Disclaimer: I do not any portion of the Harry Potter characters or universe, they belong to J. K. Rowling. The plot and any original characters are mine.

With a flash of lightning he appeared, seemingly from nowhere. His boots sank deeply into the muddied earth as curtains of rain parted around him, diverted by a black umbrella that he carried loosely in his hand. By most people's standards he would not even rate as average. He wore a long, tattered gray overcoat, closed tightly against the pelting drops of water, which gave him the appearance of a homeless man fresh from the dumpster. An old scarf was wrapped tightly around his neck, but did nothing to hide the long elegant white beard that ran all the way to the middle of his chest, as pristine as new fallen snow. Its magnificence would have humbled even the most proud and egotistical of beard aficionados.

He took stock of his surroundings, head turning to follow his wandering eyes as they darted from tree to tree, apprehension clear on his weathered face. It was only moments though before impatience clearly won out over caution as he began striding forward at a brisk pace, eyes now focused solely on his destination. After only a few short minutes his steps slowed as he approached the base of a large hill, nestled in a small clearing amidst the trees. Any normal person would have found the view breathtaking, even in the pouring rain, but the man did not slow his pace. Large roots had grown up from the surrounding trees, weaving into the walls of stone and dirt, strengthening them and giving the hill a textured, almost alien appearance. The man approached slowly and reached out with his free hand, placing it lightly upon the rough surface of the hill and running it gently across the snake-like roots and through the soft, wet green moss that covered the ancient stones.

"Oppugno Fatum," he whispered softly. The mound of earth reacted immediately, the roots underneath his fingers slithering away from his touch. A loud crumbling noise filled the clearing as the thousands of pounds of dirt and rock before him began to tremble…and then move. Dirt and mud melted away like ice-cream under the hot sun, disappearing into nothing as the stone began to reshape itself. Within moments he was looking, not at a pretty but ordinary piece of English countryside, but at a yawning cave mouth that the dim light of the stormy afternoon did not even begin to illuminate. He allowed a small nostalgic smile to lift the corners of his mouth as he took a single step forward into the cavernous opening, lowering his umbrella as he entered.

Inside he could make out no more detail than he had standing out in the pouring rain; ahead of him loomed a gaping darkness that was swallowing all light thrown at it. He lifted the umbrella in his hand and tapped it twice into the floor beneath him. Immediately a light flared into existence on his right and left, revealing two blazing torches set into brackets on the smooth stone walls on either side. Ahead of him another pair lit into being, and then another, until he could see a line of bright illuminating flame disappearing around a slight bend ahead. Tucking his still dripping umbrella under his arm, he resumed his trek forward.

The wide passage soon terminated in a large circular room. There were no exits, other than the hallway from which he had come, and no windows. There wasn't even much furniture to speak of, merely a small coat rack by the entrance, a large stone basin set into the wall on the far side of the room with a mirror above it, and sitting in the dead center, looking dreadfully out of place in the stone hewn earthy abode, sat a large, rather comfortable looking leather reclining chair.

He sighed happily at the feel of the warm interior, quickly shrugging off his scarf and cumbersome jacket and hanging them from the nearby rack, revealing an immaculate dark grey suit. Moving forward, he eased himself gradually into the soft brown leather, relishing every moment. With a casual wave of his hand a small table appeared next to him sporting a short glass and a rather tall bottle of scotch. Pouring himself a glass, he leaned back and let out a deep sigh; sometimes it was good to be a wizard.

Thunder boomed outside, echoing loudly through the tunnel and into the small cavern. In an instant he was on his feet and the relaxed look was gone, as forgotten as the glass that lay shattered at his feet. Eventually the sound faded, and gave way to complete silence, even his breath muted as he stared intently at the cavern entrance, eyes unblinking. After nearly a minute he breathed a deep sigh of relief before lowering the umbrella that he had, until this moment been pointing unwaveringly at the entranceway.

He let out a small frustrated growl as he looked to his feet at the scattered glass shards and the amber liquid that was still slowly trickling outward, horrified at the wasted alcohol.

"After all these years," he muttered darkly, "I still can't get a moment of peace." He had known from the outset that time would be precious on this road he had chosen to travel, but he had thought surely he could afford a few moments to himself before he began. But he supposed it was for the best in the end; after all he did not know how long it might take to convince the boy.

He returned to his chair but did not relax into it as he had previously, but rather leaned forward, waving the umbrella at the mirror set into the wall before him. It lit up immediately with an inner glow, colors and shapes swirling around the edges of the large square of glass. Hazy shapes floated across the surface, the soft light mingling with the menagerie of colors to form a swirling, ever changing mass that seemed to be without rhyme or reason. Reaching out with his magic, he tapped into the chaos, not controlling it as that would defeat its purpose, but powering it. By focusing his energy and will, he began to see shapes take form, patterns emerging that to his eye were as clear as a television screen. He watched for a few minutes, the pattern weaving for him a tale of love and loss, betrayal and redemption, fear and horror, war and destruction…..of countless lives lost. He released the magic with a gasp and collapsed backwards, his hand coming up to rub the bridge of his nose.

There had been no need to tax himself any further; he knew how the story would end. After all he had watched the same thing play out in front of him countless times in recent weeks, and they had all ended exactly the same. Honestly he had not expected the outcome to be any different this time, but he had to try, didn't he? His plan wasn't exactly flawless was it, and even if everything went perfectly, there was still a chance….no, he could not think like that. The time for talking himself out of this was long past, he was committed now. He could only hope that he had made the right choice, both for himself….and for the world.

He stood, umbrella in hand, and took a long look around the room before he turned and exited, walking briskly through the tunnel to reach the forest beyond. He stopped as he reached the open air and took a deep breath, letting the damp evening air fill his lungs as the sound of grating stone behind him let him know that the tunnel behind him had sealed successfully. As he let out the breathe he turned on the spot, almost faster than the eye could follow and silently disappeared.