Harry was sent to Azkaban and was later found to be innocent. With the help of Ron, he will find out who his true friends are. Will he forgive those who betrayed him? Will he be able to let the wor...
I really appreciate Nancy editing this chapter for me. Thanks!
Harry pulled out his wand and pointed it at Dumbledore. He couldn't believe it. Dumbledore knew where he was. He was here and there was nothing that Harry could do about it. He just wasn't simply educated enough in spells to defeat the old wizard. In his mind, he realized that his friends also had their wands out, pointing them at the Headmaster and Moody.
Harry felt a sense of relief and comfort. Even if he couldn't take Dumbledore down, he knew his friends might have a chance. He just couldn't believe that Dobby brought the old man here. He would've thought that the house-elf wouldn't have been fooled by anything the Headmaster did. Had Dobby been compromised somehow? Dobby would've seen through any polyjuice potions or glamours. So why had he brought the Headmaster here?
Harry frowned. Things just weren't adding up. Dobby would never make that mistake. Things he hadn't noticed before began trickling into his brain. He saw the looks of amusement on Moody and Dumbledore's faces. He also saw the looked of amused exasperation on Dobby's. Harry blinked. He began to slowly lower his wand as he stared at Dumbledore intently. He sighed and shook his head.
"That wasn't very funny, Moody," Harry commented as he glared at the paranoid Auror.
Moody chuckled. "I found it to be extremely amusing, Laddie. It's nice to know that your reflexes are still good after your little stint in Azkaban."
"Whatever. And you, Dobby, I can't believe you allowed that," Harry said.
It showed how much the elf had changed when he didn't immediately begin to cower and beat himself up. Dobby grinned sheepishly, but didn't bother defend himself. He thought it was funny and he knew that the old Auror wanted to check Harry's reflexes. Moody started cackling.
"Constant Vigilance!" Moody crowed.
Harry sighed. He was surrounded by crazy people. He just knew that the gods were against him, somehow. He looked at Dumbledore and smiled tightly.
The old wizard nodded and smiled serenely.
"Harry!" Ron yelped. "What do you think you're doing? He's the enemy!"
"Really, Mr. Black, do you think that Dobby would bring the Headmaster here? After everything that has already happened?" Severus snapped.
Harry hid a smile at Severus's defense of the house-elf. The unlikely friendship between the two was a source of amusement for those in the castle. It was strange to find the man who never liked anyone defending one of the most downtrodden of magical creatures. Maybe there was sense of justice in it somewhere. Regardless, Severus disliked anyone talking bad about the elf or even alluding to it.
Ron blinked with surprise. "Then who is it?" he demanded.
"Aberforth Dumbledore, the Headmaster's crazy brother," Harry stated.
"I see my reputation precedes me," Aberforth said wryly, his blue eyes twinkling behind his glasses.
"Don't," Harry snapped.
Aberforth looked confused. "What?"
"Don't twinkle your damn eyes. You look like your brother and we know much of a fake he is," Harry replied, a frown on his face.
Aberforth's blue eyes dimmed and his expression turned serious.
"I guess we should sit and talk. I think we have business to take care of," he stated.
Harry nodded. He turned and scowled at his friends, who took the hint, and lowered their wands. He looked at Percy and Lizzie, their serious expressions lightening as the tension in the room dissipated. They smiled at Harry and sat down as well.
Harry took a seat next to Moody and called for Sage. She popped in with some tea and sandwiches. Harry thanked the house-elf and with a smile, she popped out. After a few minutes, everyone was settled, with a cup of tea and was waiting expectantly.
Harry looked at Moody, arched an eyebrow, and smiled. "So, you two are the ones in charge of the Watchers, eh? Why would you spy on your own brother, Aberforth?" Harry asked. "And you, Moody, I thought you thought the Headmaster was the best thing since sliced bread?"
