PoP 22

Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity

Year 2: The Advancing of Shadows

Chapter 9: Motives and Murmurs 

By ACI100

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 editor Fezzik, as well as my other betas Athena Hope, Mr. 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.

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Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity

By ACI100

Book 2: The Advancing of Shadows

Chapter 9: Motives and Murmurs 

March 1, 1889

Schwöb, Germany

11:14 PM

About five and a half miles north of St. Bartholomew’s church and the beautiful body that was Lake Königssee, the innocuous town of Schwöb stood, nestled in the shadow of a great mountain on one side, and a large river on another. The town was one of the older settlements around these parts, but one would not know it from a glance. It was small and did not look at all extraordinary. It could easily have been overlooked for the scenery around it. The mountain to its east cast the small town into shadow, and the water to its south would first draw the attention of any passing by.

Near the centre of this small town, a house stood among many others. There was nothing about it, either, that would make it stand out, but to the young boy tossing and turning in one of its bedrooms, it had been home for as long as he could remember.

He was not asleep, though he most certainly should have been. He had scarcely slept since the day he had watched Wylla Nurmen meet her gruesome end. He hadn’t wanted to at first. His parents had been insistent, but he had argued. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her blood stain the snow and her bones pierce her flesh. Worse still were the dreams. On the rare nights he managed sleep, he was plagued with nightmares. Some were of the girl and of the other horrific ways she might have died. Far more concerning were the dreams in which he took her place. Stones flew towards him at such an alarming rate, it was as though the crowd had simply hurled one of the many vast mountains towards him. 

The former type of dreams bothered him. They woke him without fail and prompted pity for the girl. More than anything, they confused and frustrated him. 

He knew that seeing what he had seen should bother him more than it had. Young as he was, he understood at least this to be true. People were not supposed to feel so little when they watched something so awful. He was unsure whether this made him good or bad. Was he better than others because he did not feel things they felt? Or, by that same logic, was he some sort of monster like from the bed time stories his mutter would read to him before sleep?

These dreams also caused his curiosity to rear its ugly head and do its best to consume every last memory he had of the day, trying to devour any bits of information that might lead to exactly why it had happened. He had spent time rationalizing what he had seen to the best of his abilities and he had come to a couple of conclusions.

What had happened had been planned. These people had known what would happen before it did. Even his mutter had not seemed herself that day, and the boy wondered if that might be why. 

More than anything, however, he just wanted answers.

Why had the crowd done something so horrible to a little girl? One who had been so afraid and helpless, and one who had died so easily and without drama.

It made no sense to him. Children were supposed to be protected; his mutter had always told him so. He was kept out of trouble by his parents and they always urged caution. They did their best to keep him safe, yet he had seen the girl’s parents in the crowd. They had stood by and done nothing while their daughter met her brutal end, as stone after stone had pummeled the very air from her lungs and driven the last vestiges of life from her body.

The latter type of dreams… they were more worrying.

They pulled him more ruthlessly from Morpheus’s loving grasp, not caring how badly they jostled and battered him in the process. He woke from these dreams with haggered breathing, hurried heart beats, and a thin layer of sweat coating his body like the way the ice snugly covered the calm blue water of Lake Königssee. His sheets clung to him each night after waking from these dreams, sticking to him like the way the pearly white snow had clung to Wylla Nurmen’s dress through all she had endured.

He did not like the way he felt after these dreams; least of all when it paired with the burning curiosity the first sort of dream often left him with. He was a terribly curious child who read very far beyond his age level. The thing he hated most above all other things was not understanding how something worked. It irked him more than his young mind could ever put into rational terms and it was what, beyond all else, drove his borderline-unhealthy reading habits.

He had just awoken from one of the more horrible dreams he had experienced — during which he’d been pelted with stones until he could no longer move before being thrown from the top of the mountain down into the waters of Lake Königssee, which were surely so cold they would put the most biting of winds to shame. Not that this boy knew one way or the other. He had awoken before his small body could slam into the frigid waters and now more than ever, he felt as though he needed answers.

He detached himself from his sheets and slid from his cot, putting on his night clothes and creeping from his room. His home was small and quiet, though he could hear the fire still crackling merrily out in the living room. He was sure this meant one of his parents was awake. They always put out the fire when they turned in for bed.

