Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Year 2: The Erosion of Innocence
Chapter 1: Decisions and Dreams
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editors Athena Hope and Fezzik, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
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Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Book 2: The Erosion of Innocence
Chapter 1: Decisions and Dreams
July 3, 1992
No. 4 Privet Drive
The summer had been stiflingly hot on Privet Drive. One of the more brutal months of July that any could remember was well and truly underway, as the relentless sun attempted to scorch all mortals subjected to its almighty light.
Even the evening offered little reprieve.
It was one of the first Friday nights of the summer. The sun had set, yet still, the heat was unbearable. It was a thick, humid heat that made breathing a task in and of itself. As the natural light waned, the air only seemed to thicken, growing denser seemingly in unison with the ever-present population of bugs which were a whole different kind of menace all on their own.
Not that the small, bespectacled youth sitting in the smallest bedroom in one of the startlingly uniform houses on this street would have known any of this.
He sat on the edge of a battered old cot and stared vacantly out of the open window. His eyes were naturally attracted to the nearest streetlight, but they weren’t really seeing it. They weren’t seeing much of anything, for this boy’s mind was firmly on things that he considered far more consequential than the blisteringly hot air outside.
Not that he had gotten to experience the outdoors at all that summer.
Despite the horrific expedition that he had experienced after being plucked straight from the Hogwarts Express, Harry had made it back onto Platform Nine and Three-Quarters intact. He had done so while violently shaking and doing his best not to vomit at the memory of the mutilated bodies he had seen, but he had arrived back nonetheless.
No sooner than he had arrived — in perfect unison with the train, he might add — he had been approached and escorted back through the barrier by the Malfoy family. Lucius’s conversation with Uncle Vernon had been interesting. The man had told his uncle that if Harry wrote him or his children with any complaints of mistreatment, Lucius himself would be arriving at Privet Drive and the Dursleys would have hell to pay.
This unfortunately accomplished the exact opposite of what Lucius had intended.
The Dursleys had treated Harry shockingly well that first night. He had eaten a quiet dinner with the family and been given more food than he could ever remember eating before. He hadn’t even been forced to make it, which — before being given his own bedroom after Hagrid’s shocking arrival last summer — would have been a first in its own right.
It hadn’t been until the next morning that Harry realized exactly what had happened.
He would like to think that normally he would have been more than perceptive enough to realize exactly what was going on with the Dursley family. He thought that maybe he would have even gleaned their intentions in a similar manner to how he had gleaned Draco’s regarding Hagrid and the dragon, even if he had ignored them at the time.
The problem was, nothing about his psyche on that night had been normal.
Only weeks earlier, Harry Potter had come face-to-face with his parents’ murderer; a man who also just so happened to be the most feared dark lord the British Isles had ever seen — Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort had completely shattered Harry’s worldview in the span of a single conversation and forced him to rethink everything he thought he had known. He had forced him to consider things that just seemed quintessential when discussing the magical world; things that Harry had never considered before.
And those considerations had led to groundbreaking and mildly disturbing revelations for Harry that he wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about.
But that hadn’t been enough for Voldemort.
The reason they had come face-to-face in the first place was because the Dark Lord had been attempting to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Hogwarts; an artifact so powerful that it could have restored him to his old powers. It might have if he had gotten away with the intended theft.
The problem for Voldemort was that the stone had been under the protection of Albus Dumbledore — a man many considered to be the greatest wizard of modern times. A weakened Voldemort was confronted by the Headmaster before he could make off with his spoils, forcing him to hold a student, Neville Longbottom, hostage.
That confrontation had ended with Harry making a poor and brash decision.
He was confident at the time that Voldemort had been suitably distracted by Dumbledore, so he had taken his opportunity to strike. Not because he disagreed with the man’s ideologies. Much of what he had said rang more true with Harry than he would likely ever admit aloud. His goals weren’t the problem so much as his methods. Holding a child hostage was something Harry had fundamental problems with. He had felt like a hostage for much of his life, so he had a hard time just letting Voldemort kill an innocent eleven-year-old boy and permanently scar yet another family.
Yet his decision had led to the very thing he had hoped to prevent.
Harry had vanquished Voldemort once more through the use of a miraculous sort of power he hadn’t known was at his disposal.
Unfortunately, the Dark Lord had not gone down peacefully.
He had immediately and gruesomely murdered Neville Longbottom as soon as Harry had struck him. So in the end, Harry had felt as though he’d come off as the loser in that particular confrontation.
