Chapter 1 : In Another World
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In Another World
Late one night -or early morning some would say- in the month of June, the soft glow of wand light flickered in a window of a tiny house in Godric's Hollow. The wand light would grow and soften as its caster moved about on the inside of the house. The wielder of the light went about his business, protected from sight by heavy drapes and a moonless night, completely unaware of what the light would bring to him on that night -or early morning as you might prefer to call it.
Right across the road, in yet another tiny house, a boy tossed and turned in his bed, unable to find comfort in the still unfamiliar mattress beneath him. The boy forced closed his deep blue eyes -only to have them snap open moments later. He twisted his fingers into his short, golden blonde hair and pulled at the strands until the pain was too much to stand and he was sure it would come off in his hand. He growled and flung his body down against the bed in a multitude of positions, desperate to find one that would bring him sleep.
With a heavy sigh, the young Gellert Grindelwald threw back his bed covers and sat up in defeat. The blonde hugged his knees to his chest as he stared out of his bedroom window into the dark of the night, only a few stars giving him leave to see traces of the town around him. A slow smile spread across Gellert's lips as the flickering wand light from across the way caught his attention. He knew exactly what house, what room and even what person the wand light was coming from, despite the darkness and distance.
The decision was instant. Within a matter of seconds, Gellert was hopping across his bedroom floor as he attempted to pull on both his shoes and traveling cloak at the same time. He managed to get on his right shoe without incident, but when it came to the left, he found himself sprawled out on the hard wooden floor, gritting his teeth and being utterly silent in an effort to hear if his noise had roused his Aunt. Once he was sure that the woman still lay soundly in her own bed, he went back to pulling on his cloak over his night clothes, this time making a careful and quiet effort about it. On a last moment thought, the boy wrenched open the top drawer of his tallboy and grabbed out a small, square, cardboard box then tucked it into the pocket of his cloak.
Gellert slipped from his bedroom and out of the house, his own wand tip lit to guide him through the dark. He hurried across the main road of Godric's Hollow and dropped onto his knees beside the window with the flickering wand light. Though the dark curtains blocked his view into the room, he knew what was happening inside. He could picture it perfectly.
Albus Dumbledore was laying on his stomach atop his crimson colored bed sheets. His feet were up, his knees bent and his ankles locked together, hovering above his backside. In one hand he held open the pages of a book while the other clutched tightly around the handle of his wand, which was shining its light upon aforementioned pages. He was wearing his night clothes -the blue set, Gellert guessed- and his shaggy, light auburn hair was mussed in the back from the boy's own fruitless attempts at sleeping. His pale blue, shiny eyes moved fiercely over the lines of his book and his fingers twisted over the corners of each page in anticipation of turning it. He was chewing the right side of his bottom lip -always the right side- as he became enthralled in the words.
Gellert lifted his hand and lightly tapped his fingertips on the window before him. He waited and, after a moment, assumed he hadn't been heard. Another tap, this one louder and quite certain -he was sure- to get the attention of the boy on the other side of the window. Success. The curtains whipped back from the window and the slightly confused, pale blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore stared out into the darkness. For a moment, Gellert considered jumping up dramatically to startle the other boy, but his common sense won out over his desire for a laugh -as he knew how loud a startled Albus could be- and he settled on waving his hand to get Albus' attention.
Albus' lips pulled into a wide smile, stretching the whole of the boy's face, as he spotted Gellert kneeling by his window. He quickly unlatched the lock and slid open the window, then held it in place as the blonde climbed into his room. Gellert couldn't help but smirk as his eyes took in the room. There was a book -open and turned flat on its pages to mark a spot- perched on the end of the bed. Albus was -in fact- wearing his blue night clothes and his hair was an awful mess. After lowering the window back into place and making several attempts -no success- at combing down his hair with his fingers, Albus dropped onto the edge of his bed and scooted towards the top of it.
“You couldn't sleep either?” Albus whispered to his blonde companion as the boy moved aside the book and took its place on the foot of the bed.
Gellert shook his head and kicked off his shoes before pulling his feet up onto the bed and crossing his legs under himself. “I don't think I vill effer sleep right in that bed,” Gellert whispered back as he scooted himself further up on the bed. “Vat hass you avake at....” He trailed off his words and whipped his head around to see the clock hanging above Albus' door way. “I cannot see it,” he snorted, annoyed that the dim light from Albus' wand wasn't enough to reach the clock.
