Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
AN: This will be slash (man/man, yaoi, or whatever you wish to call it) between Harry and Voldemort. The pairing is not up to debate and if you are against such things, do not read this story. Fair warning, I don't want to hear any QQ later about not knowing about the man love.
Too Have Fallen
Sitting Atop His Tower He Laid Scheming.
I once knew a man who believed in too little and knew too much…
(Hogwarts Headmaster's Office Date: 1979)
The many decades that he had seen were starting to take their toll on his mind and body. Memories of brighter, better times were starting to blur, the young faces of his past were now cragged and ancient, and the vast quantities of knowledge that he acquired over his long life, now out-dated and lost.
His body was no longer the agile, lithesome one of his youth, and his mind, though still sharp, had the habit of slipping into the mistakes of his past on the slightest whim. He had to rely on his Occlumency shields and lemon drops far too often these days, and this thrice be damned war was not helping.
Yes, this war that he had seen coming many decades ago when he looked upon the jaded face of the young Tom Riddle. If only he knew then what he did today.
He should have struck the darkened child down when he had the chance. Instead his foolish past self still believed in second chances; his mind still captured in his days with Gellert. Too fresh from grief and disappointment, he did not want to see what was so clearly in front of him: a bloodthirsty wolf amongst his innocent flock of sheep, a dark harbinger come to cull his peace.
No, he foolishly let the darkness flourish within the dangerous child, and look where that got him - the second coming of a genius Dark Lord at his doorstep, and one of his own making.
Even with the creation of the Order of the Phoenix, it was still not enough to stop the rampant chaos and growth of the Dark that threatened his handspun kingdom.
He had spent many years toiling with lesser wizards to get where he was today. A perfect position to make the utopian kingdom he and Gellert dreamed of many years ago. As supreme Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot he could decide what laws came to pass in this world.
As Headmaster he decreed what the future generations of wizards were taught, and thus changing society as a whole through its youngest members.
As Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederationof Wizards, he oversaw what other wizarding countries accomplished in their everyday lives, and could head off any questionable influences they wished to bring into his lands.
He had been offered Minister of Magic many a time, although he was flattered and smug about his people's apparent need for him and his guidance, the Minister of Magic was too much of a closely watched position. The Ministry was too riddled with darkness, corruption, and followers of the Old Ways. He would have to fight too many powerful and influential purebloods to make the position worthwhile.
No, here atop his grand tower of ancient stone and colored glass he laid scheming.
Here he could see the entire black and white checkered broad, move all his pristine white pieces into place, subtly manipulate the innocent minds of the future, and collect any new prospective pawns and valuable information. All without anyone ever being the wiser. His loony, omnipresent grandfather act kept everyone guessing and believing his every colorful, cryptic word.
Here he could see his careful gardening take root in the world, and bud into his pure kingdom. He would weed out the undesirable bramble and thorns that choked his world and plant only the purest of flowers in their place. His kingdom would be free of the treacherous Old Ways that lost him his life and love, and from the ashes would rise utopia.
He had vowed upon the death of Gellert to make this dream reality, by whatever means and whatever cost - be it life or limb, magic or blood.(1)
But now this grievous upstart dared to tread upon his holy land, bringing the darkening taint with him, the undesirable filth that he had spent many years ostracizing to the outskirts of society.
Yes, Albus knew many of the ancient pureblood houses still clung to the Old Ways of rituals and blessings, but they dare not practice them as openly as they once had. Gellert and his reign of terror had seen to that. Society as a whole now saw these Old Ways as dark and would have nothing of them; just like he had whispered so wisely into their ears.
But now, despite his best efforts, the Dark was making a foothold within his garden. He was becoming too old and weary to keep up this ongoing fight on the frontlines all on his own. He would need new blood - infused with his own ideals and teachings - young and strong to carry on the fight so he could slip into the background and work the strings.
But how to get this prefect puppet, this future leader of this light kingdom, the flame to flush out the shadows that darkened his world, and, when the time came, to take over as the shepherd of this people?
He would have to start from scratch; before their very first breath they would be clay in his hands, a weapon of his own making.
Forged from hardship early in their years to insure loyalty to their marker, born from the fires of strife only the bigoted could bestow to make a strong but naïve blade, and hidden away so no one could steal it before it was ready. He would make a weapon of the Light so that no Darkness would ever befall his glorious kingdom, so that he could finally lay himself to rest alongside Gellert knowing he had did away with that which destroyed a great man.
But how to set the ball into motion, and from whom did he procure his protégé from?
