A/N: This is a prequel for my previous story, Family Fun. It was relatively popular, so I hope the fan base transfers over. If you were a fan of the past story, let me know what you think! If you're new to the story, tell me what you think as well! Also, be sure to check out the old story! As always, reviewer receiver cookies!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
One does not say not to Minerva McGonagall without first taking their own life into their hands. Even a young Albus Dumbledore knew that he was treading incredibly dangerous ground as he marched up to the gates of the McGonagall Estate. He was a friend of every member of the clan.
He was welcomed by Neptune. He gave him a hearty clap on the back and walked him to the sitting room. Apollo McGonagall was all ready waiting. He warming greeted their guest.
"Albus you mentioned you wished to discuss something with me?" He quirked an eyebrow, a bit overly curious as to nature of this urgent inquiry. The owl had arrived in the wee hours of the morning. Albus himself looked as if sleep had evaded him throughout the night.
"Is Juno at home?" He hinted, clearly at odds with his own words.
Apollo understood, "Neptune, would you go find your mother, lad?" He lilted. The man was fighting back a huge wave or relief he had hoped to have this conversation soon, he was simply puzzled by Albus' seeming apprehension.
"Juno is all a glowing flurry lately. Our friends and relations from London have been coming to stay with us during the bombings. She's been darting about the mansion with an army of giddy house elves. Juno has always enjoyed having visitors."
True to form, a spry, greying witch sprang in to the room to embrace Albus. He wispy limbs belied the true power of the woman. Like her daughter, her green eyes snapped in such a way that spoke of earnestness and a certain determination that would not be put off, "Albus, my boy, how glorious to see you! Are you here to stay for a while? I'll get you a room straight away!" She was about to signal for an elf when Apollo cleared his throat.
"Dearest, Albus would like to have a word with us. Remember the owl this morning?"
"Goodness me! I am ever so sorry, Albus," Juno shook her head, still beaming, "I've been opening up wings of the manor all week. I believe the dust may be getting to my brain. Would you like to sit down, dear? You look very tired." Her r's burred in the same sing-song way as Minerva's. From this, Albus gathered the nerve to persevere.
"Yes, thank you," He muttered absent-mindedly as Juno and Apollo alighted on an ornate couch in tandem. Even seated, he was perched in a state of nervous tension. "Apollo, Juno, I have come with a request and an apology."
"Yes? What is it lad?" Apollo encouraged.
"I know I am not what you hoped for in a son-in-law. I am a school teacher, and I am far older than Minerva. And I find myself in grave personal peril more often than not."
"Albus, I cannot let you continue." Apollo stood, and Juno joined him.
"I know, I am such a fool to ask, but please, hear me out!" Apollo and Juno hesitated at the force of his words. "I am very much in love with your daughter and have been led to believe she feels the same way for me. I feel that love is one of the greatest treasures in the world. I would love her and care for her, and I would try to keep her from harm. It is not much to offer..."
"Albus! Would you listen to me?" Apollo stepped forward. "You are like a son to us all ready, and we could not be more proud of all you have done. As for the age difference, I am quite a bit Juno's senior; would that not then make me a hypocrite? As for keeping her safe and out of harm, I believe our Minerva may just be the one protecting you. And I doubt even a wizard as powerful as you could keep our fiery young lass out of trouble."
"Besides, we are not blind, sir. I ken my bairn's thoughts before she thinks them, and Minerva will have no other. You think you shock us with your boldness, when you have only shocked us with your hesitance. What makes you so ill at ease, lad?" she laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, and smiled warmly at the fidgety man.
"I must ask Minerva to wait." He sighed, "I do not feel it is right to marry her when I knew the danger of what I must do in the next few years. You and I know that Grindelwald will not defeat easily. I know him far too intimately and I am certain I will be called upon to bring him down. I refuse to make Minerva a widow so early in her life. I… I simply wanted to give you a promise that my intentions toward Minerva are only ever the best."
"Albus, I disagree," Apollo sat down again and Juno joined him, "I belive that if you truly respect my daughter, if you want what is best for her, you will tell her how you feel and find a solution together."
"Never give your spouse an ultimatum, my boy." Juno chided, maternally, "Especially if that spouse is Minerva. She is an adult and can make sound decisions about her future. Talk to her, Albus."
"Aye, lad." Apollo stood to exit the room with his wife. "Find Minerva and decide together. It matters naught to us. We always knew you would join the McGonagall clan sooner or later."
Albus rose to follow his suggestion, only this time he was even more nervous than before. He knew that whatever discussions Apollo and Juno had offered would be tame compared to the confusion and rage with which Minerva would respond. So it was he scanned every nook of the mansion. Turning each corner, he would hold his breath, both afraid of seeing her and of having to prolong this ordeal. Finally he encountered a small dark-haired girl playing in a gaggle of children in one room.