“It's almost two,” Albus offered as he shone his wand light over a small clock by his bed side and laid his hawthorn wand out on the night stand beside it.
“At almost two,” Gellert repeated, using a questioning tone on his own words.
Albus grinned and shrugged his shoulders, his eyes locked firm onto his hands as they twisted in his lap. “Just...couldn't sleep. A lot on my mind. You know how I get.” For a fleeting moment, he peeked up at the other boy through his lashes, only to quickly return his gaze to his lap and force away a smile that was threatening his lips.
“Vell, since it iss almost two, then that means I can gif you this.” Gellert dug into his cloak pocket and retrieved the tiny cardboard box from it. He scooted all the way to the top of the bed and shifted to sit up on his knees in front of Albus. “Here,” he said sternly as he held out his hand, the box laid atop his turned up palm.
Albus raised his eyebrows and stared at the box before him, but made no movement to take it. Gellert let out a quiet laugh and grabbed the boy's hand into his own empty one, then roughly shoved the box into Albus' grasp. The blonde continued to laugh as Albus turned the box over in his hands and brushed his fingers over the outside, seeming dead set on touching every bit of the box without any desire to open it.
“Vould you open it, stop being so stubborn,” Gellert ordered with an almost too loud laugh as he grabbed the box and righted it in Albus' hand. “Happy birthday, Albus Percifal Vulfric Brian Dumbledore,” he said, trying in vain to keep from smirking at the way a faint trace of red would grace over the tops of Albus' slightly freckled cheeks every time he used the boy's full name.
“Why do you do that?” Albus asked, rolling his eyes. He pulled one knee up in front of him and leaned his elbow onto it, then positioned his hand to shield the blonde's view of his flushed face as he held the box tightly in his other hand.
“It mekes you be with red on your cheeks,” Gellert answered with sincerity, his shoulders giving a small shrug.
“It's called blush and I don't want to blush,” the flushed -and slightly flustered- boy argued as he tapped his finger on the lid of the tiny cardboard box and covered a large grin with his empty hand.
Gellert shook his head and rolled his own eyes, playfully as he reached out and grabbed Albus by the wrist. He pulled the hand away from the boy's mouth and slid his fingers underneath his chin. Their eyes locked instantly when Gellert forced the other boy to look up at him. He gave the red-head a wide, toothy smile when the blush on his face deepened. “I like it ven you blush.”
“You're making it worse on purpose,” Albus hissed, feigning upset as he pushed his hand into Gellert's chest and knocked the boy backwards onto the bed. He pursed his lips -quite pleased with his minor victory- and raised his eyebrows as he watched Gellert struggle to regain his former position back on the bed. “You're mean,” he muttered, his words followed by a soft laugh as the blonde finally managed to resume kneeling in front him on the bed.
“Vould someone mean get you that?” Gellert asked, pointing his finger towards the still unopened box clutched in Albus' hands. “You'd better open it or I will take it beck.”
“Okay, okay,” Albus conceded, swatting away the blonde's attempts at snatching the box back from him. “I'm opening it, see?” He held out the box in front of his chest and made an elaborate show at pulling the top from it. “I wish you hadn't gotten me anything, you know how I feel about gifts,” he muttered as he pulled away a scrap of tissue paper to reveal a thick, silver band laying at the bottom of the box. “You got me a ring?” he asked rhetorically, picking up the silver band.
“Read it,” Gellert prompted. He pointed to the inside of the band and scooted as close to Albus as he could get without sitting in the boy's lap.
“For the greater good,” Albus read off the band, a smile covering his face as he traced his fingertip over the inscription. “It's perfect,” he whispered. The boy chewed the right side of his bottom lip as he continued to stare down at the words etched inside of the ring. “Thank you.” His fingers moved to slip the ring onto his right index finger, but Gellert caught hold of his hand and stopped him.
“You vear it here,” the blonde said, pulling the ring from the boy's hand and sliding it over his right ring finger. “See, it looks much better on that one.”
Though Gellert had finished securing the ring over what he considered to be the proper finger, he didn't turn loose of the boy's hand. Instead, he clung more tightly to the red-head's fingers and forced his own in between them. Albus put up a small struggle and meagerly attempted to pull his hand from Gellert's grip -a very small struggle and a very meager attempt. The blonde let out an exasperated sigh and rolled his deep blue eyes at Albus.
