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62days: The Albus/Gellert Fandom Challenge

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[FIC] - 'Theatre of War' [Round Three] [Feb. 5th, 2008|08:08 pm]
62days: The Albus/Gellert Fandom Challenge


Title: Theatre of War
Author: oudeteron
Pairing(s): Albus Dumbledore/Gellert Grindelwald
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~7,800
Summary: Two different encounters, two scenes mirroring each other. An account of what could have been.

Prompt: 43. AU, 1940 - the height of the Blitz. "Albus, if you will not come back to me, then at least give me one kiss. Just one kiss. What must I do for one kiss?" "For one kiss? ...Call off this muggle madman of yours, Hitler. That has gone too far, not even you can say that all that is for the greater good. Call him off and you will certainly have earned a kiss."
Warnings: Angst, vague WWII references. I also took some minor liberties with canon for the sake of this AU working.
Notes: This was completed in time for the deadline but posting got delayed because I am a n00b. Enjoy anyway? Feedback/concrit is much appreciated.

Disclaimer: Everything Harry Potter is property of JKR, no profit is being made off this story. Also, before someone gets any ideas, the only reason why Hitler and Nazi Germany are mentioned in this fic is my attempt at keeping it historical to some degree.

September 16, 1940

The field was rustling with grass, whipped by the wind; but aside from these soft sounds, all was silent. Even the tall cloaked figure which was moving steadily in the landscape was absorbed by the expanse of nature as its booted feet hit the ground.

Albus Dumbledore found it hard to believe that, while he made his way towards the dark shape he could already make out in the distance, thousands upon thousands of Muggles supported by their lacking technology and abilities entirely unenhanced by magic had been fighting, killing, dying through the dragging months of the war, and nobody could proclaim to be untouched any longer. More difficult still was to imagine any of the information many of his friends and formal associates have confided in him about terrifying laws, unjust accusations, and intolerable prisons being true, now that he seemed to be cut off from anything that might have aspired to call itself a civilised society. Any sort of organisation seemed impossible.

But there was no room left for doubt, all the same. He had heard – and, indeed, seen – too much to feign ignorance before coming here. And he remembered all of it, not attempting to relieve his mind of such crucial pieces of memory. To argue his case against an unpredictable opponent, he needed them preserved in all their darkness and despair, in sharpest detail.

He approached the decrepit building that was the supposed destination of his journey. Getting here had been easy for a wizard – first Apparate to Germany, just a short while away from this bland field, and then cover the remaining distance in the most conventional manner. He would not have risked leaving such easily traceable magic any closer than this. What he had actually done was not the safest strategy, either, but the mere thought of the travel possibly taking longer had been unacceptable from the beginning. For the first time in whole years, Albus found himself impatient.

The house appeared to be a cross between an old hangar and unused barracks as it loomed before him, looking for all the world completely deserted. The twin windows on the upper floor were so streaked with grime that their glass seemed black. But Albus knew better – and, moving swiftly forward, placed one hand against the front door and pushed. It opened for him noiselessly, although a second ago nobody but an informed observer would have presumed it to be either unlocked or so unbelievably easy on the ears. As Albus stepped in and sealed the entrance again, he felt a wave of familiar magic.

He was in a large, cluttered hall, so immediately he murmured, “Lumos!” over his drawn wand. Seeing more clearly in the dim light, he could make out shapes of unspecified Muggle machinery that must have been discarded here in the past, already half-eaten by corrosion and most likely no longer functional. The only piece that still recalled a small measure of its former glamour was a motorcycle deposited by the opposite wall, complete with a sidecar. Even if Albus was no enthusiast for technology, for some reason this was the sight that truly brought home the misery of this place to him. Turning around with a slight shake of his head, he finally noticed the low end of a stairway.

As he neared it, each step he took only served to increase his mounting sense of unease. It was the first time during his journey, and during all the painstaking manoeuvres preceding it, that the reality of whom he was about to meet struck him full force. The stunned, dazed denial he had felt when he received the call was now completely gone. If he had not prepared enough, soon it would show, causing him to lose even before any battle was on at all.

Still, he ascended the steps.

Upstairs was divided into several interlocking corridors framed by yellow-grey walls, or that was the impression Albus had of it from where he was standing. He had just started to wonder which of the impersonal doors he should look behind first when a jolt of energy surged towards him from across the corridor, so powerful that the dust covering every available surface was lifted and dispersed in the stale air, almost making him gag. Unpleasant as the reminder was, Albus realised that there would be no need for a search. He simply had to rely on the tide of magic. Even in case he walked blind from here on, he would be sure to reach his aim.

He proceeded slowly, though, already feeling some resentment for his opponent’s early attempt to grasp full control of the situation. Let him wait. An advanced awareness of the strength of one’s enemy could always prove useful. However, even as Albus considered this, an idea crept along his mind that he should have kept himself more composed, and he wondered whether the man awaiting him had trouble containing his unquestionably great magic as well as Albus himself did.

Finally, the door to which the invisible trail led appeared before him, as nondescript as any of the others in this small maze. The only difference was what would be revealed after he had reached out for the handle – and in the kind of sinister calm that usually prefaces a storm, the singular truth ringing in Albus’s skull sang that Gellert was in that room.

He sucked in a deep breath, let it out, and entered.

The disorder around hit him first. There were crumbled boxes heaped in one corner, while another was occupied by a large dreary thing that might have been a bookcase, other assorted pieces of furniture being scattered about with neither rhyme nor reason. The windows indeed barely allowed one to look out through them, let alone provide enough light; to compensate for this, a bare lightbulb was hanging above a table loaded with papers from the ceiling, swaying to and fro on the protruding wire. In its harsh illumination, Albus saw his host at last.

“Why, I am honoured, Albus,” said Gellert silkily by way of welcome. There was nonchalance in his demeanour, as if the two of them had only talked yesterday, and as if today’s concerns were of no greater importance than inventing a discreet justification for one of them to stay in the other’s bedroom overnight. His voice had become deeper and was tinted with something Albus was reluctant to pin down, but it was nonetheless instantly recognisable. Albus returned the greeting coolly, making sure he used the other’s surname, after which Gellert asked him to close the door and have a seat. Albus did so without any delaying, if only because the request was a trifle away from an outright command.

Much as Albus tried to ignore it, he could scarcely help comparing the man sitting opposite him to the phantom from years past, checking for differences. They sprang forward at him from every angle. Gellert’s hair, though obviously golden in spite of the insufficient lighting, had been cropped shorter and lost the flowing quality Albus remembered from running his hands through it so many times. His face was still elegant, but somewhat more angular, which gave it an aura of severity that disturbed Albus more than anything else. Even Gellert’s lips seemed thinner. On the whole, he exuded an ugly feel of malice, of subdued cruelty. For a brief moment it made Albus wish he had never agreed to come here – because his own memories were rapidly getting tainted with this new image and its strange mixture of past and present. Gellert’s eyes, if examined without flinching, were the worst of it: as passionate as Albus recalled, but lying beyond the fire and the brilliance was something that could not have been there that lost summer, but it was apparently spreading like the plague. And although Gellert was regarding him calmly now, Albus had no doubt that he could shoot deadly glares when he pleased.

