Harry looked at the wizard standing in front of with trepidation. He only knew the spells from the first year textbooks, and this Moody clearly had years of dueling experience under his belt.
“Ben, you have to run,” Harry warns as pulled out his wand.
“Be reasonable kid, I don’t want to hurt you,” Moody warned, keeping his wand at his side.
“Look… Moody,” Ben interrupted. “Harry doesn’t want to go with you, and you have no right to force him. The best thing you can do right now is walk away.”
With almost contemptuous ease, Moody shot his wand forward. “Stupify.”
“BEN!” Harry shouted in alarm as his friend crumpled to the ground like his strings were cut.
“Look kid, your friend is go-” Moody said, before Harry cut him off.
“Flipendo! Flipendo! Flipendo!” Harry cast one after the other before Moody finished speaking, hoping the knock back jinx would buy him some time.
The first one clipped Moody on the left shoulder, knocking him back. The second sailed past his right shoulder, missing by a few inches, but the third caught Moody in the stomach, sending him sprawling to the ground.
Moody groaned as he got to his feet. He wasn’t expecting the kid to be that fast and was annoyed with himself for not taking the fight seriously.
“You don’t want to do this, kid,” Moody warned as he pointed his wand at Harry, getting serious.
Without giving Harry a chance to respond, he sent a silent stupify at Harry.
Harry’s eyes widened as he saw the jet of red light coming towards him, and quickly dived out of the way, avoiding the spell by mere inches.
“Fumos!” Harry shouted, pouring in more power to create a thick cloud of smoke around both of them, followed by a fire spell. “Incendio!”
The thick smoke completely filled Moody’s visions, making it impossible for him to see anything. He cursed as his magical eye was of no help, either. Its primary function was to detect magic, and because the smoke was magical, it was all he could see with it.
It surprised him for a second time when the incendio spell hit his robes.
“Aguamenti,” Moody muttered, quickly dousing the fire as he took a few steps to the right, in case Harry tried to fire off any more spells.
‘Impressive spell casting and situational awareness,’ Moody thought before casting stupify at Harry’s last position. When he didn’t hear anything, he knew Harry must have avoided the spell.
“Ventus,” Moody said, using a gust of air to blow away the smoke.
Harry looked at Moody warily as the smoke started to clear. There wasn’t any decent cover or anywhere to hide. On top of that, he was at a clear disadvantage when it came to his spell repertoire.
‘What am I supposed to do?’ Harry thought, knowing he was outclassed.
“This Moody, he’s obviously well trained,” Merlin added.
‘Are there any spells I can try?’ Harry thought.
“There are many spells, but you have cast none of them before, so it won’t do you any good in battle. Stick to the ones you know,” Merlin advised.
‘That’s it?’ Harry thought, hoping that Merlin would have had at least a strategy he could use.
“He’s obviously toying with you,” Merlin explained. “If he took this seriously from the start, you would have already lost.”
“Diffindo! Diffindo” Harry cast as the smoke cleared enough for him to see Moody again.
The older wizard was faster than Harry expected. “Protego,” he said, raising a shield before the severing charms could land and harmlessly deflecting them away.
“You’ve impressed me, kid,” Moody said from behind the shield. “But this is where this little game ends. Drop your wand before things get serious.”
Harry racked his brain, trying to figure out what to do. He had no idea what Dumbledore had planned for him, but he knew he wanted no part of it.
“He’s using a standard shield spell,” Merlin advised. “It deflects spells and acts as a physical barrier, but only where his wand is pointing.”
An idea quickly formed in Harry’s mind. Obviously, he couldn’t match Moody spell for spell, so he had to change things up. “Lumos Solem!” He shouted, creating a blinding flash of light that went out in all directions.
Moody had a split second to curse himself for holding the shield too long. He didn’t have time to cast a counter or block it. He closed his eyes tightly, knowing there was little else he could do.
Moody groaned as he waited for his vision to clear, listening closely for Harry’s next spell. He had fought blind before. It was tricky, but as long as he could hear the spell and where it was coming from, he could hold out.
Harry dashed forward, falling back on Ben’s instructions for hand to hand fighting, doing his best to make as little noise as possible.
He approached Moody from his unprotected left side. Staying on the opposite side of Moody’s magical eye, assuming it would recover faster than his normal one.
With the running start, he hammered a front kick into Moody’s side, sending him sprawling to the floor.
