Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 21: Black and White
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, Regress, and Thanos for their incredible work on this story.
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Similar to the chapter two weeks ago, this one contains a sensitive scene I have chosen not to post on FFN/AO3. It is available for free on my website; the link to which is on my profile and even more easily accessible via my Discord server.
July 13, 1934
Short buildings squatted around a central square, nestled between snaking streets. A large screen towered as high as the rooftops, looming over the square and the thousands gathered shoulder to shoulder across the grass. Their voices bled together and formed a bustling drone, but it sounded faint against the thunderous voice projecting from the screen, a voice that came from the dark-haired man from that prison cell almost ten years earlier.
Much had happened since then. Gellert could never have imagined how successful his prodding would be. It had been his hope that the man would gain power and influence, but seizing complete control of Germany and its military was more than he had ever hoped. Uniting all the muggles beneath a single banner was a foolish dream, he’d once thought, but even partial success would be a boon.
Now he was beginning to wonder if his goals had been too small. There had been a time when he’d feared his plan would die before it ever began, but instead, all who had opposed it had died in a single bloody night. All Gellert had done was cast some charms to persuade the more astute that walking into a trap was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
Gellert looked down from his perch atop one of the low rooftops. The sun was slowly disappearing behind taller buildings in the distance, leaving bright pools of crimson hovering above the square. It was like the blood of the dead crept across the sky, but those below paid it no heed. The crowd cheered as Hitler bellowed about unity and national pride.
“The Night of the Long Knives, they’re calling it,” Gellert muttered, his lips curving into a small smile. “How appropriate. Let’s see just how deep my knife can cut.”
“That was soon before the war, right?” Harry asked.
“The memory took place five and a sixth years before the official outbreak of war on the European front.”
“You knew then, didn’t you? You knew that there would be a war?”
“I knew long before this memory the war would come, with or without my prodding. Tensions remained high after the Treaty of Versailles. It was a foolish thing for the muggles to do and accomplished little but the harbouring of resentment, from which the seeds of another war grew.”
“How involved were you in all of this?”
“Tangentially. You know the role I played in freeing the muggle from prison, and I persuaded some of the more observant victims that no harm would come to them by answering the summons on the Night of the Long Knives.”
“You were more involved once the war started though, weren’t you?”
“I was involved, but rarely on the muggle front. I had my own war to fight.”
Harry nodded. “Seeing all this is so weird,” he muttered. “I’ve learned about it for years in muggle school. Somehow, they never taught the real reasons for it all.”
Grindelwald smiled. “How negligent of them.” His expression became more serious. “Have you inquired about learning Legilimency?”
“I’ve had a couple lessons in it already.” Never had he imagined Snape would accept his request, but he had. Their focus was still Occlumency, but he would take some time at the beginning of each lesson to instruct him in Legilimency. It was much easier than its sister art; Harry was grasping the basics already.
“I had a question about the Mind Arts.” Grindelwald waited. “I’ve been seeing more visions from Voldemort.”
Grindelwald’s eyes narrowed. “More visions from Voldemort?”
Harry opened his mouth to remind Grindelwald of the ones from last year, but paused. I’ve never told him. They had come during the time the memories had stopped and Harry had gotten none this year until recently.
“It’s complicated,” he said. “I sometimes see things through Voldemort’s eyes when I’m asleep. It started last year and Dumbledore said that it’s some sort of connection that formed the night he tried killing me.”
“I have never heard of such a connection,” Grindelwald said. His face was deathly still, his expression unreadable.
That surprised him. “Dumbledore says I’m more likely to see visions when Voldemort feels strong emotions like glee or anger.”
“That is logical.”
“I had another one recently. He was talking to Lucius Malfoy about what Gemma told me during the holidays. I passed it onto Voldemort because I thought it would help build good will.”
“Wise of you so long as it was nothing invaluable that only one of you can have.”
Harry mussed his hair. “I’m not sure what it was, but I don’t think so. I doubt she’d have said I should pass it on if it was.” Grindelwald remained still. “He was talking to Lucius Malfoy about it. Malfoy’s influential and has a lot of contacts in the ministry. He was looking into Barty Crouch. She told me that a high-ranking ministry official was hiding some kind of secret and she works for him, so Voldemort assumed that’s who she meant. They didn’t find anything, but Voldemort is going to handle it personally, I think. It’s hard to remember the details, but he’s definitely going to do something.” He frowned. “Use it as a test, or something? Not sure what he’d be testing for.”
