Beta: Shara Lunison
Pairings: HPLV, others
Warnings: Dumbledore bashing
Summary: Dumbledore knew before Harry Potter came to Hogwarts what he needed the boy to do, and he knew exactly how to make him do it. A twist on the normal manipulative!Dumbledore story.
Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: I got this idea when reading another fanfic which was the usual Harry's-ticked-at-Dumbles-for-controlling-his-life-and-goes-Dark story. And I thought, 'What if Dumbles manipulated Harry to do EXACTLY that?' So I decided to try and write it. We'll see how this goes.
This, by the way, takes place in Harry's sixth year, except for the prologue, which takes place after Dumbledore tells Harry the prophecy in his office. And there may be little HBP bits in there, but for the most part, it'll ignore that book. And DH. (I'm in denial about DH, FYI.)
That is all.
EDIT: Changed the wording of the prophecy a bit. (16 March 2011)
Prologue - The Real Prophecy
Albus Dumbledore continued watching the door of his office long after Harry had left, tears making their way down his face silently. For his world and the boy he thought of as his own, he would lie. He would hurt Harry to save him. That was the greater good.
Fawkes trilled from his perch.
Albus looked over and smiled at his familiar. "My time grows near, old friend. I only hope, in time, that he forgives me."
Fawkes flew over to Albus and settled on his shoulder to preen the old man's white hair.
Albus reached up and scratched Fawkes' head. "I have lived a long life. I've made enough mistakes. Fawkes..." He paused and the phoenix on his shoulder stopped preening his human's hair curiously. "Fawkes, when I die, will you go to Harry? Watch over him for me? And... And when he's ready, will you take him to my vault?"
Fawkes trilled softly in agreement.
Albus closed his eyes and smiled in relief. "Thank you."
Fawkes started preening his hair again.
After another few moments, Albus sighed and touched his wand to the Pensieve in front of him. Sibyll Trelawney's tiny figure rose up again, but her words were different, though no less ominous:
"The change approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. The other will mark him as his equal, and he shall show the other things he knows not. When the child meets the grandfather, he shall know only trust. By his seventh year, shall things be made clear. Once-enemies unite, by hands entwined shall the world rise. Yet, to rise, something first must fall; the grandfather's fate is clear. As the seventh month dies, the change comes near."
Albus leaned back in his chair again, upsetting Fawkes, who grumbled at him in trills and flew back over to his perch.
"Apologies," Albus assured the bird, who huffed and turned his back on the old man in response. Albus chuckled at that, then rose from his chair and retrieved the memory of the real prophecy, leaving the fabricated one to swirl around in the stone bowl.
Waving his wand to lower the lights in the room, Albus retired, feeling every one of his one hundred and fourteen years.
Chapter One - The Summer of Change
Harry Potter was not happy with things the way they were. The Headmaster had asked him and his friends that they not trade owls that summer, which had sounded like a great idea at the time of the promise, but now seemed like the stupidest thing Harry had ever agreed to. And that was saying a lot.
It didn't help that, when his relatives didn't have him acting as their personal house elf, he was brooding in his room about his godfather's death mere weeks before. With the memory so painfully fresh in his mind, Harry found himself often thinking "What ifs", as if he could find a time turner that could have taken him back so he could have stopped himself. Stopped Sirius. Stopped someone.
Why Dumbledore thought it was a good idea to leave Harry to wallow in his misery alone was beyond the teen, but he was beginning to think that no security risk was worth him slicing his wrists open, which he had considered doing more than once. The only thing that had stopped him so far was the prophecy. "Either will die at the hand of the other." Harry was torn between his sense of duty and the ironic question of whether he could kill himself without Voldemort's help or permission – not that Harry thought there would be much question in the madman giving him either.
When thinking of Sirius led to the very real urge to kill himself, Harry would often switch to an even more depressing topic: the prophecy.
He'd questioned again and again what his "power" was. He sincerely doubted it had anything to do with love, as Harry wasn't sure he knew what "love" was. Well, he knew it was a feeling of affection, like what he felt for Ron and Hermione when they stood by him, but he couldn't comprehend something more powerful than that.
