Chapter 19


The house was absolutely still, the only movement that of some dust particles that were visible in the beam of sunlight coming through one of the windows. This stillness was suddenly broken by a loud noise as three figures suddenly appeared in the middle of the living room. A dark haired young man accompanied by a petite blonde and a small elf. The elf, for some reason was wearing a floppy green hat from which a number of corks were hanging on strings. He was also holding a long wooden stick that was hollow and decorated with painted stripes.

Luna staggered around for a bit before sinking into the sofa with a relieved sigh. "Oh dear," she said. "No matter how many times we do it, I always end up getting so dizzy."

Harry laughed lightly, "Yeah, those international portkeys are a bitch. Still, getting from Melbourne to California in less than a minute more than makes up for the dizziness and nausea. Still, next time let's wait a bit to recover from the portkey before apparating home."

Luna kicked her shoes off, put her feet up and wiggled her toes happily. "Aah yes, that's good," she said. "No matter how much fun Brazil and Australia were, it's so good to be home."

Harry and Dobby started pulling out shrunken packages from their pockets and piling them up on the floor. It would take them a little time to get everything un-shrunk and put away. Luna and Dobby did love picking up souvenirs, after all. "Yeah," he agreed, "Nothing quite like getting back home after a long trip."

He took a deep sniff and looked around. "It feels a bit stuffy in here though. Guess we need to air the place out a bit. Been shut up for too long," he said as he strode across to the windows and pulled back the curtains.

A sudden movement caught his eye and he stared out the window at the trees lining the street. Was that a... There was a sudden flash of light and what he had been staring at disappeared. Well, that certainly removed all doubt.

"Luna, could you be a dear and make yourself scarce for a bit. I think we're about to get some company of the long bearded and senile type," he said.

"Why?" asked Luna plaintively. "I just got comfortable."

"There was a phoenix sitting in the tree across the road, and it's just flashed away. No doubt, Dumbledore had Fawkes stationed here looking out for our return. That means, he going to probably show up here pretty soon," explained Harry.

Luna humphed a bit and pouted. "I don't see why you make me hide from him every single time he comes over. It's ridiculously inconvenient."

"Oh come on," cried Harry. "We've discussed this. You know, it's best that he knows as little as possible about me."

"Sooner or later he's going to find out anyway. Well, if he continues to come around, that is," said Luna.

"And later would be better than sooner," said Harry as he gently shooed her out of the room and up to the bedroom where she would be safely out of the way.

Less than ten minutes later, Dumbledore was indeed pressing away at the button on Harry's gate. A few minutes after that, Harry had allowed the man in and plunked a cup of tea in his hands. No matter his personal feelings, there was no need to not at least give him a cup of tea. They were British after all.

"You were gone for quite a long time," said Dumbledore. "I came by several times looking for you. I'd begun to fear that you would never come back and since I no longer have a way of finding you since you took back my tracker..."

Harry shrugged. "I was only away for a couple of months," he said. "I never got to see much of the world as I was growing up. It's nice to be able to travel and see the world now that I can."

Dumbledore shrugged uncomfortably and peered at Harry over the top of his spectacles. Really, did the boy have to keep bringing up his unfortunate childhood? It always made Dumbledore uncomfortably aware of his failings.

"So what did you want, this time?" asked Harry. "You know I'm not going to come and fight old Voldie for you, no matter how nicely you beg."

"Yes, I am quite aware of that fact, Harry. I know only too well that you have chosen not to believe in the prophecy. However, I wanted to ask you to contemplate Pascal's Wager," said Dumbledore.

"Pascal's Wager?" asked Harry in confusion.

"Blaise Pascal was a muggle scientist and philosopher, he put forward the argument that..."

"Wasn't he the guy that units of pressure are named after?" asked Harry.

"Possibly," said Dumbledore. "I have never studied the Muggle sciences in great detail. However Pascal was also a philosopher who made a most interesting argument for why the rational person must believe in the existence of a higher power, namely God."

"Somehow, I never expected you to start talking about religion," said Harry.

