The voice

There is a room hidden behind Dumbledore's office which no one except for him knows exists; empty, except for the voice. Dumbledore goes there, sometimes, when his thoughts are troubled... Characters belong to Rowling.

There is a room hidden behind Dumbledore's office which no one except for him knows exists. The room is unfurnished, except for a chair. The walls are bare except for a painting. The room is empty, except for the voice. Dumbledore goes there, sometimes, when his thoughts are troubled and the weight of his many responsibilities is too heavy. He sits in the chair, he looks at the painting and he listens to the voice.

Many people will die, the voice says, and Dumbledore nods. "That is true," he answers. "Such is life structured, after all."

But You will be the one who decides who, the voice answers, malice clearly in it. Your plans, your decisions; you are the one who sends them to their death. Dumbledore nods, silently acknowledging this to be the case.

The boy will crack, the voice continues. He will not be able to bear the responsibility. He will not endure to see his friends break and die. You remember that business with his godfather? Dumbledore nods, remembering Sirius' death vividly. Who will be next? the voice taunts. Do you seriously expect the war to be without casualties? The Weasley boy? The Granger girl? Who will it be? And will your little pawn be able to take yet another death?

"Their deaths are not certain," Dumbledore answers. "I have placed protections over them that they are not aware of, and they are yet to discover their own true abilities. And hasn't Harry proved to be strong enough for all trials he has faced yet?" But his voice is sad.

Muggles are dying as we speak, the voice taunts. Giant killing sprees, collapsed bridges, freak car accidents... You cannot stop them. "I have stopped a number of attempts," Dumbledore protest, but the voice interrupts. But you have failed to stop more. How many more will be killed?

"I will stop them," Dumbledore says. But at what cost? the voice sneers. Dumbledore sits silent a moment, before he answers, and when he speaks there is a calm determination in his voice. "My own life, obviously," he says.

Your little spy will betray you, if he hasn't already, the voice replies with cruel glee. He is in the Dark Lord's service, and your death will be meaningless. It won't save the Malfoy boy, it won't save Potter, and it will remove the last obstacle for the Dark Lord's rise to power.

"Severus won't betray me," Dumbledore answers without hesitation. "He is loyal to me and to our cause." The Dark Lord can offer him things you would never dream of, the voice laughs. Pleasures and powers beyond your imagination. He is lost for you. Dumbledore shakes his head.

"Severus lust for pleasure and power has cost him more than he ever knew he had," he sadly says. "Offering him more will only make him more determined to defend what is still there for him to love, even if he does not see it for himself yet. He will never return to the other side."

Your plans will fail, the voice shrieks. The Dark Lord has vast armies, power over Death itself and the courage to destroy whatever stands in his way. "My plans were set in motion long ago," Dumbledore says quitely. "Riddle is ignorant of far too many things. He will not succeed." But the cost will be tremendous, the voice sneers. It will be too high for your servants to pay, and who will then carry out your plans?

"They are not my servants," Dumbledore says, rising from the chair. "They are my companions and friends, and they can see for themselves what needs to be done. And as for the price, there is much still to be paid, but there is also much that now starts to bear fruit. I do not fear the future." And he turns to leave.

You are fooling yourself, the voice yells, clearly annoyed. You are too soft, Dumbledore. You cannot allow yourself to pay the price in blood and life that is demanded for success, and that will be your downfall. You cannot defeat the Dark Lord.

Dumbledore turns in the door, facing the portrait on the wall, and he smiles sadly.

"Why not, Grindelwald? I defeated you, after all. Thanks for helping me to clear my mind." And he walks out from the room, from the chair, from the portrait and from the voice of the past.