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  Dumbledore, Icon of the Light, chapter 80

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 42
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

BeitragThema: Dumbledore, Icon of the Light, chapter 80   Do Aug 23, 2018 7:08 am

Chapter beta: Olivia
Chapter translator: Aivy




When I fled back to the tower in the early morning to get ready before Harry, this beautiful and again much too short night was occupying my mind. I had stuck to my plan and told Draco nothing about Minna and so the plans took on a more and more concrete shape. Today the holidays would begin and almost all fifth years would stay in the castle to prepare for their O.W.L. exams and to consider what they wanted to say in the career advice interviews.

I could give McGonagall and even Umbridge a life-long shock if I included liar, thief, spy, murderess, and black mage as career aspirations. That would be much more resourceful than Auror, right? That was out of the question though, as I would have to commit myself to Azkaban then. That'll be the day!

Oh, that would be too wonderful! I was just so cynical because I really couldn’t deal with my future in two years seriously. Maybe I didn’t even live there anymore. I mean, with my lifestyle and the luck accompanying me, the view was not really bright.

If one then considered that I was between three narcissistic Slytherins, who all had the honour to call themselves Death Eaters sooner or later, then the expected future looked very questionable. Why should I puzzle over it then and fantasise about what I wanted to become?

Harry was still very calm and taciturn. His thoughts of the past still seemed to captivate him and so I hoped that during the holidays he would find enough time and peace to become aware of his feelings and then be ready to make decisions.

At dinnertime, the Great Hall fell silent again and everyone stared at the entrance. Luckily, this time I was not involved, but... Drumroll, please ... Marietta ‘the traitor’ Edgecombe made her big appearance.

She used to have shoulder-length, dark blond hair, not noticeable in any way. Now she had a fringe; I found it very amusing. Unfortunately, the underlying lettering was so conspicuous that the whole fringe didn’t help. The deep and large scar ran all over her forehead and was covered with ugly pimples. The girls whispered particularly excited about Marietta, who could also say nothing in addition to the outer brand. I have to say, I couldn’t care less that she now looked around with tears in her eyes. Your own fault, my dear, everything had its price!

At her side was Cho, who was anxiously supporting the feeble-looking sneak and glaring at the group of mumbling and slagging students.

“Oh Merlin. She looks awful. That’s really ugly...” I could clearly hear Ron who announced his opinion with so much tact and loudness that it echoed off the walls, causing Marietta to howl pitifully and Cho to glare at him bitterly. Draco let out that gloriously devastating laugh that was so dry and mean. Only this time, I wasn’t sure if he didn’t agree with Ron and just laughed at Ron's lack of sensitivity or not.

“Well, that happens if you can’t keep your mouth shut!” I hissed in a low voice. As the two girls were level with us at that moment, they heard me and glared at me and I gave them both the look I would give to Pansy or someone else who was trying to fuck with me. I always said that you didn’t want to make an enemy of me, because you could only lose. I would urgently advise the two to have a heart-to-heart with Rita, I thought particularly snappily and sarcastically. They backed away in front of my piercing sharp look, in which my anger was probably reflected. Clever!

Now Harry tucked at me and demanded my attention.

“You-hu! I met Cho this afternoon and... we quarrelled. About her telling me that the sneak had no choice but to betray us because Umbridge had blackmailed her and that I needed to understand that. I asked her if she was crazy. You always have a choice! That's what I believe. And then she turned on you. What sort of spells you put on the contract and how to break them... Well, I don’t think she liked my answer!” He grinned at me mischievously and together we looked to the two girls who had sat down at the Ravenclaw table and were curiously watched from all sides. Many gave Marietta disgusted and appalled looks. Some even moved away as if she was contagious. Oh, ‘kids’ could be so mean.

“Now I am curious!”

“I told her that that's just bad luck for her friend and that you would be too brilliant for the spells to be easily broken and not to come up with stupid ideas as the magic still protects us all... Well, then she wanted to slap me, but thanks to Quidditch I have some good reflexes... I think I was not particularly nice...?” he said, torn between mischievous and uncertain. Apparently, I rubbed off on him.

