Author's Note: The format of this story can be kind of confusing, so I will state this: Each story is in a different time line. Gellert's moves forward - from age six until age one hundred and thirteen. Albus', however, moves backward in time, going from age one hundred and fifteen to age ten. Their time lines will meet in one particular spot - the duel. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it :) Reviews are greatly appreciated!

Gellert
Six Years Old

The first time Gellert hates a Muggle, he is six years old. His family lives in a small village in Eastern Europe, a place that housed magical and non-magical families alike. There isn't much to the small town – a few local shops, a tailor, a bar, and a small church. The church is an important part of the community and was a place everyone attends, where everyone is a part of the same family. As a small child, Gellert remembers feeling safe in the church. Through the beauty of the songs and the calm, comforting voice of the minister, Gellert thinks he can find peace. Peace away from his dominating and intimidating Papa and his shy, quiet, fretting, too-timid Mama.

The minister, Kaufmann, is a friend of the Grindelwald's and he comes for dinner monthly. Papa always makes generous donations to the church and the minister seems grateful. Gellert sits quietly and listens to the adults talk amongst themselves, though he rarely pays attention. He isn't interested in the wrong-doings of the community, so he amuses himself with his own thoughts about life; still, he remains, the sounds of their conversation comforting. Gellert longs to leave the small village, and he can't wait until he's old enough to attend school. He's heard about Durmstrang, the school Papa attended – he knows the education he receives there will just be his first lesson in glory.

Even at age six, Gellert knows he is going to be something important.

As dinner finishes, Kaufmann brings his napkin to his mouth and gives a sigh. "That was the best dinner I have had in ages!" he exclaims, beaming at Mama. She turns pink and gives him a grateful smile. It isn't unusual; young as he is, Gellert doesn't miss the looks that shoot between the minister and Mama when Papa isn't looking.

Kaufmann is okay, Gellert thinks, but he is a Muggle and doesn't seem to be worth the trouble Mama puts into him.

As Mama finishes with the kitchen, Papa turns to Kaufmann. "Shall we proceed to the study? I have a few things you might be interested in taking a look at."

Kaufmann declines with a shake of his head. "I really must be going. I want to thank you again for the lovely dinner. Your wife is certainly the best cook I know."

Gellert doesn't see the need to listen any further, so as Mama walks Kaufmann outside, he returns to his bedroom. As he is getting dressed for bed, he hears them murmuring through his bedroom window. He creeps up to it, standing on his tip-toes to peek outside. Their backs are turned toward the house; he is not in danger of being caught.

Kaufmann's voice is low as he answers Mama. "We can't continue this, Iren," he says, looking downward. It is only then Gellert notices their hands are clasped together. "It is becoming too dangerous to keep this up. Hinrich is bound to find out something sooner or later and I have a reputation to uphold."

Mama's voice took a pouty tone Gellert had never heard rom her. "You love me, Jan. You can not deny that."

"I do," Kaufmann sounds pained. "God help me, I do. Love, however, doesn't make this right. You've led me to sin . . ." He bends over and brushes his lips against her cheek. Gellert can hardly stifle a gasp.

"We can leave. We can go somewhere where we aren't recognized and settle down. Gellert is young and he won't mind moving. You two look enough alike that you could pass for father and son, and no one would ever know the difference."

"We could marry . . ." Kaufmann's voice sounded just as hopeful as Mama's had seconds earlier. He doesn't give a definite response, but steps away and off of the family porch. Gellert watches as they walk and his eyes widen in horror and excitement as the final step breaks under Kaufmann's weight. His leg falls through and he lets out a howl of distressed pain. Mama is rushing toward his side, her words lost to Gellert as she tries to calm Kaufmann.

The wound from the porch is significant. A large splinter has jammed itself into Kaufmann's leg and blood is pouring from the wound – Gellert can see it even from his hiding place. Mama is panicking and trying to staunch the wound with her skirts. She's pale in the moonlight, her hands shining bright red with his blood. Kaufmann is shaking, staring down at his wounded leg with terrified eyes. There is no time to call a doctor. Gellert watches in horror as Mama pulls her wand from her skirts and utters a spell. All at once, the leg straightens, mends and the blood stops.

