HP vs Alastor Moody (Pt 4)

I fell retching on the grass, dropping the Cup as I tried to recover from the clearly shoddy portkey. A quick survey of my surroundings revealed that I was nowhere near Hogwarts.

That was a problem, since I would be unable to properly bask in my victory. Additionally, there was a Death Eater standing beside a gaping cauldron and pointing his wand at me. That was also a problem.

I rolled to avoid a hex, jumping to my feet and aiming my wand at my opponent. I smirked as I realized which of my followers was currently failing to kill me. I would know that hair anywhere. “Lucius. Who are you working for?”

Lucius immediately confirmed my suspicions because he is an idiot. “What makes you think I’m working for anyone, Potter?”

I snorted. “As if you could pull something like this off on your own.”

“I could absolutely –”

A rasping voice suddenly interrupted him. “Don’t argue with the boy, Lucius. When you lose, that will reflect poorly on me.

I scowled. “Who just said that?”

A guttural chuckle came from behind my former minion, and the voice said, “Turn around. I’d like to do this face-to-face.”

Lucius turned around, awkwardly holding his arm so that his wand still faced me. With his free hand, he parted his luxurious, blond hair. I always knew he was hiding something in there, but I never could have imagined the truth. A second face – wrinkly and purpled – looked out from the back of his head.

It said, “Harry Potter. Kidnapped and held at wandpoint after what should have been your greatest triumph…This would be so much more poetic if you were in your Third Year.”

I asked, “What do you know about Third Year? And just who are you, anyway?”

The face’s mouth curled into a thin, sickly smile. “I am Lord Voldemort.”

“What?! That’s impossible,” I said. Because it was completely impossible, unless another Horcrux had gone rogue.

“Did you truly think I was dead?” he asked. “Did you think you’d actually killed me?”

“I…” – I paused, deciding that information-gathering was the best tactic for the moment – “Yes, and I’m not sure I believe you. If you haven’t been dead, then where have you been all these years?”

The face scowled. “Ah, yes. It’s a fascinating tale. You see, after the destruction of my body, I was sent hurtling towards the forests of Albania, screaming the entire way. THREE HOURS OF SCREAMING.”

“Really? You’d think you would stop after the first hour, when it started to become normal.”

He rudely ignored me. “I wandered Albania as a wraith, until a bumbling professor stumbled upon me. I possessed him and snuck into Hogwarts right under the old fool’s nose – hoping to steal the Philosopher’s Stone. With it, I planned to regain my body. Unfortunately, my host died before I could acquire it because you murdered him.”

I nearly dropped my wand in shock. “Quirrel? You were possessing Quirrel?”

“Yes,” he said.

“But Quirrel was a horrible Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher! Why didn’t you help him?”

“Why would I train Dumbledore’s future soldiers? If he wants me to do that, he’ll have to hire me, like all the other professors…After Quirrel’s death, I wandered the Forbidden Forest, again without a clear plan. Yet, one day, I saw something that inspired me to take action.”

“Was it a unicorn?” I asked.

“No, it was a grim. It raced through the forest as if in fear of its life. Suddenly, I remembered that I didn’t become immortal so that I could spend an eternity as a wraith. I became immortal because…actually, I don’t recall why.”

I do. It was the only way I could survive Hogwarts long enough to graduate. Then I found out that seven was a magical number, and, by the time I got over my Arithmancy phase, I’d already made four and it seemed stupid to stop there.

He continued, “Regardless, I realized that it was pointless to wait for followers who would never come. I would simply have to find one so spineless that I could intimidate him while I had neither a body nor any magical power.”

“So you went to Malfoy,” I murmured, nodding. It was all beginning to make sense.

He snorted. “I presume you’ve dealt with him before?”

“The younger one, mostly,” I said.

“Yes, the clone. He was very helpful in keeping me in touch with my spy at Hogwarts…in order to arrange our meeting here today.”

Curse Severus and his unwavering loyalty. I glared. “So it was you, then, who’s been sabotaging me all this time. I should have known the judges would never be so biased without some malicious, external influence.”

The face was silent for a moment, likely marveling at my astounding intelligence, before saying, “Yes, of course I did. All…all part of my plan. I am the Dark Lord, after all. And it’s far past time that I returned to my former glory. Lucius! Begin the ritual.”

A curtain of blond hair once again hid the hideous face as Lucius bent down to grab a skull, tossing it into the cauldron. “Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son…Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master.”

