Disclaimer: I don't own any of this; otherwise I wouldn't be spending my time like this, would I? It's all property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.
Warning: real, real fluffy! It's a romance thingee so, yee be warned! Little bit of HP/GW, well, that's only the firstlittle partactually, the rest is all about AD/MM
It has a tiny bit of an out of character Snape in it. But I couldn't think of another professor, I could change it, though, but I don't think I will... AD/MM need their Snape in every story, methinks
As you'll see, it takes place shortly after the events in OotP.
Had She Known
It'd been a month since the ministry had finally believed what Harry and Professor Dumbledore had been saying for over a year now. It was only after Fudge had seen him with his own eyes that he believed Voldemort was back. Harry and Dumbledore received a full apology and the second war for the world had begun.
Harry woke up and looked at his watch. It was only five o'clock on his sixteenth birthday. He went back to bed and tried to ignore the nagging feeling in his stomach. He'd been having it since he left the department of mysteries, a little over a month ago. There, he had seen his godfather, Sirius Black, get killed by his, Sirius' cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.
He'd gone through a rough couple of days after that. Everyone asked him to relive the events in the ministry and the evening he saw Voldemort return. That night was over a year ago now, so that was easier for him to talk about. But still, reliving how you saw a fellow student getting killed by the most evil wizard of the time wasn't very uplifting for anyone. And to make matters worse, he was stuck in Privet Drive once again.
Even though he understood now why he had to spend some time there every year, it didn't make living with the Dursleys any easier. Although his cousin finally started to grow up, being ignored completely by the only people in the house was certainly not the happiest way to spend the holidays. Harry had got the silent treatment from his aunt and uncle before, but he didn't like it anymore now than he had back then.
Fortunately he had the letters from the one person who had helped him through the aftermath of the ordeal in the department of mysteries. Ginny. She'd written to him almost on a daily basis. Luckily Mr and Mrs Weasley had forgiven their son Percy for his disrespect, Percy had decided to moved back home and Ginny could use his owl, Hermes, to send some of her letters. However strong Hedwig was, making the journey to the Burrow and back again every day, had even worn her out.
Harry had been glad when Ginny got over her crush and started to talk to him a couple of years ago. And he had grown very fond of her. She was the only one who had the slightest idea how Harry felt, since she was the only one he knew had been possessed by Voldemort, once in his second year.
They had spent a lot of time together the days before the holidays when Harry had to return to Privet Drive. And after that, their letters had become increasingly intimate. Until one time some two weeks ago, she had signed one of her letters with 'I love you'.
He'd been so overwhelmed with joy and so scared of reading too much into it, he hadn't responded for days. This had caused Ginny's letters to get very worried. She asked if something had happened, if he wasn't receiving her letters.
Finally he plucked up the courage, wrote her a letter and tried to ask her very discretely what she'd meant with the 'I love you' line. He tried to do it very inconspicuous, so as not to offend her. (He almost put it in there as an afterthought)
Since then he signed his letters with 'with love' too.
She'd answered with a very long letter which must have cost her a couple of hours to write, explaining how she'd had a crush on him since her first year (he'd known that already) And how embarrassed she'd been around him, after he'd rescued her from Riddle and the basilisk (he had figured that much) and then her change from the immense crush to really loving him (this just confirmed his hopes)
He'd read the letter with mounting joy. After he'd finished it, he took up his quill and wrote her a letter rivalling hers in length. This is an edited version if it:
Dear, sweet Ginny, you can not imagine how glad I was after I read your last (rather long) letter. I took me half an hour to read it and the rest of the hour I had to recover and catch my breath.(…) I had no idea you still felt that way. I have never been happier. I have been hoping you'd notice me again, and I can't wait to see you again. (…)But that again leads me to the only problem I have with this: Ron. I am convinced he's going to kill me, rip me into a thousand pieces, and bury me twenty feet under (and not necessarily in that order) if he knew about you and me. (…) You should have seen his face when he found out about you and that one boy from the DA earlier this year. He looked murderous. (…)
So, who's going to tell him? Anyway, Hedwig just arrived, so I'll send this to you immediately.
Bye my love
It was true what he had written about Ron. He really was worried about his reaction. He didn't want to lose his best friend over this. But then again, if Ron put him an ultimatum, him or his sister, he wasn't quite sure he'd choose the friendship …
Two weeks later, he found himself at the Burrow. Ron had invited him immediately after Ginny had received the extra long letter.
Harry hadn't expected Ron to be rooting for his relationship with his sister, but after the conversation they had shortly after he arrived, he knew why he hadn't been struck dead the moment he set foot on the threshold.
