Chapter 21 : Dark Marks and Traitors
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"I don't know. They should be nearing the center of the maze by now."
"Do you think we should send someone in after them?" Joanna asked him nervously.
"No. We can't interfere. Let's give them a little more time."
So they waited. Excitement and anticipation was so thick in the air that it could have been cut with a knife. Ten more minutes passed, then twenty.
"Dumbledore, I really think it's time to--" Began Ludo Bagman, but suddenly, Joanna gave a short scream. She clutched her left forearm. White hot pain was spreading through it from her Dark Mark.
"Are you alright?" Ray asked. Everyone on her half of the table was staring at her. She shook her head. Her eyes were watering from the pain in her arm.
"Professor," She said to Dumbledore with as much control as she could. "I need to speak to you quickly. Privately." he nodded with understanding in his eyes. He knew what this was about. Joanna followed him out of the stands to a shadowy spot behind the enclosure. Severus joined them there. Her eyes met his, and they exchanged worried looks.
"He's back." Severus said abruptly. He didn't seem to believe the words that were coming from his mouth. He rolled up his sleeve and showed his Dark Mark to the Headmaster. It was burning bright red. "He just called us. He called the remaining Death Eaters to him."
"Are you sure of this?" Dumbledore asked, looking more frightened than either Joanna or Severus had ever seen him. Severus nodded.
"This is how he called us last time." Joanna said.
"Then wherever he is, Harry is most likely with him."
"How do you know?"
"I don't." The old wizard looked shaken. "But I have a feeling. He will want to have Harry's blood in him. That way he will be able to touch him without feeling pain." Neither Severus or Joanna knew what Dumbledore was talking about, but they had no time to find out.
"Dumbledore," Said Severus quickly. "He called us. I have to go to him now, or stay and be called a traitor." Dumbledore thought hard for a few seconds.
"I want you to go to him. Both of you."
"What?" Exclaimed Severus. "But you promised--"
"The closer you are to danger, the further you are from harm. But wait another hour."
"Why?" Joanna asked.
"Because if you wait you can both pretend that you're still his loyal servants, and you're in a position to--"
"To pass information about you to him." Severus finished the Headmaster's sentence. "We can pretend that we waited because at Hogwarts we can be of more use to him. And we'll still have a reason to come back and talk to you."
"That's brilliant." Joanna said, and they returned to the stands, trying to seem as though the darkest and most dangerous wizard of all time hadn't just returned from the dead.
“Are you alright?” Ray asked for a second time as Joanna sat back down next to him.
“Yes, I'm fine.” She offered the the Frenchman no explanation, but turned back to the maze, her expression troubled.
Everyone in the stands muttered nervously now. Why haven't either of the champions returned yet? Another twenty minutes passed. Hagrid and Professor Flitwick were sent into the maze to try and find them. As soon as they left however, a bright flash lit the entrance of the maze, and two people landed hard on the ground.
The stands began to cheer, but some people screamed. Harry Potter was bent low over Cedric Diggory. He was crying, and Cedric was staring into the sky, wide eyed and unmoving. Joanna gasped. Dumbledore rose from the judges table once more and ran to Harry. People started to crowd around them. Some stayed where they were, too confused to make sense of what was going on. She felt Severus's presents beside her.
"Cedric's dead!" Someone shouted. "Diggory's dead!" The words were repeated, whispered, screamed into the night. Cedric's parents shot passed Joanna out of the stands. It was complete chaos. People were moaning, sobbing, screaming.
"Look." Severus tugged on Joanna's arm. Mad-Eye Moody was half pulling, half carrying Harry out of the crowd and back up to the castle.
"Get Dumbledore!" Joanna told him, and they struggled through the thick crowd to where the silver haired wizard knelt beside a sobbing Amos Diggory.
"Professor Dumbledore!" Joanna shouted. He didn't hear her. Severus got to him first, and knelt down beside him.
"Moody's got Potter." He said into his ear. "He's taking him up to the castle." Dumbledore stood up immediately, cut through the crowd with ease, and strode away. Severus and Joanna exchanged glances before following him. Up the front steps they climbed, up the marble staircase to the third floor, through corridor after corridor they sprinted.
With a loud bang, Dumbledore shot a spell at the door of Moody's office. It splintered into a hundred pieces, and the wooden legged, scarred man on the other side was thrown backward onto the floor. Dumbledore stared down at him with a fury beyond any Joanna had ever seen cross his usually calm and friendly face.
The old, but brilliantly powerful wizard walked over to the unconscious man, placed a foot under him and turned his body over. Severus followed, looking around at the office as though searching it, and Joanna headed straight for Harry.
