Categories > Books > Harry Potter > To Rewrite History

A Talk With Dumbledore: Pensieves and Immortality

by jeansvenus 3 reviews

Harry has a long talk with the Headmaster after a sleepless night. They talk about prophecies, strengths and weaknesses, immortality, and Neville Longbottom. A very "dialogue-heavy" chapter.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama, Romance - Characters: Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Voldemort - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-02-17 - Updated: 2007-02-18 - 2608 words

Dumbledore, unfortunately, wasn't available until after Harry's History of Magic class that morning. Hermione, noticing the dark circles under his eyes, took pity on him and lent him her dicto-quill for the class. She pulled him to a seat in the back and pushed his coffee mug into his hand.

"Drink up," she hissed under her breath. "We have Charms next. Please be awake for the practical half!"

"Mmn." He sipped his coffee, eyes closed. "'M going to talk t'Dumbledore after class," he muttered into his mug. "Might not be in Charms. Take notes for me, 'Minee?"

She sighed and ruffled his hair. "Poor Harry," she said softly. "You look knackered. Just sit and have your coffee, and I'll take you to Professor Dumbledore's office during break."

Harry nodded at her gratefully and leaned back in the desk chair. He fell into a light doze to the sound of Binns' voice, coming closer to consciousness with every automatic sip of coffee he took. After two whispered "refill cappuccino's", he felt marginally more alive than he had since waking up at four-thirty that morning.

The sound of books closing loudly and people getting up made Harry open his eyes. Hermione was standing over him with a small smile, and Ron was hesitating in the doorway, looking worried.

"Come on, Harry," she said. "Let's get you to the Headmaster." She packed up his notes- dictated in her neat handwriting -and handed them to Ron at the door.

"You alright, mate?" the redhead asked, concern in his eyes. "You look a right mess."

"Thanks very much," Harry retorted. "And I had one of those nightmares again. Saw Riddle."

Ron grimaced. "I don't envy you that."

The trio fell into step together as they headed to the Headmaster's office, Ron and Hermione unconsciously taking up protective stances on either side of their sleepy friend.

When they stopped in front of the stone statue guarding Dumbledore's office, Hermione drew herself up to her full height (which was admittedly quite short) and glared at the gargoyle, saying firmly, "I could care less what the password is. You tell Professor Dumbledore, right now, that we've brought Harry Potter to talk to him."

The gargoyle appeared to almost laugh soundlessly as it moved aside to reveal the staircase. Harry turned and took his book bag from Ron.

"Thanks, you two," he said sincerely. "Get on to Charms. I'll be fine."

With concerned looks, his friends walked off. Harry took a deep breath and walked up the spiral staircase. The large door was wide open, and Dumbledore's voice called out merrily, "Do come in, my boy!"

Harry slipped inside. A feeling of calm washed over him. There was something about Dumbledore that a person couldn't help but like and trust. Perhaps Dumbledore would be able to tell him what was happening with his visions of Voldemort.

The wizard in question was standing at a bookshelf peering through his spectacles at some of the titles written on the dusty spines. He reached up to the highest, dustiest shelf and plucked two thick tomes from their resting place.

"Sit, Harry," Dumbledore said calmly as he settled into his chair. "We have as much time as you need."

Harry slumped into the comfortable armchair across from Dumbledore's desk. "Sir," he started tentatively, "I had another vision with Voldemort."

"With Voldemort, Harry?" Dumbledore asked. "Or about Voldemort?"

Harry shook his head. "No, with. We can talk to each other." Harry shuddered. "He looks...disgusting. And he's so cruel."

Dumbledore stood and walked to a cabinet. "I feel," he said as he bent over to pick something up, "that you would be better off with that memory not so pressing in your mind." He turned and gently deposited a shallow stone basin on the desk in front of Harry.

"What is that, Sir?" Harry asked.

"This, Harry, is a pensieve." Dumbledore smiled at the look of confusion on Harry's face. "They're very useful for removing the immediacy of some memories, and to look at them later. Just think about your shared vision with Voldemort, and place the tip of your wand to your temple- yes, just like that. Now imagine you're drawing that memory out like a thread, connected to your wand...Oh, bravo!"

Harry opened his eyes. A long, silvery strand of something was connected to his wand's end. He felt oddly lighter, cleaner even.

Dumbledore beamed at him and gestured at the basin. "Very good, Harry. Now put it in the pensieve here- gently, gently, mustn't break the memory -excellent." They watched the memory swirl about in the silvery liquid. A ghostly image of a tall, high-backed chair rose to the surface briefly before submerging again.

"We'll take a look at that later, shall we?" Dumbledore said. He looked at Harry over the top of his half-moon glasses. "Now then. Tell me what's on your mind, my boy."

