Disclaimer: I don't think I want to own them, really...They've already taken over my mind as it is, imagine what it must be like for JKR! *shudder*
A.N.: I blame shallwedance9.
Her and the newly-wed in a jazz had who sat next to me on the plane and wouldn't stop changing colors in the window-light.
Minerva McGonagall stared at the man next to her as if he'd lost his mind. Quite frankly, in her opinion he'd done that a long time ago, but this exceeded even the normal level of insanity.
The two were standing outside a store in Muggle London called Graff Diamonds, which proudly proclaimed to be the most fabulous jewels in the world. They were certainly the most expensive, Minerva thought, but Albus didn't seem to care. She'd nearly fainted upon happening to overhear the price given to a young man making a purchase at the register, and promptly had a fierce whispered argument with Albus about whether or not he could afford this, before blatantly refusing to buy anything from the store anyway and stalking out, Albus following with a sigh.
Once they were outside, she'd demanded that if she had to go through this torture for a piece of jewelry that only the two of them would ever see, then he did, too. The questioning that followed had lead to the present moment of pure disbelief, at least on Minerva's part. Albus was gazing back at her stare contentedly, a small smile on his face.
"So you're telling me that for a wedding ring, not just any ring but a WEDDING ring, mind you, you want a Muggle invention that changes colours according to how you're feeling?" Minerva had closed her eyes and was massaging her right temple with one hand, too completely at loss to do anything but parrot his words back at him.
"Yes, Minerva, that would be the definition of a mood ring," he responded cheerfully. Minerva opened her eyes again to half-glare at him. He was wearing that hideous, yet somehow endearing purple suit of his again, though it didn't look half as garish now that his hair was grey. Still, the cut was several decades out of style, and he was getting as many stares as ever.
"Albus, people get rings like this in silver, gold, platinum- not rainbow!" She flung out her arms and almost hit a man who quickly wove around them. Dumbledore seemed unfazed.
"It's not rainbow, it appears one colour at a time-" he started, clearly expecting this to mean a world of difference. Minerva cast him a withering look.
"Fine. What would you say if I told you I wanted a mood ring?"
"Why, my dear, I would be delighted to get you a mood ring, but I'm afraid the ones for women aren't quite as, ah, commonplace as what you want," he responded, eying the neckline of her Muggle dress. She unthinkingly reached up and touched the fine silver chain around her neck, which her engagement ring was hanging from.
"Right, and the rocks in this place are as unobtrusive as floo powder," she responded, sarcasm thick in her voice. Albus looked sheepish.
"Right, well there's a place a few streets from here called Tiffany's..." he stopped at the horrified look on Minerva's face.
Three hours later found them in a small, insignificant shop on a little side street that Minerva had spotted. Albus was quite impressed with it, as well as the owner, a Muggle man with a thick Italian accent. The jewellery, ranging from bracelets to necklaces to cuff links and yes, to rings, was made not just of gold and silver, but also a centrepiece of an ancient coin- Roman, Greek, Lydian, and even Byzantine in the case of one rather large, convex piece. Minerva, for the first time that day, looked genuinely interested, and Albus' heart rose hopefully.
She was peering over a display case, deep in conversation with the owner about the Greek coins, which obviously fascinated her. Her glasses had slipped all the way to the end of her nose, and a short wisp of her hair had come free and was now pushed behind her ear. The engagement ring and its chain were now free from her dress, from when she'd showed it to the shopkeeper. The ring had been Albus' grandmother's, the only reason she had accepted something with so many diamonds. Before he'd insisted on taking her to look for a wedding ring, she'd right up to begged him to just come up with another heirloom, but the ring was the only one he'd kept, or even ever had.
"What was your name again?" the owner asked in his thick accent. Albus was almost certain she'd not given it.
"Minerva," she answered, shaking his hand over the counter. His eyes widened slightly.
"Stay here!" he ordered, heading to the back of the shop. Minerva looked over at Albus, alarmed. He shrugged and walked over, putting an arm around her waist. She leaned into him. It was nice, he thought, after all this time to be able to be familiar in public.
"These are beautiful, don't you think?" she inquired, resting her head beneath his chin.
"What I think doesn't matter. This is for you," he answered, kissing the top of her head. "But yes, for what it's worth, I think they are far better than diamonds."