Gellert interrupted his musings abruptly; Albus thought he ought to have been shielding his mind. “You had no trouble finding me, I see.” His long fingers toyed with a buckle on his coat; he was dressed in Muggle attire.

“Your note was quite specific concerning the location,” he replied, “if nothing else. I hope you have not already been made an outcast in Germany to have to hide in a place such as this. Or are those the unintended benefits of your position?”

Gellert laughed at that – a curt sound, not in the slightest reminiscent of the way he had expressed mirth decades ago. Perhaps that was the most striking difference of all. But Gellert – why was his mind still refusing to address him Grindelwald? – wasted no time laughing except those few seconds. “Oh, not that, Albus, have no fear. I chose this house because it was remote, and very easy to enchant so that you alone could be admitted in. You must appreciate the privacy.” He waved his hand in emphasis, making the air crack and sparkle.

Only then did Albus realise that the entire room was positively bristling with Gellert’s energy. First those faint stirrings at the gate, the charge in the corridor, the strong thread of magic guiding his path... All that caught him off guard now, shattering his impassive mask as surely as glass and mirrors break when knocked over.

Naturally, Gellert noticed. “My apologies. It seems I’ve made myself too comfortable.” His eyes slid shut for a moment. When he next opened them, Albus felt as if the air had cleansed itself of some oppressive force he could only estimate when he no longer had to endure its burden.

He breathed deeply. “Thank you.” Whatever the rest, gratitude was only polite. Gellert nodded. Was this what truce would have been like?

Possibly, Albus decided, but a truce is temporary. He had come for answers. “Well, Grindelwald, let us cut to the heart of the matter. What have you called me for?”

He could pick up the shift in Gellert’s bearing, from a near playfulness to all business. It was more than clear that Gellert had hardly been idle from the beginning of their encounter, although he had bothered to put up an easy-going front. Ridiculously in the given situation, his own perceptiveness made Albus proud.

“I invited you,” began Gellert self-assuredly, “because I have an offer to make. Certainly you have observed what situation this foolish Muggle war places us in, or how we can profit from it.” He glanced at the papers stacked on the table. “The truth is that our chances to seize control in the end stand high. Join me, Albus. If you do, the ambitions we held before may come to life still. And once the war is over, it will be us who will rule, not any of the Muggles who only think they will. With power secured, our hands shall be free to unite the Hallows. Nobody – nothing – will stop us this time.”

Albus sat with his vision clouding, listening even as his mind was running astray. All he knew of the war came crashing on him, the politics and the monstrosities, in a stark contrast with his once friend’s off-handed calculations. Ariana’s lifeless body flew before him, and Aberforth’s devastated face as he shook and yelled at her, not willing to believe what he already knew. Then he remembered himself with blood gushing from his nose.

It took him a while to register that Gellert was silent and certainly expectant. But there was nothing to debate. “You don’t know what you demand of me. Even provided that I forgot about my family, or about how quick you were to vanish when our first plans only succeeded in bringing about a tragedy, asking that I cooperate with this tyranny is far too much. If that is all you meant to tell me, I need not have come.” He barely realised he sounded angry.

Briefly averting his eyes, Gellert let out a sigh that was surely unguarded. He fixed his gaze at Albus again, bright with determination. “I thought you would say that.”

Such a reaction was unexpected, but Albus could not afford to give in. “Take credit for it. But then you must have been aware that your efforts would be in vain.” It stung him to deny Gellert something he clearly desired, but there was no helping it. He had hoped against hope their meeting would perhaps have them part on acceptable terms – it would definitely have been preferable to living with just the bittersweet memory of Gellert forever – but now that seemed to be the one impossible dream neither his nor the other’s magic could achieve. Then again, he doubted Gellert would have considered such a modest campaign worth embarking on. He liked his successes seen.

Albus had known as much ever since their ephemeral two months, though he himself had been the same. They had both craved glory and would have done anything to attain it; together, they could have stepped over corpses. At least, as it turned out, Gellert could. For Albus there had only been guilt and disillusionment.

“One should not give up hope too soon,” said Gellert quietly, startling him. “Isn’t that the best belief of yours? You may think me heartless, Albus, but I’ve not forgotten.” His hand disappeared below the table, quickly emerging again to lay a polished wand upon its surface. Albus’s eyes widened.

He recognised it, although he had never touched it in his life, save those many breathless times when his fingers traced old scriptures that happened to include schematic illustrations if he got especially lucky. Now, watching it quiver on the sturdy table-top, he felt a terrible, penetrating chill grip him like a vice, creeping into his very bones. He could deal with Gellert having obviously beaten him, but learning about it so suddenly with Gellert’s prize placed between them like some warped victory sign made the whole thing unbearably drastic.

He asked the inevitable question as soon as he had recovered enough for the entirely predictable answer. “The Elder Wand?”

Gellert was eyeing him with cool smirking amusement. One of his hands, which had been partly covering the ancient wood, slid away from it with confidence. Albus permitted himself to guess whether it was a gesture of implicit trust or merely a tactical move counting on his honour, but, in any case, he was indeed above a theft. When Gellert finally replied, his tone carried for the first time traces of serious concern mingling with the deliberate irony.

“While you devoted yourself to an academic career – by the way, congratulations on your continued exploits at Hogwarts! – I travelled across Europe keeping up the work we had started. There is much left to do, but as you can see for yourself, my effort was not completely fruitless. But we are going in circles.” The ensuing pause was to give Albus a warning, though one that was quite unnecessary. “Join me.”

He had expected it, prepared for it, and was determined not to let Gellert know how bitterly he had to fight the proposition still. From this decision, in turn, emerged the only possible answer. “No, Gellert. I told you.” It came off as cold and uncompromising, a fact which made Albus relieved.

The careless glimmer of frustration in Gellert’s eyes served to push the situation towards both the worse and the better. “Albus, you’re not even letting me try. If you’ve grown so fond of telling things, then tell me why the two of us should be at war. Why must we turn our powers against each other? This should never have happened. You feel it as much as I.”

All that Albus felt at the moment was the fierce blue stare boring into him across the cluttered table. He was at a loss. There was not much common ground for himself and Gellert in the role of the tyrant he was becoming, and even less for himself and the Gellert who had once upon a time shrugged off the killing of his sister. And yet, underneath the piled-up layers of difference and dislike, Albus could not rid himself of the infuriating affection he seemed to feel for this ruthless man. It belonged in the past, he knew, but that would be easier done if his memories, frayed already with the churning of time yet devastatingly sharp, had possessed half the decency not to come chasing him whenever some little triviality provoked them. A sigh that should have been long forgotten unfurled disastrously in his mind, lending truth to his self-accusations.

Gellert sailed on, apparently sensing his chance. “You do know you’re not whole without me, don’t you? No, don’t answer. I will have you know, Albus, you are not the only one who has noticed. I may have captured the first of the Hallows, but my magic no longer gives me any pleasure. It functions only as a very reliable mechanism. But what are skills if you have no fire to fuel them? Nothing, as I am sure you’ve found. For a long time, I pretended not to be tied to you in any way except what I had attributed to it earlier. I was wrong. We do need each other.” He put his elbows on the table in the exact same manner Albus remembered him doing over their voluminous research or while blowing out candles or just before – “As that other saying of yours goes, resistance is futile.”

