It's The Way Albus Would've Wanted It
Spoilers: Up to and including OOTP
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Never before had I ever thought anything such as this monstrosity would even be plausible in my mind. Lowering my hands I looked out to the Great Hall, noting I was not the only one who seemed to be in some bizarre sense of disbelief. My eyes caught the famous trio. Ms. Granger was leaning against Mr. Weasley, sobbing dry tears into his chest. Mr. Potter was the worst of the two, his eyes unfocused and bloodshot from silent tears no one had seen, as he lay awake in the Hospital Wing for the past week. Poppy had notified me of Mr. Potter's sleepless nights. It did make sense. He probably wouldn't be here right now if he hadn't have felt the duty to do so. I sighed deeply, looking up to Fudge as he plowed on with his unmoving speech. He couldn't seem to capture the twinkling in Albus' eyes, the mentoring sense he bestowed on all who came across him, the love he had had for everything in this world. My eyes, despite my efforts to restrain them, slowly crept up to the headmaster's seat. For some odd reason, I had sincerely hoped that Albus would be sitting there, intent as always showing to the students just what they should be doing as well. Much to my dismay, Albus wasn't there, occupying the Headmaster's seat. It was eerily empty. Tears began to sting at the corners of my eyes and I let them fall freely down already tear stained cheeks. I closed my eyes, wanting for all of this to disappear. Albus was gone, and I, Minerva McGonagall knew that yet why could I not face the truth? Sometimes, I suppose, the truth hurts more than lies.
I blinked my eyes open.
Oh please, not here again… please.
My normally strong mind had no effect on my body. I cursed myself mentally for going back here of all places. Shouting was coming from the abnormally long hallway that ended abruptly with a regular sized door. I placed a hand on the door handle as I reached it, my mind screaming in protest as tears ran down the length my cheeks. It clicked open as I pushed the handle down and I closed my eyes, tears streaming out of them in frustration and pain.
"Harry! Do not move!"
I blinked my eyes open at the sound of the Headmasters voice. Albus was looking back at Harry who laid sprawled out on the smooth wood floor, his eyes wide in terror.
I screamed at him, running towards the Headmaster but he didn't turn to me. I was as invisible as his presence was to the wizarding world's lives. I stopped in my tracks, looking at the Headmaster who stood in front of me. His eyes were strict as he looked over his spectacles to Voldemort, his wand poised and ready. I whimpered softly.
"Why Albus? Why?"
Turning quickly at movement behind me, I saw Harry scrambling for his wand. His face was covered in long scratch marks, some of which had blood oozing down them. His hand was almost on it…
Then it detonated, leaving scorch marks from where it had only seconds ago lain. Harry withdrew his hand as it began to blister from the heat from Voldemort's spell. I whipped around as Voldemort began to laugh sickeningly at the boy's powerlessness. Gryffindor's are noted for bravery but what I did next shocked even me. I began to advance on Voldemort, anger rising up in me. His scarlet eyes turned to me unknowingly but then darted past me as the door behind Harry whipped open. Several Death Eaters entered, fighting off numerous people. Amazingly I was one of them. Talk about dejá vu. I became silent as I stared at myself, my head tilting to the side. Unfortunately enough, Albus had turned around too at the intrusion. I looked back to Voldemort, my stomach tying in knots at the look of extreme pleasure in his face.
Whipping around, I saw the spell hit Albus squarely in the back. Even to this day, I can still remember the look on his face. It was like watching a light or a star go out. My knees gave out and I fell to the ground, screaming for all that was lost, or was going to be lost. Harry looked up to the Headmaster, his eyes widening in terror. He swiftly moved to Dumbledore's side, tears running down his face. He looked up, anger quickly replacing the pain. Albus had never wanted Harry to kill, not for anyone, and had warned me early on in the boy's childhood of how much his frustration could and eventually would amount to. I saw it that day.
"No. Harry, don't do it…"
I cried at him weakly, yet it had no effect. He grabbed Albus' wand and pointed it directly at Voldemort, anger evident in his posture and expression. The Death Eaters that had been fighting behind him stopped, as did the people who were fighting for the Order; including myself. Time seemed to have stood still against all laws of nature. Harry was shaking.