Sure enough, his vater sat in the high-backed chair nearest the fire, reading a book and paying mind to nothing else. His mutter was nowhere to be seen and must have been sleeping. He paused at the room’s entrance and just peered from his vater to the fire. It cast its light over his face, making him look as though he had bathed in orange light and his skin glowed of its own accord. He sat too close for his face to be cast in shadow, though the fire did make his grey eyes stand out more starkly. They were bright, like gloomy clouds or especially thick mist. 

The man must have heard him, for he paused in the middle of flipping a page. “Having trouble sleeping again, Gellert?”

Gellert nodded sheepishly. “Ever since I went with Mami to church the day they killed the girl.

The man’s grey eyes lifted to study his son for the first time. Gellert had always wondered whether the silvery-grey hew of his blue eyes had come from his vater. A part of him hoped it had. He had gotten little more from the man. His skin was not as fair as Gellert’s, nor was his hair. Where he and his mutter had pale hair that shimmered in the barest of light, his vater had hair as dark as a midnight sea. He was tall and of a great mass; muscled so well he looked built for the farms. Gellert was still young, but he had always been of average height and quite lean. A part of him thought that would never change.

His vater, Johan, must have seen something in Gellert that concerned him. He put down his book without any mark of where he had stopped reading. 

“Sit with me.” Gellert stepped forward and took the chair directly across from his vater, who continued to watch him like an astronomer might observe a peculiar star through the all-seeing lens of a telescope. “What is it that bothers you most?” 

Gellert chewed his bottom lip before finally letting his curiosity and worry spill forth. “I don’t understand, Papi.” His voice came out in a rush and he scarcely breathed between every hurried syllable. “You and Mami always said children were supposed to be safe! You always said no one should ever hurt them! But they did, Papi! They hurt her like I’ve never seen anyone get hurt before and I don’t get it! Why would they do that if children are supposed to be kept safe?”

Johan’s expression had not shifted. “I sense there is more,” he coaxed. “You have always been curious, but it has never bothered you like this. What else is on your mind?”

“It… it scared me.” He had hardly realized it was even true until the words had escaped from him. Not until he stopped thinking about the situation had he realized what about it most troubled him. “I always liked being safe, but if Wylla wasn’t safe, why am I? What’s different? If they hurt one child, why not me too?”

Johan glanced over Gellert’s chair and to the hallway that stretched beyond. Everything in the house but they and the fire were quiet, but he still seemed on edge. 

“Come with me,” he said. “Get your coat on, we’re going for a walk.”

“But Papi, it’s so cold!”

“No arguing; do as I say.”

Gellert did as he was asked, following his vater out the front door and into the wintery landscape outside. It would have been a fair night had it not been for the wind. He wasn’t sure what it was about the wind and the last number of weeks. It was like a plague that had befallen the land, one that spread and infested far and wide and refused to be cleansed; inflicting a ruthless vengeance on all who dared oppose it.

His vater’s gloved hand rested on his shoulder as he steered him through the streets. The town was quiet at the best of times, but it seemed positively abandoned at this hour of night. All was quiet but the wind that ravaged them and Gellert’s occasional bouts of shivers. His vater did not react to the cold at all. He was an older man who had been hardened by his years. Gellert didn’t know much of how his vater had been raised. The topic never seemed to rise and he was never terribly interested. He just wanted to play, and hear funny stories, and the like. 

It did not take him long to recognize the path they followed and soon, they came to the town’s centre. The space often recognized as such was a large field perfectly the shape of a square. It was the lushest of greens in the summer, but it was presently coated in a light layer of snow that had not yet started to melt. Gellert knew that in a few weeks, the square would be plagued by thick mud and running water, courtesy of the changing of seasons. For now, the white of the snow gleamed even in the night, as if the square was but a green cake coated precisely with the finest of white icing. 

From the side they had entered, the road was exposed. It was often used by riders with access to a horse and carriage, though less so in these months. On the other three sides, the square was boxed in by squat, grey buildings; all of which were among the most important in the town. Their rooftops too were bright with snow, and they glittered prettily in the soft light of the moon.

“Such a beautiful place in the winter,” said Johan.

Gellert shivered and glared at his vater. “But it’s s-so c-c-cold!”

The man chuckled softly. “One day, you must learn to embrace the cold. I have a feeling you might one day end up somewhere much colder than the mutterland.”

“Why did you bring me here?” Gellert found himself uninterested in his vater’s words. He just wanted to be out of the cold. If not for the horrible dreams, he would have yearned for the warm embrace of his bedsheets just then.

“So we are not overheard.”

