for hours, and frankly, the head of Hogwarts was worried. Almost half an hour in, Fleur Delacour had been put out of the running by a Stunning Curse. Then, maybe twenty more minutes in, Viktor Krum suffered the same fate, albeit his case was... stranger, to say the least. There had been traces of a bewitchment gone afoul, or so Madam Pomfrey claimed. Albus Dumbledore knew better than to doubt her diagnosis, but the news had left him rattled. Surely nothing in the maze had caused these reactions? He knew every obstacle that had been placed, and not one of them warranted such ill effect on the champions.

'No', Albus thought concernedly, 'these *misfortunes* were deliberate.' But a *bewitchment* spell? That was hardly magic even a Seventh Year would have known, much less children versed in Light Magic...

Albus Dumbledore could not help but feel that something was very, very wrong. He could not shake off the foreboding feeling subsisting in the pit of his stomach, some warning... of terrors, yet to come... or maybe already happening? The old mage frowned, fingering his wand unconsciously, letting his wizened appendages obtain some form of reassurance from the solidity and power the stick emanated. If plans ran amuck, at least he would be there. If worst came to worst, he would protect his students from whatever evils tonight unleashed.

*If only it had been that easy...*

Five more minutes went by, agonizingly and torturously *slow*. Albus whiled away what he dubbed 'Purgatory' with examining both the crowd and the edge of the maze. In regards to the former, everyone looked about as antsy as he felt, though for significantly different reasons. Most of the student population, he appraised, was tired and cold. No doubt delightful fantasies about their warm Dormitories filled their minds, trying to coax and tempt with images of roaring fires and cozy beds. Albus sighed, still searching the throng with his infallibly astute blue eyes...

*Ah*. There, at least, was a small group of people whose emotions mirrored his own; who were not just antsy because of simple impatience. Albus smiled at the cluster of red-heads with one brunette tucked safely in their midst, holding the hand of one Ronald Weasley. The blushing countenance that Fourth Year wore made Dumbledore want to laugh, if it weren't for the sobering fact that Harry and Cedric *still* had not returned.

Which brought his eyes back to the maze, and those pale-faced teachers patrolling it. *Surely* one of them had reached the Cup by now? McGonagall glanced up at the Headmaster just before pacing the perimeter once more, the red star planted on her black witch's hat illuminated eerily by moonlight. Albus could see her growing edgier with still no sign of their Hogwarts boys, and knew her fear was well-founded. Albus knew they both couldn't help but remember how *young* Harry was compared to Cedric... how, despite everyone's brave face, the teachers thought some plot was afoot to undermine Harry's safety... or worse, bring about his demise. The child's name coming out of the Goblet of Fire had been no good omen, that was for sure. *Damn binding magical contracts!*

Albus remembered how sick and uneasy he'd felt after reading aloud Harry's flame-borne name. He'd tried- unsuccessfully- to call off the tournament, but the Ministry had been relentless, throwing his own words from earlier back into the Headmaster's face.

"It's all about inter-continental unity, Albus," Fudge had said. "Those alliances are *critical*. We call off the tournament now, and the Heads will be furious! I know Igor of all people is itching to see Krum bring home the glory, and Olympe's no different with her champion."

"There're all vying to best each other, Cornelius!" Albus had exclaimed in response, irate. He checked his tone after that, reigning in his exasperation until only forced serenity remained. "I fear letting the tournament continue will only endanger Harry's life, while helping to exacerbate the prejudices that we are trying so hard to fight. Surely you must see the veracity of my words, Minister."

But he hadn't, and Harry was still competing in this stupid bid for glory.

Another five minutes passed, but Albus could've sworn it was thirty. He observed a couple students sneak away to return to the castle, but made no move to stop them. Then Alastor Moody rounded the maze. It was the expression on his scarred visage that drew Albus' attention. The auror looked... gleeful, almost. But then Dumbledore thought fatigue was flirting with his mind, because the wooden legged one had schooled his features so fast that joy *could not* have resided there. At least, that was what Albus hoped, if one were to delve into the recesses of his heart. Because his friend shouldn't be happy about anything, right now. 'Illusion of the moonlight, no doubt.'