He knew now, of course, that what he'd felt for Cho had been nothing but lust for a pretty face. At the time, he'd almost been willing to think of his feelings towards her as romantic love, but that had just been the stupidity of youth.
He'd loved Sirius, despite how briefly he'd known his godfather. (He wasn't yet enough over his loss to consider that he'd truly loved the idea of having somewhere to go that wasn't the Dursleys', rather than loving Sirius himself.) He'd always looked up to Dumbledore as a wise and all-knowing man, but he wasn't sure he'd call that "love".
How could one use a power they didn't understand? Perhaps Dumbledore would teach him this coming year; the old Headmaster certainly seemed to know love, for him to profess such care for Harry himself.
And how could Dumbledore love Harry so, yet leave him to lick his proverbial wounds at the Dursleys' of all places. Why couldn't he have gone to the Burrow? Or even stayed at Hogwarts, as the young Tom Riddle had once done?
And yet, Dumbledore had said something about wards to protect him. Love, from his mother's sacrifice.
But hadn't Voldemort found a way past that sacrifice? He could touch Harry now, despite his protection. What's to say he couldn't just waltz right into the house and kill them all – not that Harry would complain too much about a couple of fat sacrifices.
With the wonderful mental image of the Dursleys getting what they deserved at the hands of everything they hated, Harry fell asleep after another long day of being moody.
Harry found himself seated in a comfortable red chair in front of a roaring fire. The quote about Kansas from The Wizard of Oz crossed his mind and he grimaced and said, "My name's not Toto and I've never even been to Kansas."
"Irrelevant, although I think you did get the better of that. I hear Kansas is a tedious place. Nothing but fields."
Harry stood and pointed his wand at the intruder. "What are you doing here?" he growled.
Voldemort smiled coldly and waved his hand, making Harry's wand disappear. "I might ask you the same thing, young Potter. This is my mindscape, after all."
"Your what?" Harry demanded, completely baffled and not a little frightened.
Voldemort blinked, and then let out a chilling cackle. "So, Severus really did fail to teach you anything. After that vision had worked, I had thought so, but I'd still wondered..."
Harry had tensed at the mention of his failed Occlumency training with Snape and even more so at the mention of the vision which had gotten Sirius killed. "You–"
"Tea?" Voldemort asked in the most terrifyingly polite voice Harry had ever heard, rendering the poor teen speechless. Voldemort smiled. "I'll take that as a yes. Now, I know how young men your age are, so how much sugar would you like?"
Harry narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Are you going to poison me?"
"How uncouth," Voldemort replied, putting two lumps into a cup of tea and waving it Harry's way. "I couldn't kill you if I wanted to, not here," he added, taking his own tea and drawing up a high-backed green chair. "Do sit."
Harry sat and took a long swallow of his tea. "You can't kill me here? But, why not?"
Voldemort sighed, and it was such a human action, Harry almost dropped his tea. The dark lord smiled as Harry slopped tea on his too-large muggle jeans and said, "You are in my mindscape, Potter. This is the physical representation of my mind that a Legilimens would see if one were able to get in here. My memories are hidden in this room – don't bother trying to find them. The mindscape is not meant to be a hostile environment; rather, it is a peaceful place, where one cannot harm the occupants. I cannot kill you, but I am free to evict you or forcibly keep you here, which would make your body seem as though it were in a coma.
"Eventually, if kept you in my mindscape for too long, your body on the outside world would die of lack of nutrients and water, so I could, technically, kill you that way. But since you'll probably be found in the morning and force-fed nutrients until you came back, there would be little point in me keeping you here."
Harry frowned and looked down at his tea. "Doubtful. No one cares if I'm alive."
"That's funny," Voldemort replied dubiously, "since your name seems to appear in every paper these days. I swear, if I see one more mention of you on the front page..." Voldemort trailed off as he saw Harry's hopelessly confused look. "You don't read the paper, Potter?"
"I'm not to receive any owls this summer. They may lead you to me," Harry stated, as though repeating back orders that had been given to him.
