A/N: I heard "Still in Love with You" by the No Angels in the gym this week, and though I don't like the band, I remember that the video fitted the setting too. And after the discussion on the 'Frivolity&Felines'-thread about Minerva's doings between graduation and taking the job in Hogwarts, this actually ties in. The story title has quite obviously been inspired by "The Prime of Ms. Jean Brodie".
Warning: This is AD/MM. If the mere notion of Albus Dumbledore & Minerva McGonagall in a romantic relationship squicks you, surprises you or annoys you, then do the Rockford-turn NOW!!!!!
Disclaimer: If I did own any of this, I wouldn't bother to think about the fact that my chances of getting a position for my teaching trial period in my hometown are going against –10. So, no – quite obviously nothing is mine.

"Her Prime"

By Stoneygem

Chapter 1 – Still in Love with You

The night was velvety blue and full of stars. From the ocean came the soothing sounds of the surf crashing against the beach. Together with the slight swishing of the palm trees, the atmosphere was incredibly romantic. But the young woman leaning against the rail didn't feel particularly romantic. As a matter of fact, this atmosphere made her melancholic.

Really now, she scolded herself, Caracas was so beautiful and here she was, pining. Minerva McGonagall couldn't help herself. All the splendour of her surroundings, the fascinating encounters of the last weeks, not a few of them with quite charming men, couldn't take away the thoughts. She had been transferred to Venezuela as a junior envoy of the British Ministry of Magic two months before to set up a constant representation ('s that another word for embassy?) of the British wizarding community. In addition, she was to research useful information about the magic abilities and practices of the old Incakings and their Shamans.

She sighed. Both things combined, it was the job of her dreams. After the defeat of Grindelwald five years earlier and her graduation from the University of Magic in Edinburgh, she had been at quite a loss as to what to do with her life. She had joined the fight against the Dark Lord in her first year at university, thus her life had always consisted of school and fighting.

Becoming a housewife and mother wasn't exactly her goal of life, though looking back now, she reflected that for him, she would have done it.

Him. Him again…

The best time I ever had
When u were mine
Said to myself to keep you near
Never let u go
But trains and boats and aeroplanes
Took me away
(Way)
From you
(You)

Him…the great Albus Dumbledore. Victor over Grindelwald, renown Alchemist, respected Hogwarts teacher, Secondary Warlock of the Wizengamont, newly appointed member of the International Confederation of Wizards, Order of Merlin 3rd, 2nd and 1st class, winner of "Witch Weekly's Most Eligible Bachelor" award. (need to look that up probably) Albus Dumbledore, the superhero. Albus Dumbledore, the kind, the charming, the wonderful, the idiot. The fool who had sent her away.

That's why Minerva couldn't enjoy the wonderful night for what it was, for it reminded her of another night like this. A night in the south of France during that wonderful summer five years ago. When they had been walking together on the beach, in each other's arms. When they had stopped every so often to share tender kisses that were so sweet and promised so much more to come.

The summer had been like a dream come true. She had been in love with Albus almost from the moment she looked into his twinkling blue eyes as she had pushed open the door to the Transfiguration classroom on the first day of her 6th year and run straight into her new teacher.

It had taken almost eight years however, until she had admitted it to him. Maybe admitted wasn't the correct word, for she had shouted it at him in a fit of anger, when he had wanted to leave her behind during a particularly nasty battle against a squad of Grindelwald's forces.

A stunned silence had settled in the small, filthy room where Dumbledore's little group had been hiding.

Minerva smiled at the memory. At that specific moment, she had hoped the ground would open and swallow her up, but such things didn't happen, not even to a powerful young witch like her. Instead, he had put a finger under her chin, to raise her face to his.

"I'm not doing that to anger you, Minerva. I leave you behind this time, because I can't stand the thought of you getting yourself in the front of the battle. I cannot stand the thought of you in danger, Minerva." She had looked questioningly at him and had been shocked to see an incredible tenderness and love in his eyes. With his free arm, Albus had pulled her close. "Minerva, the thought of you getting hurt is my most prominent nightmare. I could not live with that. I could not live without you." He paused. "I want you to be safe, my love. It is because I love you that I want you to stay behind."

And then he had kissed her. That first sweet kiss they had shared, oh how well Minerva remembered it. It was the first of many. The beginning of the most wonderful year.

They were free and in love. There was nothing to quench that feeling of happiness.

Until Albus had decided that it was over. Until he had sent her away.

Away from all the love we had
From all the things we shared
And tell me - what can I do
You're always on my mind

Of course, there was a rather large age difference between them. Even in the wizarding world 75 years made a big age gap. But Albus was barely middle-aged for a wizard, powerful, energetic, even childish in some ways. Minerva had never bothered with the fact. It didn't matter to her. She loved him and he loved her, that was all that mattered. She would have been happy to just be Mrs. Albus Dumbledore, having a few children, taking care of the house and – if necessary – pose as the hero's wife.