Yes, that was it. It was getting late; people were growing weary of waiting...

Two more minutes fled, and Albus wondered,

'Was Harry stubborn enough to refuse aid?' Perhaps he (or both of them, though Albus knew Cedric well enough that he didn't think it pertained to the Hufflepuff) was lying injured and prone, but refused to send up red sparks because he'd labelled that a manifestation of weakness?

*Oh, if only that were the case...*

Another minute, then-

Harry Potter appeared out of thin air, clutching Cedric Diggory in one hand and the Triwizard Cup in the other. He landed face-first into the ground, and did not move. Neither did Cedric.

The world as Albus Dumbledore knew it came crashing down, erupting into tiny pieces as quickly as the crowd had jumped to its feet...


But *no no no no no* something was not right, why was Harry so still? And Cedric.. Cedric looked so frighteningly, ghostly pallid... This was not what was supposed to happen; the champion who touched the Cup was supposed to trigger the end of the maze enchantment, not be whisked back to the beginning like this...

Then Albus realized the crowd was not cheering, but screaming. And a stampede was forming, as the whole Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang body began racing for the Boy-Who-Lived and his fallen comrade. Somehow, by a sheer combination of will and wild magic, Albus arrived there first, heart palpitating painfully. His countenance blanched when he got to the boys, because neither had twitched a single muscle and 'no no no no no they can't be... oh Harry... not dead not dead... please not dead...'

He crouched and seized Harry perhaps a little too roughly in his cold, dreading haste, shouting, "Harry! *Harry*!" while turning the boy over.

And then Harry opened his eyes, and the breath Albus didn't know he'd been refusing his body returned. 'Thank Merlin, he's *alive*!' But yet again, there was a nagging sense in Dumbledore that something was still wrong, oh so wrong... Harry didn't seem to be able to focus on him; the emerald orbs so usually full of blithe exuberance were distant; glazed; foggy...

Albus wanted to shoo the dark crowd pressing in on them away, but then Harry did something that interrupted this desire. He let go of the Cup, and instead clutched at the Headmaster's wrist like it was his lifeline in a turbulent storm.

Then Harry whispered five little words, clipped in his obvious illness, that would change everyone's lives forever.

"He's back... he's back. Voldemort."

Albus opened his mouth, horrified at the ramifications and what Harry meant... 'The child *hadn't*... Merlin, he hadn't been there... not forced to face Voldemort again, not...' every thought died as Dumbledore watched Harry's vision swim in and out, because he knew the truth was right before his eyes, so achingly obvious...

Harry wasn't in shock because of the Third Task's maze. Harry wasn't wounded and winded simply because of rough encounters with Skrewts and boggarts. Harry wasn't here because of some miracle mistake in the Cup's modifications.

'The Cup...'

It was a Portkey. *It had to be*! Then that meant... that someone... had betrayed them; bested Albus Dumbledore and pulled the wool over the Greatest Wizard of the Age... 'Who could have-'?

And Cedric. Albus knew all too well what Avada Kedavra did to its victims. 'Dear God, Cedric-'

"What's going on? What's happened?"

Cornelius Fudge suddenly swooped out of the scared, chattering onlookers. His face was stark white and appalled as he gazed down at Harry and Cedric, Harry still holding Albus' wrist- but not for long. It soon slipped, weak, and Dumbledore began seriously fearing for the fourteen year old's health. The Minister came to the same conclusion Dumbledore had, albeit he decided to announce it to the world, panic be damned.

"My God- Diggory! Dumbledore- he's dead!"

The words were repeated, and the shadowy individuals pushing in on them began raising- screeching- crying the Hufflepuff's fate into the night: "He's dead!" "He's *dead*!" "Cedric Diggory! *Dead*!" Sobbing sounded in a din, and voices, passing on the news... everywhere...

