Disclaimer: Heck, if I owned Harry Potter, Grindelwald would've been the major antagonist, not Voldemort, seeing as he's so much cooler. And instead of a final duel, he and Harry would have had a three-chapter philosophical debate over utilitarianism vs. Kantian ethics, interspersed with random moments of off-color humor and inexplicable nudity.
A/n: So there I was, diligently typing away at a completely unrelated writing project, when, all of a sudden, someone claiming to be Ariana Dumbledore shows up in my brain and says, "I want to (censored) Gellert Grindelwald."
I reply: "You can't (censored) Gellert Grindelwald, stupid, he's gay."
She was insistent. "Well, that never stopped Tonks, did it?"
I was forced to admit that she had a point.
Additional A/n: For the purposes of this fic, I took the liberty of altering the date of Percival Dumbledore's death. Since this is pretty much all the way out in left field anyway, I figured it wouldn't matter much. ;-)
March 5, 1899
I have decided to start keeping a diary. After all, one should always have something sensational to read on the train.
I don't go in much for trains, really, but it's the principle of the thing.
March 12, 1899
Visited Papa in Azkaban today. It was technically supposed to be a conjugal visit for my parents, but Mama said the Dementors were putting her out of the mood &c., so I went in myself to see I could cheer him up a bit. Not like that, you dirty daft git.
Papa seemed glad enough to see me, if a bit out of spirits, though the latter I remedied quickly by presenting him with the bottle of Old Odgen's I'd snuck in under my petticoats. Pleasant buzz wore off after a bit, though, and a few swigs later he was muttering about "those Muggle boys" again.
"Look, Father, I understand that it's hardly a lark being shut up in Azkaban, but you need to let the Muggle thing go sooner or later," I told him at last.
"Bah! Those Muggles!" he spat. "They're the ones who did this to you!"
"Oh, for Merlin's sake. They only lent me some books."
We always hit a snag over the books. "I still don't see what's so terrible about Oscar Wilde that you had to go on a mad cursing spree on their account."
"Of course I had to! What was I supposed to do? Sit back and let them corrupt my daughter with their Muggle somdomite filth?!"
"Firstly," said I, "it's 'sodomite'. Secondly, the way Oscar dressed before his prison stint, I'm almost certain he was a wizard. Thirdly, have you met your son Albus?"
"Bah! Albus!" I don't know what it is about sodomy that makes Papa feel it necessary to shout 'Bah!' every third word. "Bloody stupid ponce. Will never amount to anything. Is not half the son Aberforth is &c."
I don't really think it wise to hold Aberforth up as an example of carnal propriety, unless Papa really is keen on having a satyr or something for a grandchild one of these days.
Eventually managed to turn the conversation to Quidditch—Papa more concerned with Puddlemere Utd.'s season prospects than Albus or Aberforth, really—and then left him to sleep off his Firewhiskey. Will probably have an appalling headache tomorrow, but at least it will distract him from the Dementors.
April 2, 1899
Aberforth and Albus home for Easter hols. Mama seems to think it as good a time as any to get portraits done. I don't see why we can't just get photographs taken like normal people, but Mama has something against them—some old housewitch's tale about a photograph stealing one's soul. I say why would we need cameras for that when we already have Dementors and spirit-strangling things like needlework. Last time we had photographs done I was still a baby. Aberforth says I look like a loaf of bread in those. Goaty git.
Anyway, had to sit for hours while some bloke scrubbed away at an easel. The picture's still not quite done, but there was enough finished to get a general idea.
"That's a strange expression you've got on," remarks Albus. "It looks a bit like—"
Enter Aberforth. "—a loaf of bread!" I cuff him. He cuffs me back. General cuffing ensues.
Albus sniffs in that dignified, stuffy way of his. "I was going to say 'vacant sweetness'."
Albus is rubbish at reading expressions.
Still, am glad to have them here for a bit—it gets dull with only Mama and Batty Bagshot around for company all the time. Though I do wish Albus hadn't invited that stupid pimply Elphias to stay for the week-end. He may like having Dogbreath Doge trailing around after him like a lovelorn puppy, but I am well sick of him turning up in my room at all hours of the night to bemoan his hopeless infatuation. "Am I really that hideous?" (yes) "He's so distant." (he's Albus, for the love of) "Do you think he'd even look at me twice, Ariana?" (only if you were dressed as a bubotuber and he needed one for a potion) Result of which is usually much weeping &c. It is quite tiresome.
