A/N: So this is an idea I've had on my computer forever that I've finally decided to do something with. I totally ship Albus and Minerva and this story gives me quite a bit of feels. Be prepared!
Thanks for reading and of course, please review!
UPDATE: So in the last two days the number of reviews for the story has gone from 1 to 4. Thank you! Unfortunately, it is only showing 1 review and I don't know why. If you have reviewed for this story, if you could please PM me what you said in your review, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd love to hear what you think.
Sorry guys! But thanks for the reviews, even if I can't read them!
I stood, stunned, as Harry Potter finally defeated Tom Riddle. It was over; we'd won the final battle. I rushed over to Harry when it became obvious he was going to collapse. He was in shock and his magical core was severely depleted, but he was alive. I assured him he'd fought well, that someone would be over to help him and his friends soon. Miss Granger seemed to be fine besides a few minor cuts and shock, but Mr. Weasley looked the worse for ware.
I left them with a healer to survey the after effects of the battle, checking our numbers, observing who was still with us. I saw many faces I knew, luckily, but we suffered our share of casualties. Molly Weasley, for one, was crying over the body of one of her twin sons, though I couldn't tell which was alive and which had died. I made my rounds, offering comfort and support to those who needed it, before being struck by the gravity of the situation.
The war was over, and I was there to see it. Truthfully, I never fully believed I'd see the day. Despite the state of affairs surrounding me, I felt hopeful for the first time in ages. We'd be all right. Minerva and I would rebuild the school together, and everything would be-
I froze. With horror, I realized my mistake.
I didn't see her. She was nowhere to be found when I walked through the field, and I didn't even notice. How could I have forgotten about Minerva? I turned quickly, wildly searching for my Deputy, but I still couldn't see her. Where was she? My heart thumped painfully in my chest. I had to find her. Nothing else mattered to me at that moment except finding Minerva.
I used a spell that almost immediately pointed me into the Forbidden Forest. My heart sunk a little further. Why would she be in there? Oh God, what if something had happened to Minerva?
No. I told myself, banishing the thought quickly. I couldn't entertain that thought; it was too horrible, too terrifying, to even think about. She had to be okay. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if she wasn't, knowing I should've been there to protect her. The images of what may have happened to her, at the state I would find her in, kept relaying in my head and I walked faster, praying to every deity I could think of that she was alive and well.
Deep in the forest, or at least deeper than I'd anticipated the spell suddenly dissipated, indicating that I'd found her. I looked around frantically, at first seeing nothing. But then I saw a huddled mass of emerald green robes that could have only been Minerva McGonagall, lying on the forest floor. My heart lurched when I realized she wasn't moving.
"No! Minerva!" I ran to her side in an instant, falling to my knees beside her body. I turned her face up with trembling hands, gasping when I saw the amount of blood and her pale, too pale, face. I already felt the tears burning my eyes as I looked at her, every single regret I had regarding her coming to the forefront of my mind. I never told her how I really felt about her. She was, of course, my best friend, but she had no idea of the deep, passionate feelings I held for her. I loved her; I'd fallen in love with her decades ago, but every day I spent with her only made me love her even more.
I cradled her in my arms, looking at her through blurry vision. I had been such a fool all these years, too scared to tell her for fear of being rejected and loosing her forever. At that moment, though, it didn't matter. Nothing mattered but saving Minerva. I didn't care if she didn't reciprocate my feelings, I didn't care if she never wanted to speak to me again once she knew. I just wanted, no, I needed her alive.
"Minerva," I whispered. "Minerva, please."
I attempted every healing spell I could think of, but nothing seemed to work for her. She was breathing and had a pulse, but it was faint. The bleeding stopped, but there was so much blood already… Her condition didn't change, and I had begun to fear the worst. "Please," I said, closing my eyes.
"Al…" I heard a faint voice and my eyes flew open as I looked down at the woman held in my arms.
"Minerva! Oh thank Merlin you're alive. I thought I'd lost you."
"Albus?" She opens her eyes a fraction to look at me. "Oh, good. You found me; I was hoping you would. I was waiting for you."
My breath caught in my throat. She'd been waiting for me?
