Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
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 2, 1993
The Great Hall
Harry was accustomed to being the first awake, but Theodore had risen first that morning. Harry ignored his stare as he hurriedly dressed, preparing for breakfast. At least he woke me before the others noticed I was still asleep.
Harry cast his mind back to last night’s vision as they moved up towards the Great Hall. How did Skeeter get so much right? Some of the details might be wrong, but it was incredible. No one’s known any of this for almost a hundred years, but she just fished all of it up in a few months?
Harry moved on, some mysteries would never be solved. The duel had been incredible and Harry could hardly blame Grindelwald for snapping. Merlin knows how good an agitator Aberforth is. The only thing that bothered him was the one thing Skeeter had gotten wrong.
The previous night…
The pockmarked grass and sun-kissed sky faded. “You look well.”
“You didn’t expect me to, did you?” Harry asked, opening his eyes to see a familiar tower cell.
Grindelwald tilted his head. “I was unsure. You have changed these past months.”
“It would have made me sick a year ago,” said Harry, walking towards the barred window and looking out. It was a long way to the mountain’s peak and further still to the waters of Lake Königssee far below it.
“And what does it do now?” Grindelwald asked, watching him, hands folded atop his chest. It reminds me of how Dumbledore stands sometimes.
“The Cruciatus Curse on Ariana… that was the bit I didn’t like.” Only one bit that bothered me… I really am changing. All he could do was hope it was for the best.
“It was regrettable.” He sounds like he means it. “I administered a small fraction of the curse’s power and only for a heartbeat. It was impulsive and immoral, I was not thinking clearly.”
Harry shook his head. “You recovered fast. That duel… I’ve never seen anything like it. I wish I could fight that way. I wouldn’t have to let other people control everything and just go along with it.”
“You will learn.” Harry nodded, still peering out the room’s lone window. “You doubt me?”
His face twisted into a grimace. “Some of that magic… it just feels impossible.” Harry turned back towards Grindelwald. “What is Fiendfyre?”
Grindelwald stood still. “What inspired this question?”
“You compared the water Dumbledore conjured to something you thought of as Fiendfyre, but I’ve never heard of it.”
“I am unsurprised. It is among the most evil of magics.”
Evil? Weird word for him to use. Harry chewed his words. “I didn’t think you considered any magic evil. Haven’t dark lords in the past always said magic is just magic?”
“I am no dark lord, I act for the world.” Harry nodded; it’s not like there was much else to do. “Their words are true, when taken in most forms. I generally believe it is the application of the thing which can be morally categorized and not the thing itself.”
“But you called Fiendfyre evil?”
“Fiendfyre is unlike other magic. It is autonomous. It is hatred given form; its only purpose is to destroy.”
“You thought something like that about the spell you used to counter the water. Something about how much destruction it would cause if you couldn’t control it.”
Grindelwald rubbed at his temple. “Its function is the same. Fiendfyre, Drochuisc, Talamholc, and Sgriosàile; the four elemental incarnations of hatred. I call them evil because, in their purest forms, they are manifestations of blind malevolence.”
Harry found himself leaning forward. “But they can be controlled?”
“Only by the exceptionally skilled. They were called myths for centuries due to their scarcity. It takes a uniquely gifted magician to master any of them.”
Harry imagined roaring winds buffeting wine-red fire, water surging up through broken earth. “What about all of them?”
“It is impossible.”
Harry frowned. “Why?”
Grindelwald chewed his words. “Aristotle believed everything was made from elements later named for him. This is, of course, untrue, but his beliefs are not unfounded.”
“What do you mean?” The best way to get answers from Grindelwald was to ask a leading question, then listen.
“It is complex. It is the belief of many that magic found its roots in the creative mind. Some believe that things once sprung into being to match how we perceived the world. Those who support this idea often cite that the creation process is the root of all magic and claim that what we use today is the same force that has been weakened by time and stagnation.”
Harry took that in; it was a mad idea. It all sounds nuts. “What do you think?”
“There is merit in the idea. Magic and its capacity to create may well be linked to the beginning of all things. I am more sceptical of the idea that it once worked so fluidly, subconscious thought brought concepts into existence, but the truth matters very little. What is important is that the Aristotelian elements are often linked back to this concept.”
