Author: Pineapples Are Flawless PM
Ariana Dumbledore was as innocent as he was dark. In retrospect, she was probably the only casualty of his war that he actually regretted. Gellert/ArianaRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Family - Gellert G. & Ariana D. - Words: 1,667 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-15-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6559544
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: Ariana Dumbledore was as innocent as he was dark. In retrospect, she was probably the only casualty of his war that he actually regretted. [Gellert/Ariana]
Notes: I believe that Ariana could speak her thoughts, but lacked the discipline to control her magic. While in my headcanon, she can speak in complete sentences, I do also believe that she more or less had the vocabulary of a younger child, therefore, limiting her words.
"Is she on the train?"
With the taste of bitter defeat on his tongue, Albus Dumbledore notes with a wry smile that the first thing that Gellert Grindelwald, the one love of his life, asks about her.
Gellert, on the other hand, seems not to notice anything wrong. He is as he was a century ago—young, handsome, and strong. His slight German accent is still noticeable, and for the life of him, Albus cannot understand why Gellert…why Gellert looks so…so young. Between the two, Albus looks the same as he was at the moment of his death.
Gellert is stricken. His expression is of utter despair, and Albus' heart wrenches because he knows that this longing, this pain in Gellert's heart mirrors his own—just for a different person.
"She was so innocent, Albus." Gellert whispers. "How could she not be on the train?"
And for a moment, both men are silent.
Gellert, in particular, is lost in his thoughts.
She was so young, so happy, so…so innocent. Memories of her bright smile flash in his mind, and of her sweet voice, asking him shyly to read to her. That brief moment of happiness every day before Albus, unknowingly jealous of the attention his best friend gave her, whisked him away to work on the Hallows. The eager plans he and Albus had carefully laid so that when their revolution was brought about, she would no longer have to hide.
And then that horrible, horrible minute when silly Aberforth suggested that she be left home with him, rather than join the older boys in their quest for justice. Rather than face the possibility of being separated from her, the three of them dueled.
But in the end, he was separated from her. Forever. They all were.
She lay dead on the living room floor, her golden hair strewn about her and her lovely blue eyes closed forever. And despite her angelic presence that she exuded even in death, Gellert felt the guilt weigh down upon him. Somehow, he knew that though any of their curses and hexes could've killed her…he knew that it was his wand that took her life.
He left the following day, not wanting to see his precious girl being laid into the ground.
She was as innocent as he was dark.
They were different, so different. He was brilliant, and though he knew she was intelligent, he also knew that her intelligence would never go beyond that small child's mind that she was trapped in. As her body matured, her mind did not. Her voice still held that sweet timbre of innocence, and her smile gentle. She never knew restraint, asking for affection as readily as he gave it.
Yet, despite it all—her mental handicap, his desire for power, their differences—he loved her.
And he loves her still.
In retrospect, though he had killed many in his quest for power and blood purity, she was probably the only casualty of his war that he actually regretted. Many had died, had given their lives for his cause and fighting against his cause. But he turned a blind eye, remembering the bright, happy voice of the girl who had died first.
He wanted to bring the purebloods to power at first, believing himself the leader of a glorious revolution. Then he had met her, and then his fight began to become a means of not needing to hide his precious girl any longer.
And somehow, in that one small moment between grief and understanding, Gellert realizes what he has always unconsciously known.
He looks up at Albus, eyes locking with the other man's own.
"You loved me."
It all makes sense now.
All though furtive glances the other male gave him when they were working on the Hallows. All those frowns when Ariana asked Gellert to read to her, that shadow that crossed his face when Gellert agreed with a smile. That scowl when Gellert teaches Ariana words from his mother language, from Deutschland. All those things, and so much more. It all makes sense now. Albus was…he was…
Of his younger sister.
They are silent once more, and Gellert finds that he is unable to express his thoughts, or if he even has any thoughts on this. After all, what does one say to the best friend that was secretly in love with you while you pined after his mentally-ill sister?