Moody’s mechanical eye had recovered just a second too late, as he felt a sharp pain in his side. He couldn’t believe it. The kid had actually kicked him. It surprised him so much that he lost concentration and dropped his shield spell.
After Moody fell, Harry looked around for something. Anything he could use as a weapon. Finally spotting something he could use, he scooped up a large rock as Moody started to get back up.
Moody got to his knees quickly, only for a rock to smash into his magical eye, cracking it, and knocking him back down again. His vision swam as his magical eye grew hazy before shutting down entirely.
Getting back up for a second time and using his longer reach to his advantage, Moody sent a left cross at Harry, catching him on the cheek and sending him sprawling to the floor.
“Incarcerous!” Moody shouted at the dazed boy, tying his arms with magical rope.
“I’m impressed, kid. I really am,” Moody said as he caught his breath. “Fully trained wizards put up less of a fight, but this is over.”
Moody reached down to pick up Harry’s wand, only for Harry to surge back up to his feet, head butting him just under the chin and sending him sprawling to the ground, hard.
Moody groaned in pain as he rolled onto his side. Maybe he was getting too old for this. ‘How the heck does a kid know how to fight like that?’ He wondered.
Taking no more chances, he cast a ‘stupify’ at the boy before he could pull off any more of his tricks.
Moody spent a good few minutes catching his breath and getting himself back in order before putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder and side long apparating them to a nearby floo and from there to the Headmaster’s office.
Albus was sitting in his office, taking care of some last-minute paperwork before the start of term, when his fireplace roared to life.
“I found the kid,” Moody grunted. “We’re coming through now.”
Albus’s jaw dropped open as he got a good look at Alistar and Harry. Moody’s magical eye was smashed, and there was already a bruise forming on his face. He was clearly favoring his side as he levitated Harry in behind him.
Harry looked no better, a large bruise on his cheek, and a large bump on his head.
“What happened?” He demanded.
“The kid happened,” Moody answered. “Now are you going to tell me what’s really going on?” He demanded. “Because nobody puts up a fight like that just to get out of a meeting.”
Albus stared at the two of them, not even sure what to say. There were very few times he had seen Alistar come back in this condition, and they all happened during the war.
“His family asked that I speak with him, and encourage him to go home,” Albus replied. “Now tell me how you both ended up in this condition.”
“Yeah… there’s definitely more to that story,” Moody snorted. “The boy put up a hell of a fight. I wish I had a hundred just like him during the war,” Alistar chuckled.
“How could he have caused that much damage?” Dumbledore wondered. “He doesn’t even have any formal education.”
“You’re right about that,” Alistar agreed. “The spells he used were all out of the first year textbooks. His casting speed was about fourth year, and accuracy… maybe third year.”
“That still shouldn’t have been enough for you to even break a sweat,” Albus pointed out.
“I was overconfident, and I let my guard down,” Moody added. “If the kid had been an adult wizard under polyjuice, I would have had it.”
“The bruises, and your eye?” Albus asked.
“That was when I let my guard down,” Moody explained. “I was standing behind a protego, telling the kid it was over. He cast a lumos solem, and because I was holding the protego I couldn’t stop him.”
“It blinded me for a few seconds, just long enough for him to run around my shield and kick me in the side. He might have actually cracked a rib with that one,” Alistar smiled.
“You sound pleased,” Albus observed.
“That’s cause I am. The kid’s got guts.”
“What happened next?” Albus asked.
“He got my eye with a rock, managed to break it. Pretty good strategic thinking, too. Took out my depth perception and put me on the back foot.”
“I was able to clip his head. That put him on the ground, and then I got him with the Incarcerous.”
“That’s when you brought him here?” Albus asked.
“Nah, the kid still had one more trick up his sleeve,” Moody said as he placed Harry’s wand on Albus’s desk. “When I reached down to pick that up, he knocked me down again. That’s when I put him down with the stupefy.”
Albus sat back in his chair, thinking about his next steps. When he asked Alistar to bring Harry Potter to him, things had escalated far beyond what he expected. He would have to-reevaluate his opinion of the boy.
“If you would, Alistar, please put him on the chair,” Albus said as he took Harry’s wand and examined it.
‘Work of art is right,’ Albus thought as he remembered what Garrick had told him.
He waved the wand experimentally, expecting some red sparks to fly out, but was surprised when nothing happened. “Curious,” he said as he examined the wand further.
He tried to push his magic into the wand, but he felt a pressure resisting it. “I have never known a wand to reject a caster.”