Gellert frowned. “Who would have heard us?”

“Maybe no one,” his vater admitted, “or maybe your mutter. I know you love her, but you should understand that some things are best not heard by her.”

“What things?” 

“Things like what I am about to tell you now.” He watched his son the best he could in the velvety blackness of the night. “Do you know what a witch is, Gellert?”

“Someone who can do magic.”

Johan nodded. “Anything else?”

Gellert thought about it, deep lines etched in his young face as he pondered. “Mami’s church says that they’re bad.”

“Not just the church. Most people who believe in a god believe that witches are evil.”


The man shrugged. “You know how I feel about your mutter’s church. I go to make her happy, but I don’t believe what she believes. She knows it. It’s caused arguments and fights, but it’s true. I think that the religion she believes in says that witches gained their powers because they made a deal with the devil.”

“I… don’t think I believe in God, Papi.”

“That is your choice. I will not tell you what to believe. I am only telling you why some people think witches are evil. You know that the people who believe in God often believe that the devil is the worst of all who have ever existed.”

“What does this have to do with Wylla?”

“Can you not guess?” Gellert shook his head. “She was a witch, of course.”

Gellert gasped, eyes widening. “But witches and magic aren’t real!” he said with certainty. “They’re just in stories.”

Johan watched his son very closely. “Some people believe that. Whether it’s real or not doesn’t really matter. People like your mutter said they saw Wylla doing magic. Her parents were the ones who reported it to the church.” This made Gellert angry in a way he could not entirely explain. He just knew that no parents should ever let something like that happen to a child, let alone be firmly behind it and watch it transpire. “Once her own parents called her a witch, she was always going to die.”

“That’s terrible!”

“It is, isn’t it?” Gellert had never heard his vater use that voice before. His words cut like a blade and his voice carried the bite of sharpened steel. 

“Papi… you said she was a witch, not that they thought she was a witch.”

“I did.”

“Do… do you mean it? There aren’t really witches, right?”

Johan was still watching his son every bit as closely as he had been for their past few exchanges. “Witches are real, Gellert; so are wizards, and they are not evil. They are great. They have powers that normal people could never dream of, and it isn’t because they made some kind of deal with the devil. It’s because they’re special and made for greater things. The real reason Wylla died is because she was one of them and those people knew it. They might not even realize they knew it, but they did. They realized they would never be her, and so they got rid of her.”

“But… Papi, what if they thought I was a witch?”

“You would be a wizard, Gellert.”

He flushed even more than he had already in the frigid, winter air, but that had in no way dissuaded his point. “What if they thought I was a wizard? They would hurt me too.”

“They wouldn’t.” His vater’s voice had that bite to it again that Gellert had never before heard. His eyes suddenly looked less like mist or passive clouds and more like those that would bring forth a great and mighty storm. “I understand the truth about witches and wizards, and I would never let them hurt one.”

Harry found himself panting in bed once more, though no bile rose to his throat this time. Even without the nauseating imagery and scarring implications, experiencing dreams with such vividness that there was no doubt at all they were real was an oddly taxing and extremely disorienting experience.

He cast his deep green eyes around the dorm room he still shared with Draco and could only wonder what on earth Grindelwald was playing at, for now, there could be no doubt at all it was Grindelwald. The boy’s name was Gellert, and everything fit together far too nicely for it to be anyone else. Harry could think of only one answer to the question of the man’s motive.

He wanted Harry to understand.

What worried Harry most about that thought was that he doubted Grindelwald would have shown him any of this unless the one-time dark lord was beyond certain his memories would have the desired effect.

That made Harry shudder; just like how Grindelwald had shivered against the harsh, German winter. 

If he was so beyond doubt, Harry could only wonder what horrors lay before him in the land of dreams.

September 26, 1992

The Headmaster’s Office

8:03 PM

“Your first few weeks have been eventful I have heard?” Albus asked his brother once the niceties had been observed. He had been late, as always, but the headmaster had made no mention of it.

Aberforth snorted. “Eventful’s one word for it.”

Albus raised a brow. “And what word would you use in its stead?”

Aberforth raised his eyes to meet his brother’s; eyes so very alike his own that sometimes, he felt as though he was looking in a warped sort of mirror.

“I’m torn between baffling and enlightening.”

Albus let out a deep chuckle. “An oxymoron perhaps more reflective of Hogwarts than any other description I have heard in all my years.”

