in the evening of June 24th 1995, Albus Dumbledore relives the fated night of
the Tri-Wizard tournament, all the while pondering the choices of Severus Snape
and the future of Hogwarts and the Wizarding world as he knows it.
Disclaimer: This story is
based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various
publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and
Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright
or trademark infringement is intended.
Author’s Note: Special thanks
goes out to Teri Krenek, my good friend online who took time out of her busy
schedule of writing TAA to beta-read this fic as well as allow me to delve into
the world of Mirrors Anywho, another heartfelt thanks to Britney
for helping me with the second beta and characterizations -- JKR, eat your heart
out! Har har...Just kidding.
Albus Dumbledore sat silently behind
his desk, watching as the bright orange light of the flames licked against the
grate. It was quiet, except for the slow, monotonous tick of the clock by the
mantel and occasional deep-hearted sigh from within Fawkes. The twilight danced
through the windows of the circular room and cast shadows upon the portraits
of former Headmasters and Headmistresses lining the walls. Albus would have
found this very relaxing, if it hadn’t been for the outcome of the Triwizard
Something had told him earlier that
evening that the task was tainted. Part of it was when Moody – no, Barty Crouch
Jr. -- volunteered to take the cup into the maze. Another was the advanced warning
from Harry. Only this week, Harry had come to Dumbledore complaining of the
pains in his scar and the dream he had had. And now, the cruelest Dark Lord
of the Wizarding age had risen again.
The situation Albus found himself
in was very difficult. He knew the precautions that would need to be addressed
immediately. Voldemort would wait, he found himself thinking, there
isn’t any immediate danger…yet. Eventually, his thoughts got the better
of him and Albus rose from his seat. Fawkes glanced at him with patient eyes.
I know how you feel, Albus. He smiled slightly, his half-moon spectacles
glinting from the fire. A faint glow entered his vision as he paced slowly in
front of the fire. The cabinet nearest to his desk was cracked open slightly,
and a bright light was emanating from within. Without another thought, Albus
walked over, pushed the door open further, and stared into the murky depths,
watching as the smooth surface sparkled innocently up at him. He nimbly bent
down and stroked the fine mist and a scene began to unfold before him. Another
swift movement, and Albus was pulled into the Pensieve.
“Albus, you need not worry. I’ll
take the cup into the maze before dinner and see to it the wards are in place,”
Moody growled, hefting the cup into the crook of his left arm and limping out
of Albus’ office. The old Headmaster watched silently, a small smile forming
on his lips. “Alastor, one more thing.”
The waning Auror turned around
easily and formed a lopsided grin. “Yes?”
Albus sighed, tapping his wand
idly against the desk. “See to it that Harry is safe, won’t you? Do not interfere
by any means…Just put your eye to good use tonight.”
“Will do, Albus. Will do,” Moody
muttered absently, a strange sparkle in his eyes. A brief silence passed between
them before Moody hobbled out of the office. Fawkes’ gaze never left the door
however – his feathers were ruffled in a gesture of provocation. Something wasn’t
“Fawkes, I do think you should
relax,” Albus said quietly, concern evident in his tone. He just burned
recently, Albus thought while leaving his desk. The plumage on the bird was
still ruffled, even as Albus gently stroked Fawkes into sleep. Eventually, the
door to his office burst open, and a darkly robed figure strolled into the room.
“Headmaster, I have something that requires the utmost importance.”
“Severus, do sit down.” Albus
motioned for Severus to sit in one of the finely-patterned armchairs in front
of his desk, yet before he could reach his own chair –
“It’s back. The mark. Clearer
than I have ever seen it,” Severus looked as if he would have been panicked
had it not been for the heavy scowl on his face. “Karkaroff’s is stronger also.”
Albus stared at Severus with
piercing blue eyes, random thoughts passing through his mind. Harry’s scar
– the mark – and where is that Barty Crouch? Severus at last sat in the armchair,
hand clutching his left forearm as though it were on fire. “What do you think
it means, Headmaster? Surely, the Dark Lord wouldn’t…not tonight….”
“As for what Voldemort would
do, if anything, I cannot say. However, I find it awfully hard to put anything
Severus’ scowl deepened, and
he folded his arms across his chest. “I still believe that Potter should not
I don’t want him to, however I have
no choice, Albus reflected, steepling his fingers together. “Severus, if
I had thought anything dangerous would happen tonight, you can trust that I
would stop it. However, for the time being, I think we should put our efforts
towards getting him through the task. Then we’ll worry.”
