Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 15: The Eye of the Storm
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.
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November 1, 1993
The Great Hall
The ground beneath his feet was pockmarked and barren, but that was all he could see through the thick pillars of smoke surrounding him. It could have been a dense fog if not for its searing heat and putrid smell. His throat burned each time he breathed — his eyes stung each time he blinked. I wish it would go away.
Harry raised his wand and the smoke before him parted, revealing scorched earth on all sides. Where once there had been sloping green lawns, now there was desolate rock that boiled underfoot. Hogwarts castle loomed up ahead, but even as he watched, it crumbled. “No!”
“There’s nothing left.” A tall man with matted hair and an emaciated frame burst into laughter; the same way he had laughed on the Daily Prophet’s front page. “You didn’t think I’d give up so easily, did you?” Sirius Black asked with a cruel smile.
“I hate you!” Harry hissed through gritted teeth.
“You should. I took your parents from you. Now, I’m taking your home.” He gestured towards the place Hogwarts had stood. A hot wind swept through, carrying off the castle’s ashes.
Black’s face changed, his hair melting into a cloud of grey smoke that drifted off after the ashes. Now Harry stared into crimson eyes and a snake-like face, greeted by that awful, inhuman smile.
“I’ll take everything from you,” the Dark Lord hissed. “There is only power, and you will never have as much as me.”
Green light seared his vision and a woman’s scream echoed through his skull.
Let it end! Merlin, just let it end!
“Bad dreams?” asked a familiar, rasping voice.
A bitter laugh left Harry’s lips. Grindelwald has gone from being my nightmare, to saving me from others. What an existence he lived.
“You could say that,” Harry said through a shiver, grasping for his last memories before the dream.
They returned in a rush. A wall of stone and the most hated face in the world, childish jinxes and animated wolves, a bounding dog and Snape’s livid face, then finally the Great Hall.
That had been the worst of all. Harry’s plans to sneak out under his cloak, use the time turner, and ambush Black were dashed when all his friends set upon him. They gave him no space, and so he was forced to watch his time tick away.
“No one has travelled back in time further than six hours. Seven is theoretically possible, but you would be a greater fool than even your father if you tried.”
Now I’m asleep… I’ve lost my chance. Harry slammed a fist hard against the wall. Burning heat shot across his hand and a lance of pain stabbed up his arm.
“I’ll take it you’ve had worse than bad dreams.”
“Sirius Black attacked me!”
Grindelwald looked him up and down. “You appear to still be perfectly intact.”
Harry scowled. “I couldn’t do anything! He just used jinxes and some transfiguration and I was useless! I hit him with one spell the whole duel!”
“What became of Black? Was he captured?”
Harry spat upon the cell’s stone floor. “He got away. One of the professors saved me. I think Black lost a hand, but I couldn’t tell. There was a lot of blood coming from his arm and something hit the floor, but I didn’t have time to look.”
“What happened next?”
Angry tears stung his eyes. “Black transformed into the dog I told you about and booked it. I wanted to go after him, but the professor stopped me.”
“I see.” Grindelwald just stood there and watched him. “Were you wounded?”
“No. Just some bruises from the stupid dogs he conjured.”
“Mental scars, then.”
“That was my chance!” His vision blurred under the weight of more tears. “I should have killed him!”
Grindelwald studied him. “You wish to kill him?”
“He killed my parents!”
“Voldemort killed your parents.”
“Black as good as killed them.”
“True. What confuses me is this hatred. You do not hold it for Voldemort.”
“It’s different,” Harry muttered while wiping at his eyes. “Voldemort did it because of a prophecy. I want to hate him, but I get it.” Cold rage seethed beneath his skin. “Black betrayed them. He was my father’s best friend and he sold them to Voldemort.”
“Ah, so it is the betrayal that hurts. That is understandable.”
Harry let out a mirthless laugh. “I don’t know why I’m surprised me wanting to murder someone doesn’t bother you.”
Grindelwald’s eyes were like two chips of ice. “What you want is not murder. You take something from a person by betraying them. You leave behind a cold void that can never be filled. What you wish for is the payment of a long-owed debt.”
I should have known he would get it. His own mother betrayed him; she would have watched him burn all because she was a muggle. That familiar hatred rose, not for Black but for the vermin who ruled the world.
