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Good heavens, I wrote genfic! Who knew?

Title: Dumbledore Takes the Train
Author/Artist: twistedm
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Characters are the property of JK Rowling, et al. This was created for fun, not for profit.
Author's Note: Enchanted-Jae’s monthly drabble challenge inspired me to take this list of notes and turn it into a short fic. Thanks, Jae!
Relationship: gen
Characters: Albus Dumbledore
Complete
Words: 1600
Chapters: 1/1
Summary: Dumbledore carefully thinks it all through.



Dumbledore felt his wand leave his hand and tried not to blink. That was… unexpected. Draco Malfoy was now the master of the Elder Wand. He hoped Harry was paying attention. With Albus’ luck, he’d accidentally frozen the boy mid-blink, and prevented him from seeing a single thing that was happening before him on the tower.

Breathing deeply to calm himself, Dumbledore did his best to let go of this small fear. He had done everything he possibly could, and Severus was finally here, and Severus would do the right thing.

“Please,” he said to Severus, and as Albus watched the green light scream toward him, he did his level best to die knowing that his plans would all work out just right in the end, and that he had truly done everything he possibly could.

He would surely rest in peace.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dumbledore looked around the empty train station he’d suddenly found himself in. King’s Cross? It had been decades since Albus had taken the train to Hogwarts, of course, or anywhere else. But, this was surely King’s Cross station. He recognized it. It looked different when completely empty. Was no one else dead?

Albus was most decidedly dead. Right? He pressed a hand to his neck. No pulse. He pressed a hand to his heart and felt nothing. He shook his diseased, deformed hand from his long robes, but the Horcrux was gone and so was the damage. He flexed his fingers and smiled. No pain! He stood from the bench where he’d been sitting. His hips, his knees, his back… no pain! How extraordinary it felt, not to creak, or ache. He could get used to this!

A loud hiss broke his reverie. Why, there was the train! Odd how he had not noticed it until now, but no matter, he was clearly meant to get on. He strode quickly toward it, reveling in the smooth, strong, slide of bone and muscle, the feeling of youth and ability that was flooding him. He hadn’t felt this well, this young, since he was sixty or seventy.

The train was completely empty, but Albus felt comfortable, certain. It was clear that he belonged here, that this was the start of his next great adventure, as he’d once bluffed to Harry.

He heard the train hiss again, and then it began to pull itself from the station. Albus looked out the window eagerly, but only for a moment. The train was pulling itself into a fog bank thick enough to rival San Francisco or Lisbon.

Perhaps it had not been a bluff after all, he mused, and then, unable to help himself, he started to worry about Harry. What might the boy be doing now? He would not trust that Severus had raised his wand to Albus only after hours of Albus’ cajoling, explaining, convincing. Insisting.

No, Harry, bless the boy, adored Albus like a grandfather, just as Albus had rather long hoped he would. And he was loyal, and hotheaded, and impulsive. And he had good reason to hate Severus, Albus had to acknowledge. He sighed, but no one answered. The train car was still quite empty, except for himself.

Albus stood. He thought the train was empty, but he could only see this one car. Might there, at least, be a conductor? An engineer? Surely an engineer!

Heading toward the front of the train, he crossed easily from the car he had chosen and found another empty car. Then a third. And then, to his pleasure, he found a conductor sitting by a fogged up window. He sat before a small metal desk, covered with papers that resembled tickets, train schedules, and things of that nature. The papers all seemed to be held down with paperweights. They might have been magnets, Albus realized. He wondered why the man did not use a sticking charm. Might he be a squib?

The man wore a smart, clean uniform, and he snapped to attention when Albus approached.

“Sir,” he said. He pushed his desktop away slightly and stood. “No need for a ticket, sir. Your passage is already paid.”

“Very good,” Albus said to reassure the man. Though he’d not concerned himself with that idea even once. He was dead, and surely the dead did not have to pay to ride the train to the afterlife?

“I was wondering where we were headed?” Albus smiled broadly at the conductor, who looked surprised.

“Oh!” he answered. “It says right on the outside of the train, sir. Shamayim. The world to come. Heaven, as people from your country usually call it. We’ll arrive soon.”

“Shamayim, you say,” Albus said. That sounded familiar. “Will all those I’ve loved and lost be there? All the dead of my life?” Albus thought of his sister Ariana and his heart clenched with sadness and hope. His joints had healed, might Ariana’s mind?

“They usually are, I believe, sir,” the conductor said. He looked down at his desk for a brief moment, as though he wished to return to his paperwork but was too polite to say so.

