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Defining Moments by eHPF
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 6: Kendra Dumbledore: The Price We Pay
Kendra Dumbledore: The Price We Pay
by Georgia Weasley
A shaft of pale moonlight cut across the small room, forcing its way through the crack in the door and laying its cold fingers in the woman’s dark hair. Curled on the floor next to a makeshift mattress, her head rested next to the child’s still form. The evening’s chaos drained her, and sleep tried to take her weary mind away from the unfathomable events of the last three days. She fought against it, not wanting the child to awaken without her knowledge.
Quietly, the door to the hidden shack creaked open and a man slipped into the darkened hovel. Her head jerked up, wand in hand, prepared to protect her daughter. Seeing the tall, slim form of her husband, she relaxed.
“I got what I could, Kendra. There is enough food here for perhaps three more days. I don’t think we’ll need it, though. There were Ministry officials in the village looking for “the Muggle killer”. The time has come for me to turn myself in.”
The blue eyes that usually twinkled and shone with laughter were dim. Kendra stood and placed her hand against his whiskered cheek. Lines of grief and frustration carved themselves into Percival’s sweet face, making a fierce version of the man she loved. His eyes darted to the small girl lying on the straw-stuffed mattress.
“Is there any change at all?” He asked, his voice hopeful. Kendra’s hand dropped away from his face, and she turned to look at Ariana with him.
“No. Actually, I think it’s gotten worse. She blew the bed apart earlier. We have to come to the conclusion that…..that the damage is permanent. We are never going to get her back, Percival. When those boys hurt her, they broke something…..that I can’t repair. Her magic is still powerful, but she can’t control it any more than she could control her heartbeat, or breathing. I don’t know what to do for her.”
The desperation in her words burned her throat. In his rage at finding his daughter’s bloody, broken form lying in the grass near the roses in the back garden, Percival had tracked and killed the three Muggle boys responsible. That act of vengeance had not cooled his anger. Now, it heaped guilt upon the burning ashes of his heart. In one tragic moment, Kendra’s family was destroyed. She thought of Aberforth, her youngest son, who had led his father to the scene he had witnessed but had not been able to prevent. Not one word had come from his mouth since that time. And Albus, whose sense of responsibility was so great even at his young age, held himself accountable. He had let her wander on her own, knowing that she’d begun to show signs of powerful magic that she could not control. How could he have known she’d be seen by the boys?
Percival fell, broken, to his knees beside Ariana’s bed, grasping Kendra’s skirt and clinging to her. Sobs wracked his body.
“This is my fault, Kendra!”
The pain in his rasping voice forced her to close her eyes, and she remembered what she’d been before Percival Dumbledore swept into her life with his sparkling eyes and easy laughter.
“You’ve met a boy, have you?” Her grandmother’s words resounded in her tiny kitchen. Kendra turned to look at the pearly, translucent figure of the ghost that had been her constant companion from the time she was born until she left for Hogwarts six years ago.
“Yes, Abuela. His name is Percival Dumbledore. He says he loves me!” She could not keep the pure amazement from her voice as she recalled how he’d taken her hand in his and promised her the moon, stars, and any desire of her heart. Glancing at the ghostly form of her grandmother from the corner of her eye, she waited for her response.
“He says! He says! How do you know, mi carino? People can deceive you! Do not trust so easily! How do you think I ended up this way?” The ghost flew around the room in agitation. Kendra shook her head. It always came back to this.
Her Spanish grandmother once loved a young Muggle man with all her heart and soul. Fearing the relatively new Statute of Secrecy in Europe, she kept her secret from her love, marrying him and giving birth to Kendra’s mother. Relieved when her daughter showed no signs of magic, Abuela led a happy life with her young family for several years. Unfortunately, thinking herself alone in the house one day, she used a simple spell to mend a broken teapot. Her husband saw this, and became frightened of his wife, fearing the strange abilities she had shown. This was the time of witch hunts and Inquisition, and many people were tortured and killed for their magical talents by the Church. Some of them were not even witches or wizards, but innocent Muggles that had been accused by jealous or vengeful neighbors.
