Author's Notes: Albus and Minerva's thoughts are in italics. Happy New Year!

Disclaimer: I own none of the Harry Poter characters.


A Conversation in Two Perspectives

Albus:

It was quite late, and Albus Dumbledore was in his office. Earlier that day, he had informed Armando of his decision. It had been a hard one to make, but Albus knew that it was his duty to try to stop Gellert Grindewald. He knew the dark wizard rather well, better than he would like to admit. It made sense: Grindewald needed to be stopped, and he was the right man for the job.

There was another factor contributing to his leaving, although wanting to stop Grindewald was a rather large one. This other factor was one of his best students, who went by the name of Minerva McGonagall. He had always liked Minerva and thought her to be very talented. Sixteen months ago, at the start of her sixth year, he had offered to teach her to become an animagus. She had accepted, thus beginning nightly training and lessons which had culminated in her tabby cat transformation last month. The two of them had spent much time together, and a friendship had formed.

Recently, however, he had begun to feel something more for her. That was why he was leaving. To have such feelings for a student - well, Albus thought it was horrible. Consequently, the decision to leave was made. All that was left to do was pack, which was what he was doing when he heard the knock on his door.

"Come in," he said, thinking the knocker to be Armando, or perhaps Horace.

A familiar voice asking, "Professor Dumbledore?" proved him wrong.

He turned around, "Minerva? I wasn't expecting you." What is she doing here so late?

"Are the rumors true?" the seventh year asked in her typical direct fashion.

"Rumors are often mere fabrications of fools. I'm surprised you're paying attention to such things." Why are you here? How in Merlin's name did you find out about my leaving?

"Then there is no truth to them?" she asked, "You aren't leaving? Because your packed office indicates otherwise."

How do I tell her? "Do not concern yourself with rumors, Minerva. To do so would be an insult to your great mind."

"Why?"

"You are capable of so much more-"

"No," she interrupted, "I wasn't talking about that."

And he knew she hadn't been.

"Why are you leaving?"

Because I've fallen in love with you, and that's highly inappropriate, he thought to himself. He spoke, "I'm going to fight in the war."

"We need you here, you know. You're essentially the hear and soul of this place."

"The world needs Grindewald to be stopped." I must stay away from you, much as it pains me to do so. And you flatter me, Min. You flatter me.

"Then take me with you."

"Don't be ridiculous, Minerva. It's dangerous, you're underage, and you need to finish your education." I can't, Minerva. I'm afraid I will act on my feelings.

"What would be a better way to finish my schooling than getting firsthand experience in battle from my favorite teacher? You told me yourself that books are wonderful, but no substitute for experience. Isn't that why you helped me become an aimiagus?" Minerva began angrily, her face flushed.

"Minerva -" he interrupted. If safety weren't an issue, I wish I could take you with me.

"Professor, I'm seventeen. I am of age. It may be dangerous, but I'm old enough to decide if I want to face that."

Seventeen! What is seventeen? Nothing more an arbitrary line in the sand where we deem people adults. Really not much different from sixteen. Seventeen is still so young - she is so young.

"You make a fair argument, Minerva, but I simply cannot do what you ask me to." I can't, but I wish I could.

Her frown did not disappear, "This isn't like you, Professor. You've always given us students direct answers and told us the whole truth."

"One of the many tasks of growing up is realizing that adults are not perfect," Albus said. He thought, I'm sorry I'm not. I'm sorry I'm not perfect. I'm sorry, Minerva. If I was perfect, I never would have developed these feelings for you. I'm sorry I have to leave. I know it's upsetting you, and I hate that. I wish I could make that frown disappear from your face.

"Nobody is perfect," she stated, ever logical.

"Well," Albus replied cheerfully, trying to lighten the mood, "Remember that and you'll go far." She's wise beyond her years. I fell in love with such an intelligent young woman.

"Will you come back? After?"

"In all likelihood." Not until the school year is over and you have graduated. Not until you are safe from me and my feelings. Not until you have left Hogwarts.

"Well," she said, looking sad, "I'll miss you."