"You know, mate," Ron said, while he hit Harry hard on the shoulder "I'm glad you two hooked up.
Because, you see, she won't be looking at any other boys, now she's got you, and her other admirers won't dare to come close to her out of fear for what you'd do to them. But you do understand that if you should ever hurt her in any way, I'll have to step in. And you know this Cruciat…"
"Oh, quit it Ron" Ginny interrupted him, while she crossed the kitchen in a record time towards Harry and flung herself around his neck, "I'm so glad to see you" she whispered in his ear. He could only smile and wrap his arms tightly around her.
Like always, time flew when Harry was at the Burrow. Before they knew it, it was September 1st and they all found themselves on the Hogwarts Express, waving their goodbyes to Mr and Mrs Weasley.
Everything was quite as normal at Hogwarts. There was only one thing out of the ordinary (well for Hogwarts standards anyway, by now they were all used to the ghosts floating through the walls and joining them for a little chat during dinner, the enchanted ceiling, the floating candles and so forth) on Dumbledore's left sat an elegant lady who engaged him in an animated and apparently very intimate conversation, as he leant over very close to her. Hermione, who, as always, had spotted this first, quickly scanned the Head table for missing teachers. But she couldn't find any. Everyone was there, no one had resigned, and she was glad to see Remus Lupin had decided to return, so she couldn't be here for Defence against the Dark Arts (affectionately called DADA, by the students).
She continued to observe the woman during the entire Welcoming Feast. And she wasn't the only one. More then a couple of eyes in the Great Hall were looking curiously towards the headmaster and his peculiar friend.
At the end of the evening, they went to the common room in Gryffindor Tower and took their usual chairs by the fire. Ron dropped into his and slid so far down, he appeared to be trying to blend into it. Hermione sat very upright and had tucked her feet underneath her. Harry had pulled Ginny onto his lap when she'd passed him. Without warning Hermione made her announcement.
"Huh?" came from deep within Ron's chair.
"That woman at dinner, next to him, that's his girlfriend or fiancée or wife, I couldn't check her hand for a ring."
"You're kidding, aren't you?" asked Ron.
"No, I'm not. Why would I joke about something like that?" She spat at him irritably, she never had a lot of patience when it concerned Ron questioning her.
"But 'mione, you've seen Dumbledore at the meetings of the Order. He'd have said something if he was married, or getting married, wouldn't he? And besides, he's got this thing for McGonagall, you know that."
"Yes, Ron, I've thought so too, but maybe we were wrong. Maybe he just wanted something to happen with Professor McGonagall. Maybe he gave up on her."
In Dumbledore's chambers
Dumbledore sat on the end of his bed and watched his pretty fiancée sleep. She looked very nice. He liked her very much; she was sweet, very likeable. Everything a man can dream in his wife, future wife, he corrected himself. Then why couldn't he muster the right feelings for her. He really wanted to love her. But that was very hard … he knew … without a heart. For he had lost his heart to another woman a long time ago. One who could never return his feelings, he believed.
They are actually quite similar, he thought, these women. Although the one in his bed was slightly rounder and older than the one with his heart.
But he had to stop thinking about her. He had decided this summer to enjoy what was left of his life. Having to fight Voldemort, again, was really not something he looked forward to. Maybe it wouldn't be such a drag if he had someone to share it with. Someone he could go home to, someone to comfort him. But then again, if he had had his way and married his first choice, he wouldn't have had a lot of piece and quiet, seeing as she fought beside him in the war. But he mustn't think about her. He had found someone that could love him, and he thought he could at least give her a comfortable home, without an old man pining for a lost love.
'How could he do that! How!'
Very easily. Minerva reprimanded herself. Off course he can come to school with a pretty woman on his arm announcing their engagement. She'd known he could never love her like she loved him, like she loved him for a very long time now. She'd expected him to bring in a wife a long time ago. But somehow she'd always kept hoping. Now she couldn't deny it any longer. He hadn't loved her, didn't love her and wasn't about to start loving her now he had a fiancée to take care of. He had brought down all her world the moment he'd walked through the gates, with this woman clinging to him, towards the place where the assembled staff was waiting to welcome him back. That moment, she'd known. That was why she suddenly remembered how much lessons she still had to plan and dashed for her study.
But now, she decided to get over him and try to become at least acquainted with his future wife. It wouldn't be easy to ignore her feelings, but she knew she had to, if she was going to work with him. And besides, the woman must be nice, if Albus had chosen her.
