Author's Note: Wow. I should be burned at the stake. I am so so so so so sorry. I cannot believe it's been over a year! But! I've become re-inspired! So…on with the story!
I do not own anything, save a nice teapot and some sheet music. And Robin.
Minerva could not tear her eyes away from the wreckage strewn on the floor. A once-beautiful grand piano was smashed into a million pieces. Minerva wanted to sob. She wanted to kill whoever had done this. She also wanted to help.
"Robin," Minerva said, eyes closed. "who did this?"
"Da." Robin replied simply, "Please, Professor. We need to hurry and save the pieces. Please."
"Robin, I'm not sure—'' began Minerva, but Robin cut in.
"Please. Please," Robin said, her gaze imploring and her voice sent shards of pain through Minerva's heart, "it was my mother's."
Minerva nodded silently. Robin brought forth an enormous cloth bag, and she and Minerva shoved every sliver of wood and every thread of red felt into the bag. Minerva surveyed the room once more. As they turned to the fireplace, Robin said,
Robin dashed upstairs. Minerva heard scuffling sounds of a large object being moved, and footsteps. Moments later, Robin came downstairs carrying a portable turntable and a suitcase.
"Professor, will these work in Hogwarts?"
Minerva surveyed the Muggle devices. "Miss McDermott, I'm afraid you'll just have to see. Professor Dumbledore will know for certain. Is there anything else?"
"The sheet music."
"Where is it?"
Robin looked around. She opened the small chest. The drawers were empty. Running back to the fireplace, she looked in the grate. Mounds of ashes overflowed onto the hearth. Robin began to weep. Minerva felt a rage akin to none other building up. She ushered the tiny child to the grate, threw in some Floo Powder, shoved the bag in, and the two of them skyrocketed back to Minerva's study.
Minerva landed swiftly, and maintained her balance. Robin landed on the rug, and didn't bother moving. Minerva could not believe her eyes. The little girl who was so stoic was lost. For the first time, Minerva saw the girl in Robin, the eleven year old. Minerva went to Robin. She heard her mumble, "He burned it all! Mother's music!" Minerva knelt down and said, thickly,
"Little one, come here."
And Minerva held Robin, who wept. Minerva felt tears brimming up in her eyes as well. She did not know what to do. Albus needed to know at once. Minerva whispered, "Fawkes. Please."
In a great rush of golden flames was Fawkes. He cooed gently, looked at Minerva inquisitively. "We need Albus. Immediately." Fawkes vanished again. In a matter of moments, Albus appeared in a rush of gold flames, his hand on Fawkes' tail. His jovial smile vanished instantly when he surveyed the scene in front of him.
"What is the meaning of this, Minerva?" he asked, voice deathly quiet.
"Her father. He is a danger. See to him. The address is "Wren's Landing."
Albus nodded imperceptibly, and strode to the fireplace. His booming voice echoed into Minerva's rooms, and Robin shuddered and fell asleep. Minerva merely sat and held her, green cloak pooling on the floor. She expected it would take Albus a manner of hours to round the man up, and was shocked to hear the roar of flames about fifteen minutes later. Albus's face was grave. He surveyed the sleeping Robin. Minerva sought his eyes.
"Dead," Albus said wearily. "Found him outside. Quite drunk before he died. I've contacted the family. I'm so sorry. She's an orphan now."
Minerva clutched the little girl to her more tightly. She had a soft spot for orphans, being one herself. She jerked her head up as Albus went to the bag.
"Minerva, what is this?"
"Her mother's piano. I suspect Robin plays, too. Please, Albus, fix it."
"I'm not sure I can."
"Albus, for me." Minerva said, imploringly. It was all she could do to not break down. Albus moved some of Minerva's furniture away to the walls. He dumped the bag's contents into the middle of the open space, and yelled, "Reparo!"
All at once, the piano knit itself back together. Slowly, and with much noise, which Albus quickly silenced, the strings wound back, the hammers repaired themselves, and the keys fit back into the keyboard. Minerva gasped in wonder. She'd never seen a piano like this...not unless it was…
"Bloody hell!" Minerva exclaimed.
"What is it, dearest?" Albus asked, looking up startled, biting his tongue for the last word he let slip.
"It's just…the piano…that's about the best there is."
