Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 6: Leaps of Faith
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 Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
Self-Promotion: I have a Discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile. You H do likewise to follow the ACI100 Twitter account — @ACI_100 — for live updates and to check out my official website.
If you would like to get my chapters even earlier than Discord and receive other, exclusive benefits whilst generously supporting me at the same time, I have a P*T*E*N page. The link to that can also be found on my profile.
August 18, 1993
Harry sat astride his bed and peered out the nearest window, lost in thought. Thinking so much about dark lords can’t be healthy. First it had been Grindelwald with his memories, and now it was Voldemort with his return.
The worst part was that, by now, his thoughts just went in circles. One choice makes Voldemort an enemy and gives me nothing, the other gives me almost anything I want. He pulled a face. So why is choosing so hard?
Could it be his parents? I never knew them. Harry tried imagining their disappointed faces but felt naught but anger. They would want the best for him. If they turned on me for making the smart choice, then they’re not worth thinking about.
No, his parents memory wasn’t holding him back. I’m paranoid and don’t know what to ask for. I don’t know what could be worth the risk.
Grindelwald’s pendant burned beneath his shirt, yet still it felt icy cold against his skin. This is mad, he thought, fingering the pendant.
Long hours had been spent lamenting his lack of freedom. Grindelwald wanted to use him more than anyone. Why doesn’t that bug me if I hate being used so much? Grindelwald had the decency to be honest, which was one thing, but there were other reasons. He wants to use me for something good, not just so he can be powerful again. It was the one problem he had with Malfoy’s manipulations. Harry had gained and would say nothing so long as that continued, but he saw what was really going on.
“I wondered when you would next come.”
“But you knew I would.” Harry looked across the tower cell, watching the man staring at him from atop his battered cott. I’m not nervous anymore. The memories are working. That should bother me.
“I expect your return each time you leave, but always I wonder whether I may be wrong.”
Harry swallowed a lump in his throat. “I don’t think you’ll be wrong any time soon.”
A smile split Grindelwald’s face. “It gladdens me to know you have considered what I have shown you and that my time has not been wasted.” He steepled bone-thin fingers and let his smile fall. “I presume you have something for me to consider tonight.”
Harry mussed his hair. “I know you can get things out of the cell if you want.” Grindelwald remained still and made no attempts to lie. “If I tell you something important, will it stay a secret?”
“You are my last chance to change the world. I would not throw away that chance and your trust for the sake of gossip.”
Merlin, he’s telling the truth, I can feel it. Harry took a deep breath. “Voldemort is back.”
“Back?” Grindelwald asked.
“Back,” Harry repeated. “No one knows except a few of his followers.”
“And you. How is it you came to know his most treasured secret?”
Harry shifted from foot to foot. “It’s complicated. I’m friends with Lucius Malfoy’s kids and he’s one of Voldemort’s followers. I didn’t know that until my birthday. There was a party at his manor, but he setup a meeting between Voldemort and I without me knowing.”
“Yet you live.”
Harry chewed his lip. “I don’t think he wants to kill me.”
“Explain.” It was the sternest he’d ever heard Grindelwald speak.
Harry drummed shaking fingers against his thigh, deciding where to start. “I met him at the end of my first year. He was a wraith or something—“
“Or something. He lost his powers when he couldn’t kill me and couldn’t do anything but possess people or animals. He possessed a professor and tried stealing the Philosopher’s Stone.”
Grindelwald took it all in stride. “So be it. What was he like?”
Harry frowned. “Kind of like you, but not. He gave me a speech about how awful muggles were and how the Statute of Secrecy was gonna fall. He could have killed me, but he wanted me to join him.
“And I presume he offered something similar upon your recent reunion?”
“Kind of. He wants a chance to win my trust, sort of like you did, but he’s offering me anything I want as long as it doesn’t go against any of his plans.”
Grindelwald’s face was unreadable. “A generous offer. Tell me, what do you think of him?”
That was a very loaded question. “What about him?”
Grindelwald closed his eyes. He looks sad. “You have not considered the things I asked you to.”
Harry blushed. “I have,” he argued, “I’ve just been busy with the chamber and now this.”
“You must consider things more closely. What is it you dream of? What differences to you plan to make in the world? Answer those questions and judge the merit of others against your own ambitions.” Grindelwald waited for that to sink in. “So I ask you again,” he said, “what is it you think of Voldemort? What does he intend and what do you think of his plans?”
Harry considered. He really doesn’t make it easy. “He told me that muggles were dangerous and that they should be feared.”
