- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- Death - Major Character
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Murder
- Discussion - Rape
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Time Travel
June 21, 1998
She watched her prey dispassionately from her perch in the window. A lack of emotion she could only maintain in this form. Once she transformed back, she knew she would be furious once more. Dumbledore studied his surroundings and tested his bonds carefully while feigning indifference. She wondered how long he’d keep that act.
Almost two months past the battle that had theoretically defeated the darkest wizard of the age, and instead of celebrating she’d been thrust back into a different kind of battle against a different kind of darkness. Tired of his very existence, she took flight and landed as a witch in front of him, with her distinctive vulture hat the only hint of her animagus form.
“Mrs. Longbottom! You’re a vulture?”
“And you’re officially dead, so since it in my essential nature to eliminate waste that would otherwise rot and spread disease, my path seems clear, doesn’t it?”
Dumbledore fidgeted in his restraints, perhaps realizing for the first time that his captor posed a credible threat. He took a deep breath and replaced his absent-minded, harmless mask, and replied, “I know that it’s been a stressful time, recovering from the final battle, but you have Neville back with you safe and sound. I assure you my reasons for not being dead as expected are quite logical and only served the greater good. So if you could release me, I assure you I will explain everything.”
“Everything, is it? Including why you’ve kept my son and daughter-in-law locked out of their own minds for decades?”
He paled and tried to rally. “Where did you get that idea? You know that was Voldemort’s doing. I’m sorry I couldn’t fix them- they were too far gone.”
Heartfelt sincerity oozed off of him and his eyes twinkled sympathetically. She wanted to rip them out. “Did you know that eyeballs are tasty?, ” she asked conversationally, “The next time yours twinkle at me, I’ll show you what vultures consider a delicacy.” He reared back, looking horrified. Good.
“Let’s get right to the point and stop playing games, not that we’re in a particular rush, but I’d rather minimize the time I have to spend breathing the same air as you. It may also interest you to know that Neville tends to hide in the Hogwarts greenhouse under a strong disillusionment charm when he needs time alone to think. He was there when you met up with Molly Weasley to discuss your plans. He showed me the whole memory.” She watched closely as disbelief, worry, self-righteousness and finally calculation crossed his features. At least there was no more damn twinkling and he stayed silent.
“I do have to wonder how much deeper your plotting goes,” she mused idly as she toyed with the ritual athame at her belt. ”Apparently, even defeating Voldemort wasn’t enough for you to ask of Harry Potter. You want to control him so ardently that you mentally crippled Frank and Alice so they wouldn’t be in your way. And then set him up to be raped by potion so that those greedy witches can get her hands on his estate. And that’s just the part that I already know, but I swear to you before this day is done, I will know it all.”
“I still have power, you know. You won’t get away with this. And once everyone knows what I sacrificed for the light, you will not recover from what you have planned here,” he declared throwing his chest out self-importantly.
“Well, there’s a good chance, I won’t recover anyway,” she responded, unconcerned. “Do you have any idea how finicky time travel rituals are?”
“Merlin, No! Augusta, please. I know you’re angry, but… this isn’t the answer. It will probably just kill you anyway.”
“First names now, is it? Ok, Albus. Don’t play games with me and pretend you care whether I live or die. In fact, my death would probably be quite convenient for you wouldn’t it? Other than the part of the program in which you’re restrained and no one knows where you are, I suppose.”
His brow furrowed as that disturbing thought sunk in and he rallied for another argument. “Do you really want to risk losing this war if we do it again. We just won. We finally defeated the darkest lord of our time.”
“I assume you aren’t counting yourself on that list?” She paused to appreciate his outrage at that remark. “Oh don’t look so shocked. Your actions speak for you and I know a bloody dark wizard when his deeds are bared before me.”
“If you’re going back, you should take me with you,” he wheedled. “I have knowledge you’ll need if you hope to win again.”
“Oh, I fully intend to take your knowledge with me. That entire flask of ICW grade veritaserum, will see to that.” She pointed to a table housing a variety of useful items of questionable provenance and legality. “It’s amazing what you can acquire when money is no object.”
“It’s been decades, why now? Why not go back when they first got hurt, surely that would have been easier.”