Albus shook himself and levelled a piercing gaze at the other’s face, half-attempting to revive his rarely used Legilimency skills. He mostly thought it too disgraceful a strategy to be employed against a respected foe, but anything would have been better than the all-pervading sense of Gellert constantly manipulating him. With uncharacteristic silent rage, he realised that even this wish alone was a testament to the effect of Gellert’s manipulation.

“Sometimes resistance is the only option left to us,” he countered in the typical tone that with anybody but Gellert he could have disguised as wisdom. “Gellert, there is a war. Hundreds of people are dying as we speak, and will die yet no matter what we agree on here. Unless I am very much mistaken, you don’t consider them worth a lot as most of them are Muggles to begin with. And, unless my intelligence is even less capable of gathering information than I, you quietly stir up more conflicts and then step aside for the war leaders to lap up the mud. Clever as you undoubtedly are, do not ask for my assistance. Your plan entails nothing I could do.”

At last, Gellert was visibly taken aback. The air surrounding him swirled as his power almost snapped out of control, but his voice betrayed no emotion except profound indignation. “You have no idea what we could do! We prepared everything we will ever need that summer! Do you even remember how –”

“I remember,” interrupted Albus loudly, for the first time sounding forceful, “perfectly. It would have been rather irresponsible to erase my memory on a whim, or to store those particular memories involving you in a Pensieve where accidental onlookers might gain access to them.” Dimly it dawned on him that Gellert had fallen silent. He pressed on. “And I know for certain that if we had been making our schemes for glory now, here in your fortunately dispensable Germany, we would have been left with no hope at all. What we would have gotten our sentence for is up to your informed judgement.”

“That – that’s unless we were wizards.” Gellert seemed to have recovered in the very last second that would allow him to save face, although he suddenly looked paler and his eyes had the unhealthy glint of fever. “Any wizard with an ounce of ability wouldn’t have allowed a lot of Muggle officials to lock him up in prison.”

Albus was merciless. “You do believe it, then? Go to any of those death factories and tell me not a single person in them has magic. Then, perhaps, you will see the flaw in your logic better. Besides, there is no wizard network in Germany anymore. The Nazis have destroyed it with your aid most of all, like everything else except their own system. Magic does not make people safe.” An imploring note was strung on that statement, but no more than that – just a note. Albus had wanted to keep his voice clear of it, too, but constantly working to preserve his detachment was painful enough. He didn’t think Gellert deserved to be spared whatever his conscience could still manage to do to him, anyway.

Indeed, Albus exploited the stricken, tense silence Gellert granted him. “I can’t join you, not with all those atrocities going on. In fact, I believe that even if Germany lost the war this very instant, it would already be too late.” Torn between a general sense of failure and a more private anguish, aware that he needed more urgently than ever to conceal it, he stood to go.

However, just as he did so a crash resounded off the walls as Gellert jumped to his feet, kicking back the chair to confront him over the disarrayed table. Some of the icy edge in his demeanour seemed to have melted, raw cracks in the once impenetrable image running in its wake, and at last Albus could truly place who the person facing him was – his enemy, his friend, the boy sealed in a cherished memory forever, his love. He felt as if he had awakened into the same morning full of beauty as he had years ago, when his blood pounded with the life and intensity of a thousand fragments of the Resurrection Stone and he asked himself whether he hadn’t already died as his fuzzy mind clumsily retraced its most recent recordings of unsurpassed joy. Back then, his skin had been so warm that he refused to imagine winter ever coming back. His eyes refocused with the poignant knowledge that Gellert was about two metres far from him and that technically nothing barred Albus from reaching out to touch him. The air, blackened once more, hissed like a snake.

But then Gellert spoke in a voice that was everything except aggressive. It sounded forlorn, resigned; unless Albus’s imagination was overexerting itself, this sudden proclamation could almost pass as sad. “Albus, if you will not come back to me, then at least give me one kiss. Just one kiss. What must I do for one kiss?”

Albus’s breath hitched, his consciousness falling further into the precious, untroubled part of the past, into a no man’s land where bounds and restrictions never held any significance. Gellert was asking as if he knew exactly... Albus’s mind whirred to a halt. Of course.

Albus considered himself lucky for his timely recognition of what was about to take place between Gellert and him; that he could have made himself a victim without a second thought was a thoroughly maddening prospect. As though only to keep himself from swaying on the spot, he looked straight into Gellert’s eyes, willing the effect of his Legilimency away as firmly as he could. The sensation this produced had a semblance of removing something toxic from the immediate proximity, light and purifying. He remained staring at Gellert until he made him surrender.

“For one kiss?” Albus repeated in a calm, collected tone. “Call of this Muggle madman of yours, Hitler. That has gone too far, not even you can say that all that is for the greater good. Call him off and you will certainly have earned a kiss.”

A look of mixed surprise and consternation twisted Gellert’s features as, Albus supposed, the gravity of the offer sank in. The tension escalated to an insurmountable pitch. At long last, Gellert broke it.

“Sorry.” Pitiless, unapologetic. “I won’t.”

Albus nodded silently. Without any pointless loitering, he turned and exited the room.


October 31, 1976

It was close to morning when the knock came. Albus lifted his head from his ink-adorned papers; the white swathes of his hair brushed the surface like a gentle but unstoppable breeze, so that the newest additions to his fine print were smeared the slightest bit. The recent upsurge of Tom Riddle’s power as a Dark lord had him reviewing strategies and planning both his and his former student’s next move in every moment he could spare, even if that sometimes constituted all night. Now he paused in his work in order to call out a formal, “Come in,” although he recognised the knock.

Presumably enough, it was Minerva McGonagall who entered the study, clad in her customary tartan cloak. She smiled slightly, but Albus distinguished an unusual twinge of nervousness in the way she stood by his desk and looked at him. “Good morning, Albus.” In her hand was clutched a shabby envelope.

“Good morning, Minerva,” he relayed pleasantly, hoping to set her at ease. Not a great many things had the power to unsettle him anymore and he knew the same could be said for his colleague, so the question what had shaken her like this was not entirely inappropriate.

Always direct and to the point (something Albus was often thankful for) Minerva announced, “A letter arrived in the night. It seemed to me a little suspicious, so I had it scanned for any signs of Dark magic first.” She held it out, firelight and the rising dawn flickering along its creases. “It happens to be safe as far as I can tell.”

“Thank you.” He glanced where the address should have been, but the place bore instead a single commanding line: To Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts.

Despite its scrawled state and awkward tilt, the handwriting instantly hit home. Not counting one unfortunate exception, Albus had not laid his gaze on it for the better part of a century.

Some of his quiet astonishment must have breached the confines of his self-control, for when he lifted his head again, Minerva was already on her way out. As soon as the door swung closed behind her, Albus opened the letter and began to read.

Albus –

I hesitate to allow myself the hope that you may read or even receive this letter. Rest assured, no enchantment was placed on it, or at least not by myself. There is no telling what all the people protecting your safety might do.
There is a certain matter I must discuss with you. I know it has been years since you last saw me, and indeed I wonder whether you would recognise me anymore, but this is more of an emergency than you imagine. I will not elaborate in case this note falls to the wrong hands.
It might interest you, though. You know where to find me.

