A/N: And so, do to popular demand (squeeee!): EPILOGUE! EPILOGUE! EPILOGUE! Woot! Man, I love you guys! I'm sorry it took so long, but hey, since my beta is on vaca, it could have been longer. But i figured you guys would be ok with a few (or alot) grammatical errors for it two weeks sooner. This is for every single one of you who reviewed this story. I'd put a list or something, but it's like 2 in the morning, so no.
Rolanda sighed deeply as she walked through the grounds to Hogwarts. This year was her year to see the students on to the train, and as much as she liked summer, she hated this task with a passion. All the crying and hugging as if it was the last time they'd ever see each other.
She rolled her eyes at the very thought. They were all getting on the same train weren't they?
And then there was the sheer enormity of the task. Do you have any idea just how many students she had to cram on that train? A lot.
She sighed again.
She was going to miss the students anyway. They were messy, snotty, loud and obnoxious most of the time, but for ten months of the year they were hers. At least she had summer to look forward to; this year would be a welcome reprieve to say the least. And she knew by October next year she be wondering how she had ever missed this madhouse at all.
Rolanda took extra care to observe the stillness and quiet of the Great Hall as she made her way to the staff room once again. It was the same thing every year; the teachers all sat along the table while Dumbledore thanked them for another year, announced any staff changes (always Defence Against the Dark Arts) and then they were free until the third week of August. The same thing year in and year out. What she wouldn't give for something, anything, to break up the monotony…
For once Minerva's thoughts couldn't have been farther from her students.
She and Albus had capitalized on the fact it wasn't their turn to see them off and were taking a stroll through now deserted gardens. In the few weeks that had passed the two gotten closer than ever. This was quite amazing when you thought about it, considering the two had been best friends for, well, ages.
And now walking through the beautiful gardens, holding hands with Albus, Minerva felt totally at peace.
Until he tugged her arm so hard she lost her balance and fell on top of him in the springy, damp grass.
"Sorry!" Albus looked slightly abashed, "Its just Rolanda walked by, and well, I wasn't sure if we're telling people yet…"
Minerva smiled slightly. "It's ok." She snuggled in closer to him. "It's nicer back here, anyway."
Albus leaned over to kiss her but was thwarted at the last moment.
"Oh No! If Rolanda's back then we have to get to the staff room! They'll be wondering where we are."
Minerva fixed him with a stern look. He sighed.
She struggled to her feet and offered her hand to help Albus, looking around when he took it but made no move to get up.
"What are you doing?"
He didn't answer but kept searching in the pockets of his robes with his free hand.
"Come on, Albus!" She sighed impatiently, "We mustn't be late!"
She turned quickly, somewhat concerned at the change in his tone of voice.
"Yes? We really must be go— Oh…"
Minerva's hands flew to her mouth in surprise, for the reason Dumbledore had been fumbling in his robes had suddenly become very apparent.
Albus Dumbledore was nervous. Well, actually, nervous would have been an extreme understatement. He was almost hyperventilating. Facing down evil wizards is one thing; being charged with the care and education of thousands of children every year is another; but this…this was just downright nerve-wracking.
So he stayed there balanced on one knee, hand outstretched with his great-grandmother's diamond glinting in his palm, sweating profusely and hoping greatly that he wouldn't some how pass out before she could answer.
"Minerva…" And then he blanked. He had had a whole speech, damnit! But this was a lot different than practicing it with Fawkes. He took a deep breath.
"Minerva, I love you. I always have, and well, I was hoping you would do me the honour of becoming my wife? I want to spend the rest of my life with you, wake up every morning to your beautiful face. And I know it'll be dangerous, and I understand if you want to wait or need—"
Minerva held up her hands to stop his babbling.
"Of course I will," silent tears were rolling down her face now. "I love you too Albus."
For the first time in her life, Sybil Trelawny felt smothered by her rooms. The heat she normally found comforting was suddenly oppressive. She decided to take a walk through the grounds before the annual end of the year staff meeting. Yes, a walk. Fresh air was good for you, or, at least, thats what she had heard...
She walked through the gardens, glad that she hadn't gone wandering through the corridors again. Sybil shuddered, trying to rid the image of Severus and Rolanda, well, there was no other word for it—snogging. She just hadn't been able to shake the memory yet, in fact she wondered if it would ever leave her. But this had to be safer. She was certain of it.
Actually, Sybil had been steering clear of Severus and Hooch for a while now for her own safety. You see, Sybil had come to the conclusion that Severus Snape was, in fact, a vampire. It made sense, really; the dark clothing; the morbid sense of humour; the living in the dungeons; the death threats and that lovely way his robes billowed out around him…they all contributed to a very vampire-y aura. Not to mention his aversion to Seers. Vampires traditionally avoid all divination, considering them being dead and not having a future and all. It was the only logical explanation.