“The task sounds trivial for a wizard like Voldemort. If he means it as a test, he wishes to ensure his powers remain as they once did before he attempts something grander.”
Harry’s pulse quickened. “You think he’s planning something bigger, then?”
“His goal is dominance, of course he is planning bigger things. The question is not if, but when.” Grindelwald’s expression smoothed again. “That was not what you planned to ask.”
Does he ever miss anything? “No, it’s not. Dumbledore thinks I can block the visions with Occlumency. Do you think that’s true?”
There was a long pause before Grindelwald replied. “I am unsure.”
Harry resisted the urge to look surprised; answers like that were rare. “If you had to guess?”
“Have you ever tried before?”
He thought for a moment. “Not really, but I’ve used Occlumency whilst watching one. I always hear his thoughts — I am him in the vision. Last time, I got control of my mind and it wasn’t like I was him, but like I was watching it through his eyes.” Harry winced. “I think he sensed something, though, so I just cleared my mind and let myself fall back into it.”
“If you can impact your thoughts within the vision, then it is likely you can block them. I would encourage against doing so.”
What? “You don’t think I should?”
“Give up valuable insights into Voldemort’s mind? No, I think that would be unwise. If you grow to truly champion his cause, then perhaps, but if you continue craving autonomy from him, any advantage is to your benefit.”
Harry nodded. I really am lucky to have him around. “That’s true, I guess. I’ll keep watching, at least for now.”
“Good,” said Grindelwald, “and what of your Disillusionment Charm?”
Harry grimaced. “That progress is slower.”
“Persist. You are one of the few with potential to truly master the spell.”
Harry furrowed his brow. What does that mean? “Truly master?”
“Most can achieve little more than adequate camouflage — an effect ruined by the barest trace of movement.”
His words made Harry think of Dumbledore back in his first year as the pair of them spoke before an enchanted mirror.
“If you will forgive my lack of modesty for a moment, I do not need a cloak to become invisible.”
“Dumbledore mentioned something to me in first year.”
“Unsurprising. Albus mastered it earlier than I. We are still the only two I have ever seen perfect it.”
Bloody hell, and I’m supposed to do it? “You were the only two wizards in the world who completely mastered it?”
“Do not mistake my words. It is not something I saw another do; that does not mean no one else was capable of it. I’m sure Nicholas Flamel gained true mastery sometime during his six hundred years of life.”
“Flamel’s dead now, or dying. His stone got destroyed after first year because Voldemort tried stealing it.”
“Did it now?” Harry nodded. There’s a lot I haven’t told him. I wonder how much I’ve missed that he wouldn’t. “Intriguing. I find myself surprised; there are other ways Flamel could have hidden the stone without paying with his life.” He shook his head. “No matter, if Flamel is dead, it will make things much simpler.”
He really believes I’ll fight for him one day. It was hard to say he never would. I can’t think of him as evil anymore. Any time he tried, he remembered Wylla Nurmen’s bleeding corpse and how satisfying it had been the night the priest died.
“Will you start giving me duelling instructions when I can do the charm, or once it’s mastered?”
“I will begin instructing you in combat when you can perform the charm adequately and when you have prepared a functional ritual carrying a justifiable boon.”
Soon, he thought. Soon I’ll have that down, then I can start making progress towards dealing with Black.
February 5, 1994
The Knight’s Room
“Huh, so he is alive,” Ron said when Cedric stepped into the room, flanked on either side by Susan and Hannah, who both giggled.
“I’d have thought watching me play Quidditch last weekend might have clued you in.”
“It was a good catch,” Ron admitted with a grudging nod. “Lucky for you. I’d have been right bothered if you missed it after skipping the last few of these to practice.”
Cedric smiled. “Cheers, mate. Here’s hoping I can make that catch against you lot in April.”
Ron glowered. “I won’t be making it as easy as Chang.”