“Why?” Harry asked again, not yet seeing a connection.
“Because it is said certain kinds of people more often imagined, and therefore created, some elements more than others. None of this matters, in truth. It is commonly viewed as a folktale used to justify our shortcomings. The truth is that one magician can only ever wield two of them. One cannot wield opposing elements.”
Harry pondered for a moment. “So if someone could use air and fire, they wouldn’t be able to use earth and water?”
Grindelwald waved a hand. “Their use in most conventional magics would be unchanged, but they would be unable to wield them as incarnations of hatred.”
“So your two were earth and fire?”
“Yes, my affinities were for earth and fire.”
“Water and earth, though I suspect that may have changed in later years.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. “Affinities can change?”
“I have never known it to happen, but one’s Patronus can change and that is the purest representation of the caster one can imagine.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “You keep just assuming I know these spells you’re talking about.”
Grindelwald smiled. “I am using terminology you are unfamiliar with in the hope of fostering further questions.”
Git. At least he’s honest. “Fine. What’s a Patronus?”
“A Patronus is the result of the Patronus Charm, the only known defence against dementors.”
Harry perked up. “They’re at Hogwarts this year.”
Grindelwald unfolded his hands. “Dementors are posted at a school?”
Harry took a deep breath, trying to ignore the rage rising up beneath his skin. “Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban. He betrayed Dumbledore and my parents in the last war. He sold their location to Voldemort, then joined him. Some say he was his lieutenant near the end. No one knows for sure, but either way, he’s dangerous; the only man ever to escape from Azkaban.”
Grindelwald’s eyes were like blue ice. “You ought to tell me things of this nature.”
“Why?” Harry asked. “It’s not like you can do anything about it whilst locked up here.”
“I need not do anything at all. I need only to prepare you for what may come.”
Back in the present…
It was hard not being happy with the talk they’d had despite how the image of Grindelwald’s wand trained on Ariana made him feel. That happened a hundred years ago, there’s nothing to be done. Focus on yourself.
The best way of serving himself was working with Grindelwald. The thought still made him nervous, but it was the only path forward. How else will I ever get free? People using me is helping me now, but it won’t always. I need power.
Harry had said as much to Grindelwald, who had agreed to help him. “I will help only so long as you continue making the best of my teachings. Laziness will not be tolerated, lazy men do not change the world.”
Grindelwald’s first lecture had been on non-verbal casting. Harry was to master it by Samhain, which he thought sounded insane. That’s in the sixth-year curriculum and Cassie told me half of them struggle. How am I supposed to do it? But he had not complained; that was another thing he doubted Grindelwald would tolerate. At least I know some Occlumency, he said that would help.
Timetables were soon passed out. Harry looked down at his. It was much fuller than it had been last year. There’s no way I could have taken Divination; it’s literally impossible. That first day alone, they had Transfiguration and Defence Against the Dark Arts in the morning, Care of Magical Creatures immediately after lunch, and then an Arithmancy double to end the day.
Divination would remain untaken. Harry had begun studying some Ancient Runes last year after Daphne demonstrated just how useful they could be. They proved both fascinating and versatile. Not a subject I’d give up. Then there was Arithmancy, a fundamental component of magic involved in things like Alchemy and Spell Creation. I can’t give that up, either. Care of Magical Creatures was the least intriguing of the three, but with dementors at Hogwarts, it felt more important than ever. Grindelwald can talk about Divination all he wants; I made the right choices.
When the last of them finished breakfast, Harry and his group began moving towards the Great Hall’s exit.
Must he do this on the first day? Harry grimaced but schooled his features before he turned around. I won’t give Snape any more reasons to make my life a pain. “Professor?”
“Come.” Snape strode off towards the stone steps leading into the dungeons, gesturing for him to follow.
“We’ll tell McGonagall where you are,” Pansy promised before moving off with Draco, Theodore, Crabbe, and Goyle.
Harry and Snape left the noise-filled hall behind. They walked in silence past the decoy corridor and the Slytherin common room, their footsteps echoing against the stone walls, floors, and ceilings until they reached Snape’s office. It was as dark and dingy a place as Harry remembered. The only noticeable difference was that Snape had acquired several more jars over the summer, each of them filled with a new slimy something Harry did not recognize.
“It is your lucky day, Potter.”