Aberforth’s jaw tightened and with it, the lines of his face seeped to deepen. “None of this is a joking matter.”

“Oh, I do not joke, dear brother. Trust me when I say that I know your statement to be true, and I know better than any that, in many cases, the dichotomy is not always one that brings forth thoughts of happiness and optimism.” Albus folded his hands in front of him. “What is it that ails you so?”

Aberforth snorted again; it was a habit of his. “Just know that I’m not struggling to think of things. I’m struggling to think of which thing to start with.” Albus hummed in acknowledgement but did not interrupt. “We’ll just start with the whole bloody school, why don’t we?”

“I am afraid you will need to narrow your focus by a smidgen if you would like me to have any hope of understanding what vexes you so.”

“It’s a mess,” Aberforth said harshly. “Houses duelling on the Quidditch pitch, Albus. And they weren’t just throwing around Stunners and Disarming Charms.”

“I am aware,” Albus said through a great sigh. “The divide between houses is something that saddens me very deeply.”

“But you’ve had no problem letting that gap grow and grow? It wasn’t nearly this bad when we were at school.”

“That was a lifetime ago, Aberforth. A great many things have happened since we were boys. Not least of which being the rise and fall of Lord Voldemort. That, more than anything, is what has raised tension between the houses to levels the school has not seen since the immediate years following Salazar’s sudden parting.”

“But you still let it happen?”

“What am I or my professors to do? Any conflict on this scale requires a true resolution. You know that as well as I.” Both of them knew the other was thinking of the time during which Aberforth would not so much as speak to Albus. Not before he finally took the necessary steps to move against the man who had been ravaging Europe’s for decades. 

“There was a resolution,” snapped Aberforth. “He’s dead, Albus. He’s been dead for almost eleven years.”

“Yet little has changed. A clear divide still runs through the heart of our nation. Children are often the reflection of their parents. In many ways, they are but brilliant canvases their parents may paint their desired picture upon. If the parents are skilled in their art, they might paint a picture they are truly happy with. So long as the divide outside of this castle remains — and even widens — I am afraid there is little to be done.”

Aberforth fumed quietly, but he knew the argument was lost. His brother would not acquiesce on the matter no matter what he said. He knew too that the man had reasons he was not sharing. They were probably the true justifications for his lack of action, but he was clearly not sharing. Albus had always liked his secrets and after all these years that, at least, had not changed.

The younger of the pair dismissed a number of other concerns in a similar vein. He sensed they would be met with the same vague dismissals, and his time was not a luxury he cared to waste away in front of his insufferably stubborn brother.

“What of Quirrell, then?”

“What of him?” asked Albus. “He is dead.”

“You can’t fool me the same way you can fool the others. I know the way you hide skeletons, Albus. Out of sight, sure, but you’ve never quite been good at getting rid of the stench, if you know where to find it.” Albus frowned deeply but did not react. “Something always happens to the poor sod who takes up my job. We both know the curse exists, which is why we both know I’ll be resigning as soon as the kids start sitting exams. Anyone can hand out test papers; it’s not hard.” Albus nodded, showing he was indeed still listening. “Quirrell disappears without a trace, the Longbottom boy dies, and Potter and Weasley end up in the hospital wing.”

“An eventful close to the year, yes. Neville Longbottom’s fate was as tragic as it was innocuous. Masters Potter and Weasley did admittedly find themselves in the hospital wing because of Quirinus, but the issue was resolved swiftly enough.”

“So he landed two students in the hospital wing, then died, and you’re just going to cover the whole thing up?” He scowled. “And that’s assuming I believe your story about Longbottom — which, for the record, I don’t. I told you, Albus, you don’t hide the stench well. This time, you basically just poured rat piss everywhere. It stinks like hell and leaves a clear trail. Following the rats will usually lead you to the answers.”

“No one will find them,” said Albus, “I have made sure of that.”

“At what cost, I shudder to think.” Aberforth glared. “So you’re not going to tell me, then? Not even about why Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw all remember Quirrell as the worst professor the school’s seen in years while Slytherin has nothing but great things to say about him?”

“Not at this time, no.” His brother looked very tired. “Please, believe me when I say this has nothing to do with keeping secrets from you specifically. If I ever believe it is integral for you to know—”

“You’ll tell me the bare minimum,” Aberforth grunted. “I know how you work, you old croon.” He huffed. “What about Potter, then?”

“What about him, exactly?”

“Firing off curses that could kill at twelve?”

