Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 8: Broken Pacts
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, Fezzik, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
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September 1, 1993
The train buzzed, with students up and down its compartments speculating about the dementor as it chugged ever onwards. Harry’s friends talked too, but their tones were different.
“Merlin,” Theodore breathed in awe, “Harry, you just… I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“That was incredible!” Pansy praised.
Draco had only the strength to nod. The dementor really got to him. His scar gave another throb, but Harry ignored it. Why not me? he thought for the hundredth time. I’ve gone through much worse than Draco.
The rain was falling hard when they stepped off the train. Thunder boomed and lightning lit the silhouette of Hogwarts in the distance, veiled by heavy sheets of rain.
Harry was grateful for the weather. It offered an escape from the praise and questions since they could hardly hear each other, even when nestled in the carriages.
They were all soaked and shivering by the time they finally stepped inside. Harry nearly ran head-first into Weasley, who had grown another few inches over the summer and was being led away by Madam Pomfrey. What the hell is that about? He looked over his shoulder to watch and saw that Granger too was walking in the wrong direction, following in the footsteps of Professor McGonagall. Merlin, what have they gotten into this time?
“Harry, a word?”
Harry smiled and waved his friends on. “Sure, Cassius, what’s up?”
Cassius glanced back over his shoulder and Harry took the hint, picking through the crowd and into the alcove beneath the marble staircase. Harry hissed quietly and the doorknob appeared.
Cassius shivered. “Merlin, that’s creepy,” he said once they’d entered the passage and closed the door behind them.
Harry rubbed at his scar. The pain had largely faded, but a stubborn prickle remained. “What is?”
“You know… the hissing.”
Harry shrugged. “All of Slytherin knows I can do it. There’s no point in hiding it so long as only you lot are around.”
“I’ll get used to it, it might just take a while. When anyone like us thinks about Parseltongue…” The rest went unsaid — they thought about Voldemort.
“Well, I’m not him,” said Harry.
“I know,” said Cassius, looking away, “just… there have been rumours.”
So Cassius really doesn’t know. Harry wondered once more just how many of his friends knew what was happening. “I get it,” he said, “just don’t expect me not to use it.”
Cassius gave a nervous half-smile. “Yeah, of course. How are you holding up?”
Harry frowned. “Me?”
“Yeah, you know… the dementor.” He shivered. “It got me pretty good and I think we’ve both been through some stuff. I just figured…” he let his voice trail off.
Cassius might be the best friend I have. No one else had ever checked on him this way — no one but Diana, whose loyalties remained unsure. “It didn’t seem to affect me,” he admitted.
Cassius looked puzzled. “Didn’t affect you?”
“I don’t know how else to say it. It got to everyone else, but I was fine. Colder than hell until Crabbe told us to eat some chocolate, but that was about it.” Cassius looked pensive. “I know Occlumency,” said Harry, “maybe that was it.”
Cassius wiped stray drops of water from his brow. “Maybe. I’ve only ever heard of Occlumency, so I can’t say much. You figure some of the prisoners would know it, though, and they say dementors get to all of them in the end.”
Harry shrugged. It makes no sense. “It was only in the compartment for a minute. Maybe it would have gotten to me if it stayed longer.”
Cassius nodded, but he was still frowning. “We should get to the feast,” he said. “No good to miss the sorting and all that.”
They slipped silently into the hall partway through the sorting. A thousand plates and goblets gleamed beneath the cloud-filled ceiling. The ghosts appeared brighter than usual against the bleakness outside; all except the Bloody Baron, who stood silent as ever.
“Did I miss anything interesting?” Harry asked, sitting between Theodore and Pansy.
Pansy yawned. “A few new first years, but no one that interesting. Millicent’s younger brother, Arthur, the Avery heir, and one other. Daphne’s—”
Pansy cut herself off; there was no need to finish.
Harry watched her path towards the stool. Her head was high but he noticed her shoulders shaking and saw that her hands were in her robes. Her hair was darker than her sister’s and she was shorter than Daphne had been at that age.
