"Harry, what are you writing that's got you looking like that?" asked Hermione. "You look mad, sad, and frustrated, all at the same time, so what's it all about?"
"Hermione, I look that way because I am all of those things. I've taken a lot of crap over the years and I don't care to take any more. So, I'm writing an open letter, in the form of a memo, to magical Britain. I'll be sending it to the Prophet, The Quibbler, Witch Weekly, and all the other publications I can think of here and in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. People aren't going to like it, but I don't really care. I would like you to look over it before I send it, if you don't mind", replied Harry, handing her a copy of the memo.
Hermione took the parchment Harry had passed to her and began to read.
To: Magical Britain
From: Harry Potter
Subject: Taking Responsibility
Copy to: Tom Marvolo Riddle (aka Voldemort)
There has been some speculation, especially after the events at the Ministry of Magic in June, that I am what you so blithely call "the Chosen One". You speculate that I am the one that destiny has chosen to be the person to defeat Voldemort. I, here and now, tell you that you are correct. I am the "Chosen One".
What do I mean when I say the Chosen One? Let me explain. Before I was born, there was a prophecy made to the effect that I would be the one with the power to defeat Voldemort. That was the reason that my parents went into hiding. The prophecy could actually have applied to two soon to be born babes, but, as the prophecy foretold, Voldemort himself chose his DOOM (and I say that advisedly) by marking me as his equal. That is what the curse scar that I bear signifies---Voldemort marking a 15 month old child as his equal. If I was your equal at one year old, Tom, then what happens as I mature and my magical core grows?
Perhaps Tom, (May I call you Tom? After all, it was your birth name), you should take a second to reflect here on what may happen if you keep attacking me. After all, you did lose to a one year old, then again to an eleven year old, then to a twelve year old (at which time I also killed your sixty foot basilisk), then again as a fourteen year old at your rebirthing ritual. That one had to be a real embarrassment to you. After all, you did call your inner circle to you to witness your defeat of "the boy who lived". Unfortunately for you, I threw off your Imperious curse with little difficulty, then, when we fought, we discovered that our wands were brothers, leading us into the 'priori incantatem' situation. That really should give you pause to think. There is no doubt that you are a more experienced fighter than I am, and that you know many more spells than I do, but Priori Incantatem is a test of pure magic and will power, and let's face it, I kicked your arse. That brings us to this year, and our little set-to at the Ministry.
If our graveyard confrontation was an embarrassment, then the Ministry confrontation had to be a disaster for you and your reputation, Tom. You set a trap so I would come to the Ministry to try and save my Godfather, and it worked. The fact is even though I knew it could be a trap, you had all that time to set up and prepare for me. (For those who don't know, Tom wanted me there to obtain a copy of the previously mentioned prophecy---he still hasn't heard it all, and he REALLY wants to know what it says.). Well, you got me there, along with five of my friends from Hogwarts. You had twelve of your Death Eaters there, all from your Inner Circle, and they, every one, got their butts kicked, and quite soundly, by four fifth year and two fourth year students. Fudge tried to hide the fact that you had returned last year after the Tri-Wizard Tournament; your defeat then wasn't widely known, but boy, was this one public! Is he (Fudge) on your side? Even Fudge couldn't hide this one. Too many people saw you, and I may as well fill the public in on the rest of it.
After all of your Death Munchers were beaten (admittedly with help from the Order of the Phoenix, there at the end) I chased after Bellatrix Lestrange, who is supposed to be your premier fighter and primary enforcer. After I caught her, and defeated her, you had to rescue her. You attacked me, after Professor Dumbledore fought you to a standstill, and tried to possess me. I confess, you actually got into my head, but it didn't work out so well for you, did it Tom? I kicked you out with such force that our spies told us you were out of it for almost a month, while I didn't even miss any classes. Hardly seems fair, does it?
That brings us more or less up to date on our little tete á tete's through the years. Why is this memo headed to the people of Magical Britain, when so far it's been almost all to you, Tom? Well, I just want all of the people in general to know why I hold them in such contempt, and believe me I do hold them in contempt.