If Mama is expecting a look of gratitude, she is sorely mistaken. Kaufmann stares at her as if she has grown a second head. He scrambles from her, looking at his now healed leg and up at her wand. His eyes are wide and panicky. "That was witchcraft," he says, his voice shaking with rage and confusion. Mama drops her wand and reaches for him, but Kaufmann moves away. "I see now. It makes sense; you bewitched me."

"I never -"

"There's no denying it." His voice is cold. Mama says nothing, but drops her hands and backs away as Kaufmann flees the Grindelwald household. Gellert scrambles back in bed before she enters the house. He furrows his brow, trying to make sense of what had just happened.

The Muggle knew they were wizards. Nothing good can come from this.

The next day, Sunday, is anything but peaceful.

Kaufmann stands before his congregation and surveys them with cold, calculating eyes. It's the downfall of a Muggle finding out about magic; once they know, they become suspicious and trust no one. "I have received proof," he says toward the end of his sermon. "That we have a legitimate witch in our midst. She is a cunning thing and while she may seem harmless from the outside, I assure you, she is a highly dangerous individual."

A few women, all witches themselves, squirm in their seats.

"Last night, I had dinner with the Grindelwald's. I have been to their house on multiple occasions and have always had a pleasant time. Last night, as I was leaving, Iren Grindelwald asked to speak to me privately. I believed she wanted to speak with me concerning her faith, but I was wrong. She began to speak in a tongue I did not recognize, and I felt myself become dizzy. No doubt she was enchanting me."

Mama sank in her seat, her blue eyes brimming with tears. Next to her, Papa's eyes were focused on the minister as he listened, his posture straight and sure; Gellert has to wonder what lies Kaufmann has told him. He sits with his hands clenched, silently fuming next to Papa.

"Now, we knows what the Bible says about witchcraft, and that it expressively forbids the practice. I have spoken with her husband and he assures me she can repent. We will bring this woman back to the Lord."

Gellert has had enough. He stands in his seat and glares at the minister. "You lie!" he shouts.

"You were not bewitched! You were talking of marrying Mama and running away with us. You broke your leg and were bleeding to death! Mama saved your life, you lying coward!"

A sharp tug from Papa has him falling backward in his seat.

"She has even deluded the child!" Kaufmann exclaimed, his eyes boring into Gellert's own. In that moment, Gellert realizes he hates this man. He hates him for hurting his mother, he hates him for hating magic, and he hates him for making them hide.

It is the day Gellert loses his faith in God. Why would God have given something only to tell him it was wrong? That isn't free will. It's damnation.

Gellert and Mama leave the village the following day. Papa doesn't say a word as they gather their belongings; he stands with his arms crossed, watching. It is the beginning of a new period, one Gellert never quite loses his fondness of. For the rest of his life, Gellert will never quite feel at home without the need to travel.

Albus
One Hundred Fifteen

Gellert,

My apologies for the seemingly random timing of this letter; no doubt it must bring you a fare bit of confusion. I am well aware that we have not spoken for close to twenty years. For me those years have been long and eventful; although I am sure you would choose mine over yours in a heartbeat. I admit, old friend, if I had a chance to switch places, I believe I would. I may be, as you told me so long ago "The Great and Mighty Dumbledore," but I think I would like to retire from the position.

Secluded though you are, you must have heard of the return of Lord Voldemort. He is just as powerful and dangerous as he was before, and I dare say, just as stupid. He has no intention other than to gain power and no real motivation to drive him. His only concern is ridding himself of Harry Potter, but his methods of elimination are choppy, self-centered and half-hearted at best. He has never had the fire to drove him the way you did. Should he succeed, the world will not be a better place. I shudder to think of what would (and could) happen should that occur.

