Dumbledore hummed quietly to himself as he walked resolutely towards the Forbidden
Forest. His outward demeanor had
all the signs of a content man who was living the last years of his life in
peace, but anyone who knew him would not describe his life as peaceful. Albus
suddenly stopped walking. There was no one here watching…no students that
depended on him and no colleagues that relied on him for strength. For a
moment, the real Albus was visible as he sighed quietly and stroked his long
white beard with a shaking hand. Realizing that he still had a mission to
complete, Albus continued marching deeper into the Forest,
no longer humming or smiling to himself.
For he was
thinking of a boy, a boy whom was suffering at this very moment, mourning over
a loss that he, Albus Dumbledore, was responsible for. Sirius Black was dead
and Harry Potter would never be the same. Don’t
think that way, Albus thought to himself. He will bounce back, the boy always has. But was that true? Or was
there a point in someone’s life where they no longer had the energy or the
purpose to recover from such a loss? Albus didn’t know the answer.
Potter had to recuperate…he had to go on. The fate of the world rested on his
unready shoulders. He finally knew about the prophecy and Albus had wept long
after their short meeting, thinking of the innocence the boy had lost, and the
obstacles that were still to come. Would he be up to the challenge? Only time
come to a dense thicket of trees and knew he had reached his destination.
“Bane?” he called out. “I wish to speak with you!” There was no response. Albus
resumed his trudge through the thick woods.
until he heard shouts and hooves clopping against the forest floor. Bane was
standing in front of a tree trunk, addressing his fellow centaurs. Hagrid had already arrived and calmed Grawp
down. All of the centaurs seemed to have survived the Giant attack. “This human
claims we are half-breeds, and are only allowed in our home thanks to its
Ministry!” The centaurs laughed jovially. Albus saw Dolores Umbridge,
lying still on a slab of wood, apparently unconscious. Some of the fifty or so
centaurs were shouting and laughing at everything Bane said. Others were not so
enthusiastic. Albus recognized a centaur named Ronan, whispering in the back
with a group of his fellows.
then used its magic weapon on us! This human
insulted our intelligence! We do
not help humans or allow them to insult us freely! Action must be taken against
this pitiful species and it starts with this one!” There were several shouts of
may interrupt, Bane?” Albus said steadily. The centaurs all looked at him, not
aware of his presence until that moment. “It seems to me that humans and
centaurs have a long history of disrespect towards each other. I do not know
what Dolores Umbridge said to you, but if she had
called you a ‘pitiful species’ I would say that you have the right to be
sneered at him. “I will call humans what I wish. If they do not respect
centaurs, how can we be asked to treat them kindly?”
sighed. “It must begin with someone, I’m afraid. And right now you have been
presented with the perfect opportunity! Release Dolores Umbridge,
and show the magical community that you can show mercy on a human.”
“We do not
exist to do your bidding, human!” Bane snarled angrily.
“Then I am
afraid you are no better than the woman you are about to have killed,” Albus
said quietly. Several of the centaurs started whispering again.
out a yell that seemed to echo across the forest. “We shall see what the rest
of the herd thinks,” he said loudly.
brothers, friends!” Bane shouted. “Who thinks we
should let the human free?”
Many of the
centaurs raised their hands. It looked to be more than half, but Albus wasn’t
sure. Bane counted and looked shaken. “Very well…then…this piece of filth can
go,” he said muttering with barely suppressed rage.
human,” Bane spat, kicking Dolores, “and get out of our home.”
you,” Albus said with a smile. “Mobilicorpus,” he said softly. Dolores Umbridge’s
unconscious form rose. “You may not agree with the decision of your herd, Bane,
but a time may come when human and centaur must join together to fight a worse
evil, and you have taken the first step.” Bane said nothing.
Dolores hovering along in front of him. Would a time come when centaur and
human had to come together, to understand each other, or be eliminated
together? Most likely, yes, and Albus wasn’t sure that the magical community
usually did when thinking of the war to come, Albus’ thoughts drifted back to
Harry Potter. They would all have to ready themselves for the conflict to come,
but none more than Harry. Would he be able to do, what no other wizard could
accomplish, and defeat the Dark Lord once and for all, while recovering from
losses suffered along the way? In some dark, absurd corner of his mind, Albus
believed he could. But he didn’t think it was because the boy had saved the
Sorcerer’s Stone in first year. It wasn’t because he had rescued Ginny Weasley,
or saved Sirius Black from an unfortunate fate. It wasn’t even because he had
dueled with Lord Voldemort and had come out of it alive. No, it was simply a
love that he had for the boy and the faith that that love
caused. But first, Harry Potter would have to recover from the loss of Sirius
Dumbledore would have to recover from his mistakes.