Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, you would know. The writing would be better and the story would be a heck of a lot longer!
A/N: Ok this is my first fanfic ever so please be honest, but kind! It's based on a repeating dream I have been having starring Rosemary Clooney, so if it sounds like a movie, book, or fanfic you know, blame my subconscious. Sorry!
Oh and don't forget to read and review! :)
Thanks for reading. OSUSprinks
The hot July sun poured in through the windows of her office as Minerva sat at her desk rereading the offending letter. Her youngest niece was recently engaged and her sister had written not only to inform Minerva of the wedding, but to remind her that once again she was to be the only unmarried woman in the family. Athena wrote on and on about the dishonor and whispers of scandal Minerva brought on the family through her marital state and also her close relationship with her boss.
Albus watched Minerva read her letter. He had come by to invite her to afternoon tea in his office, but had stopped short of knocking on her open door when he'd seen the look on her face. 'Her family again, no doubt,' he thought, as a single tear rolled down Minerva's right cheek. Albus knocked lightly on the door before taking a seat across the desk from Minerva.
"What is it, my dear?" Albus asked as he watched Minerva try to compose herself.
'Alright McGonagall, put on a happy face,' she thought as she answered with a smile. "My youngest niece is to be married during the Christmas holidays. Athena wrote to invite me to the wedding."
"Are you unhappy with Verplaca's choice?"
"Of course not. You remember Corc Brodie, don't you? In fact I've known since last Christmas this was coming. He confided in me that…that he wished to marry her." Minerva wiped another tear away.
Albus leant forward as wet green eyes met sparkling blue ones and whispered, "then why the tears, Tabby?"
Minerva had been trying hard to control herself since Albus' entrance moments before, but the use of his private nickname for her, a reminder that while he might never love her as she loved him, he did like her for who she was, broke the dam she had created for her tears. As Minerva laid her head on her desk, Albus shut her office door and then knelt beside her chair as he rubbed her back.
"I…I'm sorry," Minerva said as she attempted to gain control.
"You have nothing to apologize for Tabby. You can't be the strong, stern, unflappable Professor McGonagall all the time." Albus smiled as he handed her an impossibly bright purple handkerchief.
Minerva accepted gratefully before speaking again, this time more to her than to him, "Maybe that is the problem. Maybe that is why no one wants me."
Albus stiffened as Minerva began crying once more. 'How can she believe that?' he asked himself.
When Minerva had returned to Hogwarts to teach several years before, she and Albus had renewed the friendship that had began during her student days as he'd helped her with her animagus training. Throughout the years as they went on walks, drank countless cups of hot cocoa and tea, and matched wits in games of chess, duels, and the occasional disagreement, Albus had realized something that had changed his life: He loved Minerva McGonagall.
When he had first realized his feelings, Albus had tried to squash them. He was much too old for her and he was her employer and former teacher besides. Once he realized how deep his love for his Tabby actually ran, Albus determined to make his feelings known, through his actions at least. He had begun walking Minerva to breakfast each morning, complimenting her more often, and even daring the occasional goodnight kiss on the cheek. While Minerva had seemed pleased with his attentions, she had never shown him any returning affection. The escorts, compliments, and even his pecks goodnight had become a part of their friendship by now, but Albus had realized long ago that Minerva would never love him as he loved her. It simply wasn't to be.
As Albus recovered from his moment of reflection, he realized Minerva was once again in control of her emotions and composed.
"I'm sorry for my outburst, Albus." She interrupted his attempt to answer, "No, it's not fine. One would think, after all this time, I would know better than to let Athena get to me. I just can't handle her accusations sometimes. I tell her time and time again that you and I are just good friends and nothing more, but she refuses to believe me. And now with the last of my nieces engaged…" Minerva trailed off. She had spoken without thinking her comments through and now regretted bringing up Verplaca's wedding again.
"And now with Verplaca's marriage, you are once again the lone single female bringing shame and dishonor to your family?" During his speech Albus had gotten up from his knees and leaned back against the desk while doing a fairly good impression of a distraught Athena.
Minerva laughed, "Yes, that about sums up the letter. Silly, I know."
Suddenly, Albus was serious again. "It's not silly Tabby, not silly at all. Any man would be lucky to have you as his bride. I'm just happy I've been able to keep you to myself this long!" Albus smiled as he thought of an idea. "You know Tabby, there is one solution…you could marry me."
Minerva felt her heart soar before breaking in two. During her student days at Hogwarts she had always had a crush, as she believed her students called it, on her favorite transfiguration professor. When she had returned to Hogwarts as a teacher and she and Albus had once again become friends, those feelings had grown and deepened into a love she was sure she could only share with one man, Albus Dumbledore. And now he stood before her, proposing marriage.
'But not the marriage you've imagined full of love. He's just sacrificing himself for your happiness as he sacrifices himself for everyone else's,' Minerva thought as her heart sunk lower.
"Albus, I couldn't possibly…"
"Tabby, nothing between us would have to change. We could tell your family, and Aberforth of course, but no one else would have to know. It would solve both our problems. Your family and my parents' portraits would be happy and we could get on with our lives as we see fit to live them." Albus went on, warming to the idea of being Minerva's husband if in name only. "I think it's the perfect solution. Unless…unless you had someone else in mind…"
For the first time since Albus had thought of his idea he began to have doubts. Being married to Minerva, even if it was a marriage of convenience that would have to be kept secret from most of the world, would be much better than not being with her at all. Of that he was certain. But what if she loved someone else? He was not sure he could survive such a blow.
"No, there's no one else, well no one at all I mean. But I can't let you do that for me. It's too much. Now," she said in a tone that let him know no further discussion would be allowed, "Why did you stop by?"
"Oh," Albus was stumped. He had been so thrilled with the idea of marrying Minerva that he could think of little else. "It seems I've forgotten."
"Well after the scene I caused it's no wonder. Are we on for chess this evening?" Minerva asked as she made an attempt at normalcy, knowing that as soon as he left her office she would cry again, for a different reason this time.
Albus looked into her beautiful green eyes, knowing he would never see his love reflected in them. "Of course dear Tabby," he answered, then smiled, "and perhaps this time, I'll win."
"Unlikely," she replied with her usual banter as she shut the door behind him and tears began to well in both green and blue eyes.