"Harry, let go of him," Fudge told Harry, as if the champion was stultified. He began attempting to pry the golden child's fingers from Cedric's limp form when Harry didn't respond. However, Harry wouldn't let go, instead re-doubling his grip to ward off the efforts of the Minister. Albus leant down closer, his wrinkled, bearded visage only inches from Harry's own.

"Harry, you can't help him now. It's over. Let go."

The gentle order seemed to stimulate Harry, and he began explaining; *pleading*.

"He wanted me to bring him back," the teen muttered, and Albus could tell this was very important to him. "He wanted me to bring him back to his parents..."

But Harry's death-grip was loosening and slowly, oh so slowly, he began releasing Cedric. Dumbledore began coaxing him on softly- "That's right, Harry... just let go now..."

Harry finally surrendered Cedric, and Albus bent down, belying his old age in a show of extraordinary strength. He gripped Harry under the armpits, like one would to a small child, and carefully raised the Boy-Who-Lived (yet again, he suspected wryly) from his spread-eagle position on the ground. Gently, he eased him onto his feet. Unfortunately, Harry seemed to favor one leg over the other and was only half-cogent. People jostled around them, fighting to get in closer propinquity with the quartet, demanding "What happened?" "What's wrong with him?" and again, "*Diggory's dead!*" Harry wasn't faring too well; he swayed, unable to support his own weight. A moment later, Harry'd sunk back to the ground in a strange sit, back drooping forward like he was going to faint.

"He'll need to go to the hospital wing!" Fudge was saying loudly. "He's ill, he's injured-"

Albus agreed, fully aware that Harry needed medical attention and slightly desperate to get it for the child. He was about to ask someone to look for Pomfrey, afraid to leave Harry, when Fudge continued shakily,

"Dumbledore, Diggory's parents, they're here, they're in the stands..."

Moody seemed to appear out of nowhere; much like Harry had only minutes- or was it *seconds*? Albus couldn't tell; it was all a blur- before. "I'll take Harry, Dumbledore, I'll take him-"

It was slightly odd to hear Alastor call Harry by his first and not his surname, as was the auror's wont with anyone... "No, I would prefer-"

Fudge interrupted, panicking: "Dumbledore, Amos Diggory's running... he's coming over... Don't you think you should tell him- before he sees-?" Cornelius started practically dragging Dumbledore away by the arm, white all over and obviously unsure how to the handle the situation. And Albus, knowing it was his duty to inform Amos before he saw his dead son, only had time to impart forcefully,

"Harry, stay here-"

Before he was out of the boy's sight. And feeling very, very much discomfited by that fact.

The sickening foreboding in the pit of Albus' stomach did not go away like he thought it would once Harry was safe at Hogwarts.

It only got worse.


Amos Diggory was stark white when Dumbledore and Fudge reached him, his eyes gleaming madly in what Albus observed as panic. He was panting heavily, and grabbed at the Headmaster's arm rather frantically.

"D-Dumbledore, t-they're saying Ced... Ced... tell me it's not true! TELL ME MY SON IS NOT D-d-d..." Amos couldn't finish the word; he choked miserably on it and instead glanced over at the coterie of students... hoping, no doubt, that Cedric would emerge from their midst, beaming. Albus sighed, already measuring how chary his message would have to be. How he hated being the harbinger of misfortune! People had that unfortunate habit of shooting the messenger...

"I'm so sorry, Amos," Albus intoned gravely, placing a wizened hand on the man's shoulder. "Cedric is indeed gone."

Amos seemed to sway alarmingly for a second, features slack in shock- then vicious sobs started racking his figure. "Oh... oh God... my *son*, my only *son*... what will his mother say? What will I tell her? She refused to believe the rumors-"

"I'm so sorry," Albus repeated, and from beside him, Fudge nodded in concurrence. He too grasped at the grieving father's shoulder and patted in what could only be condolence.

"You have the Ministry's full support behind you, Amos. We will not relax until we get to the bottom of this atrocious murder. Rest assured, the culprit will face severe retribution- a lifetime in Azkaban, no doubt..."

