Chapter 1 : Revelations
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The boy knows, Snape had told him.
It was always "the boy" or "Potter" or "Potter’s son." Or, rarely, "Lily’s son."
Albus Dumbledore sat pensively in his office, awaiting the arrival of Harry Potter.
Harry. The "Chosen One." Lord Voldemort’s nemesis—sort of, Dumbledore reflected, similar to the little bug that continued to flit round your head despite the numerous attempts to squash it. It frustrated Tom that he could not kill Harry; sometimes Dumbledore wondered if Harry knew precisely how obsessed Tom was with him. He was the stubborn, wax-sealed stopper of the bottle that would reveal the extent of Tom Riddle’s full power, and Tom could not figure out the least damaging way to destroy the stopper.
Dumbledore smiled softly to himself, pleased with his analogies. He flicked his wand—his glorious unbeatable wand, he thought sombrely—at the little tabletop radio he kept on the corner of his desk; the familiar reading of "The Three Brothers" began to play.
He had heard this story so many times, starting when he was a child perched on his father’s knee or in his mother’s arms. He’d never realised until recently what a profound effect "Brothers" had had on him. That obsession had been just as strong as Tom’s, only with a fact-based tale instead of a child—a young man now.
He had transferred that fascination to his friend.
Beautiful, wild, dark Gellert—a promising wizard, though an infinitely power-hungry one, the person who had encouraged his friend’s deepest desires: to be free of his family, his weak and pitiful little sister, his oddity of a brother, his impassive and intensely private mother. To be free of his father’s shadow. To be free of the curse that had plagued the Dumbledore family the moment those horrid Muggle boys had laid eyes on pretty, faerie-like Ariana.
Ariana. Dumbledore closed his eyes, remembering that day. He and Aberforth had been at school, hadn’t they? His father—his memory was murky here—had turned away to go into the house they had lived in then, not very far from Hogwarts, leaving six-year-old Ariana outside.
Why did you leave her outside, Father? Why?
Ariana had become intrigued, as young children were wont to do, by a strange flower she’d never seen before. She had reached out to touch it, and it had moved away. She had gone for it again, and it had shifted spots: a flower playing tag.
We knew she was a witch, how could she not be, it was in her blood.
The three boys, all of whom were near-adults at ages fourteen, fourteen and sixteen, must have heard her bubbly laughter as the flower eluded her all around the garden.
When she tried to do the trick again, she was unable to.
They’d attacked her then. Beat her bloody. The sixteen-year-old had delivered the coup de grace—just as Percival Dumbledore came out of the house.
And it’d been his turn to attack. As silent as Albus’ mother was about "that day," she had told him once, before her death at Ariana’s hand, that she was awakened by Percival’s scream of rage. When she’d run out into the yard, one of the boys—the eldest of the lot—was on the ground. Dead. Dead as a doornail. The other two were in critical condition, no match for a powerful wizard.
The Ministry of Magic had arrived shortly thereafter and dispatched an unremorseful Percival to Azkaban.
Ever since "that day," something was different about the Dumbledore household—and the "something" only increased when Ariana began to exhibit a most unusual behaviour. No longer was she interested in flowers and dolls; instead, she would sit quietly, impassively, for hours on end, staring at the blank wall in her bedroom.
Then the flare-ups came, they would last until the early morning…
Dumbledore would never forget the time he had taken Ariana into the yard for a brief walk round it. He had pointed out a curling rose-vine that was growing and twining up the wall of the house of its own accord. She had screamed and rushed upon the innocent—or not so innocent—flower and ripped it to the ground, sobbing allthe while, until Aberforth had come out to quiet her.
The look of sheer disgust on my brother’s face…as though I would be expected to know that this was the flower that had started it all; how could I know? I never knew. I never knew. He always was her favourite. He could bear to be near her.
They’d left their house within the hour and were at Godric’s Hollow by dawn. There, they had become acquainted with Bathilda Bagshot, the established historian."Miss B," we called her. Regal Miss B, the widow with a daughter that later married into the Potter family, the daughter who would be James Potter’s grandmother, Harry’s great-grandmother. She would have little cakes for us when we came over, and warm cider. She told me stories. She doted on Ariana. Aberforth—well, she tolerated him.
The child in Kendra’s womb grew quickly until she gave birth—to Kenvall Albert Dumbledore.
