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Dumbledore sighed heavily, his eyes scanning another page of the obese tome he had open on his desk. It was dark already, who knew how many hours into the night, and he was still working, trying to figure out the best way of going around the blood pact… or possibly destroying it altogether. 

Albus wasn’t really interested in fighting Gellert… It wasn’t that he thought the man’s ideology to be right, quite the opposite. But, even among the madness and mayhem caused by Grindelwald, Dumbledore could still understand him, see his reasoning clearly, even if he didn’t agree with its principles or the methods used to bring it to life. And besides, how was he supposed to fight Gellert if he still loved him, despite all, or because of it? A brilliant wizard, a sharp mind, an unimaginable energy, all consolidated into a breathing human being, decorated with piercing eyes and the softest lips in the whole world. 

Albus groaned, annoyed with himself, then brought the palms of his hands to rub at his eyes. There was a rustle next to him, and he jolted back, startled, gaze immediately following the sound. A bit more rustling, some scraping, and Albus watched, amazed, as a small, spiky creature crawled onto his desk. It was, without a shadow of doubt, a chupacabra scrambling to get on top of his book. Once it reached the yellowed-pages, it sat down, levelling him with an expectant stare. Dumbledore frowned, taking in the beast’s colors, knowing well to whom the slightly-too-dark creature belonged.
“Antonio…” he muttered, surprised, and the chupacabra gave a merry little squeal. It raised two of its six paws and demanded a cuddle, to which Albus responded with a few pets, dragging his fingers along its back, feeling the triple-spine arch into the touch. Antonio remained still for a moment, before he started to wriggle around to direct Albus’ fingers to where he wanted to be scratched, and with a jolt of surprise, the wizard discovered that the creature was definitely limping on two of its right legs. “What on Merlin happened to you, huh?” He asked absentmindedly, still scratching a very delighted Antonio. The chupacabra turned on its back finally, letting Albus run his fingers down his belly quickly, before something else registered in his mind. 

There was magic ruffling the air, a shock of electricity he could recognize with his eyes closed. He frowned, straightening up in his chair, then cleared his throat.
“His paws were broken,” he accused, his gaze still stuck in Antonio, currently sprawling on his back with his tongue hanging out in mindless pleasure.
“This is what you get for falling out of a carriage suspended over the ocean,” a voice behind him said, and Albus could feel his skin prickle.
“Falling?” He asked, turning around finally, settling himself with his side to the chair’s back. Grindelwald shrugged, looking extremely disinterested in the topic.
“I might have thrown him out.”
“Why?” He asked simply, staring at the other wizard.
“He’s become… needy.” To that, Albus scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Godric forbid anyone needed you…” He mumbled quietly, then let out a sigh. 

Gellert watched him from the shadows of the far wall for a while, before he decided to move closer, the soft light of the candles flickering over him. He was dressed in a long coat, a dark blue vest underneath, a bright, teal shirt peeking out at the collar. His hair was short, much shorter than Albus had ever seen, as spiky as his pet chupacabra. He had a moustache, too, quite classical to be completely honest, which gave him a distinct air of gallantry. As he approached, pausing an arm’s length away from Albus, a glimmer of something could be seen in his mismatched eyes, and Dumbledore felt a tug somewhere deep inside him when he realized what it was. 

He’s become needy.  

Was it that Antonio reminded Grindelwald too much about the Muggles, their vices and faults, their craving for the magical even if they didn’t understand it at all and could never hope to begin? Or maybe the creature reminded him of Albus himself, of the desperate way Albus had tried to keep him even when everything had been lost at the time? Antonio was, after all, Dumbledore’s gift for him, mailed to an unknown address via Gellert’s owl, a few weeks before he had been imprisoned in America. 

The sole notion of Grindelwald in chains, kept in a magical prison as his brilliant mind tore itself to shreds, with no way of escaping and no way of letting his magic out was a deeply saddening thought, and Albus looked down, swallowing convulsively to get rid of the sudden lump in his throat. While he didn’t agree with Grindelwald’s way of living, with his ideas and plans, he had never wanted to see the man suffer. Gellert should be supervised and kept out of trouble, but nobody had the right to try and clip his wings so cruelly, to lock him in a dingy cell without any sunlight or fresh air. Such means would only push him further into his mad plans, and that was certainly the wrong way to go about this whole mess. 