"Yes, it is a fact that most Wizards do tend to be more spiritual rather than religious and as for the Christian faith - It is hard to follow a religion that advocates for the extermination of your kind. Although, I was once told that the passages in the Bible that call for Witches to be put to death were actually mistranslations so perhaps... Anyway, that is all very much beside the point," said Dumbledore.

"What was the point then?" asked Harry.

"Pascal's Wager was an argument devised by Pascal. It stated that either God exists or he does not and that there is no way of knowing until one dies. Given that, the rational human being should nevertheless choose to believe in God and live his or her life as per the tenets of the religion they choose to follow. If they are wrong and God does not exist then they have not lost much, merely some time or luxuries perhaps. If they are right, then they get to go to heaven. You risk very little and the rewards are infinite if God exists and if he does not, what have you really lost? On the other hand you could choose not to believe, and then if you are wrong, well, I'm afraid that the only thing in store for you would be eternal damnation, as per the Christian religion anyway," explained Dumbledore.

"Okay, I get the risk versus rewards bit, sounds a bit like Game Theory but... What does that have to do with me?" asked Harry.

"Harry, right now you are choosing not to believe in the prophecy. Consider what may happen if you are wrong. Right now, I'm certain that you are absolutely safe and I'm not saying it will happen anytime soon, the prophecy did not specify a specific time period after all. However, you must remember that Voldemort's body is not natural. It is a construct of the Dark Arts and as such, I doubt it will age normally and even if it does, he may just have himself resurrected again. For all intents and purposes we must consider that Voldemort is, in fact, immortal."

Dumbledore propped his hands up on the table and steepled his fingers. "Consider fifty or sixty years from now. No doubt, I will be long in my grave and unable to help or advise you. In fact, you will probably have long forgotten all about Voldemort and me. You said you like to travel; you might even decide to say... travel to Europe again. Say you are visiting Paris. What will you do if Voldemort chooses that moment to attack France? By then surely he will have managed to bring his numbers up to a point where such an attack will be feasible."

"There you might be, taking in the sights, looking at that metal tower the French are so proud of and the next thing you know is that Voldemort along with his Death Eaters has apparated nearby and is flinging killing curses at everything in sight. One of Voldemort's curses might kill you without him even realising that you are anything more than an innocent bystander."

Dumbledore stared at a slowly blinking Harry. Good, it looked like his words were having an effect upon the boy.

"On the other hand," he continued, "you could choose to believe in the prophecy. I am not saying I expect you to go out and challenge Voldemort to a duel. No, No, No! I am simply asking you to prepare. To learn from me and to let me teach you so that if you are ever in such a situation you will be prepared. So that, if such a situation ever comes to pass you might have a chance at surviving. That is all I am asking from you."

"You're not asking me to fight Voldemort," asked Harry in stunned disbelief.

"Are you likely to agree to do something like that," asked Dumbledore in an amused tone. On Harry's negative head-shake he continued, "Then I fail to see what my attempting to persuade you on such a course of action will do. No, I believe in the prophecy. I believe that no matter what, somehow the prophecy will be fulfilled and all I want to do at this point is to prepare you for such an eventuality."

Harry drummed his fingers upon the table and looked off into the distance. He seemed to be deep in thought. Dumbledore left him to his thoughts. It would not do to push Harry too much, he thought.

Finally, Harry seemed to come to a decision and said, "Well, as long as it's clear that I will never agree to take the fight to Voldemort and as long as you do not try to persuade me otherwise, then... I suppose there is no harm in being prepared. So - What did you have in mind?"

Dumbledore beamed in triumph. Hook, line and sinker, he had him now. He took out a small package from one of the pockets in his voluminous robes.

"A Chinese fellow called Sun Tzu once said 'If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles'. So to start with, I will be showing you some memories related to Tom Riddle. I assume I am still barred from performing magic within these premises, so if you would be kind enough to un-shrink my pensieve, we can begin," he said.

Harry performed the necessary charm to expand the pensieve, which was placed on the table. Then Dumbledore pulled from his pocket a crystal bottle containing a swirling silver-white substance.