April 8, 1899
Well, they're all gone back to Hogwarts today. It is already appallingly dreary here without them. Batty came over for tea and made us all listen to some story or other about her nephew who got expelled from Durmstrang &c. Terrible case of the fidgets. Must go find something to blow up.
May 27, 1899
Have I got some news to write about today! Mama came across my secret stash of Oscar Wilde paraphernalia while she was cleaning this morning. Frightful row. "Did your father go to prison for nothing", "Well, Oscar Wilde went to prison, too, doesn't that even it all out" and so forth. Eventually she prised The Importance of Being Earnest from my hands and tossed it into the woodstove, which made me go into a bit of a strop. I never really learned to control my magic very well, having not been to Hogwarts (parents seemed to think I would get up to strange things in the Prefects' Bathroom, given prior history), and so I ended up bringing a bit of the wall down.
In other words, and to conclude, Mama was flattened like a Lethifold in a flower-press. I feel dreadful, of course, but really, she oughtn't to have touched my books.
Must see after getting another copy of Earnest.
June 1, 1899
Funeral today. And I thought card parties were socially uncomfortable.
June 5, 1899
Albus has had to cancel his Round-the-World trip. Dogbreath is devastated—owled me fifteen times already. Missives pathetically tear-stained. Have used them to stop up the drafty gap at the bottom of my bedroom door.
Albus is quite adamant about the whole thing. Of course, Aberforth and I have tried our best to dissuade him: Aberforth would relish a solid piece of fraternal neglect, as Albus is still a bit stupid over the goat business and Aberforth is fed up with having his 'barn time' interrupted. And I could certainly get along perfectly well without the constant presence of Albus's long-nosed self-sacrificing smugness, Cyrano de bloody Bergerac that he is. Between the two of us we would do tolerably on our own. But Albus refuses to listen: says it's time he took his place as "the head of the family". He has even bought a book of knitting-patterns. Suspect he may actually be taking this seriously.
Of course, there have been occasional moments of bitterness. Such as "Why did you have to go and murder Mama over a couple of books?" over dinner last night.
Clearly he is forgetting that there is a hereditary precedent for this. "Oh, don't act as if you wouldn't have done the same if she'd had come across your secret cache of 'literature'," I reply. Albus blushes like a tomato and I am glad to see that he is properly shamed for his hypocrisy.
Aberforth takes my part, as always. "Oh, don't bother about it, Ariana," he says, "I've wanted to kill her myself now and again."
Of course, Albus started ranting on about the moral implications of unfulfilled desire/intent versus action, tabula rasa categorical imperatives &c, leaving Aberforth and I to snore into our soup. Albus must find someone else to talk philosophy with or we shall all go mad.
June 14, 1899
A rather peculiar thing happened today. I was in my room ruminating over some lovelier bits of Salomé (John the Baptist's bits in particular bear much ruminating over) when I heard a noise outside my window. Looked out and saw a boy sitting in our apple-tree. He motioned to me.
"Is it true you're a Squib?" he asked when I had got the window open.
I responded by making the apple in his hand explode. He let out a funny sort of cry and fell clear out of the tree, landing on all fours like a cat. Then he straightened, bowed to me, and ran off towards Batty Bagshot's garden gate.
June 15, 1899
He was rather good-looking, though. One of those svelte blond types. Very nice legs. I wonder what he's doing in Godric's Hollow?
June 16, 1899
Being a pain in the arse, apparently.
His name is Gellert Grindelwald, and he's Batty's nephew, of all people, the one she kept going on about last month. They came over for dinner last night (Batty pinched my cheeks and made much of my 'delicate constitution'. I don't know how that rumour got started in the first place). Gellert was excessively friendly, apologised for calling me a Squib and so forth but he'd only heard from his aunt &c. Had a bit of a strange accent—asked him if he was from Germany or Switzerland or Bulgaria or what have you. He shrugged after a moment and said that it didn't really matter which country he was from, as he was going to conquer them all sooner or later and turn them into a unified Wizarding state.
