Snape was looking down at Moody, and Harry couldn’t see the expression on his face. For a moment, nobody moved or said anything. Then Snape slowly lowered his hands.

“I merely thought,” said Snape, in a voice of forced calm, “that if Potter was wandering around after hours again… it’s an unfortunate habit of his… he should be stopped. For—for his own safety.”

“Ah, I see,” said Moody softly. “Got Potter’s best interests at heart, have you?”

There was a pause. Snape and Moody were still staring at each other, Mrs. Norris gave a loud meow, still peering around Filch’s legs, looking for the source of Harry’s bubble bath smell.

“I think I will go back to bed,” Snape said curtly.

“Best idea you’ve had all night,” said Moody. “Now, Filch, if you’ll just give me that egg—”

“No!” said Filch, clutching the egg as though it were his firstborn son. “Professor Moody, this is evidence of Peeves’ treachery!”

“It’s the property of the champion he stole it from,” said Moody. “Hand it over, now.”

Snape swept downstairs and passed Moody without another word. Filch made a chirruping noise to Mrs. Norris, who stared blankly at Harry for a few more seconds before turning and following her master. Still breathing very fast, Harry heard Snape walking away down the corridor; Filch handed Moody the egg and disappeared from view too, muttering to Mrs. Norris, “Never mind, my sweet… we’ll see Dumbledore in the morning… tell him what Peeves was up to…”

A door slammed. Harry was left staring down at Moody, who placed his staff on the bottommost stair and started to climb laboriously toward him, a dull clunk on every other step.

“Close shave, Potter,” he muttered.

“Yeah… I—er… thanks,” said Harry weakly.

“What is this thing?” said Moody, drawing the Marauder’s Map out of his pocket and unfolding it.

“Map of Hogwarts,” said Harry, hoping Moody was going to pull him out of the staircase soon; his leg was really hurting him.

“Merlin’s beard,” Moody whispered, staring at the map, his magical eye going haywire. “This… this is some map, Potter!”

“Yeah, it’s… quite useful,” Harry said. His eyes were starting to water from the pain. “Er—Professor Moody, d’you think you could help me—?”

“What? Oh! Yes… yes, of course…”

Moody took hold of Harry’s arms and pulled; Harry’s leg came free of the trick step, and he climbed onto the one above it. Moody was still gazing at the map.

“Potter…” he said slowly, “you didn’t happen, by any chance, to see who broke into Snape’s office, did you? On this map, I mean?”

“Er… yeah, I did…” Harry admitted. “It was Mr. Crouch.”