A/N: I produced this after a certain amount of musing and waiting impatiently for the last two books. Needless to say it's old and completely inaccurate as of 21.07.07, but I tried!
Disclaimer: I'm a broke student. Harry Potter is the proud property of JKR. (Lucky woman.)
The Fight of a Bumblebee
'…I knew not whether it would be ten, twenty, or fifty years before he Voldemort returned, but I was sure he would do so, and I was sure, too, knowing him as I have done, that he would not rest until he killed you.'
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, p.736
Five years to tell him.
Five years to tell young Harry about what he must do, what fate had forced him to be even before his birth. He is the One, the being who holds the power to defeat the Dark Lord. To vanquish, or be vanquished himself.
And I have told him. Told him barely an hour after the death of his godfather of what ultimately awaits him.
I wish with all of the strength bestowed upon me that I had not, that I could protect him for just a little longer, to prevent his descent into the world of death the prophecy has foretold. Learning that you must become murderer or victim by means of a prophecy is quite possibly the most horrific event ever to happen to a person.
I did not lie to Harry when I told him that I knew what he was feeling. Knowing the pain of loss, knowing that you have the power to destroy, and knowing that fate has decreed that you must use that power…
I know what he feels because Harry Potter has not been the only person to be called to eliminate another.
Fifty years ago, I was called by fate to fulfil the same task.
I had watched Dietrich Grindelwald's rise to power with concern. He and I had attended Hogwarts together as children, and despite our friendship, I was wary of him. A Slytherin of great intelligence and charisma, Dietrich was fascinated by the perceived hierarchy within Hogwarts at the time. He made no secret of his pureblood status, at times going out of his way to flaunt it.
Unnecessary, I thought, or so it had seemed…
'…You're not going to like this, Albus.'
I looked over at the blond fourth year Slytherin. Dietrich had grown slightly in the past year, enough to give some stature to his voice. It had been a constant wish of his to grow beyond 5'4'', and this year, he had finally managed it. Not that he could be unnoticeable in anyway. Dietrich Grindelwald did not do unnoticeable.
He had paused in throwing bread into the lake for the giant squid, a look of worry in his blue eyes as he looked back at me.
'What's wrong?' I was perplexed. Dietrich had never looked this concerned about anything in all the years I had known him.
He ran his hands through his hair and studied the ground with a peculiar intensity. 'It's…it's not good.'
'Tell me.' Now I was worried.
'I…well…Mother sent me a letter from home.'
'Yes…' I gestured for him to continue.
'She…she told me…my great-grandparents…'
I stayed silent. Little was known of Heike or Rudolf Grindelwald outside of Germany, and I was intrigued by whatever gems of information I could find about them.
'She…she found out that…my great grandfather and great-grandmother…'
'Yes?' I was growing impatient.
'Great-grandfather had…' He lowered his voice so low I had to strain to hear him. 'Muggle blood somewhere far back in his mother's family.'
I almost laughed in relief. 'That's all? I though it was something serious!'
Instinctively, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. Dietrich's face darkened in anger. 'How can you say that!? My blood, the Grindelwald blood, has been contaminated by…by Muggles!'
'Why is that so wrong? I'm half-blood, and I don't resent my father for being a Muggle.'
His face contorted in rage. 'I should have known you wouldn't take this seriously. Then again, how could you? You're just a half-blood. You don't understand about how important these things are…'
Our friendship died after that day. Grindelwald travelled back to Germany after graduation, immersing himself in some of the oldest and most dangerous magicks in history. Eighty years later, he announced his presence as a new face in the German Ministry of Magic. Not by coincidence did this announcement come as the Muggle National Socialists were voted into power.
The Ministry of Magic in Britain was eager to strengthen ties with this new face in magical politics, despite his open support for Chancellor Hitler, and his alleged (later to be proven) links with the Knights of Walpurgis.
Grindelwald soon revealed his own agenda - the complete destruction of the Muggle world, along with all of those whom he considered to be of impure blood. Hitler, now Fuhrer of Germany, had been influenced by Grindelwald through the latter's careful placement of the Knights within the Nazi government.
By 1939, the Muggle and wizarding worlds were at war. I was unable to help in the early years of the conflict due to my teaching duties at Hogwarts, and the arrival of a young man whose charisma and brilliance reminded me so much of the magical dictator of Germany.
Rumours flew through the wizarding world in 1941 of a secret base somewhere in Prussia; a stronghold of Grindelwald and his followers, where the children of the Knights were being giving a rigorous education in the Dark Arts. For me, this was a sign. The amalgamation of this base with the Durmstrang Institute was the final sign that Dietrich had fallen to the lure of the Dark Side. I grieved in private for the young man I had once known, still unwilling to believe that he could have been so foolish, influenced by the so-called purity of blood.
After the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, my suspicions surrounding Tom Marvolo Riddle and his past had grown to what I had believed were worrying proportions. On June 6th 1944, I requested an audience with Armando Dippet in order to voice my concerns.
However, my concerns became irrelevant as I entered the Headmaster's office and saw Dippet standing over an ageing man slumped in a chair…
'Dumbledore! Get in here now!'
Dippet's expression didn't change for a second as he risked a glance at me before turning his attention back to the man in the chair.
'Barton called in a few minutes ago, said he was picking some sort of psychic vibrations in the air and then went into this...this trance…'
I censored my expression. Professor Tieresias Barton was one of the most renowned Seers of the century, and one of the more sensible ones in my opinion. I had little patience for the subject of Divination, but anything Barton had to say, I would listen to.