Albus' brow crinkled, but he said nothing.

"Thank you, Minister," Amos replied, very quietly. He swiped at his eyes, still stifling cries of agony at Cedric's unexpected demise. "W-where is he? I want to... to see his body..."

Fudge exchanged a pained look with Dumbledore, but the Hogwarts Headmaster inclined his head. He said softly, "If Amos wishes to see his son, then we must respect his wishes, Cornelius."


"Come," Dumbledore interrupted, gently leading Amos through the crowd of whimpering and whispering spectators and fairly ignoring Fudge in the process. The dumpy leader scowled, but trailed behind the pair nevertheless. It didn't take long before they reached the spot. Albus stopped dead in surprise, and so did Amos- albeit for very, very different reasons. Amos let out a fresh howl and collapsed next to the motionless Hufflepuff, currently being protected by an equally mournful Pomona Sprout. It looked like she had closed the boy's eyes and smoothed out his rumpled robes, for which Albus was incredibly grateful. This did nothing to ease his palpitating heart, though. The blatant fact that Harry was nowhere to be seen had not escaped Dumbledore's notice, and he clenched his fists in anxiety. He looked down at Amos, in the act of gathering up the limp seventeen year old while rocking unsteadily. Then he turned to Fudge with an oddly frightened countenance. There was the merest suggestion of a quiver in Dumbledore's voice as he hurriedly imparted an order on the slightly confused Minister.

"Cornelius, would you please accompany Mr. Diggory up to the school? Help cover and remove the body; Madam Pomfrey will aid you. I do not want the students to ogle him anymore than they already have; Cedric and his father deserve a respectful distant right now. I will join you shortly, but I need to tend to a few serious matters first."

Then he swept away into the terrified throng before Fudge had a chance to protest. Discomfiting thoughts stabbed at his mind.

'I told Harry to stay'.

Well, yes, but the boy wasn't exactly in his right mind, was he? He'd been sick, injured; barely cogent...

'He wouldn't have been able to fight back'.

Another burst of panic. Albus cursed himself for the hindrance it was, desperately wondering why calm rationality had chosen *this* moment to flee; when Harry was in danger... 'and right under my nose', dammit! What sadistic god was laughing at the irony of the situation right now? Whoever it was, Albus wanted to hex them into the next century.

A hook-nosed teacher with a greasy black curtain for hair caught the Headmaster's attention. The elderly mage nearly pounced on him.


Severus Snape turned his sallow face on Albus, sneering...

The ornery demeanor shifted when he realized who was calling him. "Headmaster?"

The former Death Eater seemed... relieved. But there was another emotion present, hiding behind his idiosyncratic blank mask. Albus, striving to identify this new development, pinned scrutinizing blue orbs on him. He was a little unnerved when he recognized it following the appraisal of Severus' onyx gaze.

Fear: the same monster vying for possession of Albus' composure.

"Severus, I need to know- tonight, did it burn?" Albus didn't have to ask twice; Snape understood immediately. His eyes twitched this way and that before answering in a cautious velvet baritone,

"Yes. Maybe an hour ago. The mark's still dark, but it's... faded now. What happened? I heard... Potter and Diggory..."

"Cedric's dead. Harry barely escaped Voldemort's clutches with his life. He brought Cedric's body back. Apparently..." Albus swallowed, descending into his second and most important line of questioning. The admittance of his lack of foresight still pained Dumbledore. 'Oh Harry... how I failed you!' "Apparently, someone turned the Triwizard Cup into a portkey."

Snape gaped. "Under *your* nose?"

Albus cringed at the blunt statement. "I have my suspicions."

A memory from only minutes earlier floated serenely through Dumbledore's brain, but it only served to disquiet him further. *"I'll take Harry, Dumbledore, I'll take him-"*


Alastor Moody *never* referred to people by anything other than their surname.

Alastor Moody only ever drank from a flask. This year, he'd nursed aforementioned flask far more frequently than Dumbledore had ever seen when with the auror.