Severus’ eyes narrowed, and although
Albus never would have thought it possible, his scowl deepened. “Of course,
Headmaster.” He then stood abruptly from his seat and without hesitation left
Albus’ office. Albus knew how much Severus hated Harry – it was evident even
at meal times. However, Severus still felt a need to protect Harry – albeit
indirectly – in hopes to obtain some type of redemption both from James and
his past. Both which now seemed to be closer than ever in Albus’ mind.
Yet Albus couldn’t dwell on it
at the moment. The clock struck six o’clock, while the hand on another clock
on his desk pointed to both ‘late’ and ‘dinner’. Bustling a bit, Albus grabbed
his gold pocket watch and set off, after lightly petting Fawke’s forlorn head,
towards the Great Hall, doubt evident in his mind.
Eight o’clock. The maze’s blackness
seemed to engulf the surroundings. It had been precisely forty-five minutes
since Harry and Cedric had entered the maze. Of course, the excitement in the
air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Hagrid came around the corner
of the maze, his bright red patch glowing on his back. He looked as nervous
as Albus felt – but he also looked into the maze with a type of reverence that
Albus almost didn’t expect. He relaxed in his seat, catching Hagrid’s eye and
smiling faintly in the process. Hagrid sent a nervous smile back, clutching
his pink umbrella in a tight fist. Any moment now, Albus relished with
some anticipation. The judges as well as the spectators could see the plinth
on which the cup stood. Albus’ eyes roved over the stands – Cho Chang, sitting
with the Diggorys. Molly and her son Bill sitting with Hermione and Ron, who,
although pale-faced and wide-eyed, surveyed the scene with eagerness.
However, something caught Dumbledore’s
eye – a piercing scream raked through the air and sent the hair on Albus’ arms
standing straight. Suddenly, bright red sparks lit up the sky above the easternmost
portion of the maze – the side nearest to the spectators. Alastor is there
by now, Albus contemplated, gripping his wand and standing from his seat.
Madam Maxime stood, a hand over her mouth and a shocked expression on her face.
Fleur had been the one injured.
Albus breathed a small sigh of relief,
grateful that Harry, Cedric and Viktor were all right. However he disembarked
from the judge’s table and took long strides towards the maze, Cornelius Fudge
and Karkaroff trailing behind him.
“Albus! Over here!” Alastor shouted.
The sounds of the spectators became quite loud as they pointed towards a spot
in the shadows. Alastor tapped his wand against the maze and an archway appeared.
He trudged into the maze and then struggled back out, pulling along with him
a shaking Fleur Delacour. She was pale and trembling violently. An aggravated
Alastor pulled off his cloak and draped it across her shoulders. “It’s alright
there, Miss Delacour,” Albus said quietly as he approached her and gently took
her arm. “You are safe now.”
He guided her over towards Madam
Pomfrey, who looked aghast at Fleur. “Poppy, please take care of her. I would
like to speak to her about what happened in there in a moment.” She nodded her
head absently and led Fleur to a tent that had been constructed near the Judge’s
table. Madame Maxime was already waiting impatiently, and Albus watched her
pat Fleur consolingly on the shoulder.
“Alastor, did you see what happened?”
Cornelius Fudge watched nervously as Alastor’s magical eye fixed on him. “I
mean, did you notice anything strange?”
“Yeah, I saw what happened, Minister,”
Alastor growled, turning again towards the maze. “One of Hagrid’s Blast-Ended
Skrewts snuck up on her.”
Cornelius nodded dumbly, clutching
his bowler hat in his hands while murmuring, “One down, three to go.”
Secretly, Albus agreed. However,
now his attention turned towards the tent. Although Alastor had told Dumbledore
what happened, he still couldn’t help but feel that there was something more.
Something about the way that Fleur looked…pale, trembling –he had a suspicion
that something was in the maze that shouldn’t be.
“Headmaster, Poppy is calling
for you,” Severus said suddenly, his face set in a frown. His eyes were glittering
strangely as he watched Alastor make his way around the maze. Poppy called to
him over the excited murmuring of the crowd and Albus felt obliged to answer.