“Quite simply, I didn’t have the proper sacrifice then. It has to be a powerful mage and one who has done me and my family grievous harm. Voldemort was the only other contender and he’s dead, so unless he was faking his death too, I’m left with you, though I didn’t know you were an option until I heard from Neville.”
“You plan to sacrifice me? But that’s black magic!”
“You took my child from me! You should be grateful that this ritual calls for a quick sacrifice! And you do not understand mothers if you are at all surprised by the lengths I would go for my son and my grandson. But now it’s your turn to talk. I have questions. Let’s start with that bloody prophecy. What did you know and when did you know it?”
Four and a half hours and most of bottle of veritaserum later, she had no more questions to ask and no more stomach for listening to the arrogant old goat’s foul deeds. If she hadn’t been sure of her course before, knowing the full depth of his crimes bolstered her resolve.
“Surely you understand now that you’ve heard it all. I had to do just as I did.”
She stared at him incredulously. He was still on veritaserum, so he actually believed that shite. She opened her mouth to vent a very large piece of her spleen onto his self-righteous arse, but it wasn’t worth the effort since he wouldn’t be around long enough to suffer properly for it. Instead she hit him with an admittedly petty stinging hex and then her strongest stunner, and poured the needed drugs down his throat, before levitating him to the rooftop altar.
She placed a ward on the room and walked out to the greenhouse, since the ritual called for a variety of plants raised in the embrace of her family magic.Though not surprised to see Neville there, she realized she wasn’t quite prepared for it, but needs must. “Hello, Neville,” she said huskily as she pulled him into a spontaneous hug, “do you know how much I love you?”
After a moment of complete and obvious shock, he relaxed into her hold and clutched her tightly to him. “Gran,” he choked, “What’s happened? Is it Dumbledore? Are we in danger?”
“Oh lad, everything’s fine,” she whispered, making a mental note that if she got another chance, she’d make sure that she would do better by him and that he’d never doubt his worth or her love again.
“But we need to do something about them. They can’t be allowed to continue like this,” he stated earnestly.
“I have a plan,” she admitted reluctantly, “but it’s drastic and may not work. I’ve left a pile of papers in the study for you. Including letters for a variety of people so that you can implement the backup plan if needed. They’re charmed so they can’t be read until tomorrow.”
“Can’t I help you with this plan? What does it involve?”
“I can’t tell you because if it doesn’t work, it’s safer for you and everyone else if you have no memories of it for anyone to steal. But you can help me gather the necessary plants.”
They spent a pleasant hour carefully harvesting the plants she needed, chatting of this and that. They were truly speaking to each other as adults for the first time she realized with a start. And misgivings clouded her heart. She looked at Neville and realized that this strong, brave man standing in front of her would no longer exist if her plan worked. A version of him would, but this man was the sum of his current experiences, which she intended to change. She was troubled and uncertain as they stopped at the foot of the ivy she and her husband had planted on Frank’s first birthday. She looked at Neville searchingly, seeing an echo of his grandfather, Garland, in his determined stance.
Putting the basket on a nearby table, Neville sifted through them carefully. “Yes,” he murmured absently, “that must be it.” He looked up and met her gaze unflinchingly, “I assume you’ll need the ivy too.”
“How did you know that?” she snapped, startled back into her usual brusqueness.
Shrugging sadly, he said simply, “You aren’t the only one who has regrets and has wondered about the limits of magic for fixing them. So, one request.”
“Before I go to Hogwarts again, could you advise me to never take candy from a Weasley twin?” he asked with feigned seriousness, obviously trying to lighten the mood between them.
And for the second time today, she pulled him into a hug. This time he came quickly. There were no words left to say and so they didn’t.
He pulled back and grabbed the garden shears and handed them to her. She cut the ivy at the root and he cast a harvest spell that let him collect the entire vine, shrinking it to add to the rest. He handed her the basket, saying simply, “May fortune and the fates be with you, Gran. I’ll make sure you’re not disturbed.” Then he kissed her cheek and headed for the front of the house.
The touch felt like permission, benediction and forgiveness all in one. She headed back towards her prisoner with a soothed heart and renewed purpose.
She put the basket on the table near the altar and carefully pulled out all of the gathered plants.
Taking the pink carnation petals to represent motherly love, she scattered them in a circle around the altar.