Lucius placed his wand atop his wrist, murmuring a severing spell. With an unsettling crack, the man’s hand fell off and into the cauldron. He turned towards me, and said, “Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.”

“Since when are we enemies?” I exclaimed, wand still aimed at Lucius.

“We’ve always been enemies,” was the muffled response from beneath Lucius’s hair.

“I just met you today,” I said.

“You killed me when you were a child.”

“Well, yes, but you can hardly blame me for what I did when I was an infant.”

“I manage well enough,” he said.

“Well, I don’t blame myself. Or you. It was just bad luck, really.” I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened that Halloween night, but I was completely certain it wasn’t my fault.

“Lucius, turn around and move your bloody hair,” the face snapped. Lucius did so, though he had to drop his wand to manage, since his left hand was currently floating in a cauldron. I presume he didn’t want to get blood in his hair.

Again visible, the face continued, “…You killed my host.”

“That was an accident,” I said.

His voice rose incredulously. “You used the killing curse!”

“The killing part wasn’t an accident. But I didn’t know he was your host at the time, so it wasn’t like I was deliberately defying you.” That reminded me; I’d never gotten around to rewriting that list.

“…Well, I consider us enemies,” he declared as Lucius again let go of his hair. “You don’t have any say in the matter. If you try to argue, I’ll kill you.”

I rolled my eyes. “Well, fine, if you want to be stubborn about it, then I suppose we’re – OW! Galloping Gargoyles, what was that?”

A trail of blood floated from the wound in my shoulder where Lucius had just cut me. It landed in the cauldron with a sizzling sound. Lucius fell to his knees, leaning backwards so that his blond locks were completely submerged in the potion. He screamed as the air around it filled with bright, sparkling light – reminiscent of some of Dumbledore’s gaudier robes.

Suddenly, plumes of white smoke floated outwards and Lucius slumped to the side, groaning. His missing hand was still bleeding and, looking closer, I noticed that I could see some bone jutting out at the tip. Worse yet, his hair was soaked and clumpy, bits of bone and flesh weaved into it by the potion – completely ruined. I considered pitying him, but then thought better of it.

Amid the appropriately dramatic smoke, a figure rose. He looked intimidating and quite pureblood – tall and aristocratic. Further, he appeared hypnotically inhuman and serpentine, with no nose and red eyes. He looked like…me.

There was no doubt, now. Lord Voldemort had returned…even though he…_I _was already here. I would have to think on this later. “I suppose you truly are the Dark Lord.”

“Of course,” he said.

“So, your plan is…?”

“Kill Dumbledore, take over Britain, figure out the rest later,” he said easily. “Would you like to join me?”

“I thought you said we were enemies!” I said.

He shrugged. “Yes, well, that was just for the ritual.”

“Granted, I’d have done the same,” I admitted. “But are you certain that deciding we aren’t enemies won’t nullify the ritual? It might cause your body to fall apart, which seems like a waste after all the work Lucius has done.”

“I don’t…think that would happen,” Voldemort said slowly.

“Are you sure? Did you actually research this, or did you find a summary in a book and decide it sounded like a good idea?”

Voldemort didn’t respond. I sighed. It was as if I…I mean he never learns.

He watched me keenly, remarking, “You know, I’ve realized something about you. You’re exactly as I was at your age: cunning, curious, distant from your peers, capable of spells far beyond your classmates. Exactly the same.”

I should have known he would catch on. He’s me, after all, and I’m not an idiot Gryffindor, head-in-the-clouds Ravenclaw or average Hufflepuff. No, I’m far smarter than that.

“I know your secret, Potter” – he smirked – “You are like me. You’re…a genius.”

“Finally, someone notices!” I exclaimed. “Honestly, I get O’s in every subject without even trying, except for potions – but that’s because Snape is blatantly a Death Eater.”

“Ah, yes. Severus, my most loyal servant,” he murmured. “On that topic, I suppose it’s time that my wayward followers know of my return.”

He bent down, pulling something from Lucius’s robe pocket. It was my old yew wand, which I’d had such fun with. I cast my first Avada Kedavra with that wand, you know. I grinned at the memories.

My other self seemed similarly pleased as he pressed the wand against Lucius’s Dark Mark, jostling his injury at the same time. A whispered spell sent another pained shudder through the blond.

Voldemort stood, head tilted arrogantly and eyes cold.

“So, how long do you think they’ll be?” I asked.