Below was a large empty space, signed only with the initials G.G. in the bottom right corner of the parchment.

Albus went over the text once, twice more as though he hoped to discover some concealed message literally between the lines. Despite the letter’s forced politeness (had Gellert forgotten how to talk to him?) and its secretive nature devoid of all grace (was Gellert’s mind going rusty from lack of exercise?), he did not for a moment doubt its authenticity. Gellert was writing to him from prison for the first time since their final duel – and he was asking for his visit. Albus could well imagine how he must have detested putting himself at another’s mercy, let alone at the mercy of the man who had defeated him. Now that he pondered it – he glanced at the opening sentence again – Gellert was hardly anticipating any real outcome from such a blatant shot in the dark, but it had been worth the risk to him, all the same. Carefully, Albus folded the letter and slid it into the inner pocket of his robe, over his chest.

A horrible sense of deja-vu engulfed him, thrusting him right back into the last moments before his leaving for Germany loosely following a similar bleak prelude. Rushing to Nurmengard now just because of a few paragraphs with Gellert’s signature would be pure foolishness, but Albus was already failing to summon the resolve necessary not to. It was as if Gellert were some unfinished business in his life that he had to either confront or escape. The problem was that his escapes never lasted long enough to rinse out the emotions still boiling under the usual scope of his consciousness, even while he persuaded himself that his life had finally moved on.

But, perhaps, the matter could be settled properly at last. He would fulfil this one wish of Gellert’s and free himself in the act. Redemption for everybody.

He walked through the still mostly empty corridors of Hogwarts and off the school grounds, then Apparated as close as he dared to the impenetrable barriers of Nurmengard.

Getting inside was easy enough if he ignored the inscription FOR THE GREATER GOOD carved above the main entrance. Nobody ever braved this prison even as a common visitor, and when the guards recognised the man standing before them as the one who had the most to say about Grindelwald’s incarceration, they were far from objecting to his going to see what his intervention had resulted in. Albus suspected they were merely flattered by what seemed to be his keen interest in the prison’s current functioning, but more the advantage for him. As they led him upstairs, higher and higher in the gloom, he had enough on his mind resisting the chill that flooded him like icy water, underlined by the sheer inhospitability of his surroundings. He was acutely aware of it all, as if experiencing a physical pain, although that might also have been the effect of going in circles around the question, Is Gellert feeling this way here all the time? The idea seemed perverse, too morbid to be thought of.

All in all, Albus felt a profound relief when his guides showed him behind a foreboding heavy door and stayed watching guard outside. It must have been the reputation.

He was sure, of course, that they were not allowing him to be with Gellert in one undivided room, especially when the said room was not being under surveillance. From what he remembered of his only previous visit to Nurmengard, the cell itself was a little farther along the meagre hall he found himself in, separated by some kind of bars he did not even dream of crossing, his famed magical ability notwithstanding. Already his power was suppressed in him, and if the paralysing rigidity around him was anything to judge from, so was Gellert’s. He walked on, another hall and another time projecting themselves before his eyes.

The corridor ran into a dim room: on one side he could see a robust wooden bench, the other remained hidden from view. A strange sense of not belonging here, of needing to announce himself before he went in seized him, unbearable in its raw insistence. There was no point in defying it.


Something rustled in the yet unseen space and went quiet again.

Albus felt his hands clench, a tic he had not experienced in years. Whatever was in store for him now, Gellert was there, apparently not removed from reality, and he had heard him. Albus hoped there would be some more substantial recognition, which also urged him onward. Solemnly, as if afraid to violate a sanctuary, he left the last part of the way obstructed by the wall and finally regarded the cell in full.

It was dark, much darker than a normal room anywhere else would have been, and it smelled of dust and, oddly, of stone. There was a lone window in the farthest wall behind the bars, evocative of the ones found in the spires of medieval buildings. Whatever light fell in through it seemed to endlessly wither in this closed space; even as Albus attempted to follow its path, it only teased him and dissipated. Shadows crept along the walls like vines filled with some mortifying venom. Lying over the scene of desolation was a pure, resonating silence that suggested nobody and nothing could dwell here and still be alive after the first day and night.

But all those years... and many more to come, many more...

Slowly, Albus approached the bars, shaking his head in a vain effort to clear it. Then he looked properly, and his eyes passed on the information sooner and faster than his brain managed to process it. He saw a figure in rags huddled next to a dilapidated table, facing away from him, its hair a mess of greyish white, a figure that started almost imperceptibly when he asked, “Gellert, did you want to talk to me?”

The next second Albus desperately wished he had kept quiet. He had expected anything but niceness to greet him in Nurmengard, and indeed he had lived through enough horrors to arm him against anything, but his own defamation of someone so dear to him he had only faced once – on that terrible, victorious day in 1945. Now he was meeting it again, prepared for the fact but not the reality.

Gellert looked nothing like the beautiful boy he had met in Godric’s Hollow. He looked nothing like the unscrupulous Dark wizard Albus had encountered later on, either. As he stood up and turned towards the voice, Gellert resembled more a shimmering ghost than a person of flesh and blood. Certainly no blood.

His clothes were faded and seemingly ingrained with filth; Albus was not sure if they couldn’t be the same ensemble Gellert had worn as a splendid battle outfit to their final violent combat. Even more weakened was his hair, bleached and vaguely reminding one of spider silk. His skin was nearly white enough to match it, his dried-up hands made Albus inwardly cringe and wonder how on Earth he had managed to write that letter. Once Gellert had steadied himself enough – he was apparently in a state of mild vertigo – it seemed a miracle that he could actually make his throat work to speak.

“You’re here.”

The awkwardness of that voice caused Albus’s own reply to be a notch softer. “I thought I was invited,” he said, cautious for it not to come off as sarcastic. There was a million of things he would have chosen to speak of over this.

Gellert moved slightly closer to the bars, making it increasingly difficult for Albus to avoid his eyes, which were blue as always but as if watching from behind a veil. His visibly parched lips quirked to a smirk.

“How come the guards aren’t with you?” Just the invaluable opportunity to use human speech again, Albus guessed, made the ordeal of it easier to overcome. “They didn’t show so much courtesy to the Minister for Magic last year. At least...” he paused, uncertain, “I think it was.”

That caught Albus unawares. “The Minister for Magic was here? They wouldn’t have advertised that.”

“Oh, it was – he lasted for ten minutes or so. I pretended not to know what was happening. They think I’m gone, now.”

Albus deliberately neglected to contemplate who it was that Gellert was referring to as “they” – it could have been the prison guards, it could have been the world. Either option was sickening.

“How did you send that letter?” he found himself asking, not having the courage to bring up anything more important.

At that, Gellert grinned, a momentary sparkle in his eyes reviving the charisma that he had possessed and which had been his downfall despite his current lack of about a half of his teeth. He drew even closer, almost touching the bars with his outstretched hands. “I terrorized them and screamed like a madman until they caved in... went back to playing dead as soon as they sent it. Easier that way. This castle has brilliant acoustics. Manipulation is a wonderful thing, Albus... I wonder if you’ve discovered it yet?” The sudden burst of energy radiating off him was disconcerting in the extreme, although not as much as his words. Not sure what a good reaction to something like that would be, Albus made a step forward, face to face with the prisoner whose expression had become, again, dull and exhausted. It took all of Albus’s restraint to keep his composure.

