Title: Here for me
Author: Tartan Lioness
Summary: Minerva gets some terrible news. She tries to hide behind her façade of stone.
Warning: Minor Original Character death
Disclaimer: All I own is the plot. I have no money so please don't sue me!
A/N: Thanks to Lily my beta, friend and Soul Sistah! And this is dedicated to Gabi Hviid who will never read this cuz she doesn't have a life and therefore isn't an ADMM shipper… Luv ya, hon!
As the owls came flying in, Minerva McGonagall looked up from her place at the Gryffindor Table. She never got mail in the middle of the month, only on the first of every month but that didn't stop her from hoping that there would be something for her. She was surprised when a beautiful golden owl landed in front of her. Until she recognized it as her mother's favorite owl, Gwynith. Frowning she took the letter attached to it's claw and opened it. The letter was simple.
Will you please meet me in Headmaster Dippet's office at seven o'clock tonight?
I have something important to tell you.
I love you,
Minerva was more than curious. The entire day she was thinking about the letter. Why would her mother ask to see her in the Headmaster's office? Something must have happened. 'And I probably don't want to know what it is.'
At six fifty-five that evening she made her way to Dippet's office. Frowning like she had almost all day she knocked on the great wooden door. At the sound of his voice telling her to come in she opened the door. Her mother sat in a chair in front of the large desk. Minerva swung her long black braid over her shoulder so it hung down her back and went over to hug her mother. At Dippet's request she sat down in one of the vacant chairs. And waited.
Finally after five minutes it knocked on the door and Minerva's favorite teacher, Professor Albus Dumbledore, came in. Albus and Minerva had become friends over the past few months as he helped her become an animagus. Minerva was getting worried. She was sitting in the Headmaster's office with her mother and her professor. Something had to be wrong.
"Minerva, darling," her mother began. "There's something I need to tell you. As you know Grindelwald is on the way to become even more powerful and the killings will multiply. But… sweetheart… He came to our home two days ago. He… he…" She couldn't finnish the sentence. She broke down, sobbing with her head in her hands. Minerva was scared now. She turned towards Albus. "Professor? What is going on?"
Albus kneeled in front of her and took her hands in his as Dippet tried to comfort Minerva's mother.
"Miss McGonagall… Minerva… Grindelwald came to your house and he… he killed your father," Albus spoke quietly. Minerva's eyes widened. She began shaking her head. "No… no…. NO! It can't be true! You're lying!" and with those words she got out of the chair, pushed Albus away and ran.
She ran faster than she had ever run before. Outside, not really caring where she went. Over the Quidditch pitch, towards the locker-rooms.
She sat on one of the benches, sobbing into her robes. She wanted nothing more than to be alone at the moment.
She heard the door open and someone walk in. She quickly wiped her eyes so that no one would see her tears.
"Minerva? Are you okay?" Minerva turned to face him.
"No, Professor Dumbledore. I'm not okay, I'm feeling horrible. And please leave. This is the Ladies Locker Room."
"I know. But I can't leave. You are my student. I care about you. And you shouldn't be alone at a time like this."
"I want to be left alone, Professor!"
"Minerva, I'm not going to force you to talk to me or anybody else. But if you feel the need for someone know that I'll always be here for you." He turned around and left the Locker Room. Minerva frowned. Then she dried the last few tears off her face and left.
Poppy Pomfrey, Rolanda Hooch and Gabriella White, Minerva's best friends sat in the Gryffindor Common Room.
"What are we going to do? She won't open up to us!" Poppy was in despair. None of them knew what to do with their friend. Minerva had not talked much to them lately. Whenever they had asked her a question she had replied with monosyllabic words. They knew something had to be wrong, the question was; what?
"You know her, Poppy! She'll rather deal with it on her own than ask for our help!" Gabi said.
"But she can't deal with the world all by herself! She needs help!" Rolanda exclaimed. "Bloody stubborn girl!"