These are the people who can't take the time or effort to think for themselves. They let themselves be led by corrupt politicians, influenced by sensationalist newspaper stories that haven't a shred of truth to them, and allow school children to fight their battles for them against a terrorist whose very name they are afraid to say. Let's take each point individually.
Corrupt politicians? Without a doubt. I'm sure you all have your own examples of the bribery, corruption, and blatant favoritism from the ministry, but let me give some that I know of first hand.
At the end of the last war with Voldemort, most Death Eaters were never punished. They all claimed to be under the Imperious, and so got off scot free. None of them were questioned under Veritaserum to make sure their claims were real, but it is a provable fact that large amounts of money changed hands at that time. The money went from the accused Death Eaters to politicians like Fudge (although he's certainly not the only one), and all of a sudden, they were no longer the accused, they were instead victims. As the Americans say, bullshit! One of the primary accused was Lucius Malfoy. Any guess who Fudge's largest contributor was over the years? Any guess as to who got almost every piece of legislation favoring purebloods or some bigoted piece of legislation against some non-pureblood group passed? Now ask yourself, was one of the Inner Circle Death Eaters captured at the Ministry this same Lucius Malfoy? He's not the only one, of course. Look at the names of those captured, and see how many of them are either Ministry employees with positions of great responsibility, or major contributors and influence peddlers to leading politicians, especially those on the Wizengamot. The Wizengamot has to be one of the most corrupt political bodies that has ever existed. There are some fair minded individuals serving but there are just too many who practically walk around with "for sale" signs on their backs.
This isn't the only kind of corruption in the ministry, of course. One of the prime examples here is Delores Umbridge, or as she is not so affectionately referred to at Hogwarts, the "Toad Woman". Personally, I think that name is demeaning---to toads. She and I have a history together. What I am about to lay out for you is provable in EVERY instance. None of it is made up or sensationalized.
The first time I saw Delores Umbridge was at my trial for underage magic during the summer between my fourth and fifth year. Therein lies a story in and of itself. My cousin, who is a Muggle, and I were attacked near where I live by Dementors. I used the Patronus charm to drive them off. Shortly thereafter, I received notification that I was expelled from Hogwarts, and would have my wand snapped. All of this, and with no presumption of innocence. If Professor Dumbledore hadn't intervened, the Ministry would have run roughshod over someone who had done nothing wrong, other than get on the wrong side of the Minister and some of his sycophants. In any case, after a trial before the FULL Wizengamot, (for a problem of simple underage wizardry no less and after the time and location of the trial was changed, with no notification to me or Professor Dumbledore in an attempt to declare me guilty by default), I was acquitted on the testimony of an eyewitness who happened to be on the scene during the attack. Even someone under age is allowed to defend him or herself! The point is that even with eyewitness testimony, Fudge and Umbridge voted me guilty. It turns out that Umbridge is the one who tasked the Dementors to give me the Kiss. Why? Because I was telling people that Voldemort had returned and that was inconvenient for the Ministry and hurt Fudge's ratings. I have proof of all of this if anyone is interested.
The next time I saw Umbridge was at Hogwarts. She was assigned by the Ministry as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, a position for which she was grossly unqualified. Turns out she had only achieved an Acceptable on her OWL, and failed her NEWT test in DADA. In our first class, she gave me detention for stating that Voldemort had returned. Her detention consisted of writing lines saying "I must not tell lies". That doesn't sound so bad, until you find out that I was forced to write these lines using a Blood Quill, which is an illegal device for any use other than contract signings. I still have the scars on my hand, and I certainly wasn't the only one on which she made use of this illegal torture device. There were many other confrontations and attempts to silence and discredit me during the year, including an attempt to use Veritaserum on me (not, by the way, to find out the truth about Voldemort, but rather to find out if I knew where my Godfather, Sirius Black, was hiding). Finally, near the end of the school year, she started to use the Cruciatus curse on me, and would have if not for the intervention of Hermione Granger. Hermione outthought her and outfought her at every turn, and it was at this time that Umbridge, in front of numerous witnesses boasted of setting the Dementors on me, as well as trying to justify using an Unforgivable curse on me.
