His eyes sparkled in the light, and Albus knew they could do great things together.
Disillusionment flies on swift, silent wings, though, and soon the gold fades.I am Stubbornly_appeared of Gryffindor writing for the Colours of Love Challenge.
Categories: Same-Sex Pairings Characters:
Character Death, Slash, Substance Abuse, Violence
1. Golden Lucifer by Stubbornly_appeared
Golden Lucifer by Stubbornly_appeared
Nature's first green is gold,
I really don't know what to say in these notes. Thanks to all of the usual people- Phil, my parents, and everyone else who needs thanking by me or just needs a little pick-me-up. Also, I'd like to thank Robert Frost for the lovely poem 'Nothing Gold Can Stay', which didn't inspire this fic but is featured nonetheless.
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
The first time Albus saw him, he was sitting on the bench outside Bathilda Bagshot’s house. It was a hot summer day; the sun lay low in the sky, lazy and gilded. It was too lovely a day to stay inside- so one was prompted to go outside and ‘do something’- but the climate was more suited to doing nothing at all. Albus was out attempting to garden and had stared curiously for a while over the fence before the stranger looked up. Their eyes met for a moment. Then, suddenly, the young man on the bench (they were about the same age) jerked his gaze back down to his book, his golden hair covering his face.
Turning back to his weeding, Albus tried to focus his thoughts away from the golden-haired youth. Little did he know that this stranger would be a turning point in his life, a line in his ocean that, when reeled in, would yank him out of his already uneasy sea into a whole new world of light and peril.
'Have you seen the new neighbour?’ Aberforth asked, brushing Arianna’s long blonde hair. Their little sister smiled.
‘The handsome one?’ she and Albus said at once.
Aberforth snickered. ‘Yes, if you put it that way. The handsome one,’ he replied. He looked pointedly at Albus. ‘Do you know who he is?’
Shaking his head, Albus said, ‘No; I’ve no idea. I think he may be a relative visiting Bathilda.’
Aberforth merely grunted in response. He held a span of yellow ribbon in his teeth. Deftly, he ran the brush through Arianna’s locks one more time before setting down the brush and pulling her hair back. Taking the ribbon in one hand, he tied it into her hair with an uncharacteristic gentleness.
Albus set down his tea. ‘I’m going to call on Bathilda,’ he said slowly, unsure why he had even said it. Something in the golden-haired boy had caught his interest.
Albus’ knuckles rapped one, two, three times on the hard wooden door. Bathilda answered.
‘Oh, hello, Albus, dear!’ Her smile was enough to tell him to come inside. She led the way into the sitting room, where she gestured towards the sofa.
As Albus had walked into the room, piano playing had stopped abruptly. By the time he had sat down, the golden-haired stranger (now most obviously a relative of Bathilda’s) had already buried his nose in his book.
‘Could you please be a dear, Gellert, and fetch the tea-tray from the dining room?’ Bathilda asked, sitting in a fancy, patched armchair. The golden-haired man- Gellert- got up and left without a word. Albus’ eyes trailed him out of the room.
Bathilda jerked him back to the conversation that she had started without him with a question.
‘How have you been keeping, Albus?’ Pity was laced in her voice like cyanide. She grinned sweetly, though, and Albus thought she might actually mean well. He thought her an odd woman. ‘Ever since... ever since your mother died, I understand you’ve been heading the family?’
‘Yes,’ Albus replied. He nodded slightly. ‘Things are fine. We’re enjoying spending time together.’
‘Oh, yes, you and Aberforth- thick as thieves, I always thought- oh, Gellert, thank you.’ Gellert had returned into the parlour bearing a tarnished tea set. He drew a wand from a hidden pocket and twirled it around the teapot. Steam whistled out for a moment. Albus watched, enraptured at the swift fingers moving the wand so adeptly, and then shook himself. What was the matter with him? Surely he wasn’t usually so distracted. He took the tea offered to him, stirring in two lumps of sugar. Silently, Gellert sat the tea set down on a table and went back to his spot on the piano bench.
Albus focused his attentions back on Bathilda’s chatter. ‘Gellert is visiting for a while. He’s been travelling for some time. You two should really get together sometime, talk about books or whatever it is you both have in common. I’m sure you’d have a lovely time.’
‘I’m sure we would,’ Albus agreed passively. He vaguely noticed the sharp look Gellert gave him as he took a long drink of tea. As Bathilda took a sip of her own, he returned it with one equally offensive but also questioning. Gellert looked away, surprised at having been caught; his golden curls bounced in front of his cheek and hid his face.