You can’t do anything about them, focus on Black. “He barely even tried and still beat me. He was using bloody Stunners.”
“You are young. Much can change at your age.” A cold smile spread across Grindelwald’s lips. “Most of all when time will always be on your side.”
“I don’t know how I’m gonna close that gap.”
“You have mastered nonverbal casting as I asked of you?”
“I can do most spells nonverbally. I haven’t tried it for some of the more complicated transfigurations or things like that.”
“It matters not. The principles remain the same; all you must do is practice. You are well on your way.”
“What now?” Harry asked. “You’re going to help me, aren’t you?”
“I will always help you.” It sounds like he cares. Harry knew better — he was a means to an end for Grindelwald — but Merlin, the man could act. “I will simply change tact. Before, I helped you survive — now, I will help you kill.”
November 2, 1993
The Slytherin Dorms
The quiet of Harry’s empty dorm room felt as welcome as a lover long-lost. Shaking off his friends had been all but impossible since waking in the Great Hall the morning after Sirius Black’s attack. Bright sunlight had taunted Harry since that morning and his friends had been just as bad. Their forced cheer was painful as they followed him like shadows wherever he went. Only Cassius, Draco, and Theodore acted normally, but even they looked worried.
Harry couldn’t stand it. Why are they treating me like glass? They saw what I went through last year; they should know better.
He closed his eyes and drew in a long, deep breath. Years had been spent on Privet Drive craving company and months last year wishing all his friends would return. Now he drank in the empty room the way Draco did praise. If only everyone just acted normally like Theodore. Harry remembered their talk that next morning — one of the only normal discussions he’d had since the attack.
“Thanks,” he’d said after making sure the two of them were the first ones out of the Great Hall that morning. “I think that book saved my life.”
A gleam had appeared in Theodore’s eyes. “Which spell did you use?”
“The Flaying Curse, but it was less the spell and more that Black didn’t know what it was. It broke his concentration.”
Theodore had smiled. “I’m glad it’s helped. I can probably sneak you more while at home for the holidays.”
I hope they get over themselves soon.
A soft blue glow was coming from Harry’s trunk. This definitely wasn’t what I had in mind. The light was coming from Voldemort’s journal — the Dark Lord had written to him again.
I heard that you avoided injuries in last night’s attack. I am impressed.
A cold ball of fury tightened in Harry’s stomach. Did you send him?
Harry could practically see the sneer in the Dark Lord’s reply. If I wanted you dead, I’d have killed you myself.
You weren’t testing me, or something? Black is your lieutenant, isn’t he?
We will speak over the holidays and can discuss Black then.
There was a note of finality in those words; Harry dared not push further. Why is everyone so frustrating? Everyone but Grindelwald and a few of his friends. It was a dark thought.
Harry closed the journal and tapped his wand upon his wrist. The others would soon return to the common room and Harry’s peace would end. They would find him in the dorms and would not allow him to remain alone for long. It would be so much easier if he could just disappear — find some place that none of them could reach.
A laugh burst from his lips at the thought.
Maybe they’re right to be worried. I might really be going mad if I never thought of the chamber.
November 5, 1993
A Balcony Overlooking the Hogwarts Grounds
Harry frowned out over the Hogwarts grounds, nestled beneath a churning black sky. The rain had begun not long ago. Its drops pattered off the school’s stone walls like a hundred pairs of hands knocking on a hundred sealed doors.
He felt it when he stepped further out onto the balcony. Raindrops broke in his hair, some leaving streams of water behind that ran down his neck and made him shiver. Harry hated this time of year. At least winter looks pretty and I’m used to this 5:00 sunset garbage. It was a bleak sight each day after classes and not one he was fond of.
“We haven’t met here in a while.”
Harry was unsurprised by Diana’s intrusion. “I don’t even remember the last time.”
“Not long after Draco and you fell out last year.”
That long, huh? Last year had crawled by in the moment, but looking back, it was like a blur. Last time we met here, I hadn’t even killed the lamb… the memories had just started. That had been a different person.
“What brings you back here now?” Diana asked. “I’m still here plenty, but I haven’t seen you around.”
Harry sighed. “All of you.”
Daphne’s words echoed inside Harry’s skull.