Voldemort shrugged, “Ten minutes? They’ve never been particularly punctual, and I just don’t think they fear me as much as they will in about fifteen minutes.”

I nodded, wandering over to Lucius, who had managed to pull himself into a sitting position. He stared blankly at his stump. His voice shook. “My hand, my lord?”

Voldemort blinked. “Oh, right.”

With a negligent wave of our wand, Voldemort conjured a silver hand for the injured man. Another wave chopped off his hair, leaving him completely bald and vanishing his greatest accomplishment.

“Never let it be said that I am not a generous master,” Voldemort declared pompously.

I absentmindedly healed my own wound.

It was about that time that the Death Eaters apparated in, sometimes coming in pairs. Each received a cold welcome. The last to come was over three minutes later than all the others. He arrived panting.

“You’re late,” Voldemort said, eyes narrowed.

“Dumbledore was being difficult,” a familiar voice drawled. “Apparently the Potter boy has gone missing. Again.”

Voldemort smiled in a manner that would have been more reassuring if he’d had lips. “Ah, Severus! I didn’t recognize you with your mask on.”

He turned towards the rest of the group. “It seems that my devoted subjects have all arrived. I cannot help wondering why none of you thought to search for your master during his long absence. Instead, you turned your backs upon me and spurned all that I taught you. Only Severus remained loyal.”

Voldemort continued on for some time – ranting, crucioing, begrudgingly granting forgiveness…the usual.

“What’s the Potter boy doing here, then?” one of them finally asked.

He received a bout of the Cruciatius, just for the principle of the thing, before Voldemort explained. “We were just about to duel to the death.”

I blinked. “Weren’t you trying to recruit me?”

“Yes, but you said no, so now I’m going to kill you. Dear Merlin, Potter, keep up.”

“I’m not fighting you,” I said. I didn’t particularly want to kill myself, and he was probably protected by the Horcruxes, anyway. So I couldn’t even kill him properly. Besides, I just put in so much effort to resurrect him. I bled.

Voldemort scowled, and a flick of his hand sent the Death Eaters hurrying to circle us and block my escape. “You don’t get a choice in this.”

“Fine,” I grunted. I would play along, for the moment.

We bowed, raised our wands, and began. “Avada Kedavra!”

The following fight can best be described as very green. Avada Kedavras flew wildly through the air. His were weaker than mine as he was still cheerful after gaining a new body while I was carrying a grudge over his sabotaging my time in the tournament.

We effortlessly dodged each other’s spells. But they found targets easily enough.

One by one, Death Eaters fell. A few realized what was going on. Lucius, for instance, was using Crabbe as a human shield. Yet their numbers kept thinning.

Voldemort’s spells took out more of his people than mine did, which was surprising because I was actually aiming.

Eventually, I maneuvered myself close to a wide gap in the ring of my former and apparently current followers. With one last Avada Kedavra in Voldemort’s direction, I sprinted away, headed towards the graveyard’s gates.

However, I took a small detour to grab the Cup because it was mine. As I snatched its handle, something tugged at my navel and the world began to spin, eventually solidifying into the familiar grounds of Hogwarts.

Greeted by the surprised faces of my teachers and classmates, I knew immediately that I had to tell them. After all, I knew something incredibly important, something that mattered. I could not allow them to wallow in ignorance for a moment longer.

I held my trophy aloft and shouted, “I declare victory!”

“But, if you didn’t manufacture the whole thing, then why was Snape there?” I asked.

Dumbledore frowned, studying the whirring gadgets on his desk for a moment before coming to a decision. “Professor Snape has been a loyal spy for the Light over a great many years, Harry.”

That was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Still, I suppose even Dumbledore can occasionally overlook the obvious. Or perhaps he was simply trying to convince me of Severus’s loyalty – playing the long game, as always.

He gave me a stern look. “I hope you’re wise enough to not endanger him by telling anyone.”

“No one would believe me, anyway,” I said. “And, frankly, I don’t believe you. What are the chances that I was just coincidentally kidnapped before my victory was properly recognized? It was obviously part of the tournament.”

In retrospect, Dumbledore’s involvement explained everything: why the Cup was a portkey, Severus’s presence, the supposed Lord Voldemort’s lapses into idiocy and his very existence.

Dumbledore leaned forward inquisitively. “Harry, what could I possibly gain from faking the return of Voldemort?”

The man was obviously toying with me. Fine, I would play his game.

