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11 May 2008 @ 07:51 pm
What IS this day?  

Earlier today, I got so infuriated and desperate that I felt like screaming. Instead of which I wrote (of course). Okay, it was more like polishing the one-shot I'd all but completed some time ago and didn't get around to editing for real. I spent more or less all day doing this. One short story did definitely not eat my day, but being idle and wandering randomly about, not even taking in much of anything, with the fic window minimized in my browser did. Also, I should study, but apparently I can't be bothered, so I'm just sitting here with an almost-headache, feeling spectacularly good for nothing. And I haven't even ordered the books yet since I am far too aware of my being able to only afford two or three right now, so I just can't choose. Brilliant. Fail of epic proportions. It makes me alarmed about the amount of time that goes wasted.

OSCAR DISAPPROVES VERY MUCH. (Do read the summary!)

How all strong feelings just dissipate if you give them enough time... It's rather sad, really. Being pissed off was still better than this jaded procrastination I fell into afterwards. I hate when this happens, and yet I can't actually prevent it. Fail, fail, fail.

Anyway, on to the story before I bore you to death with angsty whining.

Title: Changed Forever
Pairing: Albus/Gellert, implied secondary Albus/Elphias if you want to read it that way
Rating: SFW
Word Count: ~620
Summary: After Gellert's departure, Albus has nothing left to do but wait for Elphias to return for his sister's funeral. Or so it would seem.
Notes: I have no expectations of this fic; it's basically an epitaph for those two months of insanity. That may be a good thing since all the stories I'm ambitious about end up in some obscure corner of fandom, or at least don't receive much feedback in the communities where I post them. So, let's see how you like this one. Comments, criticism, anything is welcome. You can even yell at me this time if you feel like it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing and make no money; everything belongs to JKR.

Changed Forever

He wakes up every morning and every morning he finds something missing.

The warm body beside his own is not there. True, Gellert had not stayed every night, certainly not at the start – but when he did, the feel of drifting into familiarity before Albus’s eyes opened was glorious. Now, the lips he would have kissed are sadly nonexistent. He tries to go back to sleep. The first few minutes of consciousness are always the most painful.

But still he rises, out of responsibility or defiance or even the sheer force of habit, and wanders about the house. Aberforth glares at him, but beneath that is anguish too, and Albus finds it hard to argue with anything while exposed to that gaze. The cottage seems as though its two remaining occupants were just a hassle, what with the ones who mattered gone without return. Empty, accusing, ominous. Please, Gellert, don’t leave me here.

In the beginning of the summer, Albus had thought things could never get worse than they already were for someone condemned to languish along with his ill sister. In the middle, he was positive that he had never been happier. But now, the end is the end. Running into Aberforth around the house (which is infrequent as he has apparently determined to only come in contact with Albus at breakfast and dinner), he wishes he could take Ariana in his arms and tell her that nothing was wrong, that one day she would be running in the sunshine, she would be happy, she would be proud . . .

He wants to hold Gellert, too, in a different way. He doesn’t know which of these yearnings is more impossible. Both are even more impossible than forgetting.

The solitude fades into night more and more quickly every evening. It has only been a few days, but it seems to Albus that Elphias is taking forever to arrive for the funeral. Instead of sleeping he reads through all those letters he had received over the two months – The ones you couldn’t care less about when he was here? Albus sighs, eyelids drooping as he pushes on through the tedious lines. “Dear Albus, I am doing well. Egypt is wonderful. All those monuments breathe of the past and ancient magic. The heat would kill you, the Muggle excavations are quite impressive, et caetera.” He would have liked to see it once, Egypt. When those pyramids were new, possibly. Once upon a time, he knew even how to listen to his friend without feeling the unwelcome sting of condescension.

The letters are the only speaking things. The only things to speak to anymore. “Dear Elphias – Thank you for keeping me up to date. I regret to say that I have done less fine a job of it than you seem to have managed. Let us catch up, then, shall we? As you may have heard, my sister is dead. Aberforth keeping his distance, seething, I imagine. Oh, and I have had my heart broken by a boy expelled from Durmstrang, younger than me. I’m sorry I have not written. You will, I trust, forgive my negligence now that you can see that it was justified . . .”

Of course he will never send these letters. He has sent the sad, silent ones instead, and none of them apologetic enough. Elphias promises to return in time and he will stay true to his word; there is no reason he would not. The good friend without lofty dreams that he dares to kill for. The one Albus never learned to appreciate.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Gellert. His heart might now be anywhere.