“Envenerate,” Albus said as he pulled out his own wand.
Harry woke with a groan, feeling a sharp pain in his cheek and the back of his head.
“I’ll be on my way then, Albus,” Alistair said as he walked back to the fireplace.
“Of course,” Albus agreed.
“That was a good fight, kid,” Moody said, as he gave a nod of respect to Harry. “I’m not ashamed to admit you got closer than most… Enjoy it, cause it won’t happen a second time. I won’t make the mistake of underestimating you again,” He said as he left through the floo.
“Hello Mr. Potter,” Albus said as he looked at him.
“Dumbledore,” Harry muttered as he looked at him, still wrapped up in the ropes.
“I apologize for bringing you here under these conditions, but it was imperative I speak with you,” Albus said.
“Is this how you have all your meetings?” Harry snarked.
“I must apologize for that,” Albus replied. “It was not my intention to cause you any harm.”
“Then why don’t you release me, and I can be on my way,” Harry replied.
“I would be happy to,” Albus replied, as he released Harry from his bindings. “And I must apologize for Alastor. He was never supposed to cause you any harm.”
It surprised Harry when Dumbledore actually released him, but he pressed forward anyway. “And my wand?” he asked, holding out his hand.
“Ah yes,” Albus said, holding up the wand. “It is quite a unique wand. Where might I ask? Did you find it?”
Harry could immediately tell what Dumbledore was getting at. Somehow he had figured out his wand came from the vault, probably before he had him brought here.
“Ollivander,” Harry muttered. It was the only thing that made sense. He was the only one that got a good look at his wand.
“What was that, my boy?” Albus asked.
“Ollivander,” Harry repeated. “He’s the one that told you about my wand,” Harry accused.
“Yes,” Albus confirmed. “It takes something quite special for a wand maker of his renown to take notice. So I must insist. Tell me where you got this wand.”
Harry narrowed his eyes at the headmaster. Clearly, the wand maker was not the only informant he had. “I don’t think that’s any of your business. Now give me back my wand.”
“You pilfered this wand from Merlin’s Vault,” Albus accused, laying his cards on the table. “I wonder how the Ministry would feel about the theft of a magical artifact such as this?”
Harry started to get worried. He wasn’t exactly sure what the Ministry would do if they found out about the wand. Taking it from him would be bad enough, but now, because he was emancipated, how far would they go?
“Of course, it need not go that far,” Albus revealed. “We can sweep all of this under the rug, so to speak, and the Ministry need not know about any of this. So long as you’re willing to make a few minor concessions, of course.”
“And what are these ‘minor’ concessions?” Harry demanded.
“To start with, you will return home. Your family has missed you dearly,” Albus smiled.
“Really? I find that hard to believe,” Harry denied.
“Oh yes, your father has been calling me on a daily basis, asking about your whereabouts,” Albus explained, a glint in his eyes.
Harry stared back, saying nothing, both of them clearly understanding the subtext of what the other was saying.
“It was quite the spectacle when you solved Merlin’s Cypher. Incredible really. Did you know that over the years, I have tried four separate times to solve it myself?” Albus asked.
“No, I didn’t,” Harry replied flatly.
“Yes, yes. It was quite the achievement, so great, in fact, that it would be very easy for people to believe that you didn’t solve it on your own… Perhaps you had some help from your sister, or she said something in passing that gave you the idea in the first place?” Albus suggested.
Harry openly glared at the man now, “so you want to take nothing less than everything from me?”
“Oh Harry my boy, you exaggerate,” Albus smiled. “I’m just looking out for your best interests. Now that you’re legally an adult, it isn’t simply a case of ‘boys will be boys.’ You could very well end up in Azkaban for this,” he said, twisting the knife.
“Harry, do exactly as I tell you,” Merlin spoke into his head. “Will your wand into your hand. It will always return when its owner calls, then repeat what I tell you.”
Having no other options, Harry did as Merlin asked, raising his hand and concentrating on the wand returning.
The wand shot out of Albus’s hand, slapping into Harry’s open palm, surprising both of them.
“I think I have indulged this fantasy of yours long enough,” Harry repeated Merlin’s words. “This is my wand, no one else’s.”
“You do not have a shred of proof on where I got my wand, and the story you concocted is just that, a story. You will need far more than that for me to even see the inside of a courtroom, far less convicted of anything.”
“Perhaps,” Dumbledore allowed, surprised by how astute Harry was. “But a story is sometimes far more powerful than actual proof. The right article in a newspaper, words whispered into the right ears. That’s all it takes for the public to turn against you, and when that happens, you may not like your chances.”
