Harry Potter walked into his Transfigurations classroom with Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger. The three had been talking excitedly about the latest Quidditch match and Gryffindor's defeat over Slytherin when they noticed the stern look on Professor Minerva McGonagall's face. Talk immediately ceased as the three sat down for their lesson.
"I would hope that everyone did their homework for last night, " Professor McGonagall said. "There are many things to do today and not much time to do them in. I suggest everyone think about their lessons, rather than the latest Quidditch match results." She eyed the "trio" who averted their eyes, so as not to meet her glares. But inside, she was beaming. Gryffindor, her house, had beat Slytherin, sending them to the finals for the Quidditch cup. She was still recollecting the moment, when the thought of a class sitting in front of her snapped her back into reality. She moved to the front of the classroom and with a swish of her wand, an entire black board full of notes appeared.
"Please copy down these notes and then we will begin working on transfiguring your animals into crystal vases." The class began writing furiously, hoping to get more time in order to work on their crystal vase transfiguration. Minerva sat down at her desk and began grading the homework she had assigned from the night before. She looked up and saw that her class was almost finished with the notes. An owl flew in the window and landed on the desk in front of her. She untied the note from its leg and sent it back to where it came from. She took note of the paper and put the letter inside her desk drawer. Her class was staring at her, wondering where the note was from.
"Is everyone finished?" The class nodded and she stood. A wave of dizziness swept over her and she clung to the side of her desk for support. Fortunately, the class didn't notice anything as she picked up her wand and began giving directions.
She only thought no one had noticed, but Hermoine Granger saw everything. She leaned over to Ron, who was busy playing with his wand, trying to make the transfiguration work. Hermoine's vase stood in front of her. She always was successful in transfiguration, gaining the respect of Professor McGonagall.
"Did you notice how Professor McGonagall looked when she stood up?" she whispered. Ron looked at her oddly and then whispered back, "She looked as stern as ever. Why?"
"Very good Miss Granger." Minerva's presence ended Ron and Hermoine's discussion and they both nervously smiled at their teacher. "Mr. Weasley, you aren't following the directions correctly. You must say verTOnem, not verTAnem." She walked away, checking on the rest of the class' progress. Ron rolled his eyes and went back to trying to turn his new owl into a vase.
After class, the trio walked back to Gryffindor Tower to drop off their books before dinner in the Great Hall. "Hermoine, would you just give it up? Nothing is wrong with McGonagall, " said an exasperated Ron. "Really Hermoine, I didn't notice anything either. I'm sure Professor McGonagall is fine," said Harry, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. Hermoine looked down. She knew they were probably right, but she couldn't help feeling something was going wrong.
After her last class exited, Minerva pulled out the note the owl had left. She opened it and read:
I need to speak with you after dinner today. You'd better come to the Hospital Wing at 7. It's utterly important.
See you there,
Minerva rolled the parchment up and threw it in the fire. She didn't want any students snooping around and finding the note. She leaned against her desk after standing to leave. The dizziness was getting worse. She didn't have the strength to apparate to her room, so she slowly walked from her classroom to her chambers. After setting down her things, she collapsed in to her favorite arm chair. There was a soft knock on her door. She didn't feel like talking to anyone right now. She just wanted sleep but she knew she had to be in the Great Hall for dinner. The knock sounded again and Minerva, rather hastily, said, "Come in!"
"Well, I would think that your husband should get a nicer welcome than that." Minerva smiled. Albus Dumbledore always knew how to make her feel better. He walked over and kissed the top of her head.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "Had I known it was you, I would have been a lot sweeter."
"Of course you would've been. Because you're my Tabby and you love me." Minerva smiled at the childish nickname he gave had given her when they began dating, after the first war with Voldemort.
"Yes, I do love you. But couldn't you, just once, say it without that wretched nickname accompanying it." He sat down next to her and took her hand, kissing the top of it.
"Maybe." He noticed her peaked color and the black circles under her eyes. "Is something wrong my dear?"
She looked into his eyes and saw the deep concern. "I'm fine Albus, just tired. It's been a long day." He caressed her cheek and she leaned into his touch.
"Then after dinner, I believe you and I have a date in my room. The date will include a steaming cup of tea, a long massage, and a husband who cares. Now how does that sound?" His eyes were twinkling as he saw a smile appear on her face.
"It sounds perfect. Thank you." He leaned over and kissed her sweetly, making her melt inside. She had been married to him for almost 10 years but he still had such an intense effect over her.
He helped her up and they made their way to the Great Hall. After dinner was over, all the teachers were conversing. Poppy excused herself, saying she had some things to do in the hospital wing. She caught Minerva's eye as she was walking out. Minerva looked at her watch and saw it was almost 7.
"Are you ready for our date Mrs. Dumbledore?" whispered Albus. Minerva stammered, trying to cover up the fact that she had to go see Poppy. She knew Albus would worry too much and insist on going with her, which was far from what she wanted.
"I promised I would help Poppy with some things in the infirmary. Give me an hour?" She looked at Albus and he smiled.
"Don't take too long my dear. I wouldn't want the tea to get cold." She smiled back at him and excused herself, heading for the infermary. She pulled her robes closer around her, realizing how cold it was in the castle. She reached the hospital wing and took a deep breath. Fear was never something she admitted to, but that was the only thing she was feeling at this very moment.