Albus falls asleep, finally, and all is quiet.

Current Mood: lethargiclethargic
Current Music: 'Shallow Sleep' - Hyde
Well, I mean to say, what?: Apollo/Hyacinthseilf_emit on May 11th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
Gah, I'm sorry to hear your day started out so crappy, I hope you're feeling better by now.
Also, I should study, but apparently I can't be bothered I don't know which subjects you're graduating in, but I'd be happy to help you as much as I can.

I've seen that pic, but never actually read the summary until now! OMG!

Fail, fail, fail.
Aw! *hugs*

Okay, now to the fic:






In other words: sdkfjhksjdfhkjshfkjbb

Okay *deep breath* seriously now, this is so amazingly well written. It's so them, which is odd for me to say, because I haven't read DH yet, so I don't even really know what them means, still, it just seems so... right in a way I can't explain.

See you later, instigator: Y Tu Mamá También (by hyelle_narmo)oudeteron on May 11th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
It's like most of today was fated to be utter crap. I was feeling a bit sick when I woke up and the awfulness just dragged on...
Um, the subjects: English, Czech/Literature, Civics and History. I know how to do it, but I have such aversion to learning the several questions I don't give a damn about. Yeah, I'm being ridiculous.

Haha, I'm glad you did now! It's such win. xD

*hugs back*

Aww! That's great to hear from someone who hasn't read DH that the characterization feels right somehow. One limitation there is in fanfic (and which my favorite stories can overcome) is letting the stories resonate with only the people who know the original work. So it makes me happy that it works for you even without the prior knowledge. ^_^

Well, I mean to say, what?: Jeeves and Bertie x2seilf_emit on May 12th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, that sucks. But the best thing to chase all-over crapiness away is... SPARTAAA right? ;D

So true! Uncyclopedia!Oscar FTW!

It just seems right. And I feel like after reading your fics I know them already, as silly as that sounds.
See you later, instigator: Alexander & Hephaistionoudeteron on May 13th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)

Uncyclopedia!Oscar always saves the day.

Well, that makes me very proud of my fics, as silly as that sounds! ^_^
remecielremeciel on May 11th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
My, the last line simply broke my heart. You do write angst very well.

I can't criticize anything, really. I just kind of regret this couple couldn't have lived through a happy stint unlike Remus and Sirius for instance in their Hogwarts years. Albus and Gellert always seem to follow a path that led to angst. ;_;
See you later, instigator: Albus/Gellert (by ushitora_icons)oudeteron on May 11th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
So glad to hear that, dear! You don't know how many times I changed that sentence. xD

Yeah, Albus and Gellert never get the follow-up contentment like Remus and Sirius have before Voldemort and for a while during OotP. I think that's what makes this pairing so tragic - they have an awesome summer together, then it all just goes out the window and they can't save any of it. I guess that's why it's such fun (for a writer) to play with their possible meetings afterwards, like the Duel of Doom. I really wish they at least met after DH again, same as Remus and Sirius got their final act in the end.
rising_larkrising_lark on May 11th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
Aww, so sad! It really fits in with the rest of your A/G work - exquisitely beautiful and moving... I wish I could say something more coherent, but - alas! (as Albus would say ;)) I really love how you pictured his feelings towards Elphias here - a deadly mixture of guilt and shame and that inevitable sense of superiority that brings even more guilt...
See you later, instigator: Alexander & Hephaistionoudeteron on May 11th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! (I don't find such lovely feedback "alas"-worthy, so. ♥ ) I think Albus could only feel close to Elphias when he wasn't paying attention to the obvious gap between them - and right after the experience with Gellert, I imagine he would be more than ever stuck on comparing the two of them, or even Gellert and Elphias. And as you said, it would only make him feel guilty because he's not the kind of person who believes in superiority in general. Poor guy, he's just so messed up at that moment...
Melmo: Forty-Line Staremustntgetmy on May 12th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
Bah, I'm sorry you're not in the best of moods. But it'll pass! At least you're not poor Oscar, having to sit there in God's waiting room for who knows how long. And I'll bet the magazines haven't been updated since the 1700's!

