Chapter 9: Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Claire stayed away from Hogwarts. Harry sent her many letters, asking her how she was and if she was safe. Claire sent letters back, asking him how the Tournament was going and how he was. Time past and one note that she received from Harry read:
The final challenge is about to take place and I really need some of your special support. Please come home, I miss you.
Claire read the note and turned to face Moon and her pack. She flashed them a smile and shifted back, asking Hedwig to lead her back to Hogwarts. Claire shifted and bounded behind Hedwig's shadow, eagerness fueling her every stride. She ran out of her forest and into the Forbidden Forest. As she reached the edge of the forest, she heard Dumbledore's voice, but she was still too far away to make clear what he was saying. Letting out a small whine, Claire continued on at a trot, Hedwig landing on her back for a ride. Nearing the arena, Claire shifted back to human and lingered at the walls, avoiding the eyes of people. She heard Harry being sent into the maze as Hedwig flew off her shoulder. Claire moved towards the entrance and slid into an open chair. Amid the noise of the crowd, Claire heard her name being called by Hermione. Glancing up, she saw her sitting with Ron. Claire smiled and went to sit with Hermione and Ron. "Claire, how are you?" Hermione asked when Claire nestled next to her.
"Just fine." Claire said.
Ron leaned forward and asked, "Where did you go?"
"Home." Claire said, "But I came back because Harry asked me to."
Just then a red flare shot up from the maze. "Oh no." Hermione said as some of the teachers went into the maze.
They returned shortly with Fleur Delacour, who looked like she had tangled with the dangerous end of one of the shrubs. Moments past and anxiety settled over the entire crowd. In a sudden flash, Harry appeared with the Cup and Cedric Diggery… who wasn't moving. Claire could smell the death hit the air and let out a light whimper. The rest of the crowd eventually figured that Cedric was dead when Harry refused to be parted from him and Cedric's father began to cry and scream, "That's my boy!"
Dumbledore eventually pried Harry off Cedric. He was then taken by Moody. Sensing something amiss, Claire moved to follow her father and Harry. She followed them at a distance and lingered in the doorway until she heard Moody ask, "Were there others? In the graveyard, were there others?"
Harry had never mentioned that he went to a graveyard. Claire entered the room.
"'Marvelous creatures, Dragons, aren't they'. Do you think that miserable oaf would've sent you into the woods if I hadn't suggested it? Do you think Cedric Diggory would've told you to open the egg underwater if I hadn't told him first myself? Do you think Neville Longbottom, the witless wonder, could've provided you with Gillyweed if I hadn't given him the book that led him strait to it?" Moody said. Claire could sense that something wasn't right. Apparently, so did Harry.
"It was you from the beginning! You put my name into the Goblet of Fire! You bewitched Krum!" Harry shouted at him.
"You won because I made it so, Potter! You ended up in that graveyard because it was meant to be so! And now the deed is done! The blood that runs in your veins runs within the Dark Lord! Imagine how he will reward me when he learns that I have once and for all silenced the great Harry Potter!" Moody said, raising his wand, but Claire was faster; she shifted and had pinned Moody into the chair, knocking his wand away and holding him by the throat, growling.
'Not a chance.' Claire thought out loud to both Harry and Moody.
Dumbledore and the other teachers entered the room and Dumbledore gently placed a hand on Claire's shoulder and the wolkin released her hold. Her fangs were replaced by a wand; equally deadly yet not nearly as intimidating. Snape stepped forward and poured Veritaserum down Moody's throat. "What's my name?" Dumbledore asked, taking Moody by the throat.
"Albus Dumbledore." Moody said.
"Are you Alastor Moody?" Dumbledore asked.
"No." The false Moody said.
Claire let out a small growl. "Is he in this room?" she asked through gritted teeth.
Moody glanced at the large chest in the corner of his room. Before anyone could move, Claire had crossed to the chest and ran her hand down by the lock. Immediately, the chest began to open. As the chest quieted, the lid opened and Claire looked down. There, lying in the corner in his underwear was her true father. "Dad, are you alright?" Claire asked, leaning over the edge.
Moody nodded a bit. Satisfied that her father was safe for the moment, Claire turned back around to see the false Moody change into Barty Crouch Jr. Barty glanced around in a nervous fashion before lunging at Harry. Quicker than a flash, Claire was between Barty and Harry with her teeth bared in her wolf form. Shying back into the chair, Barty sat back down. "Claire, take Harry out of here. Severus, alert the Dementors, they might find that one of their prisoners is missing." Dumbledore instructed.
Nodding her head, Claire gently took Harry's hand in her fangs and lead him away while Barty shouted, "I'll be welcomed back like a hero!"
'Come on Harry!' Claire said, dropping Harry's hand and shifting back to her human form.
Claire led Harry to a small alcove nearby and sat him down. "Let me see that." Claire said gently.
Offering Claire his arm, Harry asked, "Where were you?"
"I went home for a bit… Caught up with my pack and all." Claire said, gently pulling his sleeve up to get a better look at the cut. "This whole incident solves who poisoned me."
"How so?" Harry asked, tipping his head slightly.
"Like I said before, not many people knew the harmful effects wolfsbane has on a wolkin or how to mask it's particular taste and texture. The only person who could have known all of that was Moody… or Crouch Jr. I guess." Claire explained, ripping the hem of her shirt to wrap the wound.
"Claire…" Harry said, taking her chin in his hand to tip her head to look at him. "I missed you."
Claire smiled. "I missed you to Harry." She said before leaning in to give Harry an innocent kiss.
THE END (Don't worry, I'm working on a sequel called Prey.)