Cedric winced. “Lay off Cho, she did her best. She’s a good seeker, she just needs more time and experience.” He grinned. “We can’t all be the youngest seeker in a century.”
“Remember that in April.”
Cedric laughed. “Remember that it doesn’t mean you’re better, just that you were in the right place at the right time.”
“Funny. I remember beating you in first year.”
“You’re just lucky the Heir of Slytherin saved you from playing us last year.”
Ice cubes shattered in Ron’s chest, sending cold streams of water down into the pit of his stomach. I’m not lucky for anything that bastard did! “Keep telling yourself that,” he muttered.
Hermione cleared her throat from behind him. “If you two are quite done, I think we had a reason for meeting up, and I don’t think it had anything to do with Quidditch.”
Ron glared, uncaring if the others noticed. She has the gall to lecture me after that monster ate Scabbers?
Something panged deep in his stomach and hot tears stabbed the corners of his eyes. I can’t cry, not here. He shut his eyes. Why do I care so much about the stupid rat? He did care, more than he had ever realized. Most of that night had been spent looking for Scabbers and he and Hermione had been on frosty terms since.
Susan grinned up at Cedric. “And you, a prefect, being lectured by a third year?”
“We can’t all be perfect.” Hermione’s glare grew more intense. “Sorry,” he said, but he didn’t look it.
“Was there anything specific we wanted to work on?” Susan asked. They still met every Saturday, but the meetings were often as simple as some random practical magic, or sometimes, even just relaxing among friends.
“Yes,” said Ron, grateful for the distraction. “I’ve been trying to master the Patronus Charm for months and I just can’t do it.”
Cedric frowned. “The what?”
“The Patronus Charm,” said Susan. “It’s the one defence witches and wizards have against dementors.”
Hermione‘s brow furrowed. “You know about it?” Susan nodded. “It took me ages to find that spell.”
“My aunt is the Head of the DMLE,” Susan said with a shrug. “She mentions these sorts of things. You should have just asked.”
“Any advice, then?”
She gave Ron an apologetic look. “No, sorry. I have no idea how to actually cast it, I just know that it exists.”
“I know how, I just can’t. Lupin’s been trying to help, but I just can’t get it right.”
Hannah’s eyes widened. “Professor Lupin has been giving you private lessons?”
Ron blushed. “Er… yeah.”
“And you think we’re going to be able to help you better than him?”
His blush deepened. “Well, I just… ugh, I dunno. I’ve always done good with you lot. Friendly competition and all that, right?”
Cedric smiled. “I’m in. It can’t hurt, right?” Susan and Hannah nodded along whilst Ron threw a grateful look at Cedric and drew his wand. Please, Merlin, let this work.
February 10, 1994
Harry’s muscles ached, a process that was not helped by the hallway sloping slowly upwards as he walked back towards the common room. I just want to sleep. Harry shook it off the best he could. I need to stay ready; Black won’t be jumping me down here again — not until I’m ready to kill him.
His magic sensing had come a long way. Lessons in Legilimency with Snape were helping. Grindelwald had been right to point out the connection; the two abilities really were tied closely together. Sensing wards had become simpler, and sometimes, Harry could even sense people.
Like now, when he paused and raised his wand, releasing a relieved sigh when he realized who it was.
“Evening, Pansy,” he said, lowering his wand as he walked around the next corner, startling her. All the magic around her had confused him at first, but after a long list of questions, he had puzzled out that they were cosmetic charms.
“Hi, Harry!” she said, recovering fast and smiling broadly back at him. Her smile faltered. “Are you okay? You look exhausted.”
“I am.” Most nights he was — nights when he had spent hours practicing down in the Chamber of Secrets with the time turner before taking one of the passages back up and into the dungeons.
“You’re sure you’re okay?” she asked for the hundredth time. “You’ve looked like this most nights since coming back from the holiday.”
He feigned a winning smile. “I’ll be all right, there’s just a lot going on. Thanks for checking, though.” I really like Pansy, it’s a nice feeling when she notices things.
Pansy bit her lip as they moved up towards the common room. She’s considering whether or not to ask something. “Is something wrong?”
She blushed. “No, nothing’s wrong. I just, uh—”
“Pansy?” Harry asked with narrowed eyes. “What’s going on?”