It doesn’t feel like it right now. Surely Snape would only ever say that to mock him. “What do you mean, Professor?”
Snape screwed up his face. It’s like he’s trying not to curse me. “You are an exceptional student; exceptional enough that you are being bestowed a unique honour.” His lip curled. “I personally consider this madness and think it will only inflate your ego further, but choices like these are beyond my authority.”
He’s really not happy. “What honour, sir?”
Snape waved his wand and a desk drawer slid open. Snape withdrew an odd device Harry had never seen before. Something resembling an hourglass hanging from an ornate chain. It’s mechanical though, or something like it. Weird.
“Do you know what this is, Potter?”
“This is a time turner. Its function is as advertised. Anyone in possession of this device or any like it will have, at their disposal, a mechanism capable of traversing time itself.”
Awe washed over him, all semblances of Occlumency forgotten. “Sir, are you telling me this lets whoever’s wearing it travel through time?”
“In a sense.” He really doesn’t sound happy. Not that I can blame him, why would anyone give these to a student?
“Sir, do I understand right that you’re going to give this to me?” Snape nodded curtly. “Why do Hogwarts students get time turners? That seems mental.”
Snape’s lip curled. “I’m glad to see there is still some sense left in that overinflated head of yours. Rest assured, Potter, that these are not given out lightly. You are one of two Hogwarts students this year being given one. You two will be the first students ever given these devices.”
“Yes, Potter, ever; must I repeat myself so often?”
Harry grasped for control of his mind. Must you be such an utter twat? “Sorry, sir, it’s just… a lot.”
“These are a relatively new discovery made by the Department of Mysteries. There have been several propositions made over the past number of years for Hogwarts students to receive them, but they have all been denied.” Snape looked like he was chewing on a lemon. “The Granger girl was granted one this year on the account of her wishing to take extra classes. She was deemed an exceptional student and served as an ideal opportunity for these devices to be tested in an educational setting. I was… displeased by the development.”
“Because you don’t think students should be given time turners?”
“I am quite correct in saying they should not be, but the bulk of my displeasure came when I heard who would be receiving one.” Snape fixed him with his dark-eyed stare. “You are an attention-seeking brat completely lacking in common sense and void of any survival instincts, but it is you who stands atop your year, not Granger.”
So that’s why he agreed. He can’t stand Gryffindor winning, even if I gain from them not.
Snape lifted the time turner, but his grip around its chain remained firm. “It should go without saying that you will be monitored more closely than usual and questioned regularly about your usage of this.”
Harry nodded, mind racing with a hundred new prospects. I can really do it. Between this and Grindelwald, I can work towards being free. “Yes, sir.”
“The time turner may not be used to retake tests or exams, nor in any competitive environment such as Quidditch. If you leave the castle during the spring or winter breaks, the time turner will remain behind with me.” Snape stared into his eyes. “Am I understood?”
Harry nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“I should dissuade any delusions you may have about bending time to your whims before you try something foolish. The time turner works safely only in one-hour increments. One full turn of the hourglass will transport you back one hour into the past and back is the only direction you can travel.” Harry nodded to show that he was following.
“I am legally bound to inform you that this device should only be used in order to attend extra classes and complete the necessary course material,” Snape’s lip curled, “but I am not foolish enough to believe you will follow such restrictions. Instead I will tell you that those who meddle with time rarely find kind fates. No one has travelled further back than six hours. Seven is theoretically possible, but you would be a greater fool than even your father if you tried.”
“So only go back a few hours at a time, at most.”
“At most. This is not a toy, Potter, and it has other consequences.”
Here comes the catch. “What sorts of consequences, Professor?”
“The time turner allows you to be in two places simultaneously. If you travel back in time, two of you will exist before the past version of yourself takes the time turner back, as you did.”
Harry swallowed hard. This sounds like one of Dudley’s cartoons. “I’m guessing I probably don’t want to run into the duplicate of myself?”
“Doing so would be ill thought. You should also avoid others realizing there are two of you. No one is to know of this, not even your closest friends.”
It’s weird agreeing with Snape, but he’s right about that part. Draco would probably go run his mouth about it. “I understand.”
“There is more than the possibility of colliding with an alternative version of yourself. The time turner does not duplicate you. It instead divides, leaving your mind and body reeling under twice the strain. This is the price you pay for time.”