“I like my chances just fine,” Harry bluffed. “After all, if any of what you say comes to pass, how long will it take before Gloria or the Potter family’s reputation gets dragged down with me?”
“How long before a reporter digs into Gloria’s past? What do you think will happen if they uncover all those stories about her you buried? What will happen to the reputation of your girl-who-lived after that?” Harry asked.
The smile dropped off Albus’s face immediately. If the world at large found out about Gloria’s true nature, it would be a disaster, both in Britain and internationally.
“… Then there is little choice in the matter,” Albus said as he stood up, drawing his wand.
Immediately Harry felt alarm bells going off in his head. There was no way he could survive a duel with Dumbledore.
“You won’t remember any of this, Harry, but you really should have taken my offer. It would have been much easier for y-”
“RUN!!” Merlin screamed into his head.
“Fumos!” Harry shouted before Dumbledore could finish, covering the office in thick smoke.
“Through the door behind you,” Merlin said.
Harry quickly ducked under the chair, staying low to the ground as he made a mad dash to the door. He pulled it open. The smoke billowed out the door as he started running down the stairs as fast as he could.
He knew he had a few seconds at most for the Headmaster to catch up.
‘How do I get out of here?’ Harry thought.
“Duck!” Merlin shouted.
Harry didn’t think, he just dropped as a jet of red light passed an inch above his head as he made it into the hallway.
Harry frantically looked around, trying to find a place to hide before running for the stairs in desperation. He could hear the footfalls of the headmaster behind him, getting closer.
“To the right,” Merlin shouted.
Harry jumped to the side, just missing the spell by inches as he made it to the stairs and ran down to the floor below.
The only advantage he had over Dumbledore was his youth, and the more distance he could put between himself and the older wizard, the better.
Harry glanced over his shoulder to see Dumbledore at the top of the stairs, looking down at him.
Albus observed Harry critically. Alistar had not been exaggerating about him. His spell repertoire was small, but he was fast and could think quickly.
There was no point in throwing another spell from here. Harry had already proven himself adept at dodging them. The greater distance would only make it easier for him.
“Piertotum Locomotor,” Albus cast as he pointed his wand at the stone gargoyle, directing it to restrain Harry.
Harry’s eyes widened as the gargoyle came to life and chased him down the stairs.
‘What do I do?’ Harry thought.
“Keep running,” Merlin answered.
Harry knew he didn’t have a spell to deal with the gargoyle. His only hope was to outrun it, but it was much faster than the Headmaster.
Turning on his heel, Harry ran down the hallway, the gargoyle getting closer with every step.
“It’s fast,” Merlin observed, “but only in a straight line… It has no grip on the stone floor. Turn left now!”
Harry turned sharply, going down the hallway, not even looking as he heard the loud crash behind him.
“Don’t stop!” Merlin warned.
It was only a few seconds later that he heard the thud of the gargoyle behind him as it chased him again, quickly making up the ground that it lost.
‘I don’t know how much longer I can keep going,’ Harry thought as his lungs started to burn.
Harry took another turn, a right this time, and heard the gargoyle crash into the wall behind him again.
That was where Harry’s luck ran out. The last turn had taken him to a dead end. He turned around, but the gargoyle was already back on its feet and growling menacingly at him, blocking his way.
“Flipendo!” Harry shouted, trying to knock back the gargoyle, but it barely moved an inch. “Diffindo,” Harry tried, with the same result, not even leaving a scratch on the stone.
“An excellent attempt, my boy,” Albus said as he arrived behind the gargoyle. “But you have to know, this was the only way it was going to end.”
“Hogwarts is the most secure building in all of Britain. The security anti-apparition wards are second to none and extend to the Hogwarts grounds as well. There is no escape.”
“Anti-apparition,” Harry repeated as his eyes widened. Dumbledore said anti-apparition, but nothing about portkeys.
Harry fished out the card the Goblins gave him from his pocket, taking the slim chance he had been offered. “Gringott,” Harry said, disappeared with a small pop.
Albus’s jaw dropped at the unexpected move from Harry. How had he got his hands on a goblin made portkey?
Chasing after him inside Gringotts was a nonstarter. The goblins would never allow it for one, and just the hint of it would mean no end of trouble from Fudge.
Harry dropped to his knees, gasping for breath as the sweat rolled down his face. He had no idea if the portkey would even work. His escape came down to pure luck.