"We shall be going for a trip down Bob Ogden's memory lane," said Dumbledore as he pulled the stopper out of the crystal bottle

"Who was Bob Ogden?"

"He was employed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement," said Dumbledore. "He died some time ago, but not before I had tracked him down and persuaded him to confide these recollections to me. We are about to accompany him on a visit he made in the course of his duties. If you will stand, Harry …"

Dumbledore tipped the silvery contents of the bottle into the Pensieve, where they swirled and shimmered, neither liquid nor gas.

"After you," said Dumbledore, gesturing toward the bowl.

~oo00oo~

Harry collapsed into bed next to a dozing Luna who woke up with the movement. She immediately snuggled into his side and asked, "So, finally finished with Dumbledore then?"

"Yes," answered Harry tiredly. "What do you think about the point he made? The one about being prepared for Voldemort even if I didn't believe in the prophecy."

"Well, there are worse things you could be doing than emulating the Boy Scouts I guess but I still don't trust him. You have to be careful that he doesn't use this to manipulate you in some way. What did he show you in the pensieve?" she asked.

"It was odd," said Harry. "He said that I needed to know my enemy so..."

"Yes, I found it interesting that he quoted Sun Tzu, it certainly explains a bit about how and why Dumbledore acts the way he does," said Luna.

"Really? In what way?" asked Harry.

"Another Sun Tzu quote would be - 'Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.' I don't know about the formlessness and soundlessness bit but 'Mysterious' certainly fits Dumbledore to a T. Doesn't it?"

Harry laughed. "Trust you to be able to quote Sun Tzu. Anyway, the odd thing is that I sort of expected him to show me memories of Voldemort's atrocities or something like that, you know - Something that would convince me that he had to be dealt with. But... He just showed me a couple of memories of Tom Riddle's birth family, who were seriously twisted by the way, except for his mother who was just pitiful and then another one of Dumbledore going to tell a eleven year old Tom that he's a wizard. Don't quite get the point, really. All he really did was to make me feel sorry for the kid."

"You felt sorry for Voldemort?" asked Luna in astonishment.

Harry shook his head. "Not Voldemort, no. He's a monster who murdered my parents. But... The young Tom, a little kid, an orphan who had a terrible childhood, growing up in an orphanage, misunderstood and feared by the muggles around him, not knowing or understanding why strange things happen around him. I can certainly relate to that. My childhood wasn't that different after all and... There for the grace of god... and all that."

"I doubt that you could have ever turned out anything like him, no matter how similar your childhoods," said Luna.

"Oh, I don't know, all I can say is that I'm glad it was Hagrid that came to give me my Hogwarts letter. Dumbledore... sometimes I really don't think he should be allowed to be around children. I mean Hagrid... he was a great guy but he did mess up quite a bit when he introduced himself," said Harry.

"Yes, you told me the story. Broke the door down, didn't he?" asked Luna.

"He broke the door down, antagonised my relatives, gave Dudley a tail, didn't really prepare me for being mobbed at the Leaky, decided to leave me alone and go off for a drink in the middle, stopped me from buying books that might have been useful in defending myself and forgot to tell me how to get on the train, all before sending me back to live with the same relatives he had so thoughtfully riled up," said Harry.

"It's a bloody miracle that Vernon didn't just shove me into the cupboard the minute I got back to them. Still, he's a good bloke, he did get me a birthday cake and he bought me Hedwig as well. Like I said - Way better than Dumbledore any day of the week," said Harry.

"Why? How bad could Dumbledore have been?" asked Luna.

"Tom Riddle was an orphan and Dumbledore went to give him an invitation to Hogwarts. Dumbledore somehow found out that he had been stealing, I suspect he used legilimency on the kid, which is another can of bloody worms, and there was something about a dead rabbit so he decided to... I don't know... cow him a little and scare him straight I guess."

"Dumbledore drew his wand from an inside pocket of his suit jacket, pointed it at the shabby wardrobe in the corner, and gave the wand a casual flick.

The wardrobe burst into flames.