Moody looked confused at the Muggle saying before replying. "Er...right. Well, you were supposed to think that. I was spying, you know," he explained, a smile gracing his face. "It would've kind of defeated the purpose if everyone knew how much I truly dislike the man. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" he bellowed suddenly, making those in the room jump.
Aberforth chuckled before sighing deeply. "I love my brother, or the brother he was in his younger years. The student who attended Hogwarts and the Headmaster are two totally different people. He wasn't always the manipulative bastard that he is now. I have fond memories of the two of us creating mayhem and chaos wherever we went," he said with a soft smile. The smile disappeared and he continued on. "He actually was the kind loving man that he pretends to be now. He only began to change as he delved deeper into the dark arts. When he met Lizzie," he paused as he looked over at his old friend, giving her a sympathetic smile, "I thought that he might've found something that would take his mind away from the dark arts. For a time, it seemed to have succeeded, but then he started delving even deeper. His personality began to change and he became cold hearted. When Lizzie finally left him, it made him furious. Not because he loved Lizzie, but because Lizzie actually had the gall to leave him."
Aberforth stopped and sighed before continuing on. "You have to understand that this is only hearsay and based on some of things that Lizzie and a few others told me. I never saw that side of my brother, back then. To me, he was still the boy I grew up with. When Lizzie came to me to tell me of the change in my brother, I have to admit that I didn't believe her. I thought she was bitter from the break up. I refused to believe her and to my shame, I ridiculed her. I took me several more years before I finally saw what she was trying to tell me."
"What happened?" Harry asked gently, sensing the sadness in Aberforth.
"My wife died."
Harry blinked. Aberforth had been married? The crazy brother who, according to the Daily Prophet, had a thing with goats. Harry had always thought Aberforth was an immoral person, who did things only for himself. Of course, the way things were going lately, maybe he was supposed to think that. Him and everyone else.
"Did Albus kill her?" Harry asked daringly.
Aberforth's eyes grew cold. "It wasn't his hand that killed her, but he had a large part to do with her death."
"Aberforth, you don't have to..." Mood began.
The old wizard held up hand, stopping Moody's words. "No, it's all right, my friend. It's been years since my Miriam died. I think its time for everyone to know about it. I met Miriam at some ball that had been held for some uppity-up that I can't even remember. I knew the minute I saw her across the room that she was going to be my wife. She was beautiful, not only physically, but spiritually as well. She has such a presence and a joy for life that brightened up a room as soon as she walked in. I decided that night I was going to court her and I did," Aberforth said with a smile, his eyes shining with remembered happiness.
"I introduced her to Albus several months after we met, never knowing that it would lead to her death. Remember much of this I didn't know until I found Miriam's journal after her death. I never knew when he became obsessed with her, but Miriam wrote that Albus began to send her letters, declaring his love for her. He begged her to leave me and to run away with him. He even told her that he would court her as well, if she wanted. But Miriam was in love with me, so she told him no. She never told me about what Albus had been doing. She wrote in her journal that she didn't want to hurt me by telling me that my brother was trying to steal the woman I loved. If only I had known, maybe I could've done something. I'll never really know," the old wizard sighed softly.
"She was always polite to him when he visited, so I never knew that anything was going on. She wrote that she was afraid of him. She knew that there was just something that wasn't right. I guess it was intuition or maybe I was just too close to Albus to see it, regardless, I never knew."
Aberforth paused and took a sip of his tea. His gaze was distant. He was lost in his memories, of the best and then worst time in his life. Harry felt a pang of emotion at the look of intense sorrow that graced the old wizard's face.
Aberforth shook off his memories and continued with his story. "Miriam and I finally married after a two years of courtship and for three years we were very happy. It was the best time of my life. Our marriage was filled with love and laughter. Sadly, it didn't last. One night, I came home and found Miriam's broken body on our bed. She had been tied up, beaten, raped, and then killed. I was devastated. Not knowing what to do, I called Albus for help. It never entered my mind to call the Aurors. When he flooed in and saw Miriam's body on the bed, I remember the look of shock and rage that was on his face. Stupidly, I thought it was because he was upset at her death, later I was to learn otherwise."
