The Plan of the Three 'A's
Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, paranoid-skilled-insane Auror Supreme, had turned up at the Hog's Head pub for a chat with Abe, before going off to the Castle to meet Albus, Abe's brother. It was one of those rare idyllic times in the war, a very small lull before an oncoming storm. It was a rare luxury, and with the way things were, for Mad-Eye, it was even more so. The grizzled old Auror was no stranger to battle, torment, torture and such. He had lost the use of one leg, and now had to use a clawed wooden fake leg and a scary magical eye (even Mad-Eye was scared) to boot. He had experienced a lot.
Of the two Dumbledore brothers, Aberforth or Abe, as his friends knew him, was by Alastor's definition, a friend. An operative of the Order that Abe was, he did not really bother with the rules that his old coot of a brother had set. They had been ambushed during the War against Grindelwald, and the man had had Mad-Eye's back at a time when his motto of Constant Vigilance had failed him. One of the cross-trained Nazi/Grindelwald blokes had aimed the gun at the back of his head and he would have not lived had Abe not turned the head of that punk to pulp. That had been the point where a look of understanding had passed between the two warriors.
At the moment, Abe had a look on his face that suggested that someone was trying to sell him a pound of rotten hippogriff dung as a crate of the finest Firewhiskey money could buy.
"Albus in the house, I take it?" Alastor asked with whatever passed off as akin to mirth for him.
"Worse," replied Abe. "Albus is sequestered in a private room with a batty woman who was telling me that something momentous will happen in this bar tonight. "Something that will change the course of the war," she said," reported Abe in a very scratchy, put-on, terrible parody of a mystical voice.
"You are a pervert, aren't you Abe? If I never needed an image it was that one. What's gonna happen? Albus Dumbledore knocks her up, gets reinvigorated and battles of Volde – damn it, he has gone and put up a taboo – You-Know-Who to protect the love of his life and the unborn child?"
"Were it not for the fact that you did not give me your hip-flask to refill, I'd have wagered that you have been roaming around, a drunk raving lunatic. Not that I wouldn't like the idea of a new little Dumbledore – Merlin knows, we have had too little to celebrate – but you know that Albus is more likely to get knocked up than knock somebody up."
The two gnarled old wizards stared at each other, magical eye and all, before cracking up into peals of insane laughter at the mental picture of a heavily pregnant Albus Dumbledore. That was definitely a picture neither wanted to imagine, and now their brains wouldn't let go of it. It was well worth it, after all. They had precious little of anything to laugh about, so even the crudest, crassest humour would do. Albus Dumbledore became an unwitting receptacle of a very filthy joke he would never know about.
"What room is he in anyway?"
"Room 13," Abe replied primly.
"Couldn't have found a grimmer number," Moody muttered. He turned the magical eye to gaze in the direction of Room 13.
"Say Abe, you have got some basic first aid and privacy charms on the doors, don't you?"
"What?" Abe asked. He was flabbergasted. "I can't seriously believe Albus is getting up to such shenanigans at that age!"
"No, you've got me wrong," Mad-Eye said, as he casually disillusioned and deodorised himself and Abe and silenced their shoes and clothes. "The 'batty woman', as you called her, is spewing out what I am sure is an honest-to-Merlin prophecy, and we have got a Death Eater listening at the door."
Abe shot out of his seat towards the room, while Mad-Eye simply apparated to the end of the corridor soundlessly. "Stupid barman," he grumbled, "Doesn't know his arse from the beer-bottle." He sidled up towards where Severus Snape, Death Eater, Greasy Bat, and Potions Master extraordinaire was stood, listening on the conversation of elders like a naughty, errant child. He cast a listening charm at the door, and what he heard was something that froze his, Alastor Moody's blood in his veins.
"THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES...BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES ...AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT . . . AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES. . . . THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES. . . ."
