Summary: Albus Dumbledore meets the Boy-Who-Lived.

Summer's end always brought an air of anticipation to the school and even its headmaster was not immune. Soon the peaceful silence of the castle would be shattered by students playing, studying, sneaking, plotting and learning. Surrounded with the energy and enthusiasm of youth, Albus Dumbledore found himself rejuvenated in a way even the Elixir of Life couldn't grant.

But this year apprehension ate away at his usual enthusiasm. This year the boy named Savior of the wizarding world would be taking his rightful place in it and, not for the first time, Albus was questioning his decision of guardian.

At the time it appeared to be the right thing to do—not that he'd had many choices of family, the poor boy had lost most of his that dreadful night—and she had experience, having had a son herself. They were also blood related and Albus Dumbledore had lived far too many years in the magical world to underestimate the power of that particular tie. For family, a person would die, would kill, and be happy doing so.

With such a bond, he could have no more separated the two than chopped off a limb. So he had placed the child upon her doorstep, a letter of explanation tucked in the folds of the baby blanket, and apparated away confident in his decision.

Ten years of visits (discreetly of course, the Headmaster could not have a favorite, even if he was the Boy Who Lived) eroded his confidence. But it was too late to protest now, and what complaints could he give? The boy had houseroom there, was given food, clothes, all the necessities of human life. Not for the first time he regretted his decision, if past years were any indication for how the young savior would turn out.

Thankfully people changed. He was an excellent example of that; in his youth he had been arrogant, thirsting for greatness, manipulative even. Now, his younger self would hardly recognize him to be Albus Dumbledore. For a child a handful of years was half their lifetime, and the boy could easily be a completely different person now. Albus focused on that reassurance and relaxed slightly; letting his mind ponder just what sort of young man the Boy-Who-Lived had grown into. Would he be the brave and protective lion his father was? Maybe his mother's sweet, friendly nature would show through instead? Or perhaps he would inherit mischievousness instead? He secretly hoped not, for his caretaker's sake, the Weasley Twins were more than enough.

Though it would certainly make his Hogwarts years eventful.

Older years ambled in and took their seats, gossiping about their summer activities and the latest news. Engagements, births, parties and siblings were all scrutinized by hundreds of students while the first years awaited below. Which house would the Savior call home? If he were anything like his father, Minerva would have him in an instant. But his mother had a mind that Rowena Ravenclaw would have envied. Perhaps the savior would end up surprising everyone and going into Hufflepuff—certainly the house's reputation would benefit from that decision.

Minerva easily led the first years into the great hall and he could already see several familiar faces. Some had the features of certain families; others were shockingly similar to their parents or older siblings. From the stock of bright red hair, another Weasley would be joining them this year. Several teachers did double-takes when they caught sight of Harry Potter.

Albus felt his heart fall.

The sheer arrogance displayed on that cherubic face would have looked more appropriate on Mr. Malfoy's sharp visage. Worry filled the empty cavern in his chest. Despite his interference, the first part of the prophecy had already come true and its result was the infamous lightning bolt scar prominent on the boy's forehead. Was this boy—this arrogant, sneering little boy really the child that, if prophecy was believed, would kill Voldemort? Powerful occlumency shields kept emotion off his face, but the twinkle had vanished like a candle flame. If fate saw fit to give such circumstances, would this little boy have the courage, the compassion, the determination needed to do what was necessary?

For the first time in his life, Albus Dumbledore prayed for the death of another. He raised his eyes to the nightly heavens, pleading for the weight of destiny to fall on another, on anyone else.

"Neville Longbottom cannot bear it."


There! Arrogant, snotty, Boy-Who-Lived Neville is running rampant in fandom. But our favorite manipulative Headmaster (good or evil) surely couldn't bear that anymore than he could have an independent!Harry messing things up.

There might be a sequel coming up, depending on the interest this generates.