Countless ideas swarmed the man's aged mind as he systematically went about his various options. Did he dare use a dark child to assume an ultimate victory over the Dark, or go the easy way with a child of one of his followers?
How to get the child away from their parents and into an environment of his own choosing? What did Albus do with the parents after he had already taken the child; did he dare allow them to live? Could they be spared with an obliviate?
"No," the gray-haired professor softly muttered, so deep in his plans he unknowingly said it aloud. Memory spells were known to degrade and fail over the years and he could not afford to be known as a kidnapper of children. The parents would have to perish to insure his continued safety and elevated status.
And it would be better to use a light oriented couple to reduce the Dark taint in the child's magical blood.
"Maybe a muggleborn, perhaps, one that would know nothing of magic and have no connection to the wizarding world," Albus mused to the near silent room, absentmindedly tapping an unknown beat into the ancient wood of his large, cluttered desk.
No, they were often too weak to practice the higher level light spells he would need his weapon to wield, but an infusion of muggle blood would create much needed ties to the muggle world.
Hard, pale-blue eyes gazed out over his desk and out into the inky darkness that lay beyond the thin glass of the window. Thin, paper like skin pulled taunt over the bony, protruding knuckles of his hands as his fingers savagely curled inwards -an involuntary display of his hate- as Albus thought about that darkness and what it had taken from him. Years of old, blistering memories escaped their rusted cage and plagued his mind like a ravaging swarm as rage boiled within him.
With swiftness many would believe a man of his advanced age could not possess, Albus sank one of his gnarled hands inside the crystal candy bowl that forever called the desk its home. Knocking it to the floor and scattering the bright sweets, and retrieved some the potion laden candy that lay within, deftly popping them into his mouth to purge himself of his past. Swiftly sucking on the candies, the calming effect of the potion worked its wonders, and once again his mind became his own.
The Light's grand crusader locked the hated memories away once more and turned his gaze away from the innocent window and towards the many letters that littered his desktop. Missives from the ministry once again pleading for his assistance, letters from concerned parents regarding their children's safety, random request from his staff he had half a mind to throw out, and all other unimportant request on his time lay about. One parchment in particular caught his keen eye. It was an invitation to the small bonding ceremony of James Henry Potter and Lily Marie Evans.
Joy filtered through Albus' potion drugged mind as he thought about the lovely couple, and not for the innocent reasons one might think.
No, they were perfect. All that he could ask for and more.
James was one of his staunchest followers and from a long line of Light purebloods. Potter was what came to mind when one thought of Gryffindor:brave, loyal to a fault, and stubborn as a hippogriff. His charming good looks and roguish nature could win over any cold hearted hag. With a wink from his hazel eyes and boyish smile he could have anyone eating from the palm of his hand and he knew it.
But James was a wild one. He rained pranks down upon the halls of Hogwarts, and his deep-seated enmity for all things Dark and Slytherinwas only matched by that of his best friend Sirius Black. He was the boy every girl wanted and every boy wanted to be; he had it all: money, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter name, looks, and power. Surprisingly, or not, it was Lily Evans who managed to get James to drop his wildish ways and force him to grow up.
Lily - the brightest witch of her age, muggleborn, and loving spirit - could not have been any more different than James. The arguments between the pair were legendary within the halls of Hogwarts. It seemed from the first step the pair took within the school their fate was intertwined, whether that was to maim or marry each other, it was anyone's bet at the time.
As the years grew, so did the arguments, until fifth year when James started to look at Lily differently and proclaimed her to be his future bride. Lily naturally took offence from the immature proclamation and took to avoiding James at all cost and furthering her friendship with James' self-proclaimed nemesis, Severus Snape.
What followed was an event many students and staff alike would not soon forget. The utter humiliation James brought upon Snape was likely a key point in fate. One which drove Lily away from a future Death Eater, her long time friend and confidante, and into the arms of her now future husband. Poor, young Severus never recovered from the event.
The two were perfect; it was like a sign from the divine he no longer believed in to say his plans were righteous. Albus could think of no other two beings he would rather have to bear him his weapon.
With the ancient pure blood that flowed through James' veins, any child Lily bore him would be of great magical strength and fortitude. With James as the father, the child might as well be born swaddled in the crimson and gold colors of the mighty Gryffindor house and bearing a deep hatred of anything Slytherin.
Lily's muggleborn blood would bring new life to the child and insure a connection between the magical and the muggle world. Her brilliances would work well with James' stubbornness, instilling greatness. The child would be born a natural, charismatic leader and others would surely flock to them.
Everything about the child's childhood would have to be carefully controlled, from their education, how much love they received, and even their friendships growing up. Dumbledore would have to engineer the child's friends when he/she finally re-entered the magical world, of course. As the muggles say, adversary builds character.