Snape jerked beside him and crashed to the ground with a resounding 'thud'. Abe had stunned the poor sod. All of a sudden, the door swung open, as Albus Dumbledore, with a truly terrifying expression, thundered, "What is the meaning of this?"
He then saw the limp form of Severus Snape at his feet, and his friend and brother looking at the self-same form with identical grim expressions.
Albus opened his mouth to ask the routine identity questions when Alastor interrupted with a snarl, "Save it, Albus. You can ask me all the bloody questions once I am done giving you a thorough bollocking over not casting privacy charms, you old goat. The five year-old muggle sister and eighty year-old muggle grandmother of my latest recruit does better at secrecy and privacy than you do!" He then proceeded to shove both Snape and Dumbledore unceremoniously inside the room and entered, Abe following in his wake. Alastor calmly put up every single privacy spell on the room that he knew – and being as paranoid as he was, he knew too many. He then stunned Trelawney for good measure. Not that it made any difference of course, considering that she was still in the trance. Then they were subjected to Mad-Eye's tests of truth. Only when he was satisfied (and checked by Abe) did Mad-Eye proceed with the matters at hand.
"What are we going to do now?" Moody asked nobody in particular.
"Well we know of two children who are going to be born to order members at the end of July," replied Albus tentatively. "We should keep them under protections."
"Why?" asked Abe.
"Why? Why would they need more protection than any other Order member?"
"What do you mean? When Tom comes to know about the Prophecy..."
"Why would he know about the Prophecy?" asked Abe again. "We are going to kill this shite-turd here and now!"
"But then who will fight Tom then?"
"Albus, you have never shown your age before! Are you mental?" growled Alastor. "You expect a kid to fight that abomination, after you deliberately leak the Prophecy to him?"
Abe's eyes widened in understanding and then narrowed in fury. He got up, and punched Albus on his nose, breaking it once again. "You are stupid, you old senile piece of shite! You want to control the kid as your weapon! I thought you would change, but you are just the same as you were at the age of nineteen!"
Alastor did not know what Abe was referring to, but whatever it was, caused Albus to pale considerably, even without his nose serving as the source for a river of blood.
"Alright, calm down, now," he ordered. He healed Albus, forced Abe down into his seat, and started again. "Albus, that is about the most heinous thing I have heard. And Abe, however much you want to beat Albus up, please calm down, or I will petrify you." Abe was still glaring at his brother murderously.
After about five minutes, when tempers had cooled down sufficiently, Albus sighed wearily and looked every bit his ninety four years of age. "Abe...thank you. I need to be reminded every now and then of the fact. I am just tired. I have fought one war too many..."
"And I am sorry for bringing that up," Abe responded stiffly.
"If your little family drama is done, we have still to decide what to do about this," he said grimacing at Snape.
"He will be called to Tom's side, Alastor. That mark is a Protean Charm."
"Then, we simulate death for him, for a few days. We shall then bring the Potters and Longbottoms on board. I have a plan," Alastor said grinning hideously.
Abe groaned. The last time they had followed Alastor's convoluted plan, they had polyjuiced as muggle women and gone to the bar where DEs were having a merry time, and joined them. The DEs had become completely pissed and the Alastor, Frank Longbottom, Benjy Fenwick and Abe had ended up arresting twelve DEs. But the thing that people still remembered was the four impersonating women – and very beautiful women at that.
Albus was all ears though. "I am listening."
"You are a master at Mind Magics, Albus. We will leak a Prophecy to You-Know-Who," he continued over Abe's murderous look, "not the Prophecy."
That elicited wry grins from the two Dumbledores.
"You mean to spring a trap."
"Exactly!" replied Mad-eye, glad that Albus had caught on to the plan very quickly. "For too long, Albus, we have been on the defensive. Now is the chance to end the war before we suffer any more losses. We kill that sick puppy on a day of our choosing if this goes right. Firstly, we find out who the spy is. Then we plant the proper parts of the plan into the brains of both this shite," (he illustrated his point by kicking Snape where it hurts...the most; of course the two other males winced hard at that), "and the spy, so that they lead him to where we want him to be. And we shouldn't bother to engage him in a fight. We put him down under very heavy anti-apparition wards, anti-portkey, anti-elf transport...you name it. Then we seal the place up, and blow it up with him inside; fair and simple."
