Disclaimer-These characters belong
to J.K. Rowling, not myself.
Author’s Note – My first fic. Please Read and Review!
Harry is bleeding again.
I lean over my desk and stare hard into the Oculum. It is a large shallow bowl made of silver
and decorated with symbols that were old when Hogwarts was first founded. The liquid inside is pure water, but the
image it reflects is not my office.
Rather it is a window, a window that opens to many places. Right now it shows the office of the Defence
Against the Dark Arts professor – a room that has seen many occupants over the
years. Harry is sitting near Professor
Umbridge’s desk, wielding a quill pen as he works through his latest
detention. I know what he is
writing: I MUST NOT TELL LIES. I also know the quill uses no ink. Rather Harry is writing in his own blood,
blood drawn as his hand is slashed every time he moves the quill’s sharp nub
across the parchment.
Neither Umbridge nor Harry knows they are being observed, of
course. The Oculum is one of my most
closely guarded secrets. It has proven
especially useful in keeping an eye on Harry over the years. This year it has also helped to observe
Umbridge – Cornelius Fudge’s proxy in my school.
Harry continues to write.
The blood is starting to flow freely from the back of his hand. This is only the latest episode of detention
he has endured with Umbridge. He called
Draco Malfoy a git, I believe.
A drop of blood splashes onto the parchment.
I have observed each of the detentions. After all, one does not let the Ministry’s
agent have unobserved time in which to meddle with The Boy Who Lived. Not that one takes any action to prevent
that meddling, of course. But one does
It is not my fault.
Harry has been repeatedly warned to watch his temper. Both McGonagall and Hermione Granger have
tried to get him to control himself.
But no, he has to keep blowing up at our resident inquisitor.
I cannot interfere.
I cannot let Umbridge know she is being observed. And I am keeping my distance from Harry lest
my presence encourage Voldemort to reach through the connection between the two
of them and possess the boy. If I
interfered he would doubtless demand to confront me. No, that would be too dangerous.
Besides, interference would do little good. Umbridge would just get a decree from Fudge
getting around whatever action I might take.
Fudge is determined to destroy me, and Harry as well.
A thin stream of blood trickles down.
Harry has not asked for help. He could have gone to McGonagall. He could have come to me.
The quill slices deeper.
No, it most definitely is not my fault.
OH HARRY YOUR HAND!!!
YOUR POOR SWEET HAND!!!!
As I have done every other night of Harry’s detention, I
lean over a vessel at the foot of my chair and retch softly. I am glad I asked the inhabitants of the
office’s portraits to leave me alone. I
like to think of myself as a humble man, but I don’t care to be watched while I
vomit my dinner.
I rise, wiping my mouth with a cloth even as the receptacle cleans
itself of the foul liquid. I look back
at the Oculum, blinking as my eyes fill with burning tears.
After all, Harry has repeatedly screamed at Umbridge. He must learn some lessons in self-control.
MY PRIDE. MY
Harry has a destiny.
He does not know it yet. No, I
will not burden him with that pain. But
he will, inevitably, battle the Dark Lord to the death. If he cannot handle Dolores Umbridge, he
certainly cannot handle the horrors Voldemort has in store.
And he does not seem to be hurting that much. His expression has not changed at all. Well, his lip did just curl a little....
HARRY!!! I’M SITTING HERE WATCHING
FUDGE’S TOAD HURT MY HARRY!! OH MY
I know that
voice, and I do not flinch. Harry may
have direct contact with the present Tom Riddle, but I carry the younger
version in my memory. He is my faithful
critic and tormentor.
Be silent, Tom.
//Oh, I know he’s
your treasure, Professor. That’s why
you kept him in a cupboard for ten years, wasn’t it? Along with the silver?
Except the silver got taken out more often.//
I did not do
that. That was the Muggles.
But my protest is
reedy and thin, the pathetic whine of a guilty old man. I do not need Tom Riddle’s laughter to know
its weakness. I gave Harry to the Muggles. I might as well have locked him in the
But that was the
only way. The only way to keep him
alive. The only way to have the shield
harder. And under his voice is
something else. The frightened whimper
of an infant locked in a closet filled with spiders.
I kept him safe!
//From who? I did not return till this year. Your precious Harry could have grown up
happy in any number of well-guarded wizard locations.//
But Tom just
laughs as I retch again. I weep so hard
I don’t know how I can breathe. The
sound of a whimpering infant fills my head.
Even if Tom did
not return until this year, there were others – the Malfoys for instance.
now. The great Albus Dumbledore could
not have protected Harry from the likes of Lucius Malfoy? Who are you going to blame next, Peter
Pettigrew? Oh, don’t forget, if you
hadn’t been in such a hurry that night Sirius might have avoided twelve years
with the Dementors.//
But he has the
shield now. He cannot be touched on
Tom is silent for
a moment. Then he laughs again.
