Hi everyone, I'm sorry it took me so long to bring this story to an end but somehow it seemed to have outrun itself. But I decided that it needs one last chapter, and though it's not really satisfactory, at least it's an ending to the story. Would be nice if you reviewed.
To Lies, who kicked me into writing the last chapter. ahem ;-)
Harry and Ron had brought Minerva to her bedroom and laid her down carefully on the bed. She didn't seem to care anymore what happened to her; her face seemed curiously blank. It seemed that, with Albus, all her willpower had gone as well.
Ron looked at Harry uncomfortably. He didn't really know what to do. But Harry just sat down next to Minerva, took her hand in his and caressed it gently while whispering comforting words to her. Harry couldn't quite believe either that Voldemort would have been able to overpower Albus so easily but at the moment he was also worried about Minerva.
Slowly, the black-haired witch seemed to realize where she was, and she turned her head to Harry.
"Harry… what happened?" she asked. Minerva couldn't quite remember how she had ended up in her bedroom and on her bed, the only thing she did remember where Severus' horrible words. That Albus had been taken by Voldemort.
"You fainted. Severus caught you, and Ron and I carried you upstairs," Harry said quietly. He eyed his teacher cautiously when Minerva tried to sit up but when he saw that she seemed better, he helped her along.
"I have to go downstairs. I need to talk to Severus." A spark of determination was back in Minerva's eyes, and Ron let out a relieved sigh. He could handle an angry, determined or happy McGonagall all day but that desperate one had been… scary.
"Sure. But let us help you." Both Ron and Harry took one of Minerva's arms and led her downstairs into the kitchen where Hermione had finished cleaning Severus' wounds. The girl was about to put the utensils, she had used, away when the three of them entered. She rushed over to Minerva and hugged her tightly.
"We'll find him, Minerva." Hermione hoped that her voice didn't betray her fears but apparently she succeeded. Minerva hugged her back and nodded shortly before she stepped over to Severus.
"I need your help, Severus." Minerva's voice seemed calm and composed as she spoke to the potions master but he could see that, on the inside, she was shattered.
"Of course, Minerva. We'll leave at once." Severus took his colleague's hand in his and squeezed it gently. He knew that it was dangerous for Minerva to go out fighting even though she hadn't fully recovered from the stunner attack just a couple of weeks ago. But Severus also knew that he wouldn't stand a chance against Minerva, should he just as much as try to stop her from going to Albus' rescue.
The trio stood next to each other, looking at the wizard and witch. Hermione could sense that Harry stiffened when Severus mentioned to go looking for Albus, but she wanted to help to find Albus too.
Since all of them were facing away from the kitchen door, nobody noticed the tall wizard entering the kitchen. He looked battered and bruised and was limping but nonetheless, he looked glad to be there.
"Min." The word hung in the air as if time suddenly stood still. Of course it didn't but it seemed that way to all of them.
Slowly, Minerva turned around to see if her ears had betrayed her. She went pale when she saw the tall figure in the doorway, let out a sob and then raced forward to fling her arms around him.
"Albus!" Minerva buried her face in Albus' beard before she raised her head to kiss him fiercely. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but these were tears of happiness. Albus held her tight and covered her face with kisses, whispering tender words of comfort and reassurance to his beloved wife.
"I'm so sorry I gave you a fright, my darling," he said.
Severus had risen from his chair and walked over to the happy reunited couple.
"Albus, how…" He couldn't quite believe that his employer was back, but of course he was happy about it. Nonetheless it was still curious.
"Voldemort took you. You were just gone all of a sudden, there was nothing I could do," Severus whispered.
Albus whispered something in Minerva's ear and she let go of him so that Albus could pull the young potions master in a tight embrace.
"I know, Severus. Don't worry. But Voldemort didn't take me. Though I'm sure it must have seemed that way. Actually Voldemort and I just chose another site for a battle, just the two of us." Albus seemed quite pleased with himself though he felt a bit guilty for worrying everyone.
"Did you…" Severus yanked back the sleeve on his left arm and searched for the dark mark which was burnt into his skin there. Well, at least it used to be. For as much as he was looking, the mark was gone. Severus looked at Albus with an unbelieving look in his eyes. He had been in Voldemort's services for so long, he couldn't quite imagine that the dark wizard was gone.
"Yes, Severus… I killed him. Well, actually he killed himself," Albus said with a chuckle.
"What?" Minerva couldn't quite believe her ears. Had Albus just said that Voldemort, the darkest wizard of all times, had killed himself?
"Well, yes, he did. He thought he could outsmart me and tried to use a rather ancient spell. Luckily I knew that one and a shield spell which was strong enough to protect me from it. The spell backfired and hit Voldemort." Now Albus was positively beaming at them.
"But…" Harry chimed in. "Are you sure he's gone for good this time?"
"Yes, Harry, I am." Albus winked at the young man before he turned back to his wife and Severus.
"Severus, could you please inform the other Order members about the latest events and tell them to join us for dinner here tonight?" Albus asked, looking at Minerva who gave him an approving nod.
"Yes, of course." Severus nodded and left the kitchen to floo everyone.
Hermione, who seemed to have been frozen to the spot, was finally able to move again and she rushed over to Albus to hug him. Ron and Harry looked at her, slightly embarrassed, but then Minerva came over and pulled both of them in a hug. Grinning, the two boys hugged her back, each of them kissing one of her cheeks.
When Severus came back in to the room, he was quite surprised by the sight that met him. But when Minerva beamed at him with an uncharacteristically large smile he couldn't help but smile back.
"It's good to have the family back together," she said.