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Of Saints and Monsters by javct
Chapter 1: I
Author's Note: yes I am attempting a novel (let's see how this goes shall we?). HUGE shout out to academica and Gina (Unwritten Curse) at TGS for helping with the summary. Beta'd by Farhaanah who helped me with the title (because I couldn't pick a good title to save my life).
Disclaimer!: I own nothing. All characters and settings you read about belong to JK and "I will send my messenger ahead of you who will prepare your way." is from the NIV Bible; Mark 1:2.
*: quoted from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Australian version, page 379.
Not many people can say that they experienced serendipity. And even fewer people can say that their serendipity was as beautiful as Gellert’s was. He found serendipity when he was searching for unlimited power, and for that one brief moment, his life long plans came to a halt. She was his humanity that he never had.
From the moment Gellert first witnessed her beautiful azure eyes, he was captivated, body and soul. Even as he sat in Nurmengard, those eyes still haunted his dreams. The eyes that were filled with hope in a hopeless world and hopeless family. To this day, he could still remember how her eyes shone with unsaid words whenever her brothers glanced at her. She was always seeking approval, desperately seeking love and compassion from her eldest brother. She had intrigued him, how, he had wondered, how did she manage to always find the silver lining?
Gellert expelled a red bolt from his wand, sending it flying across the prison. He had a moment of satisfaction as he watched it fizzle and die before it had the chance to hit the wall. Then, just as it went, the feeling in the pit of his stomach returned. In his old age, his regrets were catching up with him. When he was younger, Gellert didn’t realize the repercussions of his actions; of the things he would loose and never gain again. It was only now, as he longed for death, did he realize how much he loved her.
She had been his sweetest downfall; her and her songs. A darling dear just trying to make the world a better place; she succeeded, she really did, even if only for a small while and in just one man’s life. For that one summer, that one fateful summer, Gellert planned away in his room, sending letters to his colleague by nightfall and by the time the sun rose, he walked her through the trees and plucked roses to present to her. Roses always made her smile, Gellert reminded himself.
Pressing his nails into his skin, Gellert attempted to rid her of his mind. He could not let himself feel remorse; with remorse can worse feelings like sentiment and his twisted version of love. He felt blood form in his hands but he didn’t care. Pain was good; Gellert almost admired pain. In a way, Gellert was glad that Ariana never got to see the real Gellert; she only saw the good in him. The good that vanished along with her. Gellert let out a loud scream as he remembered that night. It was, in all aspects, the night when everything changed. For better or for worse, everything changed the night that Ariana Dumbledore lay herself to sleep; killed by either her own brother or her own lover. Still to this day, Albus, Aberforth or Gellert did not know who killed Ariana and they were planning to keep it that way. All three loved their dear girl more than anything and all three were crying over her dead body the moment she fell.
Gellert cursed Albus under his breath. If Albus hadn’t of gotten in the way that night then things would have been different. Closing his eyes, Gellert remembered Ariana in her favourite dress. She only wore it once, the day that she met Gellert; it was a plain white dress that, by the looks of it, had been restitched at the hem several times. Jewels did not adorn the dress in any way, but merely lace around the torso and sleeves. By all means, the dress was not meant for someone Ariana’s age but she wore the child’s dress with pride. She wore no shoes and had begged Aberforth to tie her hair back the way “mummy used to” it was not much of a surprise when, in the end, her hair looked like a wrecked bird’s nest, however, Ariana had smiled and kissed her brother on the cheek. It was in that moment that unbeknown to Gellert, love had found him in the form of a slightly mad girl who danced with the angels.
How had he ended up here? How did Gellert Grindelwald, the boy who never quite became a man, fall in love and then end up in Nurmengard? He was, once, just a boy with hopes and dreams for the future just like every other human on the planet.
It’s always the human side of an evil person that is never featured in the history books isn’t it? Gellert thought to himself. Barely anyone knows about Ariana, and out of those few that know about her only two know about me and those two are both heading towards death row as well.
The love with Ariana was a love that people search their whole lives for. Ariana and Gellert were the couple that never quite existed in time and that never got a chance to bloom. Their love, which changed both their lives, is a love that will never make it into the history books. This is the story of their love, and when people read it they will not read about a monster with a will to conquer the world, instead, they will read about a man who only wanted to conquer one girl’s timid heart. People cannot make themselves into monster, no, monster making is everyone else’s appointed job.
“*Kill me, then. Voldemort, I welcome death! But my death will not bring you what you seek… There is so much you do not understand…*” maybe he could make amends. With his final breath he lied, not to protect Albus (for he knew Voldemort would find him soon) but to voice forward his remorse. After all those years spent in Nurmengard, remorse slowly crept into his bones. If he could make even the slightest amend to what he had done for ‘the greater good’ then he would. When Voldemort ended Gellert’s life for the wand, two extraordinary things happened in that moment of green: one, Gellert laughed and died and two, Ariana held his hand and led him to his eternal paradise.
Gellert looked upon the small town known as Godric’s Hollow and let out a prolonged sigh. Nothing could be worse than wise; back in Hungary Gellert had a name and a reputation that he lived up to easily, now, here in England, he had nothing: no friends, no name and no reputation. While most common people relinquished at the chance to start again, Gellert wished to wash his hands at it. Starting again, what was the point of it? In Hungary Gellert had a friend that he could confide in with everything and anything. Yes, he mused, he would need an accomplice, after all, his plan would not be faltered because of a minor setback.