“The Malfoys might view you as a tool, but that doesn’t mean all of us do.”
How much did Diana know? Harry was sure her guiding of him in first year had been directed, but how far did the manipulations stretch? I think she cares now. There’s no reason to keep up the mask if she didn’t need to. Still he was wary, but he shelved his doubts. I can trust her for now. We’ll see what happens when things heat up.
“All of us?” she asked. “What do you mean?”
“You’ve all been treating me like I’m going to explode ever since the run-in with Black.”
Diana bit her lip. “It would be a pretty normal thing to explode over.”
“I fought the Heir of Slytherin with your brother and Weasley last year. I’m not afraid of a duel.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I know the entire Black situation is personal for you. There’s a reason Mother wanted to speak with you about it.”
“So what? I’m going to shatter into pieces just because it’s personal?” Harry glanced around, then lowered his voice. “That hasn’t stopped me from working with him.”
Diana’s shoulders tensed. “That’s different.”
“Yeah, but not the way you think. I’d have taken his offer even without the implied threat.”
“Why?” Her voice was so faint that Harry nearly missed it against the sound of drumming raindrops.
“I know your father’s used me.” Diana gave a slight wince. That’s about what I thought. “The thing is, it’s worked for me so far.” Harry glanced down at the ring on his finger — King John’s ring, a priceless heirloom of great renown. “There are things I wouldn’t have without him. That doesn’t mean I trust him or even forgive him, but I know when to play along. I’m getting more from working with him than I would if I didn’t.”
“You take something from a person by betraying them. You leave behind a cold void that can never be filled…”
Harry crushed the thoughts that rose at that memory. Lucius Malfoy never betrayed me; he was never on my side. Voldemort might, but he hasn’t yet. I’ll be strong by the time he does.
A sad smile played across Diana’s lips. “Sometimes I forget how much you’ve changed.”
Harry brushed damp hair back from his eyes. “Is that a bad thing?”
“Not at all, it’s just… a lot to get used to. Most thirteen-year-olds don’t talk like that.”
Harry shrugged. “I’ve grown up fast. I had no choice.”
“I wish you had. I remember you as a first year. Naive, innocent, curious.”
Harry shook his head, spilling cold raindrops down his back and sending a shiver up his spine. “I was weak.”
“You’re supposed to be weak at eleven. You’re probably still supposed to be weak at thirteen.”
“You wouldn’t know, would you?”
That sad smile remained on her face. “No.”
“I can’t be weak. I have to keep changing. It’s the only way.”
Diana nodded. “I know. I just wish that wasn’t true.” She turned from the balcony’s edge to face him. “You’re sure you’ll be all right with everything going on? This Black thing isn’t bothering you too much?”
He smiled back at her. “I’ve changed in more ways than you realize.”
“You’ve been learning Occlumency, haven’t you? That’s why you’re so much more controlled now than in your first year.”
Part of the reason. So much had happened between then and now. Grindelwald’s memories on their own aged me by ten years. He just nodded. “I’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
“I was always good with Occlumency,” said Diana. “I’ve never been prodigious or anything, but the basics came naturally.”
“I’m not surprised.”
Her expression grew more serious. “Just don’t let it consume you, okay?”
Harry frowned. “Don’t let what consume me? Black?”
“Him too, but I was talking about getting stronger. I know a lot’s going on, but you’re still thirteen. He’s biding his time for now, and if he wanted to hurt you, he’d have done it by now. Just don’t forget to live your life.”
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
“I won’t,” he promised.
“Good,” said Diana, stepping back towards the castle. “I’ll have a talk with the others and tell them to relax.”
“Thanks,” said Harry, turning back towards the grounds. The rain was falling harder now and the clouds gathering over the mountains beyond Hogsmeade were dark and heavy. A storm was brewing.
Several hours later, in the Headmaster’s office…
“Excellent,” said Dumbledore, retaking his seat as Harry slumped back into his own. “You are coming along wonderfully. Just your progress in the last week alone says great things about your future.”
Harry’s progress in the last week had mostly been down to more frequent usages of the time turner. I’m really happy the ministry is filled with idiots. I’m not sure I’d have kept up with everything if I didn’t have it.
“Thank you, sir.”