Moody had come out of nowhere, catching him completely off guard, and the fight he had with Dumbledore, if you could even call it that, was laughably one sided.
He only escaped because Dumbledore made the same mistake as Moody, and shear dumb luck on his side.
“Are you alright Harry Potter?” a goblin said as he walked up to him.
“We’re going to need to find you an account manager and a solicitor,” Merlin said. “Talk to the Chairman.”
“Griphook?” Harry asked, remembering the goblin from his first visit. “I’m alright, if possible, I would like to speak with the chairman.”
“Right this way, Harry Potter,” the Griphook said as he led him past the waiting customers and to the elevator.
Harry entered the Chairman’s office to find Gringott already waiting for him.
“Hello Harry Potter,” Gringott greeted him. “How can Gringotts bank help you today?”
“To start with, I was hoping to use a post owl, if you can spare one,” Harry asked politely.
“Certainly,” Gringott said as he opened the window and an owl flew in.
Harry took a piece of parchment and a pen from the goblin’s desk, quickly jotting down a note for Ben.
It’s Harry. I don’t know how much you saw from the fight, but someone working for Dumbledore captured me.
I escaped, barely. But the house is no longer safe to go back to. You have to leave before they come back looking for me.
I’ve already paid for an open-ended ticket for you. It’s waiting at the airport under your name.
I’m sorry about this Ben, I never should have gotten you involved in this.
Harry handed the letter to the waiting owl and watched it fly off into the night.
“The last time we spoke, you said that there were people that could help me manage my money, solicitors, public relations people?” Harry asked. “How do I get in contact with them?”
“I have a list here for you,” Gringott replied, as he handed him a piece of parchment.
Harry glanced at the list of seven names, wondering where to start.
“All of them are bound by oath to keep your secrets and advise you to the best of their ability,” Gringott added. “The only difference between them is what they specialize in.”
“I need someone that will handle investments, public relations, charity work, and legal issues,” Harry said as he took a moment to consult with Merlin.
“Then there’s only one name on the list that you’ll be interested in, Theodore Tonks,” Gringott advised.
“I need to see him now,” Harry said.
“It’s a little late for that,” Gringott said as he pointed out the window, “but I can arrange for you to have a meeting with him first thing in the morning.”
“Thank you,” Harry said.
“Of course,” Gringott replied. “Will there be anything else Gringotts can assist you with?”
“Someone was able to find where I was staying for the summer. Is there a place I can go that I won’t be found again?” Harry asked.
“Careful Harry,” Merlin warned. “The goblins of today are not that different from my day. It will do you no good to find yourself in their debt.”
‘I don’t have much of a choice,’ Harry thought back. ‘If Dumbledore found me once, he can do it again.’
“If you would like, you may stay as a guest of Gringotts. There’s no safer place in Britain,” Gringott replied.
“Thank you,” Harry said. “How much will my stay cost?”
“As you are a new client, we will waive the fee for the duration of your stay, but it is normally 100 galleons per night,” Gringott replied as he called for someone to show Harry to his room.
A moment later Griphook returned with a human woman.
“Griphook will show you to your suite,” Gringott said. “If that will be all Harry Potter, I have another meeting I am late for.”
Mary remained silent until the door closed behind her. “You knew he would come back.”
“It was only a matter of time,” Gringott agreed. “And just as I expected, Harry Potter is not not only grateful for the bank’s assistance, he is also using our other services.”
“When he came in, it looked like he had been put through the ringer,” Mary observed. “How did you know he would get away, sir?”
“That is what the portkey was for,” Gringott explained. “If he was smart enough to solve Merlin’s cypher, then he would be smart enough to use it when he needed it.”
So, what did you think of the latest chapter? It took a little over 47k words but Harry had his first fight.
I wanted to show Harry as being skilled for his age, but still no match for a fully trained wizard. He had a good showing, but it was mostly due to luck and complacency on Moody’s part.
How did you feel about Harry’s confrontation with Dumbledore? I wanted to show him as powerful, but only willing to get his own hands dirty as a last resort, and preferring to act through others.
I also wanted to make it clear that both Albus and Alastor underestimated Harry, but will not make the same mistake again.
BTW for anyone that’s interested, after a conversation with Cerulean I created my own website to post on as well, which was surprisingly easier than I thought. jumpinfiction.com.
It has the same tier levels as here, so if you would like to access the new chapters from there let me know and I can arrange it so you don’t get double billed.