“He’s alive and well, as you can see,” Gellert said after a long pause, his voice somehow apologetic. “He crawled out at the banks, found his way back to me, Merlin knows why…”
“You could have healed him,” Dumbledore murmured quietly, and Grindelwald tutted.
“What makes you think I didn’t?”
“He’s limping still… He’s damaged.”
“Ah, but he’s a survivor, my dear Albus. I tried to help him more, but he wouldn’t let me, wriggling away when I lay my hands on him to heal, coming back only for scratches and cuddles,” he replied, his voice turning wistful, and Dumbledore had a nagging thought that they weren’t talking about Antonio anymore. He shivered when Grindelwald’s palm found its way to his shoulder, then looked up sharply, meeting the wizard’s gaze. 

Gellert let his eyes stare into Albus’ for a long time, before he directed them elsewhere, glancing over Albus’ head and onto the book he had been studying. He smiled lazily, his gaze traveling back to Dumbledore.
“I take it you have it?”
“I cannot give it back to you, Gellert,” Albus replied, his jaw tightening. He knew well that Grindelwald referred to the blood peg, currently hanging securely around his neck, hidden under his clothes.
“That is not what I asked, darling.” There was an impatient tilt of his head accompanying the correction, a small scowl settling on his pale face, and Dumbledore sighed, nodding finally in confirmation. Gellert grinned, his smile as brilliant as if he had just been given a perfect Yule gift.

Slowly, he stretched his hand forward, reaching out, until he could place his palm over Dumbledore’s chest, right in the cut between the lapels of the vest. His touch was hot through the thin fabric of the shirt, and Albus sucked in a sharp breath when the necklace jolted, brimming with energy.
“There it is,” Grindelwald cooed softly, splaying his fingers possessively over the material.
“Gellert…” Albus breathed out, and the room around them crackled with magic, a distant thunder rolling somewhere outside. Grindelwald retracted his hand slowly, his eyes once more boring into Dumbledore, but they had lost their sharpness somewhere along the way, a somehow mellow expression crawling over his features. 

“Why are you here?” Albus risked, gazing up at him. Gellert frowned, his gaze travelling to the book splayed open on the desk, in the process of being eaten by a certain chupacabra, if the rustling sounds were anything to go by.
“Nothing written in this tome is going to be helpful, you know?” Grindelwald answered, carrying out a completely different conversation. He had done that a lot when they had been both young fools, and Albus felt his heart squeezing at the memory.
“I am sure I will find something useful in there, provided Antonio doesn’t devour it whole…”
“It is pointless, anyway,” Gellert said with an impatient wave of his hand. Then he took out his wand from one of the pockets and directed it at the chupacabra, levitating him silently away and settling him on an armchair standing in the corner. Dumbledore knew well that it had been a spectacle, a show to make him see that what resided in Gellert’s hand was no ordinary wand, otherwise Gellert would have just snapped his fingers. He was - he still was - the most powerful wizard in the world, and mundane wandless spells were as natural as breathing to him. 

Albus let his gaze stray to the wand in the wizard’s hand - it was slender and brittle-looking, deceptively delicate. The most powerful wand in the world, in the hands of the most dangerous man… So he had found it at last. The world was in peril, indeed, and a grave one at that. Absentmindedly, Albus wondered whether Gellert had managed to collect the remaining Deathly Hallows as well, if the Cloak of Invisibility or the Resurrection Stone resided somewhere in the vast depths of Grindelwald’s coat, tucked safely away, accompanying the Elder Wand. It would have been fitting to go out into the world, catch everyone unawares and destroy them one by one. If Gellert had ever dreamed of being the Master of Death, now was his chance.

Dumbledore frowned when the wand disappeared again, hidden in the pocket by a skillful hand once more.
“You want to destroy it,” Grindelwald said casually, clearly meaning the blood peg. Albus exhaled slowly, nodding, then hung his head in defeat. It was as much an observation as it was an inquiry, but there was no accusation in Gellert’s voice. Quite the opposite, when he reached out with his hand again, Gellert's fingers didn’t lash out with sparkling magic, but tucked carefully under Dumbledore’s bearded chin, lifting his head up again. 

