Albus Potter and the Dark Future

Albus's Decision

Where was Albus?

He did not know. He had no memory of having gotten here. He had not even opened his eyes, so he did not know what his surroundings looked like.

Then, he remembered the duel. He remembered the savage curses and blows, losing his power, Victoria Perfectus disappearing, Malfoy trapped inside the blue orb…and escaping from Sirius with his final strength.

But what happened then?

He sat up and opened his eyes. He found himself in a place that was very familiar…yet impossible. It was a great, high-ceilinged hall lined with large, shiny, round chambers, each one open and gleaming invitingly. Unlike the other times he had seen the place, it was perfectly empty and silent.

“Albus.”

Albus jumped, and turned around…to be greeted by a figure who Albus had thought he would never see again. It was a man in his late thirties, with glasses and very untidy black hair, just like Albus’s own. Just visible beneath the jet-black tangles was a faded scar, shaped like a bolt of lightning.

Albus’s mouth fell open.

“Come here, Al. Let me have a closer look at you.”

Albus raced towards the figure and wrapped his arms around him. “Dad.” he whispered, tears in his eyes.

And there they remained for many seconds, man and boy, each of them grasping the other tightly. When they finally pulled away from each other, the man looked down into Albus’s face.

“Believe me, I know the feeling.” said Harry Potter. “I experienced something just like this in the Forbidden Forest, many years ago. Tell me, what does this place look like to you?”

“Well,” said Albus, looking around, “It looks like the Warp Pod center in New York City.”

“For me, it resembled King’s Cross Station.” Harry said with a heavy sigh. “The circumstances surrounding my visit weren’t quite the same as yours, but it brought about emotions which were every bit as powerful.”

“So…” said Albus, looking at his father, “so you…you know everything?”

“Yes.” Harry replied. “I do. And I couldn’t be more proud of you, Albus. I never believed that you would have to go through the things that I faced…but you did, and with higher stakes even than my own trials.”

“Dad…you wouldn’t…you wouldn’t know why it all happened this way, would you?”

“I am not sure I understand your question.” said Harry.

“In all of those grand duels throughout history, the Dark wizard won. But here, Malfoy failed. Was this all just because he disrupted the cycle of magic?”

“Well…” said Harry slowly, “I’m not sure you will like the answer.”

“Tell me, Dad.” said Albus forcefully. “Tell me everything.”

“The answer is that the Dark wizard did not always win the duel, because it was never a simple case of right or wrong. Each pair of wizards was tremendously powerful, as you know, and each fought on a different side. But it was never a true contest between good and evil; it was always a contest between two sorts of evil.”

“What do you mean?” said Albus, confused.

“Both wizards always made a compelling case against the other’s virtues. From each wizard’s standpoint, the other was evil. But in reality, both were power-crazed maniacs seeking to establish their own brand of authority over the world. The winner was the one who got to personally send humanity into oblivion.”

“But…but how can that be? Malfoy’s studies showed that the ancient civilizations always got behind one wizard!”

“Each wizard always earned the support of part of the world.” said Harry. “The ancient texts Malfoy found were written by those loyal to particular wizards. All of what Malfoy read was biased. The fact is that none of these wizards ever truly fought in the name of anything we might call true justice.”

“But then…but then why was this duel not that way too?”

“The answer, Albus, is that the wizard doesn’t create society. Society creates the wizard. All of those past civilizations were dark times. They were ruled by uneducated people who hadn’t yet conceived of any democratic ideas. It was little better than a state of nature. Wizards and Muggles alike battled each other for the best food, the best land, and the best mates. The dueling super-wizards were no exception.

“But society evolves over time. This new civilization brought more knowledge, more justice, and more harmony than any other. But it also brought with it the question of what would become of the old, savage ways. You and Malfoy were a reflection of those principles. Indeed, so was the battle between Voldemort and myself, since smaller conflicts and duels form and escalate as Sirius approaches the peak of its cycle.

“But what about all this power that’s left over?” said Albus. “All the power that I still possess? In previous civilizations, that power always destroyed the world in the end. So doesn’t that mean…doesn’t that mean that I might yet still risk destroying the world?”

Harry said nothing, staring at Albus with a somber expression on his face.

“It does, doesn’t it?” said Albus softly.

“For as long as you live, your power will continue to grow. It is already far beyond the natural level of the previous wizard pairs.”

“So…so what you’re saying is…” Albus continued, a lump rising in his throat, “…that the cycle of Sirius resets not when the duel occurs…but when both wizards are dead?”

Harry nodded, a great sadness etched into his face.

“Then…then the universe will not return to its natural state unless I die.”

Again, Harry nodded. “I cannot make any decision for you, Albus. When I was suspended in this state so long ago, I had the choice to die, or to return. I chose to return, because I needed to accept my one final chance to destroy Voldemort. Now, though you are faced with the same choice, it is for very different reasons.”

“Dad…” Albus said slowly, “What do you mean? Do you mean there is something that could be worth returning for?”

“I don’t know the answer to that,” said Harry, “but I do know what you can do. Only you can decide whether it is worth returning for.”

“What can I do?” said Albus tentatively.

“You can return your siblings and cousins to the twenty-first century.” said Harry. “Or perhaps, you could even go back a little earlier, and prevent Malfoy from causing all this in the first place.”

Albus froze. His brain zoomed into overdrive. Of course, Harry was right. His powers were so great now that he could surely use them to travel back through time. But then, he thought of something else.

“I…” Albus said, hesitating, “I don’t think it’s worth it. I’ve now seen firsthand what interference with the timeline does. Who knows what damage I could do? And anyway, how could any of them return to their normal lives now, after everything they’ve seen and experienced? I know I couldn’t. All the same…I wish that they had a say in this.”

“They would want you to do what was right.” said Harry. “Even if it meant never returning to their normal lives again. Of that, I am quite certain.”

“Then in that case,” said Albus, “there’s only one thing I can do.”

Harry stepped forward and hugged Albus again, tears pouring down his cheeks. “I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of you, my son. This has to be the hardest choice you have ever made. But if I were in your place, I couldn’t have made a wiser decision. Indeed, your actions may ensure eternal peace. Civilization will not be destroyed. There will be a record of what you did, and the choice you made. The precise story of what happened within Sirius may never be known, but it will instill in humanity an important lesson about responsibility and power that will hopefully endure forever.”

Unable to suppress the question, Albus burst out, “What’s it like there? You know…when you move on?”

Harry gave a small smile and a shake of the head. “Not here. Not now. All I will say is that you have much to learn.” And with that, Harry walked towards one of the Warp Pods, turned, and vanished.

Instinctively, Albus knew what he had to do. He turned around and headed for the nearest of the Warp Pods. The moment he entered the enclosed chamber, the familiar female voice intoned, “Albus Potter, apparition to preset coordinates. Please turn around.”

Albus stood on the spot, took a deep breath…and turned.

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