"I was too devastated to do anything. I trusted Albus to take care of things. He insisted that he would do everything himself. I remember her funeral, but I don't really remember anything from before. I wonder if Albus messed with my mind, or slipped me more potions than just a calming draught? It's all very vague. I never asked about the man who had killed my wife, I never demanded to talk to the Aurors or even suggested that we find her killer."
Aberforth was gazing out of the window, a thoughtful look on his face. "Three weeks after Miriam died; Albus came to me to tell that Miriam's killer had been found, dead by his own hand. A note next to the body told of his remorse for what he had done and how he couldn't live with it. I didn't care. At the time, I was just glad that he was dead. I never thought to question it. It wasn't until six months later, while I was cleaning out our bedroom that I found Miriam's journal. I was shocked and outraged to find out what Albus had been doing. Miriam wrote that things had only gotten worse after we had gotten married. Albus had become obsessed with her. She was the one thing he wanted and he couldn't have. He stalked her. Whenever she went out, he would just appear. It got to be that she was so afraid of going out without me."
Aberforth laughed bitterly and shook his head. "I just thought she wanted to spend every waking moment with me and that she didn't want to be without me. Such as fool I was."
"You didn't know, Aberforth," Moody said. "You had no idea what your brother was doing."
"I should've known. My wife was afraid of my own brother and I never had a clue. I should've have know," the old wizard stated sadly.
"After reading Miriam's journal, I began to put things together. Faced with Albus' obsession, things that I hadn't noticed about Miriam's death began to surface. Why did the killer pick Miriam? How had he gotten past the very strong wards that we had on the house? Why did Albus have her buried so quickly and why hadn't the Aurors come by to investigate her death? With those questions in mind, I began to search for answers. It would be another year before I found them. An associate of Miriam's killer told me that Albus had hired Orson, the name of Miriam's killer, to kidnap her and bring her to him. The plan hadn't included having her killed. However, once Orson saw Miriam and her beauty, he had his own plan in mind. Once he raped her, he realized that he was in trouble. He knew just how dark Albus had become so he killed Miriam and tried to disappear."
"I realized then that the look of shock and rage I saw on Albus's wasn't for me, but for himself. He had wanted Miriam for himself. I think he planned on keeping her, maybe under the Imperius curse. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure it didn't include killing her."
"How do you know he didn't want to kill her?" Ron asked suddenly.
Aberforth grimaced. "Because somewhere in that twisted little mind, Albus loved her. He wanted her and was determined to have her. Killing her would've removed her from his grasp and he didn't want that."
"Ah," Ron murmured.
"Do you need a moment?" Harry asked.
Aberforth sighed. "No, I don't. I might as well finish the story."
Harry nodded with understanding. He knew that telling this must be hard for the old wizard. He respected the fact that Aberforth would tell this to anyone, let alone strangers.
"Once I realized that Albus had changed, I delved deeper into my brother's actions. Orson's associate suddenly disappeared only to turn up later, dead. I began to pay attention to what my brother was doing and found to my dismay, that he was involved in slave labor, prostitution, the black market, and other illegal dealings. I tried to gather evidence to put him into Azkaban, but he covered his tracks very well. Especially once he knew that someone was watching him. I never went anywhere without a polyjuice potion or a glamour. I didn't want my brother to find out who it was that was watching him. As far as he knew, her death made me mentally unstable. I'd become a crazy man with an obsession with goats. He wasn't concerned that I was interfering with his dealings."
"I was able to find some other people that noticed Albus wasn't quite the person he portrayed himself to be. Together we formed a group that exclusively watched everything that he did. After he defeated Grindelwald and became the Headmaster of Hogwarts, we realized that in the Wizarding World's eyes, Albus could do no wrong. Those that spoke against him began to disappear or were silenced using other means. All evidence of his wrong doings began to disappear. Albus was very cautious and made sure that nothing that he did could be traced back to him. The Watchers had a hard time finding anything wrong, even though we knew better."
