Spoilers: HP & The Goblet of Fire

A's Note: This is a stream-of-consciousness piece from Dumbledore's POV when he is finally able to be alone after the events on the night of the last Triwizard Task in Goblet of Fire. I don't expect everyone to get it, but if you have questions, put 'em in a review and I'll try to answer.

"Never Saying It" by H.L.B.

The heavens are crying today and I know how they feel.

I wonder, sometimes, if they know how I feel. I would like to think so. The truth is that I need to think so for compassion from the heavens may be all I am likely to get. I do not say this as criticism. Not even, I hope, as self-pity. I say it because it is.

I am the wise and venerable Dumbledore, after all. I am the one looked to for leadership and for strength. People need me to be strong and so they do not suppose that I, too, must struggle and grieve. They dare not suppose that I, too, sometimes wonder at the point of rising from bed in the morning. They dare not suppose it because they need to believe in my endless strength, my limitless capacity to "fix it," and to "make it better."

Strength and leadership are my burden, but they are a burden I must bear. They are my responsibility. Not to take up the task which the universe has given me would be to stand aside and let disaster befall us all... this I cannot do. I cannot pull the covers over my head and let "someone else deal with it today." As tempting as that might be, it is simply not an option. It is not in me.

And so it is that I find myself sitting alone on a night that my heart has been rent in two. I am alone because no one thinks to check on me, to see if I am alright. Dumbledore is always alright, he needs to be, he has to be. It's his job. I must deal with my feelings alone with only the company of the weeping skies... and this may be the hardest thing of all.

For, even though I do understand why I must deal with this alone, I long to cry out like a raging child. I want to make someone, anyone, notice that I am feeling, hurting, despairing. I want to say how cold it felt as fear gripped my heart when Harry and Cedric disappeared. I want to say how I longed to howl in agony like a banshee when poor lifeless Cedric re-appeared. I want to say how angry I am at myself and at young Barty Crouch... how guilty I feel for what my blindness caused poor Alastor to suffer all these months.

I want to try and give voice to what it is like to face the parents of a dead student feeling that it is somehow your fault. Death and all the other myriad horrors (some worse than death) I have witnessed cannot be taken back, they cannot be erased.

I saw the look on Sirius' face tonight when I insisted Harry tell the story, despite his reluctance. I did what needed to be done and a little part of my died when I did. A little part of myself dies each time I must insist a child do what is best in the face of suffering. I must insist on what is best instead of what they would most like to do... what I would most like to do.... which is to clutch a comforting someone and weep for all I'm worth.

I want to tell someone just how much I wanted to shake Corneilus silly tonight instead of speaking with calm and reason. Come to that, I'd like to crack a few heads together in frustration (like Sirius' and Severus' for instance). I cannot do this, I must be the calm in the center of the storm.

I want to say how I am frightened for Severus, how I hate myself for sending him to do what he must. But I cannot. It is my job to look at the "big picture." I must be strong, I must assure others of what is necessary. I must be confident that it will come out well. I have to let them believe that I will 'fix it" in the end. It is important they believe that, lest they lose hope. But there are many days I wonder if I can fix it in the end.

I want to weep for the child I could see Severus was the moment he crossed the threshold of Hogwarts all those years ago... for the horrible scars he already bore at the age of 11. I have longed to weep of all the students like Severus. I would weep for the hideous evil too many of our students experienced first-hand not from Voldemort's hand but at the hands of their own families. But I can not, I must not.

I want to say how bloody awful it is to ask people to sacrifice themselves again and again. How especially awful it is to ask the ones who have already suffered so much! I want to tell them I know exactly how that feels. But I cannot.

I want to say how eternally tired I am of this struggle. How tired I am of being Albus Dumbledore. I want to say how hard it is to be strong all the time. But even as I want this I know that part of being strong is never saying it. For me, it seems, being strong means comforting yourself.

It is not fair, suffering in all its degrees never is fair. And evil? Evil doesn't care about justice. That's my job. That, and being strong.