That could be a problem.
“I’m warning you, Potter, misuse of this device will be severely punished.”
Harry nodded one last time, reaching out as Snape finally handed him the time turner, its metal cold against his skin. “I understand, sir.”
Hermione’s eyelids drooped, the scarlet curtains flickering in and out of sight as she scratched Crookshanks behind the ear. Her head lulled and the necklace swung, its metal cold against her skin.
That was what jolted her. She cupped the hourglass and held it up to her face, staring down and battling the storm raging inside her.
This is stupid! This is so stupid! Why is everything in this world stupid! The Philosopher’s Stone left in a school, aurors uninvolved in fighting threats against children, dementors at Hogwarts, and now this? How am I ever supposed to be comfortable in a world that makes no sense? Everything is broken!
Hardly anything worked the way it should. Couldn’t they all see that? Couldn’t the adults do something about it? Almost everything needed fixing and the world would operate a whole lot smoother if people just slowed down and used basic common sense.
But on the other hand…
A time turner, resting in the palm of her hand… I can do things with this… so much is possible. She almost gasped, struck by sudden inspiration. This is it! This is my chance! I can use this. I’ll use it to get ahead — so far ahead that, by the time I graduate, they’ll have to listen. There was hope yet — if no one else would fix things, then Hermione would do it herself.
September 3, 1993
The Headmaster’s Office
Harry examined his own emotions as he climbed the spiral staircase. Pleasant memories came with this climb, but so to did knowing long-buried secrets. Why does what he did that summer bug me more than what Grindelwald did? It all came back to treachery. Dumbledore was willing to leave his family… I could never do that.
“Enter,” Dumbledore called once Harry knocked upon his door. The office remained unchanged but for the largest pile of parchment Harry had ever seen upon the headmaster’s desk.
“Busy start to your year, sir?” he asked, taking the seat across from Dumbledore.
Dumbledore shoved aside a sheet of parchment. “You could say that, yes. Dementors on the grounds of Hogwarts come with much paperwork. Funny that the one tasked with said work is the one who opposed their presence from the beginning.”
“My friends said you wouldn’t like dementors at Hogwarts. They were surprised to see them here at all.”
A shadow passed across Dumbledore’s face. “They were correct. I have no love for beasts who know nothing but treachery and despair. Cornelius’s assurances do little to appease me.”
“Do you think the dementors are working with Black, or something?”
The headmaster’s lips thinned. “No. The dementors will not spare Sirius Black, not now that he has escaped. I doubt even Lord Voldemort could convince them otherwise.”
Careful with this next one. “But you think Voldemort is coming back?”
Dumbledore looked old all of a sudden. “I believe that his return is inevitable, whenever it may come.” He peered out his office window. “I fear that day of reckoning may not be so distant. There have been rumblings.”
Dumbledore really doesn’t miss much. Harry hoped he remained ignorant. Things could get very complicated if Dumbledore learned of Voldemort’s return. Caught between the two most powerful wizards in the world… that doesn’t sound fun.
“I believe that’s enough talk of dementors and of Voldemort,” Dumbledore decided. “We have much to discuss. How has your return to classes treated you?”
“We haven’t done much except for Divination and Care of Magical Creatures yesterday, plus a double period in Potions earlier today.”
“What do you think of your new classes? I heard that Silvanus began his class this year with hippogriffs; such beautiful creatures, they are.”
Harry smiled in memory. “It was my favourite class so far. Crabbe thought he might be starting us too fast, but it all worked out.”
Dumbledore chuckled. “Professor Kettleburn has always been fond of grand beginnings. I eagerly await the stories of each new year. What of the others?”
Harry chewed his lip. “I don’t know about Divination.” That was a lie. I know it’s a complete and total waste of time with that idiot teaching. All she had done was predict his death by staring into some tea leaves. Even Grindelwald thinks she’s a joke.
“It has never been my favourite subject.” Harry remembered Dumbledore saying that while talking with Grindelwald and suppressed a shudder. “Not many have the gift. Do not take any failures too harshly, and do try and forgive Sybil’s eccentricities. She is a kind-hearted woman who means well.”
“Yes, sir.” There was nothing else to say. I’ll just keep my insults nonverbal.