She looked towards the floor. “Depends on you.”
Harry came to a stop in the corridor, taking her lightly by the arm and spinning her to face him. “What are you talking about?”
She took a deep breath, then looked up and met his eyes. “Will you go to Hogsmeade with me?”
Harry’s mind froze and his jaw slack. She could have asked him anything else in the world and he would have been less surprised. But this? How do I answer that? I’ve never even thought about taking girls to Hogsmeade.
“I… er… I mean, I… uh…”
Pansy giggled. “Oh, Merlin, your face! You’re redder than Weasley’s hair!”
“Glad you’re amused,” he muttered, furiously mussing his hair.
She took another deep breath. “So…”
Harry’s mussing continued. “Wouldn’t that mean… uh, well, we’d be dating, wouldn’t we?”
She sighed. “Of course that’s what it means, Harry! That’s the point!”
“Oh.” His blush returned; not even Occlumency was enough right now. “And you want to go with me?”
She huffed. “Boys!”
“Haven’t you noticed at all?” she asked with her arms crossed atop her chest.
He continued fussing with his hair. “Noticed what?”
“Oh, never mind,” she said, looking both fond and annoyed. “Will you go with me?”
Harry thought for a moment, hardly able to believe what he was considering. Two years ago, he would never have imagined this would happen. If it did, he probably would have run and locked himself in his cupboard.
He thought of all the times Pansy wrapped her arms around one of his and slid in close, resting her head on his shoulder and the warmth that so often filled him in her company. Dating’s a normal thing for kids, right? There can’t be any harm in trying.
He smiled. “Sure.”
She squeaked and threw herself at him. He tried catching her but stumbled and wound up on his back with her on top of him.
His heart raced as she rested her head against his chest. “Are you, uh… gonna let me up?”
She blushed furiously. “Oh, right! Sorry, I-I…”
Harry laughed and clambered to his feet. “Who’s blushing now?” It deepened. “What’s this? Pansy Parkinson blushing like a common schoolgirl?”
She shoved him away and walked back up the corridor. Her posture was stiff and her nose was held high, but Harry had not missed the smile on her face. That familiar warmth returned. Maybe there is something to this dating thing after all.
February 11, 1994
The Headmaster’s Office
Thick clouds hung above Hogwarts that whole next day and snow began falling in great pale sheets once evening dawned. Glancing out the window of Dumbledore’s office that night, Harry could see nothing, but he could hear the wind whistling and the glass panes rattling in place.
“Quite the blizzard,” Dumbledore said with his usual cheer.
Harry felt less uplifted. “It’s going to make Hogsmeade a nightmare tomorrow.”
The headmaster chuckled. “I’m sure it won’t trouble you so. Young people always find a way to make light of these things.” Harry nodded, distracted by his next question. “Are you all right, Harry?”
“Nervous about something, then? What is it you mean to ask me?”
What is it with old men and knowing everything? “I wanted to ask what kind of wards are on the Restricted Section in the library.”
“A curious question indeed. The wards have never troubled you before.” He smiled when Harry’s eyes widened. “Yes, Harry, I’m aware of your forays into some of the less glamorous books on display.”
Harry watched him carefully. “You’re not upset?”
“No, I’m not. You have not abused your power and have not, as far as I know, dove too deep into magics that would seriously worry me. Your thirst for new and powerful curses is understandable. I empathized after your confrontation with Lord Voldemort in your first year, and I empathize even more now after the ordeal between you and Sirius Black. I ask only that you exercise caution and don’t attempt anything too dangerous.”
“Yes, sir.” I wonder what he considers too dangerous. “Did you know about my cloak?”
Dumbledore’s face was unreadable. “I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific.”
“Did you know that it would let me pass through wards like the ones on the Restricted Section?”
“I can’t say I ever tested your cloak against those exact wards, but I suspected it would pass through unaffected, yes.” He smiled. “You can understand why telling you this wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Your father wreaked havoc across the school for seven years with that cloak and I thought Professor McGonagall might not appreciate a repeat performance, and that is saying nothing of Professor Snape.”
“I never even realized there were wards until this year. I just sort of assumed there weren’t any.”
Dumbledore stroked his beard. “May I ask what led you to that discovery?”
