Disclaimer: All the characters are JKR's, not mine.
Author's Note: Another Hideaway contest entry! It's a Light fic, about a character with a crush. I do hope you enjoy it!
Minerva McGonagall sighed and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ears. She was ready to go home, but since when did her parents listen to her? No-one listens to me, she thought contemptuously. They think I don't matter because I'm only four. Sighing loudly, she pushed herself out of the too-tall chair she had been sitting in. Where had her mummy and daddy got to? Minerva sighed again. She hated with a passion these Ministry parties. In the most private part of her mind, she sometimes wished her daddy would quit giving money to Saint Mungo's, then they wouldn't be invited. She was so tired of being cooed at by old women and having to wear those itchy party dresses and not being able to say how much she hated the food they served. They should realize it was grown-up food (she refused to say growed-up any more since her brother Magnus had started teasing her about it), not kid food. What kid food was exactly she was not entirely sure, but she knew it was not the myriad of disgusting seafood and caviar dishes, and, for some odd reason, several dishes of nuts that included acorns and walnuts. Apparently the Ministry was under the impression that squirrels dined here.
Minerva made her way around the large ballroom, looking for a familiar face. She could vaguely remember seeing Magnus talking to a pretty blond witch by the refreshment table earlier, so she decided she should head there. As discreetly as her coltish young body would allow, she weaved her way though the clumps of important-looking officials around the walls. Peering around a fat man with an eye monocle, Minerva spotted the refreshment table, decked out in terribly gaudy orange crepe paper. At least, that's what her mother had muttered when they walked in, and she liked the sound of it. Gaudy, gaudy, gaudy, she sang to herself, thinking of what a nice word she had discovered.
As Minerva reached the table, she was dismayed to find her brother had disappeared. Not that she needed his help, or anything, but it would be nice to know her family had not left her all alone at the party. But . . . but what if they had? What if her mummy and daddy had decided to go home early, and had taken Magnus forgotten all about her? It was such a terrible thought she immediately pushed it away, but it wormed its way back into her brain. That was when she got what her mother sometimes called 'the What-if's'. What if they've left me here, all by my lonesome? I'll sit here for hours and hours but no-one will notice poor little me sitting here without a mummy or a daddy or even a brother. Wouldn't that be terrible? What if no-one comes to take me home? Feeling dejected, Minerva slid down the wall across from the refreshment table and tried not to let the idea that she had been left behind enter her brain.
"Hello there. What are you up to, little one?"
A tall shadow loomed over Minerva's head, and she jumped. She sniffled, quietly, she hoped, and peered up at the figure above her. It was a very tall man, taller than her daddy, even, wearing, (she giggling softly) bright turquoise robes, the kind her mother would call "totally unnecessary." The front of them, however, was covered by a very long auburn beard. She stared in fascination at it - her grandfather had a beard too, but it was so short, unlike this man's. His reached down to his belly! Minerva allowed her eyes to travel up the length of his beard to his face. Kind blue eyes twinkled beneath thin eyebrows, and behind moon-shaped spectacles, and a smile quirked at his lips.
"Who are you?" she questioned, putting her hands on her hips in what she hoped to be a defiant manner. It didn't really have the same effect sitting down, she realized, and she rose awkwardly to her feet. "Who are you?" she asked again, once she was steady on her feet. A full smile broke out on his face, and Minerva found it made her like him just a little bit, despite the fact that he had frightened her.
"Well, my dear, my name is Albus Dumbledore. Any who might you be?" he said gallantly, and she stifled a laugh as he leaned down, his beard tickling her nose.
"I'm Minerva," she told him. "Minerva McGonagall."
"Ah," he murmured softly. "Yes, I know your father a bit. Donated quite a lot of money to Saint Mungo's, has he not?" Minerva nodded.
"Have you seen him anywhere?" she asked in as casual a manner as she could. Albus raised an eyebrow at her.
"No, I can't recall seeing him tonight. Have you lost him?" he asked, and Minerva thought that he was being very kind to her, especially when everyone else at these parties seemed to ignore her entirely.
"M-maybe," she stammered, sliding back down the wall. "I d-don't know where he and my m-mummy are, and not my b-brother either. W-what if they've l-left me?" As much as she tried to stop them, tears began sliding down her face, and she gave a half-hearted sort of sob.
"Now, now, don't cry," Albus told her consolingly. "They haven't left you, I promise."
But what if, her mind tried to whisper, but Minerva found she had difficulty not believing him. "R-really?" she asked in a small voice. He smiled brilliantly at her.
Despite herself, Minerva found herself believing him. After all, the sort of man who paid attention to lonely little children was not the sort of man who would lie.
"Would you like me to help you find them?" he asked her softly, patting her head. She sniffed and nodded at the ground, and was happy when he took her hand and began leading her away from the refreshment table. As they walked around the ballroom, Albus sometimes stopping for a few moments hurried conversation with beaming witches and wizards, Minerva decided that she like him a lot. Maybe, when she was tall and pretty like her mother, she might marry him. He would certainly be nice to her, and that was what mattered most, right?
Her reflections were interrupted when she heard a call of, "Oi, Nerva!" She spun around to see her brother speeding toward her, a relieved expression on his face.
"Look, look, it's Magnus!" she cried happily, tugging on Albus's arm. He grinned down at her, and she could not stop the flush of pleasure she felt.
"Nerva, why'd you leave the table?" Magnus asked heatedly as he came within hearing distance. "I thought you gone and got yourself --" He stopped mid-sentence when his gaze fell on Albus, who's hand she was still clutching.
"Hello lad!" Albus's voice boomed. "I take it this is your sister?"
"Y-yes sir," Magnus stuttered, turning red in the face. "It's, er, well, I mean to say, thank you for keeping up with her." Minerva chuckled to herself; it was not every day that Magnus was at a loss for words.
"Well, I suppose I had better be going," Albus informed them, and Minerva felt a rush a disappointment. She had only met him a little while ago, and now he was leaving! She frowned deeply, and it must have been noticeable, because Albus leaned down and patted her head again.
"Don't worry, my dear, I'm sure we will meet again," he whispered, before standing up and extending a hand to Magnus, who shook it gratefully. With a final wave, Albus turned to go.
"Wait!" Minerva cried, against her better judgment. Magnus looked worriedly at her, but she ignored him. Albus turned again to face them, a smile playing at his lips.
"Yes, Miss McGonagall?" he asked kindly, and she rushed over to him. She wasn't exactly sure what she was doing, but it was better than letting him go and never seeing him again.
"Albus," she began, toying with her lace collar. "When I'm all growed- I mean, grown up," Minerva rectified, and she thought she heard him chuckle. "When I'm all grown up, maybe we can get married." She looked self-consciously up at him. He was grinning now, from ear to ear. For a moment she thought he was going to laugh at her, and oh! That would be terrible, but instead he leaned down, kissed her cheek gently, and said,
"I believe, Miss McGonagall, that there is a distinct possibility."
She smiled gleefully at him and threw her arms around his legs. He laughed and patted her on the back, and she turned back to her brother, who was looking mortified.
"Nerva!" he hissed furiously as she drew near, "Nerva, I can't believe you just said that to the Albus Dumbledore!" She shrugged her shoulders indifferently.
"So? Did you know, that is the man responsible for helping our side practically win the war?" he asked her in outrage. She contemplated this new information for a moment.
"Well, I guess that means it will be easy for him to take out the garbage, then," she said decisively, while Magnus just goggled at her. He really did have the weirdest sister.
She was never going to marry Albus Dumbledore.
AN2: So, so, what did you think? If you liked it, please tell me. If you hated it, please tell me. I'd love to know either way.