The light from the tent cast shadows on the ground behind him, yet Albus didn’t
care to notice. Fleur was sitting up on a bed, still trembling and white, yet
her gaze was slightly unfocused now and she seemed to be attempting to mumble
“Albus, she wasn’t ‘attacked’
by an animal,” Poppy said in hushed tones. Albus seemed to suddenly realize
that Madame Maxime was still standing near Fleur, a look of consternation on
her large and usually dignified face. “By all appearances, she was cursed.”
Albus started at her words. Cursed?
But there aren’t any curses in the maze that would have such an effect….
“I know what you are thinking…and frankly, I don’t think that I am wrong.”
He approached Fleur slowly, taking
in Poppy’s words. She certainly did look as though she had been involved in
a battle. “Miss Delacour, Madame Pomfrey here says –“
“Albus! More sparks!”
Cornelius bustled into the tent
looking quite tense and anxious. “This time, it was on McGonagall’s side.” Albus
looked soberly at Fleur before leaving the tent to a scene of chaos.
Red sparks still hung in the
sky over the maze, however, a troop of six teachers was carrying something towards
the tent – a stunned Viktor Krum. Poppy came and stood beside him, a spasm of
terror crossing her face. “Please do not tell me that you stunned him!”
Minerva, although appearing flustered,
had a look of heightened anxiety in her eyes. “No, of course not, Poppy! I found
him like this – I think Potter or Diggory might’ve stunned him.”
Bagman shook his head. “Certainly
not Potter!” He gave a choked sort of laugh and the color drained slowly from
his face. “He wouldn’t be removed from the tournament for such a thing, right?”
Cornelius frowned. “I wouldn’t
put it past Potter to do such a thing, and if it was him to stun Krum, then
However, Cornelius’ words were
drowned in his throat. The crowd had begun to yell and the excitement in the
air reached a pivotal point. Poppy took charge over Viktor while the Judges
headed back to their table, missing Karkaroff who had silently followed after
Poppy. The plinth was glowing strangely in the center of the maze, meaning only
one thing – someone was near the cup. Yet a large black ball was running around
the cup, and Albus’ breath caught in his throat. I hope they’re all right.
Finally, the large black ball stopped and toppled into a hedge. A few minutes
passed – the air buzzed with excitement – and then two small figures stood before
the cup. Cedric Diggory was supporting Harry. And with one final glance at one
another, they both seized the cup – and disappeared.
A half hour had passed since the
cup had vanished, taking away Harry and Cedric, and Albus was still confounded.
The crowd was on their feet, and Dumbledore noticed the panicked expressions
on the faces of the Diggorys, Molly, Bill, Hermione, Cho and Ron. However much
he wanted to assure them everything was all right, he still couldn’t shake the
feeling that everything wasn’t, and would never again be, all right.
“I just don’t understand, Albus!
The cup was supposed to float them over to the platform!” Minerva said hysterically.
She was pale and was flailing her arms around, waving her wand threateningly.
But Severus shook Dumbledore out of his reverie.
“Headmaster,” Severus whispered,
and it sounded more out of desperation – and the look on Severus’ face…was it
fear? “Something has gone terribly wrong.”
He was clutching his left forearm,
and he had gone terribly white. He also shuddered a bit as he clenched his teeth
in a grimace. Albus’ heart sank. “Severus, please…tell me it isn’t…”
But Severus didn’t answer. Instead,
he sat heavily in a chair and shut his eyes, trying to regulate his breathing.
Coldness settled over him, and Minerva watched, slightly panicked. “This can’t
Albus sat down, his chin resting
against his hand, trying to contemplate the situation. Now that he thought about
it, it all made sense. Getting together all of the top Ministry members
in one place, as well as Harry, and myself –. But there was something else.
Someone amongst them had to be a traitor. Someone betrayed them…again.
Albus began to drift off into his thoughts, thinking about who it could be.
Severus had already demonstrated his capabilities to deceive and manipulate,
however Albus knew that Severus wouldn’t lie to him. Cornelius and Bagman
were far too blustering to be able to pull off something such as this. Karkaroff
– was a possibility. Perhaps he chose to take out Viktor so he wouldn’t be injured.
Sirius Black was no more capable of doing this than Professor Sprout. He
loved Harry too deeply. Alastor – would be damned if he did something like this.
Stooping to the level of someone practicing the dark arts – the very same thing
he has fought against for his entire career.
The noise in the stands rose
annoyingly – he had to say something. The time had grown into an hour since
Cedric and Harry had last been seen, and now everyone was filled with a sense
of worry. He strode over to the winner’s platform, pointed his wand at his throat,
and began to speak.