“You really need some better literature to do that, darling.” He looked… amused almost, a dark sort of merriment tinging his smirk, and Albus swallowed reflexively. His own wand was somewhere on the desk behind him, probably dripping with chupacabra saliva and a complete mess. He would grab it if he needed to defend himself, of course, but the sudden heat growing in Gellert’s eyes didn’t scream danger, not more than usual, not more than he had remembered from their youth.  

“Aren’t you going to stop me?” Albus asked, curious and a bit nervous. He knew that, blood pact or no, he couldn’t fight Grindelwald if he tried. Not yet, not now. Not while the things between them were still fresh, almost thirty years after their sweet summer. Gellert tsked, shaking his head minutely, impatient.
“Why would I?” He asked back, his voice thoughtful. “We have broken what was between us to go after our own goals… If I am pursuing mine, why would I want to stop you from pursuing yours?”
“You know it will lead us into a fight… You know that the Ministries want us to kill each other…” Dumbledore replied, despair twisting his insides like a physical fist. It hadn’t registered fully before, not until the words swirling around in his mind had finally been given voice. They would have to fight, and one of them would have to lose.  

“They want you to kill me,” Gellert corrected, teeth glinting when he grinned. Dumbledore failed to see what was so amusing that it merited a smile, even an edgy one, so he ground his own teeth together, closing his eyes briefly against his own emotions. 

“Albus, Albus…” Grindelwald continued, both of his hands coming up, cupping Dumbledore’s jaw tenderly, clever fingertips stroking delicately just below his ears, relaxing tense muscles. “I fear you haven’t learned the most important lesson yet, darling. If you want something, you have to reach out and grab it, before it’s snatched away from you.”
“You’re a sybarite.”
“And you, my puritan love, need to stop fighting your nature.” There was another glinting smile accompanying the statement, as sharp as the previous one had been, a surge of magic echoing through the room, calling to Albus as surely as lighthouses called to half-drowned castaways. 

He rose abruptly, an action that didn’t seem to phase Gellert in the slightest, as the wizard stood where he had a moment before. The proximity brought them nose to nose, and Albus stared into those unearthly eyes, as familiar as they were unnerving, inquisitive enough to see right through him. He wondered what Grindelwald saw, if he could tell just how badly Dumbledore’s body yearned for him, how his very soul appeared to come to life when they were together… 

Gellert tilted his head to the side, a challenge if Albus had ever seen one, and waited patiently for the next move, and suddenly, Dumbledore was fed up with it. He had enough of waiting and enough of wanting. His own hands traveled up, curling over the sides of Gellert’s face, pulling him in for a kiss. 

It was chaste to begin with, a quick meeting of lips which was like a fresh sip of clear water after months spent on a desert. Not much had changed since their adolescent years - they were both more mature, true, filled out, slightly tired, yes… But Gellert’s lips were still as soft as they had once been, his tongue as agile as before when he let it into play, and the only notable difference was the shiver that ran through Albus when he coaxed a tiny, surprised noise out of Grindelwald. Why did the man sound so shocked, he had no clue, but he pressed on, licking into that clever mouth, his fingers migrating to Gellert’s spiky hair and messing it up in progress. The texture under his palms was silky-smooth, carefully arranged through magic or Muggle means, he didn’t know, not did he care - he grabbed two fistfuls of it and tugged, tilting Gellert’s head back for a better angle. 

He must have stepped forward, waltzing Grindelwald backwards, because they had somehow arrived at the adjacent bedroom, at his bed, and Albus didn’t need a lot of pondering to push the man down and climb after him, never breaking the kiss. Settling between Gellert’s legs, he let his hands stray over his chest, relearning the shape of the only wizard that had ever possessed his heart. Grindelwald hummed, straining up into the touch with an expression full of abandon, and when Dumbledore started to unbutton the many layers covering the man, Gellert grinned rakishly and muttered something quietly. Albus’ fingers fell on naked skin suddenly, the unexpected contact making him gasp as he realized that it was not only Grindelwald’s clothes that had disappeared, but his own, too. He glanced to the side, noticing a neat pile of material bunched up at the foot of Antonio’s new perch, before Gellert’s hands traveled over his face, bringing his attention back to the man under him. The pendant still hanging on his neck throbbed.