I think I've adequately made my point about corrupt politicians. What about sensationalist stories with no basis in fact? Now is where I start sharing the blame between the Ministry, scurrilous "journalism", and YOU. The Daily Prophet wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and punched them on the nose. They print self serving press releases from the Ministry as factual news, and if they don't like what someone they interview says, or doesn't say, why then they just make it up. Many times they don't even bother with the interview---why take the trouble when they plan on making up what you say in any case? The worst offender here is probably Rita Skeeter, who thinks 'truth' is a four letter word, since she can't spell---or count. The point is you let them get away with it. In fact, you eat it up! Let's skip over all the tripe and lies that were published when I was entered, by a Death Eater, into the Tri-Wizard tournament, and go to this past year.
I was, according to the papers, this delusional, publicity seeking, potentially dangerous, pathological liar. Now that Voldemort is back, I'm "the Boy Who Lived" again, and the "tragic hero" who was a "lone voice in the wilderness", standing up for what I knew was right, even though I was made light of and slandered at every turn. What "they" fail to note is that they are the ones who were making light and printing the slander. And YOU let them do it and get away with it. You take every bit of bullshit that you see and don't question it. It doesn't matter if it's contradictory or not. You could see a story saying that X happened, and a story right below it saying that X didn't happen, and you'll believe them both! The only true account of Voldemort's return is the one that was published in The Quibbler. People make fun of The Quibbler, but they never lie. They may not always be right for they certainly make mistakes, and what they have to say may not always be mainstream, but they never lie. In this case, they printed the interview as I gave it, not as the Ministry dictated it as is often the case with the Prophet.
I think that takes care of the second point. What about the final point about letting school children fight your battles for you? This, in point of fact, is the shame of our world. You let a terrorist dictate to you, control what you do and say, you bemoan the situation (those of you who don't benefit from it), and you do nothing about it. Voldemort and his marked Death Eaters are how much of our wizard population? I don't know the exact numbers, but certainly less than a hundred, probably less than fifty, and possibly less than thirty. Yet you let this band of masked cowards run over you like an erumpent over a kneazle. That's not fair though, as a kneazle would have the sense to get out of the way, and would probably claw the erumpent as it blundered past. You can't even say his name! He's "He Who Must Not Be Named", or "You Know Who", or "The Dark Lord". If you can't even say his name, if you're that afraid, I guess it's no wonder that you cower in terror. Well, get over it. He calls himself Lord Voldemort, but he is certainly no Lord, and his name is Tom Marvolo Riddle. His name gives us the anagram "I am Lord Voldemort". Tom Marvolo Riddle was born to an inbred, mentally deficient witch named Merope Gaunt and the son of the local squire, Tom Riddle. Yes, he was a Muggle, and Merope, who was at best unattractive, used a love potion on him. When she stopped, he immediately left her. Merope, who was pregnant, died in child birth, living only long enough to name her son. He grew up in a Muggle orphanage, attended Hogwarts from 1938-45, was sorted into Slytherin, and was Head Boy for the 1944-45 school year. Dumbledore said he was one of the most brilliant students ever to attend Hogwarts. Since the Gaunts were all mentally defective, retarded, and noticeably unattractive, we can only assume that Tom's intelligence and drive came from his Muggle heritage. He certainly favored his father in appearance.
The Gaunts were the last direct line heirs of Salazar Slytherin. The point of all this, which by the way is easily verifiable, is that for all of his pureblood rhetoric, propaganda, and promises, Tom Riddle is a half blood. It's almost amusing to realize that all these pureblood bigots have been prostrating themselves to someone their prejudices tell them is an inferior. Make no mistake; they do prostrate themselves, as well as prostituting themselves. It's a common occurrence for one of these pureblood idiots to kiss the hem of his robe. Tom demands obedience and obeisance, and he gets it.
So, you let a couple of dozen masked creeps lord it over you. They, through their pureblood sympathizers, get legislation passed through a demonstrably corrupt Wizengamot that makes it difficult for many of our citizens to prosper, because if it doesn't benefit the purebloods, it doesn't pass. It doesn't matter that the purebloods are a distinct minority of our population; you can't be bothered keeping an eye on them and insisting on fairness, accountability, and honesty. Then there is the legislation pointed directly at putting a certain section of our people at a disadvantage.