Although, she never could quite grasp what had attracted the dark, dashing vampire to the flying instructor of all people. Maybe he was fond of a certain blood type… Yes, that'd be it.
She heard a rustle is the tall grass beside her. Praying it wasn't what she thought it was, Sybil turned and looked (against her better judgment) to her right.
It wasn't the dashing enigma Severus Snape she found, but rather the debonair Dumbledore and —could it be? —Minerva McGonagall?
Dear Merlin! Was she the only teacher not getting any?!
She stood, staring at the couple, until Dumbledore coughed. Then, mind racing and wondering why it was always her, she fled.
I wonder what Filius is doing later…
Hearing a choking noise behind her, Minerva broke away from Albus' embrace and twisted around. Sybil was standing behind Minerva and her new fiancée, with her mouth opened so wide it seemed that her jaw had been unhinged. She turned around to face Albus, seeking an idea, an excuse for what had just happened.
He merely coughed.
In any matter, the cough seemed to do the trick. Sybil's trance seemed to break; she turned and fled.
"I suppose we'll have to, erm, inform the staff now?" asked Albus.
Minerva rested her forehead against his. "I guess so."
"We can wait, my dear," Albus frowned. "We don't have to tell them."
Minerva shook her head and smiled reassuringly. "No, they're our friends. They deserve to know. And besides, it's best we tell them before someone else does."
Albus grinned. "Alright." He offered his arm to her. "Ready? I fear we have some explaining to do."
"They certainly have some explaining to do!" said Emily, for the fourteenth time.
"Calm down, Em. They'll be here," soothed Sarah, from her position beside Rolanda and Severus on the couch.
"Yes, yes. But where are they now?" Emily started pacing again. "I mean, what if Potter got the wrong monster, and the heir of Slytherin is still out there?"
Rolanda shook her head. "Come on, Em, how many monsters can this place possibly hold?"
"It depends on what size." Interjected Hagrid.
"Yes, well, as for where they are…" she raised her eyebrows.
"Why do you do that?! Always with the sexual allusions!"
"I didn't even say anything!" cried Rolanda.
"It's the eyebrows, dear." Sighed Severus, "They give you away."
Rolanda gave him an odd look as Sarah snorted with laughter. "You realize you just called her 'dear'? Oh, Severus, poor, poor Severus, where has your infamous severity gone?"
He coloured. "Did not!"
She smirked. "Oh yeah? Then why does Sybil look like she wants to thrash Rolanda?"
Sarah grinned. "I win. As for Rolanda's comment, she may be right."
"What?" yelped Emily, "They're together and nobody bothered to tell me?"
"Well, they haven't told anyone, but I'm sure something's happened."
Severus rolled his eyes. "I doubt it. Since when can people keep a secret in this bloody castle?" He glared at Trelawny who had migrated to the far corner and could no longer hear their conversation.
"Look at the signs, people!"
"What signs?" asked Emily.
"The romantic office dance; then the dancing at the party, very closely I might add; the periods over the past weeks where no one can find either of them; the way they lean in closer to each other at meals; the way his hand lingers when he brushes past her; not to mention the secret smiles and looks when they think no one is looking. You must've noticed."
"I mean this in the nicest way possible, but Sarah, you are a creep."
Sarah blushed. "I am not! I'm just observant, that's all!"
Severus exchanged looks with Rolanda. "Observant? More like crazy stalker."
"I am not!"
"SIMMER DOWN, KIDS!" yelled Emily, whilst Rolanda looked on, bemusedly. "Minerva and Albus may be in grave danger! We need to—"
The banging of the door cut her off. There stood the objects of their worries, holding hands. Which they quickly dropped once they noticed people looking.
"See? I'm not crazy," whispered Sarah, triumphant.
"Shut up," Severus shot back, "You're still a stalker."
"All right," began Dumbledore, breaking up what was sure to have been the start of another shouting match. "Let's all take our seats and get started, shall we?"
Rolanda was bored out of her mind from the get go. Only her respect for Albus stopped her from taking a nap right there and then. Well, that and the table.
Do you realize how many generations of teachers had sat at the same table? There were so many stains in the wood that they had all blended together to form a blotchy masterpiece. Paired with the rings for thousands of cups and mugs, the effect was quite something. And how exactly had those burn marks gotten there?
There was no way in hell Rolanda was willing to put her face near that thing. Ew.
Instead she passed the time by making faces at the gruff old Care of Magical Creatures professor (whose name escaped her yet again), trying to make him laugh. Until he winked at her with his remaining eye and she realized that he thought she was hitting on him.
Then she turned her eyes to the completely whole Severus Snape sitting next to him. She stared wondering if he would notice. She studied the curve of his jaw line, the arch of his brows; half hoping he would look at her, half liking going unnoticed.
Suddenly he started waving a hand in front of his face, as if trying to get rid of a bothersome fly. How curious, she hadn't seen a fly…
"Hmm…fly?" She tore her eyes from Severus, puzzled.