"Take it easy, Ro," Gabi said as Rolanda started her rantings. "We need to get Min to open up to us and you pacing a hole in the carpet won't help us."
"No buts, Ro!"
A few days later Minerva had still not opened up, despite her friends' tries. But she knew that she had to talk to someone or she would collapse. And therefore she was standing outside Albus' office with her hand raised to knock. She had been standing like that for the past minute. 'Can I trust him? Yes, I can. Should I trust him? Yes. Can I make myself knock on his door and ask for his help? No… I can't. Should I? Yes. But I can't. Oh just do it, Minerva McGonagall!'
She knocked. And waited. Then she heard his voice telling her to enter.
"Professor… You said that if I needed to talk…"
"Yes, yes, of course, come in."
Minerva was silent. She didn't know what to say. Just to be in his presence helped her.
"I… I haven't talked to Ro, Gabi or Poppy about it."
"I don't know… I feel like I should cope alone."
"Minerva, no one should cope alone. You might try to put up your façade to fool your friends but I'm afraid you can't fool me, Minerva. You might be seventeen but you're still only a child. You need to talk to someone or it's consume you."
"I know, Professor. But I don't cry in puplic. I cry when I'm alone, when no one can hear me."
"Minerva, why do you feel like you have to hide? Do you not think that your friends would love you just as much if you showed weakness?"
"I have never shown weakness, Sir, and I'm not about to start now."
"Perhaps your greatest weakness is that you won't accept your weakness. Everybody and everything has their borders, Minerva, even bravery. Your friends will be there for you, and so will I."
"Professor… when my mum came I knew something was wrong. Maybe I knew what had happened but just didn't want to admit it to myself. I knew that Grindelwald was out to get my family. I don't know if you know but the Grindelwalds and the McGonagalls have always hated eachother. We've shared a mutual hathred for each other for centuries. It's like Romeo and Juliet. Grindelwald fell in love with my older sister. Eliza refused him, knowing that their family is pure evil. Since then he has been even more eager to kill us all off. And now he got Father," Minerva sobbed. "We knew that some day he'd get us all. He'll do everything in his power to kill us. You know the hathred between Vladimir Malfoy and Frederick Weasley? That's the clostest you can get to the Grindelwald/McGonagall enmity. But while the Malfoy/Weasley is simply a matter of ethics, this is a matter of life and death. It may sound melodramic, but I've been raised with the fear of the Grindelwald family. My Boggart, Professor, turns into Grindelwald because it is that family I'm most afraid of. He will sooner or later kill my entire family, including me, unless he's stopped. And he keeps gaining power! Are people that blind? Can't they see through his lies? Is it going to take for him to kill half the wizarding world before people understands that he is pure evil?"
Albus silently swore to protect the young girl, sitting next to him, with everything he had. As she told her tale he became even more determined to kill Grindelwald. He knew that some day he'd kill him. And that day had better arrive before he killed Minerva or the rest of her family. No one deserved to go through that, especially not this wonderful young girl. Seventeen years of living in fear of a man, a family, was more than many knew how to handle. And yet she had. She had never broken down. Not before now.
"My father and I have always been close. I was Daddy's Girl. Eliza has always been much more feminine than me. She loves dresses and jewelery. I love Quidditch, to climb trees and before I went to Hogwarts my best friend was a muggle boy named Jack. I was what the muggles call a Tomboy. An outdoor type of girl. And my dad has always loved the outsides of our grounds. He loves… loved… to run outside with me, he taught me how to make a bow and arrows and how to aim and fire correctly. He always said that when I grew up I'd inherit his bow. And I'd always counter with 'but no, dad. If I get your bow, what will you shoot with?'. Maybe he knew too. Maybe he knew that when I got old enough to carry, much less use his bow, he'd be gone. Maybe he knew…" Minerva stopped speaking, tears sliding down her pale cheeks.
