A/N - we left a crazed Alastor Moody rampaging in Minerva's sitting room.
In Remus Lupin's completely unprofessional opinion, Alastor Moody had gone around the bend a dozen or so times. In a gold-gilded, purple cushioned horse drawn carriage. One moment, he'd be sobbing duets with his dead Da then he'd fretfully doze. Those brief kips didn't last too long as he'd wake up, nattering, screaming and wailing about Minerva McGonagall.
Now, he was singing a lament.
Lookin' down through a tide of no return,
Is a field where the crops no longer grow.
Parched is the land, strangled an' be damned.
There for the Grace of Her Go I…
"Alastor; it is I, Arthur," Arthur Weasley calmly announced as though facing a singing, crazed Auror was an everyday occurrence. Well… he was married to Molly Weasley, so perhaps Alastor was the lesser of two evils. At least the way Gideon and Fabian had always talked about her sister, Remus could well believe it. "We need to chat."
"No," protested a hoarse Alastor. "Go away."
"Alastor, I'm coming in," Arthur informed him.
The door opened, while Alastor struggled to his one leg, his back braced in the room's corner. He had his wand out as though determined to fight his way out of the current situation. Instead of being frightened, a paternal, somber Arthur just shook his head at the wand.
"Alastor, you're scaring everyone," was Arthur's mild chastisement. "We're really quite worried about you. Please put your wand down as I'm no match for you."
"Go!" protested Alastor. The Auror was wild-eyed as he looked to his right. It was though he was having a conversation. "Why won't he leave? I don't desire to hurt Arthur."
Alastor had a brief one-sided conversation and then he wearily nodded his head. "Da says you're trying to help."
"Yes, I am," Arthur stated. Then in a much softer tone, as though he was taking to a scared, little boy. "Alastor, please, let them go. If you need a hostage, I'll be your captive. They're just boys, Alastor. Barely out of Hogwarts. They're so frightened that I'm surprised that they haven't made a mess in their pants."
The paternal Arthur seemed to be successful in soothing the jittery Alastor as he lowered his wand.
"Arthur," Remus spoke to try and explain the situation. Well, he attempted to do so, but Alastor Cast a Silencio spell on him.
"I didn't mean to do it," pleaded a desperate Alastor. "He was supposed to kill me but he cocked it up. It's his fault that I'm not dead!"
Arthur nodded his head before he said, "Alastor, I know your grieving for what you lost. But just because you're missing a few body parts doesn't mean you need to kill yourself."
"I'm a… monster," Alastor explained to Arthur. The tone of Alastor's voice reminded Remus of his own angst, after his first, painful transformation into the Wolf. "It would be better for everyone if I was dead."
Alastor's breakdown was hitting a little too close to home for Remus. Remus' parents had constantly reassured their son that he wasn't a monster, that he was loved and wanted by both his parents. What would have it been like for him, if he had been older? If his parents hadn't been around? If he hadn't his friends to support him?
"Let the boys go," repeated Arthur. "I'll be your hostage."
"I don't want a bloody hostage. I want to be dead," roared Alastor. "Why won't anyone just bloody kill me?"
Minerva McGonagall walked into the room, backed by a not very pleased Edgar Bones. Her appearance startled not only Alastor and Arthur but also the two bound Marauders. Alastor backed farther in the corner as though he was deeply frightened of Minerva…
He dropped his various wands and hopefully whispered, "Will you kill me? Please? I deserve it."
For a moment, Minerva McGonagall was speechless, whether from the mass, wanton destruction of the various McGonagall antiques or Alastor's plaintive request was uncertain. However, she quickly regained her voice.
"What the hell is going on here, Alastor? You've destroyed my house, ruined my furniture and tied up two of my former students? Though I can understand why you gagged Sirius." Her tone as crisp, leaving no doubt that Alastor was destined to a lifetime's detention. "I left you for only a short while and everything's gone to bloody hell, Alastor!"
"They know! They all know!" Alastor's voice was hoarse. "What happened between us? They know! Kill me, please."
A fragmenting Alastor was on a crumbling ledge, close to jumping. Therefore, Minerva handled the situation in her unique and forthright manner. She reached for Alastor's face, not letting him move away from her. Instead, she pulled his face down to her level and she spoke slowly and deliberately as though Alastor was nothing more than an overlarge firstie.
