Definetly not my best, but I found this one quite hard, not having any real character for Grindlewald, or knowing to what extent their relationship actually was. Did JK ever say if Dumbledore and Grindlewald were together? I've only found her saying Dumbledore was in love with him.
Never Let Down Again
Summary: Part of my Again series. Albus Dumbledore had already met people, and knew he'd be meeting more, as plenty of his old friends were bound to die. One person he'd never considered greeting was the boy he'd once loved...and yet, here they were.
He was nervous. Albus Dumbledore was not one for nerves, but here he was, with the unfamiliar feeling overwhelming him.
Why did Gellert want him to meet him?
Maybe he didn't. Maybe it was some mistake, and when Gellert got here, he'd...Well, he didn't know. But he was bound to do something. There was no way he'd want Albus Dumbledore to greet him after his death, not even deep in his heart.
It was probably just that the person Gellert really wanted here had already moved on to the next life. He was probably only here by default. Still feeling like a nervous school boy, Dumbledore tried to reassess his decision to stick around until the war was over.
Then the whiteness around Dumbledore shifted, and he stepped back, further and further, until he knew the arrival wouldn't see him. Until he knew he wouldn't see the arrival. Privacy was important for the begining of this stage.
Gellert Grindlewald had been waiting for his death for a long time. Well, there hadn't been much else to do, after all. And so here, it wasn't that big a deal. He'd been ready for death, and his end was welcome. He was willing to leave it all behind and begin what was next.
Dumbledore waited, then finally stepped forward. Grindlewald heard him, turned, and smiled widely. He'd hoped Dumbledore would be here...
"Gellert." Dumbledore nodded, careful to keep his voice steady.
"I hope your being here is a sign that you've forgiven me?" Grindlewald asked softly, stepping closer, his face sober.
"I forgave you long ago, Gellert." Dumbledore replied. Both men looked as old as they had when they'd died, and Dumbledore couldn't help but look at Grindlewald, taking in every change the years had brought.
"You always were a good man, Albus. Even when we were boys, you were a better man than I."
"I was no better than you, Gellert. Our plans were always the same, and I had every intention of carrying them out."
"Not the way I did, though. You'd have found a way around it."
"Perhaps." Dumbledore replied. "But I doubt it. If it hadn't been for what happened...with Arina, I would have probably joined you." It was hard to admit it, but he'd never been able to lie to Gellert.
"Arina." Grindlewald sighed. "Albus...I still regret what happened that day. I've never forgiven myself for it." He smiled wryly. "After everything I've done, hurting you is the one thing that's haunted me all these years."
Albus didn't reply; didn't know what to say. Didn't want to read too much into those words.
"What happens now?" Grindlewald asked, looking to Albus' eyes. He'd always liked his eyes, the sheer blueness of them...he'd just never had the courage to tell him.
"When you're ready, I'll show you." Dumbledore replied. Gellert nodded, then looked around, his smile widening.
"Do you remember this place? Our place, Albus. It was our secret place. All the memories..."
Dumbledore smiled softly, but still didn't speak.
"You've definetly forgiven me then? For everything?" Grindlewald asked.
"Yes. I have." Dumbledore replied simply.
"Then I can go on."
"You're sure you're ready?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes. I am." Grindlewald murmured. "I trust you're waiting, for the war to end. Watching, somehow?" He was smiling, almost smirking, reminding Dumbledore forcibly of the young boy he'd once been. The boy he'd fallen in love with.
"Yes." Dumbledore smiled. "How did you know?"
"I know you." Grindlewald replied. "In our time together, I got to know you so well, I could never forget. I'll wait with you, Albus. I'll watch with you, and wish for everyone you care for to come through this alive."
Touched, it took several seconds before Dumbledore could reply.
"They won't all survive this. I've already accepted that." He said, aware that his eyes were glittering with tears.
"I'll be there for you." Gellert said softly. "I won't let you down again, Albus."
Dumbledore looked at him, into his eyes, his gaze searching for something. Whatever he'd wanted to find, he must have, for he smiled again.