Chapter 1 : Sherbet Lemons
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Everything had gone to plan, Harry Potter, poor baby Harry the orphan, had been delivered that night to live with his last remaining relatives at Number Four Privet Drive, Surrey. An elderly man had been waiting with his oldest friend and colleague Minerva McGonagall, he had offered her a muggle sweet, he was rather fond of them, but couldnt quite remember why. They were waiting for his most trusted and loyal companion, Hagrid. Once they had delivered baby Harry to his Aunt’s house, they had departed and gone their separate ways to celebrate. Hagrid had gone to the leaky cauldron for a few firewhiskey’s, and Minerva had travelled to Scotland to celebrate with her family.
Albus Dumbledore was his name. He knew of the foretold events, and had tried with all his might to prevent them from happening, alas, it did not work. Lily and James Potter had been murdered by the notorious Tom Riddle. Albus wished that he could take his mind off things, but whilst the memories were still in his head, he thought them.
He walked to the corner of Privet Drive, turned on the spot and with a lurch behind his navel, he appeared in the rather busy village of Hogsmeade. The street was alive. Dr Filibusters Fabulous wet-start no-heat fireworks, were being set off in every direction, wand sparks and other Dervish and Bang products, glittered in Dumbledore’s half moon spectacles. Brushing his long purple and green robes out of his way slightly, Albus strode forward down the street. One every side, and everywhere he looked, people were waving their hats at him, or thrusting drinks in his direction.
‘I’m terribly sorry Pomona, I must politely decline, I have some things I must attend to.’ Albus knew he was telling a small lie, but no one had reason doubt it, he was generally quite busy a lot of the time. The short woman with grey flyaway hair, with a spot of dirt on her nose, called Pomona, squeezed Albus’ arm and tottered cheering, into a shop. Albus carried down the cobbled street, greeting the people he knew and politely acknowledging those that he didn’t.
He had reached the Hogs Head and stopped in his tracks. He turned his head and glanced into the window, the lights were on and there seemed to be a few people inside. It’s seemed like the right time, but he didn’t want to intrude. He started to walk away from the grotty, run down public house. No, things needed to be said, even if they didn’t want to be heard.
Albus reached for the handle and pushed the creaky door open. True, there were only a small amount of people seated in the pub, but it was the most business Albus had seen in the place. Albus spotted him, hunched over the bar with a rather filthy rag wiping dirty glasses, making them even filthier. The Man’s lank grey hair swung like curtains in the front his face, slightly hiding his bitter expression.
Albus brought his hand to his face and made a small cough. The dirty man looked up, and grunted, as he went back to his dirtying. Out of the people that Albus had met on his way here, including those that he didn’t know, this man was the least welcoming.
‘Aberforth, it is pleasing to see you looking so well.’ Albus walked over to the bar, his purple robes swishing around his ankles as he did so. Aberforth put down his glass and rag and stared at Albus, with an unreadable look on his face.
‘I suppose you, owning this marvellous establishment, are aware of tonight’s events?’ Aberforth continued to stare at Albus, the look on his face was slightly sour.
‘It was terrible what happened to James and Lily, so cruel. I have just been to take their son, Harry to his Aunt’s house.’ Aberforth continued to stare at Albus, causing him to look away. No one made Albus more uncomfortable then Aberforth.
‘It made me Realise how important family is. And I had an urge to see my only remaining relative.’ Albus stared back into Aberforth’s similar facial structure. He was sure he saw a slight twitch in his lips, before he picked up his rag and continued wiping. He reached into his robes and pulled out a sweet, he placed the sherbet lemon on the bar, and sighed and made for the door. Just before he left, he turned round to face Aberforth once more.
‘Aberforth, I truly am sorry, I hope we can be civil again one day.’ And with that, he closed the door behind him and left his brother staring at the spot where the purple robed man had been standing.
Once outside, Albus drew in a large breath. He felt more at ease, and slightly more cheerful. With a bit more of a spring in his step, he took towards the next pub and greeted his favourite landlady, and after purchasing his favourite bottle of mature mulled mead, he set towards Hogwarts castle, his home.
He got to the gates and welcomed the winged boars who opened the gates for him without a word of protest. He strode up the grounds toward the huge grey giant that was Hogwarts. It was much quieter here, there were no people offering him drinks, or shaking his hand, or trying to dance with him. Albus didn’t want to ruin people’s fun, but he didn’t feel like celebrating, not when there was so much to mourn.