"And I you, Minerva." I wish I wouldn't miss you as much as I undoubtedly will. Considering you are a student, I will miss you entirely too much.

"Thank you for everything - your wonderful classes, the animagus lessons, everything. You really are an extraordinary teacher. Good luck, Professor."

"Thank you, Minerva. I'll think of you." I'll be thinking of you more than you will ever know.

"Goodbye, Professor."

"Goodbye, Minerva." I love you.


Minerva:

It was late at night, and Minerva McGonagall was out of bed. However, she was not wandering the halls aimlessly like some juvenile delinquent. She had a specific destination in mind: Professor Dumbledore's office. There had been rumors that he was leaving, and she wanted to find out if there was any truth to them. Usually, she did not concern herself with such petty things as rumors, but since Dumbledore had been involved in them, it was a different story all together.

She'd had feelings for Professor Dumbledore (or Albus, as she referred to him in her head), ever since she was fifteen. Her two best friends, Pomona Sprout and Poppy Pomfrey, knew about this, but obviously he didn't. She reassured herself that it was better that way: he was, after all, her teacher, and as much as she wanted to have a romance with him, it would be highly inappropriate. Nevertheless, if he was leaving - Merlin forbid he was - her world would be turn upside-down and her heart would be broken.

She knocked on the door to his office.

"Come in," Albus said.

"Professor Dumbledore?"

He turned around, "Minerva? I wasn't expecting you."

"Are the rumors true?" she asked rather directly. Please say they're not; please say they're not.

"Rumors are often mere fabrications of fools. I'm surprised you're paying attention to such things."

"Then there is no truth to them?" she asked, "You aren't leaving? Because your packed office indicates otherwise." Oh Merlin, he is leaving. His office is practically empty. Perhaps there's another explanation. I hope that's the case. Merlin's beard, he can't be leaving. There must be another explanation.

"Do not concern yourself with rumors, Minerva. To do so would be an insult to your great mind."

"Why?" Just give me the truth, Albus. As much as it may hurt, I can take it. After all, I am seventeen. Legally an adult.

"You are capable of so much more-"

"No," she interrupted, "I wasn't talking about that." He is leaving. By the look, he'll be gone by morning. Oh, no. No. This cannot be happening. "Why are you leaving?" Why?

He spoke, "I'm going to fight in the war."

"We need you here, you know. You're essentially the hear and soul of this place." The war? He could be injured, or worse yet killed! Please Albus, don't go.

"The world needs Grindewald to be stopped."

"Then take me with you." Take me with you.

"Don't be ridiculous, Minerva. It's dangerous, you're underage, and you need to finish your education."

"What would be a better way to finish my schooling than getting firsthand experience in battle from my favorite teacher? You told me yourself that books are wonderful, but no substitute for experiences. Isn't that why you helped me become an aimiagus?" Minerva began angrily, her face flushed.

"Minerva -" he interrupted.

"Professor, I'm seventeen. I am of age. It may be dangerous, but I'm old enough to decide if I want to face that." I want to do this. I don't want to be apart from you.

"You make a fair argument, Minerva, but I simply cannot do what you ask me to."

Her frown did not disappear, "This isn't like you, Professor. You've always given us students direct answers and told us the whole truth." Why is he not telling me everything?

"One of the many tasks of growing up is realizing that adults are not perfect," Albus said.

"Nobody is perfect," she stated, ever logical. Nobody is perfect, but some are closer than others.

"Well," Albus replied cheerfully, trying to lighten the mood, "Remember that and you'll go far."

"Will you come back? After?" I hope you will. I hope you won't be gone for too long.

"In all likelihood."

"Well," she said, looking sad, "I'll miss you." If you knew just how much I would miss you, you would consider me nothing more than a lovesick school girl.

"And I you, Minerva."

"Thank you for everything - your wonderful classes, the animagus lessons, everything. You really are an extraordinary teacher. Good luck, Professor." Thank you so much, really. You're amazing. Be safe, my love.

"Thank you, Minerva. I'll think of you."

"Goodbye, Professor." I love you.

"Goodbye, Minerva."