I write to you now, Gellert, because I realize I do not have much time left. I am a fool, as much as I ever was. Wisdom may come with age, but I make mistakes with the rest of them. I found it. I found the Ring. In my hunt for artifacts of Voldemort's (artifacts I have more than enough proof to think are Horcruxes) I discovered a family heirloom of the Gaunt's. I knew what it was the moment I picked it up. I shoved it upon my finger, thinking for a moment I was to see my family again. I confess I do not remember much after; it was only a matter of the quick work of my potions master that I am still writing to you now.

I must kill a child, Gellert, a bright, handsome boy that has been given a task far ahead of his sixteen years. He looks up to me and admires me and trusts me. He is more than just a student to me Gellert. He is the closest thing I will ever have to a son or a grandchild. I told myself years ago not to get attached. I have known since his birth that this boy was doomed to be in Voldemort's plan. While I know that his death will bring about the downfall of a Dark Lord, I can not help but wish there were an easier way. I do not expect you to understand – you never had a problem with killing to better the world. I do not fault you for it. I am, in fact, jealous. I wish such things came easy to me as well.

I wish there were an easier way, that there might be a chance for Harry to survive. He deserves everything. He is probably the most selfless person I have ever met, and he deserves to live out a long and happy life.

As I think of what Harry deserves, I think of my own past and the regrets I have. A man my age should not have many regrets, but I do. I regret what I must do to this child. I regret I could not stop it from happening in the first place. I regret I did not see Tom Riddle for what he was before it became too late. I regret the tepid at best relationship I have with my brother. He has never quite forgiven me for what happened when we were children. I do not blame him.

Most of all, I regret you.

Do not take that as offensively as I know you are. I do not regret you as a person, but I regret what happened between us. I admit I knew you were using me when we were young, but I was just as much using you. I figured as long as I kept you happy, you would never leave me alone. I was only too thrilled to let you continue to drag me along.

It was rather pathetic if I dwell upon it.

I doubt you will ever realize how deep my affections truly were. While you may never forgive me for what I did, please know I did what I thought was right by putting you in prison. I was trying to keep you alive, Gellert. I could not bear watching a brilliant mind as yours die.

If that says nothing to how I still feel for you, I do not know what does.

I admit, sometimes I regret not following you. It would have been an adventure and one that would have been only too welcome by me. Instead, you went by yourself to become a great dreamer and conqueror and I became a school teacher. I like to think I was a good professor. A patient one. As I grow older, I wonder if that is anywhere near the truth.

I am one-hundred fifteen years old and I am sacrificing a child to save a world. One life. On bright, optimistic, brilliant life to save an entire world. And for what? Look above your door, Gellert. I still live by those damned, cursed words.

I digress.

I hope this letter finds you well, or as well as you will ever be.

In addition, I come with a warning. After my inevitable death (do not give me that look, the one I know you are making. I have it planned; I know I am to die.), Voldemort will come for you. He searches for a wand to beat Potter's – he will trace It back to you. Do not fight him, Gellert. He will kill you. It may be now or it may be a year, but he will come for you. Be ready. Be prepared.

Do not lie.

I do not need another death on my conscious.

Albus Dumbledore

Gellert

Sixteen Years Old

Gellert is sixteen years old when he meets the brilliant mind that is Albus Dumbledore. He has only taken residence with his great-aunt Bathilda for a little over a week when the boy comes over. He isn't anything that would normally attract Gellert's eye; he's tall and thin, with auburn hair that falls to his elbows. But the intensity and brilliance that fumes behind those blue eyes (so sadly hidden behind frames) are what makes Gellert give him a second glance.

He gives Gellert the barest of glances, obviously used to people telling him he'll get along splendidly with others only to be disappointed. Albus gives Gellert a small, polite smile but Gellert isn't fooled. This boy is brilliant. This boy is bored. Gellert simply stands there in silence and observes him, watching the way he reacts to Bathilda's questions about his life. He is polite in every answer, but there is always some hesitancy, always something that he's holding back.