Abuela trusted the love of her husband, and told him the truth of her identity. Instead of protecting her secret, her very own husband turned her over to the Church officials who came to ‘interrogate’ the suspected witch. Fleeing the impending doom, Abuela hid her daughter among non- magical relatives. With her husband leading the search, she was soon found, horribly tortured, and executed. She’d refused to leave her daughter, and came back as a ghost to stay with Kendra’s mother. She’d followed her to England when she’d married. And when her beloved child died in childbirth, fueling her anger and distrust of the world, Abuela stayed with Kendra. Her muggle father never saw nor suspected the haunting. He believed the sadness of his only child came from a motherless life, and wrapped in his own grief, left her to her own devices. He loved her, but he could not understand her.
Bitterness oozed from the very being of the shining white phantom of her grandmother, and Kendra learned from an early age that love could not be trusted, and people would disappoint her. Kendra developed into a shy, lonely girl. Friends were not welcome in her home, and people began to see her as snobbish and haughty when her fear kept her from speaking to the neighboring children in her village. When magic began to leak from her fingers while cooking for her father, or slip from her mind while sewing by the fire, her grandmother assured her that she must stay hidden to assure her fate would not end up like her own. Kendra began to feel like a prisoner, bound by magic and fear, from the life she knew existed somewhere for her.
That life called upon her during the summer of her eleventh year. A letter arrived, sealed in purple wax and adorned with her name in beautiful letters. She read it again and again, taking in each word as if it were oxygen to her suffocating soul. Escape! A chance at something she couldn’t even put a name to! Despite warnings from her grandmother, she’d packed and left for Hogwarts anticipating an entirely new life for herself.
At school, she’d still been the friendless, shy girl. After serious admonishing from her grandmother not to mention her Muggle background lest she bring unwanted attention to them, Kendra kept everyone at arm’s length. It was not until Percival Dumbledore took a seat next to her in Transfiguration class that her world changed irrevocably.
First, he became her friend, talking with her about classes and teachers. He possessed a manner that put her at ease, but at the same time made her heart race. When those blue eyes searched her own dark ones, he seemed to see right into her heart and mind. She could keep no secrets from the auburn haired boy, and she didn’t really feel that she wanted to. Surely her grandmother was wrong?
One evening, sitting at the top of the Astronomy Tower, Kendra revealed her grandmother’s theory to Percival. His reaction caught her off guard.
“You actually believe that you cannot trust love?” He’s turned to take her hand in his, eyes widened in confusion and disbelief.
“Well, yes. Abuela says it is the most fleeting of emotions. People are not inherently good, Percival, no matter what you may think. They do horrible things to each other!”
Stepping away from him, her hand burning where he’d touched her, she looked out into the velvet sky. Each star winked and twinkled, reminding her of Percival’s eyes. She closed her own.
“But Kendra, that is not all people do! Without the love of those around you, how do you get through this life? It is true that terrible things happen, but we have the choice to love each other and make this world we’re in better! Think about it, please. Imagine a world without your grandmother, or your father, beside you. They choose to love you, Kendra, to make your life beautiful. Without those moments, what is this life? Love is not the most fleeting of emotions, dearest, it is the most powerful force in the universe.”
That night, he’d taken her in his arms, and she could not argue with his statement. Nothing on earth could convince her that this love was wrong. From then, she welcomed people into her life and heart with abandon. Percival opened the locked door she’d been bound behind and life seemed to blossom into a sweet thing of friends and experiences she’d never dreamed she would have.
So, she’d argued with Abuela, trying to force the apparition to see the depth of her love for Percival and agree that this man was true. His way was right. Love and trust were the better ways to live. Abuela refused to acknowledge Percival or Kendra’s newfound beliefs. Kendra married Percival, turning her back on the suspicious, fearful ways of her grandmother. She’d thought then that she would never return to them.