One of the best examples of this is the way you have treated the werewolves. They are dark creatures, you say. They must be controlled, you say. They almost certainly support Voldemort, you say (even if you won't use his name). Lycanthropy is a condition, just like acne is a condition. The only difference is that we as yet have no cure for lycanthropy. I can't understand why a probably good person who twenty seven days out of twenty eight is no worse a person than you are can be considered a dark creature. A Dementor is a dark creature. A werewolf is one of your neighbors who has an unfortunate affliction, an affliction that is not hereditary and that is easily controlled with a little help. A locked room is all that is required, and that only one day a month. Add Wolfsbane potion to the mix and even a locked room isn't necessary, although it may be desirable from a public relations standpoint.
Well, you've allowed legislation to pass that makes it damn near impossible for a werewolf to make a living, yet you seem surprised when they have to live on the fringes of our society. You put unwarranted controls on them, and then bemoan the fact that some of them support Voldemort. I see two reasons for all these bigoted laws. First, there are people like the afore mentioned bigot Delores Umbridge who cannot abide anyone who she considers not to be a pureblood wizard. Then there are those who support these discriminatory laws hoping that they will drive werewolves to support Voldemort. In other words, it's a political ploy to be used as a recruiting tool by practically driving them into Tom's arms.
Now we come to the crux of this point---fighting against the Dark---no, against the Evil. Dark doesn't necessarily equate to evil. The Ministry has already shown its incompetence. Fudge has done his best to gut any response to this terrorism and in fact is a sponsor and backer of most of the attitudes and legislation that has gotten us to this point. He refused any expansion of the Auror corp, and did his best to gut anything positive that may help in the war. The fact is, if it were up to me, Fudge would go through the Veil for his very real crimes that have cost numerous lives. The fact is there's not much the Aurors can do unless they are allowed to become proactive. The fight must be taken to the enemy instead of waiting around to be attacked. The new Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, doesn't seem like he's going to do much better, and is a typical politico type, much more concerned with image than substance, even though he used to be head of the Auror office. The fact is, if you have to wait on the Aurors to arrive, and you're counting on them to save you, you'll probably be dead.
There is one way to defeat the Death Eaters. Fight back! Every time a group of these clowns appears, you all run and hide, screaming in terror. Let's take what happened at the Quidditch World Cup. A small group of Death Eaters terrorized and abused some Muggles, and tens of thousands of "fully qualified" witches and wizards fled in terror. From right in the middle of all these thousands of people, not one Death Eater was apprehended. If one out of ten, Hell, one out of a thousand of you had fired a stunner at those retards, that would have been the end of that. Cripes, the only stunners fired by the Ministry were at ME and my friends!
Who has been fighting Voldemort up to this point? Well, I have beaten him five times to date. Five other students were at the Ministry with me, and we took out every one of the Death Eaters of Voldemort's Inner Circle who was there. There were only twelve of them after all. If the Ministry had seen fit to give us any real training in DADA last year, we might even have been able to keep them down. Yes, we beat most of them more than once, but didn't know how to keep them from rennervating each other. The only other group I know who trained for defense is a group of students at Hogwarts, called the DA . The DA actually stands for Defense Association, but to rub the Ministry, in the person of Delores Umbridge, the wrong way we were often referred to as "Dumbledore's Army". Dumbledore had no knowledge of this, and as far as I know wasn't even aware that we had formed. We after all had to keep our group a secret, because after Umbridge found out that we were forming as a study group, to learn the DADA spells we would need for OWL and NEWT tests, and that she refused to teach us (she probably didn't know the OWL level spells, much less the NEWT level spells), she outlawed all such study groups and clubs. What do I mean when I say she refused to teach us? During the course of the entire year, which in my case was my OWL year, not once were we allowed to use our wand in class. There were twenty nine of us in the DA, and we trained in Defense. We knew we needed it for our exams, but we also knew we would need it to survive in the real world---unless we wanted to run and hide, and not take responsibility for our own lives like you do. The sad fact is that you, the adults of our world, have abdicated your responsibilities to your children. You can't possibly win against Voldemort if you won't even fight back against a group shown to be incompetents like his Inner Circle was shown to be at the Ministry.