Skillful fingers flowed down, along his shoulders and lower, skimming over surprisingly sensitive arms, until they arrived at Albus’ hands, and Dumbledore paused his own exploring when Gellert’s warm palms wrapped around his wrists. The wizard looked down then, taking in the faint bruises still visible on his skin, a souvenir from the magic-tracking shackles the Ministry had graced him with. They had been inconvenient enough that Albus had tried to work his way around them, instead of leaving them be, which resulted in him gaining a few nasty and slow-healing bruises. Nothing threatening, nothing that wouldn’t disappear in a few weeks’ time, but they still stood out starkly against his pale skin and were hard to heal with their magical origin. 

They were also a gigantic neon sign for Gellert, apparently, for he paused, frowning, taking them in.
“Admonitors,” Dumbledore explained, somewhat sheepishly, and Grindelwald frowned harder, his eyes glimmering with that eternal light he had always seemed to possess.
“Why?” He asked; a simple question about a complicated matter. Dumbledore chose not to answer, shaking his head instead. How could he explain that, even if the idea of him aiding Grindelwald was preposterous, he still loved the man more than life itself? The Ministry was not stupid, they knew well what had been between them and, while he would never help Gellert achieve his goal of world domination, if the man had been in any serious danger, Albus would probably still come to the rescue. 

There was a certain measure of comfort in the knowledge that Grindelwald would never ask this of him. 

“Oh Albus…” Gellert murmured, bringing one of the wrists up to his lips and kissing it gently, then repeating the action with the other. A tingling sensation worked its way through Dumbledore’s arms, and with a gasp he realized that his bruises were vanishing slowly, the tenderness disappearing along with the discoloration. And then, Grindelwald leaned up, his lips demanding, and Albus let himself be kissed deeply, pressing down on the man, desire trickling down his spine like molten lava. He had always had a very soft spot for Gellert’s magical abilities, for the effortless way he performed even the most complicated spells, so it was no surprise when he found his body heating up, hands tearing out of Grindelwald’s grasp to roam freely over naked skin. 

Hot. Gellert’s flesh was so hot Albus was sure he would burn his palms if he held him too long. He tightened his grip.

There was an undercurrent of magic present, a tickling sensation spreading between them, little shivery points of contact. He broke the kiss with a gasp, hiding his face in Grindelwald’s neck instead, mouthing at the straining tendons he found there. Gellert growled when he nibbled and scraped his teeth over the muscles, then gave a trembling moan when Albus licked the hurt away. Softly, Dumbledore whispered spells against the hollow of his throat, quiet lips muttering ancient words, twisted until they fit his purpose, and Grindelwald’s eyes widened when wetness spread between his legs, cool and electric. 

Dumbledore pulled away, only slightly, just to level him with a stare that would be enough to set kindling on fire. Going by the way Gellert’s eyes burned, Albus would be successful even without any timber at hand. He murmured another incantation, something he had mastered a long time ago, and Grindelwald’s head tipped back, eyes closing, a hiss leaving his parted lips. Invisible fingers, usually reserved to fill Albus’ magical leather gloves, sneaked between them and slipped inside Gellert’s body. They worked him open one finger at a time, slowly pushing deeper, and when Grindelwald’s hands twitched against Albus’ skin, he grabbed them and brought them up, pinning the wrists right next to Geller’s head. He stared right into Gellert’s eyes, his gaze boring into those mismatched depths, and Grindelwald strained against him, fingers flexing where they were trapped between the pillows. 