"Alastor Terence Moody, I don't really give a good bloody damn that the Entire Order knows that I took your virginity. I wouldn't be ashamed of what we did even if you decided to post it on the front page of the Daily Prophet. However, I must confess that I find your morning after regrets a bit extreme and rather ego bruising. Do you really want to die because you and I had sex? I know that I'm not your Diana, lad, but I thought we could still be friends. Well, if this is how you treat my hospitality, I will not give you the Ballycastle shirt I bought for you."
Moody was staring at her as though she was the one that had gone barmy. As though she was the one holding everyone hostage after running amuck and destroying an entire room.
So for good measure, Minerva added a rather tart, "Now pull yourself together, Alastor, and fix the damage you're caused to my home! And be quick about it, man!"
A disturbed Alastor protested.
"It's not your fault. I won't let anyone say it's your fault. I can't fix the damage!" He frantically insisted. "I know how it is… how they try to blame the woman… I raped you, Minerva. I forced myself on you…I am ashamed. They all know! And they won't kill me! They just don't understand - that for your honor, for your reputation, I need to be dead! To bloody hell with your house, Minerva. I'm trying to save your reputation!"
He screamed his confession at full volume. As Moody had been blessed with a good set of lungs, it was doubtful that anyone in the Highlands had missed his carnal confession.
"And… you were… so kind… to me…" an exhausted Alastor stumbled over his words. "You refused to see the beast I am."
"So help me God, if you're telling the truth, I'll bloody kill you myself," Edgar Bones pledged. The quiet promise in Edgar's voice frightened Minerva.
"Thank you," whispered Alastor. For a wonder, he was smiling. "Please, Edgar. I'll thank you with my dying breath."
His sincere thanks left Edgar quite rattled and Edgar looked toward Minerva for answers.
The Auror collapsed then, physically and emotionally. Arthur Weasley was quick to bodily assist Alastor to the floor in a controlled descent. Minerva then sat on the floor next to the shattered Moody and she gently embraced him.
"You big, bloody fool," she breathed. "It was consensual. You were a sweet, gentle lover, Alastor. There was no force involved. It was consensual."
He rested his head on her shoulder and said not a word. However, he was holding onto her so very tightly. Very well, her priorities were that Alastor required her immediate assistance. He needed sleep, so she cast a Dreamless Slumber spell. That accomplished, some serious damage control was next on her list.
She saw their concern in their eyes. Their wondering eyes… the pursed lips… the enraged Edgar… They needed to be reassured about what had and most importantly hadn't happened.
In a calm voice perfected by far too many Hogwarts incidents to count, Minerva calmly informed the various Order members of the truth. Times like this, rock steady composure was required. "What happened between Alastor and me was completely consensual. Alastor was an absolute perfect gentleman, and I will not allow any of you… ANY OF YOU…. to think for one moment that what he just said is the reality of the situation. I think we can all agree that Alastor is ill and not acting rationally."
She nodded her head, and Arthur chimed in an easy agreement. His reputation for good common sense swayed Frank, which led to the others deciding not to kill Alastor immediately.
"Can someone please release Remus and Sirius," Minerva coolly instructed. "James, I need you to locate Albus with all due haste. Remus, where is Albus?"
An unSilencio'd Remus explained that Albus was in fact looking for Minerva. "Albus believes that some of the potions that Alastor was given by Healer Waldron might be causing his…" He paused, wondering what words to use rather than descriptive and quite accurate 'Mental Meltdown'.
"His misinterpretation of recent events," Minerva easily inserted. "Very well, I'd like you all, with the exception of Arthur, to please leave my house."
Edgar said not a word, instead he stormed out, too angry to speak, and Minerva mourned the loss of their friendship. She hadn't led him on, but Edgar had seemed to want more from her than she had realized. Fortunately, the Marauders and Frank knew too well from firsthand experience that there would be no convincing Judge and Jury Minerva otherwise, especially when she used that tone. They quickly left. However, both Lily and Alice, being the proper sort and not knowing the steel in Minerva's soul, still argued.
"I'd like to stay," Alice pleaded. "For Diana as I promised that I keep an eye on Alastor. I haven't done such a very good job. It's obvious that I've buggered it up."
Minerva shook her head. "Alice, your baby is due soon. Arthur can help me as we'll need to physically lift him."