One would reasonably assume that had been the most harrowing thing that had happened to eleven-year-old Harry Potter that month, but they would inexplicably be mistaken.
On the train ride back to London, he had been lured into a trap by Gemma Fawley — the then Hogwarts Head Girl who befriended him months earlier. She had given him what he later realized was a portkey.
A portkey that had taken him straight to a place that had since haunted his nightmares.
If landing in a dark, mysterious place with no idea where you were or why you were there in the first place hadn’t been enough, the sight of three corpses with horribly contorted necks and spines protruding up through their skin like kebab skewers had certainly done it.
If that hadn’t, the sight and sounds of Gellert Grindelwald’s introduction certainly had.
That was to speak nothing of what had followed.
June 20, 1992
Harry lay on the stone floor, immobilized by terror, as he stared in shocked horror at the second dark lord with whom he had crossed paths in the past three weeks.
Voldemort had been terrifying. Harry had spent the better part of a year being taught to fear the man’s very name. He had heard tales of the Dark Lord’s power at the height of his reign. He had heard of how he’d very nearly subjugated Magical Britain under his rule, despite Dumbledore’s opposition, and he had seen first hand what the man was capable of. Even when weakened and desperate.
But Gellert Grindelwald terrified him in an entirely different way.
He was an unknown. Harry knew that he had once sought to ravage Europe. If he remembered correctly, the man’s reign of terror had centred on matters pertaining to the Statute of Secrecy. And his newfound feelings — which Voldemort had incited — complicated his views on that.
It was natural to fear the unknown, but this exact unknown had made him painfully aware of exactly how dangerous it really was.
Grindelwald had smanaged to orchestrate Harry’s elaborate kidnapping despite the fact he had been trapped in his own prison for the past forty-seven years. Not to mention the dead and disfigured corpses who Harry assumed to be guards.
This was all far too much.
He tried to stand but for a third time, his legs failed him.
“It would do you no good,” said Grindelwald. “I lurk behind these bars because of my own prowess. This prison is inescapable for even I. Whilst this cell confines me, I cannot escape, and those on the outside are as incapable of reaching me as I am them.” His lips twisted upwards. “Unfortunate it might be that it is of no assistance in freeing me, the fact remains that the wards of this prison answer only to me. Do not run, Harry Potter. You would not get far.”
“Wha… why am I here?”
Harry’s voice nearly cracked even while speaking that one sentence. He was almost beyond being terrified now. The initial, nauseating horror that had gripped him had since begun to ebb away, only to be replaced by a hollow feeling of dread and numbness; an odd combination, to be certain.
Grindelwald’s lips curved upwards into a smile. “You are here because the songs of prophecy sung to me a most beautiful melody. One I could not possibly ignore in good conscience.”
“They sang for you, Harry Potter. They sang of the famed Boy-Who-Lived and of all he could become. They sang of exactly what could happen if he was guided in the right direction, and they sang of victory for a noble cause which I have long believed as dead as many who once opposed it.”
Harry finally stood unsteadily to his feet. “I don’t get it,” he admitted. “I d-don’t understand.”
Grindelwald studied him very intently, bluish-silver eyes flickering maliciously in the conjured light he held in his hand. It seemed to dance across their surface like it might be a sheet of ice, but no natural creation should be able to sparkle with such cunning and malevolence.
“No,” he mused, “I suppose you do not.” He took a long moment of pause. “What do you think of muggles, Harry Potter?”
The question caught him off guard and Harry’s initial impulse was to not answer it. Then he remembered what Grindelwald had said about the wards. There was of course the possibility he had been bluffing, but Harry somehow didn’t think so. He doubted a man capable of making this meeting happen despite their circumstances needed to bluff.
Hell, he wondered if Grindelwald already knew the answer to his question.
He remembered speaking with Dumbledore in the hospital wing following the confrontation with Voldemort. He thought back to what the man had said about magics which could read and alter one’s thoughts, and he shuddered. His knowledge of Grindelwald may have been scarce, but one as powerful as the one-time dark lord would surely know of such magics. Harry would not be surprised in the slightest to learn that the now emaciated prisoner standing before him was a master practitioner of the art.
“You hate them.”
“I… don’t know if—”
“You might not yet realize it, but you do. I have seen your past, child. I know how you were raised and I have seen the atrocities committed to your detriment. You understand their nature. They seek to destroy what they cannot control. I doubt I need to enlighten you as to what that means for our kind?”
