Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, NOT MINE

Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, NOT MINE!

A.N.: Okay, so this idea popped into my head while I was trying to study chemistry. But you didn't need to know that. Anyway, there's a second part of this story, which is already written, and which will clear up some things and wrap it all up. It will be longer than this one; tell me if it's worth posting.

She breathed deeply to gather courage. Minerva McGonagall, former Head Girl of Gryffindor, was scared. Scared of her past, the past she was about to step into once again. She looked up and saw the castle; Hogwarts stood exactly as it was when she'd left it, seven years ago. Was she ready to start living her life from a different perspective, from Auror to Professor? Oh, yes, she was more than ready. But was she ready to face everything she had left behind? Her friends, her dreams… her love. Was it really love, or just a crush of a girl on her professor? Was it love that had her thinking about him every day and night? Was it love that, even after seven years, had burned the image of him inside her head? Was it love that had her wanting desperately to be with him, no matter how many years there were in between them? And why was she searching for another name for what she felt? Too many thoughts, too many questions. And maybe she would never be able to answer them all.

The double doors of the castle opened, and he was standing there, exactly as he were when she'd left him, seven years ago. The auburn hair, the twinkling blue eyes, and the horrible taste for colors.

"Minerva!" he stared at her in disbelief: was it possible that she had changed so much and yet had changed nothing?

"Professor Dumbledore" she said politely and fought the urge to jump into his arms. What were them besides colleagues, now? Great change, she thought, from student and professor, to employee and employer.

"Call me Albus. You are not my student anymore"

Oh, yes, she knew that very well, and wondered if he knew what those words meant for her. He took the bag from her hand and she trembled slightly as his hand brushed against hers. They walked side by side through the empty corridors of the castle, talking about her times as a student, what she had been doing those past years, and everything that came into their minds.

"I suppose I'll leave you now to unpack and make yourself at home" he said, when they reached the door of her private chambers.

"Thank you, Albus"

"You're welcome" he smiled and started turning around to walk away, but decided against it. "You know, Minerva, it's been a long time since I had an opponent able to beat me at chess. You're an excellent player, from what I remember. Would you care to accompany me for a game after you've settled in, my dear?"

It was the first time he'd called her 'my dear'. She didn't know what exactly he meant by calling her that, but she found she loved it. It was that what put the huge smile she had upon her face.

"I'd be delighted"

He said nothing, but was smiling when took her hand in his and kissed it.

Minerva watched Albus walk away until he turned around the corner and she wasn't able to see him anymore. She backed herself against the wall and sighed contently. What was he doing to her? Less than ten minutes ago, she was scared to death upon the idea of returning to the castle, but now… She'd promised herself she wouldn't feel this way about him anymore, but it was so difficult to bury it all inside her, and he being such a gentleman wasn't helping at all. Well, maybe life at Hogwarts wouldn't be so bad after all. Or it would be dreadful. But, maybe, just maybe, she would get those answers she had been searching for.

TBC