The three women argued for a bit until Minerva won. Her victory was never in doubt as both Alice and Lily were too recently her students to easily shake off her directives.
"Alastor?" Alice whispered. "I know you. I know what type of man you are. Have faith, Alastor. Listen to Minerva."
"I fear that he's asleep," Minerva informed Alice.
A subdued Alice turned to Minerva. "I'm glad that you and Alastor…" Alice made a gesture that could only mean one thing. "Diana had confided in me about their relationship, especially about that part. She wished to assure him that she understood the significance he placed on physical intimacy. Diana thought by waiting… but I know Alastor was quite keen about sharing that experience with her. It's wonderful, Minerva, that he found you."
Alice sighed. "I just wish it hadn't turned out this way. I know Diana wanted his first time to be wonderful. She felt guilty as she didn't understand Alastor and his values at first. It's too easy to dismiss him as a hard-liner, but he's very profound. "
"I had hoped that he'd find some solace." That was Minerva's soft confession. "Instead, I fear that I've shattered him."
Fawkes the rapidly fading Phoenix found his Wizard. He collapsed on Albus' shoulder and peckishly pecked Albus to let him know that his Phoenix was quite peeved. Truly, Fawkes deserved Minerva as his Witch. She'd instinctively understand that it was exhausting enough being the Bright and Beautiful Fawkes; Messenger Fawkes was simply too strenuous position for the Phoenix's delicate constitution.
"Whatever is the matter?" Albus asked. Wisely, he didn't mention Fawkes' ill temper.
Wolfling is in trouble! Big Man is angry and Wolfling is tied up. Wolfling believes that Big Man will kill him. Have you found Minerva? Minerva will soothe her mate! I told Wolfling's friends so Big Man may have them tied up now! Minerva! Where is Minerva! Big Man needs Minerva!
"I haven't found her. She's not in her seats; she's not at the hotel. I have to talk to someone. I need you to return back to Minerva's home."
I'm exhausted! Fawkes wept shiny tears as he was on his last dregs. He wasn't shamming as his normally bright feathers were faded and droopy.
"I'm sorry, Fawkes. I need you to go to Minerva's house and clear everyone out or at least as many as you can. I have to bring our new friend there. You know he's supposed to be a secret," Albus explained. "You know who I trust with his identity."
Tired, whimpered Fawkes. Only for Minerva's Big Man.
He didn't pop out so much as he merely faded.
"Severus," a Disillusioned Albus whispered in Severus' ear. Severus was sitting at a desk at Spinner's End, jotting down notes on his latest potion.
"It's safe," growled Severus. "What do you want?"
Albus appeared and shook his head. "Alastor has gone quite mad."
"It's the potions," was Severus' curt response. He showed Albus a small vial full of an emerald green liquid. "I have created something that may stabilize his sanity."
Severus was still explaining what he had done and commenting on his virtuosity at subtle art of potions when he and Albus arrived at Minerva's house. Albus touched the top of his head and Severus shivered as something cold and wet trickled down his back.
"Stay here," Albus requested. "Let me make sure everyone's gone. I've Disillusioned you so no one can see you."
Severus made a face at that comment and Albus shook his head.
"I saw that," Dumbledore mildly protested. "Do you feel better after sticking your tongue out at me? As the newest staff member at Hogwarts, you really can't do that. It looks unprofessional, Severus. But please, rest assured that Filius Flitwick will instruct you how to diplomatically state your belief that I'm utterly mad."
That quip earned a disgusted look from Severus.
"You wanted to be kept secret and I'm becoming more and more convinced of the wisdom of that. I fear what may happen if Voldemort…"
Severus shivered and Albus shook his head.
"I fear what may happen to you if Voldemort discovers your true loyalties. I grow more and more convinced that there is a cancer among the Order," Albus softly admitted that. "I have my suspicions that not all are as loyal as you."
"I'm loyal to you for one reason and one reason only," Severus tersely reminded him. "I'm not one of your cult members."
"Yes, you are loyal to me for the most noble of reasons," assured Albus. "Regardless of your unwillingness to take credit, you did get Alastor out alive. I may need to reveal your identity to Minerva and possibly someone else. "
"WHAT?" Severus protested. "I'm supposed to be a secret because you don't trust your bloody Order. Did you just miss that part of the conversation?"