"When we found out that your grandfather found the evidence we had been looking for to put him away, we were excited," Aberforth told Harry. "Then he 'died' and the evidence was locked away. We thought that it was the end of things. Albus had gained so much power in the Wizarding World and there was nothing we could do against him. Several of our agents had gone as far as poisoning and attempted assassinations, but nothing worked. He had been prepared for the eventuality. We never approached James because we knew he was pretty much under Albus's thumb. Then we thought about approaching you, but you came with the same problems your father did. However your stint in Azkaban, and your break away from Albus gave us hope. We've been pretty much at a standstill until now. Lizzie told that you found the evidence that your grandfather hid. We have the evidence we need to destroy Albus's power and we can finally bring him to justice. He has been unpunished for far too long," Aberforth told him passionately.
Harry looked at him thoughtfully. "So, you think that I should help you? Why?" he asked.
Aberforth blinked with surprise. "Excuse me? What do you mean why?" he asked.
"No, really. Why should I help you? What is in it for me?" Harry demanded.
There was a frown on Aberforth's face. "Because Albus needs to be brought to justice and it's the right thing to do," he stated.
Severus snorted, while Sirius laughed. Ron began coughing, covering up the grin that was on his lips. Remus groaned and slumped into his chair.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry; you must've mistaken me with Albus's Golden Boy. Reality check, I'm not. There is nothing the Wizarding World could offer me that would make me help."
There was silence. Aberforth stared at him, his eyes wide with shock. Percy looked at him thoughtfully, a gleam in his eyes. Lizzie looked like she was going to have a heart attack and Moody's was grinning, his magic eye whirling wildly.
Aberforth began to sputter, disbelief shining from his eyes. "But...but..."
Moody suddenly started cackling. Harry looked over at the grizzly Auror curiously. Moody had a grin on his face and he looked at Harry slyly.
"Albus always did underestimate you, laddie. He never knew that there was Slytherin hidden inside his pet Gryffindor. I like you, boy. I always have. It does this old heart good to know that you're looking out for yourself. I was overjoyed when I found that you had broken from Albus, even before you were thrown into Azkaban. I have to admit the fact that you hid your condition and went into hiding with your friends, well that was truly a piece of work," he praised.
"I'm so glad you approve," Harry said wryly. "I'm sure I'll sleep better at night knowing that."
Moody chuckled. "Yes, indeed boy. I sure do like you."
"Just how are you involved with this, Moody? As Harry said before, I thought you were Albus' man," Sirius asked.
Moody gave the animagus a grizzly smile. "Aberforth approached me years ago. I had been the Auror that was investigating several deaths of some low level thugs. Their deaths were mysterious and there was evidence that they were involved with something that involved someone in authority, but I could never find more than that. Aberforth approached me and informed me of what his brother was up to. I didn't believe him at first. I mean, the Savior of the Wizarding World, doing dark dealings? That couldn't be true, but as I looked into things, I found a lot of unanswered questions. A few frustrating months later, and a lot of dead ends, I joined the Watchers. My mission was to get closer to Albus, become his friend, his confidant, if I could. I had to find out as much as I could."
"So, you're a spy then. Does that mean the old paranoid Auror is just a front?" Harry asked curiously.
Moody laughed. "Not at all, I'm very paranoid. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean their not out to get you," he said with a bark of laughter. "Oh, I have to admit that when I first started spying on Albus, my cover was just that, but too many years and too many Dark Wizards have changed things. If you think I'm paranoid, I have nothing on Albus. That man is ten times worse than me. It's been very hard to get anything out of him. I haven't found enough to pin on Dumbledore," he said.
"We need your help, Harry," Aberforth pleaded. "Albus needs to be stopped and if you have any evidence that can help, then you must help us."
"Please help us, Harry," Lizzie begged quietly.