“I doubt Harry thought through the potential consequences of that action. To defend the boy, a Cutting Curse is almost never lethal—”

“Unless it hits the neck, which, for your information, was a damn close call.”

“I am aware. I have spoken with Harry about it and he has given me his assurances he will not do anything similar again.”

“Not good enough,” said Aberforth. “The kid needs to learn his actions have consequences. It starts out as a cool spell or two, then they get interested in those spells. Then they start casting them, and it gets to their head. Once they stop caring, the problems really pile up.”

“You have a detention with the boy, do you not? Teach him whatever you like during that time.”

“Whatever I like?” Albus nodded. “Are you sure you want to say that, Albus? You would turn a blind eye to whatever I taught him, no matter the methods?”

Albus’s expression was pensive. “Within reason.”

Aberforth snorted for a third time as he pushed his chair back and climbed to his feet. “I guess we’ll see if what I have in mind is ‘within reason’ or not. I plan to teach a lesson and sometimes, lessons aren’t learned the easy way.”

Meanwhile, in an abandoned classroom in the dungeons…

It had been a trying two weeks for Harry ever since his fallout with Draco. The rift between them still showed no signs of closing, and he had spent more time alone in those two weeks than he had since being locked in his room on Privet Drive. He had spoken a few times with Diana, but only one of them had been what he would call a long conversation. 

She had asked if he wanted her to do anything about Draco, but he had told her no. It was the second time they had fallen out. If Draco could not apologize for some of the horrible things said on his own terms, then Harry did not deem the friendship one worth pursuing. It did appear that if that scenario did play out, he may well lose the other friends he had made, which would be crushing, but he would manage. Diana still supported him, as mentioned, and Theodore as well — if only in private. Cassius was still in his corner, as was Cassie, who he was currently standing in front of.

They had arranged duelling practices on Tuesday and Saturday each week, and this was to be the first of them. 

“Sorry it took so long to get this set up,” she told him, “I know you’ve been having some troubles with the upper years, so I wish we could have started earlier. I had to work some things out with being a prefect, though. It’s been a bit of a shift.”

That had been another thing. The upper years had been far more troublesome since his descension from Draco and his group of friends. He was no longer so openly supported by one coming from such a powerful family, and much of the house still despised him — both for being a halfblood and also for his title as the Boy-Who-Lived. If not for ten long years at the Dursleys, Harry might have been bitter over the whole thing. How could he help that his mother had not been a pureblood? And how it was his fault that Voldemort had been stupid enough to get himself blown up by some sort of sacrifical magic that Harry still only vaguely understood? But the Dursleys had given him much practice in ignoring things which were cruel or unjust.

What was more difficult to ignore was the outwards showings of hostility from the older students. As of yet, it had not escalated too far. The worst instance had been quite a nasty curse that could have ended in disaster. It had made his skin horribly frail, and Harry had the impression that had he suffered any damage to the skin, it could have had disastrous consequences. Fortunately, he had been quite near to the hospital wing at the time, and Madam Pomfrey had taken care of the issue without much drama.

Their attacks did not help his stress. Dealing with the dream of Wylla Nurmen had been hard enough. Two weeks later, it still haunted almost every nightmare. Dumbledore had told him — when Harry had vaguely confessed to having bad dreams — that Occlumency could be used to block out such occurrences. Harry was unfortunately a long way from being at that level though, so it would be some time before that prospect became a viable possibility. 

Between the schism with Draco, the trauma of the first Grindelwald-induced dream, the intrigue of the second, and the wrath of the upper years, Harry’s second year at Hogwarts was not off to a favourable start.

Oh, and he was still being paired with Crabbe in Potions and had his detention with Aberforth Dumbledore next Saturday— exactly one week from tonight. There were also those misfortunes to consider.

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry told her. “I’ve had a lot going on, so I can only imagine you, as a prefect.” He was sure that, in actuality, she almost definitely did not have as much going on as he did, but he was willing to let her believe otherwise.

“Well, let’s start making up for lost time then,” she said, gesturing for him to step closer to the room’s centre. “I’ve reviewed everything you went over with Father in the summer, and I’m actually really impressed. I wouldn’t have thought someone your age could have done nearly as well as you have. We’ll probably do a mock duel next time. Don’t worry, I won’t be aiming to do any damage, or anything. I just want a feel for exactly where you’re at. We’ll save that for Tuesday, though. Like I said, I’ve noticed how the upper years have been treating you, and it’s been bothering me. I want to start you on something tonight that’s going to actually help you against them.”