“You could further your fame and power by giving the people of Britain a great enemy against which they can only unite under one leader: Yourself. Further, you can finally regain the respect you lost when you failed to kill him the first time.”

“I have plenty of power, already,” Dumbledore said.

I scowled. “Which just makes it all the more despicable.”

He paused, before speaking rather slowly. “I assure you, I have no interest in furthering my political power. Even if that weren’t the case, I dare say this would not be the best plan. Why reveal him in such a roundabout manner? It would be better to revive him in front of a large audience, not a lone boy.”

He made a reasonable point. “There’s still the possibility of –”

“Mr. Potter, I have already – at your insistence – checked you for hallucinogens and confunding spells. Whatever you saw, I’ve no doubt it was real.”

Yet it was that possibility which I was so desperate to dismiss. After all, if Voldemort was cavorting about the English countryside with whatever followers had survived our duel, then who was I?

Worse yet, he seemed to have added me to the list of those who have wronged him, and I have never been a merciful man.

“…This might be a problem,” I concluded.

Dumbledore chuckled. “I find that very likely.”

For the first time in her life, Hermione Granger did not wish to go to the library. She trailed behind Ron and me, glancing back towards the Great Hall. Her hair was even more frazzled than usual as she anxiously tugged at it. “The service starts in ten minutes. If we hurry, we can still make it in time.”

“I’m not going to the stupid Slytherin memorial service,” I said.

She scowled. “It’s not stupid, and you really should go and pay your respects.”

“You assume that I respect any of the Slytherin’s parents…Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve never met most of them. Or any of them.”

It’s so difficult to keep track of these things.

“Well, yes, but” – Hermione’s voice dropped to a whisper – “it is you fault, after all, so you really ought to at least try to be graceful about it.”

Ron wrinkled his nose, asking, “Whaddaya mean? Didn’t they all die of dragon pox?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, and the epidemic just _happened _to have only affected Pureblood Slytherins.”

“Well, to be fair, they don’t talk to anyone else,” I said.

“And dragon pox is very rarely deadly. Besides, we both heard your story. You really think it’s a coincidence that several Death Eaters were killed by Voldemort, and a myriad of Slytherins die the same day?”

She made a good point, but admitting that would mean losing the argument. So I immediately discarded the notion.

“Are you implying that all Slytherins are Death Eaters? I expect this sort of bigotry from Ron, but I thought you were better than that.” I shook my head with exaggerated sadness.

She huffed. “Even if it wasn’t your fault, you still shouldn’t be so rude. Nearly everyone’s going, and so should we.”

“No one’s stopping you. It’s not like we need to be together all the time.” Although we usually were anyway.

“I…” – Hermione paused for a moment, realizing that I hadn’t been insulting her this time – “Well, fine then. Come on, Ron.”

“But I don’t want to go see all the dead Slytherins,” Ron whined.

She grabbed his arm, dragging him along. Ron didn’t stand a chance against Hermione in a fight (she’s far too ruthless) but he could have at least tried. It would have been funny.

I continued towards the library and the knowledge held within its looming stacks. It was time to do what I should have done fifty years ago…or any time afterwards:

Research Horcruxes.

Fortunately, Madame Pince was one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s many admirers. Though my pass to the Restricted Section was nearly two years old, my passionate insistence that this was quite likely Lockhart’s final wish (outside of not being eaten by an Acromantula) spurred her to allow me access. As an additional bribe, I gave her a signed copy of Sporting with Spiders.

I did not browse the stacks for long before finding the book in which I had originally found out about Horcruxes: Secrets of the Darkest Arts.

I’d only ever seen it once, reading several chapters before reaching the Egyptian section. I’d just begun reading about Horcruxes and automatically memorized the ritual, when the librarian started grumbling about curfew. Unwilling to arouse suspicion, I left the tome in the library.

The next day, I asked some of the professors a few innocuous questions. Before I could return to the book, my access to the Restricted Section had been revoked because I was “meddling in Dark Magic” or something stupid like that. That’s how I knew that I was on the right track.

Now that I had finally rediscovered the book, what I found was quite peculiar.

After the usual warning about insanity, a clear ploy to ward off cowards, there were a few stories of Horcrux users:

First, there was my boyhood hero Harpo the Foul – hatcher of basilisks and spell weaver – whose Horcrux was eviscerated when some plucky adventurer tricked his favorite basilisk into biting it. Grimhilda the Widow’s Horcrux, her husband’s skull, was destroyed during a freak fiendfyre accident. No one’s entirely sure what happened to Ignis the Handsome’s Horcrux, but no one’s seen him lately, so it was presumably destroyed. The last story, however, was most intriguing:

That of a living Horcrux.