Albus, however, seemed to have a different opinion. He wanted her to see the world, to study what was there to study, to make a career of her own. He wanted her to enjoy her youth. Wanted her to fall in love with someone her age and not to bind herself to a – how did he phrase it? – "barmy old codger".

All her pledges that she didn't want any of that, that she was happy with him and would be so for the rest of their lives. That she could have a career and still be his wife…

He didn't hear her. His resolve was firm and finally he had sent her away. She had been crying and so had he, both of their hearts breaking, but his opinion had not changed.

Thus, she had left him and, following a family tradition had taken a position in the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Magic. During the last five years, she had travelled the world extensively, seeing every continent in the process. She had seen the most wonderful and fascinating places, met the most interesting people on earth and she had enjoyed it immensely. She had made a life for herself – a wonderful, successful, respected life. And yet, her heart was still with him.

If I could sing my song to you
I'd tell you how my heart is broken too
From any corner of the world
I'd let you know I'll always be your girl
I'm still in love with you

Five years and her love for him had not left. Five years in which young and handsome man had tried to court her. Five years to see the wonders of the world. Five years to be a young, single, independent, beautiful woman. Five years to be a woman in her prime. Five years…

And she still clutched her pillow at night dreaming it was him. She still took each and every letter, every book and every snippet he had given her to every new place. And she still wore one of his shirts at night. Cleaned and pressed a hundred times, worn out, but when she wore it and closed her eyes, she still believed it smelled like him.

The days kept her busy, with all those new diplomatic relations the current Minister of Magic was introducing, in order to keep the wizards of the world together. She had meetings with wizards of every profession, with researchers, with teachers, with magical law enforcers, with politicians. She organized meetings, checked trade offers, inspected magical places, wrote reports and prepared the opening of the British Embassy here in Caracas.

Though her days were usually filled, they never took her mind off him. The darkness of the night, with its romantic sounds and sweet smells, however, were worse. Then she would remember his smile that was so tender. The twinkle in his eyes that was so boyish. Then she would imagine his lean yet strong body so close to hers. Then she would dream of being held in his arms: calm, peaceful, happy, exhausted, passionate. Dream of his lips on hers. Of their softness. Of the things they would make her feel.

Lonely days and lonely nights
Since you've been gone
I miss your touch, I miss your smile
Always by my side
I think about the times we had

Those thoughts always brought a smile to her face. But it would never last long, for she would remember him saying that they had no chance. That she would hate him one day for stealing her life. That she had too much going for her to chain herself to a man almost four times her age. Then the tears would come.

And I wonder why
(Why)
Oh Why
(Oh Why)

And she would wonder why he didn't believe in her – in them. Was it her? Was it something she had said? Something she had done? Had she said or done anything that made him doubt that he would always be more than she could have ever dreamt of? That she would be more than happy if she could be with him every day of her life?

Sometimes the anger came, anger in his distrust. A distrust she could find no reason for. Or the nagging question of whether he had not just played the man in love she had so desperately wished for.

Then she raged against fate, against him. That he had made her fall in love with him. That he did give her hope, only to dash it a short time later. And in her anger, nothing was safe.

The employees and officials at the different offices of the Venezuelan magical government had learned quickly to stay away from the young British envoy when she had one of her fits of temper. It was safest to stay away from that walking inferno of a witch, they said. Minerva had to chuckle at that thought. When 'Mad Minnie' struck, all hell broke loose.

Why you had to steal my heart
When we're a world apart
So tell me
Baby, what should I do
You're always on my mind

It never lasted long, though. It couldn't. She would come across a book, a view or a song that reminded her of Albus and she began to melt.

She loved him still with every fiber of her being. Five years had done nothing to change that. She loved him and would do so for the rest of her life. Not only did she love him, but she was still 'in love' with him. No time and no distance could change that.

One day, she would be back home in Britain. This globe trotting would not go on forever. She would go back and she would seek him out. She would tell him that she had done everything he expected of her. That she had seen the world, made a career of her own and studied what there was to study. She would tell him that he had been right about her need to make a life and a name for herself.

But she would tell him that he had been wrong as well. No young man had taken a place in her heart like he thought. For the place in her heart had been taken, firmly and forever. By him. He was the man in her heart. Forever.

If I could sing my song to you
I'd tell you how my heart is broken too
From any corner of the world
I'd let you know I'll always be your girl

I'm still in love with you
(I'm still in love with you)

She'd always be 'his'.

~~~~

So, what do you think? Liked it? Hated it? Bored? Interested? Anyway, drop me a line....please...
And if possible, if you have an idea for a song that could fit an Albus-chapter...tell me please. Thanks!