"You have killed to many people in my life,"
He glared, his nostrils flaring. It seemed he was trying all attempts to restrain himself from charging at Voldemort, who was standing still, watching Harry with mild interest.
This was true; Voldemort had killed off all descendants of Godric Gryffindor, now, except for Harry.
This was true as well, I remember seeing Harry clinging to Cedric's dead body on one late evening in June.
Also true despite the boy's disbelief in his 5th year, Sirius was indeed gone.
"Neville, Bill and Charlie, Tonks, Mundungus, Remus, and now…"
Harry was shaking beyond all control.
"… and now you've snuffed Dumbledore. I've had enough of it!"
Harry screamed the last words and Voldemort actually seemed to begin to fear Harry. The wand that Harry had been holding had drifted slightly but he raised it again, pointing it directly at Voldemort.
Golden and crimson spurted from Albus' wand and Harry flew backwards from the sheer force of it. Next to me, I heard Voldemort fall with a sickening thud. The Death Eaters behind Harry charged at him but the others fighting with me sent stunners at them and they all fell except Bellatrix. She kept going despite the amount of Stunners aimed at her and tackled Harry to the ground. Then the Avada Kedava spell hit her. The order turned around at me in disbelief as I lowered my wand. Albus would've been ashamed of me. You never hit someone when they are unarmed or not facing you. Never.
"…So it is with great respect for the late Albus Dumbledore we announce his successor."
My eyes blinked open and I wiped at them angrily with the arm of my robes. The seat was still empty. I sniffed loudly, seeking solstice from anyone but none came.
"If you all would give a warm round of applause for the new Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall."
The Great Hall broke out in polite applause, the others who had been to absorbed in their own thoughts, quickly joined in. I stared at Fudge, not believing a word of it. I stood, shaking in frustration, in pain. Could these people replace Albus Dumbledore just like that? My movements were obviously unexpected for the applause in the Great Hall stopped. I looked up at fudge, tears brimming in my eyes.
"No one can replace Albus Dumbledore. No one. I will most certainly not be the one to claim his title."
Fudge's mouth opened like a fish and he stared at me nonplussed. I stood rigidly and walked down the length of the Staff Table, then walking down the middle of the Great Hall. I could feel hundreds of eyes upon me but I remained in my composure and exited.
"Well good evening to you to Professor or shall I say Headmistress? I presume you've come to get your things?"
I crossed my arms over my chest and stared down the brim of my glasses at the painting of young lady who was sitting in a field staring up at the stars.
"No I haven't Latona. I've renounced my title as Hogwarts successor of Albus Dumbledore. There is no way I could walk in his footsteps nor would I dare to do such a thing."
Latona eyed me wearily, noticing undoubtedly my tearstained cheeks. My composure went against everything else about me that was visible and seemed to confuse the girl.
"Are you ok Minerva…?"
The portrait opened and I entered, lighting the fire as I passed it. Quickly I changed into something a bit warmer but soft knocking on the door interrupted my thoughts. I clenched my teeth together in frustration. One could never get peace and quiet at Hogwarts.
I managed to say a little more harshly then I had intended.
I turned around and Mr. Potter entered my room. I wiped quickly at my face, the few remaining tears soaking into the soft cloth of robes.
"What is it Mr. Potter?"
Harry looked down to his feet and began to shuffle around, his cheeks tinting a bit. I noted that they were also tearstained, not as harshly as mine.
"The Minister of Magic asked me to come and get you or at least tell you that you'll need to formally renounce your title as Headmistress."
I clenched my teeth harder. The Minister was certainly not one to give up, as long as it wasn't him that was doing all the talking.
"I presume me not taking it in front of the whole body of Hogwarts was not enough?"
I raised a brow and Harry looked up.
"I also came to… to ask you some things… that I need answers to."
I was slightly taken aback by this but I walked over to my desk, standing behind it.
"Have a biscuit Mr. Potter."
Harry did not want a relapse of early memories of being with me and he sat quickly, grabbing a Ginger Newt as he did so.
"What would you like to ask me Mr. Potter?"
Harry looked up at me, swallowing his biscuit dryly.
"I… need to know… about Dumbledore."