It was an eerily similar message to the one Voldemort had preached weeks earlier, though Harry still didn’t understand why this maniac had gone through all the effort of kidnapping him just to rant about the same rhetoric that had landed him here in the first place.
“Do you not disagree?” Grindelwald pressed.
Harry didn’t trust himself to speak. Despite the numb feeling, he could still feel bile in the back of his throat and his capacity for rational thought wasn’t overly high at the moment. He realized by now that lying to Grindelwald was an exercise in futility, so he just shook his head.
“And that is why you are here. You harbour many beliefs I previously championed. You have the potential to be great, though it is potential that may well be squandered. Surely you have already realized many of the systemic problems our world suffers from? Many of these are exactly why you will never realize your power simply by following conventional methodologies.”
“I still don’t know what you want from me,” Harry finally managed to force out.
“I want you to open your eyes. You agree with me on everything I have said, and we both know it. Yet I do not think you would act on such feelings. You are still young and naive, and you still hold certain compunctions highly. These compunctions serve you no purpose. All they do is make you weak.
“I will not ask you to join me or to soldier my cause because I already know it is the one you will choose in time if your progression is satisfactory. All I am asking is that you open your mind. Examine the world around you honestly and without these compunctions. Observe everything about it that is wrong and comprise a mental list of everything that should change. Think of what will happen when the muggles inevitably find us.”
“So you want to kill all of the muggleborns like Voldemort? That way, you destroy the links between our world?”
Grindelwald scowled. “I would never wish such a thing. Deliberately spilling magical blood of any kind is a crime in and of itself. It is the highest level of treason to our most beautiful world. Why destroy something when you can control it? Add my war to your list of investigations. Look past the propaganda which is doubtlessly perpetuated all over the world and look into the truths.”
Grindelwald smiled a wicked smile. “And of course, ask any questions you may have along the way. I am no monster; simply a pragmatist who wishes the best for the magical world. If you follow my instructions and keep an open and honest mind, you will come to realize this in time.”
“How am I supposed to look into all of this when I’m trapped here?”
“Trapped? Oh, dear boy, you are only here for a brief time. That will cease to be the case in a matter of moments.”
“You’re… letting me go?”
“I have told you, I am no monster. I do not seek to harm those of magic. I am a visionary who sees what will become of the world if action is not taken. And even if I am wrong, what does it matter? We have power the muggles do not and suffer from very little of what ails them. We are superior; it is our right to rule them.”
Harry said nothing. This was all far too much. First Voldemort and now Grindelwald. What was it with mass-murdering dark lords and their apparent penchant for spouting philosophy?
And why couldn’t he find it in himself to disagree with them? Why did so many words spoken by two of the evilest and vilest humans to ever exist resonate with him so strongly? What did that say about him? Surely, it made him just as bad as the monsters he spoke with?
Yet Grindelwald said he was no monster and the points he made were as valid as Voldemort’s. Why should the muggles be allowed to rule the world? Why were the wizards forced to hide while their clearly inferior counterparts moved freely in broad daylight? Why was it that the magicals lived in fear?
Was it wrong that Harry was thinking all of this?
And, most importantly, why was he lost so deeply in philosophical ideologies when he really ought to consider the problem which stood before him?
Harry saw one major flaw in what Grindelwald had just said, and it actually had nothing to do with his ideology. If he was released, there was nothing stopping the Boy-Who-Lived from running off to either Professor Dumbledore or the authorities about this whole thing…
“Ah, so that is why you are skeptical, is it?” Grindelwald smiled thinly. “You will be telling no tales, I am afraid.”
If Harry was any less shaken, he might have gasped or screamed at having his thoughts so casually read. It still felt like a horrible violation he could hardly tolerate, but his mind was plagued so deeply by other things, it somehow seemed minor in comparison.
“What is there to stop me?”
“Only an enchantment.” Grindelwald held up his hand and something levitated from off of his cot. It was a locket, of sorts; emblazoned with an odd, triangular symbol that Harry had never seen before. “This portkey will take you out of Nurmengard and place you precisely back on the platform you were set to arrive on. By touching this locket, you will be activating a binding magical contract forbidding you from telling any of this incident or any other involving myself without my express permission. This contract will even protect said information from slip-ups or psychic attacks.”
That was simultaneously the most terrifying and ingenious thing Harry had ever heard. The wonders of magic never failed to amaze him. Whenever he thought he had grown accustomed to this world, something else would make itself known to him and make him feel like he had that first day when wandering into Diagon Alley.