“Albus…” His voice was a plea, his hips pressing up, rubbing his obvious arousal against Dumbledore’s abdomen. Albus answered with a shove of his own, causing sparks to fly off Gellert’s fingers. A wardrobe rattled somewhere behind them as Grindelwald shivered. The blood peg tugged like a wild animal on a leash, before it turned quiet. Heavy silence fell around them, broken only by helpless gasps, little, tiny half-moans when Gellert couldn’t stop them from escaping, even when he started to bite his lip furiously. Albus knew well that, back in the day, almost thirty years before, he had been the only one the great wizard had let himself be vulnerable with. Seeing how the things were now, knowing just how many enemies Grindelwald had, Albus didn’t think much had changed. If anything, he must have tried to build an even thicker wall around himself, a carefully constructed fort, just like the one in the physical world. 

Oh yes, Dumbledore had heard about Nurmengard, about the fortress the dark wizard had raised for his own menacing purposes. Said dark wizard was currently stretched under him, averting his gaze, biting his lip so hard it would start bleeding soon, hands clenching and fisting empty air. This fight for control Albus knew all too well, and while a few years before he would have been trying just as hard, he had changed… He had accepted his place in the world and he had accepted his choices. He had accepted Grindelwald’s decisions, too. 

And he still loved this man. Merlin, how he loved him…

The question was, did Grindelwald love him? Was there the same fiery feeling lighting his nerves that had been there before? Was there the same heat feeding his magic as when they had both been little else but dumb, ambitious teens?
“Gellert,” he whispered, pausing the charm that had those skilled, invisible fingers opening Grindelwald up, before he disposed of it altogether. The wizard melted back into the bed, a small, almost disappointed whine leaving him, but he kept his eyes closed. “Gellert.”
“Don’t,” Grindelwald whispered, jerking his head to the side in an aborted headshake, then seemed to think better of his strategy. Very slowly, very enticingly, he rocked his body upwards, rubbing himself against Dumbledore invitingly. 

Albus wouldn’t have any of it. He released Gellert’s wrists just to get a hold of his head, cradling it in his palms and trying to make the man look at him. Nothing. Grindelwald’s eyes remained tightly shut, even when his newly-freed hands traveled around Dumbledore’s back, wrapping around him like two giant snakes, keeping him in place. He bucked his hips again, silently asking for him to continue, and Albus considered it carefully. 

He could insist on waiting, drive Gellert mad with half-delivered pleasure and squeeze whatever he wanted out… But it would only serve to deepen the divide between them, and Dumbledore was tired of looking into that chasm. He wanted to bridge it, not widen it. He had missed Gellert, had missed his beautiful, terrifying mind and his spectacular, dangerous magic. He wanted to feel it, to let it mingle with his own again, to have Gellert’s brilliant blue fire mixing with his own red flames, to see them become purple and wander all over them, making them one again. 

The pendant hanging around his neck warmed and trembled, then settled once more.

With a sigh, Albus lowered his forehead to Gellert’s, pressing them together tenderly, his eyes still staring forward, trying to catch his gaze. Grindelwald frowned without looking at him, then closed his mouth and tensed his jaw. His teeth were grinding so hard Albus could almost hear them, and he let his fingers massage the muscles close to his ears gently, a little bit of his own magic spilling from his fingertips and sinking into Gellert’s flesh, raw and undirected. Grindelwald gave a soft moan, relaxing again, before he wrapped both of his legs around Dumbledore’s waist, shifting until they were so perfectly aligned that Albus didn’t need to do more than thrust, and he would be buried inside this impossible man. The sole thought electrified him, a shiver of pleasure running down his spine, and he pushed forward, slipping inside the tight heat of Gellert’s body.

Grindelwald whimpered, arms and legs tightening around Albus, his breath turning into a series of shallow pants. He looked fragile… but Dumbledore knew well that there were different kinds of fragility out there in the world. Some people were like butterfly wings, easily turned to dust between careless fingers. Some were like delicate flowers, painfully soft and gone with a sturdier breeze. Some, finally, were like old books, crumbling to pieces if handled ungently. Gellert… Gellert was fragile like a piece of broken glass, easy to crack if one tried, all the more deadly because of it. Whoever tried to shatter him was met with sharp edges, cutting and cruel, and Albus was well aware that his own hands would be bleeding one day. He still couldn’t bring himself to stop his fingers from reaching out and grasping the dark wizard. 

