You Have Been the One
Disclaimer: Not mine! I am merely borrowing J.K. Rowling's lovely creations :D
A/N: Just a small one-shot that's set before Harry arrives at Dumbledore's office to accompany him to The Cave in HBP. Minerva is frustrated with the way Albus is keeping things from her, but soon realises she may be dealing with much larger problems…
"Minerva, you know that I cannot tell you."
Minerva's dark eyebrows drew together in a harsh frown. "Albus, you cannot keep lying to me like this!"
Albus sighed deeply, a move that Minerva found largely patronising.
"I am not lying to you, Minerva. You know I would not lie to you," he said, peering over his half-moon spectacles with a stern look cast on his features. Minerva had come to expect his normally pleasant demeanour to take on this strictness whenever she questioned him about his increasingly frequent departures from the school – and while she much preferred the pleasant Albus Dumbledore, Minerva could not help pressing him for information every time.
"You are keeping me in the dark, and that is just as bad. I am supposed to be your second-in-command, Albus! How can I run the school when I have no idea about what is going on?" Minerva's voice rose, now taking no care for politeness.
"I would not keep you in the dark if I did not think it best. I do not know why you keep doubting my judgement like this, Minerva. I believe you more than able to run this school sufficiently without the knowledge of my doings."
Albus' voice was annoyingly calm, but his face still portrayed an expression of sternness. He held Minerva's angered gaze, until she finally looked away, scowling. There were several moments of silence between the two Professors, the only sound in the large circular office being the sharp crackling of flames in the fireplace.
"I am taking Harry with me," Albus said suddenly.
Minerva spun around to look back at Albus, her eyes wide in disbelief.
"As his Head of House, you needn't worry for his absence tonight. That is all I mean to say."
"Albus, how can you…" Minerva stepped back from him. She pressed a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes with a pained expression on her face, trying to process this small piece of information without bursting into a furious rage. Exhaling heavily, she opened her eyes to glare at the Headmaster.
"So not only does Potter know everything you've been up to…" she began, trying to restrain her voice, though it wavered threateningly, "…Now he's joining you on your little disappearances?" She stared at him, the anger not emerging in her voice making itself very clear in her eyes.
"Minerva, please. Why cannot you simply understand-"
"-Understand this from my point of view, Albus!" Minerva cried, and she knew from the strange expression that flickered across Albus' face that he had suddenly seen the tears welling in her eyes.
She stared into his brilliant blue eyes, and at that moment she willed him to enter her mind, to see how betrayed she felt. She wanted him to know how frustrated and angry and heartbroken it made her feel to know that he couldn't trust her. And as she stood there, willing him to see how hurt she was, the stern expression fell from Albus' face. An odd look of tiredness seemed to wash across him.
"I do not want to argue with you tonight, Minerva."
For some reason, the tone in his voice made Minerva's stomach tighten. Her eyes were locked with his, and a horrible feeling of foreboding seemed to creep up her spine.
He broke his gaze from hers and took several steps towards the window. "Some Order members are arriving at the castle shortly. I need you to patrol the corridors while Harry and I are away," he said quietly, his back facing toward her.
His words seemed to freeze the dreadful feeling that had been seeping through Minerva's body, and she stood cold and unmoving, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end.
"Albus, what are you saying?" She finally asked, her voice trembling.
Albus turned around to face her once again. "I am not saying anything. I just want these precautions taken while I am not here tonight."
Neither his expression nor his tone of voice indicated that there was anything to worry about, but still Minerva could not shake that sudden ominous feeling.
"Albus…" She began, but words failed her. She did not want to face the reality of what her instincts were telling her.
"That is all, Minerva. Thank you," Albus said, before she could articulate anything.
Slightly taken aback by this prompt, Minerva had to force herself to give a nod toward Albus, before turning on her heel. She strode toward the door feeling confused, a million thoughts screaming through her head.
She felt like she had just stepped out of a fire and into a blizzard. She had been in the throes of anger, hot tears on the verge of spilling from her eyes. And suddenly that cold wave of apprehension had been forced on her; something about Albus told her that this night would be no ordinary one of his leavings.
Minerva stopped at the door, her hand paused on the handle. Her mind raced forwards: this stunned feeling would wear off soon – but by then it would be too late. She turned around to face Albus, who was still watching her. She knew he would not admit what all this was about. She could not convince him to stay at Hogwarts tonight.
Her eyes welled with tears again. There was only one thing left to say.
"Do you still love me?"
Albus made no reaction. As the pair's gaze connected again, Minerva thought that she saw his eyes glisten. It was not their usual twinkle, and with a pang she realised that tears too were glazing his vision.
And suddenly, Albus strode swiftly toward Minerva and kissed her. It was a kiss that had not been shared since before Voldemort's first reign, but one filled with heated longing. Albus pulled Minerva in tightly to him, and she wrapped her arms closely around his neck. It was a long kiss, a kiss of true love, a kiss of desire.
It was a goodbye kiss.
'Tis all, my friends. I do hope you enjoyed this short ditty. As I was writing this, 'Goodbye My Lover' by James Blunt began playing on my iTunes, and I really think that song sums up the mood that I was trying to convey with this piece. Some may have even noticed it inspired the title :D
So, anyway, hopefully that worked. Please review, I love hearing your thoughts! And until next time…