He opened the front doors into the entrance hall and pulled his wand out. With an easy flick he lighted the torches on the walls, and set off up the grand staircase towards his office. He greeted the portraits on his way past, the drunken witches had almost drunk their portraits dry, and Sir Cadogan was re telling the nights events to them in the most unusual manner. Smiling slightly, Albus muttered something under his breath to the tapestry of the flaming phoenix and took his usual shortcut to the floor where his office and living quarters were.
Hogwarts felt like his. He knew it wasn’t and his reign as Headmaster was surely coming to a close, but even when he came here as a student himself, he always felt like he knew it better than most people, of course there were always going to be some things about Hogwarts that he will never know, but at the moment, he knew it fairly well.
When he reached the Gargoyle, which was the entrance to his office, it moved aside easily for him, as he had not set a new password for it yet. He climbed the stairs and was confronted by the familiar sights and sounds of his office. Fawkes gave a loud squawk from his post, before taking off out into the open window. Albus placed the bottle of mead on his desk and went over to one of his many cabinets and pulled out a small wine glass. Pouring himself a drink, he sat down in his armchair and lit a fire with another easy flick of his wand.
Poor James and Lily. He had told them, he had offered to be their secret keeper himself, that alone would have kept them safe, no one would dare try and get their whereabouts from him, and if they tried, well, fool on them. How could dear Lily think that he had done enough for them already? Tonight proved that he had clearly not done enough. No, he oughtn’t to think like that. Tom Riddle had his sights set on a murderous path and there wasn’t a lot that could be done about it.
The whole world seemed to be set on celebrating the ‘death’ of Lord Voldemort, and the survival of baby Harry James Potter, but Albus only thought it sad, that the one person who most important shall never know his parents throughout what is sure to be a difficult life.
Albus felt a small tear come to his watery blue eye, and letting it roll out of his half moon spectacles and down his cheek, he strode over to the cabinet by the window and pulled out a small crystal phial. He was weak, and rather ashamed of himself. He couldn’t deal with thinking over what could have happened to the Potters, so he removed the removed the memory all together, so he no longer had to think of it. He capped the bottle and placed it in an empty slot. He took his pensive hand sent gliding through the air to sit on his desk, and started rummaging through the many phials of his own, and other’s memories.
Towards the back of the cupboard, he noticed a few dusty bottles, old ones perhaps, that he hadn’t viewed in a while, he reached for a few and blew the dust from the surfaces, they had no labels. He wandered over to his desk and poured one of the contents of the phial into the bottomless bowl and watched it swirl, not liquid nor gas. He was looking into an old fashioned street, he bent closer and closer until his hooked nose touched the surface.
He looked down the street, he could see himself, seventy or so years younger, walking towards him wearing a strange arrangement of clothing. Albus chuckled to himself at the memory and followed himself to a shop. The bell rang slightly as he walked inside, all around he could see nothing but colour.
The shelved stacked with rows upon rows of many different assorted sweets, there were lots of other children in there, chattering loudly and pointing in all sorts of directions. Albus took his time looking at the sweets, he had found himself some muggle money, so he was going to treat himself, his mother and father needn’t know. He deciding on buying some rhubarb and custard hard candies, and paying the shopkeeper three large coins, he left the busting shop and went to go and sit on the wall.
The older Albus watched his younger self, as he swung his legs, sucking on the sweets he had just bought. He also saw a small girl, of the same age perhaps, come out of the shop, also with a brown paper bag full of sweets. She sat next to Albus and curiously peered at his clothing, she brushed her dirty blonde her out of her face, and whilst the younger Albus was oblivious to the girl, the elder’s eyes glittered at the memory.
‘Mary.’ Albus whispered, and he moved closer to the scene so he could get a closer look.
The younger Albus saw the girl, and smiled at her politely. She peered into his bag and licked her lips.
‘What you got?’ She asked, looking up at his face.
‘Rhubarb and Custard’s, what about you?’ He asked her back, again, out of courtesy.
‘Sherbet Lemons, they’re my favourite.’ And she popped one in happily, and offered the bag to Albus, who took one and offered his own bag to Mary.