Harry felt the stare and turned, meeting narrow, sapphire eyes. Her hand gripped the table’s edge, knuckles white against the emerald cloth. She doesn’t like the idea of me being around her sister.
Harry smiled mockingly then turned back around just in time for the hat to shout “SLYTHERIN!”
Interesting, Harry thought, watching Astoria walk across the hall. Daphne’s betrayal still weighed in his thoughts. Watching her sister brought all those feelings back. She probably hates me; Merlin only knows what Daphne’s told her. But if she didn’t…
A Macnair, a Rowle, and a Thicknesse joined Slytherin. Harry recognized the first two names, and Pansy mentioned that there was a rising ministry official named Thicknesse working in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
The sorting concluded when a dark-haired girl named Romilda Vane was sorted into Gryffindor.
Dumbledore rose from the staff table but the hall did not quiet. A wall of chatter wafted through the hall, breaking against Dumbledore like snow against the castle walls. I’ve never seen anyone look so unbothered by something like this.
“We are a restless bunch tonight,” Dumbledore said once quiet prevailed. “I will not try and hold back the tide. Let the merrymaking begin!”
The scents of beef and bacon intermingled with the smell of gravy, fresh fruit, and a thousand other unnamed things. They all wafted through the hall, hanging in the air like the rain-filled clouds outside. Chatter soon erupted, whistling through the room like a gusting wind, taking all decorum with it.
“You never did explain what happened with her?” Pansy whispered in Harry’s ear, jerking her head towards Daphne.
Harry swallowed a mouthful of mashed potatoes. “I’d rather not.”
Pansy made large, puppy eyes. “Please?”
Harry sighed. He’d planned to keep his friends out of it since he doubted Daphne would involve them, but Pansy talked with her often. She has the right to know. “She tried poisoning me in November, then rigged an exploding statue later in the year.”
Pansy clamped a hand to her mouth. “Why?”
Harry scowled. “She thought I was the Heir of Slytherin.”
“Then why was she still glaring at you? She knows that isn’t true now.”
That was an interesting question, but Harry thought he knew. She’s so sure she’s right, just like Voldemort and Grindelwald. Daphne would never be their equal with a wand, but she was probably the smartest witch at Hogwarts. Anyone that smart is always so sure they’re right. Harry had learned that while dealing with the two dark lords.
“I guess you’d have to ask her,” he said instead, sawing at his steak.
Pansy huffed. “I don’t think I will.”
“You’re friends, aren’t you?” Harry asked without looking up.
“We were friends, but not anymore.” She smiled. “You were always better than her.”
“That girl could be the world’s greatest spy if she learned to hold her tongue,” Theodore said while Pansy visited with other friends further up the table.
“I don’t think she could,” said Draco. “She’s too emotional.”
Theodore laughed. “Look who’s talking, Draco.”
Draco sneered. “I told you already, I’ve grown up. She hasn’t yet, and neither have you. You learn from your mistakes once you do.”
Theodore sneered right back. “Some of us don’t need to transform ourselves to be decent human beings.”
Harry ignored them, focusing on the food. I feel like a fat slob or something. No one around him was eating half so much. Then he remembered the dementor and wondered again why he had been so unaffected.
Pansy soon returned, vibrating with excitement. “Have you heard?” she asked them.
“Heard what?” asked Theodore.
“Which one?” Draco asked. “There are about a dozen of them and I don’t expect that woman’s done making more.”
“Oh, cut it out, you know which one I’m talking about.”
“King Weasley?” Theodore asked, smirking. Many Slytherins had taken to calling Ron that after his fumbled catch during their Quidditch match last November.
Draco scowled. “I can’t say I’ve cared enough to pay attention. Why? Should I have heard something?”
Pansy giggled. “He had a fit on the train; he fell off his seat and everything! The big, bad Quidditch star was afraid of the dementor! Someone even told me he wet himself!”
Harry ignored them. Never before had he played these games and he would not start now — certainly not whilst remembering a night sitting out near the Black Lake. I don’t remember them being so cocky when the dementor walked in, and Weasley has a better reason to be afraid.
