AN: Ok this chapter doesn't have any MM/HG in it but it sets up the premise. I know its kind of weird and a bit serious but the rest of the fic will be a much more loose. Enjoy-Xio
Facing the Past One: Catching Up
Minerva sat at the kitchen table of Grimmauld Place. Albus hadn't been able make it to the meeting and had asked her to go instead. Minerva knew Albus would not miss a meeting unless he had something important to do, so she had agreed immediately. She looked up at Remus who had just been giving a briefing of his latest outing for the Order. That thank god. That was the last order of business for the meeting. She was exhausted and knew she needed to head back to Hogwarts soon. She got up as everyone else did she had walked half way towards the door when her world started spinning and then went black.
Molly turned around as the sounds of a body hitting the cold stone floor reached her. She went into overdrive. They didn't know if they should take her to St.Mungo's directly so Molly sent Snape to Hogwarts with a message for Dumbledore. Then pick Minerva up with Arthur's help and put her in the sitting room. Not five minutes after Snape had left Dumbledore arrived asking what had happened exactly. After being told by Molly he nodded and quickly made his way with Minerva to St.Mungo's. They had known it was just a matter of time, and time had finally caught up with Minerva.
Minerva woke two days later in an isolated ward in St.Mungo's. It was by no means the first time she was there but she could never come to terms with the place, every time she woke up in St.Mungo's she hated the place a little bit more. As she turns her head towards the window she sees Albus starring off into at the city. Minerva cleared her throat, "Albus".
Albus starred off a little longer looking at the people on the street walking by without a clue their existence. Finally he turned towards Minerva and moved to the seat next to her bed. "How do you feel my dear?"
Minerva knew Albus Dumbledore better than he thought, the worry might not have shown in his voice but his eyes spoke volumes and she was an expert at reading them. "Albus what did they say?"
"That you only have a few days Minerva."
She nodded they had both known this day would come. They had known it since that cold autumn day in 1945. She hadn't been careful enough during the war against Grindelwald and was had been paying the price ever since. Now she would pay the ultimate price, Albus had tried to forestall the inevitable long enough. The regular dose of Wiggenweld potion no longer had the necessary effect. Her energy was depleted with more ease than ever before. She had felt it coming.
"We knew it would happen."
Albus raised his eyes to look at her and Minerva saw fire there, his anger clearly visible. "It doesn't have to happen, Minerva. You can live a normal life. I have the potion with me."
Minerva held up her hand to stop him like she would a student. "I made my decision about that a long time ago Albus and I have not intention on going back on it now."
Albus Dumbledore still had fire in his eyes but he spoke as if nothing was out of place. As if they had been discuss a chess match. "I'll let you rest my dear." Minerva saw him move away.
She knew Albus blamed himself for her condition, for allowing her to join him in the fight against Grindelwald when she had been so young. She had only graduated from Hogwarts five months before she had been cursed. The curse was so old and complex that no healer had been able to offer her a cure at the time or since for that matter. They had always been confounded by the way in which the curse seem to sap her energy and all they could do was tell her that it was progressive and that eventually it would take her life. They hadn't even been able to tell her how long she would live. Thankfully she had lived long enough to have a 'normal' life and though she didn't want to die she was almost resigned to it.
Albus however had not been able to come to terms with her condition. No matter how many times Minerva had told him the only to blame was herself, Albus' guilt didn't dissipate. He had taken it upon himself to search for a cure, for anything that might stop her slow descent into oblivion. Sometimes in her darker moments she thought it was only the guilt that drove him, but she knew it was the great friendship between them that would not allow him to give up. So he had never given up on her and after decades of searching he had done it. Sixteen years ago Albus, with the help of the two newest staff members a young Severus and Poppy, had come up with what he named the Phoenix potion. But she had refused it and continued to do so. The side affect was just too much for her.
Later Minerva woke to find Poppy sitting beside her and Albus by the window again. Seeing Minerva had woken Poppy took her hand firmly in hers. Minerva could just see the faint red coloring around Poppy's eyes, whether she had been crying or wanted to cry now Minerva wasn't sure but she guessed it was both. Poppy was a wonderful friend partly because of her sentimentality. Minerva didn't know what to say in that situation and so she waited.
"Minerva you have to let us administer the Phoenix potion. You can't honestly tell me you would rather die than be nineteen again. Imagine Minerva you would get to do what every person desires, be young again with your wisdom intact." Poppy said a watery smile on her lips.
Well Minerva thought when you put it that way it sounded like a good thing. The look on both Poppy and Albus face was one of begging. They were begging her to stay with them to take this option they had worked on for years, begging her to let them save her.
"Minerva…" Albus said in a tone so strangled it was not recognizable as his voice. Minerva put her hand up to stop him.
"Alright I'll do it." Poppy really did cry then and Albus graced her with a smile so powerful it pulled at the corners of her own lips.
The next time Minerva opened her eyes was two days later and she saw the same two faces she had seen before going to sleep. Now they were joined by a third, her third savior Severus Snape had come to see the results of the potion that had taken so many sleepless nights to create. By the looks of it Poppy was conducting a diagnostic charm and looked up with a smile when she finish.
"Everything fine Minerva, the potion did exactly what it was supposed to." Minerva could only nod. It wasn't that she wasn't happy and extremely grateful but she was also apprehensive about what the potion had done.
Albus seemed to have noticed her predicament as he was the one to hand her a mirror. "I haven't seen that face in a long time."
Minerva shaking hand took hold of the mirror and looked at her reflection. There were no lines on her face, no bags under her eyes there was nothing to mark her as a seventy-two year old witch. Minerva slowly touched the smooth skin and smiled a bit she looked nineteen again. Minerva handed the mirror back to Albus. "Thank you. Thank you for making the potion and for convincing me to take it." She was grateful but still completely ill at ease with her new appearance though after everything this three people had done for her she was not about to complain.