A Mother's Heart
A/N: Of course I don't own the lot, just borrowed them.
I'm not really happy with that but I hope you like it nonetheless.
Minerva sat in her chambers, trying to read a book. The summer holidays had just started, and her husband of more than 40 years, Albus Dumbledore, had finally been able to return from his exile. But even though the rumble from their leaving students had died down hours ago, Minerva just wasn't able to concentrate on her book. It was actually one of her favourites but still…
Her thoughts kept wandering back to Harry who had seemed so downright unhappy when he had left. And it was more than understandable. He had just lost the last connection to his parents. Though he hadn't known Sirius for long he had been very close to him. And Sirius had cared very much for the boy. And now? Did Harry have an adult he could turn to when he was in need of help? Minerva didn't know. The Dursleys were out of the question, of course, but there wasn't really anyone else. Before the recent events Harry would have probably turned to Albus but after what had happened during the last school year he didn't seem to trust him that much anymore.
Minerva sighed. She desperately wanted the boy to be happy. He had already gone through so much.
"What's wrong, darling?" Albus had heard her sigh and looked up from his papers he was working on. "It's certainly not the book, is it?" he observed.
His wife shook her head.
"No, I was just thinking." She smiled at him weakly and tried to return to her book. Albus frowned a bit. He had known her for far too long to let her get away with that. So he rose from his chair and went over to her, kneeling in front of her and putting his hands on her knees.
"My dear, what is it? Surely you can tell me?" He smiled at her encouragingly.
Minerva sighed again and laid the book on the coffee table. It wouldn't do to try and keep Albus in the dark. He always knew if something was bothering her so she could as well tell him.
"I was thinking about Harry, love. He looked so lonely and desperate when he left the castle." She covered his hand with hers and squeezed it lightly. Albus nodded. He had noticed that the boy hadn't looked too well but it was only understandable after what he had gone through.
"But you can't help him at the moment. It will be best for him to stay with his family. And I'm sure Molly and Arthur will make him stay for some time too." Albus tried to get up but hadn't counted on the resistance his wife held.
"Albus, after all what happened last year you can't just leave him with that horrible family. You know they make him suffer. You have known all along. I should never have let you go through with your plan of leaving him there. We could have taken him in instead." Minerva stood and began pacing the room.
"Minerva, please. We've already discussed this several times. And at that time we agreed that it was best for him to stay with Lilly's sister." Albus tried to remain calm and in control of the situation, knowing the temper of his wife.
"But why now? They won't help him cope with his grief over Sirius. They won't understand. They will just make him more miserable." She turned to face him, and he could see tears in her beautiful green eyes.
Quickly Albus went to her and took her in his arms, holding her close and whispering comforting words. He thought about the situation. Sure it wouldn't hurt to let Minerva check on Harry. Her fears would be calmed and Harry would know that they cared. And he did care for the boy. In fact Harry meant more to him than anybody, except perhaps Minerva, realized.
Albus led her to the sofa and helped her sit down. He still held her close, wanting her to take comfort from his presence.
"Minerva, love, why don't you just go and see Harry tomorrow? Let him know we're there for him whenever he needs somebody to talk to." Lovingly he wiped away Minerva's tears and kissed her lightly. She nodded slowly.
"Yes, that would be nice…" she smiled. "But couldn't we just…" her voice trailed of as if she was afraid to ask. And indeed she wasn't sure how Albus would react to her request. She wasn't even sure if Harry would like the idea but she had to ask Albus first.
"What, love?" Albus searched her eyes for a hint.
Minerva took a deep breath. She had thought about that quite a lot and had come to the conclusion that it might be the best solution.
"Couldn't we just let Harry stay with us over summer? I mean not at Grimmauld place even though I know it would be the safest place for him with all the wards and so on… But perhaps my family home. Or your summer house. I think Harry has already enough on his plate to deal with – without his aunt and uncle treating him badly." She looked at him so pleadingly he had to smile. He knew that she had already made up her mind but that his opinion was important to her.
Albus looked at his fingers. Of course he knew that Harry was hardly treated like human being by his relatives but he wasn't sure the boy would want to be with his teachers all summer. But it might be worth a try. Merlin knew that he wanted to help Harry cope with everything. And Minerva had always felt like a mother for him.