Harry’s ears perked up. “What is it?” 

“The Shield Charm,” she told him. “Not the Aegis Vocar variant you learn in first year. That’s useless against anything more than a half-decent jinx. I’m talking about the standard Shield Charm that aurors use. It’s not taught until fifth year Defence Against the Dark Arts, so it will definitely be the trickiest thing you’ve tried so far, but I honestly think you can do it, with practice.”

Harry’s face set in a hard line that showed far too much determination on a combat-focused task for one so young. It spoke of how the last few months had aged him in a way that not even he realized. 

“Let’s do it.”

October 3, 1992

Aberforth Dumbledore’s Office

8:00 PM

Harry had not mastered the Protego shield that first night with Cassie, nor the next. In fairness, they had spent little time on it that Tuesday. It was something he could learn on his own time. She would not waste time trying to help him learn a single spell well beyond what should have been expected of him when she could be teaching him a great many things. To some, it may have sounded harsh, but Harry was glad for it; it was the way he wanted it to be. Progress at the most rapid rate possible was the singular goal, and this was the best way of achieving it.

He had been battered after their mock duel that Tuesday. She seemed not terribly far behind her father in skill. Her spell selection wasn’t quite as vast, but she was much faster than he was and she moved with a grace he had never seen before. It felt to him as though he was trying to fight quicksilver. Her wand movements were as tight as the most well-tied knot, and she moved with the care and precision of a painter’s brush.

The rest of the week passed as normal, though the attacks from the upper years had grown fiercer and more frequent. They were becoming more daring and Harry was beginning to feel a perpetual sense of foreboding every time he moved the halls. He wondered if this was how a small animal felt while moving through the layer of a deadly predator. It was not terribly dissimilar to how he had felt around Dudley in his youth, but he had not feared his cousin for many years. Dreaded him, yes; but feared him, no. Humans tended to fear the unknown and while Dudley’s presence had become constantly worrying, he and his group of marauding morons had become as predictable as the hands of an old, grandfather clock. 

It was fortunate that no spiteful students plagued him on the way to his detention. He doubted the professor would be forgiving of lateness. Aberforth Dumbledore seemed a fair man, but he was doubtlessly strict and did not seem stingy when it came to dishing out his brand of law.

Harry was called into the office the second he knocked upon the door. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting upon entering, but a part of him had at least hoped he might learn more of the professor from his more privately guarded decor. 

It turned out that even in his office, physical reflections of what made this man tick were rarer than the finest of diamonds. The only thing of note Harry glimpsed in the entire office were two portraits. 

One was small and sat atop his desk. It depicted two young boys with auburn hair and deep blue. The older of them — who Harry realized with a jolt must have been Albus — looked no older than ten. His brother looked even younger, but there was another, smaller girl with them that took him a touch aback. Her hair was blonde instead of her brother’s red, though her skin was fairer and she had the same, blue eyes. Two figures stood behind them — a man and a woman. Both of them were very tall. The woman had olive-coloured skin, brown eyes, high cheekbones, and hair as dark as any night. The father had his sons’ auburn hair and blue eyes; he looked very much like an older version of Albus.

The other portrait was much larger and it hung behind the professor’s desk. It clearly depicted the same young girl from the first, though there was something very different about her that Harry had found ominously off putting. Aside from the fact she was obviously a number of years older, her expression was different. Not just the look on her face, but her eyes and even the demeanour she gave off, even whilst in the form of a portrait. The blue orbs looked strangely vacant and as though they looked ahead, but saw nothing; like they were drawn by someone who knew the colour but had never seen real eyes. Someone who could not possibly depict the life that was veiled behind the things humans used to see.

“Enjoying yourself, are you?”

Harry shook himself at the sound of the gruff voice and cast his eyes around once more, but this time not in hopes of learning more about his enigmatic professor. “Sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to offend—”

“Doesn’t matter,” the professor said sharply. “Takes a lot more than that to offend me, boy.” 

Harry had noticed something odd now. Barring the professor’s personal belongings and furniture, the room was completely empty but for him, Harry, and a small, braying sheep with wool as white as snow. He wasn’t sure what he was to do in this detention, so he cast his eyes towards the professor, who was giving him perhaps the hardest stare he had ever seen.