Next morning at the breakfast table, Albus felt a definite chill at his right side, where Minerva sat. She found that to get over him, the best thing she could do was to have as less contact with him as possible. Of course she couldn't completely avoid him. She still was one of his teachers and head of Gryffindor house, not to mention, his deputy. So she would have to sit in on a couple of meetings with him anyhow, but as long as it was strictly professional, she thought she could handle it.
To Albus this was not what he expected or wanted to happen. He had hoped that the woman he was supposed to love and the woman he loved would become friends. To achieve just that he tried to include Minerva in his conversation with Rowena. But Minerva didn't make that very easy for him. Answering to his questions with one-word sentences and turning to her other side where Professor Snape sat and engaging him in conversation. The latter wasn't at all pleased at that, he liked to be left alone while he was eating, but he didn't want to seem so he obliged his colleague and did his best to keep up the conversation.
two months later
In the nexttwo months, Minerva went from just ignoring Dumbledore during mealtimes, to actually stop going down to the Great Hall or any other place she might accidentally run into him. She used the students to give her an excuse and set them tons of homework, so she'd have enough to keep her busy in her office. To keep up appearances she had Dobby send up her food every mealtime. But that didn't keep Dumbledore from noticing how pale she was becoming. He also suspected she was losing weight, but with the voluminous robes she always wore, he couldn't be sure.
After a while he couldn't take it any longer, and went to her office during dinner. She had to eat, or she'd land herself in the hospital wing one of these days.
As always she was correcting a stack of papers. To her disappointment the stack to be corrected had already dwindled a lot; she had only three of them left to do. At that moment there came a knock on the door. She looked up in surprise; she thought everyone would be in the Great Hall, having dinner.
"Come in?" she called, and started when she saw Albus Dumbledore enter her study.
"Hello, Minerva, why aren't you downstairs at dinner, with the rest?" said he, while he walked in and without waiting for her approval, sat down in a chair in front of her desk ", You know, I'm really getting worried about you, my dear."
"There's no need, I'm really quite all right, thank you. I just have a lot of paperwork."
"Yes I can see that." He said with a twinkle in his eyes as he gazed at the three papers yet to be corrected. As much homework as she gave her students, the amount of time she spent in her study, gave her enough time to have everything more or less done by four o'clock every day.
"But you must eat, Minerva, otherwise I will have to get Poppy to have you taken into the hospital wing to force feed you."
"Ah, but you see, I let Dobby earn his ten Galleons," she said with a wry smile, nodding at the food tray standing by her fire.
Albus got up and went to inspect the tray. The food had clearly not been touched, and it appeared to be stone cold. He looked at her reprimandingly but she quickly busied herself with the three papers still littering her desktop, ignoring his disapproval.
"Very well then," he sighed, resigning "I'll just let you work then."
"Good, bye Albus, greet Rowena for me."
Another week passed before Albus undertook another attempt at getting to Minerva. This time he went to the Quidditch pitch, where she went for her weekly hour of flying. He had been watching her at it for more then a couple of years now. She looked really nice when she got of her broom. Very windswept, and it was also one of the rare occasion where she let her hair down a bit. And although he was no expert, he did know something about brooms and flying and he thought she flew rather well. Now he had decided that this was the only time he could catch her off guard.
So, the moment she left the stadium, he walked over to her and stopped her in her tracks.
"Now Minerva, you really are not well. You're still not eating. I've checked it with Dobby, he says you always leave your plate untouched, you haven't asked for one in ages he says, but he still brings them up to you. You see, even the house elves see there's something troubling you."
"Albus, I am all right. But you won't be if you don't stop bothering me about it. I'll curse you into the end of next week if you annoy me about this one more time, and you know I mean it." She said in a threatening tone. He knew she wasn't lying.
"But Minerva, I am worried about you … "
"Well, as I said before: don't be. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter in my office awaiting their detention, they've been duelling again. And I think they wouldn't want to wait any longer." She added sardonically, as she swept past him.
He stood watching her for a couple of seconds until Xiomara Hooch appeared at his side; she'd been flying with Minerva, they'd been throwing balls for each other to catch.
"Good evening, Headmaster," she said "what brings you here so late in the evening?"
"Minerva." he sighed "I'm really worried about her. You must have seen that she is changing, she doesn't eat and she looks rather pale, don't you think. Do you know her well? Have you any idea what's troubling her?"
"I do not know her very well. And during flying there is not much chance to talk, is there? But I am a woman and I have seen women act like this before. And my best guess is that she is suffering from a broken heart." she said.
"I didn't think I'd live to see that: Minerva McGonagall with a broken heart, what d' you know "she added, shaking her head, while she walked up the drive towards the castle.
