Note: This is an AU with changed history on certain items.


"One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive." – Friedrich Nietzsche

"Hello."

A quill quickly scratching across a crisp piece of parchment as the only sound in response. He cleared his throat as he repeated the greeting, a bit louder this time.

"Hello."

The witch sitting at the table startled slightly at being addressed, dropping her quill.

"Oh! I'm sorry, were you talking to me?"

He raised an eyebrow slightly at her question and glanced around the area. She followed his gaze, and he could tell when she noted that there was no one else in the area. Her face turned red as she realized that it was obvious that he was talking to her.

"May I sit?" he asked. She gestured to the empty chair next to her and her eyes never left his as he sat down. A few minutes passed in silence as the two just started at each other. When it became obvious that she was waiting for him to say something, he revealed why he had approached her.

"I was wondering if you would be interested in attending the Yule Ball as my date."

He had to work hard to suppress the laugh that threatened to escape when he saw the look on her face.

"I… umm… what?"

This time, he was unable to keep the laughter in, and he chuckled softly.

"I was hoping you would accompany me to the Yule Ball," he repeated.

"But… you don't even know me. Why would you want to go with me?"

A slightly confused look on his face, he tilted his head slightly and studied her. As he did so, he noticed her face turning red from his attention.

"Why would I not want to go with you? It's quite apparent that you are unlike other witches. They are more interested in wizards than in their studies. You, however, are intelligent. I find that very refreshing. Of course, there is the added pleasure of you being quite easy on my eyes. You also remind me of someone I used to know."

He hadn't thought it was possible, but her face got even redder.

"I don't really date people I don't know."

"Well then, I suppose I will just have to endeavor to get to know you then," he told her as he held out his hand to her. She hesitated for a second before placing her hand in his. He smirked slightly as he brought it up to his lips, placing a kiss upon her fingers. "It's lovely to make your acquaintance, Hermione."

"I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage as I don't know who you are."

"The name's Gellert, love."

Her eyes narrowed slightly, suspicion shining in them. It was then that he knew he had chosen well.

"Gellert? That's an… interesting name. Were your parents fans then?"

"It's a popular name. There's a few of us in Durmstrang that share the name."

There wasn't, of course. But he knew she would figure that out soon enough.

"Right. Well, I really have to get back to my studying. It was lovely to meet you… Gellert."

He shot her a smile as he got up from his chair and took his leave, already knowing he would be back tomorrow.

Flashes of light were everywhere, and it made it extremely difficult to see. The weather didn't help much as the thunder roared angrily, and the wind shouted loudly. Albus was just as skilled with a wand as he was, making it so neither one of them were getting much of an edge.

"Just give up, Gellert! You will never beat me," Albus taunted. That made Gellert even more determined, and he put more effort into his offense. He sneered as he landed the first hit and was prepared to cast again when he heard her scream at him to stop. Even though what happened next would haunt his dreams forever, he still did not know whose curse hit her.

Albus would blame him, of course. He hated the fact that Gellert had dared to lay a hand on his sister. It was the entire reason they were fighting in the first place. Seeing her, lying dead on the ground, broke something in him.

It was the first time he died.

He visited her in the library every day. He had already been impressed by her obvious intelligence before he had approached her, but he was even more astounded as he spent more time in her presence. Her face lit up with joy with every conversation they had, and he could tell that she was starved for a decent companion. He absentmindedly wondered just what kind of school Albus was trying to run here.

As they discussed Wizarding myths and legends, he slyly brought up the story about the three brothers, knowing she would research it as soon as she could. If after a week she hadn't figured out just who he was, he would give her another hint.

He found the stone hidden in an old shack deep in the countryside. It had taken everything he had to not turn it three times so he could see Ariana again. It would drive him mad, he knew this. Because of this, he kept it safely hidden, however it was on his person at all times.

The cloak he stole from an unsuspecting wizard he came across in Germany. The idiot man had been bragging about it in a Muggle pub. That piece of gossip wouldn't have reached most wizards, but Gellert had just happened to need a warm place to rest and heard the wizard himself. He considered it fate.

The wand, now that one had been the easiest one to obtain. It just so happened to be a family heirloom. Of course, none of the morons in his family tree had recognized the wand for what it was, but he had known instantly. Once he finally got his hands on the wand, completing the triad, he felt the power rush through him. A huge smile stretched across his lips moments before waves of pain started to rack his body.

That was the second time he died, and yet he rose once more.

It was rare that he was surprised so thoroughly. Yet, when Hermione had come to him not two days after his little hint regarding the three brothers, he found himself surprised for the first time in recent memory. The little witch stood in front of him, demanding answers and the truth, and he couldn't help but smile at her. Of course, that action just angered her. As she raged at him for his audacity, he couldn't help but think that she was even more perfect than he originally thought.

He finally found love again, decades after Ariana had died. She was a sweet witch with very little fire to her, a trait he usually liked but despite its absence he was drawn to her for some reason (he refused to think about the fact that she could have been Ariana's twin). They spent two years together before he came home one day to find her dead on the floor, Albus' mark next to her head.

His heart broke, and he vowed revenge on Albus.

He had plenty of time to come up with a plan, as that was a small gift of immorality. One never ran out of time. Albus had spread rumors about him, how he was a dark wizard but that Albus had taken care of him. He was apparently currently sitting in Numegard, and he wondered about the poor fool that actually was in his cell.

He found the perfect chance when they decided to bring back the Triwizard Tournament. Enrolling himself in Durmstrang as a transfer student, he made his way to Hogwarts. Originally planning on carrying out his designs for Albus alone, he changed his mind when he set his eyes on Hermione. He could see the doubt and distrust in her eyes when she looked at Albus, and he just knew that he would have an ally right there at Hogwarts.

His musings were interrupted when his witch (for she was his now, even if she didn't know it yet) demanded he tell her who he was.

"I told you when we first met, love. My name is Gellert."

"Your last name. Stop playing games. I know who you are. I just don't know how it's possible."

"If you know who I am, why are you asking me?"

He wisely kept the laugh that bubbled up at her expression to himself.

"I need to hear you say it."

"Fine then. My name is Gellert Grindelwald. What is it you want to know?"

She looked at him then, eyes full of fury but yet he spotted interest swirling around.

"Everything."

So, he told her exactly that. As his story progressed, he could see the fury growing in her eyes, however he knew it was not directed towards him this time. But the time he was done speaking, he knew he had her.

Albus would rue the day he made an enemy of Gellert Grindelwald. With his witch by his side (hopefully forever, once he figured out how to use the power of the Deathly Hallows on her as well), Albus stood no chance.


Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition.
Prompt: Player #3's OTP, Hermione/Gellert
Player #4: An epigraph AND an example of personification

Thanks to Jordi for the beta duties.

Go Wanderers.