McGonagall tells Severus not to let his guard down, that this battle could very well be his last.

Sisters and Brothers

"Enter," Severus called absently in response to the knock at his office door.

The door opened to reveal his deputy headmistress.

"Is something the matter Professor McGonagall?" He asked standing and gesturing for her to take a seat in one of the more comfortable chairs he had in his office.

Minerva sat down, "Nothing is wrong per say Headmaster. I simply wanted to talk to you... in a safe environment."

Understanding that to be a question rather than a statement, Severus withdrew his wand a raised the wards on his rooms. "It is safe," Severus stated calmly.

"I know Severus."

"You know what?" Severus asked, his facial expressions not changing.

"I know everything. Don't worry I'm not here to expose you. It's just..." Minerva paused as if searching for the right words.

"Minerva, I realise what you must think of me, but nothing said in this room will leave it."

"Thank you Severus. We've known each other a long time. Albus and I had many conversations about you in this very room. I'd known him since I was a student and he my transfiguration Professor, I don't think there was a thing he didn't tell me."

A sliver of red streaked across Severus' cheeks. "Is that right?"

"Yes, he was my best friend, a father figure of sorts I suppose. He was always so proud of you. And every time you were called the two of us would sit right here and wait for you." Minerva gave a sad smile, "He gave me away at my wedding, and he was godfather to my eldest child. He held my hand for a week as I lay in bed sobbing when my Bobby was killed. He was more a father to me than my own father, much like he was to you. I suppose that makes us siblings of a sort," Minerva smirked, and Severus returned the gesture remembering all the times they fought over Quidditch and complained together about Albus' methods.

"I always wanted a sister," Severus said quietly, allowing himself to feel at least a little human for a change.

"Well you have one now and you're stuck with me. Severus you must be careful, I had a dreadful dream that you were found out, please Severus for my sake be careful." She almost pleaded with him; he thought her voice broke as she spoke about dreams.

"I thought you put no stock in fortune telling," Severus teased, slightly shaken at the show of emotion from the normally stoic woman.

"Normally I don't, but I had a dream like this before Bobby was killed, I won't lose you too - not when I can warn you. I want to see you get married and settle down with a nice young man and have babies."

Severus choked. "What on earth are you talking about, I'm not... I've never..."

"Oh I know you never... But we knew, Albus and I, Albus used to say it takes one to know one," Minerva smirked.

"Bloody hell woman, how is it you make me feel like I'm eleven again and got caught snogging behind the green houses," Severus questioned exasperatedly.

"Pure talent," They sniggered lightly together, both feeling more normal than they had done for months.

"Promise me you'll take care Severus, I have the necessary information and proof to show that you have been on our side the whole time, you needn't fear after the war."

Severus felt an unfamiliar bubble of hope building up inside him. "I promise."

SS&MM

When the dust of the battle finally settled Severus limped back to the castle, followed closely by Potter and his little tag alongs. "I do not require an escort Mr Potter, go frolic with your peers. Where might I find Professor McGonagall?" Severus had been shocked when he'd woken up to find three worried faces leaning over him. The sense of relief and pride he'd felt to see Potter alive and intact was overwhelming. It meant they'd won, Lily's little boy was alive.

"She's in the room of the dead," Ron kindly informed him.

Severus felt the colour drain from his face, Harry must have noticed it too because he quickly jumped in. "Oh, no sir, she's not dead, she's sitting vigil."

Severus visibly sagged in relief. "Thank you, I shall join her," He could feel the concerned eyes of the trio on his back as he strode, well, limped away.

SS&MM

"Well considering you gave me a warning, why is it you have your arm in a sling?" Severus asked from the doorway taking in Minerva's appearance.

"One of the Carrow's got a lucky shot," Minerva sneered. "You're not dead then?" She commented the look of delight was evident in her eyes.

"Not yet, don't get rid of me quite that easily, honestly try to kill a Potion's Master with poison, how... uninspired." Severus took a seat next to his newly acquired sister and bumped her good shoulder with his.

"There are so many dead Severus. Even Remus."

"Lupin? Don't be stupid, he can't be dead," Severus exclaimed standing up and looking around panicked.

"He's here," Minerva pointed at the nearest shroud covered table. "I know you loved him Severus, but he has gone, I'm so very sorry." She gave him an awkward one-armed hug.

"How did you know I..." He gave his head a shake, he could think about that latter, "that's beside the point. He's a bloody werewolf unless he was killed by silver he is not dead, he's merely in a torpor, it's a body bind, he can hear and sense everything around him, he just needs to be revived." Severus explained as if he was talking to a small child, earning him a slap on his arm.

Severus cast the necessary spell and watched as colour returned to the pale face. Remus blinked furiously, his eyes adjusting to the dim light, tearing slightly as his mind processed the information of the last few hours, his hand had automatically grasped his wand as if still slightly expecting an attack.

"We won?" the formally dead man asked as he looked between Severus and Minerva, wanting confirmation of what his memory's were telling him.

"We did," Severus confirmed managing a small smile.

"We're not dead?" Remus asked reaching out to poke Severus in the ribs, making Minerva snigger.

"We were, but it didn't stick." Severus deadpanned shrugging his shoulders, then glaring at Minerva who was giggling openly now, drawing attention from outside, where Harry was visibly holding himself back from launching himself at Remus.

"And you love me?" Remus positively beamed at this question, proving that Severus was right in thinking that he heard everything in his coma like state.

"Oh shut up wolf," Severus said straitening up pulling the man with him. Ignoring the awww's from the female population of the school.

"I'm sorry about Tonks, Remus. I'm so glad Severus knew about the torpor thing, or Teddy would be all alone." Minerva hugged Remus tightly all laughter gone from her eyes; she was now holding back tears.

Remus looked desperately sad, "Tonks was a dear friend, and I loved her greatly. She was a wonderful woman and mother. But ours was a marriage of connivance, simply because we both wanted children and thought it was our only chance," Remus chest tightened thinking of his baby boy. He had almost been an orphan, as it was he'd lost his mother. But Remus was determined to be a good Father to his beautiful little boy, already so much like his Mother.

"That happens more often than not in war time," Minerva nodded in understanding.

"But I have all the time in the world not to do things properly. Next time I marry, it will be for love, total and utter love." Remus said looking up at Severus not even trying to hide it. He still had unshed tears in his eye, there was time for everything now, time to grieve, time to heal, time for hope.

"Let's see about us healed and my school rebuild first shall we," Severus shook his head fondly. "God safe me from impulsive Gryffindors. Come along, young Mr Potter is barely restraining himself from hugging you. Then I'll take you to collect little Teddy."

"But Severus, I thought when the handsome prince woke up his slumbering love, he was meant to do it with a kiss," Remus asked cheekily, waving slightly at Harry to reassure him he was alright.

Severus flushed a little, but placed a kiss on Remus' forehead, "Go see Madam Ponfree now Wolf boy, we will continue this later, preferably alone."

"I do like a man with a plan. Come on Harry help me up to the hospital wing. You can tell me all that's happened.

Harry helped the still injured man out of the room, Severus watched them a fond look gracing his normally server face. Minerva nudged him playfully. "Albus would be pleased," She commented.

Severus snorted. "Pleased? He'd be positively ecstatic; it wouldn't surprise me if he had something to do with it."

"You're probably right. Come on; let's see to our school shall we. After all, you have a date to keep."

Severus smiled, "I do don't I. Well come on then, Get to work."

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