Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to JKR and/or Daniel Knauf. I do not profit from writing this story.

Author's Notes: I must warn that this is a very dark, violent and sexual story. It will contain non-con (Hermione not the victim) and ambiguous consent.

Reviews and criticism welcomed and strongly encouraged, no matter how harsh. Mainly HBP compliant, yet Dumbledore is still alive. But I promise, I shall make it up to you.

Very special thanks to my wonderful beta, melusin.

There is a balance, of sorts, that the gods of nature constantly maintain throughout the ages. For thousands of years, wizards and Muggles have consistently played their fixed role in the grand scheme of time, unaware of their predetermined status. With the climax of the next great battle drawing near, the key players who have the ability to halt or bring about potential destruction take center stage, as they always have in every great war since time began.

And Dumbledore knew all this, but not when it truly mattered. He was too blinded by an impatient desire for righteous resolutions before he grasped the nuances of his true task. Saving the world from near destruction at the hands of the usher triggered the perpetual forces, and positioned his successor to come to power.

How he wished he could rectify his past mistakes.

"It's spreading," a deep voice called down from his portrait hung high in the Headmaster's chambers.

Dumbledore sighed, turning his bare back toward the mirror as he looked over his shoulder. He reached for a mixing bowl perched on the edge of his dressing-table, scooped up some thick, yellow paste and gingerly applied it to his numb, blackened flesh.

"Yes," Dumbledore conceded, "it will not be long now."

"I hope so," said the portrait bluntly.

Dumbledore stopped his ministrations on his useless shoulder to glare at the portrait. The sandy-haired man in the frame stared wide-eyed, forming an uneasy pinch in his eyebrows as his strong jaw moved side to side uncomfortably.

"I did not mean-"

"It's quite all right, Godric. I fear that I agree," Albus said dejectedly, continuing to apply the dressings to his arm.

"No, it's not all right. It just is. First your arm, and then… well… Voldemort is an abomination! This isn't how it is done. His time must come and pass," Godric shouted.

"From the looks of it, he knows what is expected of him. Even when blessed, or cursed however you may look at it, with celestial power, he still sees himself as more extraordinary then those that preceded him," Dumbledore said as he began to dress in his nightshirt.

"What about the boy?" the portrait questioned.

"Whether he is ready or not, his time will come."

"HIS TIME IS NOW!" Godric's face twisted in appalled anger. "You had no right to fight the curse given to you when you destroyed the Peverell Ring!"

"The boy was not ready," Dumbledore said simply, as if this made all the sense in the world. "I had hoped to ease his burden."

"It is not your place! This is not your fight. You did what was expected, Grindelwald was destroyed magnificently. If you accepted your fate with the ring, or in your attempt with the faux locket, Harry would have his boon by now."

"But will he know how to use it?" Dumbledore breathed as he sat on the edge of his bed. "Or would he repeat my past mistakes and destroy Voldemort before it is his time?"

Godric gazed down at the frail old man and shook his head. "Not one of us has ever attempted what you have in mind. How do you know it will even work?"

"Just a hunch, really, but what have we got to lose?"

"The war."

"Maybe, Godric, maybe. But if it comes to that, then there will be others, which will give us a chance to rectify it," Dumbledore said.

"Any idea who is the next in his House?" Godric asked reluctantly. For so long, he had refused to indulge Dumbledore in yet another of his eccentric ideas. In his time, Godric had fought his opponent magnificently, succeeding in thwarting Salazar Slytherin from obtaining a dangerous influence over the education of the wizarding world's impressionable youth. That was all that mattered then, not the potential choices and consequences of the future. They were not his fight.

"Yes," Dumbledore sighed, as he pulled back the sheets of his grand four-poster, "I just pray to Merlin that I am right this time."

Dumbledore fought the urge to get up as sleep refused to claim his mind. Far too many nights were wasted obsessively pacing in his bedroom, worrying the floorboards with his never ending thoughts.

So many mistakes, so many choices made in haste, resulting in a series of events taking place before his very eyes. Even with them closed, he could still see him on the day he destroyed the One that came before Voldemort.

Thanks to inside sources, servants that Grindelwald had spurned one too many times, and in the mist of raining shells and bombs, Dumbledore had taken the risk to Apparate into the bunker where Grindelwald was hiding. Dumbledore moved carefully, as the sound of two German men arguing grew clearer with every step. He easily hid in the shadows as the two men were too distracted, lost in their heated argument as the war raged overhead. Dumbledore watched as Grindelwald held his wand to that foul Muggle's head who then begged for his life. The Muggle's wife lay lifeless at his side, eyes open, blankly watching Dumbledore's every move.

Dumbledore's sleeping body twitched as images flashed through his mind.

"Because of your stupid pride, you have ruined everything!" Grindelwald screamed, forcing his wand against the Muggle's skull so he cowered further into his seat.

"But I've done as you asked!" he shouted.

A thick, black haze covered the scene, and their voices were drowned out. The two men became clear once more, as Grindelwald pointed his wand between the Muggle's eyes. Pupils dilated, the slack jawed Muggle raised a pistol to his own temple, pulling the trigger and splattering the wall behind him with purple gore.

The sound of a little boy crying distracted Dumbledore from this scene. He turned away from his memory to tread the maze of hallways and doors in the underground bunker.