“Harry, you shock me!” I beamed at him happily.

“Must have learned that from you,” he laughed now and showed his dimples. I punched him playfully against the upper arm. Of course, our flirting didn’t go unnoticed, and so we were once again a topic of conversation when Ginny suddenly entered the Hall holding hands with Dean. She had put on make-up and pinned up her hair, and sent heated looks Harry’s way again and again. In reaction, Harry rolled his eyes and gave Ron a concerned side glance.

I hid my grin in my coffee cup and inhaled the tangy scent, thinking that I really didn’t understand Ginny. She wouldn’t make him jealous that way. Rather, she would get the reputation of a slut - Lav and Pav would interpret it like that. I would never say anything of the like. What I would do again soon, that was not just slutty, that was outright whoring, so I was not allowed to judge. As the saying goes, the one without sin may cast the first stone. I certainly didn’t fall into that category.

Ron hadn’t noticed yet since he hung on Lavender's lips and worshipped her. The girl chuckled artificially without cease, shaking her long, slightly curled blond hair conceitedly and still showing herself very shocked by the fate of Marietta, indulging her sensationalism with relish.

“I cannot believe that Ginny snagged Dean!” Harry said disbelievingly, shooting an uncertain look at our red, spirited friend. “Hopefully, Ron will be above it.”

“Well, it's none of his business. Do you want to annoy Ginny?” I winked at him conspiratorially.

“What do you have in mind?”

“Congratulate her!” I advised and Harry immediately leaned over the table and shouted:

“Hey, Dean, congratulations. You too, Ginny!” Harry said honestly, showing a beaming smile that made Ginny look shocked. She gave him a slightly perplexed look, and so Ron's attention was drawn to the new couple.

“Ey, mate. What did you congratulate the two on?” Ron was still glowing because of Lav.

“Uhm, on getting together as a couple!” Harry said cautiously, causing Ron's eyes to darken from one second to the next, and he sharply focussed his gaze on the two.

“What? Dean…” The drama started and Ron got worked up quite a lot. Ginny screeched that her love life wasn’t Ron’s business and I felt deliciously entertained. I needed a performance like that to help me drive off less pretty thoughts.

The last days had been filled with work, even if my visits to Snape’s had been scarce since he seemed to be busy at night. Lucius, too, seemed busy now, thanks to the new article about the ministry's inability and the fact that Dumbledore had made the bend, as well as speculation about the return of the unnameable, which skyrocketed right now. The Dark Lord also seemed to keep his people on their toes and I was not even sad to not see Snape too often. It helped me to arm myself against what was to come.

So we all met in the Room of Requirement because we could not train with Snape - finally, I had been able to show it to the two Slytherins! Both were overwhelmed by the fact that there was such a thing in Hogwarts and used the room frenetically. Here we also continued our physical training, as Snape would not forgive us to procrastinate. This man was very demanding in everything he did.

We had half the holidays behind us and today was the day I had been preparing for. It was time!

I stood naked in the bathroom and was all alone. It was early afternoon, and I was still dripping wet from the shower. As I dried up in front of the washbasin, on which my prepared salve spiked with unicorn blood stood, my worried face looked at me from the mirror.

After a resigned moan, I now spread a little of the precious essence on the Malfoy crest marking me on my stomach, slightly offset to the left. The ornate ‘M’! I prayed that it worked because everything, absolutely everything, I had done had failed! Nothing had helped, no potions, no ointments, all white and black spells to disguise and obscure, nothing! I had done extensive research in the Room of Requirement myself, but now I had the clarification that what Draco had done to me was something that was as ultimately binding as it could get in the magical world, so there was nothing to hide it.

My only, desperate hope now was my own invention, because if Snape spotted the mark on me, I was not sure how he would react. Probably not positively; he wouldn’t be happy in any case. So, I once again traced the lines of the black tattoo, lost in thought, and distributed the cool, creamy ointment on it, which shimmered slightly silvery due to the blood and warmed up on the skin, tingling.

And now, staring intently and spellbound at the result, I waited with wildly beating heart what would happen and silently prayed. And... and... and…

Cautious joy sparked inside me. The strong, rich, deep black colour became noticeably paler and paler until it looked washed out. I dipped my fingers back into the precious pot and repeated the procedure and it got even lighter.