"I trust Minerva completely," was Albus' response. "And Arthur isn't a member of the Order."
"Yes, he's too busy reproducing," sniped Snape.
A drooping Fawkes popped into the room. The Phoenix was truly off color, an almost alarmingly shade of coral.
Minerva?! Albus is returning with help! But everyone must leave! Only you and the Fire Haired Man can stay!
"Fire Haired Man?" Minerva repeated. "I can stay and so can the Fire Haired Man?"
"That's probably me," a helpful Arthur offered.
"Ah… I should have realized that Fawkes would describe auburn hair as fire colored. Fawkes, everyone's already gone," assured Minerva. "It's just Arthur, Alastor and me."
Yes! Fawkes exclaimed. Albus is coming with help!
"Arthur, Fawkes needs spring water, please. Plus can you open the ice box? He'll let you know what he wishes to eat," requested Minerva. "Then please put him to bed. I have that nice, soft pillow that you can sleep on, Fawkes."
Fawkes loves Minerva. Minerva is very much not-stupid and Big Man is very lucky to have her. When Big Man is feeling better, Big Man and Minerva will nest again. The Phoenix assured her. Big Man enjoyed his mating flights with Minerva.
Then the lecherous Phoenix made a soft cooing noise.
"I hope you didn't just share that thought with Arthur," a prim Minerva requested. She was blushing and she hoped that Fawkes wasn't reporting her as the fire-colored Minerva to Albus.
"He did," a cheerful Arthur assured her. "Minerva, love is the fire that burns inside us all, the inner warmth that prevents our soul from freezing in the winters of despair. Bradley Grieve. You kept Alastor's soul from freezing, remember that. Now let me feed Fawkes as he's looking peaked."
Fire-Haired Father of Many Scarlet Haired Chicks is a not stupid! Fawkes mentally chirped.
"His name is Arthur," Minerva retorted. "Congratulations, Arthur, you're on Fawkes' short list of acceptable not stupids. To get on the list and stay on it, you mainly have to feed Fawkes regularly."
Fawkes dismissively sniffed, but quietly, as he was famished and Arthur was heading towards the kitchen.
Minerva had just shifted the sleeping Alastor into a more comfortable position when Albus walked into the room. Wordlessly, he looked at the destroyed room and shook his head in disbelief at the sheer amount of wreckage. After a negligent gesture from Albus, the furniture began reassembling itself and various knickknacks began to knit themselves back together.
"I have someone I wish you to meet, but I want you to assure me that you will not reach for your wand," Albus explained. "He's here to assist with Alastor. He's the one that help get Alastor out. I trust him completely. I have Fawkes being demanding, so Arthur will in the kitchen for some time, so hopefully I will just have to introduce him to you. His identity must remain secret, Minerva."
"Albus, we haven't done very well by Alastor so far. How can I trust this friend of yours?" Minerva wisely requested.
"I trust him, I only can only hope that you can," was Albus' answer. "You know him, as he's a former student."
"Very well, introduce us," Minerva commanded.
"Severus…" Albus began.
"SEVERUS SNAPE?" Minerva spat. She remembered Severus Snape far too well from all his altercations with the Marauders. She didn't know how the war had originally started, just that it had continued through all his years at Hogwarts. "Are you as mad as box of chocolate frogs? He's a friend of Malfoy!"
"Yes, I'm glad that you remember him. He will be our new Potions Master," Albus continued. "After Horace finally finishes his retirement parties."
"Horace's social calendar is booked full for the coming year," snapped Minerva. "So we're looking at next school year at the earliest."
"Minerva, I assured Severus that you would not let the past influence your professional relationship. And he is the one that got Alastor out." Albus' voice was mild but Minerva heard his rebuke. "Let's get Alastor off the floor and onto the couch. Severus? Would you mind?"
Severus literally appeared in Minerva's living room at that moment. Minerva tried not to growl as that meant Severus had overheard everything.
"Professor McGonagall," he dryly acknowledged.
"Mr. Snape," she crisply replied.
"Minerva, Severus," chastised Albus. "You should really use your first names. It will help you develop a cordial working relationship."
Severus and Minerva's eyes met and they both realized that they shared the opinion that Albus was a badly dressed nutter. That insight into the other's personality unnerved them and they focused instead on moving Alastor from the floor to the couch. It proved difficult as Alastor was dead weight.