I suppose that's as good an answer as any.
So it was all going well enough at first—had something to look at across the dinner table besides my brothers' ugly mugs, at any rate—but then Albus went off on another of his tangents, something about Übermensch this time. I tried to make a segue from "God is dead" to "And so are Puddlemere Utd.'s Cup prospects, speaking of which", but Albus was having none of it, kept plowing right on ahead, and then Gellert Grindelwald opened his mouth (aside: he has a lovely mouth, very good teeth) and I thought perhaps he was going to help me change the subject, thank Merlin, but instead he cried, "Yes, that's it exactly!!!" and banged his fist on the table.
And then he starts babbling about bloody Übermensch, too! And he's even worse than Albus, actually gets up from his seat and paces around the room, frisks peoples' utensils and tries to illustrate epistemological concepts with them, all but foams at the mouth. I made as if to exchange an exasperated look with Aberforth, but he'd already fallen asleep, so I looked towards Albus instead. Perhaps he's regretting starting this conversation in the first place and...?
No. He's watching Gellert with rapt attention. Which is to say, as if Gellert were a sherbet lemon he would like to suck on.
Poor Dogbreath. If only he weren't so ugly.
June 28, 1899
Well, Gellert and Albus have been getting on like a cauldron on fire, to use Batty's turn of phrase. He has come over for dinner every day now this week, and for tea and lunch and breakfast sometimes as well, and between-times he is usually attached to Albus at the hip—not literally, of course, Albus hasn't been that lucky as of yet. He is still in the worshiping-from-afar 'Basil Hallward' stage of courtship, and the way he is going about it, that may be as far as he ever gets. I mean, what lover was ever wooed by a discussion of the political ramifications of the Muggle Question?
Then again, Gellert does seem to like that sort of thing. Perhaps I will be made to eat my words yet.
I must say, though, I really don't understand what all the fuss is over Muggles. They're like Americans: certainly they're a bit rustic, and stupid, and greedy, and they bungle things up royally when given half a chance, but surely they can't be all bad?
Unsurprisingly, Aberforth doesn't like Gellert. He and Albus had a row this afternoon—"Don't you know he was expelled from Durmstrang", "I'll thank you not to criticize my friends", "I'll thank you not to be a stupid twat" &c. They fired off a few minor hexes: then Aberforth ran off to vent his frustration with his goats, and Albus went and puttered around in the graveyard for a few hours with Gellert, doing Merlin-knows-what.
Honestly. And they all call me the mad one.
July 3, 1899
Wonders will never cease! Gellert simply happened to have an extra copy of Importance of Being Earnest in his trunk! "I'd be happy to give it to you, Fraulein," he told me, "if you'll let me have one of your books in return."
The other Wildes were safely beneath the loose floorboard under the bed, so I said, "Have whatever one you like" and waved my hand toward the bookcase.
He picked out some old mildew-spotted book of fairy stories—Beedle the Bard, I think, Mama used to read them to me before I... well, before bed, anyway. "I'll have this one," he declared, and practically dashed from the room.
Funny. I never pegged him for a nostalgic sort.
July 11, 1899
After careful observation, I have concluded that Gellert Grindelwald, far from being indifferent, wants to reciprocally play Dorian Gray to Albus's Basil Hallward.
Of course, this means he'll end up breaking Albus's heart, and probably murder him to boot, but at least Albus will stop his frightful moping in the meantime.
July 12, 1899
How very right I was!
I had stayed up late to give Earnest another readthrough (I was delighted to have it so unexpectedly restored to me—it has been a great inconvenience being without it all these weeks) and was just going to bed when I saw a strange shadow on the windowpane. Had a look outside and saw Gellert climbing up the old overgrown rose-lattice on the wall. I popped my head out of the casement and he nearly fell into the camellia bush.
"If you're looking for Albus's room, you'll want to try that window further down," I told him when he had recovered from his fright. "The one you're headed for now is Aberforth's."