“I expect the matter was something urgent, then. You said as much,” and with that, he located the note in his pocket and pulled it out. Gellert’s eyes lit up once more, this time maybe in some feeble tremor of hope he must not have experienced in whole decades.

“Of course. Let me out. Let me out of here, please, Albus. You are the only one who can.”

For one blind second, Albus just gaped at him. He had come to Nurmengard anticipating a broken man, a wrecked individual pursued by his own past crimes, or even a vengeful former lover who would spit insults at him, but this, the fact that Gellert would attempt to negotiate freedom for himself, was unthinkable. How could he actually suggest it aloud? But it was already too late; Albus could feel his mind spiralling into places he had never wished to revisit, towards deals and acts and arguments he had frenetically tried to erase. They stood before him now, crying and laughing at him in the same breath, and he could do nothing to drive them away.

Finally, fully aware that he was yet again slipping under Gellert’s spell (how could someone be half-dead and still so persuasive, how could he?), Albus recaptured his voice. “You know that is impossible.”

“No,” countered Gellert immediately, gripping the bars in both hands and leaning on his elbows for support. Albus could not help noticing how his tattered robes hung off his frame, as though they were fastened to a skeleton. However, there was far too much intensity in Gellert’s tone and in his uncannily sharp movements to quite account for the likeness. “The Minister, when he was here, he said something about a wizard calling himself Voldemort. You’ll have to stand up to him, sooner or later you will, who else is there? I’ll work for you. Surely my experience with the Dark Arts will prove useful.”

Albus was meticulous in making his face appear inscrutable. He only said, “So you have changed your mind all of a sudden? You are willing to fight a Dark wizard as you were yourself, if only you can go free? I don’t understand.”

But then he looked at Gellert and saw it, as plain as the barren surrounding walls. Gellert wanted out, needed out. The truth explained itself, really, when Albus let himself take it in. Ever since the summer they had first met and parted, Albus had seen Gellert as a symbol – new friendship, love gone wrong, merciless tyrant, evil defeated – but never again as a living entity. In his mind, in his effort to relieve his old grief, Albus had immortalised Gellert the boy and killed Gellert the person. Yes, he saw it now.

That admission made him feel off balance, as if the floor was suddenly swept from beneath him without a warning word. Hot on the heels of this crazed emotion was his belated, many times denied comprehension of Gellert’s fate. He could barely bring himself to do it, but at the same time there was no way he could have detained his impending understanding that Gellert Grindelwald, one of the most gifted wizards who had ever lived and arguably a genius in his own right, was condemned to languish in the worst misery someone like him could conceive of. Gellert was restless: Albus remembered how he had been always in motion, always urging him along, whether it was in their research of the history of Godric’s Hollow or in the tall swaying grass in the back of Bathilda’s garden under a reddening sky. The few times Gellert had tried to teach him Legilimency had mostly resulted in failure because Albus found himself unable to latch onto any steady point in the other’s hyperactive mind, and they had both laughed at the dizzying sensation he described afterwards. To cage Gellert in stillness was like forbidding a phoenix to fly, or burn. It went against nature.

It was then that understanding passed between them at last.

Both of Gellert’s fists were still curled around the metal, but now almost the entire length of his body was pressed against the disenchanted bars. Carefully, Albus covered the bony hands with his, longing to do more but pitifully incapable of it.

Albus... then at least give me one kiss.

He leaned forward, not to withdraw, not questioning for once, until his forehead came to rest against Gellert’s in a tentative, half-remembered brush. Albus’s eyes closed. A cascade of past impressions broke free behind his eyelids, crushing him with the weight of beauty and sorrow and lost time, but still Gellert made no move to pull away. Albus didn’t have a care about the dirty and by all standards unattractive image he would be looking at if he opened his eyes again. He could recall only one other ocassion when consequences had been nothing to him, and he knew the price of his recklessness. But that price had already been paid.

Just one kiss.

And a kiss it was – nothing more, nothing less, and certainly nothing in between. To Albus, it felt surreal regardless, which might have been the reason why one of his hands was suddenly cupping the back of Gellert’s head, caressing his tangled hair as if that action alone could restore it to its original luminosity. The fingers of Albus’s other hand mimicked the caressing motion in their position on Gellert’s wrist; Albus noticed that his skin was still remarkably soft, but it was the paper-thin sort of smoothness, rather than the kind caused by youth. Gellert’s lips were dry and did not taste of anything.

What must I do for one kiss?

They parted indecisively, this time watching each other, but neither retreated any further. Their faces remained within inches from one another. Gellert, who seemed to have held his breath previously, let out a weak sigh. “Albus, please.” In spite of the whisper his voice was reduced to, it was shockingly, irrevocably clear that he was begging.

It would be the cruelest necessary thing Albus had ever done. “No, Gellert. No. I can’t.” He drew back, and as he gently let go of the other’s head, he felt Gellert crumble in his hand.

“Don’t be an idiot,” Gellert snapped at him abruptly, all semblance of tenderness gone from him. The whole transformation had occurred in a heartbeat. “Was everything we’ve done for nothing? You need me. You can’t help that, remember?”

Albus merely gazed at the prisoner before him, who was once more looking quite deranged. Of course he remembered. It was through this, through his distant yet crystal-clear memory of a better past, that he realised the mistake he had repeated when he set out to confront Gellert later, every time. Not even the great wizard Dumbledore had the might to take back what was already done – the shadow of a man opposite him was a testament to that. And, although he was now convinced it made him an incorrigible old fool, Albus had not wished to hurt Gellert in any of those added meetings. But what else was he doing here, apart from prying open wounds that had never healed in the first place?

Better to finally concede just how wrong he was. “I’m sorry,” he said more to himself than to his companion, feeling like his voice was only a lame imitation of another. Louder, he added, “This should never have happened,” only to know that he was repeating someone again.

“Damned well it shouldn’t,” echoed Gellert in a rattling exhale. “Is there anything with you or me that should have happened? Or am I the shameful evidence you have to keep behind locked doors till your dying day?”

Albus felt his blood drain from his face and was certain that was precisely the intention. The sharp stab of pain was not cushioned by it, however. At last he managed, “You know that’s not true.”

But Gellert was already too far gone. “Prove it, then! Find some way to get me out! Either that or kill me, even that would be a mercy! Come now, do it!” His voice cracked and stumbled at every other syllable, but a slight shake of Albus’s head was his only answer.

Naturally, that seemed to infuriate him even more, so much that he resorted to throwing himself against the despised barrier. “You can’t leave me to rot here, Albus!”

Albus watched the struggle, motionless, until Gellert appeared to have exhausted whatever supply of energy he had at his disposal. He shivered slightly when Gellert finally slumped by the bars, his head bowed in undisguised despair, but still Albus stood his ground. When the cell was filled with no sound save Gellert’s ragged breath, Albus could no longer bear his own supposed stoicism and offered, “I will have some books sent for you. Rare scrolls, if you prefer. I can have a connection established between Nurmengard and the outside world, so that you do not stay in such isolation.” Listing possible improvements like this made him feel like a benevolent dictator, an ironic analogy under the circumstances, but he honestly had no other idea how to make Gellert’s continued existence at least a smidgen more tolerable. He was not very surprised when the proposal did not elicit a reply.