“You are walking well down the path. I do believe completing the Hogwarts curriculum will not pose too many difficulties with the exception of things like nonverbal spellcasting and human transfiguration.”
Harry resisted the urge to smile. “I can cast nonverbally already.”
Dumbledore’s eyebrows rose. “Can you?” Harry nodded. “Would you mind demonstrating? An old man becomes curious about these things.”
Harry slipped his wand back into his hand and gave it a flick. A sphere of light floated from the tip and circled the two of them. It was one of the spells Harry had learned from Grindelwald’s memories — a more powerful, more versatile variation of the Lumos Charm.
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “Magnificent work, Harry!” The twinkle dimmed. “It has been many years since I’ve watched another so young wield magic without words.”
His stomach clenched. “Riddle.”
“I’m afraid so. Despite his numerous personal faults, there has never been any denying Tom’s prowess with magic.”
“I’ve heard people say he feared you, Professor. Is that true?”
Dumbledore stroked his beard. “I don’t think Tom feared anyone, though he was certainly wary of me. There was a time I frightened him, but he was just a boy. There are some things we never truly grow out of.” The clock behind Harry chimed. “You should be off. You’ll need all your strength for the match tomorrow if this weather persists.”
“Sir, I had one more question, if that’s okay.”
“I thought you might. Very well, ask away.”
Harry mussed his hair. “When Black broke in on Samhain, the two of us sort of duelled.”
“Professor Snape has informed me. You did remarkably well to escape unscathed. Sirius was always talented and I suspect he’s even more dangerous now after leaving his morals behind.”
Harry decided against telling Dumbledore that Black fought mostly using basic spells. He seems to be more open when he thinks I’m ready for things. Let him believe I’m better than I am.
“Near the end, he transfigured some stone into a pack of dogs and they got the best of me. I didn’t know what to do.”
“You wish to know how best to counter transfiguration like that?” Harry nodded and Dumbledore tapped his long fingers upon the surface of his desk. “Some of the best ways are beyond you for now, I’m afraid, though I intend for you to learn them.”
“What are they, sir?”
“They involve using similar magic to that which you are fighting — most often by conjuring something to counter your opponent. Some witches and wizards can break the hold others have on their creations, but this is very advanced and not something I will teach you this year.”
Harry remembered Dumbledore duelling Grindelwald. I really need to get good at conjuring. There’s just so much you can do with it. This other idea was new; never had he known you could turn another’s spell against them. I’ll have to ask Grindelwald about it.
“Is there anything I could do, sir? Soon, I mean, not after months or years of practice. I don’t want to be caught in that situation again if Black comes after me.”
Dumbledore went back to stroking his beard as he appeared to ponder something. “I think that your best course would be destroying problematic conjurations before they can attack you.”
“But how? I would have needed too many Blasting Curses. They’d have been on me before that.”
“Most of the best ways involve fire.”
Goosebumps crawled along his arms remembering the Fiendfyre he’d watched and how Grindelwald had described Protego Diabolica. “What kind of fire, sir? I don’t think Incendio would just melt stone like that.”
“No, I suppose it wouldn’t. Let me think on it some more. Fire is a versatile weapon, but wielding it too carelessly can have dire consequences.”
“Yes, sir,” Harry said, climbing to his feet and moving towards the door.
“Good luck tomorrow,” Dumbledore called. “Do be careful. Weather like what is expected often breeds all kinds of unexpected chaos.”
November 6, 1993
The Quidditch Pitch
White lightning stabbed across a raging sky, heralded by the loud boom of thunder. Harry might have missed the bludger if not for the flash. He spun in the air to avoid it but felt his hand slip. His stomach gave a violent lurch, but he regained his grip and sped down the pitch, fighting against a wall of rain and wind.
His glasses had long since become streaked with water, but at least they kept it from his eyes. Any time he tailed Weasley, the other boy was wiping furiously at his face.
The weather had only worsened overnight. The sky went from a bleak bowl of grey to a churning sea of angry stormclouds. Harry’s wet hair and robes stuck to him as he flew and his hands ached with cold. Where’s the damn snitch?
The faint sound of a whistle pierced the rush of rain and wind. Harry turned his broom in the air and flew down towards where the others gathered around Bletchley.
“What happened?” he asked, wiping his glasses against rain-soaked robes.