"Yes my dear, I found you. Just hold on, I'll carry you back and get you help."
"No," She protested. "Please, I'm sure you're exhausted. Besides, I won't make it all the way there. I barely… made it this far."
The joy I felt at finding her alive started to ebb away into worry. "What do you mean?"
"Bloody death eater… cursed me. I managed to kill him, but whatever curse he used… I was so tired. I tried to get back… I only made it this far. I knew you'd find me." She said, bringing her hand to my cheek. I held it there with mine. Tears ran down my face but I did nothing to stop them.
"I will always find you, Minerva. Please, just let me-"
"No, Albus. Stay here with me. I only waited because I wanted to say goodbye. I couldn't let myself fall asleep without seeing you first."
For a moment I was sure I felt my heart stop beating. "No, please. You're going to be fine! Tom's been defeated, Tabby. We don't need to say goodbye yet." Knowing she wouldn't allow me to move her, I cast my patronus frantically, telling the healers where to find us.
"Albus…" I looked down at my lap. "There are so many others…"
"Sh. There are plenty of healers, Min. You're my Deputy, I can't let you go yet. I'm so sorry I wasn't here…"
Minerva smiled at me. "You'll find a new Deputy, Albus. Don't apologize; you had your own battles to fight. It was my own fault I wasn't fast enough."
"I don't want, nor do I need a new Deputy, because you're not going anywhere! It doesn't matter don't you see that? The others could have managed without me. I should've been keeping you safe. I should have followed you, protected you, instead of letting some bloody coward lead you so far away from the rest of us."
Despite her condition, I saw the anger and defiance creep into her eyes. "Albus Dumbledore, I can take care of myself, thank you very much. God knows I've been on my own long enough, I refuse to… allow you to make yourself feel guilty about this."
I smiled to myself. If I could keep her awake; keep her talking long enough for the healers to find us, maybe I could save her.
Minerva's body was suddenly rattled by a coughing fit, and I held her closer to me, fear consuming my sudden hopefulness. She must've known, because when the coughing subsided, she smiled at me again. Though this time, it wasn't nearly as easy for her to accomplish.
"It's alright, Albus. I'm all right. Please, don't worry. Just hold me close; it'll be over soon."
"NO!" I screamed despite myself, and she flinched. "I-I'm sorry." I told her in a softer voice. "I just… It's not over, okay? Don't give up. I refuse to let you die."
"Sh… Albus, darling…" Her eyelids fluttered for a moment before focusing back on me. "Please don't be so upset, I'm not. Harry's alive, I'm sure Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger are as well, or you would have told me. Voldemort is dead. You have plenty to celebrate when this is over; don't let me spoil it."
As she spoke, I watched the light in her emerald eyes dim, but her focus remained solely on me. It was just like her, to think of the positive in even a moment like this one. Always trying to comfort someone else, regardless of what was happening to her. She wasn't even afraid; no, she was ready. She didn't expect to be saved, and yet she only focused on my pain, my fear. The tears came faster at the thought of loosing her. What was taking the healers so long? I had to think of something, anything, to distract her.
"You can't give up, Minerva. I won't let you. You just need to hang on a bit longer, my dear, and help will come. Where's that stubbornness I saw just a moment ago? We're so close, Min, please. You've just got to fight!"
"For the love of Merlin, Albus!" Minerva suddenly sounded much stronger than before. "I have been fighting! It's what got me this far, right? But I'm… so tired, Albus. Please, I don't want to spend this time arguing with you." The strength in her voice faded just as quickly as it came.
"You're right… you're right. I'm sorry. I just… I can't loose you, Minerva. Can't you see that? I can't do this without you. You've been at my side for so many years, I can't live without you."
"Don't say that!" She was whispering by then, much to my horror. "You have to. Please, do it for me. I have to know you're going to be all right before I go."
I shook my head. "No, I can't. Not without the woman I love." The words left my mouth before I could stop them, but I no longer cared. I would have done anything, said anything, to keep her with me.
Minerva's eyes widened, "Love? Albus, what-" Her words were cut off once again by a coughing fit, but this one was much worse than the last. I held her closer to me.