Riddle jumped to his feet; Harry could hardly blame him for howling in shock and rage; all his worldly possessions must be in there. But even as Riddle rounded on Dumbledore, the flames vanished, leaving the wardrobe completely undamaged."

Excerpt From: J. K. Rowling. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.".

"He set fire to his things?" asked Luna in astonishment.

"They were undamaged, so it was probably just an illusion but... Come on. You don't do that, not to an orphan who barely has anything anyway. Even if he had been stealing, he was still just a eleven year old kid. Why would you do that to someone like him? Riddle was obviously...shocked, enraged, scared, terrified? If someone did that to you? If they showed you that you were powerless to stop them from destroying everything you owned with a simple flick of a wand? That you were obviously nothing in their eyes. How would you react?" asked Harry.

"It probably just made Tom determined to never ever let anyone be able to do that to him again. He would probably have sworn then and there to become more powerful than Dumbledore. To become someone so powerful and feared that no one would ever be able to do that to him again. If I had to guess... that was probably the day that started him on the journey that would end up with him becoming a Dark Lord," said Harry.

"If you're right then Dumbledore really has a lot to answer for," said Luna.

"I know," said Harry tiredly before he allowed himself to drift off to sleep.

~oo00oo~

Over the next few weeks, Dumbledore played a careful balancing act. He could not afford to rush Harry through all the memories, as he needed time. Time to get Harry to trust him again. Neither could he take too much time in-between visits for fear that Harry would lose interest. No, he had to be very careful with the rate at which he showed Harry the memories. So he eked them out as much as he dared and it seemed to be working. With each visit, Harry seemed to open up a little more and become less guarded around him. Things were going very well indeed.

Finally, though it had come to an end. Harry was watching the final memory. The one that he had coerced out of Slughorn after a few false starts. Horace had actually had the temerity to give him an edited memory at first. Still he was Albus Dumbledore and he had managed to get the true memory from the former Potion's teacher without too much difficulty.

Now they had finished viewing the memory and he had explained what horcruxes were to Harry. Harry would now realise that he had to take a more proactive stance towards dealing with Voldemort. He would turn towards him and he would in turn guide him to victory in the fight against Voldemort.

"So you're saying that he can't be defeated unless we destroy these...these horcruxes," asked Harry. He was staring at Dumbledore intently.

"Yes, as I've explained these creations hold a piece of his..." started Dumbledore only to be interrupted by Harry.

"Right, I got that bit... What I don't understand is..."

"Yes, my boy?" asked Dumbledore patiently.

"How exactly does this help me in the hypothetical scenario you outlined originally? You know the one where I'm attacked randomly by Voldemort," said Harry.

"Yes, unfortunately you are quite correct about that, my dear boy. The horcruxes will have to be destroyed first but do not fret; I have several excellent leads on the whereabouts of these creations. For instance, Hufflepuff's Cup and Slytherin's Locket that you saw in the memories we reviewed. I'm absolutely certain that Voldemort would have turned them into horcruxes. Do not worry, with my help, you will soon be able to destroy all of..."

"Oh good, and here I was worrying for nothing. I should have known you would have things well in hand," said Harry.

Dumbledore stared at the boy. Had that been sarcasm? No, it couldn't be.

"You know, what I fail to understand is that you must have known about these things since the end of my second year at Hogwarts when I plonked the Diary down on your desk. So why have you not done anything about them in all this time?" asked Harry.

"I would have, unfortunately I was so busy searching for you that I did not get a chance to..."

"Oh, okay, so you have your priorities. I guess that's understandable. Why do something that will definitely hurt Voldemort when you can waste time looking for someone that by your own prophecy has at best a fifty percent chance of beating him," said Harry.

"Harry... I-I felt that you… that is to say finding you was the priority and I will not apologise for that. Yes, I could have gone after the horcruxes myself but the prophecy states that you will be the one to defeat him. That could mean that I was doomed to failure if I tried going after the horcruxes myself. I could not afford to take that chance, not until I found you," said Dumbledore.

"I see," said Harry sceptically. "Unfortunately, from where I'm sitting you have lied to me once again. All of this... these so-called lessons you were supposed to give me in how to defeat Voldemort, none of it will actually be of any help to me. I am not about to go hunting for these horcruxes so all this has been a monumental waste of time as far as I am concerned."