Bathilda stuffs his arms full of books and papers. "These are my essays for the book I'm writing." She says, her face beaming at him. "If I'm lucky, perhaps it will be a school book!"

"Perhaps." Albus says, and he scans over the essays in front of him. Gellert can see he's actually interested in them, even if only mildly. Bathilda beams at him and disappears into her kitchen. There are sounds of drawers and cabinets opening, but she still doesn't return. Albus sighs. "I hope she does not plan to feed me."

Gellert gives him a rather surprised look. "You would object?"

"It isn't her place to keep my family fed."

He opens his mouth to ask the reason, but his aunt chooses this moment to return. As Albus had feared, she has a large basket that is full of bread and other small pantry items. Albus starts to protest, but Bathilda cuts him off with a raised hand. "You need it more than I, Albus. I am going to the market in the morning and I can replenish. You take care of that family."

Albus swallows and looks down at the basket, nodding silently. As he leaves, Bathilda heaves a small sigh and gives Gellert a sad smile. "That poor boy. I do hope you two will get along. You're very close in age and Albus needs a friend."

Gellert can't imagine why. He raises an eyebrow and asks, "Poor boy? What's wrong with him?" Pity was radiating off of this woman; he was curious to know what could possibly merit that much emotion.

Bathilda looks outside and then back toward Gellert. "Well, his mother died only a few weeks ago, and his father won't be coming around. That's another story . . . " His aunt looks mildly uncomfortable at the mention of the neighbor's father. "Anyway, his mother was killed in an accident a short while back and Albus just graduated from Hogwarts. He has two younger siblings, you see, and his little sister . . . She's a dear thing, but very frail. Constantly needs someone to watch her. Albus is possibly the most brilliant boy I've ever met," She stops to smile at Gellert. "Save for you, of course, but he's fantastic with a wand and already winning so many awards . . . Well, we figured he'd be off doing something grand outside of school. Instead, he has to stay at home, at least until Aberforth graduates, and that won't be for another two years."

Gellert listens through her rant and actually finds himself interested.

It isn't long before Bathilda has her wish. Gellert clicks with the English boy in a way he's never found before. Albus isn't like anyone Gellert has ever met. He's just as brilliant as Bathilda made him out to be – at eighteen years old, he has already accomplished more than most of the adults Gellert knows. Head Boy of his year at Hogwarts, award winning Transfigurist and youth ambassador to the Wizengamont, Albus had much going for him and more potential in his pinky than most students of their age combined.

Yet, due to the recent death of his mother, Albus is trapped in Godric's Hallow to attend to his siblings. He says nothing to Gellert about it and always attends to them without complaint. But Gellert can tell he's bothered by his life here. He wants something more. It is because of this, Gellert takes the biggest chance of his life: he explains his plans to Albus.

"You wish to find the Hallows?" Albus asks in surprise as Gellert finishes speaking. "I understand the allure, but why the passion?"

Gellert frowns. "Shouldn't everyone with a goal be passionate about it?"

"Of course, but I see something behind it." Albus says quietly, his eyes focused on the symbol Gellert has drawn on a piece of parchment. "When you speak of the Hallows, you speak of them in a manner that suggest finding them is not the end of your goal. They're only the means, only the start. What else do you have planned?"

Gellert blinks at him. Albus raises his head to grin. "I'm right, aren't I?"

"You . . . are, yes"

"So, what's the plan?"

That earns Albus an eyebrow. "Are you sure you want to know?"

Gellert doesn't miss the slight hesitation in Albus' voice as he answers. "Tell me."

So Gellert does. He tells him of his plans to find the Hallows and how they're instrumental in his final goal – overthrowing the Statute of Secrecy. Wizards would make themselves known to Muggles, and Muggles would finally learn their place. While not necessarily a dictatorship, Gellert envisions Wizards would certainly be in power. Gellert watches Albus' face intently, looking for signs of horror or disgust. Instead, he finds Albus' eyes have lit up and he seems intrigued.

"You don't think I'm mad?"

