Log in

No account? Create an account
lady_altair [userpic]

A Good Way to Fall

November 21st, 2007 (03:07 pm)

i'm feeling: crappy


A Good Way to Fall

{how Alastor Moody came to use his flask, and six other drabbles on the man before Mad-Eye}

Alastor Moody receives his first Secrecy Sensor in 1904 from his best friend, in celebration of his graduation from the Auror Academy. From the moment he pulls the thing from its wrappings, it starts vibrating. Violently.

Benjy Fenwick is convinced the damn thing is defective. He bangs it on the table a few times, shaking his head. “There aren’t any secrets between us, Ally, I don’t know what’s possessed the thing.”

Alastor can only be horribly relieved when his best friend finally takes his leave, the ‘defective’ Secrecy Sensor in his hand.

He’s still trying to figure out how to tell his best friend that he’s just asked Benjy’s little sister to marry him, especially since the man hasn’t a clue that Alastor has even been courting her.

Kitty always accuses him (playfully) of paranoia. He thinks he’s gone and proved it, carrying a pocket Sneakoscope to his own wedding.


It’s perfectly silent as Kitty Fenwick recites her vows with a blinding, beautiful smile on her face.

Alastor doesn’t feel like a man anymore, thumping around on his crutches, missing a leg. He’s twenty-six years old and he’s crippled and he wallows in the self-pity of a handsome young man who has only just realised he is not indestructible.


Kitty teases him gently, frustrates him with her words until he pushes her down onto their bed and she makes him feel like a man again and he realises that’s what she intended all along.

He complains about the crutches one day and she transfigures the leg of their dining room table. She’s wretched at Transfiguration, and the prosthetic is still a claw-footed table leg, and he badgers her affectionately until she threatens to pull it off and beat him over the head.

Alastor wears it to the end of his life.

Kitty likes red wine at dinner; Alastor prefers pumpkin juice.


She orders it at the Auror’s Christmas Ball, but her eyes go wide as she brings the goblet to her mouth. “I can’t drink this,” she tells him, setting the vessel down. Kitty is eager to do everything right; when their child is born, it will be perfect.

He gives her his pumpkin juice, and she smiles in gratitude. He orders another drink.

Kitty falls from her chair before it even arrives, crying. Alastor watches helplessly as poison wrings life from her body, stealing her vision, her hearing…she cries in the end because she is deaf, blind, alone in darkness and she cannot even feel his desperate touch on her skin as he holds her. And then she fades, and her breathing stops, and two innocent lives end as her blind brown eyes slide shut.

Some of his colleagues in later years will laugh at his hip flask, think that his refusal to eat or drink anything he’s not made personally is the paranoid habit of a mad old man. Perhaps it is, but Kitty’s agonising death in his arms lives in full colour in the back of his mind until the day he dies.

He smashes his Foe-Glass when he must go home without his wife, because she is lying cold and dead in some Ministry investigative office with their never-to-be-born child forever cradled inside of her.


There’s a man in the glass, he sees before he shatters it into a thousand pieces. He memorises the face; he can see the whites of his eyes.

A boggart lives in the third compartment of his trunk for years. He keeps it locked there, because he knows he can’t banish it.


It takes the form of a grey-skinned Kitty, her dark hair tangled and her accusing brown eyes shadowed under with charcoal crescents. She holds a silent, grey newborn in a 
tattered blanket in her arms. 

Look what you've done to me, Ally.

He could recite the incantation for days; there is nothing he could fashion out of this sad, beautiful illusion that would ever make him laugh.

It’s a good way to fall, he decides as the curse rushes up at him. By Voldemort’s hand, protecting Harry, upright, wand up in defiance…not bad at all.


The electric blue eye rolls on the ground; it’ll be scavenged later, but Alastor doesn’t need it, doesn’t miss it.

He looks at Kitty with his own two eyes, standing on his own two feet and she smiles.



Posted by: Liliaeth (liliaeth)
Posted at: November 22nd, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)

wow lovely look at a way underused character

Posted by: E McGee (melusinahp)
Posted at: November 23rd, 2007 09:58 am (UTC)

OMG. This was amazing! So pwerful, so beautiful. XXX

Posted by: elsane (elsane)
Posted at: November 28th, 2007 05:28 am (UTC)

Oh, lovely. I loved your take on Moody's hip flask. And the peg leg, gorgeous.

Posted by: Aimee (huffle_the_puff)
Posted at: December 16th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)

Hi, this is TheOriginalHufflepuff from ffnet, by the way. Every time I read this it gets better! xD

-Huffie x

Posted by: shiiki (shiiki)
Posted at: December 30th, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)

I just found this through Coffee and Chocolate (a HP recs site), so I hope you don't mind a review popping out of nowhere! Anyway ... very nice look at Moody, with some lovely backstory that I thought explained his characterisation in the books very well! I thoroughly enjoyed reading!

Posted by: lady_altair (lady_altair)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
sleeping beauty

thank you so much! random reviews on older pieces are just thrilling because you just never expect them! it's lovely to know i've been recced like that, as well, thank you so much!

Posted by: (Sara Elizabeth); (inksplotched)
Posted at: March 18th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)

Dear Lady Altair,

Congratulations! Your story A Good Way to Fall has been nominated for an Hourglass Award in the "Best Drabbles" Category!

The Hourglass Awards, sponsored by unknowableroom.org, recognize and reward outstanding Harry Potter fanfiction of all types and genres. Members of the Harry Potter fandom nominate their favorite fics by category, and then volunteer judges (also members of the fandom) evaluate each fic according to a set of criteria specific to the category in which the fic has been nominated. The judges' evaluations are then used to select the best fic in each category: the category winner. Category winners will be announced on unknowableroom.org by May 15. Each category winner will be presented with an award banner made by the site's graphic designer, Musetta.

For more information on the Hourglass Awards and to see the list of nominated fics, go here. If you wish to nominate fics of your own, click here; nominations end on March 31. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at hourglass@unknowableroom.org.

Again, congratulations on your nomination, and best of luck!

The Unknowable Room Staff

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 25th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)

So I just some anonymous fic reader who found this also from Coffee & Chocolate... and this isn't the first time I've read this, but fanfic almost never makes me cry, and I just about teared up at this. If that was your intention, great job! Somehow the voice we hear here seems quite consistent with Moody despite the way you've drawn his past. Great job!

Posted by: glynngriffiths (glynngriffiths)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)

Exceptionally well done - really, you've managed to convey so much, an entire life, in so few words, and it doesn't feel lacking at all. I think this is now my personal canon backstory to Moody; it's all plausible, and more importantly, it all rings true. Nice job!

Posted by: werewolfsfan (werewolfsfan)
Posted at: January 8th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)

When I saw your name in the list of Hourglass awards, I had to click as I so enjoyed your Lily Potter drabble that's nominated for a Quibbler Award.
I'm completely overwhelmed by this tale. I adore the minor characters of the Harry Potter series and it's always them that I feel the need to know more about. And I confess to having a 'ting for Mad Eye ..... (If gazillions of fans can worship Snape, surely Alastor deserves a few?) However, I had always suspected that his heart was taken before we even met. Thank you for sharing Alastor and Kitty's story. Now excuse me because I'm crying again .....

Posted by: Feather Quill (featherxquill)
Posted at: August 20th, 2010 11:53 am (UTC)

Wow. What a fantastic exploration of a minor character. The brevity of this just makes it even more powerful.

Posted by: Shefa (shefa)
Posted at: December 16th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)

Ooh, this is heartbreaking. Beautifully written and insightfully drawn.

12 Read Comments