Ooooh, fic. How you managed to take that line from the Dumbledore's gravestones and make it chilling I can't tell you, but my heart went cold when I got there. I suspect it has something to do with the set up of Elphias and the underlying comparison of him vs. Gellert, and of course, the lines that follow the epitaph. Speaking of which, I definitely feel the sense of an epitaph to their relationship here. I have one small issue though, and it's Aberforth. What you've done with him is definitely plausible, but I still felt the niggling sensation that his anger would be more outwardly driven. Like more than a glare, perhaps cursing? I dunno. I just have this image of Aberforth as a very angry young man. Otherwise, top notch fic as usual :D
See you later, instigator: Bad Education2oudeteron on May 13th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
You were right, it did pass. Much faster than time in a waiting room would, I suppose. xD Those bloody magazines, they don't even have his stuff in them yet!

Glad you enjoyed the fic. That line was just screaming at me to use it somewhere, so here you go. I feel kind of guilty myself for making Elphias look so second-rate here, but who wouldn't seem second-rate in comparison to Gellert? Anyway, that's great the epitaph thing worked!
The Aberforth bit: yeah. Good point. I was thinking that he would just turn to sulking at some point (rather teenagerish, but he's not exactly the defition of maturity here) and then finally snap. He does punch Albus at the funeral, doesn't he? But what you've said definitely makes sense - I'll remember it for next time, though it might be tricky not to make him look like a domestic abuser on his poor older brother... XD
Melmo: Harry gets hit on by a vampiremustntgetmy on May 14th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
Well, Elphias is sort of a second rate character. The punch was the thing that was kind of in the back of my mind while reading him. He just seems like more of a stomper than a sulker to me, but that might just be my opinion. Hahaha, well, Albus could definitely pwn Aberforth in a proper fight but he's more a gentleman, so that's where you can strike that balance :D
See you later, instigator: Alexander & Hephaistionoudeteron on May 14th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Well, that's true. I just wonder how much of it is Elphias being intentionally in the back of things (no pun intended) because he doesn't want to steal Albus's spotlight. Anyway, good point about the gentleman thing! It would certainly be a disadvantage to Albus here. xD
Melmo: Ed 'n' zenmustntgetmy on May 15th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
I see Elphias as a sort of classier version of Peter Pettigrew. Worships the ground Albus walks in, but could never quite match up (but then, only Gellert could), but that again could just be my interpretation. Hm...that makes me think...any idea what the age gap between Albus and Aberforth was? Cause it would be interesting to think about how they would've related to each other pre-Hogwarts.
See you later, instigator: Y Tu Mamá También (by hyelle_narmo)oudeteron on May 15th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
No, I agree with you. It comes back to Aberforth's (in)famous remark on it in the end. xD I'm not sure if it's actually mentioned anywhere, to be honest. I'll try to look it up... you're right that it could be interesting.
Melmo: the whole world is out to get usmustntgetmy on May 15th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
I put my wager on the age gap being somewhere around three or four years...because Aberforth was with Albus at Hogwarts at least for a little while, right?
See you later, instigator: Toshioudeteron on May 16th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
All right, a timeline I found says Aberforth was born in 1883 or 1884, so it about fits. (Eh, this makes me wish Gellert was just a year younger than Albus, otherwise my image of Aberforth as a "little brother" will suffer damage. Of course, both Albus and Gellert strike me as more mature than their years...)
Melmo: such snow as thismustntgetmy on May 17th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
(No matter what age they're at Aberforth will always be the "little brother" in respect to both Albus and Gellert, because intelligence always lends an air of maturity, and Aberforth's personality tends the other way.)
See you later, instigator: Y Tu Mamá También (by hyelle_narmo)oudeteron on May 17th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have to agree with that. It fits well with Albus and Gellert being equal to each other only as they outdo pretty much everyone else.
wufff on July 17th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Nice of you to appreciate Elphias. So many fanfic writers portray him as a dumb sidekick ...
"In the beginning of the summer, Albus had thought things could never get worse than they already were for someone condemned to languish along with his ill sister. In the middle, he was positive that he had never been happier. But now, the end is the end."
That really sums up the mood swings Albus had to go through. Well done!
See you later, instigator: Toshioudeteron on July 21st, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I feel sorry for Elphias in fandom sometimes. He may not be an equal to Albus the way Gellert is, but I don't think he deserves being put down, either. Glad that wasn't the case in this fic. ^_^

Thank you! I imagine it was a summer of extremes.