"On the contrary, I think it is a brilliant idea." Albus leans back in his seat, resting his hands in his lap. "I've long thought the Statute was in desperate need of revising. We're long past the days of witch hunts and burnings. Keeping us in the dark from Muggles is only hurting us. Both sides have experiences and things we could teach the other."

"You speak from experience. You've thought about this."

One shoulder lifts in a shrug. "I have my opinions on the matter. This isn't the first time I've thought of this."

"You would agree?" Gellert asks, hesitantly touching upon the topic. Albus nods and leans forward.

"You think you can find the Hallows?"

"I know I can. I have leads on the Elder wand, but it's going to take some time to plan on them. The wand is the most important, of course. With the wand, I'd – we'd have no trouble from anyone who opposes. After, the stone and last the cloak."

Albus is quiet, staring intently at Gellert before speaking. "I want to join you. I think I could be of help."

Weeks before, this idea would have only infuriated Gellert. He has always worked on his own, planned on his own. Instead, he finds himself grinning and nodding. "I think we could work together. Together, we could make a difference." He holds out his hand to Albus. "To partnership?"

The long fingered hand meet and clasp around his own. "To partnership."

It isn't long before Gellert is aware of the reason behind Albus' dislike of Muggles, and he is surprised to find it comes in the small and frail form of Ariana Dumbledore.

It has been a few weeks since he agreed to let Albus join him. Now that he has the other boy, Gellert has no idea how he thought he could ever do this alone. Albus is a quick thinker and has a natural patience that Gellert lacks. Gellert's impatience says "Let's leave now!" while Albus' says "Without planning, we will go nowhere." There have been some arguments and some tense moments, but overall, Gellert is overjoyed to have Albus. For the first time in his life, he has someone he can legitimately call his friend.

With Albus though, Gellert suspects it is something more. He isn't sure when Albus' attentions seemed to shift, but Gellert knows the boy has feelings for him that aren't friendship. It isn't obvious, certainly not like those silly girls from Durmstrang, but Gellert doesn't miss the lingering stares and the slight red tinge to Albus' cheeks when he catches him staring. The thought doesn't bother him; Gellert knows he's attractive and it would only be naïve to think he could attract only women.

After all, women have never been something Gellert has been interested in.

He neither encourages nor discourages Albus' affections and simply stores them away for a later time. He isn't sure himself how he feels about the other boy and only thinks of the possibility that Albus' attraction could possibly work in his favor. It's a horrible thought, Gellert knows. Then again, he never claimed to be a saint.

They've been up most of the night, making plans for their new regime. The more they talk and plan, the more Gellert becomes excited. As of now, they're discussing the pros and cons of allowing wizard and Muggles to marry. Albus suggests the marriages that are in effect should remain; after all, there's no use in breaking up a family. But after, the mixture of magical and Muggle blood should be banned. It's just past midnight and Albus' eyes are starting to droop. Gellert is gathering his papers and is saying his goodbyes when a small explosion is heard beneath Albus' bedroom and his sister stats screaming.

Albus is out of the bed and headed downstairs before Gellert can ask what is going on. Intrigued, he follows Albus who has reached the bedroom below. A blonde, female version of Albus is shrieking in her bed, her knees drawn to her chest and her hair in a massive ball of frizz. She's visibly shaking and is mumbling to herself.

Albus sits on her bed carefully, and reaches out a hand to her. Ariana shies away from his touch with another shriek, scuttling up into a ball as far away from Albus as she can be.

"Ariana, it's me. It's Albus." His voice is quiet and gentle. "There's nothing to fear. You're home and you're safe. No one is going to harm you."

"Papa - "

"Papa took care of the boys."

Ariana shakes her head. "Papa's mad at me. He thinks I'm telling lies." Tears streak down her face. "Papa says I shouldn't have gone off alone and I – no! NO! Stop! Please, I'll do anything, just stop! No no nononono. . ."