She smiled. "I very much agree."
The Muggle man bustled back into the room, holding a small, black velvet box which he placed on the counter. "Just finished this morning," he specified, opening it. Inside was a silver ring with gold details, and in the centre a coin imprinted with an owl. The man carefully rotated the centre around, so that it instead showed the coin's other side, the profile of a woman. "Athena, the Greek equivalent of the Roman goddess Minerva, and the owl of wisdom."
Minerva was looking at it in awe, and Albus smiled happily. "We'll take it."
A few minutes later they were heading out the door, Dumbledore tucking a discreet brown bag into an inner pocket of his suit, when something caught his eye. Shoved in the darkest corner was a little basket full of what looked like black glass rings.
"Are these mood rings?" he asked, delighted as he picked one up and slipped it onto the ring finger of his left hand. The shopkeeper harrumphed.
"Yes. My niece makes them, and my sister insisted I start selling them. Useless, immature and tasteless really," he replied, distinctly disapproving. Minerva smirked, but Albus was unbothered by either of them.
"I think they're marvellous!" his face shone with childish enthusiasm as he examined each ring in turn, which Minerva now noticed were all in different shapes. Suddenly a gleam appeared in his already twinkling eyes. "What's this one?"
The owner stepped out from behind several displays and joined them in the corner.
"A phoenix, I believe. My niece is quite a one for the mythical creatures; it's a bird, see, found in-"
"The Himalayas, yes," finished Albus, clearly overjoyed. Minerva couldn't help smiling. The man was still such a child at times, with all his enthusiasm. "I'd hate to trouble you again, but could you...?" The man took the ring carefully from Albus and walked back to the register. The former beamed.
Three months later, Dumbledore had proudly shown all of the staff his new ring, displayed on his right hand instead of his left to avoid suspicion. Some were amazed, some mildly interested, and most just gave him the same look Minerva first had.
And they don't even know what it's for, she thought, trying not to roll her eyes at the same time that she fought a smile.
They spent several minutes discussing the colours it could turn, as well as what they all meant, before the first staff meeting of the new school year began.
Halfway through the meeting, Dumbledore shifted position, accidentally kicking Minerva. She frowned slightly and kicked him back, but found her foot trapped between his leg and chair. Soon after, the Headmaster and his Deputy found themselves playing footsie under the staff-room table.
The Muggle Studies Professor interrupted someone's rant on how detentions should be more standardized a few moments later. "Albus, you're ring is turning purple. What does that mean?"
"I...I don't know," Albus lied, pulling the decoder card that came with the ring out of his pocket. "It, er...it doesn't say," he again lied, moving to put the card back in his pocket. He was too slow, however; the fairly new Quidditch instructor, Madam Hooch, whose tardiness had earned her the empty seat next to the headmaster, snatched it out of his hand.
"Purple...Arou- AH!" she dropped the card as if it had burned her, looking disgusted. Albus looked deeply embarrassed, and Minerva tried to act like she had no idea what was going on as Hooch faked barfing. Someone else grabbed the card, and had a similar reaction. The effect continued until the entirety of the staff had seen the little piece of paper.
The next day, Albus came to breakfast with a plain, silver band enchanted to be visible only to himself and Minerva. The mood ring was never seen nor mentioned ever again.
A.N.: I still blame shallwedance9. Just saying.
The jeweler Minerva gets her ring from is based off of a guy I met at the Park City arts fest and spent nearly an hour geeking out about ancient history and coins with. I wanted his Athena/owl coin necklace sooo badly, but alas, I don't have a thousand dollars lying around. Darn. Also, his assistant looked like Cameron Diaz.
People kept asking where he was from (he was blatantly Israeli, I changed that up there) and he would consistently tell them, "California. Can't you tell by the accent?" to which my great-grandmother, who lives in Orange County, replied "Yes, you sound just like the man who runs the 7-11." His assistant laughed for an hour and he shut up after that.
Lydian coins he did not have, as they were the first coins ever made by any civilization and incredibly rare, but alas...
If you want to see his stuff, google Hanan Ingel & Erez Epshtein and click the "own a piece of history" link.
Anyway, the original idea happened on the plane to Utah, and was mentioned in my other story, Insider, which you should go read.
Yes that was a not-so-subtle hint.