Voldemort blinked, then sneered. "Because I'm going to waste my people on following owls all day when they could be destroying the Ministry."
"Exactly!" Harry exclaimed, sloshing tea on his jeans again. After a moment, he hopefully added, "Is Fudge dead yet?"
"No," Voldemort replied, disgusted. "The worm is hiding out somewhere outside the country and conducting business from there. I don't have the people to go after him, not with how many you got put into Azkaban," this was stated with a rather nasty glare, "And I have better things to do than hunting the frightened worm down myself."
"Somehow, I'm not surprised," Harry commented.
Voldemort smirked. "Well, I suppose you could save me some trouble and tell me where you're residing."
"Nice try," Harry shot back.
"Well, at least tell me so that I make sure my people don't kill your family on accident."
Harry snorted. "Please, be my guest. Just make sure you send me a Pensieve memory of their deaths when you're done, won't you?"
Voldemort let out a surprised chuckle. "I'm surprised at you, Harry. Such a dark side. Does Albus know his pet lion is so cruel?"
"I'm no one's pet!" Harry spat, standing and dumping the rest of his tea on the carpeted floor.
Voldemort tutted and cleaned the carpet with a wave of his hand. "My people in Hogwarts say otherwise. 'Gryffindor Golden Boy,' always doing what Albus wants? I hear you even named your study club after him."
Harry bared his teeth and had the insane urge to hiss. "I'm no one's pet, Voldemort!"
Voldemort smiled right back. "As you wish, little lion. Now, why don't you go on home to your loving family, hm? Perhaps tell them how you're no one's pet?"
And then the fire and Voldemort were gone and Harry felt himself waking up.
Harry spent the next couple of weeks being furious at the dark lord for insinuating he was Dumbledore's pet, of all things. He didn't end up back in Voldemort's mindscape, either, so he couldn't take it out on the man.
It was only after getting beat by Vernon for taking his fury out on Petunia's roses that Harry sat down and looked past his temper. That was when he realized that, since he'd been angry at Voldemort, he hadn't angsted about Sirius or the prophecy. And, thinking about it more, Harry realized that some of the hurt had healed from his godfather's death, as if his anger had burned away the infectious pain.
Harry was only a little upset to realise that he owed his healing anger to Voldemort.
For the next few days, he tried everything to get back into Voldemort's mindscape, but eventually gave up, coming to the conclusion that Voldemort had found a way to block him.
Mere days after giving up, Harry returned to his room with a line of welts on his back and burned fingers from a punishment meted out after he accidentally burned the chicken. He went to sleep in pain, and thinking again about torturing the Dursleys.
"You're hurt," said a slightly surprised voice, and Harry opened his eyes to find himself sitting in the red chair in Voldemort's mindscape. Said man was staring at him in surprise. "How did you get hurt?"
"I–" Harry winced as his back moved against the back of the chair. "I burned the chicken, so they punished me."
"You let muggles do this to you?" Voldemort replied, sounding both appalled and understanding.
"You make it sound like I had a choice," Harry snapped back, scooting forward on the chair so his back wouldn't hurt as much. "You grew up with muggles too."
"I never let them treat me like this," Voldemort snapped back, then hissed out a curse in Parseltongue and waved his hand.
Harry blinked at him, surprised, as his back and hands no longer hurt. "Th–thank you."
Voldemort sneered. "I won't have you hurting in my presence when it isn't my doing," he replied shortly, then turned to get some tea.
Harry smiled at the dangerous man's back, wondering if anyone had sincerely thanked Voldemort before. "Is the healing real?" he asked.
Voldemort shook his head and waved a cup of tea towards Harry. "You will be in less pain – a healing in the mental world will speed up your healing in the physical world – but you won't be completely healed. The mental and physical worlds only barely affect each other."
Harry nodded. "Okay."
Voldemort gave the boy a suspicious look. "What brings you here after so long away, Potter?"
Harry sighed. "I tried to get back here a couple of days ago, after I'd gotten over being angry at you–"
"Pity," Voldemort commented into his tea.
