A/N:: I'm sure you'll consider this to be rubbish, but no matter how hard I tried to get the idea to go away, I couldn't do it. This was an idea I had to go with or it would torture me forever.

Tasting Memories

Minerva McGonagall stood wearily at the gargoyle statue and muttered the password, causing the gargoyle to leap aside and reveal the spiral stone staircase leading up to the Headmaster's office. The staircase moved slowly upward until it stopped abruptly at its destination, leaving Minerva before the oak door she had stood in front of on countless occasions. As she gripped the doorknob, Minerva's heart sunk with the knowledge that Albus would never again be there to greet her on the other side of the door.

How could Albus Dumbledore be dead? The Wizarding World still needed him. She still needed him.

Minerva loosened her grip on the doorknob, until then not realizing just how tightly she had been grasping it. Something within her still wanted to believe that she could open the door and find Albus sitting at his desk waiting for her with a smile as always, but Minerva knew better than to give any more thought to this cruel, false hope. She turned the doorknob and pushed the door open to find herself weakening in the knees at the sight of the desolate room. Minerva sighed audibly in a futile attempt to clear her thoughts and lessen her pain. She had never before felt so empty or so helpless in her entire life. Even though everything in the office still remained just as Albus had left it, the absence of Albus himself was enough to draw every bit of bright energy out of the room and leave it seeming as though one were only looking at a cheap copy of the original office.

Minerva forced herself to walk forward to the Headmaster's desk. She placed her hand on the arm of the high-backed chair directly facing the desk. She thought of the numerous hours she had spent sitting in that chair, conversing, doing paperwork, and playing chess with Albus. Minerva looked around at the strange silver instruments whirring around and presenting occasional puffs of smoke into the air. She realized that she had never known the actual functions of most of the odd instruments, but it had somehow never occurred to her to ask Albus what they were for. She would now never have the chance to ask him.

Minerva's eyes began to fog as she focused upon Albus's sleeping portrait hanging directly behind his desk. She had a sudden impulse to try and wake him and to plead with him to somehow come back to her, but she knew this was just another senseless thought born out of grief, and she had the odd feeling that no efforts of trying to wake his portrait would do any good just yet.

Another pang hit Minerva's heart as her eyes flitted across Albus's desk and came upon his candy dish still filled to the brim with lemon drops. She stared curiously at the golden candies, which appeared to sparkle from the evening light shining upon the abundant coatings of crystal-like sugar. Minerva had always wondered just what Albus had so loved about these little treats, but she had always refused him whenever he offered her any. She thought of the countless times that a kiss upon Albus's lips had revealed how she had always imagined the candies to taste. Perhaps it was the unyielding yearning for Albus's touch that stirred the sudden desire that came upon her to finally have herself a lemon drop… But how could she? Would it not be inappropriate to take one now that Albus was gone?

Minerva held her breath as if trying to muster together her Gryffindor courage, but she could see no real reason that it should take this much effort to simply take a candy from a candy dish. She took a lemon drop from the dish and placed it into her mouth quickly so that she would have no time for second thoughts. As the tart but sweet flavor burst in her mouth, memories of Albus came forth so powerfully that it was as if she were tasting them as well. Her eyes filled with tears again as she realized that these candies made Albus seem as if he were there with her somehow.

Minerva walked slowly back to the office door as the lemon drop finished melting in her mouth. Now sensing Albus's presence more than she had been able to since that fateful hour, she turned back for another glance at the room, making a mental note to stop by Honeydukes for a small bag or two of lemon drops.

THE END