"Right, then." Harry looked down at his hands, fisted in his lap. With a conscious effort, he relaxed them and looked back up at the Headmaster. "On my birthday, I had this dream. Wormtail- Peter Pettigrew -was in it, and so was Voldemort. They killed an old muggle man. There was a snake, named Nagini."

Harry glanced up. Dumbledore's face was drawn in thought. "Go on," was all he said.

"Er, he was talking about needing blood for a ritual, and that my blood would make it stronger." He paused. "I read up on that sort of thing, since I was worried. He was talking about resurrection, wasn't he?"

Dumbledore looked at him gravely. "I had wished to let you stay young for some years longer," he told Harry. "However, you have proven to me over the summer, and by coming here this morning, that you are prepared to face what I am about to tell you."

"I know there's a prophecy about him and me," Harry said. "Mr.- er, a friend's father told me the first part."

Dumbledore smiled. "I have always said, Harry, that your greatest strength lies with your heart. I shall not condemn you for forgiving anyone, on the contrary, it speaks highly of your character."

Harry breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you sir."

"The prophecy," Dumbledore said, "goes beyond what the Death Eaters heard. The half that was told only to me is this: 'And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal, For neither can live while the one survives, The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, Born as the seventh month dies....'"

"Er," Harry faltered. "Couldn't it have been Neville, Professor? His birthday's just a day before mine."

"Indeed, Harry." Dumbledore sighed and steepled his fingers in front of his face. "However, consider the words carefully. 'And the Dark Lord"-

-"/Shall mark him as his equal/," Harry finished. "So it is me, then?"

"I'm afraid so, my boy. The prophecy does indeed refer to you." The headmaster sighed and, with a wave of his wand, conjured a tea tray. "How do you take yours, Harry?"

"Two sugars, please, no milk," Harry said, a bit flummoxed.

"I find it easier to think with a hot cup of tea in my hand," Dumbledore said lightly. He passed Harry a fine bone china cup of dark, sugared tea.

"Thanks, Professor," Harry said. He hummed with pleasure at the taste of the earthy black tea.

Dumbledore took a long sip from his cup before setting it down with a satisfied sigh. "Where were we then? Ah yes. You and Voldemort see each other at night, and he wants to resurrect himself using your blood."

"I told him the first time I saw him when I slept that a resurrection ritual might have unforeseen consequences as he's still alive," Harry said.

Dumbledore's eyes gleamed with excitement. "Did you really? I'm sure he took that to heart. Now, the important thing about this, Harry, is that Voldemort /can't die/."

"How does that help, sir?" Harry asked.

"Voldemort, back when he was a student, began to study immortality. He discovered a way to extend his life indefinitely- at a terrible price. He ripped his soul in half and stored it in something special to him. He made a Horcrux. It left an imprint of him, a memory of a school aged Tom Riddle."

"The diary?" Harry guessed. At Dumbledore's nod, he went on. "But then, wouldn't he be mortal again? I destroyed it."

Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "Unfortunately, no. Much like you, Riddle was an excellent Arithmancy student, and he found the magical potential of the number seven fascinating. He lives still only because he's split his soul into seven pieces. The seventh, small as it is, remains inside him."

"Professor?" Harry ventured. "Is it possible for him to- to put his soul back together?"

Dumbledore looked surprised at the question. "I've no idea. Wizards who attempt to gain immortality through Horcruxes don't see a need to reverse it."

"But he wants to come back," he said insistently. "If he's worried about resurrecting himself while he's immortal, he might try it, and make new ones later."

His Headmaster stroked his beard thoughtfully, nodding to himself. "It is very possible he may try it, Harry. However," he warned, "Even when he had an entire soul, he was still well on the way to becoming 'Lord Voldemort.' He had already released the basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets the year before he first experimented with immortality."

Harry frowned. "Nobody's born bad, Professor," he said.

"Alas, Harry," Dumbledore smiled, "You are, perhaps, a wiser person than I. There you are again, with that big heart of yours."

"I don't suppose we could look at my nightmare now, Professor?" Harry asked, embarrassed and nervous.

Dumbledore beckoned to Harry, eyes crinkling in amusement. "Let's go in, shall we?"

Harry grasped Dumbledore's hand, and the old man touched their joined hands to the surface of the silvery liquid. With a dizzying feeling, Harry felt himself fall forward-

"Back again, Potter?" the scaly creature in the armchair said viciously.

"What did you do to Neville?" Harry demanded. He didn't sit on the ottoman this time, choosing instead to stand near the fireplace crossing his arms uneasily.

"What Neville?" the Dark Lord spat. "Some schoolboy friend of yours? I was gone before I could've done anything to your friends."

"Neville Longbottom," Harry said coldly. "My classmate, in Gryffindor. What the sodding Hell did you do to him?"

The Dark Lord mused. "Longbottom...Wormtail told me about them.... Oh yes. My most faithful followers tortured his parents into insanity to try and discover where I was. Pity they ended up in Azkaban."

