Title: Poison Apples

Author: Unspoken Tragedy

Rating: PG, because I said so.

Spoilers: All five books.

Disclaimer: I wish I owned the characters. But alas, I still own nothing.

Summery: Why does Dumbledore always offer his visitors candy? The answer may mat be as innocent as one would expect.

Series: None

A/N: Blame it on the inhalation of too much cleaning fumes while cleaning the bathroom. That's what I do. ;)

Poison Apples

"Would you like a Sherbet Lemon?"

And innocent question, to be sure. How can a child conceive that such a question could be their own undoing? That, perhaps, that lemon drop is little more than the means to an end?

They believe I'm omniscient, the children at Hogwarts. Even some of the staff does, the ones who have not learned my greatest secret yet. Of course the portraits are effective enough. They do like to report the happenings of this here institution to me. I suppose it makes them feel needed in however small a way.

But most every child learns that before they graduate.

It's what they don't learn of, which is my greatest source. And that is that they tell me themselves.

Each time they stop in my office for whatever reason, whether it be though my call or some other means, I offer them candy. Few decline such an offer. It is no small thing to be given anything by the greatest wizard known to man. And it would be completely rude to turn down said wizard.

And it isn't like I'd poison the candy that I ate also.

I simply poison the candy that they eat.

Of course they are too young, too naïve to notice that what I serve them is different from what I eat myself. In fact, to the naked eye there really is not much difference at all.

Except that the candy I offer others is slightly darker than what I eat. Only a couple of shades. Nothing that could be noticed unless one was looking.

Except that the candy they partake is laced with a weak truth serum. Weak enough to prevent them from noticing. Weak enough to allow them some sort of free will. But strong enough to get the job done.

They cannot tell a lie.

Some would say that such actions are unnecessary. Certainly a Master Leglimens could grasp the information from their minds? Well only a Leglimens knows that that is not so easy as it sounds.

It is not as if I could slip into their minds without the risk of their noticing. Even those who know nothing of Occlumency still can tell if their mind is being attacked. And even if I were to get inside it might take some searching to find the answers I want. Time in which would be better spent elsewhere.

So I offer them my poison apples. My Sherbet Lemons. The sour taste enough to ensure, though this truth serum can be tasted, it is undetectable.

Some have learned of this secret though. Severus, of course, learned only after his first taste. He did not become a Potions Master for nothing. In fact, he is now the brewer of my "special candy". It keeps the surreptitious act more cloaked than if I still relied on some other Potions Master as I used to. They've been obliviated for quite some time now.

For none can know that I poison my students, that I poison any who take the sweets I offer. I could just imagine the surprise on the wizarding world's faces if they were told.

"Dumbledore couldn't really be poisoning us all! He's our leader! Our white wizard! He wouldn't do such a thing!"

But Tom Riddle is a leader also.

And I must protect those under my care, even if that means manipulating them also. And I must win this war, even if that means using underhanded techniques. Voldemort doesn't hesitate to use them.

But Riddle's arrogance will be his downfall. Only a fool will show off his power to any willing to look. And only a wise man would play the part of a fool to hide said power.

So the world sees me as exactly what I wish them to see: a batty old fool who likes candy. And I get from them exactly what I want: answers.

Everything comes with a price after all. They desire my protection, so I give it to them. Maybe not in the way they'd approve of...

But I am their leader, not their friend. And I will do what I have too to win this war.

"Sherbet lemon, anyone?"


A/N: MWAHAHAHA! Manipulative!Albus

I like the Sherbet Lemons being used as a tool to control people (in however small a way it may be). In another story I wrote one of the characters was afraid of the candy being poisoned so didn't eat it. I reread that chapter today and this idea came to me.