“Wood called for a timeout,” said Bletchley, “they’re getting desperate.”
“What’s the score?”
Cassius gave his head a shake and droplets of water sprayed this way and that. “We’re up by sixty, but playing halfway decent is basically impossible. I think it comes down to our brooms at this point.”
“Which means they can’t win unless Weasley gets the snitch.” Bletchley eyed Harry as he spoke. “I doubt I need to say what that means?”
“Weasley’s going to play dirty and do anything he can to make the catch and it’s my job to stop it.”
Bletchley patted him on the shoulder. Harry’s skin crawled. It was one thing when his friends touched him, but Bletchley was not one of them. “Damn right. Catch that snitch so we get out of this, Potter.”
Madam Hooch’s whistle blew again and they were back up in the air. Merlin, it’s cold. It was one thing on the ground, but up here, it was another world.
He flew a fast circle about the pitch to try and shake the cold. Something felt off. Harry glanced around for Weasley and saw that he was hovering near the pitch’s edge, staring out past the hoops and towards the winged set of gates.
Lightning flashed. A dozen shadows glided towards the pitch, their cloaks flapping in a nonexistent wind. That was what felt off. The air had grown colder yet the wind had died.
Harry saw Weasley fumbling for a wand. Hopefully he learned the spell Theodore mentioned.
Harry looked around. Students were huddled in the stands. Some were fleeing whilst others curled up or clutched at nearby friends. Who the hell let dementors loose near a school?
Lightning flashed again and Harry dove after a gleam of gold. Finally! It was odd chasing a snitch with no wind whistling in his ears, just as it was odd watching so many cower when he felt naught but cold and a tad bit queasy.
Harry’s fingers closed around the snitch, so numb he almost fumbled. Yes! Harry pulled up, sopping hair plastered to his forehead as he looked around, then froze.
Weasley was falling, his limp body spread eagle against the sea of churning clouds.
His fall slowed, but still the crunch seemed to echo when he hit the ground. Harry’s stomach writhed. Merlin, this is bad. Harry squinted through the rain and saw the silver hair and beard of Albus Dumbledore, but little more.
The air grew frigid when the dementors rushed the field. A thin layer of frost crept across his broom handle and a shudder wracked his body. Where’s Draco? Harry looked around and saw that he was bent over his broom, shaking and clutching at its handle. Shit!
Harry flew towards Draco, circling beneath then pulling up beside him, steadying his broom and glaring down at the dementors gathering below them.
Their hooded heads tilted up. The frost on Harry’s broom hardened, but he fought against the chill and tried to muster whatever had driven them off on the train.
The nearest dementors turned and glided off towards the pitch’s edge, taking the harsh cold with them. Harry breathed a sigh of relief but watched them go, troubled. It still makes no sense.
The remaining dementors followed when a burst of silver erupted from the stands. Pale wings made from shimmering silver light spread wide as the stands. The phoenix dove towards the fleeing dementors, letting out a high trill as it flapped its mighty wings.
What is that?
The last of the dementors fled the pitch and the phoenix pulled up, hovering above Ron’s fallen form and singing a final note before exploding in a shimmering silver shower.
“Merlin,” Draco muttered, still shivering. “I never thought I’d be grateful for that muggle-loving fool.”
You should be grateful to me, Harry thought as he watched the shadowy shapes retreat. I just don’t understand why.
Down in the stands…
Hermione stared down at the pitch and the body at its centre, her vision blurred by hot tears that stung her eyes. Rain flattened her bushy hair and the dementors’ cold lingered in her bones. We really do need to learn that charm. They’re such awful creatures.
Familiar anger returned, not just at Ron’s fall but at the idiocy that had caused it. It should never have happened.
What kind of government gave two children the ability to bend time to their whims? What kind of government let soul-sucking demons roam around a school? What kind of government caused children to fall nearly to their deaths?
She trembled, bustled along by the crowd and down from the stands, tears still rolling down her cheeks. Someone has to do something about all of this.
Sorry for the lateness of this upload. I prefer posting during earlier hours, but technology was not my friend today.
The pace will be quite fast in the next couple chapters since a lot of time will pass. The winter holidays are right around the corner.
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Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors, blood and Idefix, for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
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