Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Touch of Destiny

The God that Failed

by fatlewis 1 review

Dumbledore finds his powers beginning to decline, while Voldemort's are growing. Harry discovers new powers, but will the Wizarding World accept them? The Prophecy is revealed to all, but is it o...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Arthur Weasley, Dumbledore, Lupin, Moody, Professor McGonagall, Snape - Warnings: [!] [!!] [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-09-11 - Updated: 2006-09-12 - 5428 words

Chapter Three
The God that Failed

Albus sat in the living room of number 12 Grimmauld Place and watched the various members of The Order of the Phoenix mill about, now that the meeting had concluded. "If I could have your attention" he began "I would like to speak with Alastor, Minerva, Remus, and Arthur in the kitchen before they leave. The rest of you are dismissed until the next meeting." He waited until the four members of the Order's inner circle had all entered the kitchen before he followed.

As Albus trailed behind them, he reflected on the night's meeting. The loss of Azkaban earlier that day had been a blow, but not an unexpected one. With the apparent defection of the Dementors, the Ministry simply did not possess the manpower to hold the prison against a determined assault.

Alastor had been particularly outspoken about it. He had demanded that the around-the-clock watch over Harry be canceled immediately. He wanted to use the manpower that was being 'wasted on the boy', as he put it, to set up a stand-by force of Order members who would be ready to respond in a moments notice to any report of Death Eater activity. The idea definitely had merit and was worth exploring, but not at the expense of Harry's protection. Dumbledore hoped that Alastor would understand that in a few moments.

The only other revelation at the meeting had come from Arthur Weasley. Apparently, his son Percy had come to see him at the Ministry earlier in the day. After a brief reconciliation, Percy came to the real point of his visit. Minister Fudge had done a complete turnaround now that he could no longer deny Voldemort's return. Through Percy, Arthur had learned that Fudge was going to be holding a press conference tomorrow to announce his comprehensive plan for combating the threat of Voldemort.

It was a very subtle but encouraging political move on the Minister's part. He was using Percy as a back-channel, of sorts, to 'unofficially' inform the Headmaster of his plan of action. By showing his hand in this manner, he was allowing Dumbledore time to make any suggestions he felt necessary before delivering his address. He had to admit: most of what the Minister had planned would be very helpful to those who opposed Voldemort.

Minister Fudge was planning to recall all former Aurors to active duty, and speed up the enrollment and training processes at the Auror Academy. He also planned to institute a series of impressive bounties for those who signed on to hunt known Death Eaters and others bearing the Dark Mark. His hope was that the promise of gold would lure many enterprising foreign wizards to the country to bolster the Ministry's ranks.

Albus had mixed feelings about the influx of skilled Hit Wizards sure to enter the country after this announcement. As long as they remained on the Ministry's side, they were sure to be a good thing. The problem was that those who fought for money had no real allegiance to those they worked for.

Lord Voldemort had the wealth of several old and prominent families at his disposal. If he were to offer them more than the Ministry was able to pay, Albus feared many would have no qualms about joining the Dark Lord. He was planning on suggesting to Fudge that those who registered for the bounties be forced to give an Unbreakable Vow that they would never work for Voldemort.

Probably the most encouraging thing to come from Arthur's meeting with his son was Fudge's promise to use Veritaserum on all suspected Death Eaters who were apprehended. He was also promising to allow the information gained in the subsequent interrogations to be admissible in court.

Minister Fudge's reasoning for this was simple and logical. He planned to wait a full week before administering the potion, as this would allow time for any substance that the suspects may have ingested to counter the Veritaserum to work its way out of their systems. This measure would make it impossible for those on trial to claim that they had been placed under the Imperius Curse and been acting against their will. Albus felt that this measure would also ensure that those captured were guilty before they were sentenced. They couldn't change the past, but they could learn from it.

There was little doubt that Minister Fudge was mostly looking out for his own interests with these forthcoming announcements. His motivations were self-serving, but Dumbledore felt that the measures he was proposing could do a lot of good in the coming struggle against Voldemort.

