The familiar walk to the Headmaster's office appeared to take longer then usual. It was disconcerting how the entire castle seemed to be in a sleeping state.
However, Harry knew if he was to head towards the Great Hall he'd be bombarded with students laughing and talking. He'd ate a rather early lunch, and now he was hungry again.
Thinking of food, he wondered what Dumbledore's password would be.
Harry had not thought to ask McGonagall, but perhaps he could guess like usual.
Half way to the office Harry passed a small group of students from different houses. A few appeared to be trying a little too hard appearing casual. Meanwhile, a Slytherin Harry only knew by looks; turned and whispered to three others.
The sight made Harry rather suspicious. He had never seen those students walking together before; perhaps they were in a club? Of course, the only club Umbridge would allow would probably involve knitting.
Harry quickened his steps. Knitting club or not, he didn't like the look on the Slytherin's face.
Reaching the gargoyles that guarded the staircase to Dumbledore's office, Harry took a deep breath. He'd named at least fifteen different sweets before he came across the correct password.
Feeling relieved, Harry climbed up stairs. Knocking on the hard door, he waited.
"Come in Harry."
Harry's eyebrows scrunched up in puzzlement. The headmaster sounded--depressed. It was not often you could come across the Headmaster of Hogwarts with any other attitude other then positive. That was one thing that made him so liked.
The positive energy was contagious.
Harry felt the beginnings of worry and fear in that moment. What exactly did Dumbledore want to talk to him about--and did he really want to know?
Of course I do, Harry told himself. His body didn't seem to agree as he never reached for the handle.
The door opened, and Harry looked up rather sheepishly into Dumbledore's face. "Forget how to use the handle Harry?"
Harry felt a slight blush enter his face and gave the man an embarrassed look. "Sorry, I got lost in my thoughts."
Dumbledore nodded and waved Harry inside. "A habit that can cause many things, most of them bad for your person. Lack of sleep, negativity, paranoia, I don't think I need continue," Dumbledore said with a light smile.
"I'll pay more attention to my surroundings sir, sorry."
Dumbledore sat behind his desk. "You need not worry; we all get rather caught up in thoughts. I'm sure you have plenty to think about…sharing your worries with others can help."
Harry caught on to what Dumbledore meant. He was offering his ear to listen to Harry's troubles and thoughts. It was the perfect time to bring up the prophecy. Harry wasn't about to let it pass, he might not get the chance later.
"Actually sir, I had a question that I think you know the answer to. I'm just not sure if you'd be willing to share the information," Harry said slowly.
Dumbledore's face did not change, but the rest of him seemed to stiffen in alertness.
Harry continued without waiting. "I--I had a dream where Voldemort was looking for something." At the expression on Dumbledore's face, Harry stopped talking. "I think you know what I mean sir."
Dumbledore remained silent for a long time. His clear blue eyes staring emotionlessly at Harry' wary face. Harry began to wonder if he had phrased his words wrong. Or maybe; Harry started thinking with a wince, everyone but him new about this prophesy and Dumbledore was wondering how he could have mentored such an ignorant child.
Snape seemed to know something. Lucius and now his wife new a little as well. Harry bit his lip. He hated feeling ignorant.
The silence was smothering him. Harry had to speak. "Sir…please, I feel I need to know--if it involves me. I can't think of any other reason for you or the others to try to hold it from me."
Harry could hear the slight shift of Dumbledore's robes as the man's shoulders fell.
"Professor Snape informed me of your curiosity about the prophesy. Even though I was aware of it long before, I hoped you could pass this subject." Dumbledore smiled sadly.
"You aren't a child anymore, that much is obvious. Yet," Dumbledore paused. Sad eyes surveyed Harry's expectant stance and worried green eyes.
"Yet," he repeated, "I still find myself thinking of you as one."
Harry scowled lightly. He wasn't a child, hadn't he proved himself time and time again?
"I can see by your expression you misunderstand me." Harry did not deny the headmaster's words.
"Voldemort tried to kill you when you were a child because of a prophesy made shortly before your birth. He knew the prophesy had been made, though he did not know its full contents."
