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Gold

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1949

50 years of marriage is the Gold anniversary.

Albus entered the gates of the prison, his words taunting him as he turned his back on the phrase he coined later to become the motto of Gellert’s reign of terror. For The Greater Good.  In the last few years after the battle he had begun to feel his 68 years, his hair more gray than auburn, his eyes tired and worn from lack of sleep.  He wore a simple dark blue velvet robe, adorned with silver stars and moons along the trim.  Albus approached the guards at the door, staring up at the immense castle structure.

“Wand, sir.” The guard barked, snapping Albus out of his trance.

“Frederick, that's Albus Dumbledore, you Schweinhund.  You don't need to check his wand!” The other guard chided the novice.

The younger guard stared in shock at Albus. “I'm so sorry sir!  Just that no one ever visits and-"

Albus waved his hand, smiling. “It's fine, I understand.”

“Would you like to check the wards?” Frederick led him inside. He could hear the screams from Gellert's fellow imprisoned followers.

“No, I know they'll hold him,” Albus swallowed thickly as they climbed to the top of the tower, the prison was ominous and dark.  He could hear the scurrying of rats chittering in the darkness, a steady drip of water from the leaking roof provided the smell of mildew and mold.

“Are you here to… see him?”

Albus bristled as they approached the cell on the top most tower. He walked through the wards, feeling his own magic in place.  He could sense Gellert's magic, prying and poking at his own.  Just like Gellert to get under his skin at any chance he got.

“If you need anything-"

“Thank you, Frederick.  I’ll be fine.” Albus waved off the guard who eyed him curiously.

Albus approached the cell as the guard walked back down the cobblestone steps.  He took a deep breath before stepping forward, the cell was surrounded by archaic magic and runes, a heavy metal door separating him from Gellert.  He waved his wand, the locking mechanism on the door resounding with several loud clicks. 

Slowly the door opened. Gellert sat on the floor against the wall, the only light a small window that allowed a small sliver of piercing snow blindness in the cell.  Gellert flinched as the light from the open door spilled into the cell, his right eye was black and blue a sharp cut above his eyebrow.  Blood stained his plain gray robes, his feet bare, cracked, and bloody.  Gellert's hair was now gray only a few streak of gold remained, the once wavy curls now matted and tangled together. 

“Albus?” Gellert croaked, it had been 4 years since he'd spoken, his mouth was dry.

“Aguamenti,” Albus filled the cup in the corner by the broken man with water.  “Gellert, what happened?” He fell to his knees taking in the sight of his beaten and broken lover.

Gellert took a small sip from the cup, his hands shaking struggling to hold it properly. Most of his fingers were gnarled and broken, specifically his wand hand. “What did you expect Albus?  You locked me in prison.  Death would have been a merciful fate.” He glared at Albus, his eyes cold and devoid of life.  The usual sparkle of his youth long gone, if it wasn't the prison that broke him it was his lover's betrayal.

“Gellert, I couldn't…” Albus held Gellert's shaking hands in his own. “You know that.”

“I do,” Gellert sneered. “Because you're too weak.”

“Must you be so cruel, even now?” Albus's blue eyes were brimming with tears, he couldn't bear to see Gellert suffering.

“I'm suffering a fate worse than death listening to the screams of my followers.  Three of them are executed every day,” Gellert snapped, pulling his hands away from Albus. “How's the wand? Is it fighting you?”

“The elder wand is fine,” Albus snarled. “Is that all you care about?  Do you know why I'm here?”

“To gloat about your teaching shenanigans in that silly school you love so much? Or did you come to take pity on me?”

“You're not stupid, Gellert.”

“And neither are you, Albus. Yet here you are, seeing what you didn't want to see, because why?  To cry over your imprisoned husband? To mourn over the loss of my freedom and youthful looks?” Gellert spat, it was then Albus noticed he was missing several teeth. “Move on Albus, you can live a full happy, healthy life.”

Albus brought his hand up to Gellert's cheek, cupping his bruised jaw. “What have they done to you?” His voice full of fury.