However, it would not disappear completely. After the fifth time, I gave up, annoyed. I moaned, tormented, and covered the almost invisible, translucent mark with my hand, pulled it away and blinked down at the mark again.

“Hmmm…” If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t see it right away. It wouldn’t get better, though. Great, really great. I shrugged my shoulders in frustration and applied the salve to my other scar on the side where Bole's knife had once stuck, and closed the pot. All that remained to be seen was how long it would last. So far I'd had achieved eight to ten hours with scars or injuries, but a less than good feeling told me that I shouldn’t raise my hope in this case. And since I wouldn’t meet Snape until nine, in about six hours, I would take the salve with me. Better safe than sorry.

I had my sick leave from the school nurse and my Geminio twin was asleep in bed. Everyone thought I had overworked myself with studying and was about to collapse. In addition, I had the monthly, womanly problem, and as a result, I was ill and would have to rest for today. The others were out in the open, enjoying the first sign of spring and the freedom to escape the walls of the sometimes gloomy castle, trying to flee the depressed atmosphere in the castle, which had existed ever since Umbridge arrived.

I was still walking around the room naked, fastening my daggers to my thighs, then turned to my dress. I renounced wisely on underwear; I would lose it anyway so why put it on? I opted for a long dress. The sleeves went to the middle of the forearm, it had a square, generous neckline and emphasized my bosom. It ended slightly above the knees and the highlight: A corset band, with which I hoped to avoid losing my clothing, was wrapped around the abdomen, which emphasized the waist and tied at the back. The dress was held in a dark, warm brown tone, and the beige, velvety corset band would compliment my blond hair well.

I already had put on make-up and now, I thought, I looked good. At last, I stowed my white wand on the holster on my arm and was grateful that others couldn’t see or feel it. But just before I would go into the room to see Snape, I planned to take off my weapons and stow them in my coat.

Finished like that, I looked into our upright mirror in the dorm, found that I looked well and then pulled the black cloak over me, which turned me back into this dark figure of the shadows. Then my image vanished into the void and the mirror showed no more of me, only the room behind me. It was wonderful what was possible with magic. Invisibility was great. The Twins were informed that I would disappear until late at night, but only them. Let me put it that way, they were not pleased and didn’t approve that I didn’t want to tell Draco that I was leaving the castle. Shit, we had almost gotten into a row about it, but thankfully, I had gotten my way. I sighed wistfully, not liking it myself. But it wouldn’t help to dwell on it, so I crept quietly through the abandoned tower, towards the dungeon, to disappear through the secret passageway.

I had arrived at my first destination for that day and the air was nice and warm and fresh. After the long winter, it was invigorating that the sun came finally out again. This small, tranquil village, which lay in the southwest of England, was too cute as it lay peacefully before me in its idyll. This village was ancient, as one of our founders had been born here.

Godric's Hollow was a typical English village, where magical and non-magical people had settled together. My target was an old, relatively well-known lady in the wizarding world. Her name was Bathilda Bagshot; she had lived here for a long time and was now quite old, but I hoped to get some important information from her, especially because of her old age. She was a well-known historian in the magical world. Her book ‘History of Magic’ had been our textbook in Binn's class since the first year, and it was very good and informative. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about the ghost’s teaching.

As I walked with brisk steps into the village square and saw the war memorial built in the middle of the square, I thought for a moment that I was going to be sick. It changed before my eyes. The obelisk, which was a war memorial for the Muggles, became a memorial of the Potters. It showed Lily, James and Harry Potter as a family. That was grotesque, schmaltzy and very bizarre. Harry would drown in shame over the statues should he ever see this. Oh goddess, that was almost as bad as the well in the Ministry. I shouldn’t be surprised if the same artist had set his hands to both pieces and I thought that one should also lay hands on the artist and strangle him for this atrocity.

Otherwise, I felt pretty comfortable here. It was a tranquil, nice atmosphere as I walked slowly down the street. I had the hood on, but it was not pulled into my face but lay more on the back of my head. I didn’t want to attract too much attention at this early hour and a person who publicly disguised themselves, well, that would be very noticeable in this quiet little place.