"Why, thank you," he replied. "That certainly would have been an unpleasant surprise." He winked at me (aside: despite the many other admirable qualities of his physiognomy, Gellert Grindelwald is dreadful at winking. He looks like he's trying to blink off a bad Conjunctivitis Curse). "Well, I mustn't keep Albus waiting. Maybe I'll come by your window again when I've finished with him?"
Maybe he will!
July 13, 1899
But of course he didn't.
He was drinking his tea in an infuriatingly complacent manner when I came into the kitchen this morning. I responded to his "Good day" by making his teacup explode.
"You certainly are fond of blowing things up," he said a little irritably as he healed his scalded hands with a quick incantation.
"We have that much in common," I replied.
It was meant to be a joke, but I don't think he understood it. Gellert can be fearfully daft sometimes.
July 25, 1899
Today Albus and Gellert announced that they have formulated a plan for world domination. The weather continued charming, if a little more humid than previously.
August 4, 1899
I came back in from a picnic-luncheon with Aberforth in the garden and found Gellert Grindelwald in my room. And naked. And lying across my bed. And snogging Albus.
Well, it was only a matter of time. They've christened everywhere else in Godric's Hollow, anyway.
"Ariana!" Albus was, of course, mortified. "We were only—we'd just gone for a swim—"
"In the pond," Gellert clarified helpfully.
"And—and I was eating a sherbet lemon, and it went down the wrong way and got lodged in the back of my throat, and Gellert here was helping me get it out with his—with his, er, well, tongue."
All power of speech was utterly lost to me. I could only stare at Gellert's naked backside with an air of—what did Albus call it?—'vacant sweetness'.
Gellert noticed. "Oh, don't bother, Albus," he said, with one of those spasmodic winks of his. "She's too young to think anything, anyway."
August 9, 1899
Gellert has been telling me all about the delights of the Continent today. "And we could see Salomé played in Paris, if you wanted," he says. "You ought to come by when Albus and I are there. Actually—there's a thought! Albus!" He calls Albus, who has been staring at him dreamily for the past quarter-hour, to attention. "Why don't we take Ariana with us when we go to look for the Hallows?"
Albus looks somewhat alarmed. "Why? It would be too dangerous—"
"Certainly not!" Gellert scoffs. "She'd explode anyone on the spot who dared threaten her! She's a powerful witch, Albus, it's shameful to keep her hidden all the time in this way."
"I still don't—"
"And besides, there is a lovely sense of unity, of symmetry to it," Gellert rambles on. "Three Hallows, three fearless adventurers, three Masters of Death—you and Ariana, together on one side, and I at the point of the triangle—it's arithmantically perfect! What say you?"
Albus's expression is glum, like that of a constipated fish. "Whatever you say."
Naturally, I am thrilled at the whole prospect, though I am not sure whether Gellert is in earnest or not.
August 13, 1899
It seems the thing is settled! We are all set to leave for France next week. I decided to pay Papa a visit before our departure, since I don't know when I'll see him next.
"I hear that you and Albus and some German shirtlifter are poncing off to Paris," he said almost as soon as I walked through the door.
"Yes," I replied. "We're going to hunt down some important magical artifacts and then use them to subjugate the Muggles."
He looked a bit of impressed at that. "Well, I always knew that you at least would do me proud one of these days."
The rest of the visit was unexpectedly congenial. I decided not to tell him about Puddlemere Utd.'s bad season, as he has got enough on his plate without all that. Well, his metaphorical plate. They don't go in much for daily feedings in Azkaban.
August 21, 1899
Well, only a few more hours and we'll be Portkeying across the channel! Aberforth has been sulking, but we can't have him along, too, he'd make himself too conspicuous. Perhaps he and Dogbreath can comfort each other?
Of course, Albus isn't best pleased with the whole situation, either. He seems to think I'll get in the way of his and Gellert's research, plans, evening entertainments, &c. I myself am a little unsure of how I fit into this whole storyline: does this make me Lord Henry Wotton, or what? It is a rather unattractive comparison. Well, better that then, say, Sibyl Vane, introduced and summarily slain purely for the purpose of illustrating the antihero's moral decrepitude. That would have been a bit of a letdown.
Bugger, Albus and Aberforth are fighting again. Best go see if I can help.