June 9th, 1997
V researching wands--shares cores with H's, Priori Incantatem incident--he is seeking an alternative to his chosen wand--
Gellert, if he realizes of Its existence--if he traces It to Gr.--Legilimency--he will come for you--he will do to you what he fears the most--he will kill you--it may be inevitable--
Sorry to be brusque. Am running out of time. You deserve a warning.
My watch is broken entirely. I don't know the date anymore. I don't care. The little upstart's coming for me? Delightful! Best news all decade. & I simply love how you don't even bother telling me to lie. You know I'll do it for you, don't you?
FIFTY YEARS, ALBUS. FIFTY [illegible scrawl] How am I supposed to stand it if you're gone? If you're broken, if you're finally as mad as you've always liked to pretend to be? Bad enough when you didn't write. Bad enough when you went silent for this or for that, because you were too busy to bother, because you thought I wanted you to why would I want you to, because you had no time.
Always no time. Even now you say you're running out. STOP LYING TO ME. TURN AROUND AND FACE ME.
Voldemort? Send him up here. SEND THE LITTLE SERPENT UP HERE. You taught me Occlumency, I'll lie through my broken teeth and laugh in his face--oh, it's been too long since I've had a good face-laughing, way too long, I haven't even seen a face in years--& he'll make it quick and clean, won't he, because I'm supposed to be afraid of Death? Death who we sought to master? Death who would be our third partner in hallowing this world? Do you think he'd be ashamed to be caught red-handed in a simple mercy-killing? I want to laugh & laugh & laugh at him--
You taught me Occlumency, in Godric's Hollow, a millennia ago. Your mind was red gold and restoring fire. It was agony to have to block it out. Your fingers were long and slender on your wand. We were together, the world was good, the water ran clear, and then she died--
His mind won't taste good, will it? I'll not swoon simply from seeing another human being? I'll do right by you for once? & you'll take It to your grave years from now when you finally bother to shuffle on & change the world yet again, you pompous, beautiful arse.
I can laugh even under torture, remember? He'll never get It. Look at me, Albus, I've given up & gone mad. Sob into your sherry all you want now. I'd always faintly hoped you'd have the guts to own up to me--
You ask after remorse. Well, I've gone mad now, so it's quite all right to tell you. Decades, Albus, decades sick with guilt. Muggle shrieks in my sleep. Thoughts of the lines of the dead I sent forth, the huddles of their families I left behind. Bodies turned under for mulch. There was a girl with a red shawl who wouldn't stop screaming. She's been dead fifty years and she won't stop screaming. Why do you think I clung to you so? You were better than me, more or less.
Of course, you knew that all along. That I regret, hate myself, hate what I did. Just like you knew that I would die for your idiot plans for It. Just like you knew that I'd write back when you wanted me to. Just like you knew that I've loved you since the day we met.
& you must kill the boy & you mustn't care about me. Potter & I your sacrificial lambs, burnt offerings to Voldemort & the greater good.
But what am I saying? You are a charming old man, good-hearted, even sweet. & I am a lonely, repenting old sinner. There were Muggles marched to my outstretched wand, Muggles lined up before It, bare feet scuffing panic marks in the earth until I smiled, cold, raised It, sent green light sheeting like the aurora. Beautiful. Thrilling. Something rips in my gut every time I think of it.
These are my last few sheets of parchment. I'll write on the walls. I hope the Voldemort brat comes before that house elf dies and leaves me to starve, it'll be a better death. In one room for fifty years, in one room forever, I scrape my fingers raw on the inscription over the door &--
Tell me what's going on. Get a bloody transcription quill if you have to, if you don't have time to write, tell me what in hell is going on, just don't leave me here. I let you win DON'T LEAVE ME HERE--
Isn't remorse how you reintegrate a Horcrux? Is that why you asked? Why else would you care? What other use is the emotion that cripples you? Remorse. Caution. I would beg you to ride the wind with me, Albus, but we're far, far too old and broken.
ANSWER ME ALBUS DON'T LEAVE ME HERE IF I WRITE IT IN MY BLOOD AND BEG WILL YOU NOTICE?
But I've never quite known what you think of me, have I? Only that you do not hate me. Albus Dumbledore, do you even know what you do to people?
But you must...
My hair's a ragged, tangled mess. The rats have crept back in--well, they did that some-odd years ago, but they've gotten bolder, chewing up my books. I have their blood in my teeth. No, Mr. Voldemort, I never had It, piss off & die already, it's not too bad after all, see, I'll do it right now for somebody I love. Die for you.
But I suppose you think Dark wizards can't love, don't you?
Maybe you're wrong.
Out of parchment. Not using another sheet. Send more? Don't leave me here.
August 21st, 1997
Return owl to sender. Recipient, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, deceased.
The Owlery Office
Ministry of Magic