Where is all of this leading? Well, as I told you at the very beginning, I am the Chosen One. I am the one who can kill Voldemort. "So what?" you ask. Well, I'm opting out is 'so what'. You won't fight your own battles. You leave it up to your children, or even more likely, someone else's children to fight for you. Well, screw that and screw you. I'm out of here. I just turned sixteen, and I've already had more combat experience than just about anyone but "Madeye" Moody, and I've had enough. You fight them. You don't have to kill Riddle to beat him. His Death Eaters will be easy to take out if you'll just go after them. You can completely marginalize Voldemort himself, because a leader has to have followers. Make every employee and politician at the Ministry show that they don't have the dark mark. Make it much more dangerous to be a Death Eater than it has been up until now---stop using stupefies and start using reductos and cutting curses. You are in a war, not a pillow fight.
It's even possible to vanquish Voldemort. You may not be able to kill him, but you can use a medusa to turn him into stone, or inject him via a dart with the Draught of Living Death, or petrify him some other way, perhaps by transfiguration. Turn him into a table, or better yet a bedpan. There are lots of ways to get rid of him and his terrorists. It's almost criminal the way you let these inbred, magically weak, pureblood a-holes run all over you. You far outnumber them yet you let them lord it over you. Well, you get what you deserve. If you don't like it, then you should do something about it, because I'm not going to do it for you, not anymore.
Where does this leave us, Tom? You leave me alone and I'll leave you alone. I'm planning on leaving Britain, but I'm not sure yet where I'm going. If you don't try and follow me, and don't send people after me, then I'm OK with that. Live and let live, I say. And, if you come after me, you will die. I also expect you to leave my friends alone. You know who they are. If they come after you and they get hurt, well that's a chance they took, but if you target them, I will come back, and you'll wish I hadn't. If this all sounds like a threat, that's because it is, except that it's also a promise. Remember, I'm the one who knows the prophecy. I actually regret having to leave, but I wouldn't be surprised that if I did take you out at this time, the Ministry would try to arrest me. After all, it wouldn't be the first time.
So, magical Britain, you reap what you sew. In this case if you want to sew the wind, then you will reap the whirlwind, as the saying goes. If you want to take action and control your own destiny, then do it. Don't expect me to do it for you.
Sort of hopeful, but without much real hope,
Hermione finished reading, and giving a deep sigh, said "Oh, my. Harry this is quite a letter. I can't really disagree with any of the points you made, but I'm not happy about you leaving Britain and in effect offering a non aggression pact with Voldemort. If he wins, it will be a catastrophe for all of us. It does give the impression of running away."
Harry shook his head, grinned, and said, "Hermione, this says nothing about being a permanent commitment on my part. This is pure misdirection as I do plan to return. Look at it this way. I have had little to no special training up to this point, and it's doubtful that Dumbledore is going to give me much this year. I don't know why, but that's the way it seems. Instead, I'll be spending my time in class learning things that are of absolutely no use to my survival against Voldemort and chances are we'll have another doofus as our new DADA teacher. I'm going to seek training to enable myself to win our next encounter. I don't have to know as many spells as he does. I just have to know one that will break his shield and has the potential to be lethal. I really believe that my power level is above his level now, possibly far above. For years, we talked about Neville's lack of confidence masking the fact that he's a pretty good wizard. That got me to thinking about my own lack of confidence, and my desire to be "just another bloke".
"The fact is I'm not just another bloke. As much as I'd like to be just an ordinary wizard, I'm not, and I'm starting to realize it. No matter what the reason or how much help I may have had, I did best him as a babe. I did beat him as an eleven year old, in addition to helping take out a mountain troll. I did, as a twelve year old, win against Riddle's horcrux and kill his basilisk. I'll explain about Horcruxes shortly. I discovered a book at Grimmauld Place that identified the spell on the diary. Going on, I did, as a thirteen year old, learn the Patronus charm, and was able to drive off over a hundred Dementors. Most Aurors can't drive off more than two or three. As a fourteen year old, I threw off the Imperius from Barty Crouch, Jr., and from Voldemort himself. I then proceeded to outpower him, in a pure show of force and willpower, with the Priori Incantatem. This June, we took on his inner circle, and beat them. I then took down Bellatrix before Voldemort himself tried to possess me, and I kicked him out so hard he was weakened for weeks."
