A/N: OH so very old. This was written way back before we had any idea how old McGonagall was -- only that she had black hair. Despite any canon-discrepancies, I hope someone might still enjoy this. Edited version up as of 23 July, 2009.

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Talking in Circles

"Yes? What is it?"

"Albus, may I speak with you?"

"You already are, and always can."

"I meant sort of ... off the record. A personal talk."

"About what?"

"About teaching, some. About ... other things. Life, I suppose."

"Have a seat."

"Thank you... You see, there's this professor."

"Anyone I know?"

"Oh, yes."

"Might I guess?"

"I'd rather you didn't."

"If I were to guess, would I guess correctly?"

"...I believe so."

"I think we understand each other. Continue."

"Well, when she first started teaching, there was one student not much younger than she was of whom she was rather fond."

"Am I to take it that this student was male?"

"Ahh... Frankly, Albus, I'd rather you didn't take it that way."

"But might I be on the right track?"

"I'd rather not say."

"Indeed. On with the story."

"Well, things were always rather difficult for this student. Very rarely was he ... or she accepted for who ... what he--"

"Or she?"

"Oh yes. Or she. For what he or she is."

"What he is?"

"Err ... yes."

"Might I guess what you mean by that?"

"I'd rather you didn't."

"Would I be able to guess correctly should I try?"

"I believe so."

"Then I think I know what you're getting at. Carry on."

"As it turns out, after this student graduated these two individuals became ... very close friends. But then everything changed quite suddenly."

"For the better?"

"Oh no! Well, I suppose ... perhaps on a political and social level, but on a personal level, no, not at all for several people to whom I ... and she were close. He ran away and it took him years to realise that he couldn't run forever. By then he had no choice but to come back and the professor had no choice but to help him. And then she started feeling things that she wasn't entirely sure were appropriate to feel for a former student. She wants some distance to sort things out but distance is nearly impossible..."

"Minerva, may I offer you a friendly bit of advice? Off the record, of course."

"I wish you would, Albus."

"If you're in love with Remus Lupin, you should be telling him, not me."

fin