In fact, if Albus were to hazard a guess, he tended to swig its contents about every hour.

'First sign of Polyjuice Potion!' And Severus *had* been complaining that crucial ingredients for the elixir kept going missing from his personal stores. The Slytherin had suspected it was a miscreant student- three guesses who- because this had happened two years before, but suddenly, the petty theft had taken a dark turn...

But most incriminating of all, Alastor Moody was the last person to touch the Triwizard Cup.

"Severus..." Albus began, insides churning. "After dinner... do you remember who asked to place the Cup in the maze?"

"Of course," the overgrown bat spoke through a curled lip. "It was Alastor Moody."

"And no one- *no one*- else touched it before he walked into the maze?"

"I don't believe so."

Severus went wide-eyed as the rare image of horror jumped onto Dumbledore's face. "You don't think...?"

"We need to find Harry. Now. I think Alastor Moody has kidnapped him."


Dumbledore and Snape found Professor McGonagall ushering students back up to the school, her countenance pale and shaky. "I said *go*, Finnigan! And Finch-Fletchy, I'm terribly sorry, but only family is allowed with Cedric right now... To your dormitory, please..."

Her voice cracked on Cedric's name. Albus ran up to her, Snape on his tail.

"Minerva, did you see where Harry went? Did anyone take him?"

She paused, uncharacteristically fretful. "I- I think... I think Alastor took him back to the school. Yes, that's it. Alastor was taking him up to the Hospital Wing, I believe. Poor boy was in shock; he was sick-"

"Did he specifically say 'Hospital Wing'?" Albus pressed urgently, and McGonagall frowned.

"Now that you mention it, no... I just assumed-"

"We need to go to Professor Moody's office. Come with me," Dumbledore said firmly, pulling out his wand and striding quickly up to Hogwarts. The school loomed over them in the darkness, impenetrable as ever... provided it was being assaulted from outside forces. The protective magic could do nothing if one was being attacked from someone on the inside...

McGonagall and Snape had to sprint to catch up with their Head, his gait worth three of theirs.

"Headmaster, what's this about?" the Transfiguration teacher demanded, following suit by brandishing her wand as well.

"I believe Moody may be using everyone's inattention to kill Harry," Dumbledore explained, his strong assurance belying the inner turmoil raging in the wizard. At these words, his pace became swifter and longer, leaving the younger staff members to jog in his wake. They wasted no time in rushing through the Entrance Hall and up the stairs, and Minerva wasted no time in voicing her skepticism.

"*Kill* Harry!? MOODY!? Dumbledore, *what is wrong with you*? Alastor has been your friend and ally since- well, *forever* it seems like- and such an unfounded accusation-" McGonagall started in what bordered on shrieking, but Dumbledore shushed her.

"I never accuse on unfounded pretenses, Minerva. Surely you know that. I will explain later," the man cut in, vaguely churlish and reprimanding. McGonagall pursed her lips into silence, still unnaturally white, but she gasped when they entered the floor where Moody's office resided. Already, Harry could be heard yelling.

"You're mad..." he was saying, and there was a trace of terror gracing his tone as he repeated louder, "you're mad!"

Dumbledore was bolting down the corridor before Harry had even finished. It was suddenly a race against time.

"Mad, am I?" Moody was shouting in an uncontrollably rising bellow. "We'll see! We'll see who's mad, now that the Dark Lord has returned, with me at his side! He is back, Harry Potter, you did not conquer him- and now- I conquer you!"

"*Stupefy!*" Albus Dumbledore roared, and there was a blinding flash of red- then, with a great splintering and crashing, Moody's office door exploded, blasting inward...