A typical English breeze sent a chill down Gellert’s spine. Unmovingly, Gellert surveyed his new home. Home to both muggles and wizards alike, nothing seemed out of place. Apart from the obvious wizard-named titles, a wizard could not guess that others of its kind lived here: the trees were bursting with newly-found cover, with only the occasional splash of autumn among the foliage. The town, seemingly large in portion, held only several hundred tenants with over of the land owners being elderly. The houses were quaint, holding no more than necessary. People passing in the street smile and greeted one another with open affection -- the women embracing and spreading gossip amongst friends and the men shaking hands and talking formally about business transactions that were made that day. Slowly, Gellert’s eyes made its way to the graveyard. It looked fairly new with only twenty or so graves occupying it. A stone angel stood among the stone heads with its eyes covered by its marble hands. From a distance, it looked as though it was weeping. A weeping angel. It stood as a reminder to all that angels were watching over them, upon its pedestal held the words written by the gospel Mark, “I will send my messenger ahead of you who will prepare your way.” All gravestones were symmetrical in size, weight and length, sitting twenty inches away from another and each grave had a fresh bouquet of flowers.
Gellert tightened his grip on his suitcase when something caught his eye. Turning his head, Gellert’s gaze found two people walking around the outskirts of an ageing house. A girl was being led by an older boy -- whom, of which, Gellert assumed was her brother -- he had one hand clasped around hers and the other hand around her waist. The girl looked pale and fragile and her long blonde hair draped lazily over her shoulder. Occasionally, the brother would point out something out to the girl and divert her attention. She seems easily distracted, Gellert mused watching in amusement.
“Aberforth! What are you doing? Get back inside this instant!” the brother, Aberforth, whispered something into the girls ear and together they turned around and headed back the way they came. Gellert waited until the siblings were safely inside their house before he continued along his way. He kept his strides long and swift so not to arouse any suspicion. Small talk was not his forte.
Chancing on the door of his Aunt’s house, Gellert waited patiently. “Just a moment!” his great-aunt yelled, this was followed by what sounded like a crash of books and some colourful words. Gellert smiled as he imagined his Aunt dawdling to the door, knocking over objects in her path. The cool breeze nipped at his ankles and hit the back of his neck again; impatiently he raised his hand to knock again, however the door flung open before his knuckles could reach the wood. His Aunt stood in all her glory. Her dull mouse-brown hair was falling out of its bun and her clothes seemed two sizes too big. Her hands were calloused and covered in ink with several ink splashes adorned her acute freckled face. “Oh Gellert look at you. You have grown so much!” Bathilda Bagshot exclaimed pulling her great-nephew into a hug.
Gellert embraced his aunt. “Hello Aunt Bathilda, you surely have not aged a day.” Gellert greeted when the embrace ended. The old witch smiled -- a family trait his mother had not gained.
Bathilda placed her hands on Gellert’s cheeks, her green eyes meeting his blue. “You look so much like your father,” she commented, her eyes shining. Gellert smiled and clenched his fists behind his back.
How dare she mention my father! Does she not know what happened? The old bat! Gellert thought furiously. Bathilda, however, did not sense his distress.
“Come inside,” Bathilda said as if she had only noticed the cold. “Though you must be used to this cold coming from Hungary.” She added as an afterthought. Gellert ducked his head and walked over the threshold. He was warmer instantly.
“I must admit for summer it is very cold but cold is cold no matter what climate you are used to.” Gellert replied, peeling his coat off. He took a moment to survey his new home. The cottage was small and quaint, a lot different to his manor back home. No! Gellert told himself, that is not your home anymore. Your home is here now.
The small wooden fire kept the first floor warm and Gellert expected the second floor to be warm also. Parchment and books littered the over flowing bookcase with some books stacked into precarious piles. Candles hung magically from the ceiling giving the room enough light needed and pictures documented all of Bathilda’s life. Gellert was not sure how he was going to fit into the house but he knew he would find a way. From the small kitchen, Bathilda was chatting away about her neighbours, the Dumbledore’s, “Lovely family they are. The father, however, is in Azkaban, cursed some poor muggle boys, he did. You would get along quit well with their eldest, Albus. Takes after his mother he does with his adornment for literature…”
“May I inquire as or where I will sleep aunt?” Gellert interrupted, having no desire to hear about an English-born family.
“Up the stairs, second door to the right.” With a short thank you, Gellert went up to seek his room, thoughts of sleep evading him. He did not have much to unpack; many of his clothes were uniforms for Durmstrang which were respectfully taken away when he was expelled. With a lazy flick of his wand Gellert watched as his clothes put themselves neatly. He sat on his bed in silence for a moment. This was his life now: living with his Aunt and so far away from everything he knew. This was it. He had plans that he would not put on hold because of a minor setback.
When he walked down the stairs to his aunt, someone else occupied the room: a woman who wore the new horrid London fashion. He cleared his throat to announce his presence. “Hallo Gellert! Esmerelda you simply must meet my great-nephew from Hungary. This is Gellert Grindelwald, Gellert this is my friend Esmerelda Bones.” Shaking hands, they greeted one another. “Esmerelda and I were just talking about the death of the Hogwarts Professor Macmillan. Poor Albus was heartbroken when he found out, he was his favourite Professor after all.” The women took a sip of their tea and reminisced over the deceased teacher.
“I remember him teaching us, do you remember?” Esmerelda laughed loudly and told of her fond memories in the conversation, Gellert excused himself and headed up to his room.
By the end of the night, the entire town of Godric’s Hollow knew about their new arrival from Hungary.