"Minerva… come here," Albus whispered, taking her in his arms. In his embrace her tears came faster until she was sobbing uncontrolably in his beard.
"Miss White, Miss Pomfrey, Miss Hooch, would you please follow me?" Albus said one day after dinner a week later. The three friends looked at each other. "What did we do?" Rolanda whispered to her friends. They shrugged. They did so many crazy things. Not lately though. Minerva had always been a part of it and since she still didn't speak to them it was no fun. So therefore there had been no late night strolls on the grounds, illegal trips to Hogsmeade, no pranks or anything else.
"Please sit down," Albus told them when they reached his office.
"Professor, we didn't do anything!" Gabi blurted. Rolanda and Poppy glared at her. An unmistakable twinkle appeared in Albus' eyes.
"I'm not trying to accuse you of anything, Miss White. I know you haven't done anything illegal…" 'That's what YOU think' they all thought. "… lately," Albus finished, with a slight cluckle. The three friends blushed.
"But that is not the reason you're here. Miss McGonagall?" he called. Minerva stepped into his office. Her friends looked expectantly at her. She sat down next to Albus and began to explain to them the reason why she was so gloomy. At times she stopped and didn't seem to be able to go on. Every time Albus squeezed her hand, comforting her so she could continue until her friends knew all about what had happened.
"Minerva!" Albus yelled as her made his way through grass and blood. She had sunk down and was now on her knees. "He's gone, Minerva, he's gone. You have nothing to fear. Please stay here, Minerva. Don't die. Be strong, Minerva." She looked at him, tears in her eyes.
"You swore you'd kill him. You've kept your promise, Albus. Thank you."
"I couldn't have done it without you, Minerva. Your father would be so proud of you," he whispered as he held the young Auror in his arms. "But we need to get you to St. Mungo's."
Letting her go he rose. "GRINDELWALD HAS BEEN DEFEATED!" he yelled. The Aurors, warriors and those left behind roared with all the power they could muster after the exhausting battle.
Albus sunk down next to Minerva again and lifted her to take her to the hospital. He had revenged the death of so many innocents. And he had done it bofore Grindelwald could kill more of the young woman in his arms' family.
Minerva looked up from her place at the High Table. Albus sat down beside her. "Goodmorning, my dear. Are you okay?"
"It's been twenty years, Albus. I still miss him. But I'll be fine," she quietly said. He squeezed her arm in a comforting way.
After breakfast she stood and made her way to her personal chambers. On the wall hung a beautiful bow and an arrow-case filled with arrows. She took them down from the wall. They were sacret to her. Her father's bow and arrows. The most beautiful weapon she'd ever seen.
She went to the apparation point and apparated to her childhood home, the McGonagall Manor. "Mother! Are you here?" she called as she entered the hall. 'Strange. She's almost always either here or outside. And as it IS winter she ought to be inside.'
Minerva went up the stairs to her mother's room. "Mother?" Still no answer. Minerva frowned and entered her mother's room after not receiving any answer to her knocking. Her mother was lying in her bed. Minerva smiled. Her mother had always been a beautiful woman, even in her older years. And she looked so peaceful lying there sleeping. "Mother?" Minerva said, trying to wake her up. They had always visited her father's grave together, Minerva, Eliza and their mother.
"Mother?" she said a little louder. Then she went to her mother's side to shake her awake. But the moment Minerva touched her mother, tears sprung to her eyes. She was cold. She wasn't breathing. She was dead. Minerva shook her head in disbelief, then in denial, more and more frantic. "No!" The tears streamed down her face. She heard the door to the Manor open. Her sister's voice calling for both of them. Footsteps up the stairs. The door opened. Eliza stepped in, smiled at their mother, then noticed her sister's tear-streaked face. "Min? What's the matter?" When Minerva didn't answer Eliza looked from her to her mother and back at Minerva. She strided over to the bed and put a hand on their mother's cheek. She paled. "Minerva? Is she…?" Minerva could only nod. "No… It can't be true… She can't be… Minerva! Tell me it's not true!"