At a throat-clearing noise from Minerva, Albus returned roughly to the present. Inviting those in attendance to sit, he carefully erected the most powerful anti-eavesdropping wards he could. The information that he was about to pass on was very sensitive, and he didn't want it going beyond those in this room. With his protections now in place, he turned and regarded his closest advisors who were sitting patiently, waiting for him to begin.

"My friends," Albus began "I have asked you to remain behind because I have important information that I feel I must now share with you. I can no longer be the sole guardian of this knowledge. We are at war, and in a war, none of us are safe, not even myself." He ignored the various murmurs of dissent that circled the table in response to his last comment, and continued speaking.

"I am sorry my friends, but it is the simple truth of our current situation. When I dueled with Lord Voldemort at the Ministry, I was nearly killed by an Avada Kedavra that caught me unaware. Regardless of how skilled any of us are in battle, we are only one wrong decision, or misstep, away from our deaths."

"The war that we are embroiled in will determine the fate of our world for years to come. The information I am about to share with you will be the ultimate deciding factor in this conflict. As such, it would be extremely short-sighted of me to believe too much in my own invulnerability. I must prepare for the possibility that I may fall in this war. It will be your task, as the Order's inner circle, to carry on the fight if I do fall. It is my desire that you be equipped with the knowledge that will allow you to triumph in this struggle."

"Please watch what I am about to show you very closely." Dumbledore said, as he placed his Pensieve on the table and activated it. Those seated at the table recognized the ghostly image of Sybill Trelawney that appeared above the device and focused on her intently as she began to speak in a rough voice that was not her own.

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 an 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 ...

Dumbledore watched the faces of those gathered as they listened to the Prophecy. They all registered various degrees of denial, shock, and dismay at what they had just heard. He sat patiently at the head of the table and waited for the inevitable questions to begin. He wasn't surprised that Alastor Moody was the first to recover.

"Well Albus" the grizzled old Auror began. "This explains why you have always been so obstinate whenever I suggest removing Potter's protection detail. Had I known your reasons, I would have agreed with you all along."

"Thank you old friend" Albus responded.

Moody nodded his head in response and said, "I think that we should make plans to double Potter's guard. I understand that the Blood Wards around his relatives' home are very strong, and no wizard who means him harm can touch him there. Unfortunately, given enough time, any ward can be defeated. I say that we should expect the worst, and prepare for it."

"That is a prudent idea Alastor" Albus answered. "If you would remain behind after the others leave, I have another matter that I would like to talk through with you. We can also discuss your safety concerns for Harry in greater detail."

"Albus, how can this be true?" Minerva asked with disbelief evident in her voice. "Potter is just a boy. Prophecy or not, you cannot believe that he is capable of defeating Voldemort. In the years that he has been my student, he has definitely shown promise, but he has constantly failed to live up to it. He certainly has not shown a hint of any great POWER that is capable of vanquishing the Dark Lord."

"I ... wouldn't be so sure of that Minerva" Remus tentatively answered. He still found it difficult to deal with his former Professor as an equal, after so many years as her student. "When I taught Harry back in his third year, he showed an impressive aptitude for defense. Also, he managed to produce a corporeal Patronus at thirteen years of age. As we all know, this is a feat than many adult wizards are incapable of. I think you are selling him rather short."

"Honestly, Remus," countered Minerva in a slightly condescending tone which caused Remus to bristle with resentment, "I think you are allowing your personal feelings for Harry to cloud your judgment. I know that you see him as a link to your lost friends, but you must TRY to look at this objectively."

"I AM looking at this objectively Minerva!" Remus veritably spat back at her as rose from the table and glared at her fiercely. "And this has NOTHING to do with Sirius, James, and Lily. I was merely stating my impressions of Harry from when I taught him. I haven't been your student for a long time Minerva, and I would appreciate it if you would refrain from talking to me like one in the future."

Dumbledore saw the angry flush that was creeping up Minerva's neck and he could tell she was only seconds from launching back a cutting remark at Remus. While Remus was normally very even-tempered, since Sirius' death, he had been very quick to anger. Albus felt that he needed to step in and end this argument before it escalated any further. After all, it did them no good to argue amongst themselves.

"Please" Albus said with authority. "We gain nothing by this pointless bickering. You BOTH make logical points. Let us all calm down and approach this rationally."