"–but I hadn't been able to manage it until tonight, and I don't even know how I did it," Harry finished, acting as if he hadn't heard Voldemort's interruption.
Voldemort looked at him and said, "Think, boy. What similarity is there between this time, and the first time?"
Voldemort sighed in exasperation. "What were you thinking about as you fell asleep?"
Harry thought about it for a long moment, then said, "Uhm, torturing the Dursleys?"
Voldemort blinked, then nodded. "Muggle torture. I find that to be an acceptable past time, so that would put us in similar mindsets, opening the way for your mind to come to me. Curious."
"So," Harry thought out loud, "if you were to be thinking of something acceptable to me as you went asleep, you would enter my mindscape?"
Voldemort sighed and rubbed at his eyes. "Potter, only Occlumens have mindscapes."
Harry's mouth fell open into a comprehending 'O'.
Voldemort sneered and sipped his tea.
"Could you teach me?"
Voldemort gave Harry the same look Hermione always gave him when he said something stupid. "Now why would I want to do that? You're a much easier target this way."
Harry sipped his tea and thought really hard about that for a moment, then nodded to himself and said, "Because the Headmaster is a Legilimens too?"
Voldemort gave him a pleased smirk. "Why, Harry, that was practically Slytherin of you."
Harry rolled his eyes. "From you, that's a compliment."
Voldemort chuckled darkly. "Indeed. Very well, I will teach you. I will send you an owl–"
"But, you don't know where I live!"
Voldemort gave him that 'you're an idiot' look again and said, "Potter, how often do you add the address to a letter that you're sending out by owl?" Harry blinked, then stared in somewhat horrified comprehension. "An owl doesn't need an address as long as it knows the recipient. I assume you've been to the owlery before?" Harry nodded. "I will send Severus' owl, then. With her will be a book about the mind arts. Study it thoroughly, and then return to me. I don't want to see you again until then. Understood?"
Harry blinked in surprise, then nodded. "Yeah. What's the owl's name?"
Voldemort closed his eyes as if for patience. "Desdemona. Expect her in the evening. Now, go."
And Harry left.
Desdemona had arrived the next evening with a thick book in her talons. Harry quickly unburdened her and led her over to Hedwig's cage – Hedwig had been warned before that they would be having a guest that evening – where she could get a drink of water. Harry took a moment to insure the black owl was all right – he didn't like Snape, but that was no reason for him to hate the man's owl – before going over to his bed and cracking Teaching the Novice open, mentally groaning about how he was going to end up doing more reading this summer than he did during the school year, if Voldemort had any say.
Then again, if the old snake-face was going to teach Harry how to protect himself against him, who was Harry to say no?
Snape had, of course, been going about teaching Harry the wrong way. According to the book Voldemort had lent – given? – Harry, a teacher of a novice Occlumens was supposed to walk them through the meditation techniques and, once they were calm enough to have a steady place to organize their thoughts, help them do so. Eventually, during the organization process, the mindscape's form would take shape. Once you had a stable mindscape, you could start building walls and traps to protect your thoughts and feelings.
Harry also noted that a teacher to a novice Occlumens was required to take a Wizards' Oath that they would not share anything they learned about the student with anyone. Harry couldn't help but wonder if Snape ever took such an oath.
The meditation techniques were in the first chapter, so even as he continued reading the book, Harry spent time each day simply breathing. He found, much to his surprise, that he did a form of meditation while he was doing chores, since he knew them all so well that he didn't need to think about them.
Three weeks after first starting the meditating, Harry woke to a barren room with a Slytherin crest on one wall. Surprised by the Slytherin intrusion on what should have been a completely empty space – assuming this was, of course, his undeveloped mindscape – Harry walked over and poked at the crest.
"You prodded?" a bored voice asked from behind him, and Harry spun to find Voldemort standing in the middle of his mindscape. At Harry's half-questioning, half-surprised look, Voldemort added, "That would be the physical representation of our bond. I hid the Gryffindor crest in my mindscape behind a bookcase."