Albus moves toward her and takes her in his arms despite her struggling, smoothing her hair against her head and speaking to her in a calming manner. It takes a while to calm the girl, but eventually she goes limp against Albus' arms, apparently crying herself to exhaustion. Albus sighs as he lays her against the blankets. He picks up his wand and mutters a spell before meeting Gellert at the door. Albus closes the door and leans against it with a sigh.

Gellert breaks the silence. "What happened to her?"

It is a moment before Albus answers. "When she was younger, Ariana was playing just outside of our garden. She was doing magic – magic that little ones do before they can help it – and she caught the eye of three Muggle boys. They were frightened by what they saw, but I think parts of them were curious. They told her to do it again and when she couldn't, they decided to use their own manners to make it come out of her."

Revulsion spreads across Gellert and he has to keep hold of the wall behind him to keep from falling over in shock. It isn't exactly unexpected; Gellert has seen Muggles use force to make people do magic and has seen them use force to keep a witch or wizard away (Gellert's own mother passes through his thoughts at that). But to use that on a child . . . ? He shakes his head. "It wasn't just beatings was it?"

The look on Albus' face answers his question. "Bastards. How old was she?"

"Six." Albus' voice breaks on the word. "My father went after them. He wanted to make sure they paid for what they did. He succeeded in killing two of them, and sent the other one to a hospital. Mother didn't stay long enough to find out if he would survive or not. They sent him to Azkaban for it. I doubt he's even still alive."

"I am so sorry." It is one of the few times Gellert has actually meant what he says. He might be cold at times, but he isn't completely heartless. Albus moves from Ariana's bedroom door and starts upstairs to his room. Gellert follows, speaking. "It makes sense what you said. About the Statutes causing more harm than good."

"I used to want to make them pay." Albus says. "I wanted all of them dead. That went away as I grew . . . but moments like this make it flare."

"I don't want them dead," Gellert says slowly, carefully. "I think they're stupid and further behind in their evolution of species. But they're rather like a dog. They're fun and can be useful. They have traits that make me want to keep them around. But in the end, we're obviously the masters and they have to be taught and trained what to do. They need our guidance, Albus. I think we could guide them."

"They need us." Albus says, the intensity rising in his voice.

"Yes," Gellert mummers in agreement. 'They do."

II

"I am so glad you and Albus are getting along!" Bathilda says one evening over dinner. She's smiling and Gellert can't help but grin back at her. Though she's scatterbrained and can be annoying at times, Gellert has found he enjoys the woman. If anything, she amuses him. Bathilda is a wonderful cook and enjoys talking about history over dinner. He must admit, she has a mind for picking up things no one else could remember. Gellert picked her brain over many items, one of them being the history of the Elder Wand. She'd given him a few facts he hadn't known. He can't wait to get to Albus' house to tell him.

But first, she wanted to feed him.

"I knew you two would get along. You're both such bright and brilliant boys, and poor Albus has always seemed so lonely"

"He isn't lonely now," Gellert says, finishing his dinner. "In fact, once his brother returns to school, we are planning to start traveling."

Bathilda is in the middle of packing a dinner for the Dumbledore family and she pauses. "Traveling? What about his sister? Poor dear is so frail, I don't think she would be up for much."

Irritation flashes over Gellert. They aren't certain what to do with Ariana. If it were up to him, Gellert would have placed her in their local hospital for safekeeping. No matter which way he looks at it, there is nothing good about an eighteen-year-old man watching over a mentally and physically scarred teenager. He suggested it to Albus, only once, and was shot down with a furious, "No." He could not be persuaded otherwise.

It had the potential to be a large argument and one Gellert was not prepared to deal with. In answer to her question, Gellert simply shrugs. "We will work it out. It isn't something that concerns us."

"I'm sure you will think of something." She hands him a package. "Take this to Albus, please."

Albus grumbles as Gellert hands him the food, but brings two plates to his siblings. Aberforth glowers and Ariana nibbles while staring blankly. Gellert doesn't understand how Albus can be so patient with them. Satisfied the kids were taken care of, Albus leads them to his room and digs into his own plate of food. Gellert joins him on the bed. "I've been thinking about some of our issues we've had and I want to run them by you," Albus says.

