This was really, really impressive! Especially if you pulled it together in a single night. Bravo!
I absolutely loved the metaphor of cartography. I never would have thought of that in a year of pondering and it's brilliant. It's really intriguing, the way that you've portrayed Grindelwald as feeling inferior to Albus, overshadowed. It's not the conventional way that people write his attitude toward Albus. Maybe people imagine him inwardly thinking of Albus this way and just don't write the outward behavior the same, but still it puts a unique twist on their time together.
It seems like even in their most private, intimate moments, there was a distinct imbalance between how much of themselves each chose to share with the other. Albus was essentially pouring his heart out about his family and all of the woes that accompanied his home life while Gellert barely revealed anything. To me, that plays well with the general admiration that Gellert seems to have for his friend. If Albus wanted to talk, Gellert listened.
Even with his noteworthy capacity for self-deception, Albus couldn't completely ignore what he sensed about Gellert's true intentions and his hunger for power. Even though this isn't told from Albus's point of view, I'm really impressed by the way that you've built up his character. Through Gellert's indirect observations and the way he relays simple events, you've told us so much about Albus Dumbledore.
Wow. I have to agree with your previous reviewers: you make Aberforth and especially Arianna seem kind of creepy. "Pulsating eyes" had me recalling imagery from The Exorcist. At the same time, though, it makes perfect sense. Aberforth and Arianna were watching Gellert steal their elder brother -- who also happened to be the head of the family by this point -- away. I imagine that they realized well before Albus was truly ready to admit it that Gellert's intentions were less than noble.
It's ironic that Gellert seems to worry about whether Albus would remember him when the reality was that Albus was constantly tormented by those memories and his thoughts about what could have been. Even near death, the wizard who nearly conquered the world has those feelings of inadequacy where Albus is concerned. Excellent continuity.
I saw one small thing that might be a typo: One day, they would ask what a sort of man was Gellert Grindelwald. -- "... what sort of man..."? Aside from that, this was beautifully written!
Author's Response: Hi Dan, sorry for taking an age to reply to this, life has been very hectic recently!
I'm so glad that you liked it! I'm a big map fan (geeky side coming out now :P) and have them pretty much everywhere in my room, so it just came to me naturally really. Yes, I thought it would be fun to show it that way, because I think that feeling of inferiority would only come to him later on life, when he was in prison though when the only thing he had for company was his thoughts and I would like to think that made him more reflective and realise that Albus was the better person.
Yes, that was another fun twist to put into the story because I imagine that Albus would have talked a lot about his family before it happened as people who had known him for ages did know of them. With Gellert though, no one really knows his story, he's a bit of a mystery, the only thing we know of him is that he's related to Bathilda Bagshot so it did really make me want to know his story.
Aw, I'm glad you got to know about Albus too. Even though I do love this ship I think both of them knew it was never meant to be, and Albus' reason for this was because he always knew that Gellert had that darker side to him. I really wish I could explore Albus now as it does make me wonder if that did happen when that trigger point was.
Ah, I feel so bad for them now as I didn't intentionally mean to make them creepy they just turned out that way, but I guess they would appear creepy to Gellert. I think they definitely did realise before Albus did, but it's often the case with the younger people realising before hand but they just never seem to be listened to really.
Ha, I think that's why I love this ship because it was so fleeting, so brief and happened in their youth but had such a profound effect on both of them it really is quite astounding so I had to continue it on here.
Yes, I think it is, and thanks for telling me! Thanks for this fantastic review and sorry for this rambly and repetitive response, I've had no sleep all week :p