“Divination took place during the same time as Arithmancy yesterday, did it not?” Harry nodded. “So you have used the time turner?”
“I did. It was… weird.”
“Is it true that those who use them feel no connection to their alternative self?”
“If Snape hadn’t told me how it worked—”
“Professor Snape, Harry.”
Harry grimaced, but went on. “If Professor Snape hadn’t told me how it worked, I would never have realized there was another one of me at all.” His grimace returned, deeper than before. “Until that night. I crashed really hard.”
Dumbledore nodded. “That is unsurprising. Professor Snape and I are of the belief that Occlumency can be used to augment your mind in a way that may lessen the strain it undergoes.”
“Thought streams, right?”
Dumbledore studied him. “Your knowledge has expanded since last we met.”
Harry wanted to curse the moment the question left his lips. Idiot! Voldemort is the one who mentioned that!
“I read about them this summer. There are a few books on it in the Black family library.”
“I see.” Harry tried gauging Dumbledore’s mood, but it was impossible. “I should have known curiosity would get the best of you. Your Occlumency is impressive for one so young. You continued the prescribed exercises over the summer?”
“Yes, sir. They’ve been helping; I can feel the difference.”
“Good. I will no longer keep Passive Occlumency from you, but I do ask that attempted alterations of your own mind be done only while instructed and supervised until you have a grasp on the necessary concepts.”
Harry fought a smile. I’ll have supervision, it might just not be what you have in mind. “Of course, sir.”
“I was referring to thought streams, as you guessed. They are, at first, exhausting, but become much less so with time. We believe their usage may reduce the strain caused by the time turner.”
“So are we going to test the theory?”
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “You will be testing it later this year so long as you gain proficiency with the technique, though I am afraid I will not be aiding you.”
Harry frowned. “But you just asked me not to do those sorts of things without proper instruction.”
“And you will have it, just not from me. I will be passing the duty of teaching you Occlumency onto Professor Snape this year.”
Harry stiffened. “What? But, sir—“
Dumbledore held up a hand. “Please let me explain.” Harry reluctantly sat back in his chair. “Professor Snape is more gifted an occlumens than I will ever be. I feared him too impatient to instruct a beginner, but you are past that stage now. I believe he will be a better instructor than I. It would be selfish of me not to do what I feel is best for you.”
“What if I’d still prefer you teach me? Headmaster, you must know that he and I don’t get along.”
“I am not unaware. It is another reason why I believe this to be wise.”
Harry chose his next words carefully. “Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but that sounds completely backwards.”
“Does it? We have already discussed Voldemort’s inevitable return. Both you and Professor Snape have strong reasons to oppose him. Is it not wise ensuring the two of you can coexist before that trying day comes?”
Guilt clawed at his stomach, but he batted it away. You’re doing what’s best for you. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that. “I guess so, sir.”
“Fear not, I won’t neglect you this year. We will continue our lessons, they will simply cease being focused on Occlumency.”
Harry perked back up. “What will you be teaching me, sir?”
“It is my hope that I will teach you how better to handle yourself in the event that Sirius Black or similarly interested parties gain access to you.”
Harry’s eyes lit up. “You’re going to teach me how to fight?”
“Slowly but surely. We will begin with me teaching you Transfiguration and see how much of the curriculum we can get through. I believe you are ahead already?”
Harry nodded. “I’m probably somewhere into the fourth-year curriculum. I haven’t pushed myself as hard in Transfiguration as I have in something like Defence Against the Dark Arts.”
“All the better. All it means is that you do not yet understand your potential. I think you will soon surprise yourself.”
I can see you all typing away about how foolish it is to include time turners and I understand your concern. They are beyond broken canonically. That is one of the reasons I am including them — I want to see if I can provide at least a little bit of balance and logic to something so broken. You can see the foundations of that balance in this chapter already.
I should also point out that, due to his year-long stay in Azkaban, Hagrid did not get the Care of Magical Creatures position. There’s no good way of explaining that in-world since, from the characters’ perspectives, him not getting it is normal.
See you all next week!
Please read and review.
PS: The next password will be posted next Saturday. THE NEXT TWENTY-THREE CHAPTERS ARE AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW FOR PATRONS! If you would like to read those chapters, feel free to sign up to my Patreon page — https://patreon.com/ACI100.
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