“ego aperiam in hoc circulo est potentia materna viscera patientiam”
[I open this circle with the power of a mother’s love]
She split the aloe with her ritual athame and cast a quick propagationem to cover the ivy with the aloe—forming the talisman of her grief.
“dolore ac tenetur in sacrificium”
[Bound in grief and sacrifice]
The ivy wound itself sinuously around the altar and Dumbledore.
Once she had him thoroughly magically bound to the altar with his hands crossed over his chest, she reluctantly removed his suppression cuffs. To sacrifice his magical power to the ritual it had to be unbound and she hoped this was not the point where all her careful planning fell apart. His magic stirred, but he remained immobile and sedated.
“per buried dolor et vindictam”
[Buried in pain and vengeance]
She threw a bouquet of bird’s-foot trefoil and marigolds into the air above the altar, performing the delicate wand movements to weave them into a blanket that fell to cover his all but his face completely.
Back at the table she intoned, “coronam florum,” while performing the precise wandwork to create a crown of flowers from the snowdrops, white heather, and campanula.
“Ego gerunt coronam haec spes mea in melius significare mundi,
ad praesidium in iudiciis,
et gratias ago tibi quoniam audisti petitionem”
[I wear this crown to signify my hope for a better world, protection in the trials to come, and my gratitude to you for hearing my petition.]
The crown hovered above her head for a moment and then settled firmly into place.
“Creavi fructum labiorum ferebant et Nona, et ignis spiritus novam vitam”
[I offer the acorn to Nona, the bringer of new life]
She placed the acorn over Dumbledore’s heart.
“Offero urtica Decima est, dispensator fatis”
[I offer stinging nettle to Decima, the dispenser of fate]
A pile of stinging nettle leaves flew from her hand to further cover his face.
“Cupressus Morta offero ei qui incidit stamina vitae”
[I offer cypress to Morta, who cuts life’s threads]
The dead branch from the Cypress tree was laid at his feet and magic swirled round the altar in visible waves of fluctuating colors.
“We hear the plea of a mother wronged and see the damage of paths corrupted,” the words reverberated throughout the ritual space. And then the fates appeared.
Augusta nodded her head in acknowledgement with as much composure as she could muster. “I thank you for your attention and pray you accept my sacrifice.”
“What would you sacrifice?” they asked in unison.
“I offer you the life of this mage who has abused his power over others to twist fate to his own selfish ends and has stolen my son from me.
“Well, I agree that the rot of his actions certainly needs cleansing from this earth,”
Decima nodded sagely, “He is suitable to power the ritual.”
“And he has avoided my cut for far too long,” added Morta.
“Yet, his death is not an actual sacrifice on your part. In fact, there are multitudes beyond the veil who envy you this opportunity.”
“And so we ask again, what would you sacrifice?” they asked in unison.
She let the jumble of horror she’d learned from Dumbledore wash over her and asked herself the same question. Though the impetus for her action, this was not just about her son anymore. And she knew there was only one answer she could give, as much as the thought of the possible costs terrified her, “I would give anything.”
“So be it. We will come to you when the price must be paid.”
The acorn on Dumbledore’s chest glowed and grew. Roots shot into his chest, visibly soaking in his energy and his magic as the branches reached toward Augusta. She overcame her urge to run, staying perfectly still as the branches enclosed her.
Then all was dark, extremely cold, and just a tad disturbingly slimy, though the hint of peppermint was a nice touch. It lasted approximately forever. And she had thought international portkeys were bad. No wonder time travel wasn’t a common occurrence.
Some unmarked time later, or hopefully before, light once more appeared to exist. She cautiously opened her eyes and cast Tempus, recognizing her suite in Longbottom Manor.
“January 1st, 1980, 09:00 AM” appeared above her bed.
She reviewed her memories and smiled slowly. One month until the prophecy—plenty of time. “Gossamer.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Longbottom, what do you need?” her always very proper elf responded immediately upon popping in.
She’d lost Gossamer the same night she’d essentially lost Frank and Alice and seeing her again made it all so real. But she didn’t have the luxury of wallowing in her emotions just yet. “It’s good to see you Gossamer. Please invite Sybil Trewlawney over for lunch at her earliest convenience.” She had lives to rearrange.