Jibade the Black, a distant cousin to the royal family, aspired to be Pharaoh. Recognizing the dangers of such a quest, however, he did what all reasonable wizards do and created a Horcrux. But Jibade was clever. He wanted a Horcrux that could defend itself, one with an innate will to survive and a hatred of all living things. He chose his cat.

Unfortunately for Jibade the Black, the cat came to believe that he, too, was Jibade. In the dark of night, the wizard was murdered by that which should have ensured his survival and reduced to an angry spirit. Shortly afterwards, Jibade the Cat was assassinated by his political enemies.

I closed the book, careful to avoid its teeth. This was…unexpected, and it opened all sorts of possibilities in my mind.

It was true that I had been planning to make a Horcrux that night, and I had committed more than enough murders to fracture my soul. Was it possible that – with my body destroyed by something that was undoubtedly the Potters’ fault – my damaged soul had flown in different directions? One part had gone off to be pathetic in Albania, while the better part had settled inside young Harry Potter.

Essentially, I was the vengeful cat. Thankfully, I was also the political enemy…Well, along with Dumbledore, the Weasleys, most of the Ministry of Magic –

“Quite a book you’ve got there, Potter,” Moody said. Right, yes, him too.

I chuckled nervously. “It fell off the shelf, but I’m afraid to touch it because it’s very Dark.”

Moody smiled in a deeply disturbing manner, as he always does. “That’s a pity. For a moment there, you almost had my respect.”

I stood from my chair. “What?”

“Petrificus Totalus.”

I ducked under the table, scrambling on my hands and knees away from my deranged professor.

“Not bad, Potter. Practicing constant vigilance, are you? Won’t help much.”

“Dumbledore sent you; didn’t he?” I spat.

It all made sense. With the return of Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore had realized the same thing I had: I was Voldemort’s Horcrux. He had arrogantly believed that he could control young “Harry Potter,” but both of us? No, we were too dangerous. So he decided to kill me, then take out my lesser self.

Moody threw a spell at the table I’d hidden under, collapsing it. “Wrong side, kid.”

I rolled to my feet and cast a Protego. “Hah! Like Mad-Eye Moody would ever be a Death Eater. Stop protecting your master.”

Moody laughed, mismatched eyes never leaving my face. Then, with the dramatic timing that just doesn’t exist in the Muggle World, his skin began to ripple. His peg-leg clattered to the floor, and he pocketed the fake eye. With the face of a different man, he smirked.

My eyes widened. “Of course, I knew it all along. The whole time, you were actually – Wait who are you?”

“Barty Crouch, Jr.” – at my blank look, he added – “A Death Eater.”

“Right, that makes sense. In fact, everything makes sense now. You were the one who was sabotaging me in the tournament all along.”

He frowned. “Actually – ”

“Voldemort already admitted it.”

“Guess I wasn’t in on the plan,” the Death Eater muttered.

I snorted. “Like Voldemort would share any of his plans with a mere pawn.”

The man who had recently stopped being Moody growled, throwing a spell that dispersed against my shield. “I am not a pawn! I am one of his best Death Eaters, and I am his most loyal servant no matter what he says about Snape or Sirius Bla – ”

He stopped shouting, then, because he was too busy being on fire. I wandered towards his twitching, flaming body and stole his wand. “This wouldn’t have happened if you’d practiced constant vigilance.”

I returned Secrets of the Darkest Arts to its shelf, and wandered back to the main library. Madame Pince was slumped across her desk. Apparently she was as practiced at sleeping through Death Eater attacks as I was. I nonchalantly headed towards the entrance. It was about that time that Dumbledore and Severus showed up because of course it was.

I put on my best innocent expression. “Oh, Professors, I’m so glad you’re here. Moody’s a Death Eater and tried to kill me, but, thankfully, I killed him first…with love.”

Gazing out of the train’s window, I smirked. This year had turned out alright after all. I won the Triwizard Tournament, I won against Voldemort, I won the House Cup –

“And I won your friendship,” Ginevra said.

I glanced away from the window, now frowning at the seat where Ginevra and Luna Lovegood sat. The redhead smiled apologetically, murmuring, “You were thinking aloud again.”

My frown lessened. “Any progress on discovering your family’s Dark Magic?”