When I arrived in front of a typical, cute suburban home with the name Bagshot attached, I smiled. That had been easy.

I had a very interesting conversation with a very old and therefore very exhausting woman who, if she had been at the height of her mental fitness, would never have entrusted everything to me as confidently as she did now. That seemed to be a gap that the good headmaster of Hogwarts had overlooked.

She had carefully opened the door. She was a round, small, sunken, lonely old woman with strawy white hair and patched clothes, evidently not caring what she was wearing. But she was visibly pleased with the diversion to her dreary everyday life and the visit of a young, pretty woman, as she said. So we drank tea in her living room that was filled with souvenirs and trinkets from top to bottom, and I pumped her for specific information. She was longing for human closeness and for someone to listen to her, and I took advantage of this cunningly.

So I told her, to win her trust, that my good friend Albus had told me that his family had moved here from Mould-on-the-Wold in the early 20th century and she, the famous and well-known Bathilda Bagshot, was a good acquaintance of him.

She beamed all over her wrinkled face and laughed heartily. She said she had recognized his brilliance and genius at an early age. She had congratulated him at the time on a scientific journal publication about the six uses of dragon's blood and befriended the very withdrawn and abrasive Dumbledore family and made some contact with the rather lonely Kendra, the mother of Dumbledore.

She sang Dumbledore the highest praises and I listened patiently to everything. About his worthless brother Aberforth, she ranted at length and complained about his always listless behaviour. The only thing that could get him out of his own, self-centred world would have been Ariana and I pricked my ears at the mention of her name.

So far, the only information I had about Ariana Dumbledore was her name from the stolen family tree from the Ministry's archives and her date of birth and death. Nothing else existed about her. Like a phantom or spirit that had never set foot on this earth, her existence had been eradicated. Because of the family tree, I knew that Ariana had not grown old. The family tree had noted her death; it had been dated 30.08.1900, so she died at the age of fifteen.

I interjected that I found it shocking that a girl had had to die so young, which gave me a puzzled look from her.

“Albus told you about Ariana?” She had been completely taken by surprise and had to gather her thoughts first. “Then he must trust you very much because he never talks about her,” she stated then, lost in thought, and took a sip of tea.

The story was too sad, this poor family! First, the father died in Azkaban, which I knew thanks to the Ministry as well, because there were no records of his father either. Percival Dumbledore had also been eradicated from history by his son, like Ariana. He had been sentenced to Azkaban as a Muggle-hater and murderer and died there. What had brought him to do this, unfortunately, was not in the files, which would have been interesting because Kendra Dumbledore had been a Muggle-born witch. Something had to have happened, but what would remain hidden in the thicket of the past.

But I could understand Dumbledore: a young, aspiring spirit, highly gifted, with all the possibilities of the world open to him. Who would want to be associated with a prisoner? And so Mrs. Bagshot continued.

“Well, as you know about Ariana… There is a big secret about her, but I think I can tell you…” She winked conspiratorially like a young girl. “Her mother told me after a collapse - shortly after her husband died in Azkaban - although this woman did everything to appear dismissive. It's really terrible that at age six, Ariana was brutally violated by three young Muggles. Her husband took revenge and she now had to struggle with constant, uncontrolled and unpredictable magical outbursts, as the spirit of the little one had shattered. But they didn’t want to put her into St. Mungo's; the shame was already big enough for the father.”

I showed myself visibly shocked by what I just heard and I was, really. What a cruel fate. I was terribly sorry for the poor girl. How stupid had the father been? Of course, I would have taken revenge and, of course, I would have killed these three monsters, but without leaving evidence. Amateur!

Then she entrusted me with the great family secret of the Dumbledore family. The final drama started when Ariana killed her mother in a magical outburst. Albus had just finished school and wanted to go on a world tour when this accident happened and he witnessed it.

That was sick. Here too, there was no record of the misfortune of the daughter killing the mother. I only knew, barely a year later, the daughter should follow her mother. I was shocked.