Barton's eyes rolled and suddenly focussed on a point somewhere on the ceiling as he spoke in harsh, hoarse tones, nothing like his gentle West Country burr.
'The armies of the light close in on the ravaged lands, but the one of the strong flying light must duel with the Dark Lord of the forest. Yet the freedom will be fleeting, for the forests of the dark will not be vanquished. The Dark Lord will rise anew, unseeing and unknowing of death, but always fearing of the end…the freedom will be fleeting, for the Dark Lord of the forest will rise once more…'
Barton's eyes rolled once more, then shut as he collapsed onto the floor, sweat running down his face in rivulets.
Later on, Barton professed to have no memory of the prophecy which would later end a war. Sceptical as I am of Divination, even I could not ignore what he had said. The 'one of the strong flying light'…
I knew even then, even before Dippet and the Unspeakables who worked in the Hall of Prophecies had confirmed it, that I was the One.
In April 1945, I travelled to Europe and faced the Dark Lord Dietrich Grindelwald, my prophesied enemy…and my oldest friend. On April 30th, I duelled with him and killed him, as the prophecy had described. As his body lay at my feet, marked with the remains of curses and hexes, I knew that I would never feel a sense of satisfaction. No force that had forced me to kill another being would give me pleasure.
The Second World War ended barely a week later, after Hitler's body was found in a bunker in the ruins of Berlin. The Muggle and Magical worlds celebrated with a fervour I have only witnessed once in the years that followed.
But as I was being canonized as a saviour of the Wizarding world, I could not celebrate.
I knew that it would not end here.
After the war, I had returned to Hogwarts. Dippet was longing to retire, and I was quite content to accept his offer of succession. It would be a chance for me to rest and recuperate after the war.
How wrong I was.
The forests of the dark will not be vanquished. I had pondered those words for a decade after Grindelwald's death. Staring out over the Forest from my office window, I recalled those words, as clearly as the day Barton had spoken them.
The quill I was holding fell to the floor as I heard the voice.
'…Dietrich?' My heart was racing as I stood up.
…Look to the forest, Albus…
I crossed to the window and stared at the sprawling trees covering part of Hogwarts' grounds.
…Do you not notice me? Can you not feel me there?
The Forest, in the past year, had become a haven for Dark creatures of all kinds, enough to merit a warning to all of the students to stay outside its boundaries. The foremost Magical Creatures experts had found no specific reasons for the attraction of these creatures to the Forest…until now, it seemed.
…Did you believe me dead, Albus? Shame on you…you should have known that a mere Killing Curse could not vanquish what I have become…
I whispered the words of the prophecy out loud. '…Yet the freedom will be fleeting, for the forests of the dark will not be vanquished. The Dark Lord will rise anew…'
…Clever boy, Albus. Then again, you were always the clever one…
'You are not alive.' It wasn't a question.
…No. I exist as a spirit, less than the meanest ghost…but I still exist.
'You exist as a spirit within the Forest?'
…No, my old friend. I am the Forest
I should not have been surprised. Dietrich's family had lived in the forests of Germany for centuries, back to the ages of the Roman Empire. Grindelwald was an ancient Germanic name, which translated, literally meant 'forest'.
It had seemed so peaceful then. He was content to live in the Forbidden Forest, as it was now known, existing as both spirit and form, by possessing the bodies of animals for short periods.
I spoke to him often as a spirit. It was oddly comforting, in a way. His spirit, or perhaps his soul, bore me no ill will for what I had been forced to do.
Until 31st October 1970, when history became doomed to repeat itself.
'Dietrich?' I knew a response would take him some time. Over the years, his spirit had seemed to be fading, his presence, even as a disembodied voice, growing weaker.
I unstuck two sherbet lemons and ate one while I waited.
Eventually, I called again. 'Dietrich? Are you there, old friend?'
'Dietrich has had to go…old fool.'
I bolted upright in my chair. I knew that voice all too well. The voice of a quiet, clever Slytherin boy, a descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself…
A hiss of anger greeted my words. 'Do not call me by that filthy Muggle name, Dumbledore.'
'Tom, what are you doing? Where are you? Where is Dietrich?'
A high-pitched laugh. 'Is it not obvious, old fool? Grindelwald is now part of me. He offered his gifts to me willingly, and I accepted. He and I…are one.' Another laugh. 'Do not worry, old man, you will not hear of him again.'
'Why are you doing this, Tom?' I could barely understand what I was hearing.
'Oh, do not fret, Dumbledore. Grindelwald's legacy will live on once more. I will finish his work, and that of Salazar Slytherin…and purge this world of Mudbloods.'
'You would stoop to the murder of innocents, Tom?' My head was pounding…
'They are unworthy of the gift of magic. And I, Lord Voldemort, will follow in my forefather's footsteps, and become the greatest wizard ever KNOWN!! Prepare your pathetic Mudbloods, Dumbledore, for this…is war.'
That same day, Voldemort and his followers started to ravage the Wizarding world, bringing death and pain to all those who stood in his way. Britain fell into dark times once more. Eleven years of murder and horror, brought to a halt by the events of 31st October 1981.
Now I sit here, watching another One face his destiny. As the sun rises on a new day, the Wizarding world will once again rise, and go to war.
And young Harry Potter is the only person with the power to end the Dark Lord's power forever.
His fate is uncertain. The future is uncertain, even now. As I once told him, Sibyll Trelawney is proof of that uncertainty.
But I am certain of one thing.
Either the Dark Lord or the One must die in their final battle.
And what will become of Harry James Potter and Tom Marvolo Riddle…
Even the Fates do not know.