Author's Note: I know, I know -- A new story when I have plenty of others that I ought to be working on. Unfortunately, the semester is at an end here, so I'm scrambling around to finish all the work I should have done throughout the semester. This plot bunny hit me yesterday, so I decided to write it up a bit. Let me know if you would be interested in reading more of this.


The Arrogance of Youth

By Koinaka

No sooner met but they looked;
No sooner looked but they loved;
No sooner loved but they sighed;
No sooner signed but they asked one another the reason;
No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy;
And in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage...
-- As You Like It
: Act 5 Scene II


Prologue

Gellert Grindelwald wasn't a believer in destiny or fate. In fact, he cared very little for divination of any sort. What he did believe in was magic and the power it wielded. More than that, he believed in the power that he wielded. Safely ensconced away in the castle of the late Ludwig the II, Gellert ruled nearly the entirety of both wizarding and muggle Europe. He had accomplished almost everything he had set out to do. Yet he still longed for more.

The Deathly Hallows.

He still yearned for them – for the power they would bring him – even now as he was approaching his sixty-second birthday. To become immortal was what he desired above all else.

A knock at the door to his study broke him out of his reverie. Sitting his book aside, he motioned for his guard to open the door. He did so, ushering in three men. Two of the men were dressed in the intricate uniforms those in charge of his forced in the muggle world wore while the other was dressed in robes of crushed velvet.

He eyed the three men for some time before speaking. "You're late," he told them. "I expected you yesterday."

The three men exchanged worried glances. The one wearing robes stepped forward. His face was flush with excitement, and he looked far too pleased with himself.

"You were right, my Lord. The ring is in Britain, just as you suspected!" the man exclaimed happily.

"And the stone? What have you discovered about the stone?" inquired the blonde-haired wizard, his tone deceptively soft.

The man, a blustering fool of a wizard, flailed uselessly for a moment. "T-t-the stone, my Lord? I'm afraid I do not understand. What stone do you speak of? I thought I was inquiring after a ring."

Crystalline blue eyes surveyed the man speaking with barely contained rage. "The stone contained within the ring," snarled the blonde wizard. "What have you learned of the stone? Six long months you've been abroad in Britain. Surely you have learned something about that which I seek!"

Sensing his Lord's displeasure, the man's words became hurried. "The ring belongs to the decedents of the Slytherin line, my Lord, a family called the Gaunts. We discovered their last known residence – a hovel in the British countryside – but it was abandoned."

When the man was finished with his explanation, he stepped back, bowing low as he did so.

A tense silence filled the room.

"Leave me," he said.

The men scrambled to obey him at once. When they were gone, the wizard heaved a sigh before getting to his feet. Insipid fools, the lot of them. If he wanted to find the second Hallow, he would have to do it himself.

He touched his wand lovingly with his slender fingers. It was truly a one-of-a-kind wand. An unstoppable wand. Perhaps it was time to for him to put that to the test.

It had been far too long since he had set foot on British soil.