I sighed deeply. The time had finally come to tell the boy. I had never intended it to be me neither did Albus. Albus had told me he had wished to tell the boy himself after Harry's fifth year when I first came about the news. However, circumstances had very well changed…
"Harry, what I am about to tell you, was something the Headmaster wished to tell you himself. Is that clear?"
Harry nodded, edging up on his seat.
"I'm sure you know very well that Albus was the only one that Voldemort feared. That was with good cause."
The biscuit remained uneaten in Harry's hand. My momentary pause in talking made him realize I was staring at the Newt and he shoved it in his mouth.
"You see Harry, you are a descendant of Godric Gryffindor-"
"-So that's why I needed to kill Voldemort. He was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin and old feuds needed to end… I know all of this Professor."
I stared at Harry, my lips pursed in frustration from him interrupting me. He went quiet and looked up at me, wanting to continue.
"Yes Harry. I know you know that but what you don't know is that you are the only descendant of Godric Gryffindor, that is, you have been since last week."
Harry's brows knitted up.
"What do you mean last week? My mom…"
"Your mother was also a descendant of Godric Gryffindor, this is true Harry. However, she was not the only one. There was a time when Godric's family ties split into two."
"But that means… that there are still some more out there! Who are they Professor! Why was I chosen to fight Voldemort if I'm not the only one?"
I stared up at Harry who had suddenly stood, demanding answers. I sighed, massaging my temples. Sometimes, students could be so over demanding.
"Please sit Harry and no more interruptions if you really want answers. As I said before I was interrupted, Godric's family split in two. One branched off, ending in the Evan Potter's, the other branched off and formed no other than the Dumbledore's."
Harry stared at me for a minute before leaning back into his chair laughing. The laughter was unanticipated and I raised a brow at him.
"That can't be true, otherwise I wouldn't have gone to live with Dursley's when I was little. I would've lived with Dumbledore."
I sighed deeply, cursing the boy's incompetence.
"No Harry, that isn't true. Dumbledore said to you that the Dursley's were the only family you had, that is, the only family on your Mother's side of Godric's family. Dumbledore was also a Godric Gryffindor descendant but he was far more distantly related to you than your Aunt and Uncle were. Needless to say, he would've had to renounce his title as Headmaster, which was something he would've done but wouldn't have been too happy about. He also wished for you to grow up with out worries of knowing yourself as the-boy-who-lived. Don't you see Harry? Voldemort tried to kill you to kill of the rest of Godric Gryffindor. That's why Voldemort feared Albus. He was told the prophecy that unless you were killed first, Albus would be Voldemort's downfall. Nobody can have better influence on someone other than a family member. Dumbledore helped you become who you are today and that's why you managed to kill Voldemort."
I sighed deeply. I wanted so much to help Harry realize what was going on but he seemed to be having an inner conflict with himself as he soaked up all the information he had just received. The poor boy. I desperately wished that Albus had been the one to tell him, to tell him about their family, but there was no way that it could be changed. It had to have been me otherwise the boy would've been lost in confusion throughout his whole life. Harry stood, dazed, and looked to me.
"Thank you Professor… for everything."
I nodded curtly at him and stood as he exited, making for my traveling cloak. However, Harry did not leave right away. He stood in the doorway and looked back at me.
I replied softly. I looked over my shoulder to the boy and he was looking at me.
"Just so you know… I think you would've done exceptionally well in Dumbledore's shoes."
I smiled softly, tears once more filling my eyes and cascading down my cheeks. I nodded at him.
"Thank you Mr. Potter."
Harry nodded and the door closed. I lifted my hands to my eyes, crying for everything and not trying to stop the overflow of tears. For Dumbledore, for the Order, for Harry and his friends, but most importantly for the wizarding world. So I cried, until I could finally cry no more. I grabbed my cloak and threw it around my shoulders, grabbed some floo powder, and stepped up to the fireplace. I entered and shouted, "Dumbledore Way".
The room I entered was warm, cozy, and exceptionally homely. All around laid overstuffed poufs and chairs.
Just like Dumbledore liked.