"Harry, no, you must see that..."

"No, I will not see Dumbledore. I will not see anything," shouted Harry. He was glaring at Dumbledore at this point and Dumbledore thought that he could almost see the boy's magic sizzling under his skin and in the air around him. He had to calm him down but how...

Luckily for Dumbledore Harry seemed to calm down on his own after a few moments. Harry sighed and relaxed back in his chair.

"You know, I feel like we've had this discussion before. Surely, I've told you how I feel about the matter. Didn't I make it clear that I don't think killing Voldemort will actually solve any of your problems? Even if I kill him, you'll still have the rest of the Death Eaters to deal with and..."

Harry paused for a moment. He seemed to be thinking.

"Tell me, Professor," said Harry. "Why did you never do anything about the other Death Eaters? There was no prophecy about someone like... Lucius Malfoy. Was there any prophecy about Lucius?"

"Lucius Malfoy... No, there is no prophecy about him but at the same time he is not the problem, Vol..."

"Not a problem? Surely, you jest, Headmaster. Was not Lucius Malfoy the one who slipped one of Voldemort's horcruxes to a eleven year old girl? Was he not the one that caused several of your students to be petrified? Didn't he blackmail the Governors to have you removed from your post?" asked Harry.

Harry looked at Dumbledore like a puzzle he had to solve. "I really wonder about you sometimes," he said. "If I was a Headmaster of a school and someone attacked my students in that way. If he put my school in such danger..."

Harry was getting angry again as he remembered the events of that year. "It was only pure luck that there weren't any deaths that year. The basilisk could have so easily killed so many students and what did you do to the man responsible? Nothing! Oh no, I'm sorry, you did do something. You stood there in front of me and gave him a stern talking to. That must have been so terrifying. So terrifying that Malfoy must have never dared to come near Hogwarts again. Only he did, didn't he? Wasn't he back the very next year, throwing his influence around to get Buckbeak executed? Your little talk didn't have that much of an effect, did it?"

"I had no proof, Harry. I had no concrete proof that he had been the one responsible and any accusations from me would have been swiftly swept under the rug after he greased a few palms. I could not..."

"You could have found proof," snapped Harry. "You could have taken memories from any of half a dozen people who were there that day in the bookstore. You could have looked at them in your pensieve and you could have found a memory in which he was seen slipping the diary into Ginny's cauldron. But, you didn't bother? Did you? I doubt you even bothered to inform the DMLE about what had happened. Was it just because it was only a few muggleborns that were attacked?"

Dumbledore bristled in anger - "You accuse me of being biased against Muggleborns? ME?"

Harry was absolutely unfazed in the face of Dumbledore's ire. "If the shoe fits?" he said with a careless shrug. "I seem to remember that it was only after a pureblood girl disappeared that people started talking about closing the school. But, you know what? This discussion is getting us nowhere. So I have an idea, let's make a little deal."

"A deal?" asked Dumbledore as he struggled to calm himself. The boy had had the temerity to accuse him... How dare he? How dare he?

"Yes," said Harry with a gleeful smile. "I know what we're going to do." He pointed a finger at Dumbledore -"You are going to take care of all the Death Eaters and all the horcruxes as well."

"What?" asked Dumbledore in absolute astonishment. "But... But that is... the prophecy clearly states that you have..."

"The prophecy does not say anything about Voldemort's followers. It only states that I will have the power to destroy, sorry vanquish, Voldemort. I fail to see what good that will do as long as there is a single Death Eater willing to take over from him, so before I even think about entering Britain I will require an oath from you that you have dealt with all of them. On your magic, backed up with veritaserum perhaps. Only, once every single follower of Voldemort, and I mean every single one of his followers, not just the marked ones, has been killed or incarcerated will I even contemplate attacking Voldemort in any way."

Dumbledore was stunned. He had not expected... What...What could he do?

