Title : Harry, Dumbledore, and the Pensieve
Rating : G
Type : Short Fic
Genre : Some Drama
Main Character(s) : Harry and Dumbledore
Brief Summary : Harry and Dumbledore's conversation in Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30, "The Pensieve" retold from Dumbledore's point of view. IMPORTANT!!! Dialogue copied from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling, pages 596-604 of the American hardcover. I take no credit for anything except Dumbledore's private thoughts, which are my own invention.
Screen Name : Settou
When I re-entered my office after inspecting the grounds of my school along with Alastor Moody and Cornelius Fudge, I was slightly surprised to find out that it was empty. I knew Harry, whom I had instructed to wait there, wouldn't have left unbidden, so I looked around carefully, then smiled slightly to myself as I saw one of my cabinets fully-opened. My Pensieve was inside of there; I realized that I must have left the door of the cabinet open. The glow of the Pensieve would of course have attracted Harry, who was a curious and inquisitive boy by nature. Since he didn't know what it was, he could have gotten sucked in by accident. I went over to the cabinet and allowed myself to fall inside of the stone basin where my thoughts and memories were kept, landing beside a wide-eyed Harry as he watched a screaming boy being dragged away by dementors, an unseen observer inside an old man's long memory.
"I think, Harry, it is time to return to my office," I said quietly in his ear. Harry gave a jump of surprise and looked at me, then at the me of the memory on his other side. "Come," I said, putting my hand under his elbow and releasing my mind from the realistic picture of the memory that the Pensieve had painted. We slowly drifted outwards and landed back on the floor of my office, ouside of the cabinet.
"Professor," Harry gasped, sounding a little frantic, "I know I shouldn'tve- I didn't mean - the cabinet door was sort of open and-"
"I quite understand," I said calmly, not wanting him to think I was upset with him. I took the basin in my hands and over to my desk, then set it down and sat before it. I motioned at Harry to sit in the chair positioned in front of the desk, knowing he would be bursting with questions about what he had seen, and willing to give me answers about what he had come here for. Harry did as he was bidden.
"What is it?" he asked a little shakily.
"This? It is called a Pensieve," I explained to him. "I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind."
"Er," said Harry back, and I had to force myself to stop smiling at my young friend, who probably had never felt that sort of thing before in his life.
"At these times, I use the Pensieve," I went on. "One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form."
"You mean... that stuff's your thoughts?"
"Certainly," I said, still fighting my urge to smile. "Let me show you." I reached into my robes for my wand and placed the tip against my hair, pulling it away after a moment. I glanced briefly at my thoughts clinging to the end, then added them to the Pensieve. Since Harry was who I had been thinking about at that precise moment, it was his face that appeared on the surface of my thoughts. I took the Pensieve in my hands again and released my train of thoughts to it, swirling it in order to change the visual images as well. Harry's face became that of Severus Snape.
"It's coming back... Karkaroff's too... stronger and clearer than ever..." said Severus in an echoing voice. The Dark Mark... symbol of Lord Voldemort, burned into the skin of all of his followers, was what he was referring to.
"A connection I could have made without assistance, but never mind," I sighed, not wanting Harry to become even more curious and ask questions... questions to which I wasn't sure he should know the answer. I looked up at him instead. "I was using the Pensieve when Mr. Fudge arrived for our meeting and put it away rather hastily. Undoubtedly I did not fasten the cabinet door properly. Naturally, it would have attracted your attention."
"I'm sorry," Harry mumbled nervously, and I shook my head at him to let him know I was not angry.
"Curiosity is not a sin," I told him truthfully. "But we should exercise caution with our curiosity... yes, indeed..." Frowning, I turned my attention back to my thoughts, prodding them with my wand. A figure I hadn't seen for a long time rose out of it, a slightly plump girl with a scowl on her face. Bertha Jorkins, a student at Hogwarts several years ago. She spoke to us from that memory I had of her, her voice echoing through time.
"He put a hex on me, Professor Dumbledore, and I was only teasing him, sir, I only said I'd seen him kissing Florence behind the greenhouses last Thursday..."