“Very good, then,” Albus said, and flashed the conductor a large, engaging smile. “I look forward to that!”

He tipped his head once and the conductor doffed his cap to Albus in response. Then Albus moved away and the conductor sat down and pulled his small desktop back towards himself. He had, indeed, wanted to return to his work.

Albus sat a few rows behind the conductor and looked out into the thick fog. Unbidden, his thoughts returned to Harry, and all the things Harry still needed to do to defeat Riddle once and for all. He thought about the plans he had made but not finished implementing before he had run out of time. He thought about the hints he had left for the children: Harry and his loyal, brave, helpful, terribly youthful friends.

He thought about the Stone, and the snitch, and the confrontation with Riddle that Harry would surely, hopefully, have to suffer through before this could all end.

He thought about how the Stone would call people to Harry, and how Albus would probably see those very people soon, when the train arrived at Shamayim, at Heaven.

He had done his level best to die confident that he had truly done everything he possibly could. While alive. He had done everything he possibly could while he was alive.

Perhaps he was not done helping Harry after all. Soon, he realized, he would be able to see Lily, James, and Sirius. He could catch them up on everything in Harry’s life, and, more importantly, Harry’s fight. He could tell them that Harry would call to them before his final confrontation, could he not? He could help them respond to Harry in just the right way, to elicit just the right responses? Because, as much as Albus wanted to believe that Harry would figure it all out, and then be brave enough to do the right thing, Albus couldn’t help but worry. So much rode on Harry. The whole world might well be on his shoulders.

So if James, Lily and Sirius could just encourage Harry to die, then Albus would have managed to help Harry again, even from beyond the veil of death.

But if his parents knew that Harry wasn’t really going to die, would they do as Harry needed?

Albus pondered this for a while. Having never been anyone’s parent, he wasn’t sure how it would feel to believe one’s only son was finally about to join one in heaven. Would a Stone-caught Shade be able to speak? He hadn’t managed to conjure up Ariana’s shade. The curse on the ring had activated, he’d damaged his hand, he’d not been able to use the Resurrection Stone.

Even if he had, he realized, he wouldn’t know anything even if Ariana hadn’t said a word. She usually hadn’t when alive.

But it was hard to imagine Sirius, or James, or even Lily remaining silent if they knew Harry had, essentially, nothing real to fear. If they knew, Albus fretted, that only the Horcrux in Harry’s forehead was going to ‘die,’ would they ruin everything?

He couldn’t risk it, he realized. He couldn’t tell them that part of the truth. He would find them as soon as possible when the train arrived at the station. He would tell them all that Harry had already done and all that he still had to do. He would explain the crucial role he expected them to be able to play. How important it would be for them to be calm. How important it would be for them to be reassuring. How Harry would be able to face death so much more bravely when he saw that he would soon be with the ones who loved him the most.

And then, Albus would simply… not reveal that Harry almost certainly would have the joy of a full life on earth before getting on that King’s Cross train for the last time and coming to be with his mother and father and godfather for eternity.

They would forgive him for the omission, he decided.

And even if they would not, he could forgive himself. Harry needed their calm, loving acceptance, not their worry, their panic, their sadness at missing him for decades more. And Harry certainly couldn’t be told the truth. He had to take the Killing Curse. The horcrux had to be murdered. Nothing was more important.

Feelings might be hurt, but the world would, surely, be saved.

Albus sank back into his seat, relieved. He knew. He knew just what Harry needed. And if everyone did as they were meant to, it would all be all right, in the end.

Date: 2016-09-01 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enchanted-jae.livejournal.com
Wow, that's really evocative! It's refreshing to see this from Dumbledore's pov. So many people were critical of how he treated Harry, but I always knew he had a higher purpose. Thanks for the entry!

Date: 2016-09-01 01:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twistedm.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for the comment! It's interesting to get your perspective on this little fic. Dumbledore is one hell of a pivotal character.

Date: 2016-09-01 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maccadole.livejournal.com
That was interesting and fairly thought-provoking, I must say. I got chills too, multiple times, and I'm not quite sure why. A lot of it was my Harry feelings making themselves known, I'm certain. That poor boy having to go through all of that - it always makes me emotional when I think about it in too great detail. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I can't put my finger on it, but this piece was very atmospheric. I liked it.

Date: 2016-09-02 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twistedm.livejournal.com
I'm really glad you liked it. Thank you for saying so! It was a real stretch for me. I usually write things almost nothing like this. I wasn't at all sure how it would be received.

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