"Darling, it's up to Harry. You should ask him, and whatever you decide is fine by me." He kissed her gently to assure her, and when he pulled back he saw one of those radiant smiles he loved so much in his wife.
"Thank you, love." Minerva threw her arms around his neck, happy that he had agreed. But she also knew that it was partly because he still felt guilty for not being able to be there for her after she had been hit by the stunners.
Albus took out his watch and noticed that it was already past midnight. He yawned involuntarily.
"I think we should go to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day." He held out his hand for her and together they went to the bedroom. Cuddling up against each other they both fell asleep immediately.
Harry had just come back with his uncle. It was very unusual for Vernon Dursley to take his nephew with him for a shopping trip but his son Dudley hadn't felt up to it, and he had needed someone to help him carry the heavy boxes. So Harry had been taken to the store instead. When Vernon drove up the drive way of number 4 Privet Drive he saw a cat sitting on the stone pillar. Harry saw the cat and thought that it looked oddly familiar but he wasn't quite sure about that.
Vernon stopped the car, got out and opened the trunk of the car in order to unload all the boxes containing the computer stuff he had bought for Dudley. When he glanced at the pillar the cat was still there, looking at him intently.
"Shoo!" Vernon stomped his foot in order to make it go away but the cat didn't move. In fact it didn't even flinch, just gave him a very annoyed look. Suddenly Harry realized who that was. He smiled at the cat.
"Hello, professor," he said, smiling for the first time in days.
Vernon looked at him in utter bewilderment.
"What do you mean by that, boy? I'm sure even at your school you're not taught by animals."
"Well…" Harry didn't have to reply because in that moment Petunia had opened the front door, the cat jumped off the pillar and ran inside. Petunia gave a little scream and looked after the cat. Harry just grinned and followed the cat while Vernon heaved the box out of the trunk and brought it inside. When he entered his living room he saw Harry being hugged tightly by a strange woman in wizard's robes while the cat was nowhere to be seen.
"Who are you? And what are you doing in my house?" Vernon demanded to know.
Harry untangled himself from Minerva's arms and turned to his uncle.
"Uncle Vernon, I'd like you to meet Professor McGonagall, the deputy headmistress of Hogwarts, head of Gryffindor house and my transfiguration teacher." Harry grinned because his uncle was obviously really uncomfortable under Minerva's stern look.
"Good day, Mr Dursley." Minerva offered him her hand but didn't expect him to shake it. And he didn't.
"That didn't answer my question of what you are doing in my house." Vernon said icily. He didn't want one of THEM in his house.
Minerva cleared her throat. She hadn't expected a warm welcome but surely she hadn't thought of something that… cold. And it wasn't only towards her; she could sense that Harry encountered the same resentment in his relatives.
"I wanted to make sure Harry is alright," she answered, holding Vernon's gaze.
"Well, are you convinced now?" he barked at her, before leaving the room. Even though he wouldn't admit it he was a bit afraid of the witch. After all SHE was allowed to use magic, and he was sure she would.
Harry motioned for Minerva to follow him to his room where they would be undisturbed by the Dursleys. Not that they would dare to come near Minerva but he wanted to make sure they wouldn't throw funny looks at her.
Minerva took a look around before she sat down on his bed. She smiled at him.
"So, how are you, Harry?" she asked.
Harry looked at her, then went to the window and looked out. He sighed.
"I'm fine, thanks." He turned around but didn't look at her. She stood and walked over to him, putting her arm around his shoulder.
"Harry, you don't have to be brave all the time. I know that you miss Sirius terribly," she said softly. When she felt Harry tense at her words she pulled him into another embrace which made him tense even further at first but then he relaxed in her arms and started to sob. He had never been embraced like that in his life, and it felt good. So Minerva just held him while he cried out his grief over his godfather.
When his sobs finally died down he pulled away from Minerva, slightly embarrassed by his display of emotions.
"I'm sorry, professor," he said.
"No need to be sorry, dear. Everyone needs to cry once in a while." She pulled out a handkerchief and handed it over to Harry.
