Albus Dumbledore's internal monologue - right before his death. Written as a response to Snape'sGirl77 's suggestion. Hope you enjoy it!
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He often wondered if keeping it was the right decision. He always told himself that in fact it was. All the good things he could do with it. All the bad things he could prevent by having power over it.
It was worth it, wasn't it? For once the Death Stick was being used for a noble cause. At least he took it from the hands that were much more dangerous than his own. He was only guarding it after all, and he intended to destroy it by destroying himself.
Now it ended in the wrong hands again. It wasn't his anymore, he knew it the moment the spell jerked it out of his trembling hands. It seemed the wand had a mind of its own – or fate had other plans with it. At least the boy did not know it gave him its allegiance. He did not even know of its true nature. Still, it was not the way he planned it.
He did not plan many things to happen, and yet they did. It was how life was.
Life was a cruel teacher, with a whip that knew well how to strike at your most tender parts. Or worse, it made you watch as it was striking at your loved ones, and left you helpless and unable to mend what was broken. Sometimes it even put the whip in your own hands; had you not taken it yourself. That was the worst thing of all.
The whip was in his hands still, and he wiped himself with it over and over again for that one time, that wrong decision, when he boldly dared to think he had the right to choose when to use it on any other flesh but his own.
It hurt. It hurt like hell. Yet it taught him well.
He learned well he should not be entrusted with power – and yet, here he was, with the most powerful tool anyone can possess.
It was not the wand. The wand was meaningless, he learned that long ago.
It was knowledge.
Yes, the burden of knowledge.
One had to tread carefully with it, for knowledge was power.
Not any kind of power, oh no. Certainly not the kind of power Tom had in mind. It was not the power of control, of command, of total domination. In order to command it, you had to obey it first.
It was the power of cognition. The power of knowing what the right thing to do was - which never, never was the easiest thing to do.
Images, faces flashed across his mind.
Ariana... Oh, what had he done to her!
He liked to think that what happened was somehow necessary. That he couldn't play the part that was assigned to him without it. He could not have restrained himself had the Elder Wand came into his possession otherwise. At least it made the weigh upon his shoulders feel a bit lighter. Mankind was like that – searching for meaning where there was none.
Imagining there was a bigger picture, in which each had a role to play, a colour to represent it, made things easier to bear. It was just too dreadful to think that her death had no significance at all, that it was just an accident.
Don't blind yourself you old fool. One of you did it.
Yes. He might be the one responsible for his own sister's death. Saying it was an accident, that he didn't mean it, did not change the fact that she was gone. He regretted it, of course he did, but he regretted even more not knowing who it was. That way he could not even take the whole blame, the entire weight of responsibility on his shoulders – nor could he take it off. He was caught in between, which seemed to him even more dreadful.
The great crystal clear blue skies of knowledge! He craved for it ever since. Even more so as it was at the same time his punishment. He dreaded to know the truth. Constantly living in that fear reminded him over and over again of what he had done. Was it him, was it his spell?
Gellert...He regretted not seeing him for who he really was. He was grateful for that experience, as painful and tragic as it was for him. It taught him well not to trust his passions. They descended over the eyes of your clear mind, making its waters murky and muddy.
This was the moment. At long last he would meet his end.
An image of a kind Hufflepuff boy suddenly ascended in his mind. Cedric Diggory was lucky in a way. In this very moment he envied him. Cedric was completely oblivious of what was going to happen. He was happy in his unawareness that he was going to meet his end.
He knew exactly what was coming. He chose it himself. The time, the means, the doer. Everything.
Yet he would rather not know.
What good did it do anyway? It only tortured his soul, being unable to intervene, to make it right. He was forced to only observe and do nothing.
He would rather not know that he was sending a young man to follow the same path. It will be his actions, the strings he will be puling even after his death that will lead Harry in the same footsteps.
Perhaps it was this knowledge that gave him the courage to follow it through, to be the architect of his own death. He thought of it as his rightful punishment – his penance for daring to be the architect of other people's lives. His penance for making Harry go through the same ordeal, for making him believe that he will really, truly die, because that was the only way he could protect them all.
He had to surrender himself to death's embrace, powerless, helpless, and weak.
Even worse now, he had to beg for it.
He was not afraid of dying, by far not, he even welcomed it! He was forced to leave them to finish the undertaking on their own. He was forced to leave them all alone.
That, he realized in his final moment, as he was staring into the cold, blank, black eyes, filled with revulsion and hatred, was his greatest regret.