Distracted again, Albus barely heard the rest of Bathilda’s monologue. When finally after nodding for the umpteenth time, he announced that he must return home, Bathilda fussed over him, told him that she would send Gellert over sometime soon, and ushered him to the door. Just as she was shutting it, he heard the music rise again.
He was gardening again. For some reason, Albus noticed that his flower beds had received a lot more attention than usual. For some reason, he found himself constantly near the fence, pruning the rosemary, tending the mums, and glancing through the wooden pickets towards Bathilda’s small cottage. And, for some reason, as he searched for dandelions, he found Gellert walking across the dirt lane.
His heart skipped a beat, and he didn’t know why. All the plausible, usual symptoms of heartbeat-skipping- surprise, fear, love- didn’t seem to apply. They really couldn’t. Could they? Albus shook himself. Of course they couldn’t. That would be illogical.
Eyes kept down, focusing on the orange mums, he pretended to not have seen.
‘You are Albus Dumbledore?’ a light voice called, slightly arrogant sounding in its seemingly aberrant mirth and German accent.
Albus rose to his feet, dusting off his knees. ‘Yes,’ he said. Once he was sure his legs were presentable, he looked up. ‘And you are Gellert Grindelwald?’
He replied only with a nod. Then, looking around, he chuckled. ‘Fond of gardening, are you?’
‘Only a bit,’ Albus replied, laughing, too. ‘More so of books, knowledge, the affairs of the world... and you? I’ve seen you reading.’
‘Oh, yes. Most recently the works of Gamp.’ He smirked. ‘A tad dry, but brilliant nonetheless.’
Albus came closer to the fence. So he was intelligent, after all. Finally, someone to talk to: especially this mysterious someone whom he had been wondering about for so long.
‘Have you noticed the flaw in his reasoning behind his corollary to Merlin’s Seventh Law of Stone?’ Albus asked. Gellert’s clear eyes met his, intrigued.
They talked for far longer than they should have, each presenting Gamp’s writings on Transfiguration and delighting in the other’s dissection of them and the fact that finally, finally, someone kept up with them. There was the lucky fact as well that they seemed to be of one mind on most accounts. After a particularly strong argument, Albus leaned against the fence, guffawing.
‘You make a good point there, Gellert, but-’ He was cut off by Aberforth, who had appeared in the doorway suddenly. Aberforth held a small vial of a mustard-coloured potion and a cup in one hand and a stuffed unicorn in the other.
‘I need your help,’ he said gruffly. ‘You were supposed to be in ages ago. I’ve needed you.’
Albus sighed, picking up his spade. ‘I must be going.’ Gellert shook his head knowingly.
‘But first, I have to tell you what I came for in the first place. Bathilda wanted me to tell you that she’s found some old things of your mother’s, and she’s going to have me bring them over for you tomorrow.’
‘Albus!’ Aberforth called, still at the door.
Gellert glared at him. ‘I’ll be going then.’ Albus started from his sudden reverie. What had gotten into him, he wondered again.
‘Wait, Gellert.’ He stopped.
‘Thank you for coming,’ Albus said slowly. ‘I enjoyed our conversation. And I look forward to your appearance tomorrow.’
Waving over his shoulder, Gellert turned and headed back to his great-aunt’s home. Only when the gate had clicked shut did Albus take his eyes from him and start walking up the path to the house.
‘About time. You two sure talked for some time....’ Aberforth grumbled incoherently.
Albus wasn’t listening, anyway. His thoughts were still on Gellert. Just as they were walking to the door, his downturned eyes noticed something in the flower bed that caught his attention.
A dandelion. There still was one. Deftly, he bent down, plucked it, and then walked through the door, twirling the golden flower between his long fingers.
‘I wonder... I wonder what has come to the world, Albus,’ Gellert said, putting his arms up behind his head. The butterscotch rum that had been carelessly thrown into the care package (thoughtfully included by Bathilda in the basket of his mother’s things) was nearly empty, the amber-coloured bottle between them. With the drink loosening their tongues and bringing them closer than they already had been- they had talked frequently since Gellert had first came- they lay in a clearing in the woods they had found. They had often come to this clearing in the past week, come to debate and to duel and to talk. They had thought of many grand ideas, many silly schemes that were just on the edge of bursting into fruition. They were thrilled to have found a companion.
Albus turned and looked at Gellert. Golden moonlight shone off of his eyes. He had come to realise how beautiful he was, Albus thought. No longer was he confused: he knew it. Maybe it was the liquor in him, or maybe it was the truth.