A broken heart? He asked himself, but who is it then that she loves? He couldn't imagine any man refusing her.
But now he had a ground to start from. He'd get her to talk about it. He couldn't stand watching her fade away like this.
The moment he reached his office, he wrote her a little note, and sent Fawkes to her office with it.
She was surveying Draco and Harry as they were doing their lines. She didn't even trust them to sit as close as ten feet from each other. They'd hex one and other the moment she let her mind wander. Suddenly a soft ticking came from her window. When she opened it, Fawkes floated in, dropped the note onto her desk and took off again.
She opened the note and read:
I would like to see you in my office, to discuss this situation between the Mrs Malfoy and Potter. kindly come to my office as soon as they completed their detention.
She was surprised. They had discussed this over and over for at least a thousand times. Why did he suddenly want to talk to her about it now? Had this last intended duel been too much? Usually it was she who would ask him to do something about it. He seemed to rather enjoy watching the two boys curse each other into oblivion.
At that moment she noticed she had let her mind wander, and she hadn't finished this thought or a loud bang came from Malfoy's corner.
"Mr Malfoy!" she shrieked "will you stop that this instant!" while she put Harry's ears back to normal.
For the rest of the hour she sat at her desk and watched the two boys like a hawk. And sure enough they didn't try anything anymore. They knew she could curse them into the end of next week with just a small snap of the fingers, she'd been very irritable all night and they weren't willing to risk their necks just for the heck of it.
Later that evening Minerva was walking towards the Headmasters office. "Lemon Drop" she said to the gargoyle guarding the entrance. The statue moved aside and she stepped onto the revolving staircase. She knocked and waited for an answer.
He heard her nearing his door and then her soft knock. She waited for him to answer? He looked a little sad at that. She hadn't done that since she had been his assistant. Normally she would knock while entering.
"Come in, Minerva." He called.
"You wanted to see me about Malfoy and Potter, sir? I'll say! Those boys are unbelievable. Even during their detention for duelling they can't seem to stop hexing each other. Honestly, I can believe why so many people say that Harry is so much like his father. Those boys would give even Sirius and James a run for their money, should they still be in school!" Dumbledore looked amused at his deputy while she worked herself into a lather about the two brawlers.
"Yes," he chuckled "I believe they would"
"Albus, I do believe you enjoy this!" she called out.
"Ah, Minerva, they're young and overenthusiastic, let them live a little…"
"Yes well, you're not the one who has to put everything back to normal every time they screw up. I'm surprised neither one of them has ended up with permanent antlers sticking out of his head or something." She scowled
He chuckled again. "But I have to confess, that was not the real reason I let you come."
She looked at him in surprise.
"You see, I had a tip from someone as a possible reason why you are so down lately."
"Oh, really, let's hear it, I'm curious. What's the diagnosis?" she said sceptically.
"Well, a birdie told me that you might be lovesick." He saw her startle for a moment, and he wondered if he had made a mistake by confronting her so directly. But she quickly pulled herself together and looked him straight in the eye.
"By any coincidence, would that birdie fly around on a broomstick and go by the name of Xiomara Hooch?" she asked him. He laughed.
"Indeed it is, but it is my experience that birdies are very often right. Now, tell me, is this one right?" the last sentence was uttered while he looked at her piercingly. He knew that his blue eyes, like ice cold steel when he looked at his nemesis, but as blue as the sky on a summer's day when he looked at his love, could make people very uncomfortable. But that had never worked on Minerva before. Until now that is. To his great surprise he saw that she was shifting nervously in her seat under his gaze.
She found it increasingly difficult for her to maintain her stern façade under that look of his. She felt all her defences melt away. Until she, to her own consternation, felt her eyes glaze over with tears. She allowed only one to slide down over her cheek.
"Minerva? Is she right?"
Minerva took a deep breath, sat up straight and looked bravely back into his eyes. "She is." She said while she stood up. "Now if you'll excuse me, it's getting late, and I have an early class to teach tomorrow" She said stiffly, making her way towards the door. But three feet away from it, she felt his hand on her shoulder. She wished he wouldn't do that. It undid all the work she'd have to do to gather her courage and make herself get up and walk away from him.
He felt her shoulder relax under his hand and forced her softly to turn around.
She looked up to him and he felt sad, when he saw the tears glistening in her eyes.
"Minerva, what is going on? Who is this man who can break you like this?" He asked. He heard his own voice shake.
After a long moment in whichsheavoided looking at him, she whispered "...You..."