They sank down on the floor, crying in each other's arms.
That was how Albus found them thirty minutes later. He had come to say goodbye to a man he had always admired and to be there for Minerva. But when he found no signs of visitors at the grave of Minerva's father, he went into the great Manor only to hear the sounds of two people crying upstairs. He hurried up the stairs and into the bedroom where he found Minerva and Eliza in the arms of each other, crying their eyes out. He didn't say anything, he just stood there until he seemed to wake from a trance and put his arms around the McGonagall daughters.
When Minerva, Eliza and Albus went outside Albus stayed in the background until Minerva took his hand and led him with them. "She lived twenty years without the only man she's ever loved. She didn't die from old age or an illness. She died from heartbreak, Albus. People may say that that isn't possible but she was an evidence that it can happen. When Father died a part of herself died with him. She gave him her life, her soul. And when he died, so did her will to live. She would never kill herself. But she didn't fight death."
"I know, Minerva, I know… can I ask you a question, Minerva?"
"Is that why you seem to be so afraid to fall in love? Because you're afraid you're going to give away your soul?"
"Albus, you must understand something. I am not the type of woman a man would fall for and even if he did, yes, I'm afraid to give my soul away."
They stopped talking as they had now reached to point where Albert McGonagall was buried.
"Thank you, Albus, for being here for me today. It was difficult to bury her. I'm so glad you were there to lean on," Minerva whispered a few days later as she and Albus sat in his living-room.
"Always, Minerva. You can always lean on me."
Minerva hesitated. Then she asked him, "Do you remember our conversation from the day we… found my mother?"
"Yes, of course I do."
"Well, I realized something…"
"Yes?" he encouraged her as she stopped, obviously hesitating.
"I realized that it's too late. I already gave my soul away." Albus swallowed. Okay, so that meant that she was in love. 'So what? Did you actually believe that she could ever care for you as more than a friend? Did you actually believe that she could ever love you as you love her? You're old enough to be her father, if not her grandfather! Be serious!' a little evil voice in his head said.
"You mean you're in love?"
"More than in love, Albus. I want to spend the rest of my life with this man." Albus felt his heart sink.
"I see. I hope you'll be very happy, Minerva." Every word pained him. He got up to leave.
"Albus? Whether or not I'm happy depends on you."
"Don't you think it should depend on whomever you're so taken with? Wouldn't that be fairest to him?"
"Ah, but Albus, it does depend on that man."
"Then why do you say it depends on me?"
Minerva looked him straight in the eyes. Suddenly it dawned on him. His eyes widened. She looked away and blushed. Then she got up and went for the door. But Albus grabed her arm.
"I'm sorry, Albus, I shouldn't have said anything. You obviously don't feel that way about me. I shouldn't have been foolish enough to give you my soul."
"And I, Minerva, shouldn't have been so afraid to keep it from you that you own mine."
"Albus? Do you mean what I think you mean?"
He leaned in to kiss her. She responded to his kiss. He wraped his arms around her slim waist. When they parted again he grinned at her. "If you think that I mean that I love you, then yes, I do mean what you think. I love you, Minerva McGonagall."
"I love you too, Albus Dumbledore. Take care of my soul."
"Take care of mine."
A black-haired, blue-eyed man greeted a brown-haired, green-eyed woman with an embrace and kissed her for the first time in twenty years. They looked down at their daughter, who had finally found the love they shared. The love that lasted eternally. "I suppose my death was for a good cause then," the woman smiled. The man grinned at her.
"It sure was, love. I have missed you so much."THE END
A/N: I tried to get my own feelings into this. My beloved grandfather is dying but it's so difficult to express these many feelings in writing. I know he'd be better off dying as he's in great pain and yet I'll miss him so much. Thank you once again to Lily for being here for me to talk to. You are a true friend.
Review please and tell me what you think…