He tried one of his patented grandfatherly smiles at the boy - "Harry, you must see realise that is a bit of a fool's errand. Why would you have me...? Think about it, my dear boy. You are talking about hundreds and hundreds of people. Why, when we can win by defeating a single man? Why..."

Harry waggled his finger playfully at his former Headmaster. "Oh no, no, no. There will be no convincing me otherwise. You can contact me again once you have dealt with the rest of them. Otherwise -" He cocked his head and his voice was no longer playful when he continued - "Don't forget, obliviation is still an option," he finished in a steely voice.

~oo00oo~

Luna was incredibly pissed off at Harry. When he finally came up, after seeing Dumbledore out the door, she let him have it.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" she screamed. "How could you make a deal with him? What makes you think I'm going to let you go anywhere near Voldemort."

"Oh please," scoffed Harry. "Like Dumbledore is going to get anywhere and even if he does that doesn't mean I have to do anything. Didn't you hear me? I said I wouldn't even contemplate attacking Voldemort until he had dealt with his followers."

Luna deflated and her anger ebbed away as fast as it had come. "Oh," she cried. "Does that mean..."

"It means that should Dumbledore actually manage to do anything, which is an extremely long shot, then all I have committed to is to contemplate attacking Voldemort. Nothing more than that."

"Oh thank the great crumple horned snorkack," cried Luna as she leapt into Harry's arms with a huge sigh of relief.

~oo00oo~

Lucius Malfoy was bitterly disappointed with the latest letter from his son. The idiot boy had still not managed to get his wife Pansy pregnant. What was wrong with the boy, he wondered. Didn't he realise that as Malfoys they had to set an example. Their low population was the single biggest problem facing Magical Britain and people needed to be motivated to have more children. Draco and Pansy really should have had at least half a dozen babies by now.

Perhaps, he should give the boy a little incentive. The Knight Bus service needed a conductor after all. Perhaps a few months being tossed around inside the rust bucket would get the boy off his butt and procreating as he should. And it would serve well as an example of how even the best of the purebloods were not averse to buckling down and chipping in to better serve New Britain.

Lucius sighed. If only Narcissa was still around. Even at her age, additional children were not out of the question, thanks to fertility potions and the slower rate at which wizards and witches aged. Unfortunately, the bitch had run away and had not even had the consideration to legally and magically dissolve their marriage before disappearing.

Which meant that he couldn't even get a replacement to father more children on as his original marriage agreement with the Blacks had been quite binding. He was magically unable to bear any children or for that matter even sleep with any woman other than Narcissa. Curse the Blacks and curse his stupid youthful self for signing that blasted contract.

In the meantime, he still had to come up with a way to convince the general populace to have more children. Perhaps, he should propose more economic incentives to people with more than four children. Tax cuts and free education etcetera. Unfortunately, getting the money to pay for it would be problematic. The budget was in terrible shape as it was.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light erupted from above his head. He found himself engulfed in flame for a second before he was rolling on the ground outside the gates of his manor. What the hell had just happened? He tried to get up but found he was stuck to a large metal disk that had been on the ground right where he had landed. The world suddenly disappeared into a spinning blur and only the familiar hooking feeling behind his navel let him know that the disk must have been a portkey.

He landed with a sickening thump in what had once been a very familiar office. Despite not having seen it for nearly a decade, he found no difficulty in recognising the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. He tried to pull his wand and jump up with a curse aimed at the smiling figure of Dumbledore when he was shocked to find that he could not move at all. This was because his arms and legs were no longer attached to his body.

"Aah, my dear Lucius, how nice to see you after so many years," cried Dumbledore, eyes twinkling madly away.

"My legs... my arms," whimpered Lucius as he stared at his stumps in shock. There was no blood or jagged ends of bone sticking out. Just empty space where his arms and legs had once been.

"Oh yes, I do apologise about that. Fawkes could have brought you directly here but I felt that this would be safer. Hence, the portkey, which I'm sure you realise, is a perfect illustration of why the Ministry used to insist on regulating portkey travel. People tend to forget that the original reason for regulating portkeys is because an improperly made portkey is just as prone to splinching as an improper apparition," said Dumbledore as he levitated Lucius's torso into a chair and stuck him to it with a sticking charm.