He was too taken aback to prevent her from going. She turned around softly and walked through the deserted corridors of Hogwarts Castle to her rooms. There she collapsed on her bed and cried her heart out. Now she'd done it. She could just as well pack her bags and leave now. There was no way she could stay in the same castle he was in. Risking to face him every time she got out of her office doors. She wasn't planning on staying here and play hide and seek with him all the time. No, she'd live up to her Gryffindor courage and run away from the castle, she thought bitterly to herself.
Meanwhile, back in Dumbledore's office:
"Albus?" Rowena looked at him inquiringly. He was slouching in a squashy armchair, staring into the fire, tears falling silently down his cheek and disappearing in his beard.
From the moment they'd got together, she knew he wasn't able to love her like sheloved him. But still, she'd thought that if he wanted to try to make something of it, of which he had convinced her, they would have a good chance to succeed. At least he respected her and in a way he did love her. But if she'd known the person whom he loved with his body, heart and soul resided in Hogwarts Castle, she wouldn't have been so sure, she knew. Now she saw that they had both underestimated Minerva's influence on him. One word from her had reduced the most powerful wizard of all time, into a crying heap of a man. She sat next to him and cradled him in her arms.
"She does love me, Rowena." He whispered.
She smiled sadly down at him. "I know." A long silence fell. Only Albus's occasional sobs could be heard. After a while Rowena broke the silence and said "Why don't you go after her?" He looked at her with something she thought looked too much like pity.
"I do love you, Rowena, but…"
"I know, you're not in love with me, go to her, Albus, I will be fine." He smiled gratefully at her.
"You truly are a remarkable woman Rowena. I'm sure you'll make some man very happy someday." kissed her on the forehead and dashed out. The moment he left Rowena let slip a single tear.
"Yes, if you hadn't come into my life, I'm sure I would've."
The moment he reached the door towards her rooms. He knocked, but no answer came. He knew the password, but hesitated to use it. But then he smiled. He was going to tell her how he felt, finally, and that made him bolder then ever.
When he came in he saw that her travelling cloak was hanging from a peg next to the door. Her trunk stood open and an assortment of robes, books, quills, parchments and other things were thrown into it rapidly. He stood looking until she came in from her bedroom and instantly dropped the armful of books she was holding when she saw him standing there. She looked at him with open mouth.
"Headmaster! I-I'm-I-I'm…" she tried to find words to say to him, but couldn't find any. Instead she just said "I'll be going then. I understand that I can't stay here, I'll just go to Hogsmeade and catch the knight bus…" But she was cut short when he strode quickly towards her, swept her into his arms and pulled her close to him.
"What are you talking about, my dear woman?"
But she couldn't answer him even if she could've found the words, as he had already closed the inches between them and captured her lips. Minerva was too startled to react at first, and tried to pull away from him, but soon she gave up and with a slight moan gave into him.
When he felt she leant into him, he too, gave in to his desires, and deepened the kiss. After a while he began to feel the need for oxygen, but was very reluctant to let her go, now he finally had her in his arms.
"How I have longed to do that." He said breathlessly as they finally broke apart. She looked at him disbelievingly.
"Albus, what is the meaning of this?" she demanded after catching her breath. She couldn't believe what he had just done and that she let him and even encouraged him and didn't want to hope what was behind it.
"I would believe even you, my stern professor, would know what a kiss like that means." He chuckled, then he became very serious and looked at her with his eyes overflowing with emotion. "It means I like you, Minerva, I like you very much indeed. I love you."
"You do?" she asked weakly, not daring to believe it. "But, but... how?"
He chuckled at the strange question. He hadn't expected that one.
"Very easily, my love. You just had to walk in the Great Hall at your graduation party. That was all you had to do to steal my heart and have it locked up for so long."
"Really? That long?" she whispered with a little smile, playing around the corners of her mouth.
He laughed and pulled her into another kiss, this one slow and lingering…
Thanks for reviewing! Hadn't really expected that, I really appreciate it.
Ok, I changed the text. Apparently Bellatrix is Sirius's cousin, not his niece. (little confusion with my native tongue where we have the same term for both members of the family)
yeah… : Actually I absolutely agree with what you say about them not being really in character, after I read it again. But I find it hard to write about them, because really we know so little about them from the books, no?
Anyway, I just had this storyline in my head and I was rooting around for characters when I found out about fanfiction. Then I got a bit lazy and I just fit the story to existing characters and I used them. AD and MM were the first ones I encountered. So there you go… grin
Actually the story was going to be about Ginny and Harry, but in the middle the plot bunny sort of took of with me.
But I do appreciate your comments I really do. And who knows, I might just work on it some more to make it fit them more.
all the other sweet sweet reader who have reviewed, thanks a lot all of you!