“You have no love for muggles. Less, I imagine, then when we first came.” Harry scowled and nodded. He thought he’d known evil on Privet Drive, but now when he thought of muggles, he thought of punctured corpses and burning flesh.
His anger boiled. “But they don’t scare me.”
“No,” he insisted. “I just wish we weren’t hiding. If they ever find us, everything that happens will be our fault.”
A shadow flashed across Grindelwald’s face. “Not ours. I have done everything to ensure us a position of power and, in time, I think you will too.”
“Do they scare you?” Harry asked, gambling.
“They scared me the day I stood upon a burning pyre, but scarcely since. They are a threat to our existence and must be treated seriously, but the threat can be handled if only we act.”
“I think Voldemort’s afraid of them. He talks about the Statute falling like it would be a huge disaster. I think he wants to make sure it never happens.”
“He is a fool. Someone so powerful should not be so defeated. Does Slytherin not house the ambitious?
“So you don’t like his plan?”
“His plan is meek and futile. The Statute will fall.”
Harry shivered. “How can you be so sure?”
“I have foreseen it.”
“Foreseen it?” Harry asked.
“You sound doubtful.”
“I just don’t think of Divination much, I guess.” The words sounded weak, even to him. You know of at least one prophecy that’s true, why can’t there be another?
“Divination is scarce and unwieldy, but that does not mean it is without merit.”
Harry nodded. That should have been obvious. “What did you see?”
“A shadow wreathed in fire, standing over their rival’s charred corpse. A single hurdle stands between them and salvation, a hurdle beyond them or the weapon they carry despite its great power.”
If he was anyone else, I’d call him mad. “You thought it was you.” he said instead.
Grindelwald nodded, peering out the window. “It fit. I obtained a weapon of great power and knew I would one day face my greatest foe again.”
“It could be no other.”
“But he beat you.”
“Only fools believe they can bend the whims of fate. My naivety made me unworthy and I paid for it dearly.”
Weird way to describe it, unworthy. “That’s why you’re helping me, isn’t it?” he asked. “You think that could be me.”
“You or another, it makes no matter to me. I have long-since learned not to meddle in the affairs of fate. I shall not work to further the vision, I will do only what I think is best for the world.”
Him and his riddles… “And you think what’s best for the world is helping me?”
“Then what would you do if you were me? What would you do if Voldemort made you an offer?”
“I would seize the opportunity with great caution, lustful of its rewards but wary of its giver.”
A part of him breathed a sigh of relief. That’s what I’ve been thinking for ages.
“You wish for something else of me,” Grindelwald said, watching him. “Ask it.”
“I don’t know what to ask from him. I feel like it should be something I can’t get from anyone else. I could ask how he survived the backfiring Killing Curse—”
“He would not tell you.”
Harry nodded. “That’s what I thought.” Frustration gnawed at him. “There’s so much I could ask for, but I can’t think of anything good.”
A strong wind blew through the open window, rattling the bars. “There is something. Something that only Voldemort could give you if the whispers are true.”
August 22, 1993
The Black Library
Harry’s mind calmed some after his talk with Grindelwald, but it remained plagued. There was no doubt how he felt about muggles, but talking about plans and opinions had gotten him thinking. What was the best way to handle them? Grindelwald’s sounds better. It can’t be that hard to take them over — we have magic.
Harder to answer wre the questions about Sirius Black. A dozen old copies of the Daily Prophet littered the desk in front of him, but none provided him answers. Lucius had been able to get him every paper that ever mentioned Sirius Black, but none had been helpful so far. Narcissa wasn’t kidding — him switching sides really does feel random.
Harry looked up with a sigh. A break might not be the worst thing. “Hello, Kreacher.”
The elf bowed low. “Someone wishes to see you, young master.”
“Who is it?”
“They be telling Kreacher their name is Nott.”
Harry had yet to talk alone with Theodore all summer, but every time they had met, he looked troubled. This should be interesting. “Send him in, but take these papers first. Leave them in my room, please.”
Kreacher bowed and popped away; the papers vanished with him.
Harry walked to the nearest window and peeled back the curtains. The sun was drifting westward and towards a distant forest. The trees’ shadows lengthened the further it sank.
The door opened soundlessly behind him; he could sense it despite hearing nothing.
“You look tired,” said Theodore.
Harry rubbed at his eyes. “I haven’t slept much,” he admitted.
“I’m not surprised.” Theodore stepped up beside him. “How are you handling everything?”
“Everything?” Harry asked.