The food vanished, replaced by desserts of all names. Harry smelt chocolate, cinnamon, and a dozen other things that he could name. The hall grew louder in the minutes to come, reenergized by the sugar. Crabbe had limped through dinner all night, clearly still plagued by the dementor’s effects, but he burned through dessert with a fervour that Dudley would have envied.
Harry looked away. No one should have that much in their mouth at once. He looked up at the staff table and noticed only one difference. A man in tattered robes sat beside Professor McGonagall, his hair streaked with grey. Harry frowned. Is he the new professor? The man looked like someone he would stumble across in Knockturn Alley.
Harry tapped Pansy on the shoulder. “Who’s that?” he asked, pointing.
“He must be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor.”
“I gathered that. I was wondering if you knew who he was.”
“Oh,” she blushed. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Theodore, who must have been eavesdropping. “Dumbledore will tell us soon enough.”
The desserts vanished not five minutes later, taking the gilded plates and goblets with them.
This time the hall quieted more quickly when Dumbledore stood. “Welcome! I sense you are wearier than usual, so I shan’t keep you long.
“First years should note that the forest on the edge of the grounds is called the Forbidden Forest for a reason. It is not a place to be trifled with and anyone caught sneaking through it will be punished.
“Those interested in playing for their House Quidditch teams should present themselves to their heads of house by the end of next week. Tryouts will be arranged by your respective captains sometime this month. I look forward to a full and exciting year of Quidditch after its forced cancellation last May.”
One of the Weasley twins whooped from the Gryffindor table and soon the hall was filled with raucous applause.
Dumbledore smiled. “I hope you’re as enthusiastic for your new professor.” Quiet muttering replaced the cheers and Dumbledore waited for silence before continuing. “This year, Professor Lupin will be taking on the daunting prospect of teaching you all Defence Against the Dark Arts.”
There was polite applause, but nothing like the stir Aberforth’s hiring had caused last year.
“Onto less pleasant news,” said Dumbledore, suddenly less joyace. “As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business.” He really isn’t happy; he went out of his way to make sure we know it wasn’t his fault.
“They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds,” Dumbledore continued, “and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises — or even invisibility cloaks.” Harry kept his expression still.
“It is not in the nature of a dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs afoul of the dementors.”
Ringing silence rang through the hall. Not even the Weasley twins stirred.
Dumbledore smiled again. “Now, you are all weary and I fear that I have troubled you. Off to bed with you all.”
Harry stepped up beside Draco whilst they moved towards the stone steps leading down into the dungeons. “You actually respect him, don’t you?”
“Who?” Draco whispered back, glancing around them. The only ones nearby were the rest of their friends, but they had fallen several paces back.
Draco sneered, but it looked half-hearted. “Something like that,” he muttered, looking away and slowing his stride, allowing the others to catch up.
A tall girl blocked their path. Not that tall, Harry realized, eyeing the Head Girl badge on her chest, just older.
“You’re Harry Potter, right?” As if she doesn’t know. He nodded. “I’ve been told to give this to you.” Harry took the offered parchment, wondering why she, of all people, had been sent to pass it on.
It would be my pleasure to speak with you this Friday evening if you would indulge an old man and his whims. We have much to discuss with such a chaotic year ahead of us and I think it would behoove both of us to do so promptly.
PS: After many years of procrastination, I have finally tried and taken a liking to Fizzing Whizbees!
Harry nearly snorted. Someone as brilliant as Dumbledore was bound to have their quirks, but Merlin, did that man ever have his quirks.
August 19, 1899
The Dumbledore Family Home
That morning dawned brightly. Leaves bathed in warm sunlight beneath a pale-blue sky and the grass was soft underfoot. Everything appeared starker in this sunlight; the grass was greener, the trees more lush, and the sky a perfect shade of blue.
None of it made Gellert regret their plans. They would leave on the morrow and head for France, where Nicholas Flamel had arranged Albus a meeting with the French Minister for Magic.
The man knew naught what Albus planned to say, nor that a friend would accompany him. That had been when Gellert knew he’d won. Albus would not risk that connection if he was anything less than devoted.