“Look at me,” Dumbledore whispered when he paused his thrust, when there was no more space to close between them. Gellert was deathly still, his throat working as he swallowed convulsively, but he didn’t say don’t this time. “Please, love, look at me…” Albus pleaded quietly, tilting his head and brushing his nose against Grindelwald’s, nuzzling him slowly in what would have brought a mad giggle out of the man thirty years before. Gellert squirmed, shivering, his body tightening around Albus’ cock, his own manhood leaking between them. He gave a whimper, then slowly, oh so slowly, his eyes fluttered open, blinking blearily at the man above him, out of focus for his close proximity. Albus smiled. 

Legilimens. 

Gellert’s gasp, while abrupt, wasn’t at all surprised, and as it followed Dumbledore into his mind, the wizard realized that it wasn’t shock - it was a welcome. Grindelwald didn’t even put up a token protest, all his shields lowered, all wards blown to dust, his usually impressive occlumency skills held at bay. The complete surrender prompted him to move, and as his mind connected with Gellert’s, Albus let his body do the same, withdrawing and pushing back in, tearing a drawn-out moan out of his lips, drinking it in with his own. 

Grindelwald’s mind took him in, carefully blank at first, almost a barren land, and Dumbledore had a moment of sheer panic for not seeing anything he could recognize, nothing he could grasp and hold onto. But then, tiny scraps appeared, fragmented memories of their time together, of the sweet two summer months they had been granted, before their lives turned to hell. He stared at one particular memory, surrounded by blue flames, his own laughing face looking back at him, his then long hair tumbling over the green grass. The picture changed, switching so quickly it left Albus dizzy, this time showing him the both of them, swimming in the little lake behind the tiny forest near Bathilda’s house. 

Outside of their minds, their bodies started to run on instinct, grinding together, moving lazily, fingers grasping in desperate, uncoordinated attempts to pull each other closer, impossibly tighter. Gellert’s breathing hitched, and suddenly, the images in his mind changed, the memories shifting and flowing, until the landscape around turned dark and tinged with red, until the smiling faces morphed into visages of Grindelwald’s adversaries, muggles and wizards alike. The red hue dripped down, a blood-river that flowed to Albus’ feet and, startled, he took a step back. Suddenly, Gellert was there, his blue magic sparkling around them, shuffling the pictures again with a few slow blinks of his own. As Dumbledore watched, transfixed, their surroundings changed, rippling until they revealed a small cell with no windows, pitch-dark except for a pair of mismatched eyes, almost glowing in the shadows. 

A jail. 

There was destruction in the air, but not the physical kind. The feelings Gellert was showing him, the sheer misery and fear, and pain, so much pain, not only physical but emotional - it made Albus’ head spin. He reached out with his magic, meeting Grindelwald’s own, wrapping around him like a blanket. 

What did they do to you?  

For a moment, everything went deathly still, silent and cold and so dreadful, Dumbledore couldn’t stop himself from shivering. 

Magicless.  

In bed, his whole body paused, wrapping around Gellert’s warmth, half to protect it from the world, half to keep himself in its vicinity, to stay connected to it. He didn’t understand, he couldn’t understand how Grindelwald’s brilliant core could become so lonely, so lifeless, and then, Gellert’s own mind showed him the memories he had seen just a few moments before, the blue flame framing them flickering out, the images ripping themselves into shreds. Unfriendly faces took their place, MACUSA’s lackeys and torturers, unkind and unfeeling, doing their job with too much glee and far too little principles. He saw the spells that had been cast, their bright light turning Gellert’s magic inside-out, tearing through him like a tornado. He had opposed, he had blocked whatever he could. When threats of mutilation, of cutting out his tongue filled the imaginary room, Dumbledore took a step back. 

He turned, retreating into his own mind briefly, before he reached out tentatively, invitingly, asking Grindelwald to follow, summoning him. Gellert came in, slowly, like a beaten dog, untrusting and weary. The moment Albus’ magic wrapped around him, he relaxed with a physical groan that rattled with an echo against the furniture in the room. A sweet sensation filled him, a certainty he hadn’t felt in thirty years slipping into his heart once more, and with a startled cry, he realized that this was what had made Gellert so hesitant before. His attempts at avoiding Albus, all the stubbornness, all the acting, when in truth - in truth, he still loved Albus. He loved him and he was afraid. The blood peg hummed, as if with inaudible music.

