"Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners."

~Dale Carnegie


18.

"We do not have the resources to watch both of these men," Harry said, indicating Gellert and Voldemort. He could remember what his parents and Ariana had said, to be of good cheer.

To be happy. For all of them to be happy.

So Harry was going to try to honor that. Even for Dumbledore. The man made mistakes and well, after having worked so closely with so many people, Harry could see that the poor headmaster was a somewhat Machiavellian figure.

Albus Dumbledore had always been so calm and stoic, but Harry knew he was also prone to secrecy, despite some of the people around him having proven themselves to be deserving of his trust. But did Harry think the man cruel?

No.

Dumbledore was simply too far-sighted. He saw the big picture, he saw the entire forest, and his choices tended to show that.

Harry didn't see the whole forest. He saw a single tree. He wasn't Albus Dumbledore, even though these people now were listening to him, even though he had an idea. Harry couldn't run an entire secret organization like Dumbledore did, since he relied too much on others. Harry was a Seeker. He noticed details. He worked with meticulous precision and his friends helped with that.

Who had the right of it? Harry didn't know. But he did know that he was going to try his best to make things work out for everyone. Starting now. He swallowed hard, hoping this idea would work, that it were possible... "Given that and the fact that it's obvious that one can escape, I think maybe we can... can maybe bond Grindelwald to someone so he can't go too far from the person or anything. Someone powerful and trustworthy, so that we don't have to worry about him and we can focus on Voldemort's imprisonment. Is there a way to do that?"

"Bond his magic to a person?" Callahan asked, raising an eyebrow.

Harry nodded.

"He's too powerful for most of us..." A Regulator admitted, but Harry was pleasantly surprised that everyone seemed to be considering the idea.

His eyes flickered over to Dumbledore.

Aberforth had said Gellert Grindelwald was the only man that his brother had ever loved. And Harry knew Dumbledore had beaten Gellert in the duel...

The Headmaster was looking at Harry now, practically studying him. What was he thinking? Harry didn't know.

"Yes," the old man said slowly, making everyone look over at him. "Yes, there is a way to do what you said, Mr. Porter."

"... Would you do it?" asked Harry bluntly. "You're the only one here capable of it."

"I don't even get a say?" Gellert protested, giving a slight pout as he did.

"No, now shush," Harry said, making the older wizard laugh before he turned to look at Dumbledore as well, the laugh now silent as the two old friends looked at each other.

Harry felt odd as he watched the two stare at each other. He could remember when Dumbledore had stopped Barty Crouch Jr. from attacking him, the energy that had seemed to surround the man. It felt similar now, but it wasn't from fury or the like. It was just completely and utterly Dumbledore. He was a powerful wizard, looking at someone just as powerful and intelligent. Harry didn't have to look at Gellert to know that it would be the same.

"Yes," said Dumbledore slowly, finally looking away from Gellert to look at Harry. "Yes, I would. Though there are affairs to be put into order before I do."

"Such as?" A Regulator inquired.

"I will have to step down as Headmaster of Hogwarts," Dumbledore explained, but to Harry's surprise, the man did not seem too saddened by this, judging by the glance he briefly gave Gellert before continuing. "Professor Minerva McGonagall will be taking over as Headmistress once I do. Being bonded means we cannot be too far away from the other and with so many students..."

Percy nodded, "That makes sense. Will you be stepping down from the Wizengamot as well?"

"I do believe so," Dumbledore stated, as he glanced around, eyes pausing briefly to rest on Harry. They weren't the cold eyes that Harry was used to seeing while he was disguised. They were the normal light blue eyes that seemed to twinkle right now as he looked around with a slight smile.

But it made sense, didn't it? Harry realized it; with Voldemort no longer a problem, Dumbledore could finally rest. He wasn't getting any younger, after all. With Professor McGonagall taking over Hogwarts... with Percy, a good Minister, in power...

Harry had just given Dumbledore the excuse to finally relax with someone that the old Headmaster had probably thought would never leave prison. And despite the supposed protest, a glance at Gellert showed that the man didn't really mind.

The Regulators murmured to each other but Harry could see they were nodding. "Makes sense," one muttered. "Don't want him getting out whenever he wants..."

More nods followed that statement and some of them turned to look at Harry. "Good idea, kid," one said. "Sure you don't want to join the ICW when you're of age?"

"Oy!" Percy protested. "We need him here!"

Harry just laughed, shaking his head. "What now?"

Everyone peered at the Minister of Magic, who ran a hand through his fiery red hair. "Well, first thing would be to get Voldemort put into prison."

