Disclaimer: All of the characters belong to the amazing JKR. We're just borrowing them at the moment!
Summary: Minerva McGonagall has been acting strangely for the past several week and now Albus Dumbledore has started too. What could be the cause? AD/MM, PP/AM
Cure For A Common Cold...
The morning sun was just beginning to peep over the mountains surrounding Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As the first rays of sunlight began to stream into the darkened room, Minerva McGonagall stirred. She had slept well for the first night in weeks and had wonderful dreams but she had not been feeling quite right for the last few days. Carefully removing herself from the warm arms of her husband, Albus Dumbledore, she decided to pay Poppy Pomfrey an early morning visit.
After quickly dressing, she wrote a short note and placed it on her pillow for Albus to find when he awoke. She was sure that she was coming down with a simple cold and there was no need to worry him unnecessarily.
I woke very early this morning and could not go back to sleep. I didn't want to wake you so I have gone to my study to look over my lesson plans for today. I will meet you at breakfast. I love you, handsome!
Looking back over her shoulder, she found it hard to resist the urge to cross the room and plant a good morning kiss on his soft lips. But, since she was trying not to wake him, she forced herself to exit the room, leaving him safely tucked in the comfortable bed, deep in sleep.
As she entered the infirmary, the room was quiet. She was puzzled at first. Poppy was usually up at this hour and then she heard a noise coming from the medi-witch's private office. Calling out to her friend and colleague, she was surprised when the woman appeared, looking a bit flustered, in the doorway.
"Poppy, you look like I feel this morning. What's the matter with you?"
"Thank you Minerva for the compliment." Realizing that she had been a bit more sarcastic than she intended, Poppy quickly offered an apology and explained that Minerva had taken her by surprise. In an attempt to divert the conversation towards something other than her appearance, she began to inquire as to the reason Minerva was visiting at such an early hour.
"I am sorry to disturb you this early but I think I might be coming down with a cold or some sort of virus and I was wondering if there was something you could give me." After several diagnostic spells had been conducted, Poppy informed her friend that her body showed no signs of an infection or other maladies. Then something caused her to make a simple request.
"Minerva, describe your symptoms for me once more." Minutes later, Poppy Pomfrey announced that there was one remaining test that could be performed but it would take a little while to get the results. Modern wizarding medicine could practically stifle a common cold but there were some areas desperately in need of improvement. And this was one of them. "As a matter of fact Minerva, I was just about to take the same test when you waltzed into my hospital wing and scared me to death. I thought you were Alastor for a moment."
"For Merlin's sake, Poppy! What sort of test are you talking about? And Alastor is your husband...why would you want to keep an illness from him?" As the medi-witch peered at Minerva, the full impact of her own words rang through her head...for the same reason I didn't tell Albus. I don't want to worry him. Noticing that her friend had answered her own question, Poppy proceeded to tell Minerva that they would take their pregnancy tests together...for moral support.
"Pregnancy test," exclaimed Minerva! "You can't be serious, Poppy. I've just got a little cold that is affecting my body. I can't be...well I mean I could be...but I just don't think...oh Poppy, I don't know what to think."
"Minerva, you and I both have all of the symptoms and it's not uncommon for witches our ages to give birth. Look at how late your parents conceived you! And mine weren't exactly in the flush of youth when my brother was born."
"Have you told Alastor yet?" Poppy raised her eyebrows but focused her attention to the floor. "I take it by your silence that the answer is a definite no. But why?"
"I'm not sure. I suppose I wanted to make certain before I told him this sort of thing. We haven't been married that long and I would really like some more time with him before we start our family. But I could ask you why you didn't tell Albus that you thought you were sick, now could I? But the question should be, will you tell him about the pregnancy test?"
"It will depend on the outcome. No sense in all of us worrying over what may or may not be the case. Besides, if I am pregnant, I think I'd like to surprise him...so what do you say we get this over and done with? The sooner we start, the sooner we will know for sure...both of us."
