I have no idea why, but I found myself thinking of Dumbledore this afternoon... And, perhaps because I've been reading the utterly dramatic novel 'jane Eyre' and have been watching 'Anna and the King', which has an utterly dramatic ending, this came out. Grammar is wonky because I use tons of long sentences and am far too fond of commas and dashes, but here goes anyway. Enjoy!
He did not even realize until it was too late.
For most people, he supposed, or at least for the ones who really knew them, it was obvious, even if such a thing was unspoken of in those days. Those who knew, did not speak. Did they fear them, that young, bright, powerful couple of friends, whose countenance was awe-inspiring and perhaps a little frightening?
So many questions he had no answers to. After all these years, all that he had experienced and seen, some of the answers still eluded him.
What would have happened if they had not separated? Would he have become such a power-crazed wizard, too, would he have murdered innocent people to reach his goal? If he asked anybody around him, even if they did not know the story, the answer would be a firm, resounding 'No' – nobody could imagine Albus Dumbledore as an evil wizard. He himself could not, either. Not really, not anymore. He'd dedicated his life to erasing the events that had not happened, to ridding the world of his intentions that had never come true.
And still… it had been there, somewhere inside him. All those years ago, he had thought himself deserving of more strength, more power, than the non-magic human beings, and, if he was honest to himself, more than his fellow wizards and witches too.
The years had passed and he had never since felt that superiority – indeed, he made sure to fight those senses, not just in himself, but in as many people as he could reach. He had lived a good life – he had fought for a good cause. He knew all that. And yet…
Had Gellert ever loved him? Or, for that matter, had he ever truly loved Gellert? At the climax of things, when he stood opposite his former best friend, intent on destroying him – at that moment, he had not been able to imagine how he had ever looked upon those features in a positive light – how he could have ever dreamt about him. He had fought without hesitance – the doubt came, as so often, much later, in the early hours of the morning, quiet moments in his office.
What would have happened, had they not fallen out? Where would he have been now? He couldn't honestly imagine his life taking a path other than the one he had traversed (the famed poem came to him – he had taken the road less travelled by, and that had made all the difference). But it had been a choice, in the end. A word, a phrase, one afternoon, a fight – they could change the course of a life.
During dark nights, the questions still kept him up. His mind took him down many roads, dbefore he inevitably reminded himself that what ifs were not helping anybody.
And then his mind would take another turn, this time facing another question that had never been answered: had he ever truly loved Gellert? Had the admiration turned into love on one of those brilliant summer days? Had it been a mere infatuation, they way a girl would have a crush on a teacher, or had it been a love with the potential of the great couples, albeit with a different twist? He could not tell. Those summer days were hazed by the feelings of brilliance, the thrill of exploring, discovering, theorizing. If he had had any thoughts concerning the matter, he would undoubtedly have ignored them, for in those days it would have been an impossible relationship. Had Gellert still been alive this day, and had he been as attractive as during those summer afternoons – who knows how life would be?
When, after the battle, he had finally come to terms with those summer truths, he had vowed never to love again – he had vowed to dedicate his life to eradicating the effects of people like Gellert, and, most importantly, he had vowed to never put himself in a position where he could fall back upon those ideas.
He had done quite well, he reflected sometimes during those dark nights. Being a Hogwarts teacher, and later a Hogwarts Headmaster, put him a position of influence. But the idea of using that position for his own deepest desires revolted him, and he was eternally grateful for that. He dared say that he had been an excellent Headmaster, and he believed most people would be the better, even if infinitesimally, for knowing him. Of course, there were those who were beyond influence, no matter how hard he tried. His heart gave a pang as he remembered the child Tom Riddle, who, although not a pleasant boy, had had the potential of turning out as a decent wizard. There had been others, too – Lucius Malfoy, Dolores Umbridge, Bellatrix Black. Teenagers he had tried to show the good path, but who had ultimately taken the other one – also, he reflected, the one less travelled by – funny how that goes.
All in all, he had led a good life, both in terms of his happiness and his achievements.
But the questions were still in his head, and the answers still eluded him.
I am a bit hazy on the details concerning Dumbledore, his family and Grindelwald, which is part of why I kept this rather vague (the other part being that I like vagueness). And I know it's all over the place, but I just like it that way. Do you, too? Tell me what you think!