Engrossed in this, the answer to the question that had plagued him, Harry leaned closer.
"He set out to kill you when you were still a baby, believing he was fulfilling the terms of the prophesy. He discovered, to his cost, that he was mistaken, when the curse intended to kill you backfired. And so, since his return to his body, and particularly since your extraordinary escape from him last year, he has been determined to hear the prophesy in its entirety. This in the weapon he has been seeking so assiduously since his return: the knowledge of how to destroy you."
Harry stared at Dumbledore. Feeling sick, he swallowed and took a breath to speak.
"Now he has the prophesy…doesn't he sir?"
Dumbledore nodded. Harry sat back in his seat, and felt foolish for sitting forward so eagerly--just to find out that his mortal enemy knew how to kill him.
"But--sir, what did the prophesy say? We'll never know will we?" Harry said.
Dumbledore was shaking his head and holding up a hand even as Harry talked.
"The thing that Voldemort took was merely a record of the prophesy kept by the Department of Mysteries. But the prophesy was made to somebody, and that person has the means of recalling it perfectly."
Harry blinked, "You, sir?"
Nodding, Dumbledore got to his feet and walked past Harry to the black cabinet that stood beside Fawkes's perch. He bent down, slid back a catch, and took from inside it the shallow stone basin, carved with runes around the edges.
Harry stomach twisted at the sight. Occlumency lessons coming back to him, and the reminder of his father tormenting Snape, which had sent him running away to the Room of Requirement.
Where everything had started…and now he was here. Harry wondered why his future self had not told him any of this.
"I was going to see an applicant for the post of Divination teacher. This applicant was the great-great-granddaughter of a very famous, very gifted Seer. It was common politeness to meet with her. I was very disappointed. She obviously had no true talent in the art. As I was leaving, she began to prophesy."
Dumbledore walked back to the desk from where he had been standing next to the cabinet. He placed the Pensieve upon it, and raised his want to his own temple. From it, he withdrew silvery. Gossamer-fine strands of thought clinging to the wand, and deposited them in the basin.
He sat back down. Watching his thoughts swirl and drift inside the Pensieve for a moment. Then, with a sigh, he raised his wand and prodded the silvery substance with its tip.
A figure rose out of it, draped in shawls, her eyes magnified to enormous size behind her glasses and she revolved slowly, her feet in the basin. But when Sybyll Trelawney spoke, it was not in her usual ethereal, mystic voice, but in the harsh, hoarse tones Harry had heard her use once before.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches….Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have the power the Dark Lord knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…."
Harry stared at the basin. Thoughts running rampart in his mind. What the hell does that mean? he asked himself worriedly. But Harry knew what he thought it meant. Yet, it seemed so wrong.
Him, Harry, skinny and so utterly human? Vanquish Voldemort? The world was doomed.
"Professor Dumbledore? What--what does it mean?" His quiet voice did not move Dumbledore. The man seemed lost in thought, thoughts deep and painful to think about if Harry went by his sad expression.
"It meant, Dumbledore said, "that the person who has the only chance of conquering Lord Voldemort for good was born at the end of July, nearly sixteen years ago. This boy would be born to parents who had already defied Voldemort three times."
Harry found it slightly difficult to breathe. Something like a metal fist curled around his heart and squeezed until he gasped a little.
Dumbledore surveyed him through glasses, and then nodded very slowly.
"How can you be sure?" Harry asked. He felt desperate, it wasn't fair he wanted to say.
"The prophesy makes me positive. The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal," Dumbledore responded.
Harry's hand went to the Dark Mark that seemed to burn at his hand closing over the sleeve. But Dumbledore was shaking his head and Harry drew a hand up to touch his forehead.
"When Voldemort gave you that scar, he did not kill you, as he intended, but gave you powers and a future, which have fitted you to escape him not once, but four times so far--something that neither of your parents ever achieved."
Harry closed his eyes.
Harry sat in the Room of Requirement an hour later thinking over what he had been told. A fire blazed in front of him.
He sat in front of the fireplace on a small rug.
What he had been told, It was really a case of kill or be killed. "Not a lot of room to move with choices like that," he mumbled. Harry kind of wished for someone to respond. Maybe someone could help him figure these churning emotions out. He felt like a wreck.