I smiled to myself, looking around. The person I was expecting had obviously been here earlier but had left. I sighed and sat into one of the chairs. Looking over to the small table beside me I noticed an old photo album. I pulled it tenderly onto my lap and began to look through pages. My fingers traced slowly over the pictures as I looked over each one delicately. All of them were filled with Albus, smiling, beaming; the old twinkle in his eyes. Each page was filled with glorious pictures of Albus, in all his glory and splendor. I stopped short, my breath catching in my throat as I spotted a particularly familiar picture. I got closer, looking down at all the waving people. There stood Albus, Hagrid, Severus, Filius, Xiomara, Sybill, each and every Professor Hogwarts had, including myself, the summer before Harry started his first year. I remembered that day well; the air had been fresh, the temperature just right, and the lake perfect for swimming in. My fingers grazed the picture and I noticed that the page was slightly damp.
"I was looking at that before I came to find you…"
I jumped at the voice and looked up as Severus Snape entered the room from the fireplace. I smiled at him and looked back down to the picture, tears filling my eyes. Severus walked over, peering over my shoulder at the Album.
"Oh, that day. I remember it well…"
"The water was perfect…"
"Yes. Obviously it was. I'm surprised I didn't swallow the whole lake with all the water that I was forced to drink when people kept dunking me under it."
I looked up at him shocked but he stood up straight looking around the room.
"So this is Dumbledore's place…"
I sighed and looked around me at the room. It was uncanny how much Albus's room at Hogwarts looked like this. The overstuffed chairs and couches, bookshelves filled with strange and exotic books, and portraits lining the walls.
"Yes it is."
Severus chuckled to himself, sitting down in the couch behind me.
"You think he would've gotten bored of it after living here for a couple hundred of years. Think he would've gone for a change in decoration…"
I sniffed loudly and Severus shot his gaze back to me. I shook my head and rested it in my palms, sniffing louder and let the tears fall. You would think that after crying for a week straight, you would have nothing left to cry but that isn't so. I felt Severus' hand upon my back and I twisted around, crying into his chest, loosing my normal strict and stern equanimity. Why did this have to happen?
"It's ok Minerva…"
He patted me halfhearted reassuringly. It was obvious Severus Snape did not know how to deal with women. I sniffed after sometime and pulled back, looking at him. He stared at me and I removed my glasses, wiping at my face.
"I can't seem to stop thinking about him Severus. Everything reminds me of him…"
Severus sighed and leaned up against the couch, nodding slowly. I could've sworn I heard him sniff.
"I know what you mean Minerva."
He sat up, quickly rubbing his eyes and muttering 'something in my eye'. I looked to him and stood, taking the few steps to the couch and sat down on it as he moved closer to the back of it. He looked up at me, with mild interest but I kept my gaze forward, staring into the dancing flames.
"Why didn't you take the position?"
Severus inquired me softly. I looked down to him.
"Because I can never, nor can anyone, take the place of Albus Dumbledore."
Severus nodded softly and looked into the fire. I did the same, watching with no real interest, my mind plagued by thoughts of why and why not's.
"Why did you bring me here?"
Severus asked once more, breaking the stillness.
"I told Mr. Potter…"
Severus sat up, looking at me.
"Why did you do that? Albus wanted to do it himself…"
"The boy wanted answers so I figured I'd give them to him. He has every right to know."
Severus sighed and nodded.
"It was time I suppose. Pity it couldn't have been Albus."
"I remember when he first told me."
"So do I."
Words were not essential after that. I sighed deeply and procured two mugs of hot chocolate, handing one to Severus. He took it with gratitude. Wrapping my fingers around the mug, I looked away from the fire. It reminded me too much of a picture I had seen of Albus with Fawkes; it seemed too bright. I looked to Severus, who had started toasting crumpets over the fire. I felt my fingers wrap even more around the mug.
"I'm sorry Severus."
He looked up to me, stopping temporarily from anything else he was doing.
"For… everything. I'm sorry for relying on you more for a colleague than a friend. I'm sorry for not lending a hand when a hand needed to be lent. I'm sorry for not helping you when you were a student. I'm sorry for the way things have been Severus. If I could turn back time, I would. No one should have to go what you've gone through…"
Severus was looking away from me, back into the fire. He was silent for several prolonged moments but then he sighed deeply, standing up.
"It's ok Minerva, apology accepted."
