Chapter 14 / Veritaserum
I followed the sound, up to the third floor, where the door to the Defence against the Dark Arts classroom slammed shut. I pulled the handle, but the door was locked. I pulled out my wand, trying every unlocking spell I knew: Alohomora, Partis Temporus, Cistem Aperio, Bombarda Maxima, nothing worked. Something was seriously wrong here.
There was only one thing I could do. I turned around and ran in the direction I came from. I was halfway do the stairs to the entrance hall, when the doors burst open.
‘Where is he?’
‘Defence against the Dark Arts,’ Dumbledore stormed past me, followed by McGonagall and Snape. We ran up the stairs, two steps at a time, reaching the classroom.
‘Stupefy!’ There was a blinding flash of red light, and with great splintering and crashing, the door of Alastor’s office was blasted apart. Alastor, who had been standing with his back to the door, was thrown backward onto the office floor. At that moment, I finally, fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard The Dark Lord had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore’s face as he stared down at the unconscious form of Alastor was more terrible than I could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon his face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was only cold fury in every line of the ancient face and a sense of power radiated from him as though he was giving off burning heat. He stepped into the office, placed a foot underneath Moody’s unconscious body, and kicked him over onto his back, so that his face was visible. Snape followed him, looking into the Foe-Glass, where his own face was still visible, glaring into the room. Professor McGonagall went straight to Harry.
‘Come along, Potter,’ she whispered. The thin line of her mouth was twitching as though she was about to cry, ‘Come along… hospital wing.’
‘No,’ said Dumbledore sharply.
‘Albus, he ought to — look at him — he’s been through enough tonight —’
‘He will stay, Minerva, because he needs to understand,’ said Dumbledore 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.’
‘Moody,’ Harry said. I silently watched him as he shook his head in disbelieve, ‘How can it have been Moody?’
‘This is not Alastor Moody,’ said Dumbledore 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 — luckily, miss Macmillan followed. She has a great intuition.’
‘I only followed because you told Harry to stay, sir.’
Dumbledore bent down over Moody’s limp form and put a hand inside his robes. He pulled out Moody’s hip flask and a set of keys on a ring. Then he turned to Professors McGonagall and Snape.
‘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 find 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.’
If either Snape or McGonagall found these instructions peculiar, they hid their confusion. Both turned at once and left the office. Dumbledore walked over to a trunk with seven locks, fitted the first key in the lock, and opened it. It contained a mass of spellbooks. Dumbledore closed the trunk, placed a second key in the second lock, and opened the trunk again. The spellbooks had vanished; this time it contained an assortment of broken Sneakoscopes, some parchment and quills, and what looked like a silvery Invisibility Cloak. I watched, astounded, as Dumbledore placed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth keys in their respective locks, reopening the trunk, and each time revealing different contents. Then he placed the seventh key in the lock, threw open the lid and I let out a cry of amazement.