"Are you ok, Harry?" She asked him. He nodded with an understandably confused look on his face.
"What's going on?" The boy asked, staring in shock at Moody, who was now sitting, slumped against the wall and twitching eerily.
"That is not Alistor Moody." Dumbledore replied. "This is an imposter." He turned to the hook nosed man beside him, who was still examining objects in the office around him with interest. He instructed Severus to go and fetch some Veritaserum, as well as a house elf named Winky from the kitchens. Joanna barely had time to wonder at these odd instructins, when she recieven some of her own.
"Joanna, please go down to Hagrids house. There you will no doubt find a large, black dog awaiting you in the pumpkin patch. Please bring him up to my office where I will meet with him shortly. After you are finished, return to this room."
Joanna had no idea why Dumbledore was sending her to get a dog at a time like this, but she didn't ask any questions. If he asked it of her, it was obviously important. She and Severus turned and made their way downstairs together.
"He's an animagus." Severus said.
"The dog that Dumbledore sent you to get. He's an animagus."
"Oh." That didn't make the situation much more understandable, but she no longer worried at the Headmaster's sanity. "I'll meet you back on the third floor in a few minutes." She told him. He smiled at her, and turned to into the corridor leading to the dungeons. She continued down the front steps and to Hagrids Hut. He wasn't there. There were no lights coming from inside. Joanna suspected that he was still at the Quidditch Pitch with everyone else. She could hear a loud rumble immiting from that direction.
She rounded the corner to the pumpkin patch, and just as Dumbledore said, a black dog the size of a small bear was sitting looking rather impatient. It looked up expectantly when it saw her.
"Er..." She started lamely, not knowing how to talk to the dog. "Professor Dumbledore sent me to bring you to his office."
The dog barked loudly and stood up, circling around her frantically.
"Alright, alright! Let's go then." It trotted beside her all the way back up to the Second Floor, staring at her curiously now and then.
"Cockroach Clusters." She told the gargoyles standing outside the door, and they sprung to life immediately to admit her and the dog into the Headmaster's office.
"Now," She told the dog once they were inside. "Dumbledore told me to tell you to wait for him here. He'll be with you in a few minutes." The dog barked again, and she left the room, eager to get back to "Moody's" office.
"Severus!" She called. He was about to enter the office with the House Elf he'd been sent to get. He waited for her to catch up and they entered together.
"Crouch?" he said, stopping so abruptly that Joanna walked right into his back. Joanna looked around him and gasped. It was indeed Barty Crouch Jr., pale, slightly freckled, fair haired, and swimming in Moody's clothing on the floor. The House Elf behind them screamed.
"Oh no, Master Barty! You shouldn't be here! What is wrong Mater Barty?" She shrieked, jumping onto the unconscious man.
"Do not worry, Winky, he's only stunned." Dumbledore assured her. Severus handed him the same bottle of Veritaserum that he'd threatened Harry with in class a few months back. Dumbledore uncorked the clear liquid and poured it into Crouch's partially opened mouth.
"Barty Crouch Jr.?" he asked.
Crouch's eyes opened, and he looked around him in confusion.
"Yes," he answered. Dumbledore questioned him about how he escaped Azkaban and how he remained hidden from the public. Apparently, his father smuggled him out of prison and his mother took his place, disguised as him using polyjuice potion. Dumbledore asked him what happened at the Quidditch World Cup earlier that year. He said that he'd attended under an invisibility cloak, and stole Harry's wand halfway through so that he could cast the Dark Mark's spell. After the World Cup, Voldemort sought him out in the arms of his servant Wormtail, and instructed him to go to Hogwarts disguised as Mad-Eye Moody in order to guide Harry Potter through the Triwizard Tournament. To make sure he reached the Triwizard Cup first.
Then he told them about how his father, Barty Crouch Sr. was under Voldemort's Imperius curse, and of how he fought it, escaped to Hogwarts and planned to warn Dumbledore. But Crouch Jr. Killed him before he could get to the Headmaster.
"And what role did you play in tonights events?" Dumbledore asked finally.
"I offered to be the one to place the Triwizard cup in the center of the maze." Crouch whispered with an insane smile on his face. "While I was alone in the maze, I turned it into a portkey. And now it is done. Harry was sent to the graveyard where my master awaited him. They performed a ritual, for which they needed Harry's blood. The Dark Lord has returned, and I will be his favorite!"
And then Crouch's smile faded. His head rolled onto his shoulder and he blacked out once more.
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