After a few stressful moments, the two women emerged from the inner offices and Poppy promised to have the results right after lunch. As Minerva made her way towards the doorway, she bumped into Alastor Moody. Not wanting to give away any secrets, she made a feeble excuse about Albus not feeling well and headed hurriedly towards her office in case her husband decided to check on her.
Half an hour later, Minerva still had not seen Albus, which meant that he had slept late. She was glad because for the past several weeks, she had unintentionally kept him awake with her tossing and turning in bed. As she entered the Great Hall, the smells of a variety of foods hit her dainty nose and her stomach began to churn. To keep from becoming ill, Minerva had to use all of her inner strength to keep her composure. When she reached the Head Table, she found that Albus had already filled her plate with generous helpings of breakfast items. He had been silently worried about her lately because of her sudden loss of appetite, especially in the mornings and this morning he was going to make certain that she ate.
It was all she could do to eat one of the blueberry muffins placed on her plate by her adoring husband. The rest of the food had been discreetly banished when he wasn't looking. She had been doing this for days now and he had yet to grasp on to her deception. Once again using the excuse of catching up on some last minute work, she gave his hand a gentle squeeze and made her way back to her office, where she would try to settle her stomach before classes began.
Meanwhile, Alastor Moody was busy asking dozens of questions of his wife, Poppy Pomfrey. He had noticed her looking a bit worn out and feared that she was working too hard. When she quickly snapped at him, he decided to drop the subject and to inquire about Albus' health. Having not been privy to the private conversation between her husband and friend, Poppy suggested that he had misunderstood Minerva in that she was the one seeking medical attention. Upon further questioning, the experienced medi-witch accidentally told him that the Transfiguration teacher had taken a pregnancy test but that it was not common knowledge among the staff. And that it should remain that way!
Moody had been friends with Albus Dumbledore for years so it was completely natural for him to feel excited for the happy couple at the prospect of finally becoming parents. He was so happy for them that he wanted to be the first to congratulate the soon father to be so he briskly made his way to the Headmaster's office.
"Alastor, to what do I owe this great honor this morning?" Motioning for his friend to take the offered seat, Albus was shocked when Alastor gave him a firm handshake, coupled with a broad smile and words of congratulations. A bit confused Albus peered over the rim of his half-moon spectacles at the man before him.
"Ahh...sorry but Poppy accidentally told me this morning that Minerva had come in for a pregnancy test. I know I'm not supposed to know this news yet but I wanted to be the first to congratulate you both. Now, where is Minerva? Resting I hope." Albus Dumbledore had never experienced so many emotions in one split second in all his life but at this particular moment his head was full of swirling thoughts...most of them centered on Minerva.
Taking the offered words of congratulations and trying to act as if he had known all along, Albus subtly questioned Alastor for more information. But he was soon disappointed to learn that he had already shared what little news he had. Before long, Alastor had left and Albus was left trying to make sense of the last few weeks.
Now that the subject was before him, it all made sense. Minerva not eating, her lack of sleep, the increase in mood swings. Slumping into his large chair, a silly grin took over his entire face and the twinkle in his eyes was even more pronounced. However, a thought struck him. Obviously Minerva wants to tell me in a special way. Therefore I must pretend not to know and act surprised when she does inform me. But I have to ensure that she is taking proper care of herself. At the muggle clock chimed the quarter hour, he was snapped from his musings and was consumed with an urge to see his beloved wife and to hold her in his arms. Since her class would be ending soon, he decided to pay her an unexpected visit.
As the last of her students left the classroom, Albus crossed the room and pulled Minerva into his arms. "Have I told you today how much I adore you?" Planting a gentle kiss on her cheek, he was sternly reprimanded for taking such a risk without locking the door. With a wave of his hand he remedied the situation and proceeded to lavish his wife with several tender caresses about the face and neck.
"Albus, I love you too but what had gotten into you today? You know better than to make such bold moves when anyone could walk into my classroom and see us."
