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The Plan
By BrightFeather

Disclaimer: If you think they're mine, you're sadly mistaken. I hugged them, squeezed them, called them George, then gave them back like a good girl. All things Harry Potter ultimately belong to JK Rowling.

Author's Note: This has been bugging me for quite some time. Sometimes, the manipulative Dumbledore stories kinda get to me, because, frankly, that's not exactly how I see him. Then again, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions… This is a GoF missing moment.

Quietly, I creep into the hospital wing. One of my boys ended up in here. I swear, if it's not one, it's the other, and every year, the youngest ends up here. I conjure a squashy chintz armchair and sit down in it beside his bed. My heart is aching as I smooth a lock of dark hair away from his face. I lost my heart to this child long ago and the thought of losing him scares me to death. Let me clarify. I have two sons, through neither is actually mine. I just love them as if they were. The younger of the two is here, whilst the other is Merlin-knows-where.

Tom has been resurrected, and I sent the other son-of-my-heart off to spy on him. All I can think, as I watch the younger of the two sleep is that this wasn’t part of the plan. What plan, you might ask? It's complicated. When this precious child and his late mother defeated Tom the first time, I figured it out.

I conceived a plan in which he could grow up safe and happy. A plan which let him be a child for as long as possible. A plan which would make him my apprentice after Hogwarts. I came up with a beautiful, brilliant plan to teach him everything he needed to know to not only get rid of Tom permanently, but to live a long and happy life. I believe my first mistake was giving him to the Dursleys.

I should have learnt my lesson with my older son, with Severus. You must understand! Child abuse is rare in my world. Exceedingly rare. I could not conceive of a family, especially people related to Lily Evans, who would purposely injure their child. Oh, I know it happens; Severus's biological father sometimes crossed the line into abuse, but it doesn't happen often. Things have changed since Tom was growing up.

The Dursleys' treatment of Harry wasn't part of the plan, either. Yes, I knew that he’d be treated as second best to their son. Yes, I knew what a great hardship it would be for him to live without magic, to live in the muggle world that was not his birthright for ten years. What I did not expect was the level of hatred those thrice-damned muggles would show him. I did not count on the massive neglect and abuse that my poor boy suffered, and will probably suffer again when he goes home.

I have damned myself by sending him back there year after year. I try and justify it by saying that I found out only recently, but in truth, there is no excuse. Also in my defense, nobody ever told me. Arabella never reported anything out of the ordinary. Muggle social services never investigated. I reach for his hand and clasp it tightly in my own. I will be damning myself again, but now there is no real choice. With Tom back, Privet Drive is the only safe place for him. I went back and wove more protections in the wards, though. I can't stop them from yelling, but I can damn well stop them from starving, hitting, and locking him up again. It wasn't part of the plan.

I planned a glorious future for both my boys. I wanted Severus to find some way to be happy, but he has turned into a lonely, bitter man. I wanted Harry to have a safe, secure childhood and to know he was loved. Instead, part of him is convinced that he is worthless and unlovable. I've tried to convince my boys to get along, but Severus's bitterness over what happened twenty years ago keeps getting in the way. That wasn’t part of the plan.

Part of me wishes that Harry had inherited his mother's red hair. After all, my Severus was Lily's best friend. If Harry looked more like her, perhaps things would be better between them. I have tried to make him see the truth about Harry, but in this, he is blinded by the physical resemblance between my youngest and his biological father. It wasn't supposed to happen this way, it just wasn't.

In my plan, we kept Voldemort from coming back until my Harry was at least halfway through an apprenticeship with me. I had taught him almost everything he needed to know to defeat that lunatic. Severus and Harry got along and worked together to bring about Tom's downfall. Both of them found nice young witches to settle down with, and gave me lots of grandbabies to play with. The wizarding world was at peace, and the population was growing, as it usually does after a war. My boys used their influence to help those like Remus, afflicted by a curse they did not choose, and that cannot presently be cured.

I use my free hand to stroke the messy black hair as I contemplate my glorious plan. Things didn't work out that way. Harry, at fourteen, still a child, was stolen and used to bring Tom back. He was tortured horribly and barely managed to come back alive. I had to send my other child back to spy, most probably to his death. My heart hurts. This wasn't part of the plan.

I sit here, contemplating recent events, and all I can think, over and over is that this simply wasn't part of the plan.

End.