“Yes, yes, my dear. The Dumbledore family has suffered a lot. So Albus had to stay here and take care of Ariana,” she explained shakily. Yeah, yeah, I thought. I couldn’t imagine that the great Albus Dumbledore was particularly fond of his sister. I mean, he probably saw her as a millstone around his neck. Mrs Bagshot confirmed my guess right after that.

“I was so sorry for Albus. He was now sitting at home and got grouchier every day. That's when I introduced him to Gellert. Unfortunately, he had to leave Durmstrang at the time and he was just as brilliant as Albus with his sixteen years, even though he was one year younger!” she related, misty-eyed.

“Are you talking about Gellert Grindelwald?” I echoed, shocked. I hadn’t expected that Albus had met this man here, personally!

“Yes, my dear. I’m his great-aunt,” she confessed slightly bashfully and tried to justify herself immediately.

“Though back then, my dear Mrs Cale, he was a sweet, bright, handsome boy and he and Albus quickly became friends. Gellert then moved over to the Dumbledore's house for the year. They were always together and so happy…” the old woman smiled pensively and reminisced about the distant past.

I sat there thunderstruck! Did I hear that... Again, slowly... First of all: Gellert Grindelwald?! Hello, that confirmed my worst fears and worse. Dumbledore had had a close relationship with his later bitter rival, the greatest black magician of all time before Lord Voldemort. I was gobsmacked, my hard drive reported an error. I could barely absorb any more information.

The good old Professor ‘no black magic’ Dumbledore. Yes, exactly! I thought this cynically and suppressed a derogatory snort.

“Do I understand correctly that the two were more than friends?” I had to ask. She laid her fingertips atop her smiling lips, chuckling merrily, and nodded slightly embarrassed as she blushed. Okay, all right, Dumbledore was gay and his lover had been Gellert Grindelwald. I resisted laughing hysterically with great effort. Curious, I asked how the story continued.

“Oh, the two were unruly, inquisitive. Always read and planned! There... Do you see this little golden book? That's what they took a shine to, no idea why. When Gellert left, he left it behind and said it should stay here…” she groaned wistfully and blew lightly into a handkerchief. I quickly summoned the book magically from the shelf and held it in my hand. She just kept talking and didn’t notice when I pocketed the book.

“When Aberforth came home on vacation and noticed what was going on there was an argument. I never learned what exactly happened. Except that one day Ariana was dead and Albus had her put in their mother's grave. Not even her name adorns the stone; it’s too sad.” The lady shook her head in reproach. “What happened then? No idea. Albus followed Gellert to on the mainland. He remained divided with Aberforth, but the relationship with Gellert had changed as well. After that, I don’t know anything anymore, unfortunately. No one ever returned here and Aberforth sold the house.”

Here she reached behind her for a small table with several moving photographs and grabbed one that showed two handsome, brightly laughing boys wearing wizard robes. A sign was embroidered on these clothes which was also on the front of the book I had pocketed. I didn’t know what it meant, so I asked.

“No idea, my dear. But it was very important to them,” she let me know conspiratorially.

So I sat on a bench in the middle of the village square and watched the glowing red sunset, trying to digest all the information that overwhelmed me in its mass. Who would have thought?

I felt the breeze on my skin and my chin-long, blond hair tickled my face. My thoughts wandered. I felt confirmed once more. Not that I wanted to look arrogant, but I was once again right in my assertion that there was nothing pure white in the world and nothing jet-black. I think Dumbledore's past showed that very clearly. Of his past, some parts still remained dangerously in the dark.

Nor was he this icon of the light he was represented as everywhere after his victory over Grindelwald, his beloved, and how he, as one had to admit to his shame, also let himself be celebrated everywhere, as the saviour of the Light.

I didn’t like that, I thought that was dishonest. I mean, well, I think he's not really mean and evil. No, I don’t think so. But he is not the dear, kind, always smiling grandpa, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Was this a tactic to pretend to the opponent that you’re weak? No, probably not, for that Dumbledore had made his past and the people involved disappear without a trace. You have to give him that, he was thorough. As soon as Bathilda was dead, there would be no one else besides Grindelwald and Aberforth who had even the slightest idea of what had happened. Grindelwald was sitting in Nurmengard and couldn’t say anything - and no one would believe him if he did - and Aberforth would always keep silent. Maybe because he was Albus's brother or because he was partly to blame for his sister's death, who knew what had really happened on that fateful afternoon in the house with the four people involved?