“There is no better place to start,” Albus had said. “We must try to win world powers to our side with words.”
Gellert would have agreed to anything. It had taken time to convince Albus this was their only course. The world would be better for it, but Albus thought too often of the smaller problems that their pursuit would fix in time.
Everything was decided. Albus’s siblings would stay with a friend he’d met at school — a strange fellow named Elphias Doge. Aberforth had raged but Albus had not wavered. Gellert had smiled at Aberforth just before he left the room. Foolishness never wins.
“I can’t believe we’re leaving,” Albus muttered, looking up and over the tops of distant trees.
“The time has come,” Gellert said with reverence.
“Part of me still wonders how you convinced me.”
Gellert smirked. “You know that I am right. Little convincing was needed.” It was untrue, but let Albus believe. His recent decisiveness does him credit.
A door slammed behind them. Gellert tensed but kept his eyes forward until Albus gasped beside him.
He turned his head. The fool boy was back, but that was not what stilled Gellert’s heart. No! This can’t happen! The girl hung limply in his arms, mouth ajar and pale strands of hair splayed across her forehead. Panic seized him, but not for the child. No… not now, not this close.
“Aberforth!” Albus rushed forward and took the girl from his arms. “What happened?”
“Your plans have died, you won’t be running off with him.” Aberforth spat the last word like it was something foul, glaring at Gellert over his brother’s shoulder. The mounting anger pours from him in a last-ditch attempt. Nothing scared him worse than the idea that it might just work.
He cannot be allowed to ruin this. “You watch your tongue, you hear me?” Gellert spat back, blood pumping, eyes ablaze. “Do not ever—”
“Gellert! That’s enough!” Gellert growled then fell silent. Albus looked up, still kneeling over his sister. “Explain yourself, Aberforth.”
“Explain myself?!” the boy raged, spit flying. “Look at her! Does she look prepared for the care of your dim-witted friend?”
Albus took a deep breath. “Elphias is sharper than you realize. You will speak of him with respect—”
“I will speak how I choose!” The boy was shaking now, soundless tears rolling down his cheeks. Gellert’s stomach nodded, but not for the boy.
“Aberforth, listen to me—”
“No, Albus! I’ve listened long enough. Look where it’s gotten us! LOOK AT HER!” Albus’s eyes fell towards his sister and Gellert watched his shoulders sag. “You know I can’t control her during the fits. This is your fault and you know it. You must stay behind and care for her. Her death will be on your hands if you leave.”
“You go too far!” Gellert roared, drawing his wand. “Your incompetence should shackle no one.”
The boy’s own wand appeared in his hand. “It isn’t about competence, Grindelwald! Albus has practised, I can’t—”
“Excuses!” Aberforth’s hand trembled and the tip of his wand sparked. Give me a reason, you worm.
“Excuses? Is that what you’ll tell your victims’ families?”
Albus looked up. “Aberforth! You will hold your tongue!”
“No,” said Gellert, “go on.”
“You would watch my sister rot if it got you an ounce of what you wanted. No one means anything compared to your goals. You know nothing of love; all you know is greed and dominance.”
“Aberforth!” snapped Albus. “I said that’s enough!”
“No,” said Gellert, his voice low, “he’s right.”
Albus’s eyes swivelled towards him. “Gellert… you can’t mean that.”
Gellert banished the last of his restraint. I can’t believe this is happening. “If love is what shackles you and blinds your brother, then he is right, I know nothing of love.”
“See?” Aberforth shouted, brandishing his wand. “He admits it!”
“Not to all of it. You think I wish death upon your sister? Her state means more to me than you will ever understand. It represents our failure. Every fit she has pulls at my heart and makes me wonder why I wait here and do nothing.”
“You don’t care!” Aberforth hissed. “It’s all about you and your ambitions.”
“My ambitions dwarf all; everything I do is for the greater good.”
Half a dozen curses leapt from Aberforth’s wand, but Gellert cast wordless counters and they sparked out before reaching him. Another spell built in the boy’s wand, but Gellert flicked his hand and knocked him flat against the grass.