Then again, this was Gellert Grindelwald. No matter what anyone thought of the man, no historian had ever contested the fact that he was one of the most brilliant magicians to walk the earth.
The choice was easy. Not being able to tell anyone about this paled in comparison to the far less desirable alternative. Especially considering that Harry wasn’t even sure if he would have told anyone anyway. Most would have thought him insane and, once more, he just… had no real reason to tell anyone. What were they going to do if Grindelwald could control the wards? And honestly, did Harry even want them to do anything?
“So you brought me all the way here just to lecture me and then let me go?”
Grindelwald laughed for the first time. The gesture wracked his body and sent him into a violent fit of coughing, but he recovered quickly enough.
“You think far too small, child. I am giving you an artifact you already know is enchanted, am I not? I have also asked you to ask me any questions at a later date. Do try to put the pieces together.”
Harry’s brow furrowed. “It’s a… communication device? It will somehow let me ask you stuff on top of making sure I can’t tell anyone about this?”
“Overly simplistic, but not incorrect. Simply think of this place and a desire to return before closing your eyes for the final time in a day. That will allow you to ask me anything you could ever wish, and I will always answer.
“I brought you here not for a singular lecture, but to allow you to digest all I have said and establish an open line of communication. Your potential is limitless and I think you may further my ideals one day. It is in my best interests to further you as much as I can. Any questions you may have about what has been spoken on today may be asked alongside questions of any other variety. I am quite possibly the greatest magician the world has ever seen. I know you are a curious and ambitious child. There is much I could teach you that no one else could.”
Harry didn’t answer. That made far more sense. It was actually wise and he didn’t feel nearly as opposed to the idea as he knew he ought to. He feared Grindelwald; there was no denying that, but did he hate him? Not on a personal level, at least. In terms of what the man had done, Harry only knew vague details from The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts. That war hadn’t been covered in History of Magic, and Harry hadn’t put a great deal of research into the topic.
There was also the fact that Grindelwald was undoubtedly right about his final point.
Harry had enjoyed his pseudo-lessons with Gemma Fawley because they had allowed him to work ahead of the curriculum and learn a great many things he wouldn’t have otherwise. Ever since Professor Flitwick had confronted him in the library all those months ago about magical theory, he had taken an intense interest in all things magic — except Astronomy, which Harry still considered to be completely useless.
If he had come so far in a few months with the tutelage of Gemma Fawley, he could not possibly imagine how far he could come under the guidance of Gellert Grindelwald.
Yet he knew it was wrong.
Conceptually, fundamentally, it was wrong. He should never allow a dark lord any influence over him, nor should he take instruction from them.
But Merlin… what he could achieve.
“I know you will not use it,” said Grindelwald. “Well, you will, but not right away. That will come in time. How much time, we shall have to wait and see. I do not expect you to immediately adopt my ideologies and philosophies. I would be disappointed if you were so easily swayed. All I ask is that you look at things from different perspectives and cease lying to yourself before years of doing so conditions you in a less than ideal way.
“For now, rest your mind and digest all you have taken in here today. When you wish to speak, I will be waiting.”
The locket floated between the bars of Grindelwald’s cell and hovered tantalizingly close to Harry. He felt his knees begin to shake once more as the reality of leaving this place became apparent to him.
Shaking and without a glance in the former dark lord’s direction, Harry reached out and touched the locket.
Along with the familiar jerk at his navel, he also felt… something deeper within him. Something that only confirmed the existence of the contract that Grindelwald had spoken of, and something that solidified beyond all else that this had indeed not been a dream.
Back in the present…
Harry’s mind was still reeling from all of that when he had arrived back on the platform and put in a surprisingly successful attempt at not vomiting all over the place. He appeared just as the train had pulled in. The Malfoys came immediately after and escorted him back through the barrier.
Perhaps if all of that hadn’t taken place, he might have realized that the Dursleys’ kindness had simply been them luring him into a false sense of security.
That next morning, he had woken up to find all of his possessions gone and a completely barren room except for the cot he had slept on. He had bolted to the door and pulled on the handle, but it hadn’t budged. His uncle had clearly locked it from the outside and Harry’s window was locked from the other side as well. It was a small mercy he’d let Hedwig out to hunt the night before. At least she wouldn’t be trapped here with him.
It hadn’t taken him long to realize that Lord Malfoy’s threats had actually scared the Dursleys too much. They were unwilling to even allow Harry the opportunity of writing to the man, and they had apparently viewed the best way of circumventing that possibility to be removing all of Harry’s things from his possession and locking him in his room.