Everyone was either laughing at her (like Sarah, Filius, and Gruff man with partial limbs) or looking worried for her sanity (like Severus, Poppy, Minerva and Emily)
Dumbledore was chuckling. "As much as I appreciate your dedication to your job, I fear I have one more announcement before you can go flying. Minerva?"
She stood beside him clasping her hands in front of herself nervously.
Minerva McGonagall, the Scottish Storm, head of Gryffindor, and other assorted impressive things, nervous? It had to be bad. Like, we're-all-going-to-die, bad. Or, at least they've-decided-to-turn-Hogwarts-into-a-hotel-and-your-all-fired, bad.
"We've been keeping something from you all, and due to recent events," Minerva sent a particularly vicious look to Sybil and Rolanda felt a rush of understanding. "We have decided that it's time you ought to know."
Oh no, here it comes, thought Rolanda; I'm way too young to die!
"Minerva and I," Albus took her hand as he spoke, "are engaged."
And then the explosion.
"I told you I'm not crazy!"
"Engaged? I didn't even know you were together!"
"Can I see the ring?"
"Eh mah gawd, it's, like, huuuugeee!"
"Sarah, as much as we like impressions, now is not a Celestina Warbeck kinda time."
"Dumbledore, old man, you finally took the plunge, eh?" The gruff man winked.
Hagrid shuffled froward, "Mr. Dumbledore, sir? As great a wizard as you are, if ya hurt her, I'll kill ya, sir."
"I assure you from the bottom of my heart, Hagrid, that if I do hurt her, you have full permission to kill me."
But it would be Rolanda's voice, and her voice alone that was to be her downfall.
"Where is Lockhart when you actually want him!?" She laughed, delighted at her friends' bliss. "Lost his memory, that's convenient. He's gonna be harder to collect from than Ludo Bagman."
"What do you mean?" asked Albus.
"Oh, well, see Gilderoy and I had a little wager."
Not seeing the danger or the vehement signals from the others to stop, she continued. "He said he could get any woman he wanted, and I said that there was no way in hell that he could get Minerva to fall for…for…oh, shit."
The colour was rising in Minerva's cheeks. "You."
Rolanda shook her head.
"It was you."
"It was the others too!"
Minerva rounded on them.
"It was all Rolanda and Severus, I swear!" yelped Sarah, from where she was hiding behind Hagrid with Emily.
Now Albus turned towards Severus.
"Were you in on this?" He demanded.
"Good, then I'll curse you too!" yelled Minerva "So many weeks of that insufferable man stuck to me like glue! All because of your stupid bet! Rolanda you really done it this time!"
"It was for a good cause!" Protested Snape, weakly. "It got you together, didn't it?"
"We could have gotten here without your meddling, thanks," snarled Minerva.
She and Albus raised their wands once more.
"Wait!" cried Poppy.
"Just don't hurt them too bad, ok? I'd like to get home by next week."
"Thanks a lot," hissed Rolanda. As if they need encouragement.
As the headmaster and deputy advanced, Rolanda's brain whirred at high speed, casting around for a reason not to be killed.
"Wait!" she shouted. "You wouldn't curse a pregnant woman would you?"
Poppy quickly revived him. Thankfully, he was all right.
"Whaddya mean, pregnant?" he asked, in disbelief.
Sarah was laughing again. "You got knocked up? Classic…"
Everyone else was staring at Rolanda's midriff, questioningly.
"No you're not," said Poppy after a moment.
Rolanda was sweating now; carefully she grabbed Severus' hand and slowly, very slowly, began to back away.
"Yes I am."
Poppy put her hands on her hips. "Rolanda Hooch, I have been a healer for thirty-two years, twenty of them here at Hogwarts. I know the symptoms, and you, my dear, are not pregnant."
Rolanda felt the doorknob pressing into her back. Slowly she put her hand on it.
She shrugged. "Fair enough."
Rolanda swung the door open and tugged hard on Severus' arm, "RUN!"
Albus and Minerva pursued them, furiously.
What followed would, in later years, come to be known as the Great Chase of '93.
The portraits still talk about it.
Every once and a while, when subjects for gossip are few and far between, they'll tell each other the story of how the great Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall finally got together, how Severus Snape and Rolanda Hooch eluded capture for forty-eight hours before being ambushed in the kitchens whilst searching for food, and how two loves came to be all because of a glittery idiot and a little bet.
A/N: ok, now it's done. And I'm rather depressed. I can't believe it, my baby's all grown up…tearsob. Ah well, thanks for sticking with me guys! You've all been wonderful. And don't think this being over gets you off the hook! REVIEW! Tell me what you liked, what you hated, what was wrong, what was brilliant, I NEED TO GET BETTER! One more time, I love you all, keep reading— lost logic aka Sloane.