"No magic," Albus warned.
"We'll need Arthur to help," insisted Severus. "Unless you are willing to roll up a sleeve and help."
Alastor began stirring and he blinked. He looked at Minerva, then disengaged himself from her arms. He glanced at Albus before he stared at Severus. He pointed his index finger at Severus.
"I know you," was his hoarse comment. "You're the one. You're the bastard that kept me alive."
"Appreciative git, aren't you?" retorted Severus.
"Should have let me die," Alastor protested.
"Alastor, you've repeatedly made certain requests," Albus began.
"I want to die. I need to die," Alastor looked once at Minerva and flinched. He lowered his eyes to the floor.
"Very well, I agree it's time to end your anguish," was Dumbledore's glib response. "Severus, please give Minerva the vial."
Severus handed Minerva a small vial. She looked at Albus and he nodded his head. 'Trust me' he mouthed.
"It's proper, Alastor, that your suffering and distress be ended by Minerva," Albus assured the tormented soul. "The entire vial, Severus?"
"Yes," Severus agreed.
Minerva opened the vial and placed it against Alastor's lips. "Drink it all," she ordered.
He gratefully gulped down what he believed to be poison. Then believing his torment ended, Alastor happily smiled.
"Thank you," he whispered. "I'm unbelievably sorry, Tabby."
Whatever was in the vial made Alastor very loquacious and Albus was considerate enough to dismiss Severus so he didn't overhear their conversation. Somehow, she doubted that Severus Snape had developed the sensitivity that this chinwag demanded.
"I'm afraid of dying," the Auror informed Minerva. "I have to face Her with my ignominy. Da keeps nattering on and on how She'll understand. That I need to keep my faith, but my devotion is ashes. I've destroyed everything She values."
Alastor's breath was slowing and he closed his eyes.
"I'll stay with you," Minerva offered. She put her hands on his hands, and he shook his head.
"Don't. I don't deserve your kindness," he protested.
"Hush. Just drift away, Alastor." Minerva softly murmured.
"She's coming for me," whispered Alastor. "My Da… my Mamaí… my Daideó… Diana…They're there… they're waiting for me. I'm so scared…How do I face them?"
"They love you, Alastor," she assured him. "It'll be alright."
"I love you, Tabby. And there is no denying what I did you," was his response. "I have to face them on my own. Not hiding behind your skirts."
He let go of her hand and then he was asleep. Minerva dabbed at her eyes, and then decided to hell with decorum, she'd just wiped her tearing eyes on her sleeve. Fortunately, Albus rescued her by offering a clean handkerchief.
"He's deeply slumbering and he won't dream," Albus informed her. "Severus assures me that when he wakes up our Alastor will be perfectly lucid and rational. Now let's get him to bed, Minerva, while he's too tired to fight us. Arthur is done feeding Fawkes so we can tuck our fatigued little Phoenix into bed also. I've exhausted him and he's just a pale coral shade of his usual magnificent self."
With a quick flick of Albus' nimble fingers, Moody was snugly tucked away in his bed.
"Albus, will he remember what he believes?" That was Minerva's reluctant question.
"Unfortunately, yes. Hopefully, it will be negated by him remembering what really happened between you two. Minerva, I need to apologize to you. What you just went through is because of Voldemort. He wishes me to rely on Severus, so he decided to strengthen Severus' position by using Alastor. The Healer gave Alastor potions to weaken his resolve. What Adham did was twist Alastor's happiest moment into something dark and depraved," Albus explained. "Alastor believes those memories, Minerva. They've grown, they've festered and they are his reality."
Minerva opened her mouth and then quickly closed it.
"Yes, what happened between you two was Alastor's happiest memory," Albus advised her. "Hopefully, after he recovers from this latest assault, you can ensure that he once again re-experiences that particular joy. Be patient with him, Minerva."
"It'll be rather hard for me to take his virginity again, Albus," Minerva snapped. Her anger wasn't with Albus, not at all. Her ire was directed toward the responsible party, herself. She had promised to watch over Alastor, and she had bloody gone off to the Quidditch World match when he needed her most. "That's a onetime event because I don't believe those Re-Virginizing Charms really work."
Albus blushed as he was the proverbial innocent in the matters of sex.