"Hestia!" He cried, and the young girl threw a quick glance at him.
"Minerva is on the north edge of the lands, by her favorite glen," immediately she returned to her play. Hestia had always possessed remarkable abilities of sight and legilimancy, envied by many seers of the day. Her parents were careful to protect their daughter and her abilities. The child remained blissfully ignorant of the uniqueness of the power she wielded.
Albus knew the part of the estate of which she spoke. Minerva was not overly fond of large, noisy groups. The McGonagall clan was certainly the epitome of that. She had fled to her secluded corner of the cast property where a brook had gathered a small wood and moss around itself.
Albus popped just outside the glad so as not to startle Minerva. He took one step into the glad, and a small tabby cat streaked over to wrap around his legs. The cat disappeared behind him and was replaced with a woman. She was a bit taller than her mother, coming just to Albus' shoulders. She wore light tartan skirts, and a beautifully airy white blouse. Her long jet hair was a bit tangled with leaves and twigs. But her face glowed in the presence of Albus.
"Mmmmmm, Albus!" She purred, "Why did you take so long to join me out here?" She walked around him and noticed the look on his face, "Darling, what on earth is the matter?" Her purred r's melted his heart.
Sighing, Albus led Minerva over to two moss-covered perches by the water. "Minerva, I know we have discussed our future together before. You know I love you, and I cannot imagine a life without. We are getting to the point where marriage should be considered."
Minerva's eyebrows shot for her hairline at the world marriage. She and Albus had so very carefully minced around the word before, and here he simply spit it out. "Albus" she gasped, "Thank Merlin!" She sighed, "I was afraid you would never say the word!" She leapt off the rock and into his arms in one smooth motion.
"Minerva! Please! I came out here to discuss this! It's much more complicated than planning a mere wedding. Soon I must leave to fight in the war. I will probably be gone for a year, at least. And it will be exceptionally dangerous work. There is a good chance I will not come back." Minerva slid out of his arms to stand, staring at him in shock, "I came to tell you that I love you and want to marry you, my dear. But at this present time, it is far too dangerous and I must ask you to wait until the war is over.
"Albus! This is absurd! What if the war doesn't end for a decade? What if the mansion is set ablaze tonight and I'm killed in the fire?" She sat on the rock again to grasp his hands, "Don't you see that there will always be dangers in our relationship? In any relationship! To let those dangers interfere without relationship is absurd. I thought you were a better man than that, Albus. The fears you speak of, the worries you hold, those would never paralyze the Albus Dumbledore I love."
"Foolish woman!" Albus yelled, "Do you not see the peril of the situation? If we marry before I live, and then die in battle, you will be a widow at the age of 24. You would be entirely alone. Not only that, you would have to bear the pain of losing a lover."
"Albus, you're not making sense! Do you not realize that I would feel the same pain if we were married or no? This way, you simply are enforcing the painful distance. I can take the pain and the heartache. That was a choice I made when I started courting you. As for the danger I am being sent on my first Auror assignment on the continent in six month's time as well. If you refuse to marry me, so be it. A McGonagall woman could never marry such a craven man." She stormed off, praying to all the powers that her gamble would pay off. She and Albus had been together for two years now and she knew how to rains his ire.
"Minerva!" He bellowed. But once she turned and he saw the smirk on her face, he realized her scheme, "You clever little witch!" He contemplated her for a moment, "Are you really sure you want this? You want this life, these secrets, me?" His voice grew softer and softer. Minerva could see tears glinting in his eyes.
"Albus, you crazy old bat, of course I want this! No other life, no other man will do!"
Albus engulfed her in an incredibly overpowering embrace.
When they left the glade a few hours later, Albus was fully confident in their decision. They returned to the mansion, hand in hand.
After dinner, they signaled for Juno, Apollo, Neptune and Hestia to meet them in the library. Once there, everyone knew what was to be announced. Minerva glowed all through dinner. As a precaution, Apollo had subtly sound sealed the room. It proved to be a wise idea.
After the initial congratulations and celebration, they all sat down to a very serious conversation about the need for secrecy in this relationship. It was determined for the safety of the families that only immediate kin would be told and allowed to attend the wedding.
As everyone was getting ready to leave, Hestia's eyes were forming tears. Albus immediately detected this and questioned her. "What's wrong, Hestia?" he whispered, stooping to swipe away her tears.
"Minerva is going to make such a pretty bride!" She exclaimed, beaming through her tears.
"Aye, that she is, lass!" Apollo chuckled and swept her up and out of the room.
A/N: This was sort of two chapters in one, future chapters will probably not be this ambitious. Let me know what you think!