Their method was annoyingly successful.
He couldn’t write to anyone, nor could he even receive letters — not that it mattered. He hadn’t seen a single owl soaring near his window; which hurt him more than he cared to admit.
Perhaps Draco hadn’t been quite as forgiving of Harry’s cold shoulder as the Boy-Who-Lived had given him credit for. He had expected letters from the likes of Pansy, Cassius, and Diana. Possibly Theodore as well. He was harder to read and sometimes, Harry wondered how much he actually liked him versus how useful he found him. He had stuck with Harry through his spat with Draco though, which was a point in his favour. He hadn’t expected any mail from Crabbe or Goyle; it would have been remarkably out of character for either of them.
He just lounged around his room all day and tried not to die from boredom while living off the measly amounts of food and water shoved through his prison’s cat flap three times a day.
After nearly two weeks of this hellacious torture, Harry finally thought he had snapped as he looked out over Privet Drive.
His mind couldn’t even fixate on a singular topic anymore. It jumped around from thought to thought without a care for clarity nor consistency. Only a scarce few thoughts repeatedly occupied Harry’s mind nowadays, and none of them were cheerful.
The first, and most pressing, was his overwhelming desire to escape this place by any means necessary. The problem was that his wand had been taken along with his other things. He had hidden it under his pillow, but whomever had raided his room had apparently found it. If the circumstances were a touch different, Harry might have actually applauded them for their foresight.
Or perhaps he had just been drowning so deeply in nightmares that foresight hadn’t even been necessary.
The next two thoughts were linked in a dark sort of way that made Harry seriously reconsider many things about himself.
The first was that he hated the Dursleys more than any beings who walked the face of the earth. He hated them more than words could express and if he had the means, he wasn’t at all sure he wouldn’t have killed them given the slightest opportunity. Perhaps these were just wild pipe dreams he had been fantasizing over these last few weeks, but Harry thought the possibility was far from unrealistic.
The second of these dark thoughts was that the Dursleys’ behaviour over these past number of weeks had only validated what both Voldemort and Grindelwald had told him.
Muggles would stop at nothing and felt no compunctions when it came to destroying what they failed to understand, and they really had no place in dominating witches and wizards. Harry felt more bitter about the latter point than he had ever felt before. It hadn’t been something he considered before his forced meeting with Grindelwald, but the thought had crept up more than was normal in the past two weeks and it sounded more and more true the longer his forced imprisonment stretched on.
He was sick of it.
He was sick of all of it and could take no more.
He had stayed up as long as his nutrient-deprived body would allow. He decided to give into boredom and fatigue as he slumped back down on his bed. Before he closed his eyes, he had but one thought as his hand reached up and fingered the pendent that had thus far sat idly on his neck as a result of his own indecision.
But it lay inactive no longer.
It was as though Harry had blinked and woken up once more, but he was no longer in his room on Privet Drive. He was in a dark, airy place that he remembered all too well, for it was a place he had unwillingly visited in his dreams on every passing night.
But this time was different.
He had willed it to happen this time, and there were some differences.
The guards who had laid dead outside Grindelwald’s cell before were gone. The only thing that remained of them were several dark stains on the stones that Harry knew had been caused by their blood.
“You have seen the light, it seems.”
That voice was every bit as terrifying as Harry remembered, but its speaker’s tones reflected something Harry had not yet experienced in his presence.
“You sound surprised for someone who seemed so confident I would use the pendant.”
Grindelwald chuckled. “I am not taken aback to see you here, child. I am merely surprised you stand before me so soon.”
Harry tried to keep the bitterness and hatred he felt for the Dursley family off of his face, but he knew he had failed. “I have… a request.”
Grindelwald’s lips twitched. “A pressing one at that, if your mood is any indication.”
Harry set his jaw. “I need a way out of a locked room without a wand. There’s nothing inside it but a cot.”
Amusement danced in the old man’s eyes. “How ironic a request to ask of me. Fear not, Harry Potter. If this is how I must prove to you my intentions carry no malice, then so be it.”
I know I said this wouldn’t start updating on FFN/AO3 again until October, but I had a very productive couple of months and am already nearing the end of book 2, so I see no need to hold onto it any longer.
I know I ended book one on a massive cliffhanger, so I hope the start of book two lived up to the hype.
You likely all think you’ve read the same second year over and over again, and there will be several similarities to the canon, of course. But trust me — you will all see by the year’s end that this is probably unlike any second year you’ve read before. In time, you will see what I mean.
Please read and review.
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