Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

It hurts. It hurts to breathe sometimes now, to know that the world has begun to swing back into chaos, and to know most of all that you are at its centerfold, and yet cannot stop this chain of events.

I feel it more than ever, these days. Its different from the bone crushing weariness, the ache of age that seeps and worms into my bones, wrinkles my flesh, weakens my body. It's a weight, an endless sucking and crushing of my spirit.

The weight of the crown.

Of course, it's not a real crown, like those beautiful crowns worn by the kings and queens of old. It is the crown of leadership, the burden of being the most respected and looked to and known and powerful wizard in the Wizarding world.

You might think of course, as Tom does, that such power is to be envied and beloved and jealously guarded. In reality, it is a sentence to isolation, to solitude, to utter and complete bitterness, a shackle that one would toss away as soon as possible.

Jolly, slightly mad Dumbledore is bitter at times? Oh yes, I can be very bitter about what I have done.

I am bitter for letting Tom Riddle slip by, to let such a wonderful mind fall from my grasp. I am bitter for nearly following the same path with Harry Potter unconsciously. And I am most bitter about the idea of forcing my crown upon Harry Potter, one day soon.

For I must, of course. The crown of the Wizarding world, to be ordained, to be coronated as its champion. That is what I must inflict upon that poor boy.

He will resist, of course, unlike Tom and myself. I sought this crown, I was quite full of myself at times, full of hubris and pride at my power and skill.

Pride comes before a fall, of course. The unwritten and known rule of all tragedies.

My tragedy was that of bitter discovery and irony, when I learned that what I sought was not a prize or a trophy, but a burden that would forever haunt me and slowly destroy me until the end of my days.

I sought the crown, saw it as the greatest prize ever offered, to be respected and honored. And I went to face Grindelwald, and got the crown, became coronated as the unspoken ruler of the Wizarding world. The Wizarding world is, in many ways, quite primitive. The ones with the most power become the leaders, the most respected, or in Tom's case, the most feared.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named indeed, I snort. Powerful he may be, he is still mortal.

Yet he might not be forever, I know. And so my poor Harry faces his greatest foe, not Tom, not his Death Eaters, but Time. Time is this boy's greatest foe.

I had time. Time and already natural and open talent. Harry has been neglected for too long. I should have taken him under my wing immediately and trained him from day one. Maybe things would have been different. But I cannot change the past. No one can, not even I.

I feel the weight of my crown on me again. That crushing weariness that speaks of all the burdens of the Wizarding world, their hopes, their fears, their dreams, their nightmares, all of which I can, or am supposed to be able to at least, make possible by keeping the world safe with my power.

I have given Harry his first step in initiation, on the road to his coronation, by giving him the Prophecy. I have sent him down a road of damnation and despair that has more than its share of dark and painful and torturous moments.

Sometimes we have to hurt the ones we love the most, I try to remind myself, but the words lose their magic, their allure, as even sweets do if eaten in large amounts. And I have said these words many, many times before.

My eye spies one of the once broken instruments that the boy broke when I told him the Prophecy. If he was furious, resistant to that singular burden, then what of the rest of the burdens, the full crown?

What full crown, another part of me sneers hatefully. You gave him the Prophecy, you know that on his slim, battered, weary shoulders rests the hope of the entire Wizarding world. You forced him to become a savior. What is there left for him to gain?

But I know what is left, what more burdens Harry must face should he defeat Voldemort. More foes will come for him, as they came for me. The world will look to him for answers always, use him as a scapegoat more than ever for their problems, use him as their figurehead. They will use him as they used me.

I sigh. I have tried so hard to protect him from that. I did not want the crown thrust onto a one-year old child. I had spoken with Minerva that first night, told her with that typical Dumbledore cheerfulness and happy wisdom that a one-year old would become big headed and arrogant. But in reality, I feared the opposite. I feared his soul would be demolished by the burdens of a savior, that his emotions would fall to the side and he would become obsessed with vengeance and power, and I would have failed again.

But what is worse? To be adored and looked to by the entire world, or to be hated by your entire world? Love and hate... such thin lines.

Harry once loved me, perhaps. And now he could very well hate me.

He will hate me more before this is all over. Will he be even more embittered by the crown? Can he avoid being controlled by the weight of the crown, or will it crush his soul and turn him into a puppet figurehead of the Wizarding world? Can he stand strong, not break against the endless storming wind of the world, of Time itself?

Time will one day destroy us all, but Harry is so fragile, despite all his seemingly endless luck that borders on divine intervention, despite his incredible skill, his very being could very well be utterly annihilated by the weight of his burden in time. I fear that the most, the idea of haunted, dead eyes staring blankly at me is a dagger in my old heart.

That is why I was so frightened on those days, when the Dementors came for Harry. I wanted so desperately to simply tell him not to go near them, lest I lose any more of his fading spark to the darkness.

The spark that has gone out at last. Innocence is dead, and terrible reality is the only thing that remains.

The weight of the crown, as I have said before. The most strenuous burden of all, and yet to those who have never even touched it, seen it, felt it, it is the greatest prize of all. To be powerful and wise and looked to for all the answers.

What fools there are. Only those who have ever known what it is liked to be looked at every time terror rises from the abyss, to be asked what to do in times of grave crisis, to know that you hold the fates of endless sparks of life, to the very precious order of the world, can know how truly crushing the crown is.

The crown is an endless burden to the one who wears it. Idealists will die wearing it within days, months, years. Their souls will at least, their dreams and ideals and utopias broken by the inflexible and brutal reality that the crown endlessly reveals. And yet those who have a dark, dreary world-view shall be utterly consumed by it, and the crown will turn them into its puppet. Their darkness will swallow them up, and they will have lived no more. A medium must be found, as I have discovered. Naiveté must be thrown aside, but a certain optimism, even a tiny bit of it, must remain.

I had once believed Tom could wear this crown, but as time wore on, I learned that it was not for him to be the king, but to be the usurper, the anarchist. Harry must be my heir. I must believe with that optimism tempered by realism that things will be better.

I ease back into my seat, my throne, and I sigh. I have done that many times since Tom returned. The crown has begun pressuring itself into me, slowly destroying me, as it slowly destroys all leaders. But it has accelerated since Tom was restored, as mounting pressure from all sides begins.

It is a disease of the mind, a plague upon the soul, a sword that digs ever so slowly into one's heart, slowly killing you, ever so slowly, and you know that you can never pull it out, never stop it. The worst torment of all, to know you are helpless to stop your doom as it slowly descends upon you.

There are many worse things than Death, and this crown is one of them.

AN: Thanks for reading and please review!