FanFic 100 Challenge #: 017 – Brown
Brownies and other sweet things
Minerva McGonagall had a very determined look on her face. The woman was on a mission and would not stop before she'd found what she was looking for.
When she turned around to search through the next row of books she suddenly smiled and there was a light in her eyes her friends hadn't been able to see for quite a while.
There in front of her, in a corner of "Smith and Bonham my little tribute to two wonderful actresses– books for every wizard and witch" was a man she hadn't seen for over a decade. He was wearing purple robes with stars all over it. On the table he was sitting at were dozens of books. Some were opened and some were closed, and while eating a brownie that looked like pure chocolate he seemed to be concentrating on the contents of the books he was reading simultaneously. If it hadn't been for a few streaks of grey in his auburn hair Minerva would have said that he hadn't changed a bit since she'd seen him years ago.
She observed him for some minutes, simply enjoying what she was seeing. He turned the pages forwards and then backwards again, sometimes he almost seemed to be worried, but the next moment he was about to chuckle. At least, that's what Minerva thought.
Minerva was really surprised that he hadn't noticed her by now. She would have expected him to be more vigilant.
After some more minutes, she still hadn't decided what she should do. On the one hand, she was really curious what he was reading and she would have loved to talk to him after so many years, on the other hand, she wasn't even sure if he would remember her and although it had been ten years since he'd duelled Grindelwald, he was still famous and she was sure that more than enough people disturbed him in his daily life.
But then she told herself that she should just walk over to him and say 'hello'. If he wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone, she would know that by his behaviour because no matter how friendly he was to almost everybody she had learned in his first year as her Transfiguration Professor that his eyes showed how he was really feeling. During her last three years at Hogwarts, she'd made a hobby of it: she'd observed him whenever she'd had nothing better to do and she'd learned what which look meant. She just wasn't sure that she was still good at it.
After having walked over to him and having stood next to him for a few seconds without him even looking up from his books the smile on her face was even bigger because she had been able to read what the books in front of him were about: chocolate cakes.
Minerva shook her head and concentrated very hard on not laughing out loud.
When she thought that her face wouldn't betray her, she made herself known.
He still didn't look at her.
What should she say?
After not getting a response from the person who'd been staring at him for minutes which hadn't gone unnoticed by him although he hadn't let that show, Albus decided that he wanted to find out who'd been observing him that intensely. He just hoped that it wasn't another one of these crazy women who still loved to tell him how much they adored him and that they would REALLY love to go out with him which he always declined very politely.
But now he was curious and therefore he looked up.
Their eyes locked and she could see the change in his eyes. While they'd been looking serious when their eyes had met they were now twinkling and soon his whole face looked happy. "Miss McGonagall! What a wonderful surprise!"
She was speechless.
"What are you doing here, Miss McGonagall? I thought you were oversea. At least, that's the last I've heard about you."
He didn't only remember her name, he KNEW who she was. "I'm sorry, Professor, but how-?"
He interrupted her. "Oh, I must apologize.. I didn't intend to confuse you, my dear. Every few months, Alastor Moody who trained you to become an Auror, if I'm not mistaken, comes to Hogwarts to see if it's really safe. You know how he is.
From time to time, we talk about former students of mine that he also knows. He's always been – just like me – very impressed by your abilities, Miss McGonagall. Therefore, he often talks about what you've been up to lately. He's really proud I guess."
"Oh, of course. I should have thought of Alastor Moody. And you're right: I've been oversea for the last years. I was able to get to know a few countries like Israel and Egypt. I've just returned a few days ago. Not even Moody has heard of my return I guess."
His eyes became even brighter. "Well, then I'm honoured to be one of the first people to be able to welcome you back, Miss McGonagall. So 'Welcome back!'."
Minerva felt how her skin turned red. She was actually blushing which she hadn't done since her fourth year at Hogwarts when Rolanda Hooch had forced her to play a game of 'Truth or Dare'.
Albus observed his former student. He'd recognized her the moment he'd looked up from his books. In his whole life, he'd never seen greener eyes. Her beautiful raven black hair which she'd used to wear in a tight bun was freely cascading down. He'd never before seen that her hair was a little curly. After his last statement, he'd seen how her checks had turned crimson which just made the rest of her skin look even more like porcelain. Minerva McGonagall had always been a natural beauty, but he thought that the last years had made her look like a real goddess.
She stopped his musing before he could think about her in a way that would make him blush. "Thank you, Professor. I have to admit that I'm glad to be back. Although I've really fallen in love with the whole world and I'm sure that all the experiences I was able to make helped me to become a better witch. But nevertheless, I have to say that no place has ever really felt like home. Therefore, I've decided that I should come back and see what Great Britain has to offer to me."
"I can perfectly understand you, Miss McGonagall. I've seen a lot of the world, but there's just one place I call home and - as silly as that may sound to a young woman like you – that's Hogwarts."
Minerva almost laughed. "It doesn't sound silly at all, Professor. I've really enjoyed my seven years at Hogwarts and it's been twelve years since my graduation. Back then, I would have called myself a young woman and even if I have to admit that I'm flattered by your words I would no longer refer to myself like that."
By now, he'd stood up and the books that had been lying on the table when she'd approached him had all flown back to their shelves.
"You've been one of my students, Miss McGonagall and you are, I think, about twenty years my junior. Therefore, I think I have a right to think of you as young."
He was smiling at her and she knew that it was a kind of challenge. Professor Dumbledore had always loved to duel with words. He'd once told her that it was better to fight with words than with wands and that one should always try to find the right words.
Her mouth was the thinnest of thin lines and Albus was almost afraid that he'd hurt her feelings because he remembered her facial expressions from her years at Hogwarts. Although she'd been one of the most brilliant students Hogwarts had ever seen, she'd also been famous for her Scottish temper.
But then he saw the sparkle in her eyes and knew that she was just pretending to be angry.
In a faked disapproving voice, she answered him. "Well, Professor, I'm no longer your student."
She let her words stay in the room as if they would explain everything and Albus wondered if she thought that they would really explain everything or if she just wanted to see how he would interpret them.
"I think that's a good thing because I don't think that the Headmaster of Hogwarts would approve his Deputy to invite one of his students to go to a nice little café with him to have a nice cup of ice or a piece of delicious cake."
Minerva bit her lower lip and pretended to ponder over his indirect question.
"Then I think it's really a good thing that I'm no longer as young as I used to be."
A/N btw: a BIG THANK YOU to my wonderful beta Merciful Heavens!!