‘Mmm, delicious. I should have bought myself some of those, I like them.’ Albus loved the taste of them, they tasted like lemon, but they were a little more sharp and the middle. That was his first Sherbet Lemon.
‘Tell you what, swap some for some?’ Mary asked Albus. He nodded and they swapped some sweets each before Mary bounced off down the street leaving Albus smiling after her.
The scene changed and the atmosphere became cloudy, and Dumbledore found himself sat once again in his office chair. Smiling, he reached into his robes and pulled out a small paper bag of the yellow coloured sweets. He popped one in his mouth. He collected the memory from the pensive and put it back in its phial. He un-stoppered another one which he thought may have been have been the next one, poured it out and plunged his face again.
He was at the same place as the same memory, but he was older. Maybe about sixteen or seventeen. Dumbledore looked at his former self and instead of feeling happy like the last time, he was rather disturbed.
The young Albus walked down the road distressed, and sat himself down on the wall where he had done before. The older Albus went and sat next to himself and wanted to put his arm around the other, but found he couldn’t. He was more like a ghost to him, he couldn’t see, or hear him and he definitely couldn’t feel him. A light clip of heels on the cobbles made both of them turn their heads. A young woman in a crimson dress and lace up shoes was walking down the road towards them. He dirty blonde hair pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head, a small smile appeared on her face, and she went and sat next to the younger Albus on his other side.
‘I wondered if I’d ever be seeing you again.’ Her voice was deeper and more mature, but Albus still recognised it.
‘Good afternoon Mary.’ Albus said, he tried to smile at her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, this woman had been his friend for seven years, they always shared their secrets, for neither of them knew anything about the other.
‘You look like you need a cheering up.’ And she got up and went into the old sweet shop across the street, and came out with two paper bags. She offered one to Albus and he took it with word of thanks.
‘So, you going to tell me what’s up?’ Albus shook his head, placed the sweets inside his robes and placed his head in his hands once more. Mary placed her hand on his shoulder, which Albus did not try and shrug off.
‘Look, I'm sure that I will understand, I may even be able to help.’ Albus still said nothing. The older Albus stood up and moved to the front of the scene so that he could see the look on both Mary’s, and his younger self’s face.
‘No, you can’t, your just some stupid muggle, there is no way that you could possible even know what to say that could help me.’ He spat at her. She recoiled. She took her hand from his shoulder, and stiffened.
‘I'm sorry, Mary I know you mean well, but there is nothing you can do to help. I have gone and gotten myself into a bit of a pickle, and I don’t see how I can get myself out of it.’
‘Grindlewald?’ Mary asked. She knew that a boy had gone to stay with them for a while and Albus had made friends with him whilst he was there. ‘I knew he was no good. He just had that look you know?’
Albus looked at her and smiled. He pulled the bag of sherbet lemons out of his robes pocket and offered her one.
‘No thanks, I eat so many whilst I'm working, I'm sure to get sick of them soon no doubt! I must be off Albus, I’m off to see Jonathan, we started courting a week ago, and he wants to meet by the old fountain down the lane.’ She smiled at the thought and kissed Albus on the cheek and tottered off the down the road.
‘Mary, I hope all goes well for you.’ He called after her.
‘You too Albus, and don’t forget you can always pop into the shop when you feel down, I’ll always save some Sherbet Lemon’s for you!’
The Scene changed once more and Albus found himself back in his office once more, and he couldn’t help smiling. That was probably the last time that he really felt as down as he did right now. He stood up from his chair, he drained his wine glass and placed the cork back on the bottle. He picked up the pensive and the memories and placed them back in his cabinet. And strode towards the door to his office. He was off to the old sweetshop. He was sure that Mary was still alive, and the least he could do was check. So he got to the bottom of the stairs and said goodbye to the gargoyle. A sudden thought came to his head and he turned back around.
‘Want to set the password yet Albus?’ The Gargoyle asked him. The wall torches glittered in his half moon spectacles, and he smiled.
‘Yes, I would like set it now, the Password shall be Sherbet Lemons.’ He said, still sucking on the one he had put in his mouth earlier.
‘Out of curiosity, why would that be sir?’The Gargoyle scratched his nose and then went back to the sitting position.
‘It is just a muggle sweet that I have become rather fond of recently.’