Murmurs of agreement and Voldemort was quickly bound with things that had runes etched all over them. Harry suspected they were to negate his magic. He remember vague mentions of it in History class as a punishment, but he didn't really know the details. He tended to sleep whenever Binns spoke, after all.

As others discussed what to do with Voldemort, Harry leaned against Dudley, watching events unfold. Dumbledore seemed to be able to send messages using a patronus, because he had just sent one to McGonagall stating that he would be retiring.

A tabby cat patronus had quickly appeared, with McGonagall's voice demanding to know why and if he needed assistance. Dumbledore and her continued sending patronuses back and forth while Gellert conjured up a chair and sat comfortably, watching Dumbledore's casual use of the odd patronus spell with interest.

Harry turned to look while Callahan conjured up a chair for Bathilda too, helping her into it before looking over at Harry. "Okay you," he said sternly. "You are going to get some rest."

"But Cal-!" He protested.

"No buts!" The Alchemist gave Harry such a stern look that he wondered if the man was channeling Snape.

Harry tried to give him a pleading look, but Dudley just laughed. "Light," he warned, "it won't work. He's seen every trick in the book."

"Not fair," grumbled Harry, walking with his cousin towards Bathilda's house.

As they walked away from the noise and activity, Harry spoke quietly, "What do you think is going to happen now?"

"Probably interrogations and all of that," his cousin replied. "Put You-er... V-Voldemort into Azkaban. And Percy's been busy enough even without that right?"

"Yeah, I guess," said Harry, sighing. "But I meant what's going to happen you know, to us now."

"You'll probably be able to return to Hogwarts," Dudley said, giving a curious look. "... What is it?"

Harry sighed, looking over the slightly wrecked house. "I... I like being... Light. I think I like being him more than Harry Potter. I know I'm the same person and it's stupid. But in disguise... I'm judged for me. Everything is for me. And... and that's not how it is without the disguise. How am I supposed to tell everyone that I'm... you know... both? That I'm Harry Potter and Light Porter?"

"You're the bravest guy I know," Dudley said, his eyes meeting Harry's. He meant it, Harry could see it. He tried to shake his head but Dudley didn't relent, "No, listen to me. You are. You did a bunch of stuff and dealt with slander and... you could have left any time. Could have just said this wasn't your problem. But you didn't. It won't be easy and people might complain a bit, but it'll blow over, just like my taking over the Umbra Pack did."

"I guess..." Harry still didn't really feel reassured, but he walked into the small house and sat down. "I'm just not looking forward to it. Everyone lecturing me or something..." He sighed. "Dumbledore probably will have a field day lecturing me too..."

"What for?" Dudley smiled, "Harry, little cousin... listen to me. What more can anyone ask of you? I mean, come on, seriously, what more? You want everyone to be happy but you never stop to think about your own happiness."

"I'll be happy if everyone I love is happy," Harry mumbled, knowing Dudley was listening. He sighed and looked up at Dudley, "I know that's impossible though."

"I don't think so," said Dudley quietly. "I'd say if anyone could accomplish that, it's you. But there is one flaw in your cunning plan to make everyone happy."

Harry blinked curiously, "What?"

"For us to be happy, you need to be too."

It made Harry think. A cycle... everything came back to it. To helping each other, the best they could. It wasn't much, what one person did... but they protected their loved ones. And in turn those they protected did the same.

Some of what Dumbledore said about bonds of trust and friendship stuck in his mind a bit and Harry smiled. Everyone knew the truth of those words even if they expressed it in different ways. But it made Harry curious as to what happened when those bonds grew.

What happened when there were so many bonds? Did it spread? Could it grow? Grow and expand until people like Voldemort never could stand a chance? Or was that one thing that did allow it? Those bonds that led people to protect their loved ones even as they went into the dark?

Because Harry knew dark wizards could care about other people. He had seen it first hand. People were so in depth, so flexible and ever changing that he wondered if analyzing things from one aspect would ever really work.

But he also knew trying his best would work too. He sighed. They still had a lot of work ahead. There were Death Eaters to catch, laws to change, so much to do and even with Voldemort captured and going to prison, Harry was sure the wizard had more of those sick soul things...

He yawned, tired.

There was still much to do before they could enjoy the peace. He still had magic to learn; this was even his O.W.L. year! He had almost forgotten that with everything going on.

Harry smiled and muttered a repair charm on the walls Voldemort had blasted. Right now, even with all those concerns, he was just thinking about a nap and wondering if afterwards he could have a sandwich.

With those thoughts in his head, the boy told Dudley he was going to take a nap and he walked to the sofa and did just that.