"Goodness gracious! In that little cottage?" asked Albus, noting silently to ask Minerva later how she knew all of this. Minerva merely began running her hand soothingly up and down Robin's back. Robin, still asleep, shifted uneasily.
Albus had wandered over to the suitcases. He opened the turntable. "Minerva!" he whispered excitedly, "A record player! Oh how I love these!" He opened the second suitcase, which was full of records. Not just any records. He pulled one after another out, featuring a pretty woman wearing ornate dresses. Albus asked,
"Minerva…who are these people?"
Minerva said, "What do you mean?"
"Well, Bach and Mozart were wizards, so I've heard of them. But Chopin? Is that French? And Mendelssohn? And Tchaikovsky? Schumann?"
Minerva was curious. "They're composers, Albus. Remarkably talented. Would you…" she petered out. Albus prompted her to go on. "Would you please play the Chopin record?"
And as Albus obliged and the beautiful melodies swirled around Minerva's chambers, Robin awoke saying, "Mother!"
All at once, Robin took in her surroundings. She pulled away from Minerva, apologizing profusely and blushing. Albus intervened.
"My dear, do not apologize. Are you quite alright?"
"Yes, Headmaster. I'm fine…the piano! You've fixed it!"
Robin ran to it, and the record stopped magically, caused by a discrete wand wave. Robin ran her fingers over the keys silently, not daring to press them. Minerva saw tears fall. Robin stepped away from it, turned toward Albus and Minerva, and said,
"He's dead, isn't he?"
And there Minerva broke. She nodded silently, tears coursing down her features. Robin ran to her for a hug, all formalities tossed aside. And Albus came and stood with the two of them in his embrace, angry at the world for causing them pain. As they pulled themselves together, Minerva asked,
"Robin, your mother…was she a pianist? Are these her recordings?"
"Yes, Professor. I hid them. Please may we keep them at Hogwarts? I know Muggle things aren't usually allowed…"
"You may keep whatever you wish." Albus interjected.
"Then…Professor McGonagall," Robin asked, "will you shrink the piano and keep it in your desk? And the records and the player? They'll be safe here."
"Of course, Robin."
"And…may I come after school to play?"
"Thank you so much, Professor McGonagall. And to you, Professor Dumbledore. I suppose Liza will call tomorrow?" Robin said, looking at Albus.
"I'm not sure," Albus replied, "she knows about your father."
Robin merely nodded. She went to the door. Before leaving, she turned.
"Happy Christmas, Professors."
As the door shut, Minerva began to sob. Albus went to her, and quickly enfolded her into his arms. He wished he could tell her of his love, of anything that would make the pain go away. He knew she was reliving her own heartbreaks over her parents' deaths, and he knew she ached for Robin. And he held her tightly, the two of them swaying gently.
Minerva stopped crying. She gazed at the piano longingly. As she failed to meet Albus's eyes, he whispered,
"You play, don't you?"
Minerva turned, shocked. She'd kept it hidden for so long. "Yes, I—I was quite good back in the day."
"Play me something."
"Albus, it's been years."
"For me, dearest."
Minerva shuddered. For the second time tonight he'd called her dearest. She gazed up at his eyes, and saw his earnestness. So, she went to the piano.
"What would you like?"
"The song that was just on the record."
And as Minerva stared at the keys, she closed her eyes. She raised her shaking hands, and the nocturne sailed around the room, it's melancholy summarizing the harrowing events of the evening. Albus sat in the glory of the music, watching Minerva play. She was enchanting in daily life, but this was positively heavenly. She swayed slightly, her lips parted, and a look of bliss was on her face. Albus pushed away more than one inappropriate thought about his young deputy and the goddess that was Minerva McGonagall. For she never, in a million years, would choose to love a doddering old fool like himself. As the nocturne ended, Albus went to her, placed his hands upon her shoulders, and kissed the top of her head. With that, he left. The booming finality of the door closing signaled the end of the hellish night. Minerva shrunk the piano, the records, and the player, and put them into her desk drawer. As she changed into her nightgown, she thought how…alive she had felt in the past few hours. Emotion was never her strongest suit, and she'd crammed enough of it in to make up for her cool wont. The last thought that entered Minerva's mind before succumbing to sleep was of the feel of Albus's hands upon her shoulders, and his kiss upon her hair…
A/N: Goodness that was depressing. So sorry. This story will lighten up. I promise. Also, I promise to not take a year to update. Sweet deals.