Setting: Hogwarts, 6th year.
-Time change, character change-
Prologue: The Beginning of the End
September 1st, 7th year
I am alone. That fact has never wrung quite as true as it does now. As a child I at least had hope, dreams in which long lost family members rescued me. Now, now I have not even that. I was rescued, true, but is this world really better for me than the one I was in? Sure, the Dursleys were horrible to the extreme and I suffered many types of…abuse…at their hands, but at least they weren’t trying to kill me all the time. At most they would have worked me to death, but even when they denied me food they only did it for so long, as I was of no use to them dead.
To be fair, I have made friends here, which is more than I was allowed in the muggle world. And here I discovered that trustworthy adults actually do exist, though the number is much less than they would have us believe. I learned that love and laughter were closer than I thought, and that for all the darkness in the world, there is also light.
But now…I’m not so sure. In the five years since my rescue, I’ve seen more than I was ever meant to see, and I’ve understood more than I’ve pretended to understand. I couldn’t help it; my childhood taught me to never fully trust anyone, because you never know who’s in the pocket of your enemies.
When you break your leg because your best friend suddenly attacks you and pushes you off of a staircase because your cousin told him to, you learn not to trust anyone, even your friends. And when the Dursleys are your family, you learn to hide your own abilities, less you are beaten and starved for having them, or they’re exploited for the benefit of said relatives.
Of course, when I was first rescued, I forgot all that. I devoted myself completely to maintaining my close friendship with my first two friends, Ron and Hermione, even to the point where I excluded other possibilities for friendship. I trusted them completely despite my instincts, primarily because I believed a new world meant new rules.
And it did, only, not all of the rules were new. I didn’t realize that until it was too late. I think fourth year was when I first realized the situation I had put myself in. I trusted my friends far more than they trusted me, Ron especially. And when he became jealous and turned on me, I realized how much I’d isolated myself from my peers by being overly self-conscious and clinging to the first two people that didn’t seem to judge me.
One of who was judging me now, when it was too late to choose not to trust him, not to care about his well-being. It hurt quite a bit, but it opened my eyes and made me remember the lessons I’d learned as a child. So I studied harder, hid my growing intellect, and allowed some distance to come between us. I made an effort to make a new friend of Cedric, but in the end that only got him killed.
At least in the muggle world my friends were bought out or beat up rather than killed. Then the rest of this new world turned on me, though I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been, as I was in second year when I was accused of being the heir to Slytherin. So I watched the world and waited to see what would happen next. I saw things no one was meant to see, and I learned from these observations the true nature of not only the people around me, but Hogwarts itself.
But none of that matters now. Sirius is dead. Dumbledore was killed in my presence by a Death Eater some believe I could have stopped. I proclaimed Malfoy’s innocence of the act. My friends have abandoned me now. Everyone I ever trusted is either dead, or has turned against me for one reason or another. Even those that I have respected are out of my reach. Many gave up on me long ago, the first non-surprisingly being professor Snape.
Not that I blame him, for we were both at fault and I didn’t understand then what I understand now. I didn’t know that he suffered the same as I, or worse, at Manny’s, that is, the Great Manipulator, Dumbledore’s hands. The stories that Manny allowed to spread, along with Snape’s own mask, prevented me from understanding him, just as I didn’t understand the true depth of my father’s cruelty, or my mother’s love.
But I know now. The castle herself showed me. Memories of the events that occur within her boundaries flow through her essence, forming the basis for her opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. And she relates to me, in her own way.
Knowledge and understanding have done little to help me, as my parents are both dead and Professor Snape was forced into hiding. With him gone there are none left to provide me with the training Manny denied me, though we all knew I needed it. Perhaps that is why he asked Snape to kill him. He knew the position it would put me in, just as he knew the position it put Snape in.
I won’t speak it. Not aloud. He might hear me. Still, the thought pounds in my skull, echoing louder with each reverberation. ‘I know I will lose’. Everyone thinks that Dumbledore taught me Voldemort’s secret weakness, or that he gave me some sort of secret weapon or training that has made me all powerful. They don’t believe that their precious leader could die without safeguards in place that guarantee the light’s victory. Too bad they’re wrong.