“Gellert,” he muttered, closing his eyes, cutting the connection. Grindelwald whimpered, a broken and an ugly sound, and Dumbledore could feel the sparks flying off his fingertips, undoubtedly blue and flickering, tickling down his back where they disappeared into nothingness. Gellert fought them, an admirable fight for control that was as arousing as it was unnecessary. Obscurials are formed like this, Dumbledore thought despairingly, then kissed the man, and didn’t stop kissing him, until Grindelwald’s magic trickled along his spine, warm flames grazing his skin. The room they were in had been his own for a long time now, all wards were in place, usually containing magical experiments inside. Albus prayed they would hold. 

“I love you,” he murmured softly when he broke the kiss, his eyes blinking open, searching for Gellert’s gaze. The man was watching him, searching, before his lips moved soundlessly.
“Truly?”
“Of course!” He groaned, licking his way into Gellert’s mouth, his whole body moving once again. The wardrobe rattled some more, magic vibrating in the air like a silent thunder. “I couldn’t stop-” he gasped out between kisses, hips rocking forward, making Gellert arch into him. “If I tried- And Merlin, Gellert- How I tried!” He bit down on the tongue sneaking between his lips, then soothed the hurt with his own. “And I couldn’t!” He growled, both hands traveling to Grindelwald’s hair, so short but not short enough to stop him from grasping two fistfuls of it. He tugged, shaking the man a little. “Let go... I love you, you dumb bastard. Let go.” 

Slowly, so slowly, the sparks evened out, turning into half-transparent flames. They held like that for a few long moments, Gellert’s eyes boring into Albus’, before the fire roared to life with a desperate whine dragged right from Grindelwald’s gut. The flames flashed out, twirling around the room like a tornado, falling down and encompassing them both. Gellert’s magic didn’t burn, though - it was warm, yes, heating Dumbledore’s skin, sneaking over and through his flesh with a tingling sensation that made pleasure trickle down to his very toes, only to crawl back and pool low in his abdomen. His own power seeped out, red tendrils growing between them, wrapping around them and mingling with the brilliant blue of Gellert’s. The wood of the furniture creaked, the pendant shivered, and none of them paid those any mind. Their magic was whole again, connected once more in that unearthly dimension, and they weren’t broken finally, not anymore.

Their bodies kept on moving, an old rhythm to a dance they had once been so fluent at, and when Albus pushed one hand between them, grasping and stroking, Grindelwald threw his head back with a soundless scream. His body seized, fingers clawing at Albus’ back, leaving red marks that their combined magic tried to heal immediately, and Albus gave a whimper of his own when he felt Gellert’s body tightening around him. Purple light engulfed them and, suddenly, it was all over - the both of them a panting, sweaty mess, collapsing in a heap on the bed, the furniture around them landing on the floor with a dull thud. There was a very indignant chupacabra squeak in the other room, followed by some offended chirping.

The sound of it surprised a giggle out of Dumbledore, and he shook silently, still trying to catch his breath, before he peeled himself away, looking up and searching for Gellert’s gaze. The dark wizard was staring at him, eyes half-open, and as he brought one of his palms to cradle Albus’ cheek delicately, there were still small traces of magic at his fingertips, glowing like his own little corposants, until those, too, disappeared. The energy settled around them, peaceful once more, and Dumbledore sighed, pulling away, pulling out, to Gellert’s disappointed tiny growl, then settled himself on the man’s side. A murmur, a quick cleaning charm, careless enough to catch not only their bodies but also the better part of the sheet underneath, and two arms were wrapping themselves around his chest, tightening as if afraid he would disapparate. Albus hummed, leaned in to kiss a pale shoulder. It was adorned with a tattoo, some ancient runes he didn’t dare ask about, not yet. The picture trembled under his lips, and he soothed it with his tongue, drawing a gasp out of Gellert. 