Gellert mumbled something else, though; Albus had to sit on the ground next to him to hear, willfully ignoring the protests of his aging joints and muscles. “Suppose this is what I deserve... I refused you when you asked for a favour, too... but you should know one thing, Albus... by then I couldn’t have called him off. Even if I wanted...”

For ages to come, Albus would be haunted by that line.


The sky looked frosty and limitless the morning Albus walked out of Nurmengard. He felt frozen himself – frozen in time, in space, his emotions locked and silenced. It was just as well. If he could feel everything he ought to have done right then, perhaps he would never have made it back to Hogwarts and to the comforting solitude of his study.

Still, contemplating the wreckage of his intentions and their outcomes, there was one thing he knew for certain: nothing was over. He had made sure of it. For him and for Gellert, there could always be absolution.

[User Picture]From: seilf_emit
2008-02-06 12:34 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so very lovely. I mean, passages like this one

It was dark, much darker than a normal room anywhere else would have been, and it smelled of dust and, oddly, of stone. There was a lone window in the farthest wall behind the bars, evocative of the ones found in the spires of medieval buildings. Whatever light fell in through it seemed to endlessly wither in this closed space; even as Albus attempted to follow its path, it only teased him and dissipated. Shadows crept along the walls like vines filled with some mortifying venom. Lying over the scene of desolation was a pure, resonating silence that suggested nobody and nothing could dwell here and still be alive after the first day and night.

are just, just... so... dfkjshdfkjbsdfjbdfbjkb *insert more keyboard-smash here*

I'm sorry, I'll comment later when my brain isn't malfunctioning quite as much.

PS: I'm honored that my link got mentioned in the same post as this story *hopes some of the wonderfulness will rub off* :D
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-06 12:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was trying to make these descriptions heavy but not too much like purple prose. (I live in fear of purple prose! XD) So I'm really, really glad you found it keyboard-smash-worthy!

*sends much love for your brain*

PS: Hehe, it would have been so egocentric to just promote myself in that entry. Plus, the article is wonderful by itself. ; )
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[User Picture]From: seilf_emit
2008-02-06 06:19 pm (UTC)
I live in fear of purple prose! XD
That's why I never go anywhere without my copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray, it automatically absorbs all the purple prose from the surrounding area!

Yay for brainlove! (ok, that sounded a bit weird). I had a monstrously crappy and exhausting day yesterday so your story really cheered me up!
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-06 07:29 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, good strategy! At least you always have "something sensational to read on the train."

Hey, I'll rather have brainlove than a mindfuck. XDD Seriously, though, I'm glad this brightened up your day when you needed it. That's an awesome compliment for me. ♥
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[User Picture]From: seilf_emit
2008-02-06 10:37 pm (UTC)
"something sensational to read on the train."
lololololol that deserves my brand spanking new Wilde icon (actually I was just looking for an excuse to use it :D )

That's an awesome compliment for me.
:) It's simply the truth, my dear!
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-07 08:48 am (UTC)
Aww, this icon is amazing! Use it at any opportunity you'll get! XD

:) It's simply the truth, my dear!
Even better. *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: rising_lark
2008-02-06 07:07 pm (UTC)
*icon love*
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[User Picture]From: seilf_emit
2008-02-06 07:21 pm (UTC)
*icon love back* ;D
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[User Picture]From: rising_lark
2008-02-06 07:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, I loved this. Especially the second part, although it was almost heartbreaking to read. =..(
Usually every fic is centered solely around Albus's sufferings, but here for the first time I actually realized what it must have been for Gellert to be locked up, without any hope or consolation.
Gellert was restless: Albus remembered how he had been always in motion, always urging him along, whether it was in their research of the history of Godric’s Hollow or in the tall swaying grass in the back of Bathilda’s garden under a reddening sky. The few times Gellert had tried to teach him Legilimency had mostly resulted in failure because Albus found himself unable to latch onto any steady point in the other’s hyperactive mind, and they had both laughed at the dizzying sensation he described afterwards. To cage Gellert in stillness was like forbidding a phoenix to fly, or burn. It went against nature.

That's exactly how I see Gellert. Well, and of course your Albus was brilliant, too, and the connection between the two was almost tangible. I really love how you said that for a long time Albus had seen Gellert more as a symbol than a real person, and how he didn't want the new, cruel Gellert to replace the memory of the golden-haired youth in his mind.
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-06 07:42 pm (UTC)
First off, thank you very much!

You've pointed out so many of those little things I hoped would come across in the fic, so it makes me really happy that you noticed them. Personally I've always seen Gellert as one of the most tragic figures of the whole series, because even if Albus had his heart broken by him, at least he wasn't locked up with all his former possibilities out of reach forever. (Imagine how messed up Sirius was after "only" twelve years in Azkaban - so much longer than that must have been insane for Gellert even without the Dementors around.) Anyway, I'm glad the characterization worked for you as well! And just thanks again for the lovely comment. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: rising_lark
2008-02-06 09:11 pm (UTC)
You are welcome. I'm glad I made you somewhat happy. ^_^
Actually, a thought of Sirius also crossed my mind while reading but of course I forgot to mention it. XD It's yet another one of those bittersweet R/S-A/G parallels. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-06 10:15 pm (UTC)
It's like R/S is the heir pairing of Grindeldore, isn't it? But I really like considering the similarities (and, equally importantly, the differences). And I sure hope that Albus used to give Remus some discreet advice. XD
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[User Picture]From: rising_lark
2008-02-06 10:41 pm (UTC)
Sure as hell he did! Especially when Sirius just got into prison and nobody knew he was innocent - imagine how Albus must have felt (given, of course, that he knew about R/S in the first place XD). I'm sure he sympathised with Remus and wanted to help him by sharing his own story. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-07 08:51 am (UTC)
Well, Albus is so very perceptive of other people's feelings that he must have picked up on the R/S hints! (Not to mention that I kind of imagine him as an avid historic slasher. XDD) Maybe that's yet another reason why Remus was so devastated when he learned about Albus's death at the end of HBP. Oh, the possibilities...
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From: kohl_eyed
2008-02-09 01:54 am (UTC)
"Call off this muggle madman of yours, Hitler."

I've always, always loved that JKR dated the defeat of Grindelwald 1945 (and have always, always wanted to read some great epic fanfic about those wartimes--young McGonagall, past generations of Blacks and Malfoys...and the new canon Grindeldore only makes it better!).

<3 the revelation about Hitler: "...by then I couldn't have called him off. Even if I wanted..." Chilling.

I love these details--the things Albus remembers of Grindelwald before his imprisonment, how he was always in motion. And the kiss! The kiss! The description of the skin of Grindelwald's wrist! <3 That hurt, it did. Poor dear boys. :(
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-09 11:14 pm (UTC)
Seriously, I was itching to write some WWII story (or finish one, to be more precise) so I totally jumped at this prompt. This wasn't all that epic, I'm afraid, but I did what I could with our favorite boys. I'm still so curious about Gellert's wartime activities, it's not funny. XD

Glad you liked that revelation! I wasn't sure where to place it in the story, at first I thought it would work while Gellert was still persuading Albus to free him. But I'm more satisfied with this final version.

