Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters that exist therein. Be glad.

Heart's Desire

Albus Dumbledore watched as the chamber door swung shut behind young Harry Potter. He sighed and turned to face the item that had been the subject of the pair's preceding conversation. It loomed tall, reaching the ceiling of the otherwise bare room. An opulent gilded frame surrounded a pane of glass, catching the dim light in the room, amplifying and reflecting it until it seemed as though the mirror glowed of its own accord.

Dumbledore walked slowly toward the mirror, unwillingly transfixed by the image within. Of all the looking-glasses in the world, this very mirror was the only one that made Albus Dumbledore feel like the man that he was, a man who had seen over a century of sadness, hatred, evil, and pain. A man who had long ago lost what was most important. For this mirror reflected not the many lines and crevices that marred his face, but the irreparable damage that had been done to his soul.

The mirror standing proudly before Hogwarts' famed headmaster was none other that the Mirror of Erised, enchanted to reflect the deepest, truest wishes of the onlooker. Wishes that had been buried by over fifty years of denial, of remorse, of service to others in a desperate attempt to regain his own happiness.

Dumbledore lowered himself slowly to the floor in front of the mirror, eyes never leaving the scene before him. What did he see? He saw the vision that danced in and out of his dreams, both waking and sleeping, the scene that had not changed since the first night he had stumbled upon the fabled Mirror of Erised:

A young Albus Dumbledore, not a day over eighteen, stood draping strands of tinsel and lights around a large evergreen tree that stood in the center of a spacious living room. In the background, a fire roared merrily, giving off light and heat that filled the space around him. Although no sound could be heard, it was clear that young Albus was humming, most likely the tune of a Christmas carol. Christmas had always been Albus's favorite holiday.

A large oak door on the right side of the room opened. A pair of teenagers, a boy and a girl, entered, accompanied by a flurry of snow. Both were carrying bags stuffed with food, decorations, and other materials for their upcoming Christmas dinner. After they set their burden down upon the counter, the girl ran over and hugged Albus. He smiled and gave his younger sister a loving kiss on the forehead before turning to embrace his brother. Together the trio continued to decorate the room with bells, mistletoe, wreaths, and every possible Christmas adornment imaginable. Before long, the room looked like something that might have been plucked out of a Muggle Christmas storybook.

As the family entered the kitchen to begin cooking dinner, there was a knock at the door, perceptible by the reaction of the young Dumbledores. Ariana ran to the door eagerly, while Albus and Aberforth peeked their heads back into the room to uncover the identity of their visitor. The door opened to reveal a handsome, blond-haired boy in his late teens. He offered a beaming smile to the girl before stepping inside. He then turned to the pair in the doorway, his lips forming the words, "Hello, Albus." The newcomer embraced the aforementioned man then drew back, still smiling widely. A small smile formed in turn on the lips of the other boy as he offered a silent greeting in return: "Hello, Gellert."

Any subsequent conversation was lost in a flurry of preparation for the evening meal. In a short period of time, the group was settling down at a table laden with delicious foods, from roast turkey to mashed potatoes to a large bowl of lemon drops. The teenagers were laughing, joking, and talking, looking like the happiest bunch of people the world could ever hope to see. There was a definite look of contentment in young Albus's eyes as they trailed over first his sister, then his brother, then finally his dearest friend, where they lingered until the happy scene was interrupted by a yawn from Ariana. Albus turned to her and Aberforth and, with a stern but kind expression in his eyes, sent them off to bed, as was evident by their departure from the table and the goodnight hugs they gave their dear older brother before scurrying upstairs.

The remaining pair began cleaning the kitchen and dining room with flicks of their wands. For several minutes, the air was filled with dancing plates, soaring cutlery, and soap bubbles that attacked the soiled dinnerware. At last, everything was clean and in its proper place. The boys then returned to the living room, where they halted, each surveying the other in silence. Then Gellert made a gesture and spoke, pointing to something above Albus's head. He looked up to find a bough of mistletoe dangling above his head. He met the other boy's gaze and muttered something, blushing slightly. Gellert smirked and voiced a reply, causing Albus to flush an even more vibrant shade of red, rivaling that of the berries in the mistletoe above. Gellert stalked forward, catlike, Albus's face glowing brighter with each step. Finally, the two were almost touching, neither one able to take his eyes off the other. Albus again spoke, obviously saying something that amused his blond counterpart, because he threw back his head in laughter. He then leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Albus Dumbledore's forehead, followed by another on his cheek, then at last on his trembling lips. The kiss was brief, but filled with tenderness and emotion. Albus wrapped his arms around his friend, his ally, his heart's desire. The other man followed suit.

They stood there for what seemed like hours, locked in a warm embrace. Right here, they were merely Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, best friends, perhaps more. There was no conflict, no death, and no evil intent to sully their relationship. There were no tough choices, no long years of growing apart, no fear of discovery. On that Christmas evening, there were only the two of them, the crackling fire, the grand Christmas tree, and their bough of mistletoe.

Gellert gently extracted himself from the embrace, looking for all the world like he would have rather stayed there forever. He drew a lumpy package out of the folds of his cloak and offered it to the boy before him with a smile. Albus opened his mouth to protest but was silenced by another kiss. Gellert touched his forehead to Albus's and whispered softly. Smiling slightly, Albus nodded and carefully tore away the wrapping paper, letting it fall discarded to the floor beside him. He held up his gift in the firelight and began to laugh. The laughter, though unheard, filled every corner of the room before coming at last to settle as a twinkle in Albus Dumbledore's eyes. He hugged his friend and pressed his present to his chest.

"I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks."

Thank you for reading, kind stranger! Of course, I would be even more obliged if you would deign to review this humble little story. It is an idea that has been dancing around in my head for the last couple of days, and I hope you enjoyed it!