Gellert laughed, sending a chill down Albus's spine. “What HAVEN'T they done?  They've stepped and crushed my hands, they beat me until I'm swallowing my own teeth and blood, they throw me around like a rag doll, they try to get me to beg them to stop when they're torturing me with the Cruciatus curse.  Water under the bridge though.” Gellert spat bitterly.

“Why didn't you write to me, I could've-"

“No, this is my punishment,” Gellert shook his head. “I deserve it.”

“Do you feel guilty then about-"

“Her? Always.  The rest?  No,” Gellert smiled crookedly.

“Such a stubborn fool,” Albus scowled.

“I learned from the best, my love.”

Albus shook his head in shame, he knew he shouldn't have come.  Least of all on this day. “Happy Anniversary, Gellert.” He muttered under his breath.

“50 years, seems like only yesterday.”

The scar on Albus's hand stung, remembering their blood pact. “I have a small gift for you.” He pulled a small golden feather from his robes, Gellert quirked his head curiously.

“I see you got my gift. “ Gellert quirked a brow. “That chicken is a traitor.”

“Fawkes is loyal to no one Gellert, he is a wild phoenix. Even I can't predict when he's going to leave.” Albus shrugged holding the feather out to Gellert.

“What a cruel joke to give me such a strong wand core with no wood,” Gellert sneered snatching the feather, it shimmered and sparkled in the light he could feel the slight hum of magic. “Oh?  What's this?”

“If somebody were in need of assistance all one would have to do is tap the feather three times.”

“Very naughty, Albus. Tsk tsk,” Gellert smirked. “Sneaking in contraband to a dark wizard, whenever did you learn to be so conniving?”

“Only from the best, old friend.” Albus gave him a pointed look.

“Not exactly how you were planning your conjugal visit, hmm?  Being ribbed by your arsehole of a husband?”

“Gellert, must you be so-"

“Honest?”

“Hurtful.”

“The two go hand in hand. Truth hurts,” Gellert coughed into the crook of his arm, wincing and crying out in pain as it wracked through his lungs, he held his chest protectively.

“Gellert, please let me help,” Albus pulled out his wand.

“Just a few broken ribs, I'm fine.”

“Gellert, enough!” Albus scowled. “Let me see, damn you.”

“If it makes you feel better.” Gellert gingerly lifted the itchy gray robe, his pants hung loosely off his bony hips, His black and blue ribs showed prominently through his pale sallow skin, Albus winced at how skinny Gellert was. “They feed me whenever they feel like it.” Albus ‘s fingers gently traced his rib cage, he winced. “Careful.”

“Hush.” Albus knelt down on the floor, he gently traced the elder wand along the bruised rib cage. Gellert gasped in pain as he could hear the bones snap in place.

“Agh, fuck!” Gellert grasped onto Albus tightly, his breathing shallow.

“You're lucky your lung is not punctured, it'll do for now until I can send a bottle of Skelegro, I will make sure you get it.” Albus muttered darkly, putting away the wand.  “Let me know if you don't get it. I'll also send a bottle of dittany for your eye.  This will be the last time they do this, I swear.”

“I deserve it Albus,” Gellert slowly pulled down his robe, careful of his sore ribs.

“No you don't,” Albus replied bitterly.

“Kill me then.”

“Gellert, stop. Why do you always have to fight me on everything? I'm trying to make things right, I’m trying to keep whatever semblance of a marriage we have together regardless of circumstances.  I still love you, as much as I hate you.” Tears streamed down Albus's face. “I can't stop loving you.  I've tried.”

Gellert reached over, wiping away Albus's tear streaked face with his shaky hand. “I know.” He pressed their foreheads together. “I know, my love.  I'm sorry.  I’ll play nice for now.” He leaned forward, their lips meeting for the first time in four years.

Albus let out a sob, tears still flowing down his face.  His sparkling blue eyes now swimming with tears as he slowly pulled away from Gellert.  “To 50 more years, then?” His voice was small and broken as he carefully wrapped his arms around his lover protectively.

“To death,” Gellert whispered leaning against Albus's embrace. “Always.”