"You weren't in my arms this morning when I awoke and I did not have the opportunity to give you a proper good morning kiss. So, I thought I would correct the oversight. Are you complaining?" Assuring him that she enjoyed the spontaneous display of love, he gave her one last passionate kiss then released her. Knowing her routine, he scooped her stack of books from her desk and turned to face her. "I thought I would escort you to your study, my dear. And it would give me great pleasure if you would allow me to carry your books for you." Blushing a bit at his act of chivalry, Minerva nodded her head in approval and took her place beside him as they strolled down the corridor to her office.
She had only been sitting in her private quarters for an hour when a familiar knock drew her attention away from her parchment. Recognizing the footsteps and the sound of their special knock, Minerva smiled and waited for Albus to appear in the doorway.
"Are you still working hard on those papers? Here, let me finish grading them while you go to our rooms and take a quick nap before lunch. I know how tired you must be. I mean, you haven't been sleeping well and a quick sleep will do you good."
A puzzled look flashed in her eyes and for a moment Albus was certain that he had given away his little secret. But just as quickly as the look appeared, it had vanished again and the stern professor that he had fallen in love with so many years ago appeared once again.
"Albus, I assure you I am fine. And you are one to talk about not being able to sleep. Some weeks you go for days without a full night's sleep. I just have a lot on my mind at the moment." Leaning into the loving arms of her husband, Minerva was almost persuaded to tell him about her morning visit to Poppy. "I tell you what. Why don't we plan to have an early night tonight? I will make sure that all of my paperwork is finished before dinner and when we return, we can play a game of chess or just spend some quality time together. How does that sound?"
Kissing the tip of her nose, then both cheeks, and finally her lips, he made her promise once more that she would stick by the plan for their evening. Assuring him that a team of wild thestrals could not drag her away, she captured his lips with her own and when he responded eagerly to her advances, she deepened the kiss. Reluctantly breaking away, she ushered him towards the door so that she could finish her work. Promising to meet her at lunch, Albus almost floated down the hallway to his office. She must be planning to tell me tonight after dinner. I think I can wait that long.
At lunch, Minerva noticed something different in Albus' demeanor. He seemed to be overly concerned with what she was eating and the quantity of it as well. He had taken the liberty of filling her plate, almost to the point of overloading it, and had conjured her a large glass of milk to go with her usual cup of tea. Silently, she wondered if Poppy had told him about their tests earlier in the day but she quickly banished those thoughts. Her friend knew how important it would be to Minerva to share her good news, if there was any to share, with her husband. After several minutes, Minerva noticed Albus staring at her as she slowly picked at her food.
"Albus is there something wrong? You have been watching me eat for the last five minutes. The way you are acting, you'd think I was a child who had just learned how to use their eating utensils properly?" Offering him a weak smile, she waited for his response.
"Was I staring? I am sorry. It's just that some days you amaze me with your beauty and grace. Today is one of those days when I want to hold you in my arms and keep you all to myself. I am looking forward to tonight, my dear." The mischievous twinkle in his eyes told the woman that after dinner would be a special time for the Dumbledores and she was eagerly awaiting the quiet moments as well but for an entirely different reason.
In no time at all, Minerva found herself standing before Poppy waiting to hear the news, good or bad. She felt a thousand butterflies in her stomach as she watched the medi-witch examine the vile again. When she turned to face her friend, Minerva's heart sank. Obviously her test had come back negative. She tried hard to hide the disappointment in her face but the tears threatening to spill down her pink cheeks gave away her true emotions. "Well Poppy, I see that I am not going to have a little one. So that must mean that I'm just sick, as I had thought earlier. But what did your test say?"
Reluctantly and with a heavy heart, Poppy told her that the Moody's would be welcoming another life into the world this coming fall. She had tried to think of a way to soften the blow for Minerva but one look at her friend's face told her that she had failed and miserably. If truths were told, Poppy wasn't entirely sure that she was ready to have a baby but it was a little late for those thoughts now. She would have to tell Alastor soon and hope that he would be excited about their new addition. The two women sat in silence for several long moments, each lost in their own thoughts, before Minerva pulled herself together and congratulated her friend with a hug.To be continued...