Title: The eyes that lost their twinkle…

Author name: Ham

DISCLAIMER: No I don't own Harry Potter. I just write fanfics for fun and make absolutely no money out of it. It all belongs to the great JK Rowling

Summary: Albus Dumbledore is a genius, the most powerful wizard in the world, the leader of the light, the one who everybody looks up to. He is also just a man, who sometimes needs to forget his mistakes… A companion piece to The Darkest Hour.

This chapter is dedicated to Melindaleo, thank you for bringing a bit of sunshine in my day :)

Thanks go to - Chris (malko050987) for the amazingly fast beta.

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The eyes that lost their twinkle…

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Albus Dumbledore sat slumped in his chair, rubbing his temple tiredly. He felt every bit as old as his 157 years, and maybe a few more.

He felt his joints aching, his arthritis was acting up again and he was surely getting a migraine. But all these ails and pains paled in comparison to the pain in his heart. It felt like he was under the Cruciatus curse, like his soul was being ripped apart.

His once merry, twinkling eyes were dull and filled with pain. His shoulders were drooped and his back bent with fatigue. Nobody who'd see him now would suspect that he was the most powerful wizard in the world. He just looked like a tired, old man, who has seen and done far too much and was waiting for sweet release.

His eyes looked up and searched for Fawkes, but the phoenix was nowhere to be seen.

Dumbledore sighed. He hadn't really expected Fawkes to be there anyway. The Phoenix had seen everything he had through the bond they shared, all of Harry's terrible childhood. Knowing how much Fawkes loved Harry, Dumbledore knew that the phoenix would not come to him for at least a few days.

He looked up when he heard an angry sounding knock on the door and winced. "Come in, Minerva," he said tiredly.

The door opened and Minerva McGonagall walked in, her back held stiff in anger. Her eyes held a look of deep betrayal in them. She didn't ask for permission and just sat down in a chair and looked at Dumbledore.

Albus was silent, his eyes downcast. He waited for her to rage at him, shout at him, and call him a hundred names. None of that happened. The only sound in the office was a tense silence that was more terrible than any temper tantrum or name calling.

He finally couldn't take it anymore. "Say it, Minerva. Whatever you want, just say it."

"I don't want to say anything, Professor," McGonagall said in a cold voice.

Albus looked up, flinching at her words. She calling him 'Professor' told him in great detail just how mad she was at him.

"Besides, what's left to say? It's not like all those years of torture and abuse will vanish. It's not like we will ever be able to restore that boys childhood. I'll never be able to look into his eyes again after this. Oh my God! How will I meet Lily's eyes?" McGonagall burst out, tears spilling out of her eyes.

"Minerva, it isn't your fault," Albus insisted. "It was my fault, and mine alone."

"Oh, it is your fault, Albus," Minerva said angrily, wiping the tears from her eyes roughly. "But I should have known better. It was one of those times I should have put my foot down. I saw what those Muggles were like. I suspected what might have happened."

Albus nodded tiredly. Suddenly he made a sound of disgust and opened a drawer under his desk and brought out an old bottle of Firewhisky. It was old and dusty with age and its colour was a beautiful golden of the finest blends.

He opened the bottle and absently conjured himself a glass and poured it full of the whisky. For a moment he looked utterly disgusted at himself, then he quickly grabbed the glass and swallowed it in one gulp.

Whisky drinkers all over the world would have shot him for such an abject waste of such fine liquor, but Dumbledore was beyond caring.

Minerva McGonagall watched in stunned disbelief as the Headmaster poured himself another shot. In over fifty years of knowing him she had never seen him lose control or get drunk.

Dumbledore smiled bitterly. "Its interesting how things turn out, isn't it? I had wanted to make sure he had a normal childhood, somewhere where he would be accepted for who he was, not for what he had done. Somewhere he would be loved for himself, not for defeating Voldemort. Where he could have a normal, happy childhood before he had to take on the responsibilities of the world on his young shoulders. It's almost ironic now that you think about it."

He knocked back another shot of the whisky and poured himself another glass.

"It's true; I too knew that they hated magic. But I knew they were parents, and related to him by blood. I thought to myself, how could a parent, any parent, hate a child? They would accept him with time."

He gulped down the whisky in the glass and began pouring himself another.

"Albus, don't you think you've had enough?" Minerva asked timidly. She was frightened by her mentor's behavior. She had never seen him in this persona. His magical aura was burning brightly all around him, going out of control.

Dumbledore ignored her.

"It would have taken me ten minutes to check up on him. But I never bothered. I was blissfully ignorant, thinking I had done the best possible thing for him, given him the best possible life."

Dumbledore paused and eyed the contents of his glass in disgust. He swallowed the liquid inside quickly. It was almost as if he was trying to punish himself.

"I don't know whether I can ever make it up to you," Dumbledore whispered softly, too softly for Minerva to hear. "I will wait for the day I can erase my mistakes, Harry. I will pay the price I have to pay. Maybe then… you can forgive an old man."

He never heard the wordlessly cast stunner hit him, letting him slump into a dreamless unconsciousness.

Minerva McGonagall quietly put away her wand and left the office, stopping only to whisper brokenly, "Goodnight Albus."

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A/N – This drabble was something I wanted to write for a long, long time. It is very close to my heart.

Dumbledore has always been one of my favorite characters in Canon. I have forever tried to understand his mysterious depths. How can a man be all knowing, all wise and all powerful? What is the man behind the half moon glasses really like?

This is my attempt to explore more of this truly great character.