And Minerva stood there- perplexed- with a crying girl in her arms.

A crying girl who was her daughter.

With a somewhat uncomfortable gesture, she stroked Noctua's long, ebony hairs. It almost feels like holding myself, she mused. The girl resembled her so much… Except those eyes.

She looked at Albus with a faint smile. He smiled as well and nodded.

Albus. Dear, dear Albus.

With a sudden, tender gesture, she wiped her daughter's tears away.

"Come on, my dear. Come on, have a seat now."

With a firm, yet slightly shaking hand, she guided the girl back to her chair. It wasn't as if she didn't want to hold her daughter… in fact, it was everything she wanted, but the girl needed some explanations as well.

As Noctua sat down, she thankfully accepted the handkerchief of her Auntie- no, of her mother. Auntie Minerva was her mother. Uncle Albus was her father…

As she calmed down a bit, she felt her cheeks flush. Why had she suddenly gone- this hysterical? She had been prepared, hadn't she, for some shocking news about her parents? Hadn't she? No, she hadn't, she had to admit. Not for this. She hadn't been prepared for the fact that her "parents' weren't her parents at all… Of course not…

As Minerva noticed the slight redness of Noctua's cheeks, she smiled.

"Don't be ashamed. Of course it was quite a surprise. But there are things… we need to explain, I think…"

She hesitated, but the soft, sudden feeling of Albus' hand in hers made her go on.

"I am sorry." she stammered, as she felt her knees go weak. She had always been strong… She had never bent, never surrendered.

But now…

As she, guided by her husband, sat down, Hermione Granger stood up and coughed.

"I think…" the girl muttered uncomfortably. "I think I'd better go."

But Albus Dumbledore smiled and laid his hand on his student's shoulder.

"Don't, Hermione. You have solved this. You have a right to stay."

But Hermione faintly smiled and shook her head.

"No, I really have to go. My Arithmancy homework won't make itself… Goodbye, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Noctua."

Minerva nodded.

"Goodbye, Miss Granger. And- Hermione?"

"Yes?"

"Thank you…" the Transfigurations Professor muttered softly.

As Hermione had left the room, Minerva looked at her hands and sighed. A sudden uncomfortable feeling made her close her eyes. And now? What now? How to explain you daughter why you had her adopted? She bit her lips. She felt so weak, and it irritated her. She had never been weak, had she…?

Albus sighed as well. He saw the expectation in his daughter's eyes- his blue eyes, and knew that she wanted to know why. She needed to know why.

He understood it- but he wished he didn't. It was a choice, a choice of so long ago…

Yet he knew he had to explain it. He, not Minerva. Minerva had been strong, had stood beside him, had oppressed every sad feeling she'd ever had. Now it was his turn.

"Noctua," he began, as he sat down as well. The girl looked up- her blue eyes now red and slightly puffy.

"Father?" she then, softly yet clearly spoke, her head held high again.

She does so resemble her mother, Albus vaguely thought, yet then continued.

"We owe you an explanation. We really do, I know that."

He sighed again. "It's just that I don't know how to start."

And then Minerva was there, again. Minerva was a gem, Albus recalled once more as he softly squeezed her hand under the table.

"Me neither, Noctua- just ask us whatever you want to know. Perhaps it will make things easier for all three of us." Minerva proposed, sitting up straight again. She knew, though, that tears stood in her eyes.

Noctua nodded.

And Albus and Minerva both knew what her first question would be.

"Why was I adopted?"

Minerva bit her upper lip, yet she nodded. Well, the question had been asked. They just had to answer it now. No matter what.

"When you were born," she began, oppressing every slight trembling of her voice. "Voldemort was still at the top of his power. You have never been through such a period - but it was horrible. There were just- attacks everywhere, and no-one knew what to do, and when you saw someone, you never knew whether it perhaps had been the last time you'd seen him… Everybody could die. You grandparents- my mother and father- were murdered then."

She softly swallowed, and Albus continued, once more stroking her hand.

"And I- we, in fact- were the Dark Lord's most feared enemies. We were both constantly attacked- I still thank God everyday for saving us both. Voldemort did not know we were married, of course- only a few very trusted friends knew that secret…"

"And then I got pregnant," Minerva spoke again. "We were happy, Noctua, please believe this, we wanted you, our child. But it was not easy to hide my pregnancy- especially not in front of the students. But thanks to wide robes and some optical illusion-magic, we managed to keep the secret. You helped us as well, by the way."

Minerva softly chuckled at Noctua's surprised expression.

"You were born when I was only seven months pregnant." she then explained.

"Early, but not to early to be really risky. I was so happy- we were so happy. You, our little baby, our daughter. We loved you, Noctua. We adored you from the very first moment you opened those little, blue eyes of yours."

She felt the tears in her eyes, yet smiled as her husband added

"We really did. But it was all too difficult. Voldermort was non-stop chasing us. If he knew we had a child…"

He shivered.

"We could not risk it, Noctua." Minerva then, sadly, spoke.

"We've risked it for three months, but we realized it was impossible. Every night I slept with you in my arms, with Albus' arms around me, and we still were frightened to death. It couldn't be, Noctua. And then, we asked my brother and his wife, who could never have children of their own, to adopt you. They were absolute dears- but you know that- and accepted. And that's it. That are the facts. I am sorry, Noctua, and yet, I am not. If you'd stayed with us, you'd probably have died… Yet, I am sorry, Noctua." she repeated. The honesty in her eyes was unmistakable.

"We are sorry." Albus Dumbledore corrected.

As they both stared at their daughter, wondering whether she'd ever forgive them, a strange silence fell.

Thoughts whirled through Noctua's mind. She was perhaps confused, but of one thing she was sure- these two people who appeared to be her parents loved her.

And she loved them.

So she stood up, smiling faintly at the two people before her.

Then, with a sudden, loving gesture, she embraced them both.

"Mother… father…"

Minerva had never felt happier in her entire life. Nor had Noctua. Nor had Albus.

They had been separated, yes, but now they were together, and they would stay that way.

Oh yes, they would stay that way.

And as Noctua released her parents again, she semi-sternly shook her head, yet smiled.

"And now you are both going to listen to me. I forgive you- of course I forgive you, there is hardly any guilt! You are both dears and what you've done was the right thing. I have had a very happy childhood. But- and now listen very carefully- I am not a kid anymore. You will *now* start preparing your marriage, your great, official marriage, and you will *now* write to the Minister of Magic about my adoption as your child. We will have to face Voldemort- yes, but at least, we'll face him as a family.

And the next moment, she was in her parents' arms again.

Three very happy people.

*The End*

Author Note:

This is the end, but I think I'll write a sequel… you know, about their marriage and things.

Thanks to all my darling reviewers!!!