This should be interesting. “I’ve been learning to sense magic.”
Dumbledore’s eyebrows rose. “That is impressive. I’m surprised you took on the challenge. It’s very advanced and I’m unsure where you ever came across the required exercises.”
“It was mentioned in a book on wards in the Black library,” he lied.
“Ah.” Dumbledore nodded. “I presume you’re asking about the wards to confirm your own suspicions?”
The headmaster leant forward in his chair. “What do you think they are?”
Harry thought for a moment. No point in not telling. “There aren’t any privacy wards. I’ve gotten pretty good at sensing those, and the magic around the Restricted Section feels different.” Dumbledore gave him an encouraging smile, so he went on. “There obviously aren’t any curses built into the wards.”
“Quite so. I dare say the results of that would be disastrous.”
Harry grinned. “The Weasley twins might actually stop pranking people.”
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “They would do less of it, certainly, if only because pranking from the hospital wing is significantly more difficult. I do think they would find a way around the wards if they wished; they are both very talented and their grades since the tournament’s reveal have shown that.”
“I don’t know what they are,” Harry said a moment later. “I’m not sure I’ve felt wards like them before.” He frowned. “They’re not very strong and the magic doesn’t feel thick or anything. They’re just… restless.”
“Very good,” said Dumbledore. “They are basic detection wards — a magical tripwire, if you will. Restless is an apt description of their magical flow.”
Harry frowned. “And passes deactivate them, or something?”
“Not quite. There is an enchantment on passes that the wards can sense. It’s a sort of cue for them to send out a different alert if a breach is detected.” Dumbledore steepled his fingers. “Now, as interesting as this has been, you’ve made excellent progress in Transfiguration this year and I’d like for that to continue.”
Harry nodded and summoned his wand. “I’m ready when you are, sir.”
February 12, 1994
The snow continued falling all night, burying Hogsmeade under what looked like a thick layer of icing. It had slowed by that next afternoon, now only falling in small flakes that broke against the students’ thick winter cloaks. Many of the buildings lining the village’s few streets still reminded Harry of the gingerbread houses his aunt and uncle bought each Christmas.
The day sped by in a blur. It started oddly. Breaking off from the main group with Pansy felt strange. They had always stuck together in Hogsmeade and leaving Draco, Theodore, Crabbe, and Goyle was a new experience that he’d been unsure of at first.
His reservations fled as the day went on. He talked more with Pansy that day than he ever had before as they claimed their own table at the Three Broomsticks, bought a heaping pile of sweets from Honeydukes, and trudged through thick drifts of snow, hand in hand. The day went so well that he even tolerated being dragged into a disgusting coffee shop filled with more pink than he had ever seen.
His spirits were high when they met back up with the others and began fighting their way towards the carriages. The sky overhead was darkening, the snow covering each building appearing even brighter as walls were reduced to shadow in the swiftly waning light.
Something moved from the corner of his eye just as he felt an odd sensation he’d never felt before. It was impossible to describe — almost like Pansy’s cosmetic charms, but stronger and subtler all at once.
His wand snapped into his hand as he released Pansy. Lumos. Harry shone the light down a dark alley just in time to see a black tail slink away. Rage clawed at him, so hot his innards boiled. Try something, you bastard!
“Harry?” Pansy asked. “What’s wrong?”
All his friends were staring and they weren’t the only ones. His halt was holding up the crowd, many of whom were growing less than pleased.
“Nothing,” he muttered, forcing down the bitter hatred as they began walking towards the carriages.
Soon, Black, Harry raged, helping Pansy up into the carriage. Soon.
I’m going to say right now that anyone expecting anything serious from Harry and Pansy’s relationship this year will be disappointed. Whether it persists or not remains to be seen, but they are thirteen and I will be writing both of them with that in mind.
Please read and review.
Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors, blood and Idefix, for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
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PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, March 11th, 2023. ALL DISCORD MEMBERS CAN READ THE NEXT SIX CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW! THE NEXT TWENTY-TWO CHAPTERS CAN BE READ RIGHT NOW BY ANYONE WHO SIGNS UP TO MY PATREON PAGE! That is the entirety of Book 3, plus the first sixteen chapters of Book 4.
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