"But why, Bertha, why did you have to follow him in the first place?" I asked the girl sadly. Knowing her probable eventual fate made the memory of her all the more painful to me...
"Bertha?" Harry whispered, aghast, as he looked up at her. "Is that - was that Bertha Jorkins?"
"Yes," I said, poking the thoughts again and making Bertha melt back into them. "That was Bertha as I remember her at school." I looked up at Harry again, once more wanting to head him off before he asked questions I didn't feel as though I should answer. "So, Harry. Before you got lost in my thoughts, you wanted to tell me something."
"Yes," said Harry a bit hesitantly. "Professor - I was in Divination just now, and - er - I fell asleep." He paused. Knowing he thought I was going to reprimand him, I instead once more had to fight down a smile. I could perfectly understand Harry's lack of attention towards Sybill Trelawney's rather unusual methods of teaching Divination.
"Quite understandable," I said. "Continue."
"Well, I had a dream. A dream about Lord Voldemort. He was torturing Wormtail... you know who Wormtail-"
"I do know," I said at once, quite anxious to hear him go on. "Please continue."
"Voldemort got a letter from an owl. He said something like, Wormtail's blunder had been repaired. He said someone was dead. Then he said, Wormtail wouldn't be fed to the snake- there was a snake beside his chair. He said- he said he'd be feeding me to it, instead. Then he did the Cruciatus Curse on Wormtail - and my scar hurt. It woke me up, it hurt me so badly." I just looked at him, waiting to hear if there was more. "Er- that's all."
"I see," I said quietly, mulling all of this over in my mind and already questioning what it could have meant. "I see. Now, has your scar hurt at any other time this year, excepting the time it woke you up over the summer?"
"No, I - how did you know it woke me up over the summer?" he asked, sounding surprised.
"You are not Sirius's only correspondent," I replied, remembering the many letters I had recieved from and sent to Harry's godfather ever since discovering the truth behind his imprisonment and escape. "I have also been in contact with him every since he left Hogwarts last year. It was I who suggested the mountainside cave as the safest place for him to stay." I stood up and began to pace my desk, turning over what Harry had said again and again in my mind, trying not to reflect also on Sirius Black's fate. It was very possible that what Harry had seen in his dream had actually happened... but if that was so, how he had seen it? If it was not real, why was he seeing so realistically and why had he observed this particular scene? If Voldemort was still a spirit, also, how was he able to perform magic? As I paced, I absentmindedly put more thoughts into the Pensieve, helping me to preserve the questions I asked myself and the conclusions I was drawing much better than trusting my aging mind to do so.
"Professor?" Harry finally said softly. I stopped pacing and looked at him, almost having forgotten that he was there.
"My apologies," I said quietly, reseating myself.
"D'you- d'you know why my scar's hurting me?" I peered intently at Harry, briefly wrestling with myself how much I wanted to tell him, then explained.
"I have a theory, no more than that... It is my belief that your scar hurts both when Lord Voldemort is near you, and when he is feeling a particularly strong surge of hatred."
"Because you and he are connected by the curse that failed. That is no ordinary scar."
"So you think... that dream... did it really happen?"
"It is possible," I said. "I would say- probable. Harry- did you see Voldemort?"
"No. Just the back of his chair," he replied. "But - there wouldn't have been anything to see, would there? I mean, he hasn't got a body, has he? But... but then how could he have held the wand?"
"How indeed," I muttered back, hiding my astonishment at how intuitive Harry was, as he seemed to be thinking along the same lines as I. "How indeed..." Silence fell after this, both of us lost in thought and puzzlement. I gazed across the room, once more preserving questions, possibilities, and answers within the Pensieve's infinite depths.
"Professor," Harry finally asked, "do you think he's getting stronger?"
