A/N: I haven't written ADMM in a while, but I missed all of you beautiful people here at the HP fanfic community, so I'm back with a few stories. I have this short story, and then a prequel to Family Fun. Any reviews and feedback you have about this or any of my other stories are greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the characters of that universe.

The wind whipped through shining raven hair, so recently restrained and covered in blood. The Scottish countryside offered a peace and rest that the woman could ill-afford to have, and yet could ill-afford to avoid. She had seen countless former students slaughtered before her eyes. Her home for the majority of her life was nearly destroyed, still undergoing repairs. The darkest wizard of the age had held her and her school under his thumb for the entire school year, and had physically threatened her numerous times.

But Minerva McGonagall had held it all in. She was a sincerely singular person, and refused to confide in any of her friends and colleagues. But here, in her family mansion on the Scotch highlands, she started to loosen her bindings, beginning with her hair.

Midnight black ribbons darted around the folds of her loose tartan robes as the wind tossed over the rolling land of the McGonagall estate. Her ebony hiking staff left a series of ticks on the land for miles. It marked out a transition from anger, with the deeper digs, to depression, where the stick clearly drug on the ground.

As the night was descending and the howl of the wind became more desolate, the check marks of the walking sticks culminated in the collapsed pile of tartan that was Headmistress McGonagall. She was leaning against a moss-covered rock, tears streaming openly down her blank face. All of her feelings, all of her frustration, pain, anguish, and hope had overwhelmed her to the point of being completely drained. The stars twinkled in the emotions streaming down her face. Suddenly, a soft pop interrupted the wail of the wind, and a dark silhouette moved quickly over to the professor's side. A rhapsodically purple-clad arm secured around her, a deep voice brokenly whispered, "Darling, I'm here now."

Minerva flinched, "Albus," she lilted damply, softly, "I've failed you. Hogwarts is in shambles, half of the students, the children, died. The rest have been wounded beyond recognition. When you left things to me, you … I'm sorry Albus." She snapped up her walking stick and hurried away. Fast as a flash, Albus was obstructing her exit. Instantly her wand came to his throat. "Not this time, Albus," She cut. Even now, Albus could feel the powerful anger building up behind her control. But he knew every inch of her soul better than he knew his own, and he could sense the bleeding wounds there.

"Oh, Minerva," His eyes overflowed with empathy.

Minerva, in turn, felt the wave of understanding and love that poured from him. The wave crumbled her, and she poured into his arms on the fast darkening hillside.

"Albus, I can never forget their eyes…the glazed look on the eyes of all those dead children. Every time I close my eyes, I see vast fields of dead students past and present. I can still hear the screaming." The once icy, aloof Minerva McGonagall was rocking in fear in the arms of the man she loved.

"This is exactly how it was with Grindelwald: The bombings, the battles. Just once, Headmaster Dippet slipped up on the air-raid defenses. Six students died. I can still remember their names and face. Do not think you were alone out there; do not believe for a moment that any of those students were alone. I see each and every face you see. I was there, soothing each one in their last moments. They were our children, Minerva.

Her sobbing flowed into soft hiccups. "What of us now, Albus?" she was beginning to sooth in the comfort of his lemon drop scent. How does this "between worlds" jig work? Are you going to leave me again?" Her tone was freezing over yet again and Albus could feel her pulling away.

"Don't worry about losing me. I am here to stay just as long as you are."

"What in Merlin's name does that mean?" She stood to push him away. "And don't you dare try to touch me until you have a good explanation. I spent a whole year believing I was a widow until you waltzed in the week before V…Voldemore" Minerva winced as she herself said it. "You love me, but oh, by the way you're dead. Oh, wait! You're alive again, but not quite. But it really doesn't matter because you love me anyways!" She hopped angrily about screeching these last phrases hatefully back at him.

"Exactly!" Albus practically yelled in return. "I loved you so much…" His breath caught in his throat at that moment, "I could not move forward, I was sent back. You were such a huge part of me, I was unfit to continue without you."

Minerva was stunned, "You were….sent back from where? By whom? Continue to where?" She grasped bewilderedly. Albus, you cannot possibly expect me to understand any of this."

"I don't, Minerva." Albus begged, "I was not allowed to understand either. That is merely the simplest explanation they could give to my child-like intellect."

"But you are here to stay?" Minerva whispered. She moved softly to place an affirming hand on his chest.

"I am here until we can both leave together, darling." Albus grinned, wrapping his arms around her waist.

"And no one else will know about you?" Albus responded with a wide grin.

"You'll have me all to yourself! No minister, no school, and no evil wizards to interrupt our time together. We can let close friends know, but I don't ever want the public to know."

"So they will never know about us?" Minerva's eyes achieved a distant look. "After Voldemort, I was supposed to finally be free of the secrets…"

"You can tell people now, you know…" Albus grimaced sadly, apologetically.

"Ah yes, one secret for another." Minerva sighed, "Ah, well… such is life when you're married to the hottest wizard around!" she took a weak, but playful bat at his chest. Albus gently teleported them back to their bed in the manor.

As they settled into sleep, Albus wrapped an arm around Minerva, "I have seen much more than I understand… But I do know that great things are in store for you, my dear. I will be here for you, always."


A/N: After much debate, I decided to go with a fluffy ending. Take from it what you will. Albus may or may not actually exist, and Minerva may or may not have been hallucinating out of grief. The choice is entirely yours. My next piece should hopefully be a prequel to Family Fun, as mentioned before. Any reviews and feedback (even flames) are accepted with an open mind.