If I could really move freely now, I would be on my way to Nurmengard to talk to Grindelwald out of pure curiosity. That would be fun and I felt the itch in my fingers to dare it. But stop it, now, I shook the crazy idea right out of my head. See that you first survive tonight, my dear! You can dream later! At the thought, it started to tingle slightly in my stomach.

Snape was waiting!

One last time I looked at the meaningful and incriminating photo in my hands, lost in thought, and then resolutely put it back in my pocket. Of course, I had nicked it; the only visible proof that Gellert and Albus had once been beaming with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Unbelievable, the historical proof that these two had been more than just opponents in a duel!

When darkness prevailed, I finally stood up from the slightly rotten wooden bench overlooking the picturesque park of Godric's Hollow and walked with a wistful sigh to the apparition point. Once there, I pulled my hood down deep into my face until my face was completely hidden and I felt well protected. For where I was going to go now, I would light up like a firefly with my head uncovered, and I certainly didn’t want to attract attention.

On to my ‘date!’ On to Knockturn Alley and the Beheaded Hangman!

Once again, standing in that dodgy and uninviting alley, I realised that I had missed roaming around here. It was a little scary, but I loved to sneak along here. I didn’t know why, but I felt inexplicably comfortable, which meant I was not afraid and I savoured the tense atmosphere as well as the extraordinary displays that captivated me. I enjoyed watching and observing the sometimes obscure fellows in this alley. I found it interesting and exciting, perhaps even a little arousing, to do something so dangerous and move in this shady society. But it was true to my nature, as I now admitted.

But the mood was different than before, even more uncertain, even more explosive. Especially the people of the dark alley knew very well that there were no speculations whether HE was back or not. He was, full stop!

And even though the people here were running around without masks, sometimes you saw a group of three or five cronies, all wearing the same night-black, all-swallowing cloaks and boded ill. And those who were not quite stupid could just add the masks in their imagination and voila, the Death Eaters were revealed. But everyone here would keep their mouths shut. There was no doubt that every individual here had enough skeletons in their closet that they themselves belonged in Azkaban, and so they adhered to the Code of Silence!

I ducked in order to appear small and scurried quickly across the worn cobblestones toward my destination. As fast as I was running, one might think that I was looking forward to getting to him as soon as possible, the thought flitted quite ironically through my mind, but in fact I sped up a bit more when I heard voices roaring loudly behind me and already I entered at a rapid pace through the door of the brightly lit inn.

As on my last visit, the room was more than well filled and a huge cacophony rushed in my ears as I stepped up to the bald and toothless innkeeper, who handled the bronze tap and magically filled several glasses at the same time. I spoke the same words as last time:

“A gentleman is waiting for me. Which room…? And a shot of firewhiskey!” He didn’t try to look under my hood as he had the last time because he was too busy and let the desired drink float to me wordlessly.

“Room thirteen, m’lady!” he only said curtly and unasked, I put the Sickle on the counter, tipped my drink down in one go to gather liquid courage and then went up the well-worn, creaking stairs to the top.

I felt like I was on the way to my execution!

The corridor was as dimly lit as it had been the last time I visited, so I scurried to a dark corner, took off the daggers and my white wand, and put both into my cloak. After that, I quickly pulled out the ointment and smeared myself again, almost twisting myself in this endeavour to cover my scar and my mark, because I couldn’t see anything.

When I straightened up again and tucked everything back into place, I encouraged myself: You can do it. Chest out, belly in, head up and buttocks firmly together, then nothing can go wrong. Finally, I stretched my shoulders and stepped toward the door with the tarnished brass sign adorned with the No. 13. I knocked determinedly and loudly. Even though my heart was pounding in my heart too much, I tried to appear as casual as possible.

Then I heard a muffled but very confident ”Come in.”

End of Hermione’s POV
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