And Moody was blown off his feet, thrown viciously backward onto the cold stone floor. Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape could see Harry still staring where Moody's visage had once been, frozen in shock and back to them. He looked around, so small and fragile ('he's alive he's alive he's alive, oh thank God') to the eldest wizard's eyes... too young to have just been nearly murdered *twice* in only one night... and in the safety of his own school, by a teacher he once trusted... They all stepped into the room through the charred remains of the doorway, Dumbledore in front and his wand still outstretched, half-expecting another quarry to pop out, he realized wanly. After all, he'd been tricked once tonight. Who was to say it couldn't happen again? Much as the Headmaster loathed to admit it, he was fallible. He couldn't protect everyone all the time, and the truth of that ghastly actuality was gazing him in the face with scared green eyes. At least Harry was fully conscious now, and not seconds away from meeting his doom. That was the only comfort Albus found in the situation.

It was hard to fathom just how *angry* he was. Fury coursed through Dumbledore like cold power as he stared down at the unconscious imposter- 'a wolf in friend's clothing', he spat inside his mind- and harshly kicked 'Moody' onto his back with a boot. Harry was still watching him, and Dumbledore knew the boy had a right to be disconcerted: he imagined he musn't look very kindly, what with the terrible monster clawing for freedom in his chest and the lack of benign benediction. Yet Albus couldn't help it-

This man deserved to rot in Azkaban for all his umbrages. He'd put on the guise of a friend and attempted to kill Harry, the Headmaster's "Golden Boy Gryffindor" as Snape liked to disparage. Not to mention the fact that Albus was unsure whether the real Alastor Moody was even alive anymore...

Snape came up behind the wizard emitting waves of hot power, looking into the Foe-Glass that Dumbledore was glad Moody hadn't been referencing. If he'd gotten the alarm that the professors were on their way only minutes earlier, Harry would've been lost. McGonagall headed straight for Harry.

"Come along, Potter," she whispered, mouth taut in a thin line even as her lips twitched. Dumbledore knew there would be some tears shed in secret tonight... the woman was as protective of her Gryffindor cubs as he was of Harry. "Come along... Hospital Wing..."

"No," Dumbledore said sharply, glancing over Harry's condition. Apart from his leg, there were no major medical issues that needed immediate tending. 'Moody must have given Harry some Pepper-Up to interrogate him...' There went the monster, growling and frothing at the mention of imposter Moody and what he'd done with Harry...

"Dumbledore, he ought to- look at him- he's been through enough tonight-"

"He will stay, Minerva, because he needs to understand," the mage said curtly. "Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery. He needs to know who has put him through the ordeal he has suffered tonight, and why."

He knew this was going to be for Harry's benefit as much as his own. 'Merlin knows we all need some understanding,' Dumbledore thought scathingly. 'Like, why Harry? And why now?'

"Moody," Harry mumbled, still in a state of utter disbelief. "How can it have been Moody?"

"This is not Alastor Moody," Dumbledore told him quietly. "You have never known Alastor Moody. The real Moody would not have removed you from my sight after what happened tonight. The moment he took you, I knew- and I followed."

'With about a hundred extra pounds of panic and cold fury weighing me down.'

Albus bent over Moody and rummaged around in his pockets, pulling out the infamous hip flask and a set of keys on a ring. He turned to McGonagall, still hovering protectively over Harry, and Snape, now peering suspiciously at the flask. 'So he'd put two and two together as well.' Dumbledore resisted the urge to smile. 'Severus always was too perceptive for his own good...' Only perhaps Dumbledore himself could rival Snape's aptitude in that skill. "Severus, please fetch me the strongest Truth Potion you possess, and then go down to the kitchens and bring up the house-elf called Winky. Minerva, kindly go down to Hagrid's house, where you will kind a large black dog sitting in the pumpkin patch. Take the dog up to my office, tell him I will be with him shortly, then come back here."

Despite the peculiar instructions, his two professors hid their confusion and bustled off to complete the tasks. Then it was just Albus and Harry. The former sidled over to Moody's enormous trunk with seven locks, and proceeded to try each key in each hole. It wasn't until the seventh lock came undone that the Headmaster found the real Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, albeit lacking in his epithet. The wooden leg was missing along with the magical eyeball, both having been stolen by the imposter on the floor. Physically, real Moody looked ill, starved- and his grizzly hair was sheered in chunks.

