To Be a God
Once, when I was more naive than I am now, I had thought to be just like my father. I had wanted to wear the mask I had only caught glimpses of. He tried to hide it from me at first. The mask, the darker than night cloak, and his mark; all of them he tried to shield me from. It had worked for a while, and I grew up ignorant, until the time came for me to go to school.
It hadn’t been much, but there had been murmurings. Old family friends suddenly flocked to our home. They all seemed to be looking for answers, answers my father did not have. It was then that he began to change. Before I went to school, my father had never so mush as raised his voice to me. But after, it was if a switch had been flipped. He no longer cared that I did well; he no longer indulged in my stories. He yelled at me, and my mother, and he began to drink.
I don’t tell you any of this to gain you pity, nor to excuse the things I have done. Rather, I asked to speak with you today so that you might understand, not excuse, but comprehend my motives.
On holidays, my father began to teach me. He would spend hours with me in the darkest parts of our manor, teaching and reviewing horrid, dark, and sinister spells. I did not enjoy it, and one day I thought as much to tell him so. That day he taught me a very valuable lesson: do not question your superiors.
From then on, I followed him blindly, soaking up attention when I could get it, and doing my best to please him. He would tell me stories, stories just as terrible as the spells he taught, full of death and destruction. I learned all about his mask, his cloak, and his mark. I also learned I wanted nothing to do with them. Sadly, the day I reached that realization was the day I realized I had no choice. Those three things were as much a part of my future as the servitude that would be expected of me, of the life that was no longer my own.
One of my father’s favorite things to teach me was philosophy. Even when I was at school, I would receive daily owls. The other children thought I was spoiled to be receiving correspondence daily; but they didn’t know the letter contained no words of love and support. No, each letter contained only my daily lessons, the type of lessons not sanctioned by the school.
My father rarely repeated himself, believing that reiteration was far below him. But one bit of philosophy that he loved above all others belonged to a French man, Jean Rostand: “Kill a man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god.”
Touching words from a father, are they not? I have always been curious as to which he intended me to be. If I were a murderer, would that mean I could stop at just one? As a conqueror, how could I find so many men to kill? But lastly, to be a god would I not also have to kill myself? I’m sure few people have ever actually had the desire to think that deeply on murder. Or, few sane people, as I’m sure there is many a Death Eater still pondering that very act as they rot away in their Azkaban cells.
And so I went though my school days pondering quandaries deluded enough to make my head spin. I was beginning to buy into the poison my father had been spoon feeding me for years. I was beginning to believe that all I would ever be was a killer, though I had yet to extinguish the flame of life from another.
It was in my sixth year that the inevitable happened. I was called upon, both by my father and the Dark Lord, to become a murderer, an assassin. There was one man that I was sent to kill. The thoughts and planning consumed me until I grew weak. It was not for their approval that I consented to the task, however. I had stopped caring for their approval the night my father offered up my mother as a gift to his Dark Lord. No, it was because they dangled the life of another precariously over my head.
“Do it,” they whispered to me. “Do it, and we’ll let her live.”
Here we come to the part where everyone assumes I will tell you I did it to save my mother’s life. I would have, believe me I would have, but it was not my mother whom they had placed on the bargaining table.
No, the bait they offered was a girl, one I had grown quite fond of. She and I had become friends during my fourth year, despite the great taboo we knew we broke in doing so. But how could I stay away from one such as her? Her fiery passion for life amazed me. It kept me warm on nights that my heart was filled with ice, and fridge water flowed through my veins. Please do no get ahead of yourselves; be so kind as to remember that we were young, fourteen and thirteen.
We would spend night after night talking. Often our conversations were about trivial things: what we wanted to be, places we wanted to see, careless things, really. But other nights we spoke of truth, of the war that was coming, and about life. I shared with her all that I knew. Speaking with disgust, I told her what my father had taught me. It was the philosophy that intrigued her the most.
She would sit with her knees up to her chin and her arms draped lazily around her legs.
“I think he has it backwards,” she said to me one night. There was no anger in her voice, just mild curiosity and the barest hint of a smile. I knew she was going to say something crazy then, something so absolutely ridiculous that I would just have to believe it.