“Stop this!” cried Albus, his voice cracking like weathered stone.
Aberforth sucked in a long breath, rising from the grass. “No! He dies here!”
Gellert neutralized the boy’s next spell. An invisible whip cracked and the child went sprawling again. Pathetic. Gellert readied his wand.
The boy lunged. “AVADA—”
He cast without thinking, unprepared to hear the Killing Curse’s first verse. The Unforgivable plucked Aberforth from mid-air. For a moment he hung — suspended and thrashing — before falling to the grass, writhing like a snake with its tail caught beneath a hunter’s boot.
Blood thundered in Gellert’s ears. Let him suffer; let him learn what it is to play with the Unforgivable Curses.
A rocky spire jutted up between them, breaking his concentration.
Gellert turned slowly, facing a familiar face whose wand was trained on him. “Leave.”
Ice seeped through his veins. He can’t take his side. “Did you not hear the spell your brother—“
“I said leave, Gellert. You’ve done enough.”
You bastard! Something shattered inside his chest. “Our plans—”
“Can wait if they still go on at all. Just… go.”
Silence hung between them but for their robes flapping in a late-summer’s breeze. “You would abandon our ambitions?”
Pain slashed across Albus’s face. “They are my family, Gellert. I can’t just leave them.”
“And what of the muggles who did this to your family?”
“Ariana’s accident was our fault. If we had been more careful—”
“YOUR INCOMPETENCE IS NOT THE POINT!” Gellert hated him! A hundred daggers buried themselves hilt deep in his chest. Why does it hurt so much? He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I loved you.” Silent tears stung his eyes and blurred his vision. “We were to unite the Hallows and become Masters of Death. My life’s work, Albus; I was willing to share this with you.”
Gellert saw the pain in his best friend’s eyes, saw Albus steeling himself for what would come next. “I was mistaken to agree. I will no longer be part of your plans, Grindelwald.”
The knives burned inside his chest. “Then we duel.”
You’ve made your choice. “Fight me!”
“NO!” Albus slipped his wand back up his sleeve. “Go!”
Gellert studied him, the heat still eating at his chest. “You would let me leave, knowing what I plan?”
Albus stared back at him. “Yes.”
His hands curled into fists. “The weaklings will ask for your aid. We will meet again.”
The wind blew strands of auburn hair across his friend’s forehead. “Perhaps.”
Gellert closed his eyes and snuffed the building heat. “We end this now.”
“Yes.” Aberforth crawled out from behind the jutting stone, clutching at the hem of his brother’s robes. “Albus, listen to what he’s saying. We should take him. Together, we could do it.”
Gellert levelled his wand at Albus, his sister’s stirring body the only thing between them. “Arm yourself, Dumbledore!” Albus remained still. “Arm yourself now!”
Albus looked away. “I will not fight you, Gellert.”
Must I do this? “Fine; have it your way.” Gellert let his wand’s tip fall, now aimed down at Ariana. “Crucio.”
The girl screamed and Albus drew his wand. Gellert ended the spell. The spire exploded. Shrapnel intercepted Gellert’s curses then burst into flame, pelting back towards him.
Gellert banished himself a dozen feet back and thrust his wand above his head. The fire streamed skyward, now a single molten sphere that fell towards Albus like a shooting star.
Grass burned and stone smouldered, giving way beneath the fire. A flaming tornado surrounded the spot where Albus had stood, sending waves of heat rippling out in all directions.
Gellert lowered his wand, wincing as his skin stiffened against the heat. Something panted in his stomach, raising bile to his throat. White-hot needles prodded at his cheeks. He turned to leave. “No!” Aberforth screamed. “You bastard!”
“It is finished,” said Gellert, sweat rolling down his face.
“Like hell it is!”
Gellert spun and batted away the first curse. Spells flew back and forth until Aberforth was blasted back again. Gellert sneered down at him, this creature who had ruined everything. Green light seeped from the end of his wand, the curse building.