Burying her fingers in Percival’s hair, she turned his devastated face toward her.
“No, this is my fault. I believed your way of trust and love, and this is where it led me. Abuela was right. I’ve got to get Ariana away, Percival. She’s different now, and people will take her from me. They will hurt her. I will find a place where there are no Muggles, and hide her away from the world. Her difference puts her in danger. People do horrible things to one another in this world.”
Her words became cold, falling from her lips like ice. Percival’s face crumbled in upon itself. The warm, beautiful woman he’d married slipped back into the frightened, sheltered girl he’d known years ago, within a moment. He knew then, his family was lost. Standing, he nodded his head.
“They will be here in the morning, I am sure. I will not fight them, Kendra. I want you to know….I love you.” And with that, he walked into the bedroom.
She heard him shuffling parchment and scratching away with a quill, but she couldn’t find the curiosity to wonder what he wrote. She felt herself being forced back behind the locked door of her childhood, and her heart clawed toward freedom inside her. Her entire soul trembled with this decision to return to a life of solitude and loneliness. Turning to take in the soft curve of her daughter’s cheek in the moonlight, she steeled herself to her choices. For the safety of her daughter, she would be the prisoner again. Kendra returned to her place on the floor beside her child, and wept.
Early the next morning a loud knock resounded on the door, and they jumped at the disturbance. Kendra moved to block Ariana from view before Percival moved into the room. Albus and Aberforth came bleary eyed from the small bedroom, faces drawn with worry and exhaustion. Percival nodded to Aberforth to open the door.
Five wizards stood in the door, cloaked in black robes and holding wands at the ready. Percival raised his hands in surrender, looking at his family with eyes that no longer twinkled. They held such great sorrow that Kendra looked away, unable to hold such a painful gaze.
“Mr. Dumbledore, we’ve come on order of the Ministry and the Wizangamot to take you into custody for the murder of three Muggle boys.” A gruff voiced wizard stated, looking at a parchment scroll that clearly held the warrant for Percival’s arrest. “Do you wish to give any testimony on your own behalf?”
Percival caught Kendra’s stare, feeling her silent plea hanging in the air around her like a shroud.
“No, I do not.”
The wizard stepped toward Percival, reaching into his robe and removing his wand. “Do you intend to come with us of your own free will then?” Each wizard seemed to grip their weapons tighter, anticipating Percival’s reply.
“I do, sir. Please let me take leave of my family, before we depart.” Percival’s eyes bored into the wizard’s own with such desperation, and the wizard gave a short nod.
Percival knelt in front of Aberforth, hugging him fiercely. Standing, he turned to Albus, their oldest son. Grasping the boy as though he was life itself, Percival clung to him. Before releasing him, Percival slipped a letter into the pocket of his robes. “For later,” he whispered. Stepping back, he faced Kendra. Her face closed down in lines of determination. Already, he had lost her to those old beliefs. He brushed his lips across her stiff cheek, and felt her strength waver. Quickly, he let her go. It would not do for her to lose her resolve now. She would need it in the days, weeks, and years to come.
Kendra watched as the wizards flanked her husband and led him out of the tiny shack they’d hidden away in while deciding what to do. Their choices had been made. Percival vanished into the bright morning sun with the wizards who were intent upon bringing justice to the world. Kendra disappeared behind the cold façade she’d thought she’d freed herself from upon meeting Percival. Abuela’s voice rang through her mind, and pierced her heart.
“You cannot trust, Kendra. People do horrible things to one another. It is better to be alone than pay for your love with your life.”
Payment had come due.
A/N- A special thanks to morgana at eHPF for doing the beta work, extra help, and believing in me.
Thanks also to reallyginny and JLHufflepuff for encouraging me to do this, as well as all the brilliant authors at eHPF. You are the best and brightest of this site!