"Minerva, what I was suggesting was that perhaps you can help him work through his experience. Through talking? At the moment, the physical nature of boy-girl interaction might be a little too stressful for him."
"You and Arthur can find your way out," Minerva offered… well… commanded. "I'll be in his bedroom in case he needs anything. I'll keep an eye on Fawkes until he's feeling better."
"Minerva, this situation with Alastor isn't your fault," Albus insisted.
"It is," Minerva protested. "Now get out of my house. I have a patient to mind."
Alastor woke after a long, deep sleep and he had a bit of a headache. For a moment, he was content merely to stretch as his muscles were stiff from a long time abed. Then, it all came crashing back.
His complete mental meltdown.
He had destroyed Minerva's possessions.
Hogtied a werewolf.
Gagged Sirius Black. And while most sane people would say that act rated a medal from the Ministry, Alastor doubted that it was forthcoming.
Had done everything except put a front page article in the Daily Prophet claiming that he had raped Minerva.
He had told the Bloody Order… Frank… James… Remus… Sirius…. About Minerva and him.
Plus there were a few conversations with his Dead Da and the singalongs… really…the singalongs… Never had much of a voice; that had been Terence and Colm's gift.
"I see that Sleeping Beauty is finally awake," Minerva announced. He flinched as he hadn't realized that she was in the room. "While you were sleeping, Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter made their arrivals. Breakfast will be served in thirty minutes. You need a shower and a shave as you're looking rather rough. Your crutches are on the side of the bed. After breakfast, I hope that you planned to fix some of the damage you've wrought."
"Bugger," breathed Alastor. "Bugger, bugger, bugger."
Then he flinched, as well Minerva was a school teacher, and she frowned on such language.
"Well, that's better than being my bonnie Banshee begging for death," was her cryptic response before she left the room.
Breakfast was a painful, mostly silent affair as Alastor refused to look at her. The answers to her questions were monosyllabic. His appearance was rather drawn and his hands noticeably shook while he drank his tea. When the breakfast was finally over, Alastor was still staring at his plate when he asked her what he needed to fix.
"You, us," Minerva informed Alastor. "We need that mended first. Best do it sooner rather than later, so it doesn't get a chance to scar."
"Your plates might be easier," he half-heartedly quipped. "Or the sofa? Surely you need a place to sit?"
"Look at me," she softly requested. "It didn't happened, Alastor."
"I know, but I remember living it. You also can't deny that I was howling at the moon mad. I tied up Remus and Sirius!"
Alastor looked at Minerva, who was not even bothering to hide her smile.
"Albus told the lads that they needed to work on their defense. Next time, they might not be dealing with someone who doesn't want to hurt them. When you're feeling better, Alastor, you're to work with them on their sloppy skills."
He moaned and cursed Albus for being a cold-hearted bastard.
They were quiet for a bit and then Alastor spoke. "Thank you," was what he finally said.
Minerva decided to let Alastor take his time and finish his thought.
"Thank you for holding my hand when I thought I was dying," Alastor further explained. "I was fearful about meeting my dead. Da had a lot to say to me, as did Diana and the rest."
"Do you want to share?" Minerva asked.
"Can't tell you everything as I'm still processing a lot. However, Di told me that she was happy that you and I had…" Alastor blushed. "Da informed me that there was no shame in what truly happened between us because I loved you not only as the Goddess but as the remarkable woman you are. Also, he promised me that the other memories were false."
"That's rather… nice," Minerva assured Alastor.
"That's surprisingly poetic from him. Da was raised mainly by my Daideó, which explains that my lack of a silver-tongue. Colm was a bit rough around the edges. Hard to believe, I know."
And a compassionate Minerva refused to show her amusement. Instead, she took his hand and squeezed it.
That summer they talked a great deal, while Alastor fished or while they sunned themselves on Minerva's porch.
There were moments of quiet where they didn't talk. Sometimes, what Alastor experienced overwhelmed him and he needed to decompress. And there were the delightful times where Minerva slipped in Alastor's bed at night, content to let Alastor hold her and set the pace.
And most importantly, there were a great many moments of love where Alastor and Minerva love each other, properly.
Thanks to K for beta-ing. Thank you all for reading.
A/N all of Alastor/Terence songs were by Flogging Molly.