"Remus you are correct when you said that Harry's ability to conjure a Patronus and his talent for defense are good signs." Albus saw the first traces of a smirk beginning to form on Remus' face so he was quick to add, "And Minerva was also correct when she stated that, although Harry has shown flashes of brilliance over the years, his abilities have not grown too much beyond what one would expect from a student of his age. She was also correct when she stated that he would have no chance, as of now, of defeating Voldemort. Moving forward, I believe that our goals with regard to Harry should be twofold."

"First, and most importantly, we must protect him from Voldemort. He remains safe at his relatives' for the time being, but it is not a good environment for him. I am sure you have all heard stories of how he is treated there and I do not feel the need to rehash them. Once the Blood Protection has had a chance to renew itself, we will need to make plans to move him elsewhere."

"Moving him here to Grimmauld Place would be the safest course of action, but I don't think it would be good for his well-being to be confined here so soon after Sirius' death. Harry remains a boy, and like most boys his age I think some fresh air and time spent with friends will do wonders for his state of mind. If we can ensure his safety, I would like to see him moved to the Burrow."

"Alastor, I would like you to begin making a preliminary evaluation of the Burrow and grounds. I want a detailed report of all the current wards, and suggestions on how they may be improved." In response, Moody grimly nodded his head.

"Arthur, I want you to help Alastor with this. I am sure that no one knows your home better than you. I think it would be wise for us to enlist your son William in this process as well. His knowledge of Egyptian wards may prove very useful."

Albus cast a concerned glance towards Arthur when he finished addressing him. He seemed to be taking the news of the Prophecy worse than Albus had expected. His face was very pale and he stared ahead blankly. A slight nod of his head was the only indication that showed Albus that he had heard him.

"Moving on to our second goal" Albus said, as he turned his attention back to the others, "We must find some way to awaken the power within Harry that the Prophecy speaks of."

"Remus, I would like you to return to Hogwarts to once again fill the DADA position." Albus held his hand up towards Remus to forestall the arguments that he knew the man was about present. Remus bit his tongue at this signal from the Headmaster and allowed him to continue.

"You are the best Defense teacher that we have had at Hogwarts for many years. Beyond that, you were able to teach Harry the Patronus Charm when you were last there. He likes you, and he obviously responds well to your teaching style. It is my hope that you can continue to develop his skills and find a way to tap into his hidden power."

"Now, as to the objections that I know you have about returning. Whatever your personal feelings on the matter, I want you to understand this. I NEED you to do this Remus. As to any concerns that others may have about your status as a werewolf, you just leave them to me. I daresay that after everything that the Ministry pulled last year, they owe me one and will not put up much of a fuss over the matter."

"Will you help me in this Remus?" Albus asked, imploringly. He could see the inner turmoil that the man was going through, but he allowed him time to make up his mind.

"Headmaster," Remus answered him hesitantly, "it would be an honor to return to Hogwarts and teach again." His response pleased Albus greatly. He was also pleased to see, for the first time since Sirius had died, an honest smile form on the man's face.

"That leaves you Minerva. As Harry's Head of House, I would like you to take a more active role in his life. Give him the occasional prod in the right direction when he needs it. His self-esteem has always been rather low and I think that you can help him with that. I would like you to make him Gryffindor's Quidditch Captain this year."

"I had already planned on offering it to him" she answered Dumbledore.

"Wonderful" he responded, continuing his speech. "While it is too soon for me to have seen Harry's O.W.L results, Minerva, I would like you to prepare for the possibility that he may not have done as well as we would have hoped. You offered to help him with his dream of becoming an Auror and, I would like you to follow through with your promise."

"I think it is good for him to have a goal, as it allows him to look to the future, rather than dwell solely on his pending confrontation with Voldemort. I would even like you to go so far as to tutor Harry in any subjects that his scores preclude him from taking with his classmates. With your help, I hope that he will still be able to sit for the N.E.W.T. exams that the Auror Academy requires.

"Of course Albus," Minerva answered, "I will do whatever I can to help Harry along."

"Thank you, Minerva" he said with a wink, and he turned to address the entire group again.