He walked over to one bookcase, looking up at the pictures that were on them. He pulled a particularly dusty one down and rubbed away all the grime.
"Merlin… who is this?"
I walked over, still clutching to my mug of hot chocolate. I looked over Severus' shoulder, placing a gentle hand on it.
"Ah… that would be Chiron. I went to school with him. He's Albus' son."
Severus wheeled around, dropping the picture, the glass shattering all over the floor.
"Albus had a son! There is no way that is possible…"
"Ah, Severus it is though. You never had the opportunity to meet the boy…"
I sighed deeply and crouched down, repairing the picture and placed it gently back on the shelf. I looked up and Severus looked absolutely sickened with me.
"Old habits die hard Severus."
I sighed deeply and went back to the fireplace, sitting on the charred rug in front of it. Severus came over and brushed his lanky hand across my shoulders as he did so. I didn't look at him; I didn't look at anything in particular.
Severus said softly and I looked over to him. He was staring at me intently.
"I miss him Severus…"
I choked up, tears welling once more in my eyes. I leaned over to Severus, laying my head on his shoulder.
"I do to Minerva…"
So, we talked about Albus for several hours, about all the good times and the bad. We had a few laughs, we shed a few tears. What was most important though was that we remembered Albus, remembered him with respect. We both agreed that Albus had played an important role in our lives and he would not be forgotten easily. Soon the clock tolled midnight and in unison we both looked to it, the rain outside finally showing signs of letting up and revealing a starry night. I sighed deeply and looked to the fire.
"I should be going Severus… it's not right for the new Headmistress and her Deputy to be out this late and unattended now is it?"
I chuckled at Severus unconcealed shock.
"Your excepting the Title and your making me the Deputy Headmaster!"
I could hardly keep the amusement off of my face as I stood and grabbed my traveling cloak, swirling it around my shoulders. I looked down to the old photo album and grabbed it, tucking it squarely away in my robes. Stepping up to the fireplace, I took a good amount of floo powder and threw it into the fireplace. The flames changed color and I looked around to Severus who was standing unnervingly close to me. He stared down at me, not saying a word, then brushed his lips against mine. I looked downwards, at a loss for words. His hand cupped around my chin, lifting my gaze to his. I stepped backwards and away, turning back towards the fireplace. I cast a gaze over my shoulder at Severus who stood there, staring mutely at me.
"It's the way Albus would've wanted it."
I smirked, as did Severus, and stepped into the fire.
A/N Ok, now before you go and bite off my head saying that all of my events and whatnot are wrong, read this. I know that it may not seem plausible that Albus and Harry are related. However, I've read a bit into this theory and it makes sense to me. Ms. Rowling said in an interview awhile back that Lily Evans Potter eye color was important. Now, I believe that if Aunt Petunia's eyes were of a different color than Lily's, Lily may have been adopted. If Lily was therefore adopted, no one knows of her true ancestry which could really be she is related to Godric Gryffindor. Needless to say, it's also pretty obvious in the books that Harry is a descendant anyways. Gold and red sparks from the first time he waves his wand, born under the sign Leo which is a lion, his parents lived in Godric Hollow, and so much more. So that would make Harry a true Gryiffindor. In COS, it blatantly says that only a true heir of Slytherin could open the chamber of secrets and we find out later that the memory of Lord Voldemort, Tom Marvolo Riddle, opened the chamber 50 years ago and then that year. That would make Lord Voldemort a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Now, if Harry and Voldemort will eventually kill each other and end old feuds between the houses, why is Voldemort so afraid of Dumbledore? My theory is that Albus is also a descendant of Godric Gryffindor, just branched off a lot from Harry's side of the family. Voldemort was foretold that unless he killed Harry when he was a baby, that Albus would have too much of a great influence on the child's life, and therefore Harry would end up killing Voldemort in the end. So that's my theory, you can like it or reject it I don't care. I only hope it's not to confusing. This story is quite interesting, since I've never done this narrative before. (I believe it's first narrative but I could be wrong) I'm sorry if it sounds stupid because of the narrative but once again, I've never written in this way before. Well, this Authors Note is much to long now, as is this short passage (almost 10 pages!) so I'll be off. Sorry if it has any small spelling errors or typos, I have a tendency to not notice them. Roses