Harry sighed. "What I have learned will throw the Wizarding World into chaos. There will be a war, but not the war you're thinking of. Instead of one Dark Lord, there will be two vying for power over the Wizarding World. If I give you the evidence, and you let anyone know, Dumbledore won't hesitate to try to take over. Voldemort won't stand for that and chaos will ensue. No one will be safe anywhere," he explained.
"Surely, it's not that bad," Aberforth exclaimed.
Harry looked at him solemnly and the old wizard swallowed hard, his expression uneasy.
"I'm not ready to battle either of them yet. I need more time, but once I'm ready, I'll take on Voldemort first. Once he's defeated, we can bring Dumbledore to justice, but not until then. The Wizarding World wouldn't survive two Dark Lords bound and determine on destroying everything in their way," Harry informed them.
"Why are you going to take on Voldemort?" Lizzie asked, confused.
"Simply put, I've been prophesied to."
"Are you sure the prophecy is even true, considering the source?" Moody asked.
Harry shrugged. "No, I'm not sure, but regardless if it is or isn't, I'm still going to battle him."
"Why you, though? If the prophecy might be false, why should you concern yourself with Voldemort?" Aberforth asked, his gaze curious.
"If not me, then who?" Harry asked impatiently. "You? Moody? The Headmaster? Anyone else in the Wizarding World? These are the very same people who have been sticking their heads in the sand, hoping someone else would take care of the problem. If they had risen against him years ago, Voldemort would've never been a problem. Instead, they cry out for a savior and when that savior doesn't do something they like, they turn on him. Please, they couldn't find their arses with their own hands," he sneered.
"But it's our job to protect you. You're so young," Aberforth stated.
Harry glared at Aberforth. "Good job you've done so far," he replied sarcastically. "I've had to face Voldemort every year since I entered the Wizarding World. I didn't have help from an adult; I had help from my friends. Thanks to the Wizarding World, I was betrayed and thrown into Azkaban for over a year. There was no one to help me. What did you do for me, Aberforth? How did you protect me then?" he demanded. Aberforth looked away, ashamed.
Harry snorted. "Frankly, Aberforth, I don't need your protection. I have people who I trust to protect me," he said as he waved his hand towards Ron, Severus, Sirius, Remus and Dobby. They smiled back at Harry, while turning their distrustful faces towards Percy, Lizzie, Aberforth and Moody.
Aberforth sighed mournfully. Moody looked at them thoughtfully before nodding.
"Leave the boy alone, Aberforth," Moody requested. "He knows what he's doing. I've always thought that there was more to the boy than what we saw. If he wants to fight Voldemort, then let him. He has just as much right, if not more, than anyone else."
Harry gave Moody a small smile which the grizzly Auror returned. There was pride on the man's face and Harry's face reddened. Moody chuckled.
"Thank you, Moody."
"You're welcome, laddie. You still need training. What I taught you before Azkaban isn't going to be enough to take down Voldemort. You're going to need more," Moody warned.
Harry grinned slyly as he turned towards Severus and Sirius. His gaze went back to Moody and he smirked. "I don't think that's going to be a problem."
Moody looked at Severus, Sirius and Remus and grunted. "Yeah, I guess it won't be. You just might survive, boy, you just might survive."
"That is all well and good, but could we get back to the subject," Lizzie snapped. She turned her glare towards Harry. "Are you going to help us or not?" she demanded. "If not, could you at least tell us what your grandfather found out?"
Harry was silent a moment before sighing deeply. "Look, I can tell you what I found, but you can't let anyone know. Not yet, not now."
"Why?" Lizzie cried out with frustration.
"I told you, damn it! This will rip the Wizarding World apart. They are not ready to hear this," Harry yelled.
"What is so bad that the Wizarding World can't hear yet?" Aberforth asked, dread filling his eyes.
Harry closed his eyes and begged for strength. Opening his eyes, he looked at Aberforth sadly. "Voldemort is Albus Dumbledore's son," he said quietly.