"That is all that I needed to discuss with you this evening. I am certain that I don't need to remind any of you how vital it is that the knowledge of the Prophecy stays out of Voldemort's hands. I will ask that Alastor remain behind for a moment, but the rest of you may return to your homes for the evening. Be safe my friends."

Arthur was the first out the door after Dumbledore released his wards. Remus and Minerva stood and faced each other awkwardly. They simultaneously blurted out an apology for the angry words they had exchanged earlier. With a curt handshake, all seemed to be forgiven between them and they too, left the kitchen.

Alone with Alastor, Dumbledore got down to business. "Alastor, I would like to suggest to the Minister that they implement your plan for a standby force that can respond immediately to Death Eater attacks. It would mean a vast improvement in their current response time. The Order simply does not have the manpower to make this work. Tell me old friend, how do you suggest we go about this?"

Albus waited patiently for his answer, until he realized that Moody hadn't been listening to him in the first place. His magical eye, which normally was in constant motion as it searched for threats, was focused at the kitchen wall observing something going on in the rest of the house.

"Alastor?" he asked with an exasperated sigh, "What is it? You know how I hate it when you do that while I am talking to you."

With a grunt, both of Moody's eyes focused on the Headmaster as he explained, "I'm sorry Albus, but Snape just arrived. It looked like that snake was giving Arthur and then Remus a hard time about one thing or the other."

"Ah yes, I have been expecting him. Voldemort called a meeting tonight and Severus is here to make his report. Forgive me Alastor, but we will have to continue this discussion later. Come by Hogwarts tomorrow morning and we will talk then."

Moody stood with a grunt of exertion and walked to the door. "I will see you first thing tomorrow, then," he growled over his shoulder as he headed from the room.

Severus Snape strode determinedly into the kitchen as soon as the Ex-Auror had left. He took his wand and cast two quick spells on the door to lock it and give them some privacy. Turning to regard Dumbledore with a hard glare, he asked him coldly, "Is it true Headmaster?"

"Is what true, Severus?" Albus answered as he slid out a chair from the table to offer a seat to the obviously agitated man.

Snape ignored the offered chair and continued, "The Prophecy, Headmaster. Is it true?"

"But, how d.." Albus began in a suddenly concerned tone.

He was cut off almost immediately by Snape's angry voice. "I lifted the information from that idiot Weasley's feeble brain. I assure you that I did not mean to, but the fool was in such an emotional uproar over the matter that he was nearly broadcasting his thoughts about the room. I read them as easily as I would have read the recipe for a Swelling Solution. Please Headmaster, I must know. Is it true?"

Albus leaned back in his chair and seemed to visibly shrink as his shoulders slumped in resignation. He blew out a sigh and said simply, "Sit Severus."

Snape realized that this was not a request and obeyed. Once seated, he kept his black eyes locked on Dumbledore and waited for his explanation.

For a long while, Albus did nothing but stare at the table in front of him. Finally, as if coming to a decision, he produced his Pensieve and placed it on the table. Without a word, he tapped his wand on the rim of the device. Almost immediately, the ghostly image of a much younger Sibyll Trelawney appeared and began to speak.

Albus watched Snape closely as the man listened to the recitation of the Prophecy. Beyond the slight clenching of his jaw, Snape's face showed no reaction to what he was hearing. As the ghostly image finished speaking and disappeared back into the Pensieve, he waited patiently for Snape's expected tirade.

Snape rose from the table in a rush and knocked his chair clattering to the floor. He was breathing heavily as he stepped back and attempted to process what he had just heard. Sybill's words echoed repeatedly through his head.

"Will mark him as an equal," "Power to defeat the Dark Lord," "Either must die by the hand of the other."

After a moment, Snape's breathing slowed and his gaze fixed on Albus who still sat watching him. "So it is true, then," Snape began; no emotion present in his voice. "Fate has chosen her champion, and the world will fall for her choice. Headmaster, there MUST be some other way. Potter is AT BEST an average student, and he possesses no POWER that is capable of defeating the Dark Lord."

He paused for a moment as he returned his upended chair to its feet and resumed his seat at the table. "That is," he continued; sarcasm heavy in his voice, "unless you consider the boy's flagrant disregard for authority and rampant rule-breaking capable of bringing history's most powerful Dark Wizard to his knees."