Theodore glanced around the room then lowered his voice to a whisper. “We both know he’s back.” Harry tensed. At least that answers the question whether or not he knows. Figures. If there was ever an obvious Death Eater, it’s Tiberius Nott. “There’s no point pretending we don’t.”
His heart beat hard. “What else do you know?” Harry asked.
“What else do you know?” Theodore returned.
“Probably more than you.” Theodore said nothing. “Fine.” Now it was Harry’s turn to look around the room despite knowing it was empty but for them and several thousand books. “I probably shouldn’t need to say this, but let’s keep this between us.
Theodore snorted. “I wouldn’t have said anything if that wasn’t the plan.”
Harry collected his thoughts. Here goes nothing. “I know he’s back and that he’s keeping it quiet, and I know that a few of his followers know but that most don’t.” He looked away from the window, instead watching Theodore. “What about you?”
“I know he’s trying to recruit you and hoping for some kind of answer soon. Nothing else, really, besides that they’re planning something.”
Harry rubbed his eyes. “I doubt they’re ever not planning something.”
“Father’s been gone more the last few weeks and he looks tired any time he’s home.”
“What happened to his hand?” Harry asked, remembering the glove he’d worn at his birthday party.
Theodore looked away. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen it since getting home from Hogwarts.”
Something about that bothered him. It’s like the answer’s on the tip of my tongue, but that makes no sense. “Any guesses about the plan?”
Theodore looked away again. ‘Something involving Black, maybe? I doubt it’s an accident he broke out right after the Dark Lord’s return.”
Harry scowled, rage churning inside his stomach. And here we go again with Black… “You’re worried about me now that Black is out, aren’t you?”
“We all are,” said Theodore. “Black was dangerous. There’s a reason he was given life in Azkaban.”
“I doubt V-the Dark Lord broke him out.” Theodore’s eyes were wide, his face pale. Way to slip; you’ll have to clean that up if you plan on taking his offer. “If the Dark Lord broke him out,” Harry went on, “I wouldn’t need to worry about him, not if he wanted to recruit me.”
“I don’t know,” said Theodore. “Azkaban’s an awful place; most prisoners go mad.”
Harry clenched his fists. “I’m not afraid of him.” All he felt was rage akin to the night Aberforth had made him kill the lamb, the night he had brutalized Cadmus Yaxley and revealed he was a Parselmouth.
Theodore sighed. “You’re going to go after him, aren’t you? The same way you went after the Heir of Slytherin?”
Harry imagined himself standing over Black, his wand aimed at the traitor’s chest. A hungry beast roared inside his stomach, calling for blood. Merlin, I’m just a kid and he’s a murderer. What chance do I have?
None yet, another voice whispered, but with Grindelwald’s help… “I don’t know,” said Harry.
Theodore looked conflicted, reaching into the pocket of his robes. “At least take this. It might help.”
“What is it?” Harry asked, scanning the blank cover of what looked like a very old book.
“One of the books from our family library.” Theodore’s voice became a whisper again. “Only Notts know the spells in here.”
So the rumours about old families and their own magics are true? That made the book priceless. “Theodore… you’re sure?”
Theodore only nodded.
August 29, 1993
Voldemort was waiting for him in the shadow of the same building they had last met beneath. The Dark Lord was once more wearing Tom Riddle’s face and drumming his fingers against the building’s peeling wall.
“Was I late?” Harry asked, frowning.
“No,” said Voldemort, removing his hand from the wall. “It’s just that I have never been a patient man.” He studied Harry, clearly waiting.
Harry took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart. “I still have questions,” he said.
“Ask them. I have waited long enough.”
“You once told me that you worried about the Statute of Secrecy. How do you plan to make sure it never falls?”
“The first step is seizing the ministry. I can begin severing ties more easily then.”
Severing ties? Does that mean the two governments work together? Frustration gnawed at him but he kept it down. It was a well-worded answer. “What do you want from me?”
Voldemort tilted his head. “I have told you already. I would like an open mind and an opportunity to convince you my ways are right. I mean to one day offer you a place at my side.”
“So if I say yes, all you expect is that I keep in touch and listen?”
“I expect much from you, but I will not ask for it yet. Not until a firmer relationship has been agreed to.” Harry looked for traps in Voldemort’s words. “This agreement does not obligate you to fight for me, nor to take my mark.”
Harry cleared his mind, steeling his nerves. Here we go… “Then I agree.”
Voldemort’s eyes gleamed. “Excellent. What is it you ask of me in return?”
This cliffhanger is cruel and not strictly necessary, I’ll be the first to admit. The boon isn’t important any time soon, though, so I think this way is genuinely more interesting.
Please read and review.
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.