"Damned!" he heard a burly male voice bellow.

"He doesn't understand!" screamed a woman.

One of the closed doors in the corridor cast a flickering light against the floor and walls. Dumbledore pushed it open, entering a small and modest kitchen.

"That fox cub was practically dead. I saw it bleeding in the dog's mouth!" the man screamed, leaning across the kitchen table toward his wife.

"You can't blame him for wanting to-"

His hand slammed down on the table, eliciting a tiny frightened squeak from underneath it.

"For fuck's sake, he's four years old! Can you tell me how a normal child can kill a dog twice his size without so much as looking at it!"

Dumbledore bent over sideways, raising the cloth from the corner of the table. His old, tired eyes gazed sadly at a pitiful boy with stringy, dark hair and tear-stained sunken cheeks. His whole front was splattered with blood. He was clutching a playful fox cub to his chest, picking at the crusted blood on its fur.

"Stop, please, for heaven's sake!" the woman bawled.

The man stormed about the kitchen, pulling open various drawers and sending silverware crashing to the floor.

"I saw the flesh of that dog rip straight off its back - and that i thing /i was already dead. Heaven will not have him."

A rugged arm with its sleeve rolled up reached under the table. "Give it to me, boy!" the man snarled.

"No," the little boy cried, clutching the animal tighter.

"I SAID NOW!" The man grasped the fox by its neck, causing it to squeal and cry in fright. The squealing continued, directly above the little boy's head, as he fisted his tiny hands against his ears. The spindly table legs buckled under a harsh crunch to the table top. The woman screamed and fled from the room. All that could be heard was the man's ragged breathing.

Dumbledore tore his eyes away from the pathetic child to look above the table. But the kitchen was gone, and he was standing in the rubble of a bomb damaged restaurant.

The ragged breaths continued, heard clearly amidst the whistling sounds of a war just outside the walls.

Dumbledore walked toward the body that had expelled them. On the floor by the door, surrounded by broken glass and upturned nails, lay an horrifically burnt and bleeding soldier.

Dumbledore looked down in disgust at the vivid red arm band around his bicep.

"You created all this," Dumbledore said, "so you should be proud to wear it."

The gasping man looked up, fear in his eyes at the sight of the old man, and attempted to push himself away.

The soldier's ragged breathing quickened in his efforts, developing into a painful cough. Eyes open, the soldier's final breath coughed out of his lungs as he fell limply against the door frame.

Dumbledore turned, wand raised, as a sudden movement caught his attention.

A handsome boy, no older than nineteen stood directly behind Dumbledore. He clutched at his head, moaning and twisting from side to side as if in pain. Falling to the floor, his screams continued, speaking in both English and German at the same time.

Dumbledore bent down towards the boy, placing his hand on his shoulder to get him to look up. Dumbledore could feel his erratic, hysterical breathing slow down under the palm of his hand.

The boy lurched at Dumbledore's wand arm, clutching him firmly by the wrist. Immediately, Dumbledore willed his wand to hex the handsome face leering on the other end. Dumbledore's skin blistered and burned under his touch. With all his might, Dumbledore could not pull away, and his skin began to turn black. The boy looked up, eyes blazing scarlet red.


The old wizard gasped, finally yanking his arm free of the mad creature at his feet. Dumbledore raised his wand high before whipping it down…

"Please…" the creature moaned desperately.

Off to his right, a swishing sound rhythmically turned in the air, ending in a sharp snap.

A woman screamed painfully.

"Please!" cried the voice at his feet, desperation heavy in his voice. "I've told you everything. EVERYTHING! I swear I am not lying. Please, I'll do anything you ask of me, just let her go!"

Dumbledore felt a strong tug at the hem of his robes. Finally opening his eyes, he looked down at his feet to find the creature with the mad eyes gone. On bended knees was a young man in his early twenties. Copious strands of his long, limp black hair stuck to his wet face.

The rhythmic whishing sound continued, ending in another snap. The woman screamed again, but with less of a fight in her moaning.

Dumbledore wretchedly looked down at the young man, recognizing the pathetic defeat in those dark eyes.

"You can stop now," Dumbledore heard his voice say to an Auror twirling a whip above his head.

The young wizard fell back on the balls of his feet, relief coursing through him that his mother had not been killed.

Dumbledore turned his back on him, exiting the room, with every intention of trusting anything he said.

Far off in the distance, miles away from the Headmaster's chambers, in a dilapidated Muggle house on an abandoned street, a man thrashed around frantically in his sleep.

Gasping for air, Severus Snape shot out of his bed and ran toward the window on the other side of his room.

Willing his breathing to slow down, he wrenched open the clasp, allowing the chill of the night breeze to beat against his sweaty face.

As the stench of sulfur and rotting wood traveled in through his window, Severus willed his mind to forget everything he had seen in his dreams.

Allowing his exhausted body to fall to the floor, he rested his head against the cold windowsill. Closing his eyes, he could still see those red eyes on the beautiful boy, laughing, as a woman screamed in the distance.

Author's Notes: Again, I must thank my beta, melusin who has worked very hard on my story, far beyond grammar and spelling.

Title taken from John Milton's Paradise Lost, Book ii. Line 565.

This story is a WIP, but the first 9 chapters are completely written so regular updates are expected.