A/N: Written originally for the first round of Mugglenet Fan-Fiction's Brawl. The challenge was to write a story based on the provided picture, which was of a bunch of traveling items, such as passports, tickets, maps, and a camera.


The floor was littered with items. Maps, quills, scribbled notes, simple drawings, ink bottles, books, loose coins, a Muggle camera and film, pamphlets, certificates. All spread across the carpet. All his. Possessions that he had compiled and sorted and pruned over for months, in preparation for what he'd felt as though he'd been waiting his entire life for.

Not anymore.

Yesterday. It had only been yesterday. It seemed so much long ago already, as is often the feeling of one who has experienced something that drastically alters their entire world. Thinking back on yesterday felt like a lifetime ago, for in his life, it had been a lifetime ago. He hardly recognized the person he had been then, and loathed him, despised him, couldn't stand to even look in a mirror and have the face that had caused him so much pain be staring back at him, and what was more, to have it be his own face, a face that he could not run from.

How could he have been so stupid? He should have known that Gellert Grindewald was not one to be related with, not one to be trusted, not one to be loved – and he, fool that he was, had done all three. His brother had been right – his brother, who hardly earned passing marks at school and spoke in mostly grunts – had been right. He had known what his older brother had been completely blind to.

If only he had listened to Aberforth for once and pulled away from Gellert. If only he had never started spending time with Gellert in the first place. If only he had never known Gellert. If only, if only, if only, but no amount of praying or wishing or crying would ever bring her back . . .

Bitter water collected in his eyes as he stared down at his possessions on the floor. The plan yesterday had been to leave as soon as possible, all of these items in tow. Yesterday was no more.

Fire stirred in his stomach, licking its way up through his limbs until it was inside his entire being, covering him, swallowing him in a blind, red rage. In an instant his wand was drawn, and in another he was shouting, "Incendio!"

Flames spat from his wand and ignited upon the objects, engulfing them too in the fire consuming his soul. He watched them burn in silence, the light reflecting in his anguished eyes.

A rustling sound from his doorway alerted him to the presence of someone there. He looked up to see Aberforth, arms folded and eyes tight as they took in the scene of the young man and items both on fire.

Albus swallowed hard. "It's over, Ab. It's done. And I'm not going to go away from you – or from where I belong – ever again."