- The Gambler -

The sky is glowing green in the light of a prematurely cast Dark Mark—so predictable an act for a group of individuals who neither understand nor want to understand death. One would think they had done this to plan for death under the assumption that there is no worse end to one's life; I am watching them now, arguing amongst themselves over who is to kill me, each trying to snatch the pleasure of inflicting this punishment on me so that he may revel in a moment of stolen immortality.

Harry is strong enough now to finish what I should never have allowed to begin; in this moment, the stone that grinds into my bones as I move holds steadfast beneath his feet. Watching him now out of the corner of my eye, I take a moment to marvel at the weight he will soon shoulder alone—will the paths he'll tread sink beneath him and drag him into the mire as he walks, when I am gone?

There is no time for questions; I know that I am dying.

I have already made my gamble. I am sure the makers of men are familiar with this feeling. My first glimpse of that fated orphanage so many years ago gave me the first thrilling taste.

The looks on their faces as they spit and quarrel amongst themselves reveals that Voldemort himself will not turn up tonight, but this small part of his legacy is enough. Chaos, malignity, brutality, a savage, lustful fear of death—all Voldemort's signature; how ironic that he should be so afraid of death, yet have no qualms about dismembering his soul.

I look on him and I know that I have created a monster.

He was searching for an identity, and I gave him the power to seek the one he desired. I confirmed his belief that he was out of the ordinary; I gave him the tools of destruction.

A young, confident mind, I thought. A brilliant mind; a guaranteed success.

—A dangerously intelligent fool.

Clearly, there was more than one fool in the orphanage that day.

Harry's face is the picture of horror as he struggles against his restraints. Although he knows I have been weakening in the face of my own creation, he does not yet realize that he has become my last hand. He will not be able to move from the shadows until my death has bought him time to escape.

Severus Snape appears on the tower. I can bear the pain no longer.

Harry. Harry James Potter. You are the die that will undo the first.

Snape is clutching his wand, and I know that I am helpless.


My abomination has chosen you. There are no words to express my grief.

I have armed you. There is nothing more I can do; my work here is done.


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A/N: Just a little drabble inspired by HBP, written around two in the morning. I felt that JKR had left us with a bit of a blank spot where it came to Dumbledore—what a mystery the man was; but surely he must have had some personal misgivings about Voldemort.

The original inspiration for this fic came from the scene where Dumbledore was drinking the potion. As there seems to be no clear answer as to what sort of pain he was experiencing, you guys can choose how close to canon you want this to be. ;)

- Silverspinner