Chapter 35

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Dumbledore's face was impassive and expressionless and that irritated Harry further. But he tried not to let it show. Harry watched his gaze flicker momentarily to the glowing Pensieve and then back at him,

"It seems I was worrying about you for nothing. You seemed to have kept yourself sufficiently entertained."

Harry didn't miss the lack of emotion and coldness in Dumbledore's tone. He felt an uncomfortable sensation in his gut. This was not going to end well. He tried for an embarrassed look and was fairly certain he pulled it off despite the fact that his insides were burning up with hate and his soul was on fire. Dumbledore moved to the Pensieve and leaned over it to check what Harry had been watching. Harry closed his eyes and his hands clenched into fists,

"What are your thoughts on this memory?"

Harry opened his eyes and regarded Dumbledore with as much politeness as possible,

"I think that was Voldemort's family."

Dumbledore nodded without looking at him,

"What did you think of Merope and Tom Riddle, Voldemort's parents?"

Harry thought about what to say. That part had intrigued him the most and his curiosity was evident in his voice when he spoke,

"How did they end up getting married?"

Dumbledore smirked,

"Can you not think of any measure Merope could have taken to make Tom Riddle forget his Muggle companion, and fall in love with her instead?"

Harry thought hard. He knew where Dumbledore was taking this and he wasn't going to go there. He wasn't going to fall back in Dumbledore's web of lies. But he had to say something so he suggested,

"The Imperius Curse?"

Dumbledore tsked and finally turned his piercing blue gaze on him,

"Very good. Personally, I am inclined to think that she used a love potion. I am sure it would have seemed more romantic to her and I do not think it would have been very difficult, some hot day, when Riddle was riding alone, to persuade him to take a drink of water. In any case, within a few months of the scene we have just witnessed, the village of Little Hangleton enjoyed a tremendous scandal. You can imagine the gossip it caused when the squire's son ran off with the tramp's daughter Merope"

A love potion. Harry scoffed inwardly but it did seem like a viable option despite the fact that he didn't want to believe a thing Dumbledore told him. But there was another thing didn't make sense to him. Voldemort had been raised in an orphanage. Merope must have died but why had his father abandoned him. He could remember Voldemort's hate for his father from that night in the graveyard. He voiced that thought,

"And Merope? She died, didn't she? Wasn't Voldemort brought up in an orphanage?"

Dumbledore eyes twinkled with something. He was pleased with Harry curiosity. Harry told himself over and over again that he was doing this to get information but he was curious,

"Within a few months of their runaway marriage, Tom Riddle reappeared at the manor house in Little Hangleton without his wife. The rumour flew around the neighbourhood that he was talking of being "hoodwinked" and "taken in". What he meant, I am sure, is that he had been under an enchantment that had now lifted, though I daresay he did not dare use those precise words for fear of being thought insane. When they heard what he was saying, however, the villagers guessed that Merope had lied to Tom Riddle, pretending that she was going to have his baby, and that he had married her for this reason. But Merope was indeed expecting. Tom Riddle left her while she was still pregnant."

Bastard was the first word that came to Harry's mind regarding Tom Riddle. Harry was glad he didn't voice it. Voldemort's hate was completely justified. He forced his hands into his pockets to stop them from trembling in rage. He was hoping that his anger wasn't showing on his face,

"So, what happened? Why did the Love Potion stop working?"

Dumbledore's smirk widened but he made no move to reply. Harry had an inkling to why though. Merope must have stopped giving Tom Riddle the potion. She must have felt guilty. Well Harry wished she would have just fed him poison. He turned his attention back to the matter at hand. What had happened at the ministry?

"What happened at the ministry, Sir."

Dumbledore's smirk vanished and it was replaced by a grim expression. Harry felt triumphant joy fill his heart. The order hadn't been able to take over the Ministry. Voldemort must have arrived and thwarted their plans. Dumbledore stepped closer to him and Harry resisted the urge to back away. He waved his wand and conjured a copy of The Evening Prophet. He handed it to Harry and Harry turned it over and saw his interview on the first page. A quick glance told him that Rita had gotten it in print word by word. He made a mental note to reward her if he ever got out of here,

"Your interview turned out to be quite controversial."

Harry put the newspaper down,

"I didn't say anything wrong, Professor."

Dumbledore stepped closer to him and spoke,

"No, you did not."

Harry didn't miss the threat underlying in Dumbledore's tone and he stepped back despite all his restraint,

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at him,

"Take a seat."

It was an order and Harry was not going to follow it,

"I'm fine on my feet, Professor."

Harry retreated further back and his back collided with something. The chinking and clinking told him that he had hit the memory cabinet. A thought occurred to him out of nowhere. He had thought about stealing the memories. Why hadn't he thought about destroying them so that Dumbledore couldn't exploit them further. Dumbledore had all the intent to hurt him and if he was going to die, he might as well go out with a bang.

Harry turned around in a flash and brought his fist down on the glass cabinet, once, twice, three times before he felt a length of black rope restrain his wrists and ankles and he fell down on the carpet. It wasn't a graceful position to be in but he looked sideways and he smirked in satisfaction when he saw several smashed glass phials along with shattered glass from the cabinet on the carpet, inches away from his face and a haze of liquid gassy smoke. He was fairly certain that Dumbledore wouldn't be able to restore them. He was also positive about the fact that he was in for a world of a pain.

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