Title: The End of the Beginning
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Albus, Aberforth, & Ariana Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald
Warnings: Canon character death, homophobia
Notes: It’s mentioned in canon that the Dumbledores’ sister was killed, by accident, in the midst of a three-way duel, between the brothers and Gellert Grindelwald. Here’s my take on that. It’s pretty ugly.
It happened so fast that none of them could have stopped it. It had been the sort of duel that young men get in to when they’re drunk and talking politics — likely to leave a mark, but nothing that couldn’t be undone, once everyone sobered up. It wasn’t even the first time they’d gotten this far into it.
Aberforth screamed and grabbed at his sister, as she bolted past him, but she was too quick.
"Protego!" Albus shouted, a half second too late.
And Gellert just dropped his wand and stared, first at Ariana’s unmoving body and then at his hands.
"Albus? She’s okay, isn’t she?" Gellert asked, stepping forward, suddenly sober, but Aberforth was on him in less than a second, knocking him into the ground and pounding at his face, with both fists.
"It was only a backfiring jinx! I wasn’t trying to kill you! She has to be okay!" Gellert choked, swallowing blood from his split lips and broken nose. "Let me up, and I’ll take it off her! She’s fine! She has to be okay!"
Albus knelt beside his sister. "She’s dead, Gellert."
"No! She can’t be dead! It wasn’t even an offensive hex!" Gellert shouted, trying to throw Aberforth off his chest.
"My sister had trouble controlling her magic, especially under stress. You knew that. I told you that." Albus stared down at Ariana’s bloodless face. "Whatever came out of her turned on her, because of you."
"It wasn’t supposed to kill anyone! We were just carrying on! I didn’t even see her!" Gellert continued to protest, and Aberforth’s punching slowed as he began to cry, silently and miserably.
"You killed my sister, Gellert." Albus sounded stunned, as though none of it had quite sunk in, all the way. "There will be no more of this. I will never see you again, and in time, perhaps… This cannot be made right. You have to leave. Do not ever let me find you."
Gellert opened his mouth to protest, but was cut short as Aberforth stood, hauling him up by his cravat. "You ruined my family, you filthy sodomite! You destroyed everything that was good in my home! You took away everything I had left! My brother may be merciful, because he still loves you, in all your perversity, but I am not!"
Aberforth shoved Gellert back and aimed his wand. "Avada —"
"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted, pointing his wand at his brother. "No, Aberforth. Let him go. It was a horrible accident. I will never forgive him, but it was a horrible accident, and we must attend to Ariana. She’s — Someone has to —"
"I’m sorry, Albus," Gellert offered, quietly, before he apparated away.
Turning back to his brother, after the pop of apparition, Aberforth started again. "This is your fault, Albus. Your perversion brought him into our lives. Your refusal to be content with the way things are meant to be — You did this. You killed my sister. You may be the only family I have left, but I don’t want you any more. She’s my sister, not yours. You killed her. Your politics! Your perversion! Get out, you filthy sodomite! I have no brother! Get out of this house, and leave me to arrange for my sister’s … for her… You killed her, you filth!"
"Aberforth, Gellert killed her, and now he’s gone. He won’t be back." Albus stood, unsteadily, watching the world take on abstract, geometric shapes, in the edges of his vision.
"You brought him here! You did this! Get! Out!" Aberforth refused to be reasoned with, voice cracking as the shouting exceeded what his throat could contain.
"Aberforth, she was my sister, too. I loved her just as much as you did. Let me help with the arrangements," Albus tried again, still unsteady on his feet, as the world continued to reel. His lover had killed their sister. By accident, but perhaps Aberforth was right. In the end, maybe it was his fault.
"If you loved her, she wouldn’t be dead!" Aberforth howled, grabbing his wand from where it had fallen and levelling it at his brother. "Go, now, or I swear on Merlin’s own gravestone I will end your miserable, disgusting life, where you stand."
Aberforth sobbed, falling to his knees beside his sister’s body, as his brother apparated away. "You’ve ruined everything. You’ve ruined everything, and I couldn’t stop you," he whispered to the empty air.