Wow, so it does pay off I'm such a detail nut! XD It was just impossible to leave Albus's memories alone, the poor dear. But I'm especially happy that the kiss scene worked for you - I was worried it would come off as too random, but at the same time I knew it just had to be there. ...Gah, I'm rambling.

Thanks so much! ♥
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[User Picture]From: mustntgetmy
2008-02-09 02:45 am (UTC)
Oh my - where to begin?

Every scene in this was infused with such tactile details that I would be able to recognize these places should I come across them in real life. And referencing how Gellert would send his energy out into a space and change it really gave these places the feel of magical places.

Your Dumbledore is absolutely brilliant and perfect - particularly on the first date. You take what JKR gives us with his tones and explain the reason and slipups behind them, and I really enjoyed that. Also, and this might've just been me, but I loved how the first paragraph was sort of a nod to when we first see Dumbledore in SS. A lot of times I find that I forget the source material when reading fanfic but you doing that plus the tonal notes allowed me to see them on parallel, which was lovely.

Oh, that scene in the prison! I was so dying for Dumbledore to say, "Ah, to hell with it," and let Gellert out, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. And the last line Gellert says was so perfectly agonizing.

Also, I really enjoyed how you were able to summarize their relationship. I felt such pangs for them.

I loved this, in case you can't tell. I feel like you placed each word deliberately and they all work so well together that it seems like you were able to place them there effortlessly. You should be very proud. This is an accomplished and brilliant piece.

Edited at 2008-02-09 02:47 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-09 11:34 pm (UTC)
Where to begin, yeah! Such an awesome comment.

I'm so glad you liked the descriptions of the places. There may be a lot of detail, but in the beginning I had just a foggy idea as to where everything should be or how the stuff should actually look. But Gellert's magic was something I'd been counting on all the time - it just struck me as particularly like him not to bother controlling it much back when he was so powerful.

Ooh, that's great you liked my version of Albus. He's such a fun character if one gets under his skin. Maybe because thanks to JKR it's so easy to see him as an admirable person with issues.
That parallel with his appearance in SS must have been about half-conscious. Somehow I imagine that the perfect entrance for Albus-on-a-mission would be looking at him from a distance.

That prison scene damn near finished me as well, to be honest. So glad that you enjoyed it! ^_^

Also, I really enjoyed how you were able to summarize their relationship. I felt such pangs for them.
That was my biggest hope for this fic - summarizing the whole deal. I'm inordinately pleased that came across.

And in case you couldn't tell, I've enjoyed every bit of your comment! Right now, I'm very proud indeed. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: mustntgetmy
2008-02-11 04:48 am (UTC)
It's funny that you should mention foggy because my impression of the places was that they were in an overcast setting. I really liked that. And Gellert's not a character I've particularly investigated, but now that trait is going to stick with me.

Ahh, Albus is one of her more perfect characters. Right up there with Snape for complexity.

You're so in tune with JKR you don't even know it :P

The summarizing was one of the bigger things I noticed.

Aww, well, it was a real pleasure reading the story. Thank you for it.
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-12 11:49 am (UTC)
Really? I had an overcast sky in mind for the first scene, actually. And I'm glad I got you more interested in a character. ; )

So true. Albus is one of the characters with whom you don't feel like you know them inside out right from the start.

You're so in tune with JKR you don't even know it :P
That's why I need you to tell me. ^_^

We're just bouncing thanks off each other, aren't we? xD
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[User Picture]From: mustntgetmy
2008-02-13 05:35 am (UTC)
Because I haven't read Gellert as much, your characterizations of him are definitely going to stick with me.

And he's not even one you consider as having more too him which is the genius of it.

I try :)

It's like one of those old timey movies where a Westerner meets an Asian person and they keep bowing back and forth cause the Westerner doesn't know when to stop and the Asian person knows they have to be the last one to bow.
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[User Picture]From: remeciel
2008-02-10 04:36 pm (UTC)
Wonderful. I really enjoyed reading through the different sequences and throughout Albus's feelings. His point of view brings a new light to the whole fic, and I love the way you lighten some parts, made references to JKR's novels (the 'please' from Gellert reminds me so much of Albus talking to Snape before he dies). the foreshadowing of his fate is wonderfully describes - and above all, the fact that he's seeking for absolution made him as a very tragic hero, indeed.
Great work, darling. Amazing fic.
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-10 10:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ^_^

I'm really glad all this came across to you, these are the important things. Albus is awesome to write! He was just some sort of saint figure for so long that it's just incredibly cool that now we know about all the sad parts of his life and how he was influenced by them. Impossible to resist playing with. XD And I'm really happy you liked the foreshadowing!
The "please" from Gellert wasn't a fully conscious parallel, but it can obviously work that way. Oh, geez, you got me thinking about this and it almost makes me want to write a sequel or something.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the story! ♥
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[User Picture]From: remeciel
2008-02-11 07:17 am (UTC)
I wouldn't have thought that Albus could be described this way - the fact that JKR enhanced one of his most important features after the publishing is for me quite a pity, but you made me wonder it was then for the authors/writers to develop some more around his character.
A sequel will be quite welcomed! *hinthint*

I don't know about the unconscious side of the author writing, but I absolutely love the feeling as an artist that this is a fascinating way to draw. I could draw the most marvellous of a composition, something would always escape from me without me realizing it.
That's why... when I thought you wrote the 'please' on purpose and said me it wasn't, I was smiling like an idiot. Isn't it creating wonderfully surprising? :D :D

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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-12 11:55 am (UTC)
Well, she only made it obvious after publishing...I'm sure that everyone who has eyes to see noticed him and Gellert right in DH. (Though it would have been great if she had spelled it out in the book. One added scene could have done the trick!)
Keep an eye on my journal... *mysterious wink*

Isn't it creating wonderfully surprising? :D :D
It seems like it! And that's really interesting a similar process works for both writing and drawing. It's much more fun that way, isn't it? ^_^

*hugs back*
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From: acrimonyx
2008-02-24 05:15 am (UTC)
I can honestly say that this fic blows me away.

It blows me away with it's lyrical phrasing and gorgeous choice of language. It astounds me with it's portrayal of two of the lesser known characters (I view Albus as somewhat 'lesser known' since we only really get to see his manipulative/father-ing side, non?)and just... the general way it is.

I love each and every moment of this fic because... well. I can't just pick out one thing. I have got to say that I particularly loved the bit where Gellert says: "I terrorized them and screamed like a madman until they caved in... went back to playing dead as soon as they sent it. Easier that way. This castle has brilliant acoustics. Manipulation is a wonderful thing, Albus... I wonder if you’ve discovered it yet?" The various levels of win in that part is uncountable. I can look at it in so many different ways and still find that it is undoubtedly 100% Gellert Dx

I'm in love with you <33
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-24 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's the best effect I could have hoped for in a fic. ♥

One of the reasons I find Albus and Gellert fun to write is that they aren't the characters we feel like we know everything about just from HP. Albus is easier (at least for me) because there is a fair amount of info on him in canon, even if it's only towards the end that he shows himself as more than the saintly mentor figure. Gellert, on the other hand...I had to sit down and think about him before I dared to write this pairing at all. Many blank spaces to fill in when it comes to his character. Now I'd say I've figured him out somewhat, so I'm really happy my take on him worked for you.

