Thrice The Tabby Cat Hath Mew'd

Summary: MMAD Minerva McGonagall finishes her last year at Hogwarts pregnant and alone, except for her three best friends - Rolanda 'Skipper' Hooch, Cicely Sinistra and Poppy Pomfrey. She soon returns to work on Animagus training with Dumbledore. Both Albus and Minerva have been hurt before. Can they teach each other how to love?

Rated M (R) for sexual situations/violence/references to rape, etc. Please read and review...

AD/MM (of course) with shades of MM/TR.

Chapter One:

"How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees? Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft..."

-Othello

"Now, calm down Minerva. You're making me nervous!" Poppy Pomfrey told her friend as she watched her pace about Hogwarts' Hospital Wing.

"You just don't understand, Poppy," said Minerva, stopping her repetitive movements for a moment to focus on her chum. "My family is going to kill me! I won't become an Animagus! I'll never find a job! My life is over!"

Poppy, rolling her eyes, slid off of the counter on which she had been seated and went to put an arm around Minerva's shoulders. "Don't panic, Min—"

"Oh, but it seems to be such a perfect time to panic, does it not?" Minerva exclaimed. She resumed her pacing, and Poppy returned to her spot on the counter.

They remained that way in silence for several minutes before Minerva spoke again. "Are you sure you know what you're doing? It takes so awfully long, doesn't it? What if your mum comes in?"

"Calm down, Minerva," said Poppy again. "I know what I'm doing. Healing runs in my family. They don't call me the mini-medi-witch for nothing! And she won't come in in the middle of the night. It'll all be okay, I promise!"

Minerva sighed and sat beside her mate on the counter and rest a hand uneasily over her stomach. "I hope you're right."

Throughout childhood Minerva had been studious, serious, clever and unemotional. She hadn't had many friends prior to beginning her education at Hogwarts, and she wasn't exactly close to her mother and older, married sisters. It actually wasn't until the age of twelve when she had made her first very best friend, then-eleven-year-old Poppy Shayne Pomfrey. Poppy was a vibrant, excitable, popular and energetic child, but she and Minerva got along well and had immediate sister-like chemistry from the moment they sat beside each other on the train. They remembered each other a little from their younger days, when both would be at Hogwarts over the summer holidays or vacations, Minerva with her father, then-Charms professor Lennox McGonagall, and Poppy trying to escape her overbearing parents, the school nurse and a professor. The two girls would meet up and explore the castle together, while Minerva's father's Patronus, an eagle, followed them around, in case they should end up in any trouble.

"He watches us like a hawk," Poppy once joked, causing Minerva to choke on the cinnamon flavored Bertie Botts bean she'd just popped in her mouth. Poppy giggled. She had enjoyed employing the use of puns from an early age, something that appealed to Minerva, also a witty lover of words.

Rounding out their little group of friends were two other girls, Rolanda "Skipper" Hooch, Minerva's tough and mouthy roommate, and Cicely Sinistra, a dark and moody Gryffindor in Poppy's year whose early alliance with the other three had happened almost accidentally. The four girls were very different in terms of mannerisms, upbringing, personality, preferences, and attitudes, but they shared a strong bond and a common goal: To one day return to Hogwarts as members of the staff.

Poppy Pomfrey was probably closest to attaining the goal, despite only being in her sixth year, as she was already expected to follow in her mediwitch mother's footsteps when Prudence was set to retire. Prudence Callington had been Hogwart's Healing Nurse for over a decade before she wed Herbology teacher Heckle Pomfrey twenty years ago, and Poppy was their only offspring. As both of her parents were teachers, Poppy had practically been raised in Hogwarts halls, hence she knew the castle better than anyone. Like her mother, slightly pudgy Poppy had curly reddish-blonde hair, an upturned nose and a scattering of freckles. Their looks (and bossiness) were the only traits the two shared. Poppy also possessed some fearless quality that Minerva, though brave herself, often envied.

Minerva's father, as previously mentioned, had also been a Hogwarts professor, first of Muggle Studies and later, Charms. He loved Hogwarts, staying at the school all week and visiting his wife and three daughters on weekends. He died when Minerva was nine years old, and though she sometimes felt like she hardly knew him, she missed him terribly. He, unlike the female McGonagalls, understood her; he shared her love of books, animals, and knowledge. He had spent more time with her than anyone else. Whenever he was home he was teaching her practical lessons and basic charms, reading Muggle fairy tales to her, and schooling her in the art of chess. She looked most like him too, medium height, and thin with raven black hair that she always, always had tied tight back, despite how long and beautiful it was down. She also inherited her father's smart, expressive green eyes.