Harry laughed at that, completely unsurprised that the dark lord would be adverse to having Harry's own House symbol on display in the otherwise very Slytherin room. "Perhaps I'll just leave that one there," he decided out loud.
Voldemort sneered. "And why is that, Potter? So you may prod me whenever you please? Perhaps you intend to drive me insane so that I'll take my own life?"
Harry laughed again and shook his head. "No. It's just... well, the Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin. I've come to accept that now, so it seems silly to hide that in my own mind."
"Curiously thoughtful of you," Voldemort replied in a blank voice.
Harry rolled his eyes. "So, once I knew how to 'clear my mind' it got a lot easier to understand what Snape had been trying to teach me. He just went about it backwards."
"Severus, as you may know, hates children and teaching them. He is particularly hateful of you."
"So why doesn't he resign?"
Voldemort sighed. "Potter, there is more going on in this world than simply a war between Dumbledore and myself, and there is little distinction between 'good' and 'bad' in this war. I made the choice to go after your mother, who Severus had feelings for. He went to Albus to make sure they were protected, and Albus gave him the choice between going to Azkaban for his crimes as a Death Eater, or working in Albus' school until either his death, or my permanent demise. Severus chose the school, as it was a better prison, though still a prison."
Harry bit his lip and turned from the tall man before him to look at one of the blank walls. "Uhm, well, are you going to be my teacher? Or am I on my own in building my mindscape?"
"You trust me so much that you would want me as your teacher?" was Voldemort's response.
Harry shrugged, still looking at the wall. "You could have done something to that book to kill me; put some sort of poison on the book. Or had someone follow Desdemona and kill me. But you didn't. Anyway, you're supposed to swear an oath."
Voldemort let out an amused cackle and Harry shuddered. "Very good, Harry. It seems you're actually reading the whole book, rather than just skimming it, as Severus seems to think you often do."
"Snape's biased," Harry shot back with a glare. "Anyway, it's not my fault he spends all class standing over us like an overgrown bat and mocks us or vanishes our work if the potion's even slightly off colour."
Voldemort cackled again and Harry glowered at him. "Ah, Harry, Severus never says what a sense of humour you have. And, yes, I will be your teacher and take the Oath if you wish it. However," Voldemort added, eyeing Harry with such an air of seriousness than Harry had to pay attention, "if you try and add in there that I won't kill you, I will leave you to your building alone. This Oath will only be for my helping you in your mindscape."
Harry blinked. "Yeah? Okay. Uhm, I'm supposed to word the oath?"
Voldemort sighed. "I thought you read that book, Potter."
"I did!" Harry cried, thinking hard. "Uhm, oh! Yeah, I guess it did say that the oath should be worded by the novice Occlumens. Bugger."
Voldemort chuckled. "Think on it and call me back tomorrow night." And then he was gone.
Harry sat on the floor of his mindscape and pondered how to word the oath so that Voldemort couldn't find a way around it.
As soon as Voldemort appeared in Harry's mindscape, Harry handed over a piece of notebook paper with the oath written on it. Voldemort read it over once, then looked at Harry curiously. "Just 'minion or foe'?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "It's not like you have any other sort of relations, right? Your family's dead, and the day you call someone friend is the day I give up fighting you."
"Indeed," Voldemort agreed with a twisted smile. Then he pulled out his wand and intoned, "I, Tom Marvolo Riddle, also called Lord Voldemort, hereby swear upon my honour as Salazar Slytherin's last descendent and upon my magic, that I will tell no one, minion or foe, of anything I learn, hear or see pertaining to my training of Harry James Potter in the making of his mindscape and Occlumency walls. So mote it be."
"So mote it be," Harry agreed, then smiled at Voldemort. "So, where do we start?"
Voldemort scowled at him. "Have you given any thought to how you want your mindscape to appear?"
"Uhm, the Gryffindor Common Room?"
"And where will you put your memories? In the cushions?"
