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By: loony86
Beta read by: Jessi_Rose and arithmancy_wiz
Chapter Graphic: harrystrulove
Title: Ridiculous Ideas About Good and Evil
Rating/Warnings: 12+ (none)
For the Staff: A giant box of cookies goes to the staff of HPFF and fictioncentral for their love for the two sites and the forums.

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A/N: Credit for the title goes to JKR herself. The line can be found in PS/SS p.211 (Bloomsbury). Lots of thanks go to my amazing betas jessi_rose and arithmancy_wiz, and to harrystrulove for the great graphic.

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Albania; I’d been wanting to do that for a very long time. I’d wanted to get away and see the world. To see different places, new people, new creatures. To discover old secrets, find long lost cities that seemed to exist only in legends… Yes, that was the fabric my dreams were made of.

I am a teacher, and teachers live off books. That’s a fact. And it’s a boring life. I had everything I might ask for right here at Hogwarts, a good job, friends – but I wanted to see more.

I applied for the job as Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher because my old teaching post, International Wizarding Law and Government, got boring eventually. Besides, the Dark Arts had always been absolutely fascinating for me. Dark and light, evil wizardry and possible defences against it – it all fitted my picture of this world. Teaching students how to defend themselves looked like the most noble thing a teacher could do. But, before I’d take up the new position, I wanted to take a year off. See real dark creatures, not just pictures in books.

I decided to go to Albania. Vampires, werewolves – they were all assembled there. I could study their habits, their daily life, understand what separated them from humans. I would also see loads of other evil creatures of all kinds. There was no better place to choose for my studies.

Dumbledore was so nice as to let me go for a year. I suspect that he, too, thought my teaching could only improve by that. Not that it had been particularly bad before.

I took a normal Portkey for wizard tourists to Tirana. From there I wanted to go backpacking in the forests. That’s the best way to see the landscape and the creatures properly. Besides, I had had enough of the unhealthy hurry of modern life. I remember reading books and seeing pictures of the back trails of Albania; the plush grass, and Amazon-like trees, glistening with dew from the morning mist. There were pools of water, fresh for the drinking. And to think, the evilest of creatures nested there.

This is what I can remember about the start of my journey. Oh, how naïve I was! But, well, that’s how I felt. I wanted to see evil creatures. Evil… As though the world was divided up into good and evil… I know now that it is not. It was never about the extremities. No, it was about greater things. But back then, I still had those stupid ideas.

I don’t know what I saw of Albania and what I did for the next few months, at least not in detail. My Memory becomes clear again when it reaches the events a few hours before I was rescued.

I was high up in the mountains, and quite content with myself. I had met a real vampire the previous night and earned the thanks of the townspeople by killing him artfully. I felt great. I could cope with anything, anyone. Of course I didn’t wish any real threat to come up; I didn’t want my fellow wizards and witches to be in any kind of danger. No, I was a noble person. Good. Yes, I was on the right side and I knew precisely which creatures, and people, were not. My world was neatly arranged, and all lines were clear. Wonderful. Sunshine.

I’m sorry for going a bit overboard here, but I can only look upon my former self with deep irony. It’s the only way not to fall into yet deeper disgust. Good! Evil! Ha!

Anyway, I was going to tell you my story. I went along a mountain road through the forest. It was a quite romantic landscape, and back then I oh-so enjoyed it. I heard something in the undergrowth. And I remembered that people had warned me that this place was not quite… safe. Haunted, they had said. Inhabited by an evil creature.

I edged forward into the dark woods, trying to make out something in the twilight. I had my wand out and I was walking very cautiously. All of a sudden I heard a faint voice inside my head, weak and high-pitched, yet somehow still powerful.

“I can help you.”

Never. How could he? (Or was it an “it” after all?) Besides, why should I need any help?

“Because your priorities are wrong.”

What rubbish! They were not. It was ridiculous anyway to talk to this… voice. Whatever it was.

“You know me.”

No, I didn’t.

“Yes, you do. I am the Dark Lord.”

Ah! Now that was funny. Lord Voldemort, eh? He died long ago! Nah, how could this thing be him? Ridiculous!

“It’s true. You know it’s true. I want to help you.”

Oh, the Dark Lord had joined some charity club? How touching!

Our dialogue went on like that for some time. The Dark Lord was very patient with me, tried to explain, while I reacted with dripping sarcasm. Because I thought I was so perfect.