“Quiet please! Quiet, everyone!
We are now sorting through the situation, and if you would all please calm down
A bright flash disturbed Albus’
words, and he stopped abruptly. Three objects thumped to the ground behind him,
and Albus didn’t need to turn around to know what it was because the crowd began
shouting. He jumped nimbly off the platform and began to run towards the bleary
entrance of the maze, where Harry lay on his stomach, the cup and his wand clutched
in one had and Cedric Diggory in the other. The difference was, however, that
Harry was breathing shallowly while Cedric's face was frozen in a permanent
expression of shock, gazing up at the heavens. Cedric was dead.
Albus paused briefly, mostly
of pure shock, before resuming his stride and stopping before Harry. His face
was cut very badly and bleeding – his hair was even more mangled and his glasses
sat askance on his nose. His face was ghastly pale and streaked with tears.
But his expression was resolute and the wand was clamped in his fingers as though
he was dueling…
“Harry! Harry!” Albus murmured,
shaking Harry gently.
“He’s back,” Harry whispered,
his eyes fluttering open slightly. “He’s back. Voldemort.”
“What’s going on? What’s happened?”
Cornelius had appeared beside him, staring down at Cedric.
“My God – Diggory!” He whispered.
“Dumbledore -- He’s dead!” Harry stirred, clasping Albus’ wrist. “Harry, let
go of him,” Cornelius said blankly as he tried to pry Harry’s fingers off of
Cedric and the cup.
“Harry, you can’t help him now.
It’s over. Let go.”
“He wanted me to bring him back,”
Harry muttered with a sense of urgency. “He wanted me to bring him back to his
“That’s right, Harry…just let
go now…” Dumbledore bent down and reached under Harry’s arm, pulling him off
the ground and steadying him.
“He’ll need to go to the hospital
wing!” Fudge yelled, dancing around them with his bowler hat clutched in his
hands. “He’s ill, he’s injured -- Dumbledore, Diggory’s parents…they’re here,
they’re in the stands…”
“I’ll take Harry, Dumbledore.
I’ll take him –”
“No, I would prefer –“ Albus
began, but he was cut off once again by Cornelius.
“Dumbledore, Amos Diggory’s running…he’s
coming over…Don’t you think you should tell him -- Before he sees -- ?”
“Harry, stay here –“ Albus said
calmly, sifting through the throngs of students towards Amos Diggory.
Alastor gruffly took Harry’s
arm, a mixture of alarm and something unidentifiable on his scarred face. “It’s
alright son, I’ve got you…come on…hospital wing…” Alastor added in undertones
to Harry. But Harry’s gaze was unfocused as Moody helped him stand, and he murmured
something unintelligible. Albus stopped abruptly, comprehension dawning on his
“Severus! Minerva!” He called above
the crowd, and eventually the crowd parted, letting in the two teachers. “It
appears we have found the source for tonight's events. Follow me.”
"Albus, do tell us what else
could possibly be going on!” Minerva said, beside herself with anxiousness and
anger. Severus watched Albus out of the corner of his eye, a scowl on his face
and his dark eyes glittering in the light of the corridor.
“I’ll brief you in a moment,”
Albus said fiercely, letting his anger overtake him. He took long strides, watching
as the room came closer to him. Hold on, Harry. Albus stopped in front
of the door, levelled his wand, and with surprising clarity, boomed, ‘Stupefy!’
The door burst off it’s hinges
from the impact of the spell. After the smoke and wood chips dissapated, Albus
glanced inside. The impostor was lying on the floor behind the desk, and Harry…Harry,
white as a sheet, had his wand drawn, and a steely look of consternation twisting
his face. “Moody,” Harry said, his voice shaking slightly as he spoke. “How
could it have been Moody?”
“This is not Alastor Moody,”
Dumbledore said quietly. “You have never known the real Alastor Moody…”
The room faded around Albus, and
instead he found himself holding the vial of Veritaserum in clenched hands.
Harry was sitting on a hard-backed chair with a look of quiet discomfort on
his face. It was something Albus had never seen on the boy, and he found it
strikingly painful to watch. Harry was ghastly pale, and seemed to be clutching
his arm, shielding it from something. Severus leaned heavily against the desk,
a look of resigned anger on his face while Minerva, eerily pale, pointed her
wand at Crouch Jr. with a steady hand. Cords bound the young man, who stared
straight ahead at nothingness with a derranged look on his face. It is so
hard to imagine that boy without a soul.