"You miserable bastard," Harry whispered. "They followed
you. Whatever they did, they did with your approval."

"Don't presume to judge me," Voldemort spat. "I suffered enough in my childhood to deserve revenge."

Harry scoffed harshly. "Fuck you. You know nothing about suffering. At least you weren't starved, or locked in a cupboard."

"I'm so sorry, Harry," Dumbledore said sorrowfully as they watched Dream-Harry and Dream-Voldemort. "I had no idea."

"'S alright," Harry said awkwardly.

"Why don't you join me, then, Potter?" the Dark Lord said. "Revenge could be yours. Your relatives deserve a little comeuppance, don't you think?"

"No, I don't," Harry whispered. He glared at Voldemort's wizened little body and said louder, "I
don't think so."

"What's wrong with you, Potter?" Voldemort hissed. "Too afraid of a little torture?"

"What's wrong with me?" Harry repeated with a disbelieving laugh. "What's wrong with me is that I forgive people. I forgave them."

"You're weak," Voldemort said cruelly. "Weak and cowardly."

"Stronger than you," Harry said. "I'm not stuck in the past."

"When I come back, Potter," he snarled, "I will be
more/ than a wizard. And that protection your mother placed on your blood will do you no good."/

Harry and Dumbledore were flung back into their seats and out of the pensieve as the vision ended abruptly.

"Sir?" Harry asked tentatively. Dumbledore looked, to him, suddenly very old.

"I know which ritual he's talking about," Dumbledore said heavily. "It's written in an old, very Dark book, the same book with the ritual for the creation of Horcruxes."

"Professor?" Harry tried again when Dumbledore fell silent.

"Ah, yes," Dumbledore said. "He'll bathe himself in a potion of unicorn blood and snake venom. Into that is added 'the bone of the father, the flesh of the servant, and the blood of the enemy.' It's a very powerful ritual."

"Is it possible to write a different one, sir?" Harry asked. "Using different elements?"

Dumbledore gave him a keen look. "Almost anything is possible, my boy," he said gravely. "Be very careful with how you go about crafting such a ritual. Resurrection is resurrection is resurrection, regardless of how good your intentions are."

"Yes, sir," Harry replied seriously. In a small part of his mind he was already calculating the various ingredients and incantations that could be substituted.

Dumbledore handed him the two books he'd taken down from the shelf earlier. "I'd suspected you might need these," he told Harry. "Read them when you have time."

Harry looked at the titles. Controlling the Connection: Accidental Legilimency and Empathy and Emotions. "Sir?"

"You are intelligent enough to understand why yourself after reading them, Harry," Dumbledore said. "I'd prefer not to make you entirely reliant on me. Now, is there anything else you'd like to discuss?"

"Hmm? Oh, yes. Neville, he...had almost a fit, really, in Defense yesterday," Harry said. "Moody- Professor Moody, that is, was showing us the Unforgivables on spiders...." He fell silent.

Dumbledore's eyebrows shot up toward his hairline. "I approved that lesson with great reluctance," he said regretfully. "Had I anticipated such a reaction, I would never have given Alastor permission to demonstrate those curses in class."

"It wasn't just Neville, Sir," Harry said softly. "Susan Bones from Hufflepuff had to go to the Hospital Wing- she couldn't stop crying. I imagine it was worse for the Slytherin students."

"Alastor has never been one to let go of grudges, unfortunately," Dumbledore said with a heavy sigh. "I suppose you have a course of action you would like to pursue?"

"Hermione and Millie- Millicent Bulstrode -have recorded the Defense classes this week. We were hoping that with sufficient proof, we could ask someone else to tutor us in the subject this year."

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "Someone like Professor Snape?"

Harry nodded. "He doesn't like me, but he's very protective of his House. He'd help if it got them away from Professor Moody."

"I feel I made a mistake in hiring Alastor," Dumbledore said sadly. "He was a good man before the First War with Voldemort."

"Don't fire him, Professor," Harry said, alarmed. "A lot of students still really like him. And if he's still holding the post officially, Professor Snape can't lose his job at the end of the year."

Dumbledore laughed, a deep, belly laugh. "Figured out there really is a curse on the position, did you?"

Harry shrugged. "Has to be, with the job's track record," he answered. He stood up from the chair and swung his bag onto his shoulder. "Thanks for the talk, Professor."

"Do come by again, Harry," Dumbledore said.

Harry paused at the door. "Professor?" he asked. "Who- who were the Death Eaters that tortured Neville's parents?"

Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "The Lestrange brothers, Rodolphus and Rabastan, Rodolphus' wife, Bellatrix, and Barty Crouch, Junior."

"Barty," Harry muttered. "I've heard that before." He gave his head a small shake, as if to clear it, and nodded goodbye to the Headmaster. He'd figure it out sooner or later.
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