"Please, Severus," Albus said in a tired, exasperated voice as he cut off the man's rant before it could gather any further steam. "You are not helping matters. As you have just witnessed, the information that you acquired from Arthur is very true. I am disappointed that you would invade his mind the way you did, but nothing can be done for it now."

"Headmaster, Weasley is a liability," Snape spat "why did you reward him with a place in the Order's inner circle? His emotional attachment to Potter is a weakness. If he had this loss of control in front of the wrong person at the Ministry, the Dark Lord would learn of the Prophecy. There is too much at stake. I do not see how you can afford to take such a risk"

"Really, Severus," Albus shot back angrily, "I would expect that YOU of all people would understand how deceiving appearances can be. Arthur is our single greatest source of information within the Ministry. He appears quiet, unassuming, and yes, even eccentric, but this is, in all actuality, a ruse. Arthur is a very astute and competent individual.

"Were it not for my request that he remain in his current position, he would have advanced very high within the Ministry by now. Arthur is well liked by his peers and known to most who work within the Ministry. This fact, along with his considerable skill at Legilimency, allows him to gain carefully guarded information quite easily. He has sacrificed much for our cause, and he deserves your respect.

"Honestly Severus" he continued in a more chastising tone, observing the skeptical look on the Potion Master's face. "Certainly you are not so vain as to think that you are the ONLY spy that the Order employs. And yes, before you ask, Arthur is quite skilled in the mental arts. I instructed him, much as I did you. I will speak with Arthur soon about the necessity of keeping his Occlumency shields intact at all times, but he knows what is at stake here, and I have full confidence in his abilities. The matter is now closed for discussion, so let us move on."

"Of course, sir," Snape answered, taking the rebuke in stride.

"I must stress to you how vital it is that the Prophecy stays out of Voldemort's hands" Albus resumed.

"Headmaster," Snape countered, "you know better than anyone that the Dark Lord can't penetrate my mind. The knowledge is safe with me."

Dumbledore nodded his head in agreement as Snape continued speaking. "What is to be done about Potter?"

"Severus, I will need you to continue Harry's lessons in Occlumency when the school year starts."

"But Headmaster," Snape retorted in disbelief, "you can't be serious! Potter is too dense to grasp even the most basic principles of the art. His lack of progress this past year is proof of that. Besides, as you are well aware, our shared history is less than stellar. It is no secret that I despise the brat with a passion and he feels the same towards me. I don't see what you intend to gain from this. You must realize that further lessons between the two of us will only result in failure."

"Yes, I am well aware of the mutual enmity that you and Harry share" the wizened man responded. "And, I admit that I could have easily found another instructor - one who does not bear a grudge against Harry - to teach him Occlumency. So I ask you Severus, why would I, instead, insist that you be the one to teach him?"

Snape stared blankly at the Headmaster for a moment before he answered. "I am sorry sir, but I don't understand."

Albus sighed as he regarded the man before him. He had hoped that the Head of Slytherin House would have been able to put together the clues he had given him. "Severus," he asked, hoping Snape would put the pieces together this time, "if I could have found a teacher for Harry's lessons who was better suited to the task, why would I insist that YOU give them?"

Again, Snape stared blankly ahead until a sudden spark of realization caused an evil smile to find its way onto his sallow features. "You never intended for the boy to learn Occlumency at all, did you?"

"No, I did not," Albus confirmed. "The information that Harry is receiving through his connection with Voldemort is important to our cause. It would be foolish of me to cut off such a valuable source of intelligence. This is war, Severus, and we are all required make sacrifices. Harry most of all. I am afraid that the discomfort that the boy feels due to his visions is a necessary evil.

"You were quite correct when you said that Harry does not possess the power to defeat Voldemort at this time. However, the Prophecy clearly states that he DOES have this power. It has become my primary goal to find a way to awaken his power, but nothing I have attempted so far has borne fruit. I feel that we must resort to more - unorthodox methods.

"This is the reason why I insisted that you give him Occlumency lessons. I counted on a certain... friction, between the two of you. It is my hope, that by continuing to subject Harry to your company - under the pretext of these lessons - we can force his true power to manifest itself. Now that you understand my intentions, I trust that you will use every means at your disposal to help bring about the result that we desire."

