Blessings and Heartache
Disclaimer: Albus, Minerva and co do not belong to me, if they did I would be very rich and happy instead I am poor and happy.
Summary: The Daily Prophet doesn't always print the truth about Albus Dumbledore but sometimes it does, their recent article will bring hope and then heartache to Minerva McGonagall.
A/n: I know I should be working on my other chapter fic but this plot bunny came upon me and wouldn't go away until I started writing it. This first chapter is a wee bit short but I promise others that follow will be longer. I would really appreciate if you left a review. This chapter hasn't been beta read because I am too impatient to post and Ang will still be in bed when I have finished.
Chapter One: The Daily Prophet.
Xiomara Hooch, the Quidditch mistress at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry bounced in the staff room carrying a rolled up copy of the wizarding paper, The Daily Prophet. Her hawk like eyes glinted with mischievousness as she swept over to where her closest friend was sat and dropped the paper into her lap. Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress, Head of Gryffindor and Transfiguration mistress looked up from her book and stared at her friend before eyeing the paper suspiciously.
"Is there a reason as to why you have dumped this drivel on to my lap?" questioned Minerva.
It was a well known fact in the staff room that Minerva McGonagall did not read this particular paper, she found it misinformed and thought it to be ministry propaganda. She would much rather read the local Hogsmeade press or find out from Albus what lies the prophet had printed this time. Minerva, over the years had had many disagreements with the reporter Rita Skeeta. She didn't like how the former student got her stories and how she added bits to make the story juicier so it would sell more paper. Minerva did not buy the prophet out of principle.
"You sly thing!" stated Xiomara with a grin that the Cheshire cat would be jealous of.
"I am sure our esteemed Deputy Headmistress does not have a sly bone in her body," sneered Severus Snape from darkest corner of the staff room "at least, none that she would admit to."
"Severus dear," replied Minerva, a small smile playing on her lips "why would you for one moment think that your comments mean anything to me and the rest of the room, I merely find them lacking in humour and imagination."
Severus glared at his house rival while the rest of the staff tried to hide their smiles behind books and papers. Severus looked like he was about to retort but then thought better of it and returned to reading his book.
"Mara," asked Minerva who was sure that she hadn't done anything underhand recently "are you going to tell me why you think me sly?"
"Why didn't you tell me?" asked Xiomara, who was slightly put out that Minerva hadn't confided in her.
"Tell you what?" asked Minerva with a sigh.
Xiomara reached down and picked up the paper from Minerva's lap, she unrolled it and then sat down opposite her friend as she read it out for the staff room to hear.
"Albus Dumbledore, the esteemed Headmaster of Hogwarts and defeater of Grindelwald has announced that he is to marry," began Xiomara, she was thoroughly enjoying the fact that everyone was looking at her and had their mouths wide open "he told us at the prophet that the chosen woman is a close friend whom he had known for many years, they have a lot in common including chess and transfiguration. He did not disclose this lucky woman's name but I think we can all hazard a guess!"
Minerva reached across and took the paper from her friend, it was front-page news and she saw a picture of Albus Dumbledore talking to Rita Skeeta. Minerva read the article to herself a few times, taking in what it was telling her.
"Xiomara," she said finally looking up and breaking the heavy silence that had descended on the room as she had read the paper "the prophet isn't known for printing the truth."
"Oh come on Min," said Xiomara as she jumped up from her chair "you don't have to be shy, we just want to offer you are congratulations."
Minerva paled; she didn't need their congratulations because she wasn't the one getting married. Why did they want to congratulate her? Did they think she was the woman Albus was to marry? Minerva shook her head; the article probably wasn't even true. Albus had not spoken to her about any woman in his life; she was unaware of such an arrangement. She was sure that if the article were true then Albus would have spoken to her about it before the paper printed it. She had only been playing chess with him the night before and he hadn't mentioned anything to her. There had been ample opportunity for him to tell her such news so it couldn't be true.
"He has to be talking about you!" said Xiomara with a smile "The love of chess, transfiguration and friends for a long time. I am so happy for you Minerva, it the most wonderful news."
"Congratulations Minerva!" said Professor Filtwick with a smile as he raised his cup of tea to her.
"I knew it would happen at some point!" pointed out Professor Sprout as she cried into her dirty hankie "It is such wonderful news!"
"I foresaw this!" said Trelawaney, who didn't mingle with the staff much "that is why I have joined you today. I wish you well Minerva dear!"
"Finally bagged your man!" said Severus with a twisted smile "A match made in Hogwarts!"
The congratulations flowed right through Minerva as she sat in silence, the article going over and over in her mind. Could the article be true? Did the prophet for once in its existence get it right? Could her friends and colleagues be right? Was Albus going to ask her to marry him? Minerva shook her head so she could think clearly, there was no way that the article could be true and she was certainly not going to be the bride. She smiled to herself and looked at her friends before speaking to them, she needed to set them straight.
"I thank you for your well wishes," she began "but they are not needed. I seriously doubt this article is telling the truth, Albus probably made some silly comment and Rita added her own spin to it. I am not marrying Albus, he had not asked me and I am unaware of him asking anyone else to do so."
"I don't know why you are being so secretive about it," said Xiomara "we have all known that the two of you were in love with each other, so obvious that it was almost sickening."
Minerva looked alarmed, she had always thought that she had been able to keep her feelings for her best friend hidden. She had been hiding them for years and it had become second nature to her, the thought of her colleagues knowing made her feel dizzy to the head.
"It is not like that!" defended Minerva
"We have seen the looks," added Severus who was thoroughly enjoying seeing Minerva squirm in her seat "there is no need to go all coy on us McGonagall, I think it sweet that love can be found at your age!"
"At my age?" snapped Minerva "I will have you know that love can be found at any age as long as the person is open to it, sadly I think love will bypass you because you have no heart!"
Severus placed his hand over his heart and gave a mock yelp of pain.
"You wound me deep!" he told her.
Minerva raised an eyebrow at Severus, she thought he was behaving like a child and had no time to be dealing with him and his ways. He was thoroughly annoying her and she wanted to wipe that smug, amused smile off his sickly pale face.
"I will tell you again," she said as she waved the paper in front her fellow staff members "you have it all wrong!"
Minerva sighed deeply as she heard them whisper between themselves, they didn't believe her, which frustrated her even more. Stories like the one about Albus were the reason that she didn't read the trashy paper, they took words and twisted them to suit themselves but she had to admit that part of her wished that it were true. The staff room door opening broke into her thoughts and she looked up to find Albus Dumbledore standing in the doorway looking rather sheepishly.
"I see you have seen the paper," he said looking at the paper in Minerva's hand "may I have a word!"
TO BE CONTINUED.