The room erupted into chaos.
Hermione stared at the body of the man who had been a member of the Order. With all that she had learned lately, she shouldn't be surprised by Mad-Eye Moody's betrayal, but yet, she was. Her hand shaking with emotion, she reached down and checked the old Auror's pulse. Just to make sure.
He was dead.
She drew in a shuddery breath and looked at Luna. The young woman was gazing down at Neville's body, tears in her eyes. Hermione bit back a sob and reached out to touch her friend.
"Oh, Neville," she whispered.
A sob broke from Luna and she leaned over Neville's body, grasping it tightly. "Nevy, oh please, love...no!" she cried out. Her world had been shattered by a single green light. The one thing that mattered the most to her was gone. What would she do now?
Hermione pulled the sobbing woman into her arms and held her. The room was silent except for the sounds of sobbing.
The crying finally stopped and Luna wrenched herself from Hermione's arms.
"He will pay," she snarled. "If it's the last thing I do, I will make that bastard pay!"
Hermione was confused. "Who?" she questioned.
"Dumbledore," Luna bit out.
The bushy haired woman's eyes widened with surprise. "What does the Headmaster have to do with this?" she asked.
"Neville and I saw him that night," Luna explained, her gaze still on her dead boyfriend.
"The night you were found outside of Hogwarts gates. Neville and I saw what that bastard did to you while you were in the infirmary."
Hermione took a step back, fear in her eyes. "You saw that?" she asked, her voice strangled.
Luna smiled grimly. "Yes, and somehow the Headmaster knew. He's trying to cover his tracks, that and we were looking for Harry. I had thought we were discrete, but he found out somehow. I don't know how, but he did."
"Harry," Hermione breathed, longing in her voice.
Luna looked at her sharply before settling her gaze back onto Neville. "We thought we were meeting Harry, or at least someone who knew where he was. He knew something that only a few select few knew. I never even considered that it might be a trap. We were wrong. I grew uneasy once we were here and no one showed up. We tried to leave, but couldn't. Moody came in and started throwing curses. There was no chance to do anything. Neville and I haven't kept up our training. It might've been two against one, but Moody is a trained Auror. We had no hope."
"I'm sorry," Hermione said. "I wished I had been faster."
Luna turned and looked her intently. Her gaze was suspicious. "How did you know to come here? I thought we were in the middle of no where. How did you find us?" she demanded.
Hermione sighed. "I wasn't looking for you. In fact, I had no idea this house was here. I was following Moody, after I saw him skulking around the school and acting suspicious, well more suspicious than normal. Since he was acting so odd, I decided to follow him to see what he was up to. I cast a tracking spell on him, and I'm glad I did, because he apparated and I wouldn't have been able to find him otherwise. I was coming up the stairs when I heard the fighting. I wasn't fast enough. I'm sorry," she whispered.
Luna nodded and looked down at Neville once again. She drew in a shuddery breath and squared her shoulders with determination. "We need to leave. If Dumbledore is indeed after us, then once Moody doesn't come back, he'll want to check it out or send someone else. We have to make sure that we're not here when he does. Plus, I need to give Neville a proper burial."
Hermione nodded. "All right. I can take Neville for you, if you want," she offered hesitantly.
Luna shook her head, a sad smile on her face. "No, I can do it.
She walked over to Neville, cast Mobilicorpus and walked towards the door, Neville's body floating behind her. She stopped as she passed by Moody's body, kicked it once, and walked out the door.
Hermione glanced at Moody's body thoughtfully before transfiguring it into a chair. After adding a preservation spell, she placed it by the wall. She didn't want to carry the body around, but she didn't want it to disappear, she might need the body later. If Dumbledore came to check the place, he would find nothing.
She took once glance around, making sure nothing was out of place. She noticed the chair that had been burned and got rid of it. With a satisfied look, she turned and walked out of the room.
It was silent. Nothing showed of the events that had just taken place.