"That is a very nice idea, Alastor; but there are a few glaring hitches. For one, I am pretty sure that Tom has delved into necromantic arts. So we cannot be sure that he will die, should we manage it. The second thing is that each real prophecy is recorded in the Department of Mysteries. And I am very sure that it too has been infiltrated."
"You don't worry about the second part. Leave that to me. I promise you that that matter will be dealt with. Do you have any particular suspicions?"
"Merlin! No. I don't even know who works there. But it is an important place as far as magical intelligence is concerned."
"Right you are! I'll deal with it."
"And the third..."
"There is a third?"
"Yes. Will the Potters and/or the Longbottoms consent to being the goat – sorry Abe – tied to the pole to bring in the quarry?"
"I have a way to convince them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained old boy."
"I have one thing to ask though, Alastor. What of the Prophecy, should we intervene this way?"
"Albus, you whiskered old fool, don't you see how open ended that Prophecy is? Which Dark Lord? Seventh month of which calendar is being referred to? What would marking as an equal mean? Does that mean that the kid who'd be marked will take this Dark Lord's Place? If we do not intervene, we set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy. If nobody ever knows the real words, why would anyone care what it was, once the current Dork Lard is offed? Have you recently been shoving your head so far up your arse that you have to fart to breathe?"
Albus looked heavily offended at that, but Abe took over, "Nobody will bat an eyelid if you trap and destroy YKW. Do that by muggle means and we deal a blow to their beliefs to, Albus. Secondly, if we – and it is 'we' now, because we have heard and are involved – allow the prophecy to go through to fruition, some kid, if he survives, will be saddled with a responsibility he never asked for before he can even get out of his nappies. We are the adults here, Al. Why destroy a life when there is another plan to take advantage of this fortuitous occurrence?"
Albus stopped short at that. Why indeed, should he descend to destroying the life of a little child, still growing in his or her mother's womb? Why, instead of providing the child a safe haven to be born into, should he thrust the responsibility on its shoulders?
To sweeten the deal, Mad-Eye added, "If as you say, YKW is into necromancy, we can start training both children, and any other magical kids that we know will be born at the end of July. Instead of creating trouble for the Potters and Longbottoms, you could instead use their political power to enforce the necessary changes, Albus."
It appealed to Albus immensely. He was well aware of his advancing age, and this was a chance to leave a lasting legacy. Alastor and Aberforth could see the wheels churning in the old man's head. They were his friends, yes, but they also knew that he was at least a little bit vain.
"What to do with these two?" Abe asked, pointing at Snape and Trelawney.
"Dose him up with the Draught of Living Death and keep an antidote at hand. We need to reconstruct his memory of the night...maybe create a believable capture and escape story when he reports back to the old blighter. The 'batty woman' though..."
"I'll put her up in Hogwarts. Nobody else knows but us three, and Snape does not know who she is. She will be protected there."
"That makes sense. But I don't think much of your students, Albus – the elder ones, particularly. They could be reporting to their parents, or might be marked, themselves. The Prophet here will have to be kept a complete secret, at least as long as YKW is still around for the here and now."
"There are several passageways into Hogwarts. I know one that is in the Shrieking Shack and goes through the tunnel under the Willow. Once inside, I can apparate her to the currently unoccupied tower which was to serve as the Divination teacher's quarters."
"That works," Mad-Eye said, though he said it in a very strained manner.
Albus saw that both Abe and Alastor's mouths were twitching slightly. "What?" he asked.
"Just that I never thought that Alastor and I would be helping you smuggle a woman into the castle," Aberforth replied through barely suppressed snickers, as Alastor followed suit.
Albus could only huff in indignation.