Even the gender of the child would have to be planned. The child would no doubt have to be a male due to the social inequality within the wizarding world, and a female child would break too easily. The masses would more easily follow a male than a female anyway (2). But that was easily taken care of with a potion or spell.
Alas, Albus was saddened by the thought of losing two of his most powerful followers, but he would ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain. At the death of the parents he would benevolently make himself the legal magical guardian of the child and with that he would secure the vast Potter vaults in his name as Retainer until the child came of age or was emancipated. As the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot he could seal the Potter's Will and insure the child would be placed in a home of his own choosing.
And once again Lily's blood stepped up to the plate to provide the perfect housing for his weapon.
He knew Lily's and James' parents were deceased, James' from a tragic wizarding illness and Lily's from an automobile accident, and the only next of kin for the child would be Lily's hateful sister Petunia. He had heard many a horror story from Lily about Petunia's abhorrence of all things magical. He had even had the dubious honor to meet the spiteful woman once and she could not be any more perfect for what he needed of her. If tales of the muggle she married rang true, then the child was in for a hard and unloved childhood.
He would orchestrate the naïve child's very re-entrance into the magic world. Send one of his more dim but loyal followers to sing the Headmaster's praises and make the child indebted to him as his savior from his own personal hell.
Give the child only the information he saw fit for them to have and once the child was so blinded by his loyalty to him, have him sign away the Potter's fortune and seats of power as a Noble and Ancient house. He would surround the child with his Light family followers from the very moment he stepped foot on the train, turning the child's mind to only what he allowed him to see.
All for the greater good of course…
He knew that James' parents once followed the Old Ways, but not James himself. Albus would have to hide away the child's long-standing heritage and make sure he never came in contact with it. He could not have his weapon spoiled by that which failed Gellert.
Maybe the Weasleys could help him there. The couple was bound to have children of acceptable age by then, maybe more. The Weasley clan was known in the pureblood circles to spawn like unchecked rabbits. The family was also known as blood traitors, for long ago turning their back on the Old Ways and shunning those that practiced it. Having the family around his weapon was sure to keep him in check.
But how to get James and Lily to trust him enough to secrete them away so no one would know he had inferred so much in the child's life? Times were becoming tough and families did not need a reason to run and hide, but he knew James and Lily would never leave their friends behind to fight this gruesome war without good reason.
Once again the white-bearded man's mind became swamped with ideas, some devious and dark, and others simple and straightforward. But Lily was a clever witch and it would take a sound plan to go toe-to-toe with her brilliant mind.
The hoots and clinks of many shiny, polished knickknacks and trinkets filled the air as the ancient looking but formidable man thought his plans through. Looking out over his cluttered office filled with curiosities he had collected throughout his life and the slumbering portraits of deceased Headmasters of Hogwarts, light reflecting off a small, shining globe caught his eye. A remembrall,a small magical devise that helped forgetful and simple wizards remember what they forgot.
But it was not the intended usage of the devise that caught his interest but the shape and swirling mass of silver fog inside.
A prophecy. Something that was so easily faked, hardly ever questioned, and brought fear or hope to the masses. Why, just the other day his Divination teacher came to him requesting he replace her, for she wished to flee to the safety of the continent with her family.
Once again it seemed like the Fates were smiling down upon him. Sibyll Trelawney was currently looking for someone fool-hardy enough to hire her and her questionable Seer skills. A few borderline Dark spells and an Obliviate later he would have his prophecy, and the Potter's pleading for his protection from whatever ill-fate would soon befall their son.
While he was at it, why not kill two Snidgetswith one spell. Why not accidently leak the prophecy to the oh-so convenient Death Eater that happened to be close by and have him take it to his Master.
Not the whole thing. No, only enough to wet young Tom's appetite and bring about his insatiable curiosity. He knew Tom Riddle well. Tom would not allow this so called prophecy to rest peacefully. He would follow the breadcrumb trail to wherever Dumbledore needed him to be and then spring the trap.
If he was successful the plan would delay whatever sinister plot Tom had up his shadowy sleeves, giving him time to sequester his weapon away and begin planning the child's life in earnest.
He knew Tom had found some way to escape death but at this time he was uncertain to whatever they might be. But all Albus needed was time.
Merrily humming an old muggle tune (rather off key, mind you), Dumbledore set about making his brilliant plan a brilliant reality. He even scared himself sometimes concerning the mad, devious plans his mind came up with. He blamed it on his misguided youth and certain magic he would be doing the world a favor when he expunged it from all its sources and done away with it. He would clean this world and this prophecy child would help him.