They lay silently, minutes dragging between them, seeping through rumpled hair and starved fingers, until Grindelwald exhaled long and hard.
“I don’t want to fight you,” he said, his voice barely a whisper. “I will, but I don’t like it.”
“Then stop.” Albus countered, and the arms around him tightened.
“I can’t. You know I can’t…”
“Gel-”
“No.” There was a shake of a head, that ridiculous, white hair rustling against a pillow. “The things… What the Muggles will do…” 

Suddenly, Albus was reminded of Gellert’s talent for seeing into the future. He must have had visions, he must have seen something that stopped him from returning to Albus, something that pushed him forward into his mad plans, even if it pulled him away from what he really wanted. Dumbledore gritted his teeth.
“Then we will have to fight.”
“We will.” Gellert agreed quietly.
“I can’t fight you.”
“You will. By then, you will have enough reasons to do so.” 

He sounded so sure, Dumbledore had a feeling that he had seen this, too, in one of his visions. He let his own arms travel around Grindelwald’s waist, then buried his face in the man’s neck.
“Don’t make me hate you…” He whispered, almost desperately. To his surprise, Gellert’s whole body shook with barely contained laughter. He lifted his head and glared at the man.
“My dear,” Grindelwald said, grinning, “you are the most stubborn mule I’ve ever met.” At this, Albus scoffed.
“If you are just going to insult-”
“That is not what I meant,” he placated quickly, stealing a kiss. “If you hadn’t been able to make yourself hate me, I do not think there is anything I could do to achieve that.” 

Their lips met again, briefly, before Albus melted back into his favorite spot, his head cushioned on Gellert’s shoulder, one of those pale, powerful hands running idly down his spine.
“Do not worry about it, love.” Grindelwald ventured softly. “It’s still a long way in the future… Destroy the pact, if you can. And if we fight, we fight.” There was an air of finality to his statement, and Albus knew that he would get no more out of him on this night. Something else occurred to him, though, and his curiosity was too great to be left alone.
“Have you ever tried it?”
“Tried what?”
“Destroy the pact?” 

There was a long silence - it stretched on to the point where Albus started to wonder whether the wizard had fallen asleep in the meantime. When the answer came, it was almost too quiet to be heard.
“I’ve never had the desire to hurt you… not more than I already did.” The quality of his voice, the sudden remorse in it reminded Albus of their last conversation before everything had gone south thirty years ago.
“Gellert… Ariana…”
“I did not kill her, Albus.” He interrupted, and Dumbledore nodded slowly.
“I know.” 

There was a shocked twitch that tore its way through Grindelwald’s body, and he looked down at Dumbledore in surprise.
“How…?”
“Pensieve.” He shrugged, then buried his face into Gellert’s neck. “I looked until I found the answer.” He mumbled into his skin. The arms tightened around him almost to the point of hurting.
“I’m sorry.”
“I killed her, Gellert. I hurt myself…”
“And I never should have left you there. Not like this.”
“Let’s not wait another thirty years this time…” Dumbledore muttered with a sigh and closed his eyes. They fell silent again, slowly drifting off. 

Sometime in the middle of the night, Albus must have rolled over, because he woke up to Grindelwald spooning behind him tightly, muttering something in Latin against his neck. He smiled into the darkness, before he wondered what had roused him in the first place. His question was answered almost immediately, and in the form of something scratching the bedpost above his head. He glanced up, surprised, only to find Antonio looking down at him expectantly, one paw extended and grabbing at nothing.
“I’m going to kill him permanently,” Gellert huffed, the warm puff of air tickling the back of Albus’ neck, and he grinned.
“No, you won’t.”
“Morgana save me…” Gellert went on, sounding extremely disgruntled for someone half-asleep. “Next thing I know, that hell chicken of yours is going to demand a space between us, too... Where is he anyway?”
“Fawkes?” Albus frowned. “I sent him after a student… A stupid creature if I’ve ever seen one.”
“Good thing he has a phoenix following him, then.” Gellert yawned, settling more comfortably against his back. “You and your schemes… You need to tell me about it in the morning...” 

With a stupid smile, Albus let himself drift off. Grindelwald would undoubtedly vanish sometime after breakfast tomorrow, but for now, he was there, and it was all that mattered.