I would give you the talk in full length, just so that you can see how true everything the Dark Lord said was; so you could be convinced of his ways, too. But I won’t. For two reasons: First, I feel very much ashamed for reacting like I did. Second, because I don’t remember every detail.

That’s weird; I know that every little bit he said was so true, so simple and pure, yet I can’t quote him on anything he said after the little opening you just read.

All I know is that he saved me. From myself. From the world. From my ridiculous ideas about good and evil.

I only realize now what a fool I was to put my trust in such moronic qualities as the absolute good. As perfection. Perfection is only something the weak seek out. I learned to associate with the strong; the ones who would not settle for such an idiotic state. Ones who would reach beyond perfect and caress immortality.

We talked for endless time. At least that’s how it seemed to me. And I began to understand. Why being a pureblood was better than being a Mudblood. Why the wizarding world needed the guidance of a man like Voldemort. Why the Minister or Dumbledore could never be sufficiently good leaders.

On top of all that, I also learned how great it is to have power. Not just for power’s sake, of course. The Dark Lord is not a madman, nor am I. No. But power makes everything so much easier. Power can cave in even the most confident and muscular of men. It can diminish the thoughts of the intelligent, waver loyalty and undermine the most cunning. Power knows not of bravery, either. Power is an element of longevity – power is life.

After this day that changed my life, I was never alone again. The Dark Lord gave me orders, and gave my life sense. A deeper and clearer sense than it had ever had before.

But I failed him. Alas, I failed him many times. I always thought I knew everything, thought I was very clever. But compared to him, I just wasn’t worthy.

And yet, whenever I had failed him, I could always come back to him. He said he needed me. I was important. Really important, I mean. Not just “Oh, he taught my children, he was an important part of their lives.” No – important for a cause that really mattered. That could change the world.

We both knew that the Dark Lord could only truly return if he had a body again. And it would be even better if he could gain immortality, because what would we do without him?

And so we plotted, thought of this and that. Looked for options. And at last the Dark Lord found what he needed: He had to get the Philosopher’s Stone! A brilliant idea.

But what followed was very embarrassing for me. I was the only follower the Dark Lord had at that time, so it was my task to find the stone. And… oh my goodness, I feel so ashamed, I don’t want to think of it… I failed.

Yes, I failed the one person who would make the world a great place again. I couldn’t steal the stone from the unworthy hands it was in.

That was the time when my relationship to the Dark Lord got… closer. He had to possess my body in order to accomplish the task that had been mine. It is not entirely pleasant to be possessed by another person. And it’s very difficult to be the host for such a great and brilliant mind. It almost drove me insane. The ticks were nothing compared to the constant stutter he forced me to learn.

Everything I took in with my senses was analysed by two brains now: Mine and the Dark Lord’s. What was the worst of all? Potter. Definitely. As a teacher, a good guy, I had to be delighted to have him as a student. As the Dark Lord’s servant, I despised him. Luckily the Dark Lord helped me keep up my mask.

And then there was Snape, of course. On the one hand, he was the perfect distraction. As long as he was around, I seemed at least twice as harmless as normally. On the other hand, he knew I wanted to steal the stone. He didn’t have any proof, so he couldn’t run to Dumbledore. But he gave me a hard time and watched my every move. I couldn’t tell him about the Dark Lord’s return because my Master had ordered me not to let him know. I can’t say if Snape was still loyal to our side. Maybe he was. Maybe not.

At the end of the year, we still didn’t have the stone, but we knew how and when to get it. You all know the story. Down there in the chamber with the Mirror of Erised, it all went wrong. Potter found me before I found the stone. My Master was forced from my body.

I won’t live for a long time now. I can feel I’m dying. I’m sure, sadly sure that my Lord didn’t get the stone. Potter will be praised all over the wizarding world because he stopped him once more.

But that’s foolery. Can’t you see it? Listen to me! Please! I don’t have much time. It’s wrong. Can’t you see that? Lord Voldemort was the solution, and now… he’ll have to go into hiding again, because I failed! Oh, endless grief. I wasn’t worthy of carrying his soul. A better wizard should have found him and served him, and we would have had a chance. A chance to save the world. A chance to make wizardkind acknowledge the power of the Dark Lord.

Goodbye, world. How simple and pleasant you were when I still had those ridiculous ideas about good and evil. I am sure that my Master will show you grandeur you have never known. And then you will know that power is what separates the best from the worst.

THE END


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