The blazing twister broke apart, sent skyward for a second time. Gellert whirled just in time to see it vanish in the waiting maw of a dragon made entirely from water, looming higher than the houses or trees. The dragon collapsed, rolling towards him in a single, destructive wave. It slammed against a silver shield that wavered. Gellert strained and grimaced.
The water reared back, once more a roaring dragon preparing to strike.
This is no animation. This is Drochuisc. Fear gnawed at him for the first time that day. One of the four elemental incarnations of hatred — I thought them no more than myths.
Gellert grunted and slowed time.
Not truly, but close enough. His mind processed things inhumanly swift in this state so that everything around him appeared to crawl. It was a perilous trick and he dared only use it in times like these; when eye-blinks could be the difference between life and death.
Five heartbeats — I dare not risk longer. His shock ebbed. Better. Never had he expected something like this. If one exists, they all must. Four meaningless incantations, or so he’d thought. Albus has greater control than I; my counter must be swift.
The world sped back up. “TALAMHOLC!”
Stones cracked with a sound like thunder and a hundred monsters crawled from the earth, made of stone and dirt and clay.
The dragon lunged but was met halfway. Gellert’s face twisted with pain. It was like the spell was tearing him apart in the hopes of being free.
Gellert snarled and swept his wand outwards, forcing the spell into a solid mass of earth and stone that absorbed the dragon’s strike, then curled around it. Both spells broke; sopping earth crumbled like sand at high tide and water sloshed out across the yard, flattening a thousand blades of grass. Tree-sized stones hit the ground so hard it trembled, but Gellert looked past all of that.
Albus stood facing him, wand outstretched. Both of them were flushed and gasping, but Gellert attacked; a simple barrage of curses fired off in quick succession. I cannot win a game of control; I must beat him this way. The two exchanged curses so fast that Gellert lost track of whose spells were whose.
Footsteps pounded near. His earlier fear returned. I must end this quickly; I cannot beat both of them.
Green light leapt hungrily from the tip of Gellert’s wand, but the nearest wall split off and intercepted the spell. The stone shattered into a hundred shards that hung — momentarily suspended between him and Albus — some of them blazing. Gellert dilated again, seeking gaps in the stones through which to fire curses. It was imprecise work; there was no telling whether the stones would fall faster than his spells could move.
He let the world speed up again and fired at the same time as Albus. His aim was true and sailed through a pair of stones that obscured his rival’s view. A single spell slipped through a different pair of stones, hissing towards Gellert, who raised his wand.
A shrill scream filled the warm, summer air and a small body slumped against the sopping grass.
The duel ended in a heartbeat. Albus dropped his wand and lurched forward, cradling his sister’s lifeless corpse. She’s dead; I saw that spell. Albus knew it too, though Gellert knew he had not seen it. I should kill him; he might wonder if I did it, his wrath would be fierce.
Gellert raised his wand, aiming past the spot where Aberforth sat gaping and towards his brother’s back. He could hear the words inside his head, but they melted on his tongue each time he tried saying them. He would die never knowing that he killed her; there would be mercy in that. Still his hand shook and now tears stung his eyes again.
I’m sorry, Albus, for your loss and for the future. It will be harder this way. The blue sky faded as he whirled, leaving Godric’s Hollow far behind him.
The dialogue was definitely inspired by a short film featuring this duel on YouTube. The duel itself was not, but the dialogue definitely was.
In the same vein, the time dilation and thought streams concepts are borrowed from Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin. I believe I’ve already said I’m borrowing much of that Mind Arts system, but in case I haven’t, I will say it here. Almost everything that could possibly be done with the Mind Arts has been done. I’ll probably end up copying someone whether I mean to or not, so I might as well borrow some things I like and give due credit to the person I borrowed from.
Please read and review.
PS: The next password will be released in one week. THE NEXT TWENTY-TWO CHAPTERS ARE AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW FOR PATRONS, PLUS THEY WILL GET TWO MORE BEFORE DISCORD RECEIVES CHAPTER 51! If you would like to read all those chapters early, feel free to sign up to my Patreon page.
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