The monster reared up again.

Harry let out a noise of amazement, and Dumbledore clambored down into the underground pit the trunk had become. He lowered himself ten feet down to fall lightly next to sleeping Alastor, and Harry was once again struck dumb at his Headmaster's agility. He vaguely remembered the man had picked him up off the ground after the portkey'd deposited him and Cedric back at the maze's entrance. Either the man worked out a lot or he really was the most powerful wizard of the age... Harry didn't doubt it.

"Stunned- controlled by the Imperius Curse- very weak," the mage diagnosed as he examined the auror. "Of course they would have needed to keep him alive. Harry, throw down the imposter's cloak- he's freezing. Madam Pomfrey will need to see him, but he seems in no immediate danger." Harry obeyed without hesitation, and Dumbledore caught the cloak as it drifted down to him. He draped it over Moody, tucking it closely around him for extra measure... and to quell the beast in his constricted heart; satiate the desire to do something- anything- to make up for this horrible catastrophe...

'Oh, what you must have gone through, Alastor... I should have known! I should've seen through the wolf's facade; but I'm getting old... I trust perhaps more than I should...'

Albus pulled himself out of the trunk and next approached the hip flask. He unscrewed it and tipped it over, letting the thick glutinous liquid splatter on the office floor. Harry observed it trickle with a mild look on his countenance, but Dumbledore saw the query burning there.

"Polyjuice Potion, Harry," the eldest said, and Harry's head snapped up. 'Ah, so he is familiar with it...' Dumbledore stifled a chuckle. He knew perfectly well the mischief Ron, Hermione, and Harry'd gotten into their Second Year. "You see the simplicity of it, and the brilliance. For Moody never does drink except from his hip flask, he's well known for it. The imposter needed, of course, to keep the real Moody close by, so that he could continue making the potion. You see his hair..." Albus pointed out the disproportionate snipping on slumbering Alastor's locks for Harry, "The imposter has been cutting it off all year, see where it is uneven? But I think, in the excitement of tonight, our fake Moody might have forgotten to take it as frequently as he should have... on the hour... every hour... we shall see."

Dumbledore pulled out the chair at the desk and sat down upon it, eyes fixed unblinkingly on unconscious Moody. Harry mirrored him, waiting as minutes passed the pair by in silence...

And then it happened.

Moody slowly changed into a young man with an unhealthy pallor, wrinkles of age round his closed eyes, freckles, and a mop of fair hair.

And then Albus knew who the wolf in friend's clothing was.

Barty Crouch Jr.

He wished the monster Fury would stop writhing so fiercely in his chest...


Veritaserum wrangled the truth out of Barty Crouch, and Dumbledore left him to McGonagall's mercy until the Minister arrived. He supported Harry, swaying under his leg injury and trembling from the confession, up to his office. There would be hours, maybe days, to go back and siphon through the memories of the past night. But for now, there was another story to be heard- one that would, undoubtedly, be *much* harder to bear. Harry's. The child who was like a favorite grandson to him.

Albus found he'd been right. Understanding had helped ease him and Harry into acceptance. But that would not make anyone's trials any easier. Not Dumbledore's, not Moody's, and definitely not Harry's, who bore the brunt of tonight's repercussions like a millstone round his shoulders. Because sooner or later, he'd have to be told about the Prophecy.

And that pained Albus more than the monster called Fury, because he knew there was a creature even more powerful and even more terrible and even more *wonderful*...



A/N: Wow, I just have to say... I *really* hate the lack of italics. This story reads a little differently, at least in my opinion, when they can be utilized. Look me up on and you'll see what I mean. Plus, it was difficult having to differentiate between what were thoughts and what simply needed an asterisk. Before, it was all italics, and... it all just flowed better that way, you know? Anyways, drop me a review and check once in a while for new fics, K?

AngelMoon Girl

Back to Summary Page

The community was founded in 2005. It is currently a static archive.
The current design and source code were created by Dejana Talis.
All works in the archive are copyrighted to their respective creators.