Snape regarded the man in front of him with newfound respect. If he understood correctly, he had basically been given free rein to mistreat his least favorite student in the hope that he would somehow trigger the power that the Prophecy spoke of. It was a very Slytherin way to approach the problem, and Severus could not help but admire that.

"You can count on me, Headmaster," was his response. Snape couldn't keep the smirk of anticipation from his face. He was surprised to find that - for the first time in his career - he was looking forward to the coming school year.

"Wonderful!" Albus responded brightly. "Shall we move on then?"

Snape nodded as Dumbledore conjured a tea service and poured them each a cup. He accepted his grudgingly as Albus started to debrief him. "What information do you have for me about the meeting that Voldemort summoned you to this evening?"

Snape took a sip of his tea as he listened to Dumbledore. He successfully hid his grimace at the taste of the fruity and sweet beverage that the Headmaster had given him. Dumbledore knew that he liked his tea strong and bitter, but he always provided some horrible herbal/fruit fusion instead. Snape imagined that Dumbledore must take perverse pleasure in providing him a beverage that he knew he hated. He always seemed to take a great deal of delight in bringing 'a wonderful new tea' for him to try.

"The meeting was quite enlightening," Snape began, as he pushed his previous thoughts aside.

"As you are no doubt aware, The Dark Lord attacked Azkaban today and freed those Death Eaters that have been in custody since their apprehension at the Ministry. Pettigrew led the assault on Azkaban with 6 newly-initiated Death Eaters. These few were more than enough to crack the prison once the Dementors switched sides. All Aurors on the island are reported to have been killed."

"Yes, I informed the Order that the prison had fallen this evening," Albus stated, "Do continue Severus."

"Apparently, the Dark Lord also initiated two new Death Eaters into his ranks. While this may not seem overly important, both of the men were muggles, according to Lucius."

"Indeed?" Dumbledore responded as he leaned forward, suddenly very interested in Snape's report.

"I was not present at the initiation," Snape continued, "but according to Lucius, it was rather... exciting. As you might expect, several of those present at the time took offence to the idea of muggles being allowed into their midst and they attacked them. The two muggles reacted rather... harshly to the threat. According to Lucius, the two muggles are quite deadly. In the few seconds that the confrontation lasted, both Crabbe and Goyle were neutralized and Antonin Dolohov was killed."

Dumbledore's feathery white eyebrows raised in surprise, as his face darkened at this revelation. If Snape noticed, he didn't show it and continued his report.

"While I can't be sure of this, I believe that Lucius was also involved in the melee. He appeared to be in some pain during our conversation and I caught what appeared to be the first signs of a bruise forming on his wand hand."

"I suspect that you are correct in your assumptions about Lucius" Dumbledore agreed. "I find it highly unlikely that Crabbe and Goyle would ever act without Malfoy's prodding. No doubt his pride prevented him from admitting that he was bested by muggles. This is most disturbing news. What more can you tell me about them?"

"Sir," Snape answered, "after the meeting, they allegedly accompanied a group of ten Death Eaters on a raid. Apparently, the Baddock family rebuked the Dark Lord's offer to join him, so they were to be made an example of. Beyond that, I have nothing concrete to report. There is to be another full meeting tomorrow night. I expect that I will have more answers for you at that time."

"Very well, Severus," he replied, "till tomorrow, then. Be safe, my friend."

Snape rose and headed for the door. He casually lifted the spells he had placed and made to leave.

"Oh, I nearly forgot" Albus called after him. "I have discovered a new type of tea that I am sure you will just love. It is supposed to have just a hint of raspberry in it. I will bring some for our meeting tomorrow evening."

Snape couldn't help the slight tightening of his shoulders as he heard the Headmaster's parting remark. Determined to give the Headmaster no further indication that his comment had bothered him, he strode determinedly from the kitchen. Before the door shut behind him, he was certain that he heard soft laughter coming from the Headmaster.

A/N: Well here is chapter three. I have pretty much finished laying the foundation for the story and the action will begin to pickup in the next chapter.
Thanks for reading.
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