//Have you looked
at his eyes lately, old man? What is it
the Muggle’s holy book says? “What
profit it a man if he gain the whole world if he lose his soul?”//
You are a fine
one to talk, Tom.
But that does no
good. For it is not Tom who is talking,
but my own conscience. I have seen
Harry’s eyes. I have seen the pain. I have seen the weary sadness that cannot be
explained by any shadow of Voldemort touching his mind.
I hear the infant
whimpering again. How will I ever stand
In the Oculum
Harry continues to write. The blood now
dreamed. Oh how I have dreamed. And in my dream I repent my decision. I enter that awful house and tear the door
of the cupboard open, gathering the suffering infant into my arms...
//But your plan
was more important, was it not, old man?//
Shut up, Tom.
in the picture, looking over Harry’s shoulder with a look of toad-like
//You want to
kill her, don’t you?//
//Then why are
you thinking of five ways to liquify human bone without breaking the skin?//
I will not kill
her, Tom. I will not descend to be you.
//Well, enjoy the
Like you, Tom,
she deserves much worse than death.
For once he is
Oh Harry, why
didn’t you come to me? Why didn’t you
come when Ron urged you to? Why did you
say I would be too busy? If you came I
would have an excuse to help.
He did not come
because I hurt him. I drove him away.
True, I have not
looked at him or spoken with him. But
that is the strategy I’ve adopted to protect him from Voldemort.
I have distanced
myself to protect him.
The sound of an
infant’s whimpers echo so loud that I almost clap my hands over my ears.
I can’t interfere
at Privet Drive! It would compromise
excuse. You should have been a
I look at
Umbridge, feeling hate such as I have rarely felt for another living
being. In that moment I might even
choose to spare Tom Riddle, if given the chance to destroy her. I must control myself! I must not let Voldemort have a victory
within my own heart!
BEAUTIFUL TREASURE!! THE HAG HAS DARED
TO HURT MY HARRY!!
something and Harry rises, wrapping a scarf around his hand. He is bleeding so badly that the cloth
stains red immediately.
Oh Harry, you
should have come to me that first night!
That night when you waited till she couldn’t hear you and then you
ran. I watched you then, saying all the
same things I’ve said tonight. And with
every inch of my being I hoped you would run to me. I almost screamed at you in the Oculum, telling you to come
here. With all my heart I wanted to see
you come charging up the stairs and throw yourself into my arms like a
frightened child, wailing to me about how she had hurt you.
But you did
not. You don’t cry do you? And that is my fault. I left you with those damnable Muggles, and
you learned not to cry.
What do I
want? What do I want to do now so badly
that I have to grip the edge of my desk painfully to prevent myself from
rising? I want to go to my Harry now
while he is wandering in pain and hurt through the halls. I want to fold him in my arms and heal his
sweet skin, then take him somewhere away from Fudge, and Umbridge, and the Daily
Prophet, and even from his friends.
And I want to keep him there until I’ve taught him to cry. Until I’ve made him breach those walls
around his heart and let all the agony out.
And then I would hold him and let him sob. Let him sob all the pain and fear away. Hold him and caress him and rock him until all the pain is
gone. Hold him for a hundred years, if
that is how long it takes.
damned. Let the world burn if Harry
could cry out his pain.
But I cannot do
that. The prophecy binds like
iron. Harry must kill Voldemort. Or Voldemort will kill him.
Harry has reached
Gryffindor Tower now. Hermione and Ron
are waiting – waiting to comfort him and tend his hurts like I should be doing.
And his eyes are
filled with such pain. Such
betrayal. And he won’t come to me. Even now Ron tries to get him to seek
help. But he won’t. He won’t come to me. And he won’t cry.
The Muggle holy
book says something else. “He who
causes one of these little ones who comes in my name to stumble, for him it
should have been better had a millstone been hung round his neck and he be sunk
in the depths of the sea.”
The Muggles are
wiser than we are. Yes, wiser and
stronger. That is why we hide from
them. Not because they are so many and
we so few. We fear them because they
understand so many things that we do not.
Tom has nothing
to say to that.
I wave my hand
and the Oculum darkens. I retch one
A millstone. A millstone would be a mercy. Yes indeed, it would be better for me had a
millstone been hung round my neck and I been thrown into the ocean.
I wonder if the Muggle
god is real? He may well be. What does he think of children whimpering in
closets? What does he think of old men
who watch while innocent boys are forced to cut their lovely skin?
Somehow I don’t
think he would be very pleased.
Harry, I’ll make
it up to you, I promise!
How? How am I going to do that? Am I going to age Harry backward? Am I going to give him another childhood,
one filled with kisses and hugs and warm puppies and joyous Christmas mornings?
I’m so sorry.
Will Harry accept
that? Will that strange, moody god the
Muggles keep going on about?
I am Albus
Dumbledore, and I long for the mercy of a millstone.
OH HARRY I LOVE
YOU SO MUCH!!!!