"Minerva, sh… it's alright, my love. All of these years I've wasted with you… I'm so sorry. I love you so much, Minerva."
"Why… Why didn't you just… tell me?"
"I was afraid. I didn't know if you would reciprocate my feelings, and I couldn't risk ruining my friendship with you. It's been so important to me."
"Silly old man… You'll never loose me, no matter what. Besides, you didn't have to be afraid…"
"I know that now, I'm so sorry. I don't care about that anymore love. Even if you never want to speak to me again, I'll live with it, but you have to survive this. Please."
"I wish I could, my darling, but I'm tired." She brought her hand to my chest, over my heart. "Let me sleep now. Just hold me close and let me sleep."
I did as she asked; almost crushing her against me, hoping my body heat would help. I put my hand over her's, flinching when I felt how cold it was. I held her hand over my heart, willing my life force to help her somehow.
"Don't leave me alone…" She begged suddenly, squeezing my hand.
"Never, Minerva." I promised her.
She smiled at me, but it only lasted for a moment. Her eyelids fluttered closed and I panicked.
"Minerva? Minerva! Stay with me, please! I need you! Don't go!"
Her eyes opened. "It's alright Albus… I'm always with you, darling. The ones we love never leave us, remember? I've told you that for years…"
I nodded, because it was true. So many people we knew have died since Tom came to power… and even though she was just as devastated as I was, she'd always smile at me through her tears and tell me the same thing.
The ones we love never leave us, Albus. They wouldn't want us to be sad forever. Instead we must cherish their memories and live how they would have wanted us to live.
But I wasn't ready for her to leave me yet.
I felt her squeeze my hand again, but this time not as tightly. "I love you, Albus. I always have. Thank you… for being here."
My heart soared at her declaration, but came crashing back down when I realized I was loosing her. I held her hand as if it was my lifeline, and in a way, it was. I'd never be the same Albus Dumbledore without Minerva McGonagall in the world.
"I will always be here for you, my love. I love you so much, Minerva. Please, stay awake. We can be together now. Don't go."
"I want nothing more than to be with you forever Albus. I love you. I'll still be with you, just not… in the same way."
The sobs I'd been trying to suppress couldn't be contained anymore, but I didn't care. I could feel my heart breaking. "No!"
"Sh… Don't be upset love. I'm sorry, I know it'll be hard for you… but you'll be all right, I promise. I'll be with you now and always, Albus. No matter what happens. Thank you so much, for… everything."
I smiled despite the pain, stroking her hair. I hadn't even noticed, but at some point she had begun crying as well. I let go of her hand and wiped away her tears. "Sh, my dear. Just rest, help will be here soon."
She took my hand back in her trembling one before shaking her head. "Oh, Albus."
Before I could second-guess myself, I leaned over and placed a gentle but reassuring kiss on her lips. Despite how weak she was, I was happy to feel her responding.
I felt something cold and wet land on my head, and I was forced to break the kiss to look up and realize it'd started to rain. I cast a shield over us so that the rain wouldn't hit Minerva and lower her body temperature further.
"Al…bus…" I looked down at her, straining to hear her quiet voice. "Thank you so much, my darling. I'm so glad I waited for you. You've made me so happy… I love you… always…"
Minerva's hand suddenly went limp, as did the rest of her body in my arms. Her eyes, still staring unwaveringly into mine, finally closed.
"Minerva! No, Min, please! Come back! Don't leave me!"
I whipped my wand out faster than ever before, desperate to bring her back to me.
"Rennervate!" When she didn't wake, my heart stopped. No! I can't loose her, not now! Please!
"Minerva!" I shook her, but her head just fell limply to the side. I stroked her face, not caring that I got blood on my hands.
"Please…" I sobbed, leaning over and kissing her multiple times. "Don't go… I love you. I'm so sorry. Minerva, wake up! Please!"
I turned my face up to the sky as I screamed.
I felt so bad for Albus after I finished this part. Please, stick with me, don't kill me yet. I'll have the next part up in a few days.
Please review! Please PM me a copy, just in case the problem described above persists. :) Thanks!