"So, I have the power. What I need now is to learn how to fight. Not how to duel, but how to fight. I'm not interested in "rules of engagement", or fair fighting. I want to kill the SOB, not stupefy him. As you know, I fretted a long time about taking a life, wondering if I could be a murderer. I've finally figured out that label does not apply! That's a label put out by muddy thinkers, apologists and justifiers who say that 'violence never solves anything'. Tell that to the Great Auk, the Dodo, or the residents of Troy, Carthage, Dresden, or Hiroshima. In the modern sense people who take this position are people who don't have the gumption to defend themselves or the understanding that motive counts. I've thought long and hard about this, and have concluded that being a killer does not equate to being a murderer. Sometimes force, even deadly force, is justified, and anyone who says otherwise is a damn fool. The civil and almost all religious law recognizes that while all murder requires a killing, all killing is not murder."
"So, I'm going away to learn how to fight. If I'm lucky, this letter will buy me some time, a détente, if you will, with Voldemort. If I'm really lucky, the people will get up off their arses and take him down, or at least marginalize him. In any case, when Tom and I next meet, I expect to send him on to his next great adventure, though I'm afraid he'll find it a mite warm when he gets there."
"Harry, I think that's the longest, and certainly the most eloquent, defense you've ever made for your point of view. I could nitpick it, but I'm not going to do that, for I guess on the whole I agree with you. Oh Harry, I just don't want you going off without me! I'll miss you so much", said Hermione, the last at almost a whisper.
"I guess I should have been clearer. Hermione, I don't want to go anywhere without you. We've been in this together since first year. You were not my first friend, Hagrid was and then Ron, but you're my best friend, and the only one who stood with me all the time. Even when you went against me, as you did with the Firebolt, you were looking out for me. I appreciate that now, as it tells me you'll do what's right, not what's easy, the way Ron did. You were nearly my only support fourth year, and again Ron went missing. So, I do want to go abroad in search of training, and Ron's welcome to come if he wants, but if you don't come with me, I'm not sure I can bring myself to leave. Read into that anything you want, but just let me say that there is no one in this world who means more to me than you. I love you, Hermione. I'm not sure how I love you yet, but I'd sure like the chance to find out. I, you, or we may decide that it's best if we just remain friends, but I'd like the chance to explore the possibility. Will you consider going with me?"
A beaming Hermione said, "Oh yes, Harry, I'll go with you. I'll be seventeen in September, so no one will be able to tell me I can't, but how are you going to get away from your minders from the Order?"
Harry gave a sly grin, and said, "I've been planning this for a while now. I had Dobby get five thousand galleons, ten thousand pounds and fifty thousand dollars from my account at Gringotts, and Gringotts has obtained a debit card from Barclay's, credit cards from HSBC, and a passport showing that I'm eighteen. This is a service they provide for a fee, but most wizards don't take advantage of it, as they don't have a clue how these things work. I won't be sending the letters until I'm ready to go, for Dumbledore would surely try to stop me if he knew; I plan on being gone when he finds out. I'm not sure where I…we, will end up just yet, but the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, Belize, Hong Kong and much of India all speak English, and none of them have the same underage magic laws we do here. Dumbledore is a great wizard, but his priorities are no longer my priorities. So, can you be ready to go in a week?"
With a grin and a slight blush, Hermione said, "Where you go, I go, and I think I'd really like to do a thorough job of exploration." With that, she leaned over, and Harry pulled her gently, and without resistance, into their first (but not last) kiss.
A/N: I had always thought of this as a one-shot, but it's been suggested that I should continue the story. I have a few other stories on , but I've been away from writing (but not reading) for quite some time. I find myself getting in the mood to start writing for free again, so if you think I should continue this, let me know. I'll certainly consider it.
Disclaimer: This is a story of fan fiction, in no way authorized by JKR or any of her publishers. This was written for personal enjoyment and no commercial or profit motive is intended or exists.