“I want you to come up to my
office first, Harry. Sirius is waiting for us there.”
Albus walked out into the corridor,
following Harry and himself up to his office. The words that Crouch Jr. had
spoken pained him greatly. A war was beginning to brew, and it was coming at
a quickening pace. Eventually, Albus could see the stone gargoyle ahead of him
and watched as he murmured the password and stepped inside, Harry limping after
him. However, he didn’t follow. What Harry had told him reverberated in his
senses - it all fit together in this myriad amount of puzzle pieces. There were
parts even he couldn’t understand, yet there were clarities that made him wish
he had pulled Harry out of the Tournament sooner. The blood was only one of
While he was sure that he knew how
Lily had saved Harry in the first place, he wasn’t positive as to the purpose
of sharing blood with Voldemort. Distinct advantages could possibly be used, yet
he was definitely uncertain as to the repercussions this would have, especially
on Harry. The scene was fading again, and this time, it materialized into the
hospital wing. Sirius and Severus had just clenched and unclenched hands, extremely
uncomfortable looks on their faces.
“That will do to be going with,”
said Albus, stepping between them once more. “Now, I have work for each of you.
Fudge’s attitude, though not unexpected, changes everything. Sirius, I need
you to set off at once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg and Mundungus
Fletcher - the old crowd. Lie low at Lupin’s for a while; I will contact you
“But -“ Harry said hesitantly.
“You’ll see me very soon, Harry,”
Sirius said quietly as he strode over to Harry’s bed. “I promise you. But I
must do what I can, you understand, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” Harry said, crestfallen.
“Yeah…of course I do.”
Sirius grasped his hand for
a moment, nodded to Albus, then transformed again into the black dog and ran
to the door, exiting. Albus, meanwhile, turned to Severus. “Severus, you know
what I must ask you to do. If you are ready…if you are prepared…” The words
seemed to die in his throat. Severus looked at him for a moment, his eyes still
“I am,” he said quietly, his
face going pale.
“Then good luck.” The words
were thick in his throat, and he couldn’t control the look of apprehension on
his face. Severus glanced at him once more before turning away and leaving the
It had all happened so fast that
Albus was sure his head was spinning. Looking back on it all now, everything
was so incredibly obvious. Moody being impersonated by Crouch Jr. – the cup
turned port key – the plot, putting Harry, himself and the rest of the Hogwarts
staff and students in danger. It was elaborate. And it would’ve worked, had
Harry not succeeded in getting away.
He stood before the Pensieve, now
resting on his desk, with an air of great sadness. The night, which should have
been joyful and exciting, turned into a nightmare for even himself. It was something
he had expected since that night thirteen years ago, when James and Lily had
died…he'd known that Voldemort wasn’t gone yet and would return. But now, it
was escalating and he had to play his pieces wisely. The right people – the
right strategy. It’s like a game of chess…. And then, the worst had come
in the hospital wing.
Fudge, as bumbling as always, refused
to accept things as they were. As always, he was more concerned for his image.
And when things got too overbearing, his head dug itself into the sand. But
other things had happened – Hagrid and Madame Maxime had been given an assignment
– be sent as envoys to the giants. Hagrid had paled, Madame Maxime had wrung
her hands in worry. Sirius had been sent to seek out Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg
and Mundungus Fletcher – his closest allies aside from Alastor. The worst, and
yet most necessary had fallen into the hands of someone that had seen enough
darkness in their life.
It was terrible to send Severus
out to an uncertain fate – and yet, Severus understood. He knew, from the moment
that Voldemort reawakened, that his old position would be needed. And now, at
midnight in his office, Dumbledore felt a sense of foreboding that was ill on
the part of Severus.
“Into the terrible night he goes.
Yet whether or not he returns, I venture not to say. For I do not know myself,”
Albus murmured quietly to him self as he watched the clock. The hand shuddered
to a stop on four o’clock in the morning. Sleep was abating him, and at this
point, Albus found that he couldn’t sleep, even with a potion. His thoughts,
for some morose reason, wouldn’t let him forget his words to Severus.
Albus knew perfectly well what
Severus was doing; he also knew the risks involved, and the possibility still
stood that Severus might never return to his office again. There was a time
when I thought you could never be trusted, Severus. However, you dissolved the
mirror. You found yourself.