"Of course, as is regrettably often the case, what is ridiculously easy by accident is orders of magnitude harder by design. But it is still well within my skill set I assure you," stated Dumbledore calmly.

"You...you won't get away with this Dumbledore, the Dark Lord will have your head for this," shouted Malfoy defiantly.

"Yes, I'm sure he'll want to," said Dumbledore with an infuriatingly pleased and smug expression upon his face.

"But first, I'm afraid you will be answering a few questions of mine. If you would like to see your arms and legs re-attached anytime soon then I advise you to be as thorough as possible," said Dumbledore as he poured three drops of veritaserum into Malfoy's mouth.

Dumbledore strode over to his desk and sat down. He then pulled out a dictation quill and activated it.

"Let us start," he said. "To begin with, I would like you to tell me the names of all the marked Death Eaters you know."

The interrogation went on for hours before Dumbledore felt he had wrung out all the useful information he could get out of Lucius Malfoy. He then levitated the man into the air, and reattached the man's arms and legs. This did not help Malfoy much as Dumbledore kept him under a full body bind during the time.

"Oh Lucius," said Dumbledore with a note of regret in his voice. "You will never realise how much it pains me to see you like this. You know, not too long ago someone asked me why I never dealt more decisively with you. They were not willing to listen to me but if they had I could have told them that when I look at you I still see the young prefect you were once upon a time. The young student who once held so much promise."

Dumbledore paused to shake his head in sorrow – "I remember the day I saw Severus Snape sorted into Slytherin House. I knew the boy came from a disadvantaged background, that coupled with the fact that he was only a half-blood led me to fear for his reception in Slytherin. You probably never knew how proud you made me when I saw you take him under your wing. What happened to that young student who was so willing to look past blood purity, Lucius? What?" asked Dumbledore with tears in his eyes.

Lucius could only look dumbly at Dumbledore and wonder what the man was blathering on about. He was a Malfoy, of course he would have been careful to be seen doing exactly what was expected of him and what would show him in the best light.

Dumbledore sighed heavily and said, "I regret to inform you that I do not have a suitable prison facility to house you in Lucius. Of course, I fully intend to have you stand trial once I have formed a legal government but in the meantime I'm afraid I've had to get a little creative about your internment."

Dumbledore fumbled around behind his desk and lifted up a cage, which he placed on his desk. There was a faint hissing heard from the cage.

"I had to send all the way to Korea for this," he said as he opened the cage and lifted out a shiny black snake that was about three feet long. "It is still nowhere near mature enough for its gaze to kill which make it quite perfect for my needs."

Lucius stared at the snake in horror. It was hissing angrily and trying to snap its head around to bite at Dumbledore's hand. Dumbledore held it firmly behind its head, which Lucius saw had a hood on it that completely covered the snake's eyes.

"In a way, this could be considered poetic justice," said Dumbledore. He brandished the snake in front of Malfoy's face and said - "Lucius, I would like you to say hello to my little friend."

With a flick of Dumbledore's wand, the hood that covered the snake's eyes was transfigured into an open cone that encircled the snake's head and extended around it in a way that made it impossible for the snake to look anywhere else but forwards - Right into Malfoy's horrified eyes.

Dumbledore sighed and transfigured the cone back into a hood, hiding the eyes of the young basilisk once more. He tapped Malfoy's rock hard face with a sigh and called for an elf to store Lucius Malfoy away in the hidden rooms he had created earlier, deep under the castle. They were inaccessible to everyone except him and a single one of the hundreds of Hogwarts elves.

"Fawkes," he cried with a glance at his faithful feathered companion. "Would you be so kind as to fetch the next one? I think Albert Runcorn would be a good choice."

With a burst of flame, his phoenix disappeared and less than half a minute later, a large heavyset man appeared on the floor in front of Dumbledore, his arms and legs tumbling away from him as he landed heavily.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Dumbledore with a welcoming smile upon his face.

~oo00oo~

A/N: Albus Dumbledore has probably never heard of Al Pacino.