Just as things got slightly better, they went on to become ten times worse. But wasn't that the way things were?
After the meeting with Dumbledore, Harry had snuck into the boy's dormitory. After fetching his cloak and the book from his future self, he retreated down here.
Now, it all seemed so pointless. Why had his future self tried to fix his future when it seemed obvious he would die anyway?
Harry looked at the book in his hands. It had helped him, made him do things he never would have done. Although, he thought, some things were not completely taken care of.
Umbridge was still around, he was not prefect at Occlumency…yet. However, there were good things that had come about. He had founds a different side of Snape he had not known existed.
Draco Malfoy now seemed more like an annoying little ferret than someone he would have happily pushed of a cliff. He survived Voldemort once again, and it was mostly because Draco had managed to fight the Imperius.
Not that I came away unscathed, Harry thought. His eyes drifted to where the Dark Mark was hidden by his sleeve. It did not bother him much, a few tingles made him jump now and then. It was the fact that he was marked as one of Voldemort's Death Eaters that bothered him.
He couldn't let anyone see it. So many had turned against him during second year just because he had the power of Parseltongue forced on him when he was a baby. He didn't even want to imagine all the people that would turn from him then.
Of course, the ones that new him would stick by him. Harry really didn't want to have to explain to the press, or any others what had happened. He didn't want to think about it himself.
Harry thumbed through the book. Draco had come very close to opening the book. Had he seen it, Harry would have to plead insanity--or say that he was a closet writer and this was his first novel in progress. Harry frowned, pleading insanity sounded more believable.
He knew what had to be done. Harry had already read the book the whole way through anyhow, most of it was memorized as well.
Frowning, Harry sighed slightly. Then, with a sharp movement he threw the book into the fire.
The only way to make sure his secrets were forever safe, was to make it so no one would ever find them.
He had been told to burn the book, now seemed like the time to do so.
Orange flames licked at browed pages. The book burned away to ashes before his eyes. Harry let out a breath, one less thing to worry with…and only a hundred or so left.
The door behind him opened. Harry stood up, blocking the few distinguishable remains of the book with his body.
Ron and Hermione looked at him, both of them appearing worried.
"Harry?" Hermione asked in concern.
"You're really pale mate," Ron said. His light colored eyebrows narrowed in thought.
"I'm fine," Harry lied, "I just learned some--well, disturbing news from Dumbledore."
Harry told them both what he had been told, then made them swear not to repeat it.
His friends were understandably shocked. Ron's freckles stood out against his pale face. "Bloody hell. Just…bloody hell," he muttered while shaking his head.
"That about sums it up," Harry muttered. "What am I going to do?"
Hermione spoke up a moment later. "You're going to fight him!" Her fierce voice made Harry jump. Looking at her with surprise, Harry shook his head.
"You'll find out how, you just--have to Harry!" She sniffled and Harry looked away quickly.
Quietly, Hermione pulled Harry into a hug. "Oh, damn it all," Ron muttered before throwing his arms around Hermione and Harry.
They stood like that for a while. Taking comfort from each other was one of the many things friends were for.
"We'll figure something out," Hermione said.
Ron agreed with a nod that hit Harry's head, "We always do."
Authors Note: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get this chapter written and posted. The last few months have been very busy. I'm happy to say, that I won NaNoWriMo with thousands of others much to my delight, and the first chapter of that story I wrote for NaNo is posted on this site! This is the last chapter of Come What May. Yeah, I'm horrible, I know. BUT, there will be a sequel, and I will try to knock your polka dot, covered socks off with it. Sadly, it will not be up for a while due to Better Off Forgotten (the NaNoWriMo story) and a few other stories. I'm sorry to leave you with this cliff hanger, really I am. It hurts you and me both, I'll try to get things rolling. If you like, check out my yahoo group for updates and first chapters. Big thank you's to everyone that has stayed with me! Chapters are being edited for mistakes and Americanisms, so everyone that has pointed stuff out and might think I'm ignoring it, I'm not. It has just been rather hectic. Thank you for your support! Scorpia