"Voldemort?" I asked, looking at my young friend again. I gazed at him piercingly, able to see into the depths of his mind further than he could comprehend or even notice. I could see the worry, slight fear, and want for action behind the curious mask of his face. I chose my words carefully as I spoke, again to not let him know more than he needed to. "Once again, Harry, I can only give you my suspicions." I sighed and settled into my chair, feeling immensely old and weary, so much so that I knew my age was beginning to show on my face. "The years of Voldemort's ascent to power were marked with disappearances. Bertha Jorkins has vanished without a trace in the place where Voldemort was certainly known to be last. Mr. Crouch too has disappeared... within these very grounds. And there is a third disappearance, one which the Ministry, I regret to say, do not consider of any importance, for it concerns a Muggle." I felt a slight surge of anger and frustration mentioning this fact, but went on without hesitation, "His name was Frank Bryce, he lived in the village where Voldemort's father grew up, and he has not been seen since last August. You see, I read the Muggle newspapers, unlike most of my Ministry friends." I looked at Harry once again. "These disappearances seem to me to be linked. The Ministry disagrees - as you may have heard, while waiting outside my office." He nodded, and there was silence again. I gave more and more thoughts to the Pensieve, wishing at the back of my mind that I had privacy so I could examine them on my own time, without having to worry whether I was giving away too much or too little information to onlookers.
"Professor?" Harry asked again after a while.
"Er... could I ask you about... that court thing I was in... in the Pensieve?"
"You could," I replied sadly, feeling my heart grow heavy at the mention of the many trials I had been asked to attend. Some of them were such awful mockeries of justice, it felt as though my heart was breaking every time I remembered being there. "I attended it many times, but some trials come back to me more clearly than others... particularly now..."
"You know- you know the trial you found me in? The one with Crouch's son? Well... were they talking about Neville's parents?" I looked up at him sharply, then it occured to me that Neville had kept his parents' fate private from his friends... as well he should have...
"Has Neville never told you why he has been brought up by his grandmother?" I asked Harry. He shook his head no. "Yes, they were talking about Neville's parents. His father, Frank, was an Auror just like Professor Moody," I explained. "He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort's whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard."
"So they're dead?" said Harry quietly.
"No. They are insane," I said, the anger and sadness deep within my heart giving my voice a bitter edge. "They are both in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him. The Longbottoms were very popular. The attacks on them came after Voldemort's fall from power, just when everyone thought they were safe. These attacks caused a wave of fury such as I have never known. The Ministry was under great pressure to catch those who had done it. Unfortunately, the Longbottoms' evidence was- given their condition- none too reliable." I worked hard to suppress my great sadness before speaking again...
"Then Mr. Crouch's son might not have been involved?" Harry asked slowly.
"As to that, I have no idea," I said, shaking my head.
"Er," said Harry after a moment, "Mr. Bagman..."
"... has not been accused of any Dark activity since then," I replied quite calmly.
"Right. And... er..." said Harry. Knowing in my heart what he was about to ask, I turned the visual display of the Pensieve to the person he was going to refer to.
"No more has Professor Snape." Harry looked into my eyes, then a question came tumbling out of his mouth that I had been hesitant to tell anybody the answer to.
"What made you think he'd really stopped supporting Voldemort, Professor?" I gazed back into his green, almond-shaped eyes... eyes belonging to his beautiful, kind mother... for a few seconds.
"That, Harry, is a matter between Professor Snape and myself." Harry rose to go, sensing that the conversation was over by the awkward silence that issued, so I rose as well as he went to the door. "Harry," I said, "Please do not speak about Neville's parents to anybody else. He has the right to let people know, when he is ready." I knew instinctively that Harry was going to head straight back to Gryffindor and relate everything he'd seen to Ron and Hermione, his best friends, but Neville's parents were a matter that I hadn't intended anybody to find out about.
"Yes, Professor," he said, turning to go.
"And-" He looked back, and I stared back at him, for I had a sudden, biting urge to tell him to sit back down. To continue being honest with him, and tell him the biggest secret I had been keeping from him ever since he had arrived at Hogwarts. The question I knew must be burning deep inside of him... why Voldemort was after him. But instead I said, "Good luck with the third task."
When Harry left, I watched the Pensieve again. Alone now to be lost in my thoughts... and to weep over the lives ruined and lost because of my desire to love and protect the boy called Harry Potter.