Chapter Twenty-two

June 1946 (epilogue)

Albus and Minerva were having a cup of tea together again. Tomorrow she would be boarding the train that would take her away from school. Her last full day at Hogwarts was coming to a close. She smiled at Albus across the little table by the window and glanced at the starry late evening sky outside. A shooting star fell to earth, entitling her to a wish. She sipped her tea and thought of a good one. Minerva's eyes fell upon her friend and professor who was staring thoughtfully into his tea cup.

"I wish that he could fall in love with me as I have with him." she silently wished, setting the cup down with a soft clink. But she felt rather certain that it would never happen. She was only his student, his favorite perhaps, and his friend, but hardly anything more.

"I have been authorized to offer you a job here once you have graduated. The headmaster believes that I should have a teaching assistant and possibly train them to be my replacement when the time comes. What do you say, Minerva?" Albus questioned.

She raised her eyebrows as he made the offer. He had said that he had news for her, good news actually, and that certainly qualified. She scarcely needed to think about the offer. For some reason becoming an Auror gave her an uncanny feeling of impending doom, though she could not understand why. Minerva chalked it up to the untimely deaths of her Auror parents.

"I was planning to become an Auror, but ... I changed my mind. This is an unexpected surprise and a relief. I was very concerned that I would not have a career after I left Hogwarts. I am very happy to accept your offer. Thank you, Albus." she said with a smile.

"Excellent. I am glad to hear that, Minerva. I didn't want to lose you." said Dumbledore.

"Oh, Albus! You know I would have kept in touch, no matter where life took me!" she laughed, reaching across the table and squeezing his hand. "You are one of my dearest friends!" she added.

He smiled softly and thought of the events of the previous year, especially the ones that Minerva couldn't remember. She had not broken through the memory charm yet, and he had begun to doubt whether she would anytime soon.

"And you are mine." he told her.

"I was so worried about leaving school ..." she started to say.

"Really? Why is that?"

"I've told you that I don't want to be an Auror like my parents were, even after talking with Mister Moody a few months ago." she explained, giving a tiny, barely perceptible shudder.

Albus noticed it and raised an eyebrow slightly. That had been his own idea. Dumbledore hoped that by talking with Alastor, Minerva might renew her interest in the field of magical law enforcement after her sudden change of heart regarding her plans for the future, which was unconsciously spurred, he assumed, by their little adventure that she could not remember. But Moody was perhaps not the best spokesman for his profession.

Then the idea of Albus having a teaching assistant had been proposed, surprisingly enough by Professor Krohn, who unlike Albus remained in Headmaster Dippet's good graces.

"Yes, someone to keep an eye on him." Dippet had mumbled, oblivious to the part Minerva had played in the defeat of Grindelwald. The man's powers of observation were obviously slipping.

Of course, Krohn was not prone to acts of altruism, but he did feel a certain debt to Minerva McGonagall ... for many things. It could not be doubted that he had kept things from the headmaster and that had served everyone quite well, not to mention Krohn's own personal amusement and delight in the intrigue of it all.

"That sort of service isn't for everyone," Dumbledore told Minerva with a smile, "though I must say that you would have done very well."

"And I believe that you would have excelled at it too." she chuckled.

"Oh, really?"

"You did single-handedly defeat Grindelwald." she pointed out, looking at him with pride shining in her dark eyes.

"Not single-handedly ..."

"Too modest for your own good!" Minerva laughed.

"I could never have done it without you." he said quite earnestly.

Minerva looked at him with a quizzical expression and said, "My moral support? Well, you deserved all the help you could find, Albus. I imagine that his defeat will be considered one of your greatest accomplishments."

"Indeed?" he questioned.

"Of course. I have already heard talk that you being considered one of the greatest wizards of our age."

"I must remember not to let that go to my head." he chuckled.

Minerva set her cup aside and said, "I should go soon. I have packing to do."

"Have you any particular plans for the summer? Your rooms here can be ready in a few weeks if you so desire ..."

"I am planning to stay with my aunt and uncle in Glasgow for a while. Then I am returning to the family home. I have some things that I should probably put in order. You know how it is ..."

"Yes, it will be difficult, I am sure." he nodded, noticing the sadness in her eyes.

"And you?"

Dumbledore looked out the window with a mysterious expression in his twinkling blue eyes. The twinkle had been slow to return, but after a year, it had. He wanted to ask Minerva to spend the start of the summer holidays with him at his house in the country and then return to Hogwarts with him for the rest of the summer. They could sit out by the lake or venture to Hogsmeade. They could go to the library together or just enjoy the peace and quiet. So many things.

"I don't have any special plans, Minerva. I hope you have a wonderful time with your relatives." he answered.

The time was not yet right. Until the memory charm was broken, until she remembered their first kiss, it did not feel proper to pursue her affections. When the time was right, everything would fall into place again. Whether it required months or years, he was willing to wait for her to remember. Of course, he thought with a smile, he might do well to try to jog her memory from time to time. And she would be around, as would he, for many years to come.

After Minerva had gone, Dumbledore continued to gaze out at the stars and to think about his young protégé and the days that would come. The world, both that of the wizarding folk and that of the muggles, was growing peaceful again. There would be a long period of rebuilding on the continent and elsewhere, but the days of evil were over and the days of peace would last for sometime, he believed. There was much to look forward to and many reasons for happiness. Albus smiled.

"Great days are ahead." he thought with a twinkle in his eyes. "And with Minerva here, I shall always have a friend with whom to share them."

The End


A/N: Um, this is the point where I figure I should plug "Another Story". It's during the book era, but in addition to AD/MM it also contains a couple of other pairings (GW/RL and SS/HG), but it's a little less depressing (well, kind of anyway). Thanks for reading!

Freelancer: Yep, it's over (from my perspective: finally). Let me know if you find out anything about Grindelwald (the town/village). Mmm... sugar (I'm usually hopped up on Skittles and soft drinks myself). Thank you for reviewing!

MK: For a while at least (okay, a long while, but ... meh). Thanks for reviewing!

Inca: Thank you!

LinZE: Thanks for reviewing!

Child-of-the-Dawn: Yes, that's probably true. Thank you for reviewing!

Whisper: If checks were done on who used memory charms, Gilderoy Lockhart would surely have been caught. *wink* And I agree: a kiss might very well have changed her mind. But in those days Albus just wasn't omniscent enough to realize that, I guess. Thank you for the review!

Selene: Someday. Thanks for reviewing!