“Well, not much so far. I’ve been at school, so there haven’t been many chances.”

“That’s never stopped Hermione.”

“Hermione doesn’t do Dark Magic…“Ron said weakly. “Right, ‘Mione?”

The aforementioned girl didn’t respond, too caught up with her latest information-gathering mission. I cast an overpowered lumos to draw her attention (the underage restrictions didn’t take effect until we left the train). “So, which Dark Lord are you studying, now?”

Hermione said flatly, “You.”

“What?” She’d finally figured it out. I should have known she would. Why had I not better prepared for this day?

“She means Lord Voldemort,” Luna said.

“What?” Two of them. Could I obliviate them both subtly enough to avoid suspicion? No, no, I was terrible at obliviations. That was why I usually just murdered witnesses. It was easier.

Luna pursed her lips. “That is what the cover says, unless the wrackspurts are playing tricks again.”

The blonde riffled around in her bag, drawing out a pair of winged glasses.

“No, Luna, no unidentified and possibly nonexistent creatures are muddying your senses. I’m reading about Lord Voldemort.”

I spoke. “But you said –”

“I was teasing, Harry. Although you’re in here, too, and I am reading about you.”

“Why?” I asked, still feeling justifiably suspicious.

She sighed. “You’ve told us that Voldemort is alive, so I’m studying the way he died the first time. Hopefully, we can make it happen again.”

Ginevra asked, “But shouldn’t the adults be handling this?”

“I used to think so, too, but we always end up doing these things anyway. I figure we’re better off being proactive.”

Ginevra’s brow twisted, puzzled. “Don’t you think that teachers and other adults are always right?”

Hermione said, “Well, I did back in first year, but then I was attacked by a mountain troll. It’s all been a bit shaky from there.”

Ginevra paled, wailing “Oh, I got my interpretation of you all wrong!”

Luna rested a comforting hand on her shoulder, though her bespectacled gaze never left a spot slightly above Hermione’s head.

“So, have you figured out how to beat him, then? Voldemort, I mean,” Ron asked.

Hermione shook her head. “It’s not that simple. I’ve noticed something odd, though, about the night that he was vanquished.”

“By me,” I added.

“Yes, well it certainly wasn’t the wrackspurts,” she snapped.

Luna said, “You don’t know that for sure. You’re just assuming.”

“She does that a lot,” I said.

Ginevra sniffled. “At least I got that part right.”

Hermione said, “As I was saying. Why would Voldemort go alone to attack the Potters? Usually, he would send his followers to do that sort of thing, while he only went on raids in public places – like Diagon Alley.”

“He’s crazy. Why did he do anything?” Ron said.

“Yes, of course he was crazy, but he’s a very specific sort of crazy. This doesn’t fit it. He likes to grandstand, to look impressive. He never seems to hurt people without an audience. So why didn’t he just send Bellatrix Lestrange or Lucius Malfoy?”

“The Malfoys are idiots,” I said, “Lucius would have just mucked it up.”

She set down her book, too agitated to keep her hands still. “Mucked what up? What was the plan? Why the Potters?”

“The Prophecy,” I muttered.

“What was that?”

I said, “There was a prophecy, about the Potter child – me – and Lord Voldemort.”

“How’d you find out about that?” Ginevra asked.

“Snape told me.” Technically, that was true.

“What did it say?” Ron asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, for quite possibly the first time in my life.

“Why didn’t you tell us this before?” Hermione asked.

“Because I don’t know what it says. Honestly, I expect this sort of thing from Ron, not you.”

Hermione huffed. “Well, why don’t you find out, then? It’s right there in the Department of Mysteries.”

Of course Hermione would know that. No surprise, considering her previous occupation.

“Oh. Well, I suppose we’ll be taking a trip to the Ministry” – I stood to leave – “Have a good summer, and I’ll call upon you when the time is right.”

“Harry,” Ginevra said.

“What is it now?” I snapped.

“You do realize that we’re not at the station yet, right?”

“…I am perfectly aware of that at this moment, yes.”

Luna turned her head towards me, squinting behind the colorful glass. “It’s probably the wrackspurts. Does anyone have a butterfly net?”

A/N: With Pettigrew eaten by a grim, I wondered how Voldemort would reach his canon position. Lost, I turned to my brother, asking him, “What would Voldemort do without Pettigrew to revive him?”

He responded, “What would Harry do? Mooch off the Malfoys.”

And so it was.

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