Rolanda Hooch, called Skipper, was also from an all-magic family. Her father, Skip Hooch (from whom she got her nickname) was a fabulous Quiddich Seeker, who played for the Chudley Cannons for many years, and her mother, Xiomara Messerschmidt Hooch, worked in the Ministry of Magic as Magical Ambassador to Germany, her native country. Skipper had inherited her father's love of flight, and, lucky for the Gryffindors, she also inherited his talent on the Quiddich pitch. Skipper seemed a name most fitting of the mischievous but typically rule-abiding brunette who could never help but to say what she was thinking. She kept her curly hair just long enough to be put in a ponytail, necessary to keep it away from her eyes during the matches. Rolanda had only one sibling, her 28 year old sister Liesl, an unforgettable beauty who married Wingtown Wanderer Seeker Donovan Parkin one year after leaving Hogwarts. They had no children, but spent their free time travelling all over the world, which made Rolanda just the slightest bit jealous, as she'd never been anywhere outside of Europe.

The last of their little quartet, Cicely Sinistra, was a mysterious, quiet half-blood who came to Hogwarts in the middle of Minerva's second year from a small wizarding school in America. The girl was Britain-born, but for reasons unknown even to her friends, Cicely's mother had moved to the States ten years earlier, when she was nearly seven, and they returned when she had just turned twelve, just after her mother's second divorce. One thing Cicely did explain was her name, which had originally been Aurora Osbourne. "I was named for my father's mother, and when he left my Mum, she wanted to erase all trace of him, so at the age of three she had it changed to Cicely and gave me her maiden name, Sinistra. She changed my last name again when she married a second time, but when we returned to England I fought with her until she agreed to let me have Sinistra back. And I'll never change my name again, not for anybody, ever."

Cicely was sorted into Gryffindor, which came as a surprise to nearly everyone on her mother's side of the family, who fully expected that she'd be in Slytherin as all of the Sinistras before her had been. Cicely had little patience for the other girls in her house, save for Poppy, though she quickly connected with then third-year Rolanda Hooch. Minerva rather liked Cicely, despite her unpredictable mood swings. She found the girl generally honest but secretive, and, on occasion, a trifle frightening. She was very interested in only three subjects offered at Hogwarts, the Dark Arts, Ancient Runes, and though she hardly seemed the starry-eyed sort, Astronomy. Cicely was of average height and weight, with flawless porcelain-white skin and deep brown eyes. She was much more developed than her three friends, skinny Minerva, pudgy Poppy and athletic Rolanda, thus many boys had immense, intense crushes on her. She had naturally dark brown hair, though she often colored it with Muggle dye, so it was no surprise to see her with blonde, auburn, jet-black or purple streaks, a fact that often got her called into Headmaster Dippet's office.

The four girls stuck together through everything in their years of Hogwarts, good and bad, thick and thin…and yet Minerva could only bring herself to tell one girl of her current dilemma.

"Okay, Min, should be ready by now. Want me to check it for you?" Poppy said to Minerva, sliding again off the counter.

"Yes. No…Wait." Suddenly, Minerva didn't want to know.

Poppy sighed and took her friend's hand. "Knowing will be so much better than…not."

"But if I…If I am…Oh, Poppy! I simply cannot have a…What am I going to do?"

"Stop crying. Here, wipe your eyes," Poppy commanded, handing the older girl a clean rag from the pocket of her robe.

"Okay," agreed Minerva, uncharacteristically sniffling as she brushed away her tears. "Let's find out."

She reached for the handle to the door that would lead them into Prudence Callington-Pomfrey's office when suddenly, it opened for them.

The girls stood motionless, frozen, rooted to the ground as the door continued to move and in a moment they were face to face with-

"Oh no," breathed Poppy, as Minerva clutched her hand. "Professor Dumbledore."

A/N I started this before OOTP, and I played a bit with years, namely, Riddle's age has been altered to make him the same age as MM, not seven yrs younger, and Dumbledore is not as old as he is in the books b/c I am a mega admm fan but I don't like too great an age difference, at least when mm is so young, so they are 32 years apart (sry)…I have also made several Hogwarts staff members around the same age though I've no idea whether they are or not, and I made up a first name for Professor Sinistra, the (future) astronomy teacher. :) AL

PS I start each chapter with a Shakespeare quote, as my title, "Thrice The Tabby Cat Hath Mew'd," is taken from Macbeth, and Minerva is, later, a Tabby Cat. Plus, I like Shakespeare. So there ya go. ;)

PS#2 I've noticed that a lot of people on here post disclaimers within their stories. That seems a little silly considering the fact that it's a website dedicated to fanfiction, thus a disclaimer seems almost redundant, that having been said I don't want to feel left out so just let me go on record as saying that I am not JK Rowling. I'm sure that comes as a shock... lol