"So… have you heard anything of Mr Weasley and Miss Granger?" Minerva asked casually, sitting down again. She didn't want to interfere with any plans Harry might have with his fellow Gryffindors so she thought it best to ask first.
"No, nothing." Harry looked crestfallen. Of course he hadn't expected them to write immediately but they hadn't answered any of his owls yet.
"Would you…" Minerva started but didn't know how to continue.
Harry looked at her expectantly. It wasn't like professor McGonagall to be at a loss of words like now so it had to be something.
"Harry, would you like to spend the holidays with Professor Dumbledore and me?" she asked. "Not at Grimmauld Place, of course, but in my family home."
Harry couldn't believe what he had just heard. Professor McGonagall invited him to her home. That was indeed something. Now it was Harry's turn to be left speechless.
"Well…" he started but Minerva interrupted him.
"You don't have to if you don't want to. We just thought you might like to get away from your… relatives," she said with a sideward glance towards the door.
Harry shook his head.
"I would love to leave this place but I don't need your pity. I can cope alone," Harry said proudly. He didn't want to be pitied. He had had that all his life. And he was sick of it.
"Harry, we don't pity you. We care for you." Minerva simply said. She didn't know whether she could do anything to convince Harry. It was so difficult for him to trust adults, and his relationship with Albus was slightly damaged after the last school year. But Minerva hoped that he would trust her enough to open up a bit. And to believe her.
"But…" Again Harry was speechless. He had never seen stern professor McGonagall so open about her feelings. Sure he had known she liked him but he had never thought…
"It's true, Harry. I love you. I always have." She stood and walked over to him.
There she stood in front of him. She had laid her emotions open to him. Now it was up to him what to do. Harry felt kind of helpless but immensely moved by her revelation. So perhaps he wasn't alone after all. He felt tears dwell up in his eyes again but this time he wasn't ashamed. He had wanted to hear those words from someone so badly for so long… And now, finally…
Harry stepped closer to Minerva and hugged her tentatively. She smiled and pulled him closer, closing her eyes as she did so. So the boy hadn't lost his trust in her after all. Everything would be alright now. She would make sure of that.
"Thanks, professor." Harry whispered against her hair. He knew that it couldn't have been easy for her to convince Dumbledore to let her come, and he appreciated it. And perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to spend the summer holidays with his two professors.
"Nothing to thank for, Harry," she smiled. "Oh, and of course Mr Weasley and Miss Granger can come too if they want." She felt him tighten his grip on her in reward.
When Harry finally released her from that bear hug he had a huge smile on his face.
"I would love to come, Professor."
"I think you should call me Minerva if we are to spend our holidays together. I'll pick you up tomorrow at 10 o'clock." She opened his bedroom door only to find Dudley in front of it. He gave a squeal when he saw her and ran in his room, shutting the door tight.
Harry snorted. Minerva just gave him a stern look but couldn't help but smile herself.
"See you tomorrow then, pro… Minerva." He wasn't sure what to do but leaned forward slightly and kissed her on the cheek.
"See you tomorrow, Harry." She gave his arm a light squeeze and turned into her animagus form to reach the apparation point.
Later that evening Minerva and Albus lay in bed, snuggled up against each other while Minerva told him about her day. She told him about her brief encounter with Mr Dursley and the talk with Harry.
Albus seemed pleased that the boy had agreed to stay with them for the summer holidays. He kissed his wife lightly on the temple and pulled her closer.
"You really love him, do you?" he asked.
"Just as you do." She raised her head to look at him with a wicked grin on her face. Though Albus had never said anything like it she knew he felt that way for the boy. It had always been that way, ever since James and Lilly had been killed. But he had never dared to show it, perhaps because he feared for Harry's safety, perhaps because he didn't want to be blamed to favour him.
Albus smiled at his wife. She was too clever to be outsmarted, he should have known it.
"Yes, I admit it." Brushing his lips over hers he settled more comfortably into the pillows.
"Oh, and I've already sent out owls to Miss Granger's parents and to Molly and Arthur. I told Harry that his friends could come too. I guessed it would be way too boring for him with us alone," she chuckled.
Albus groaned. He knew the kids were good at heart but they would turn everything upside down, just like they did here at school. But then again he always liked to have young people around, and it wouldn't be boring for him and Minerva either after all.
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