“Wondering what you’ll be doing?” Harry nodded cautiously. “You’ll be learning, that’s what. It seems you like to throw dangerous magic around without thinking. You’re young and that stuff happens, but you’re not young forever. There are consequences to your actions and those actions grow more impactful as you age. Before that happens, my goal is to make you think about what you’re doing by showing you some of the consequences.” Harry wanted to ask what exactly it was he would be doing, but the professor clearly saw the question on his face. “You see this lamb, Potter?” Harry nodded. “You’ll be killing it. With the exact same spell you used on Weasley. It’ll show you just how easy it really is and what could have happened.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “Professor, I can’t—”

“Can’t you?” Aberforth snapped back. “You had no problems using the Cutting Curse against Weasley. Hell, it was your first reaction. So what about the sheep?” When he saw Harry would object, he levelled him with a glare. “It’s not a choice, Potter. You’re going to stay here until this sheep dies because of your Cutting Curse. If it takes more than one detention, so be it. You’ll come back every Sunday night and we’ll see how you feel when the curse does its job as well as it really can.”

This was utter madness. Harry couldn’t believe a professor of a school was asking him to do this. He didn’t want to kill the sheep. He hadn’t wanted to kill Weasley. He had wanted to hurt him after what he’d done to Pansy, sure, but not kill him. So what if the Cutting Curse had first come to mind? It wasn’t as though he knew a vast plethora of spells that could cause pain. It was just the easiest one.

The lamb let out a loud bleating sound that drew Harry’s attention onto it once more. It looked up at him with wide, innocent eyes and he knew this was going to be more difficult than it ought to.

He pointed a wand held aloft by a shaky arm towards the lamb and closed his eyes. He did not want to be here forever and it would be much easier if his eyes were closed. He wouldn’t see the spell make impact that way, nor would he see the way the light left the creature’s eyes and left them as vacant as those of Wylla Nurmen…

No! He could not think of Wylla Nurmen or he would never get out of this detention.

He took a deep breath and entered into one of the meditative states Dumbledore had been helping him master for the purpose of practicing Occlumency. It helped drive all thoughts of Wylla from his mind, and he could feel the incantation forming on the tip of his tongue. His wand twitched but stayed the course, and it was building inside him…

“Come… come to me… let me rip you… let me tear you… let me kill you…”

Harry’s eyes shot open as his breath escaped him in a startled gasp sharp as the finest dagger. His wand nearly fell from feelingless fingers as he whirled towards Aberforth. “What?”

The man just looked up from marking essays, annoyed. “I haven’t said anything, boy.”

Harry was very confused. He certainly hadn’t said it — most of all if Aberforth hadn’t called him on it — and apparently, his professor had said nothing either. There was no one else in the room. He was reasonably certain of that. He knew that the Headmaster could become invisible without need for a cloak, but he knew that had not been Dumbledore.

Which left only one viable possibility, one that shook him to his very core.

The voice had been inside of his head.

He began to shake as the implications of this washed over him like a destructive tidal wave.

Was this because of Grindelwald’s dream visions, or had it come before? With horror, he remembered the way that he had thought about the Dursleys while locked up on Privet Drive. He remembered thinking of how, if the opportunity had presented itself, he had not been at all sure he would not have murdered the three of them. Petunia and Vernon, at the very least. 

Perhaps the urge had been there for at least that long, and maybe Grindelwald’s visions had made them worse. Perhaps the dark lord had sensed a murderous streak within him and sought to amplify it through traumatic visions and thereby bring Harry onto his side.

All thoughts of contacting Grindelwald about the visions vanished from his mind in that instant. This had to be it, and he would not let the man speak to him directly. Both he and Voldemort had proven exactly how persuasive one could be already and he would not have it. He feared this and he would not allow Grindelwald any more power over him.

“Potter!” barked Aberforth. “What are you doing just standing there like a fool and staring off into space? Get back to it.”

Reluctantly, Harry closed his eyes once more and tried to focus, but it was to no avail.

He stood stark still for the rest of the detention. After hearing the voice and fearing its implications so very deeply, Harry could not will himself to cast the spell against the lamb… nor would he be able to for many detentions to come.

Author’s Endnote:

I’m sure it’s painfully obvious to all who are reading this what is really happening, but I actually haven’t seen this take on Harry hearing voices in year 2 and am rather proud of it, given the context of the story.

I hope you all enjoyed it. I know this year is moving along quite slowly right now, but the pace will speed up. There is just a lot that needs to be setup near the beginning.

Please read and review.

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