He, too, had lived with them until he was seven years of age—and then during the night, he’d disappeared: simply vanished from sight, never to be seen again.
Dumbledore could recall Aberforth arguing with their mother over the incident."I know you did it!" he bellowed. "You were ashamed, weren’t you, Mother, of producing a bloody Squib!"
The resounding slap had left one side of Aberforth’s face black-and-blue for nearly a month.
Perhaps it was due to Ariana that Aberforth loathed Muggles so very much; and Dumbledore, at the time, could not blame him. And at the time, he could not care about the fate of his brother, the forgotten son; he had instead been concerned with his schooling, and his correspondences, and his skills and talents.
Then, of course, one of Ariana’s rages had resulted in the death of Kendra Dumbledore, when Ariana was fourteen and Aberforth sixteen and Dumbledore eighteen.
At this point, Dumbledore tweaked his crooked nose ruefully. Aberforth had of course been right in breaking it over their mother’s grave. Instead of fixing it, which he could have done immediately, Dumbledore had chosen to bleed; maybe he’d hoped that somehow, some way, his mother would know that he’d bled for her. It was not the only time his nose would be broken; Aberforth had done it again, only at their sister’s funeral.
When Gellert came…things fell apart just that much faster.
He was on tour of the world with his good friend Elphias Doge—he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that after this night, devoted Elphias would come out with some sort of story claiming what a fine noble person he, Albus, was; it was lies, all lies!—when the news arrived of his mother’s untimely death. He broke all plans off with Elphias and returned home to his now-family. He was head of the house, after all, responsible for caring for his wild, obnoxious brother and horribly damaged, mad little sister.
It was not easy! Trying to keep Aberforth in line…keeping up appearances as a man…trying to prevent Ari from blowing the house to bits in one of her fits…keeping tabs on baby Kenvall…
Dumbledore wondered now if anyone would ever know the truth about his brother—the one no-one realised existed—except himself and Aberforth, and he doubted that Aberforth would tell a soul.
Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead…
All he had been able to find out about Kenvall was that Muggles—a wealthy pair of Muggles who lived in Little Hangleton, if he remembered correctly—had taken him in.
I cannot fool myself any longer.
Kenvall had been given the name Tom. At age thirty-four, he eloped with a young witch…Merope Gaunt. He’d abandoned Merope…and their child, Tom Marvolo Riddle, grew up in an orphanage—the very same one his father had lived in until his eighth birthday!
* * *A/N: I couldn’t resist throwing this twist into the story. For the most part, I’ve tried to stick to what I know of Ariana’s attack and the subsequent events. JKR was not clear on precisely what happened to her that traumatised her so much; therefore, I had to make my own assumption.
I must admit that I’m not pleased with "Tom Riddle the Second’s"—Kenvall Dumbledore, that is—age, at thirty-four, when he married Merope. That high age doesn’t sit well with me, possibly because it’s a rather advanced time to be a father, especially in the Wizarding world (although in the Muggle scheme of things, my dad was thirty-eight or so when I was born). However, I was so intrigued by the idea that Dumbledore was related to Voldemort that I had to put it in somehow.
The main questions I sought to answer were: Why did Dumbledore go to visit young Tom Riddle when he was eleven? How did he know that this boy was a wizard? At the time, Dumbledore was a mere Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts. What were his motives behind a seemingly random visit to this orphanage? Dumbledore seems to be the person that never does anything without a reason behind it.
I thought a possible explanation would be that he was connected, somehow, to Tom Riddle.
Now, I haven’t read HBP for quite some time, so if there was a reason that I missed, someone please explain it to me. It would be much appreciated; I like to be as accurate as possible.
A complication, however, is that if Voldemort’s father was of Wizarding descent, then surely that side would have revealed itself?
Ah, but I’ve found a way round that as well, and it involves a comment of Auntie Muriel’s in Deathly Hallows: "Dumbledore’s mother was a terrifying woman, simply terrifying. Muggle-born, though I heard she pretended otherwise—proud and very domineering, the sort of witch who would have been mortified to produce a Squib—"This sort of gossip provided my opening to wiggle through, though in a different way: what if Kenvall had been the Squib of the family? And rather than care for him, Kendra Dumbledore had had him sent away?
Another twist would be, of course, that Dumbledore’s adopted daughter Ekaterina was found where the orphanage once stood; and that she is Voldemort’s daughter. Therefore, this makes Dumbledore her great-great-uncle!