"I loved her more than you can understand, Albus."
Albus smiles kindly, that gentle old-man smile that has comforted many. "I can imagine."
"She was not as ill as you and Aberforth liked to think." Gellert says, choosing his words carefully. "Ariana could speak—well. She was intelligent. Her only fault was that she could not probably control her magic, and they manifested themselves in another form."
"Your devotion to her told me all I needed to know." Albus continues with his smile. "I always knew you and I could never have happened. But somehow, knowing you loved Ariana made it worse. Sometimes, I wished her dead."
These words strike a chord in Gellert's heart.
"And then, of course, I would regret thinking about that." Albus continues on. "And when she did die, I could feel nothing but loss for many years, wondering if it was my ill-wishing that had really done her in. If I had not wished for her to die, on so many separate occasions, would she have not gone downstairs to investigate the argument?"
For a moment, the young Albus shines through, resentment, loss, and regret all evident in his tone.
"She loves you very much, Gellert." Albus says after a moment's pause. "It made me…envious."
"She loved you too." Gellert says softly. "You were her brother. The only ones who did not leave her before she could leave."
And they are silent again, but it is not uncomfortable. Rather, the truth lays bared before them both and somehow, it is both calming and…simply there. No secrets, no denials. Just plain, simple truth for them both to see. And the burden of their secrets, carried for a century, is finally lifted and shared.
A loud cry breaks the silence, and the two look to the source.
Ariana is running towards them, out of the whiteness of King's Cross, the age she never got to be in life. Her hair streams behind her, long and loose. Bright blue eyes pierce Gellert even from a distance. There is no mistaking the tears, nor the happy smile plastered on her face.
She practically tackles Gellert, hugging the taller man.
"You took forever to die." She says with crispness that Gellert has never heard combined with her voice before. "Even Albus died earlier than you."
"Do not overwhelm him, Ari." Albus says gently, and Ariana pulls back from Gellert with a pout.
"It's not fun waiting for a century, Albus." Ariana retorts, crossing her arms. "It was very boring here without anyone to talk to except for that—" She gestures the mass of quivering whatever on the bench near them. "—and it can't even talk."
Gellert is staring at her.
"I think he's in shock." Albus chuckles. "This is what Ariana might have been, had the muggle boys not attacked her, and what her soul was even after she was mentally demoted."
"I feel insulted." Ariana points out. "I couldn't express my feelings all the time, but that was because I had the vocabulary of a six year old, Albus. Is it really my fault that you, Aberforth, and Mother never read me any books other than mere children's books? At least Gellert read me philosophical books. I might not have understood them very well, but he was good at explaining."
"This…" Her older brother turns to Gellert with a rather doting expression on his face. "…is why she is not on the train, Gellert."
"She wanted to wait for us." Gellert smiles, drawing his precious Ariana into a gentle embrace.
"Now only one more to go." Ariana crows. "Hopefully, Aberforth won't take as long. Then we can all board the train together!"
Suddenly, she frowns.
"I hope he won't try to attack Gellert."
"I'll stop him." Albus reassures Ariana, and suddenly, he is the Albus Gellert knew in his youth. He is the wizened wizard no longer, but the bright, happy youth that once was. "That is, if he doesn't try to get me too."
"Come." Ariana declares, gesturing at the quivering mass on the bench. "Let's try to talk to it, shall we? Let it know that at least someone cares."
Gellert eyes the blob with a rather disdainful eye, and he notices that Albus is doing the same. But then he looks down at the vision of a sixteen year old girl in his eighteen-year-old arms, and that innocently hopeful expression on her face causes him to pause and look at the blob through her eyes.
"Yes." He says, slowly, hesitantly. "Let's."
Albus smiles. "Well, we might as well do something while we're waiting for Aberforth."
They start towards the blob, and with the two most important people in his life by his side, Gellert Grindelwald has never felt happier. Even through this persona of Ariana, he still sees the Ari he knew in this strange, new girl.
The Ari she might have been.