Words slightly slurred, he answered. ‘I don’t know. Maybe we can change it... change it for the better. Us. Together.’
Gellert’s mouth hung open, looking at Albus, thinking of a response.
Before he could, Albus was seized in a moment of wonderful epiphany. Fumbling, he brought his lips to Gellert’s full, soft ones. Oh, how they were soft! At first, he kept them on him. Albus pushed his lips against Gellert’s and hoped for the moment to stay, for the moment to last for as long as it could so long as he could keep hold of him. This is what his life had been lacking. Drunkenness weaving its songs into his head, his thoughts racing, he grasped that he had thought he had everything. He was intelligent, he was talented and influential and young. So was Gellert. Together, they were invincible. Together, they had everything. His eyes sparkled in the light, and Albus knew they could do great things together.
Tearing his lips off, Gellert mumbled something Albus couldn’t hear. Once more, Albus kissed him. Gellert pushed him away with a grunt.
‘Stop, please, will you? Please. You’re acting odd.’ Gellert lay back and so did Albus and they looked at the stars again. The moon whispered different promises to both of them.
‘We should finish this rum,’ Gellert said, grabbing the bottle and taking a swig. He passed it to Albus. Taking it from him, Albus took a long draught, the golden drink raced down his throat, distracting him from the tears that glinted on his face in the moonlight and bringing an even larger smile to his lips.
‘You cannot do this, Gellert!’ Albus took a step towards his family. ‘You can’t! You don’t understand the implications of what you threaten!’
Gellert whirled around, knocking over the umbrella stand. Arianna shrieked as it toppled, knocking over a vase of wilting daises and sending the yellow blooms flying.
‘Stop it, stop it-’ But she was drowned out by Gellert.
‘You cannot deny it! It is the way of the world; it is our destiny to bring the world back to its natural order!’ His eyes were narrowed, his hair flying. The last rays of the sun that was just falling under the horizon blazed into the room, reflecting off his hair and making him look something like a vengeful angel, a veritable Lucifer in Albus’ eyes.
‘Please! See what you are doing! You must-’ At that point, the tension had become palpable in the room. Albus had tears burning in his eyes. What was Gellert thinking? What had they both been thinking? This wasn’t the Gellert he knew. It couldn’t be.
Aberforth roared. ‘Stop, both of you, you’re frightening Arianna!’ She was breathing heavily, eyelids fluttering, ruffled hair blowing in the slight wind through the open window as she trembled.
‘Please, please....’ she whispered, her voice light and chilling. ‘Please.’ And then she shuddered, and that was when Gellert pulled his wand and she began to convulse. Albus was distracted- he pulled his wand, too, and trained it on Gellert.
‘I will curse you,’ he said. His voice was shaking. He didn’t really mean it, and Gellert knew.
‘Will you? Will you, truly?’ Gellert cocked his head. ‘It doesn’t have to be like this, Albus. Please, don’t make me. We could still be great.’
‘We could still be great together,’ Albus repeated his mind racing. It was as if the twin demons of love and reason were fighting in his head. He closed his eyes when Arianna began to scream. He closed his eyes when Aberforth’s bellowing filled his ears. He opened them when he heard the Killing Curse spoken.
Acting on instinct, seeing only the light, he ducked. It hit the mirror behind him and bounced, leaving it with a crack down its middle. Without thinking, Albus retaliated with the same spell, shutting his eyes tight again.
When he opened them, it was absolutely silent. Gently, sobs began to fill the room. It occurred to Albus that he had never actually seen his brother cry until now, but he was sobbing, clutching dear little lifeless Arianna in his eyes with her flaxen hair all askew.
Numbed, Albus took a step towards Gellert. The latter had a terrible look on his face, one of utter confusion and anger whilst the former’s expression was more of a guilty murderer finally walking the final metres to the sweet noose. Albus backed Gellert slowly to the door, oblivious.
When they were only a metre apart, Albus reached out his hand and Gellert turned and ran. No words were spoken, just like when they had first met. Gellert’s feet beat on the dirt path, speeding down the path and then beating down the lane steadily.
Albus rushed after him, but only to the gate. The dying sun faded, the traces of gold light drifting away. Leaning forward on the fence, Albus watched, hypnotised, as he rounded the corner and vanished behind the trees. Instantly, the loud footsteps became muffled, and quickly, they were gone. He was gone; he was gone for good, and all Albus had of him were the feel of his lips and the look of his hair and the glint in his eyes and too many worthless promises.
I mean it- thanks for reading.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.