A Soliloquy by Albus Dumbledore

I am the servant of the Holy Flame, a guardian of the Celestial Fire. Like the guardians before me, like the ones who will follow, I awakened on Earth to purify a soul, to right a wrong, to correct the balance of good and evil.

But I am not perfect. I failed.

I did not destroy the evil. I fell in love with it. I was seduced by his fiery words and the sunshine on his golden curls, by the warmth of his smile and his skin against mine. Like a moth to a flame.

I burned.

It took me years to track him down after he escaped from me. Away from his blaze I had found my own light, and I wondered at how much it had dimmed. At first I was angry with him for stealing my brightness, for leaving me cold and weak and tainted. Gradually I realized that it was my fault: not taking up with him - even now, I do not, can not, regret it - but allowing him to consume me. I was not him, and he was not me. A flame may take another's fuel, or subsume another into itself, but it is better by far to have two separate flames. Then if one goes out, it may be reignited by the other.

Slowly I rebuilt myself until I was sure that my own glow could not die. Then I went to search for the one who raged out of control. Fire can be countered with fire.

When I found him, I realized two things. First, that I still burned. But the burning was different. Softer, perhaps, but more pervasive, and thus more powerful. I loved him still. But I was no longer in love.

This prepared me for my next realization: he burned, too. But he was not yet over his anger, and it was driving him, consuming him, too fast, too furiously. I had no choice.

"Grindelwald," I said - the use of his first name, Gellert, even now seems too much like a caress - "I challenge you to a wizard's duel. If I succeed, you must cease your foolishness. If you succeed, you may kill me."

Sometimes I think that is what did it. He attacked me, it is true; our duel was terrible to behold. But in the end he allowed himself to be vanquished, shut in a prison of his own devising, a light hidden in a bushel. He had wanted me to succeed. At the very least, he had not wanted me to die.

"You are far too bright for me, Albus," he told me, the last time we saw each other.

I left him there, in Nurmengard, a place too cold and cruel for him, but the only place that could check his fire. It was his wish. But not mine.

Some people say that by defeating Grindelwald I saved the world. I only wanted to save one man. That man. I failed in that. My heart refuses even to say that I defeated him. Instead, he saved me. Thus, he taught me how to how to save others.

To burn for another. To love. It is, perhaps, what keeps us all going.