“To be a true god,” she began. “To be someone with real power, I think you should have to save lives, instead of taking them away.”
I told her that she had made sense, that I had believed her, and yet she hadn’t seemed satisfied. She had scrunched her face up and swore to me that she would figure it out eventually. That’s what it was to her, a riddle, something that if she thought through with enough effort could be solved.
It was then that she leaned in to kiss me. Nothing I had ever learned had prepared me for the way her kiss could make me feel. Finally, it was as four years of ice and fear had lifted from my soul. Her fire was wild, burring into a feeling that I would never forget. After that night, ever meeting started and ended with a kiss, but nothing more. I began to live for those kisses alone.
One evening however, towards the end of my fifth year, she stopped coming to our meetings. I began going through withdrawal, and I learned just how drugging her kisses had truly been. I don’t know what it was that scared her away, but I never sought her out. I just knew, that for whatever reason, I would have to learn to make due without her life to light my own. Often, I would catch glimpses of her in the halls and at meals. It was then, when my heart would drop into my stomach that I realized it was more than just an addiction. I was in love with her.
It was that love, no matter how unrequited it might have been, that put her life in danger. The Dark Lord has seized the information from my mind and now held it against my throat like a sharpened dagger.
“So pretty,” he would hiss. “It would be shame to lose something so alive, would it not?”
Throughout my sixth year, I would receive messages by post and nightmares by dark, constantly reminding me the consequences of failure. I hated what my life had become, loathed it so soundly that it made me sick. Or perhaps the illness came from the vividness of my dreams. I would see her, her pale skin almost translucent, and her blood mixing with the fire of her hair spread out before me. What was worse however, was the sticky feeling of blood on my hands; a feeling I could not shake even in my waking hours.
You of course already know which choice I made, no matter how horribly I failed at my task, I did indeed try. When the old man spoke to me about options, I nearly broke down and told him everything. I stopped myself from doing so only because I am horrible pessimistic, even to the point of cynicism. I had a terrible sinking feeling that only his death could prevent her. It mattered little that she would never speak to me again when she had found out what I had done. I hadn’t talked to her in two years, but I couldn’t stand the idea of her never speaking, to anyone, ever again.
Yet, here I am, on trial of sorts, for a crime I could not commit, and for one that I did. You ask if I regret letting Death Eaters into the castle of Hogwarts. Of course I regret it. I regret many things in my life; however, it was necessary. It had to be done in order to save her.
I come here, before you, the Order of the Phoenix, not to beg forgiveness, as many of you think I should. But rather, I come with a warning: they know where you are and what you intend to do. They have made their mission to stop you, to kill you, and to rule the world as they see fit. I see you now, murmuring about yourselves, presumably asking if I, with a Dark Mark burned into my arm, can be trusted. If I were you, I doubt I would trust me either. But the truth is I received this in the mail just three days ago. It’s nothing but a raged slip of parchment, but it is from her. Here, allow me to read it for you: “Save one man, and you are virtuous. Save millions of men, and you are a hero. Save everyone, and you are a god.”
It would appear she has finally unmasked this riddle for me, and made clear to me my path. I ask that you judge me now, on what I am attempting to do, rather on the mistakes I have made. I have no intention of being hailed as a hero, or even a virtuous man, and surely, I am no god. Do with the information what you will; I have only come to make amends for what I have done. And, to tell you that I shall keep her safe. You look surprised? Don’t be. She is waiting for me just beyond this door, and never again shall either of us look back on the mess this world has become. I do swear to you, however, that no harm shall ever befall her. I aspire to be only as she wishes, perhaps the man she could not find in one of you.
Please don’t think me crass when I say I have every intention of kissing her the second I walk out of this room. I have dreamed for eight years about her fire, and I only pray that time has done nothing to diminish the light she could bring to my world.
Author notes: AN: Don’t forget, I live off of reviews. That and they encourage me to work on one of the other stories I have already started. There about twenty of them by the way. Yeah, I know, get to work. Thanks for reading!
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