Gellert listens with rapt attention, watching as Albus comes alive while talking. He still knew Albus had feelings for him and while he wasn't sure of his own, Gellert could see the possibilities that could come out of such a relationship. Albus never needed to leave him and it would be cruel to deny him of the only thing he really wanted . . .

Albus stopped talking and gave Gellert a quizzical look. "You're not listening to me at all, are you?"

"I am," Gellert says, shoving papers away and he continues to smile at Albus. "You were telling me about the plans you have for the rules of our new society." The other boy is starting to look slightly uncomfortable and clears his throat. "I've been thinking a little, about something that pertains to us."

"I thought everything we've talked about has to do with us."

"We speak of our plans," Gellert says. "But, I mean us. Us as people and us as something else."

Albus looks as though he's been caught doing something he shouldn't. "Us?"

"Yes, us." Gellert gives him a smile. "I am not blind, Albus. I know you have feelings for me."

Albus' face suddenly matches his hair. "I think you're –"

"I'm not crazy."

He looks as though he is going to come up with an excuse, and for the first time since meeting Albus, he seems the boy speechless. Instead, Albus sighs. "You know."

"It wasn't hard to figure out. Really, Albus, you're like an open book."

Albus frowns. "Do you . . . does it bother you?"

Gellert makes a noise of impatience. "Please. Men have liked men since humans existed. I'm used to people finding me attractive. You're hardly the first."

Albus lets out a small snort of laughter and fidgets with his own hands. It's weird seeing him so uncertain of his feelings. Taking the initiative, Gellert leans forward and touches Albus' hands. The other boy doesn't jump or pull away, but he tenses and watches Gellert's moves intensely. Gellert doubts very much this is the first time Albus has felt like this, but is positive this is the first time Albus has had to deal with his feelings.

Gellert wants Albus to stay with him. Albus wants Gellert. Logically, Gellert thinks, they'll give each other what they want.

Albus makes a noise as Gellert presses their lips together. It's been a very long time since Gellert has said or done something for the first time, and he finds this exciting. He takes control of the kiss, threading his fingers through Albus' hair and he presses his lips harder. Albus tries to speak, but Gellert takes the advantage to deepen the kiss, pleased as Albus makes a noise of pleasure as his tongue slides against Gellert's.

He can feel Albus swallow and pull away. "Are you okay with this?"

Albus looks skeptical. "You like women."

"I've never said anything of the sort."

"You didn't have to."

Gellert rolls his eyes. "You assumed. You're getting what you want, Albus. Why are you fighting this?"

"I don't want you to take advantage of that," Albus says, his voice wavering slightly. "I like you. Please don't use that for your own intents."

Ignoring the twinging in his stomach (was that guilt? Gellert refuses to believe it is guilt), he takes Albus' hands and entwines them with his own. He doesn't speak and only crawls closer, placing a small kiss on Albus' lips. Gellert lets go of Albus hands to run them down his arms and to his chest, drawing in small patterns as he goes. Albus' breath catches slightly. Making a decision, Gellert grabs the bottom of Albus' shirt and lifts it above his head, leaning down to press a kiss to the nape of his neck.

Albus let's out a shaky gasp. "Are you sure?"

"Positive."

Later, he would think they probably moved too fast. Going from just friends to lovers in one night was a jump neither of them were prepared for. It's the first time Gellert allows himself to let go with another human being and he finds he enjoys it. He enjoys the way he can make Albus' skin sing under his touch. He enjoys the way Albus gasps when he touches something just right. He loves the way Albus returns the favors and all Gellert can see are stars.

The biggest impact, however, is later when they are curled together as the dawn breaks. Albus is falling asleep, his auburn hair messy and sweaty, stuck to his forehead and blowing in his eyes. It isn't a flattering way to be. Yet Gellert can only see him as beautiful.