“Don't! Stop doing that, Albus,” Gellert insisted as he tightened his grip over the boy's fingers and tugged Albus a bit closer. “Why do you alvayss do that?” he asked, his eyes wide and locked hard onto the other boy's.
“Why do I do vat?” Albus asked with a grin, teasing the other boy's accent.
“You know vat!” Gellert cried out loudly -though not loudly enough to travel out of the room. “Do not tease me, Albus Percifal Vulf-”
The blonde's attempted retaliation tease was cut short by Albus' hand clapping over his mouth. “Don't say it,” Albus whined, his hand locked securely over the other boy's lips.
Gellert smirked behind Albus' hand and launched himself forward, wrapping his arms tightly around the boy's waist and knocking him back onto the bed. Albus laughed quietly and pulled his arms tightly against his chest as the blonde started rubbing at his sides to tickle him. He swatted his hands at the boy and pushed him away before climbing off the bed and hurrying away from him. Gellert snorted a laugh and pushed his fingers through his hair as Albus stood defiantly away from the bed.
“Why do you fight ven I know how you feel?” Gellert asked, his face resuming its serious demeanor. “Come here, Albus,” he pleaded, his arms held out in front of him -open just the right amount for Albus to slip in between them.
“We aren't supposed to,” Albus answered. While his words said 'no', his body moved into the boy's open arms and he allowed himself to be pulled down against the blonde. “We aren't supposed to,” he repeated, his words a mere whisper that died the moment it left his lips.
Gellert tightened his hold around Albus' waist and turned the boy around in his arms so that his back was against his chest. He nuzzled his face into the curve of Albus' neck and breathed the boy in, a soft smile coming to his lips when Albus responded by pressing back against him. “We make the ruless now,” he whispered against the red-head's neck. He lifted one hand and let it play through Albus' hair, his fingers slipped and twisted in the shaggy locks. “Do you luff me?”
Albus chewed his bottom lip -the right side only- and closed his eyes, then let his head loll back against the other boy's shoulder. “I think so,” he whispered.
“You think so?” Gellert asked, his voice laced with annoyance. He pushed Albus away from him and hurried to sit on the other side of the boy, turning to face him. “You just think so? You don't know?” He held the boy's face between his hands and stared hard into his eyes. “That is the kind of thing that you haff to know.”
“I know,” Albus argued as he reached up and closed his fingers around Gellert's wrists, then pulled the boy's hands away. “I do. I love you. I know I do, I was just surprised that you asked. I swear.” He swallowed hard and released his hold on the other boy before smoothing his hands around the blonde's neck and leaning forward.
“Vould you luff me efen if I did not return it to you?” Gellert asked, softly, his hands moving around Albus' waist and locking behind the boy.
“Yes,” Albus answered, his words dripping with sincerity.
“That is all I need to know,” he whispered.
Gellert pulled Albus closer to him and lowered his lips onto the other boy's, gently at first, his soft and smooth lips gliding over the boy's rough ones and forcing his mouth open. They both rose up onto their knees and leaned into each other as they moved their lips with more passion and fervor, their arms wrapping around the other and holding him as close as possible.
The blonde let out a quiet chuckle against Albus' lips and pulled away from the other boy's embrace. “I forgot to say it beck to you,” he whispered as he placed his hands lightly on each of Albus' cheeks. “I luff you, Albus.”
“Albus!” a new voice sliced through the air and Albus Dumbledore blinked rapidly to clear his mind. His bedroom faded away before his eyes, his bed and walls melted into the floor, revealing a large, intricate office covered in the portraits of Headmasters past. “Albus!” the voice called out again. The old man rubbed roughly at his eyes and scanned them across the room to seek out the voice. “Albus, are you alright!?”
Albus swung his hands out in front of him as the bony fingers of Minerva McGonagall dug into his shoulders and shook him harshly. “I'm fine, Minerva. Don't shake an old man like that,” he said, letting out a hearty laugh to mask his slight confusion.
“You had me worried for a second, Albus. You looked as though you were in another world,” Minerva said, righting herself and pulling her robes up into proper form around her neck.
“That's exactly where I was,” Albus whispered back as he turned in his chair to face his desk. The old man slipped a thick, silver band off of his right ring finger and dropped it heavily back into the top drawer of his desk. “That's exactly where I was.”
A Note From the Author: Thanks for reading. Would love to hear your opinions. :D --Jenna