"All for the greater good," Albus whispered breathlessly while sagely nodding his head.
All around him, the many shiny trophies and trinkets – a lifetime's worth of great achievements and intellectual accomplishments - reflected back a warped image of a once great man that no matter of twisting or turning of the metal could make straight again.
All throughout Dumbledore's scheming he was closely watched by the brilliant, scarlet and gold avian that firmly clung to his perch in the corner in remorse.
For many turbulent decades, Fawkes had stood by and watched as Albus slowly lost himself to a pitiful fate, a fate that he brought onto himself for turning his back on Magic. Many times Fawkes had entertained the idea of leaving and finding another powerful wizard to guard, but Magic had asked the dutiful phoenix to stay and watch over her once chosen Light Lord.
The chaotic thoughts weaving through the wizard's mind barely phased the immortal avian anymore. Dumbledore was not an evil man; the fiery being knew this well. He had just lost himself along his troubled path and now thought it his sacred duty to purge the world of the so-called Dark Arts. But in doing so he upset the balance Magic worked so hard to achieve, for there could not be Light without Darkness.
The goddess Magic could not bring herself to kill the duty-driven man she knew so well as a loving boy. The boy, who once said her blessings at every meal and worshipped her different attributes on their chosen days of Samhain, Yule, and Midsummer's Day - the young man who fell so deeply in love with her other chosen child.
For many years she had watched over the two and gave them her blessings of knowledge and power. But all too soon her darker chosen had fallen from grace. He soon began to greedily take more from her and gave so little in return, but still she watched over him. After many years of neglect from her darker child her blessings that kept the wild Dark magic from consuming his mind fell away and he quickly succumbed to madness.
For his neglect and abuse of the power she blessed him with, Gellert Grindelwald had to compensate by losing the man he loved and ultimately being defeated by him. Balance in all things.
Albus had pleaded with her to help his lover but she could not help that which refused to help itself, and so her light chosen turned from her as well, vowing to destroy all that she held dear just as the Old Magic had done to him.
But now she had a new Dark child and soon the one she hoped would take her light blessing would be born to this dreary world. Magic could not remove what she had given Albus Dumbledore those many years ago until someone strong enough to take the heavy burden arrived. The Nornir (3), Magic's omnipresent sisters, foretold of a great upheaval her chosen people would soon face and that she would need all she had to confront this and survive. For the loss of this battle meant Magic's end in the human world.
But Dumbledore's scheming was not new to the ancient entity. The goddess relied on the ever present Fawkes to forewarn her of any dangerous machinations the grieving wizard drudged up.
It did indeed seem as though the Nornir were working along with Dumbledore; for far too many important pieces of the puzzle fell all too easily into the wizard's lap. She would have to keep a careful eye on this, for this could only mean that the Nornir had something great in store for this prophetic, wizarding child Dumbledore was dreaming up. For like Magic, balance had to be kept in Fate. Fate did not bestow someone with more than the knowledgeable sisters believed they could bear. Those important to the Strings of Fate always paid early on for what they could achieve later in life.
Magic would have to insure Dumbledore's plans did not all come into fruition. Whatever her sisters had planned she could not undue, but Magic could work it to her advantage. She would seek out the child's mother and have Lily prepare one of Magic's most ancient rituals: a life for a life.
She knew Tom Riddle could not die, for she had made it so, but she could not permit him to kill this child. She, and evidently Fate, needed this child too gravely, and had toiled too hard to put this birth into motion for the Heir of Slytherin to ruin it with a brash and ill-advised action. Whatever her dear Dark Lord had planned would just have to be put on hold for a while. Karma, as they say, is a bitch.
AN: Please Review
(1) Yes I know Gellert was imprisoned after the battle and didn't die, but this story is AU.
(2) I am in no way a sexist. I am quite proud to be of the female gender but considering Dumbledore's date of birth (1881) and the time period the wizarding world seems to be stuck in, Albus seeing a female hero weaker than a male hero is understandable.
(3) The Nornir are the Norse weaving women of Fate. Urd is the oldest of the sisters and she is believed to rule the past. Verdandi is the middle sister and rules the present. Skuld is the youngest and is said to be the ruler of the future.
(4) There are extended author notes on my profile that I recommended that you read. Some pertain to the story while others are just general info like updating, suggestions, and character info. I posted it there to keep my author notes simple and so that everyone would know where to look in case they needed to know anything.
(Rough draft started Sunday, January 08, 2012)
(Chapter posted Friday, March 30, 2012)
(Edited Tuesday, September 18, 2012)