Oh, that infamous paragraph! Thanks very much. I wanted it to come off like Gellert was almost rambling, but of course it was also a bit calculated. ; )

Hey, you're making me blush. xD
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From: acrimonyx
2008-02-25 05:24 am (UTC)
;D You're going to have to teach me how to do those little hearts. Elsewhere, it's just: [heart], but evidentally on LJ it's a lot different ;o

I have to agree with you there. I guess it's one of the reasons that I like the ship so much. You can put it in as many different ways as you like. Gellert... well, as I've said, I adore the way you've made him. It's got that hint of 'i am holier than thou' and yet that tiny hint of pleading to it and Dx you still leave me speechless.

I'm typing up my own little long-shot of the pair and I'm very much dying with Gellert's charicterisation XDD

;o Blush all you like, dearest. It's earnt~
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-02-25 04:04 pm (UTC)
I will if hopefully LJ lets me! See, it's just: & hearts ; (remove spaces). So, yeah, a bit different here. ^_^;

The best ships are always open to interpretation like this. That's what I love most about them, at least! Probably that reflects in my bipolar Gellert. XD

Ooh, you're writing about them as well? Makes me curious! And, you know, good luck.

Thanks, I will. ♥
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From: wufff
2008-07-03 03:09 pm (UTC)
You write fantastic angst! I'm not a huge fan of Albus-visits-Gellert-in-Nurmengard-fanfics but I couldn't help but love this fic nonetheless ;-)

A few of my favourite parts:

"For a brief moment it made Albus wish he had never agreed to come here – because his own memories were rapidly getting tainted with this new image and its strange mixture of past and present."
Yes, harsh reality ... I imagine Albus would have liked to preserve his image of young and "innocent" Gellert. It's like he tries to delude himself about Gellert's true identity over and over again.

"in the typical tone that with anybody but Gellert he could have disguised as wisdom."
I loved that line because it illustrates that they're really equals and Gellert is probably the only one who is not impressed by Albus' wisdom.

"Join me, Albus. If you do, the ambitions we held before may come to life still." LOL, the "join me" belongs into every story with a Dark Lord. A Dark Lord who doesn't say "join me" can't be a Dark Lord.

"Or am I the shameful evidence you have to keep behind locked doors till your dying day?"
Sad, because it's actually true ...

Your descriptions of Gellert's appearance in Nurmengard was brilliant. I could picture it all in my mind.

The kiss was --- I don't know how to call it. Hauntingly beautiful? It was just perfect there.
I like how you write both characters as both strong and vulnerable in their own way. Albus doesn't give in to Gellert's pleas but at the same time, he always comes when Gellert calls for him.

Do you have some more fics hidden somewhere maybe? ;-) If not, you *have* to write more!
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-07-03 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm paranoid about writing angst, I always think it will come off as too much drama. And I agree Albus would have to have a good reason (or convince himself he had one) to visit Gellert like this. I'm glad all this worked for you. ^_^

Yeah, I've always thought Albus had issues with accepting that Gellert was no longer just that boy he'd known. Possibly one reason why he delayed the final battle between them so much, I think. But I imagine it did hit him in the end.

I'm so happy you liked that bit! I firmly believe that Gellert may actually know Albus better than Albus himself, at least in some things. And he's definitely not falling for his vague speeches.

Mwahaha! "Join me" or else! xD

Very true. What I find saddest about the "shameful evidence" is that Albus probably didn't mean it that way when he had Gellert shuffled away to Nurmengard. But then the years dragged and somehow it stopped to matter how he might have "meant" it. The effect is the same.

That description was actually painful to even write. Glad you appreciate it.

Oh, the kiss! I'm glad you found it fitting, since I couldn't imagine them just walking away without anything to that effect taking place.
Albus doesn't give in to Gellert's pleas but at the same time, he always comes when Gellert calls for him.
I couldn't have said that better.

There's still a couple of fics left, I think. It's easier to just click the "one-shots" or "drabbles" link I have on top of my LJ bio since those have all my posted fics sorted. But I am planning to write more... ^_~
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From: wufff
2008-07-04 07:12 am (UTC)
"Very true. What I find saddest about the "shameful evidence" is that Albus probably didn't mean it that way when he had Gellert shuffled away to Nurmengard. But then the years dragged and somehow it stopped to matter how he might have "meant" it." That fits with your point that Gellert probably knows Albus better that Albus himself!

"It's easier to just click the "one-shots" or "drabbles" link I have on top of my LJ bio since those have all my posted fics sorted."
I see. That would make it easier, indeed. I'm a newbie to LiveJournal and therefore still do things the complicated way ;-) I'm thoroughly confused and impressed by the HUGENESS that is LiveJournal.
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-07-21 04:43 pm (UTC)
I do think he does! Or maybe it's just that he sees the parts Albus himself doesn't like to face if he can help it.

Oh, no problem. LJ certainly IS big! I hope my fics have helped you to get used to it. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: miss_morland
2008-07-21 11:28 pm (UTC)
OK, so I have a confession to make... I've been meaning to read this for weeks, after I last had a look at this comm, but I've kept forgetting. *is embarrassed* I hope you will accept this comment, though, however belated...

Anyway. I must admit that the prompt made me a little skeptical, because I've seen several fics where GG throws himself at AD, begging him to come back, and it has always struck me as rather OOC for a Dark Lord... Your fic, on the other hand, avoids this - the prompt is handled gracefully; neither of the characters are too sentimental, despite their obvious mutual attraction. This, IMO, makes it fic all the more heartbreaking.

The dialogue feels very real, and the prose is lovely. I was especially touched by the GG/phoenix comparison: it works as a metaphor, but it also underlines the connection between the two wizards. Beautiful.

One last thing: I'm really impressed by your stamina - writing a fic this long can't be easy, especially not when it's this dark and unhappy. Well done! :-)
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[User Picture]From: oudeteron
2008-07-22 02:12 pm (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, sometimes it takes me months to get around to reading some longer fics. And then I don't have the guts to comment anymore, no idea why. The point being, thanks a lot for still reading and commenting! I love getting feedback any day.

That is just why I took it, and I'm happy that you enjoyed this fic despite your doubts! Somehow I loved the idea of Gellert trying to win Albus back, but I knew he would only ask on his own terms - so he lured Albus out there and acted suitably evil about it. I also think the fact they were so obviously avoiding any sentiment with each other in these meetings is the really sad part. No way to reach an understanding if they're being cautious about every word or gesture.

You know, I was especially afraid of messing up the dialogue when I wrote the fic, so this is a relief to hear. Glad you liked the phoenix comparison as well! I thought it was something to strike a response with Albus, of all people.

The length isn't a problem, proofreading the thing later is! XD Seriously, I used to write ridiculously long, rambly stuff when I had just started on fanfic. This is just the result of cutting all the redundancy out (or so I hope). XD
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