Characters: Harry, Dumbledore
Summary: What history remembers is never the whole truth, and in the case of history's heroes, there may be no truth at all. (Written pre-DH, so no spoilers)
A/N: I wrote this in my English class last September, and I've been sitting on it since then. It came out of me thinking about how a history of the war would read to someone who lived through it, particularly how someone who knew Harry would react to reading a biography of the "Boy Who Lived." The narrarator in the story is inconsequential; I have no one particular in mind, so don't ask. ;)
Of course, the isolation has always been an illusion. Harry was the world's darling--hero, chosen one, boy-who-lived. Not that it ever did him, Harry James Potter, any good at all.
Albus wove the first web. Alone but not alone. Watched, protected, loved--but in secret. Always secret, but Harry never blamed him, and we, who owe our lives to a seventeen-year-old boy's ability to survive violence and bitter cruelty, have no right.
You curse Albus in Harry's name, but Harry wouldn't thank you for it. You love, but no one your age would say anything else. Harry Potter is a legend; you love the legend. But Albus... Albus loved the reality, who was a boy who cared more about love than suffering and paid a high price for it. The reality is always harder to bear.
Harry Potter embraced his parents' legacy. Fought for a cause, fought for the light.
He forgot that light is often made by fire, which burns and consumes until there is nothing left.
In the darkness, at least, there is somewhere to hide.
Fate cannot hurt the heartless. It can only take, and steal from those who have the most to lose. Harry cared too much. That was his curse.
Scrimgeour told Harry once that he had a duty to support the ministry. It was the worst thing he could have said.
A lifetime of burdens, but no duty.
There is always a choice; Albus taught him that. Harry didn't have to be the Chosen One. He could have learned indifference. He could have died.
The problem with growing up in a cupboard is that you always believe, however subconsciously, that your life isn't worth as much as other people's.
Harry hated pity. Interviews and history books don't talk about the time before Hogwarts. He wouldn't have wanted them to. Wouldn't want anyone writing about waking in the middle of the night with green light and screaming, about sneaking food to keep from starving, or how easy it was for his cousin to convince him that his friends had forgotten him because he wasn't worth dirt.
Harry's boggart was a dementor. It should have been a pensieve. Memories, for what else did he have to fear?
He was the product of red hair, green light, hidden-truths and well-intentioned lies. Could he have escaped? Would he have wanted to?
The boy in the cupboard looks up at the words and tells you he will do whatever you like if you agree to love him. Albus always loved him, and Harry's fate was sealed with the words, "Good luck, Harry."
Hermione would have told you that there's no way to know what Harry's life would have been like if he'd actually been the loveless orphan he'd started life as. Harry would have laughed and told you that he could guess, and he'd fight Voldemort all over again if it was between that and going back to his time with the Dursleys. And perhaps that should satisfy us. Perhaps we should content ourselves that our sacrificial lamb walked into it with open eyes.
Me, I'm not that kind. I think that his choices are irrelevant to the morality of ours. We had no right to hide behind him, even if he accepted it.
Harry would have died for the light. The fact that he didn't is nothing but chance and the hopes of Albus Dumbledore.
So don't come here and tell me that you think Albus was in the wrong, to do what he did. We are the guilty ones, because we owe everything to the particular chain of misery that was Harry Potter's early life, and yet... we forget. Pretend that magic made everything okay. We ought to know better. History ought to know better.
To history, Harry James Potter will never die, for to history, Harry James Potter--the person--never even existed.