Harry frowned, recalling that the book had said you should never put your memories in something that a visitor would regularly access, such as a chair. A good example was books – which Harry figured was what Voldemort had done with his – and then ward the bookcases against wandering minds. He thought of all the places he'd been in his life and couldn't really think of a good place to keep his memories.
Voldemort sighed and created a chair for himself to sit in. "Your mindscape doesn't have to be comfortable, and it doesn't have to be a room, Harry. It doesn't even need to be a real place. It simply needs to be able to hide your memories and thoughts. I created my own mindscape after what I would have wanted my office to be, if I ever had the chance to have an office. Severus' mindscape is a potion's lab, but not one that he's ever been in. Albus' mindscape is his own office. Others have picked their bedrooms, with toys or clothing scattered all over. I've seen one person create a brightly lit park as their mindscape."
Harry remembered his most recent adventure into the Department of Mysteries and how confusing the prophecy room had been, with all its little glass balls. And how only the people the prophecy referred to could take it from its stand. Maybe he could make it so only he could take down the memory ball?
"That could work," Voldemort commented, sounding a little surprised.
Harry opened his eyes to find that a couple of the prophecy shelves had started forming with little glass balls on them. "Oh."
"How will you organize them?" Voldemort asked.
"Uhm..." Harry walked over and picked up one of the balls. The memory of Sirius falling through the Veil came to him and he dropped the ball in shock. Before it could hit the floor, it disappeared and reappeared in its stand. "I-I suppose I could put the good memories in the back, and the bad memories in the front? That way, if someone were able to access any of the balls, they would get the bad ones first?"
"Probably put the ones of being in physical pain in the very front, followed by the ones that are emotional," Voldemort agreed. "Most people will be put off by having to go through the physical pain at the first. How are you planning to keep people from touching the orbs?"
"Uhm, well, in the Department, you could only pick it up if you were a part of the prophecy, right? So, I just change it to, you can only pick up the ball if you're me?"
"And you can only see the memory if the orb is resting in your hand? Clever."
"Thanks," Harry said, surprised to hear someone call him that, rather than Hermione. "Uhm, how do I organize them? Do I have to touch every memory...?"
"No," Voldemort replied crisply, and Harry felt a wave of relief wash over him. "Once you have an idea of how you want your mind to be organized, make it appear so in the mindscape. It will take time, however. You won't get everything organized in one night. You're doing this reasonably young – most novices are in their twenties – so your sorting shouldn't take too long, no matter how many horrible memories you have."
"So, wait. I just...imagine everything where it needs to go?"
Voldemort sighed and shook his head. "No, not quite. It's more an act of will. It's an organization of your memories, so you'll have to remember them, to put them in the right places, but you must place them with a firm hand. You shouldn't have too much trouble with this, however, as you're a very strong-willed person." The dark lord cracked an ironic smile at Harry, who smiled sadly back.
"So I will have to remember things?"
Harry sighed and glanced back at the orb that held Sirius' death in it, and wondered how many memories he could actually remember of Sirius. It would hurt.
"It will not be easy," Voldemort admitted, and Harry looked at him with surprise at the open expression on the other man's normally cruel face, "and you will sometimes wish you could simply stop the sorting and leave it lay. But the outcome is worth the entire ordeal, if only you can make it. And you will, I assure you, find memories you didn't know you could access. You may see your mother's smile, or enjoy your first birthday. I did not care for such memories, but you will."
Harry nodded, knowing that he would give anything for memories of the time with his family.
"I will leave you to your sorting," Voldemort spoke. "If you need me, you know how to contact me." He nodded to the green pennant on the opposite wall. When Harry nodded his understanding, Voldemort disappeared, leaving Harry to stare at his shelves with trepidation.
A/N: This has been sitting on my hard drive for a bit. I'm currently part-way through chapter three, and got stuck there for a while. Shara recently found my starting notes for this fic in an old notebook, so I pulled it out again and looked it over. Started working on chapter three.
This fic isn't quite what I originally had in mind when I started this idea, in all honesty, but it's still an interesting write. I'll try not to stop writing Wand and Dagger for this, and vice-versa. But I do intend to keep writing these two fics for a while.