Title: A Door to the Future
Archive: my site
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the HP universe and its characters. I am just playing with a couple of them.
Summary: another moment in time. Sequel to ‘A Window to the Past’.
Notes: my thanks as always… to my most wonderful, and yet cunningly evil beta, Jaya!
She heard them whispering.
Everywhere she went she heard them.
In the Great Hall when she ate her meals.
In the library when she was studying.
Throughout the corridors when she walked to and from classes.
Everywhere she went she heard them.
But Minerva McGonagall ignored them all. Instead, she had focused all her energy on keeping the promise she made to him. To Albus.
She worked studiously, and by the end of the summer term, she had indeed passed all her N.E.W.T.S. with flying colours. The highest scores, the examiners all said, since Albus himself attended Hogwarts.
A soft smile… the first anyone had seen on her face in over a month, touched her lips when she’d been told.
A week later, the Leaving Ceremony over and done with, all the students piled into the waiting carriages that would take them from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade Station, and from there to their homes. All the students that is, except one.
Minerva stared out the window of her dormitory and watched
until the last carriage disappeared from view then with a deep breath she
turned and left
She’d just reached the entrance to the long, spiral stairwell when a loud voice cut through her.
“Miss McGonagall! What in Merlin’s name are you still doing here?”
Minerva stopped and slowly turned to face her Potions professor, Ganz; not surprised to find that she wasn’t alone but was surrounded by at least five other teachers.
“I am heading for the
“You should be on your way home to your family, young lady.” Professor Cross, the Divination professor said.
Minerva shook her head. “I am not leaving.”
“I beg your pardon?” Cross asked sharply with a frown on her face.
“I am not leaving,” Minerva repeated.
“And why not?” Ganz asked.
“Because I made a promise,” Minerva answered.
“A promise? To whom?” Cross questioned the young witch.
“Professor Dumbledore, you mean.”
“No,” Minerva shook her head. “I made the promise to Albus.”
Cross narrowed her eyes. “Well, I’m afraid you made the promise in vain. You will go back to your room immediately and pack your things. After which, you will be escorted to Hogsmeade. An owl will be dispatched immediately, telling them to wait for you.”
“No!” Minerva said in a low voice. “I will not be going.”
“Yes… you will. In fact,” Cross stepped forward. “I will escort you personally… both to your room and to the train station.”
“I’m sorry, Professor… but I cannot do that…”
And then, much to the surprise of the half dozen professors surrounding her, Minerva transformed herself in a gray tabby cat and sprinted up the staircase.
“After her!” Cross cried out and took after McGonagall, pulling her wand out of her robes as she did.
The other professors looked at one another.
“I didn’t know she’d mastered the animagus transformation, did you?”
“No. I know Dumbledore had been working with her before he left, but I didn’t know she’d gotten that far.”
“You don’t think… they…”
“No! Of course not. Not Dumbledore. He’s too honourable for that.”
These and more questions passed between the teachers as they followed their Acting Deputy Headmistress who was still in pursuit of the small cat, her wand waving wildly in the air.
Minerva could hear the footsteps of her professors behind her; the incessant yells of Cross as she made her way up the long spiral staircase, and quickened her pace just as a shower of sparks hit the wall above her.
A second spray of colour bounced off the step below her hind
foot just as Minerva slipped through the open doorway into the
“Miss McGonagall! Miss McGonagall you return this door immediately!”
Minerva stood, rooted to the spot, a surprised look on her face as she listened to Professor Cross continue to shout and pound on what used to the door to the Astronomy Tower. She walked over to the newly formed wall and placed her hand on it. It felt like all the other stone walls within the castle and yet it was different, as she could still clearly hear the teachers on the other side.
“How did this happen, I wonder.” Minerva said quietly to herself just as she heard Headmaster Dippet’s voice come through the wall.
“Would someone care to explain what’s going on here?” Armando Dippet asked as he came to a stop within the small group of teachers. “Where is the door?”
“McGonagall transfigured it!” Cross answered.
“Forgetting of course that she could not effect change in the castle’s structure even if she wanted to… why is she still here?”
“She told us that she’d promised Dumbledore that she would wait here for him to return from his fight with Grindelwald,” Ganz answered.
“I see. And the lack of a door where there should be one?”
“When I told her that she had to leave, she fled up here to the tower…” Cross answered.
“Transformed into a cat first!” One of the other professors spoke up. “Didn’t realize she’d gotten that far in her training.”
Dippet smiled. Dumbledore would be pleased to learn that Minerva had mastered the Animagus art. “But that still doesn’t answer the question… what happened to the door?”
“To be honest, we don’t know.” Ganz replied. “Like Calliope, it slipped my mind that only you can coax the castle to alter its shape…”
Dippet nodded then with a flourish, he branded his wand. “Well then… let’s see if we can’t get the door back.”
Several minutes, and several unsuccessful spells later, Dippet lowered his wand then shrugged his shoulders. “I’m afraid there is nothing to be done. There is obviously a stronger force at work here.”
“Stronger?” Cross gave Dippet a curious look. “What force could possibly be stronger?”
A large smile formed on Armando’s face. “Why… love of course.” He held his hands up to quiet the sudden commotion. “It is apparent to me that the castle has taken it upon itself to shelter Miss McGonagall… and there is nothing any of us can do until she herself is ready to leave.”
“You’re going to just leave her up here?” Cross asked.
“What more can I do?”
“You could send someone out with a broom… remove her that way.” Cross suggested.
“Something tells me that course of action would meet with the same results as we’ve found here. No,” Dippet shook his head. “To spend time trying to remove Miss McGonagall from the castle would be a waste of effort.”
Dippet shook his head again. “No! I will hear no more on the issue. None of you are to make any more attempts. Is that understood?”
There were several nods, and a few grumbled acknowledgements then the professors turned and slowly made their way down the long staircase. Before moving to follow, Dippet summoned one of the house elves and instructed it to make sure that Minerva was looked after.
Time passed slowly for Minerva in the tower.
When she wasn’t thinking about Albus, or worrying about his safety… which was pretty much every second of every day… Minerva spent her time honing her Transfiguration skills. Skills that were already amongst the best in the wizarding world but which she felt could always use improvement.
When she tired of transfiguring things, Minerva would change into her animagus form and scamper around the tower, keeping herself in shape and burning off excess energy.
At night, Minerva would curl up on a transfigured bed in the corner where she and Albus had shared their first kiss, and gaze up at the night sky, wondering what her love was doing and if he was thinking about her as well.
Each night, she would fall asleep with his name on her lips, and wake up each morning the same way… whispering his name to the rising sun.
She hadn’t realized how much time had passed until one evening; she happened to gaze down into the school grounds to see the thestral-drawn carriages approaching filled with students.
A sudden sadness overwhelmed her and she sank down onto her bed.
Had it really been that long since she’d last seen Albus? The question echoed through Minerva’s head. Had Albus been gone for over three months already?
Could it have been that long since she’d looked into Albus’ twinkling blue eyes? Three months since she’d heard Albus say her name… felt his arms around her?
Had it really been three months since they’d kissed for the first time, and admitted their love for one another?
A sob escaped Minerva when she realized it had indeed been that long.
“Albus…” she whispered his name as she looked up into the dark sky. “Oh, Albus where are you?”
There had been no news.
At least none that she’d heard, and Headmaster Dippet had made sure that
when the house elves brought her meals that they also included issues of the
Daily Prophet. And there had been no
mention of Albus in any of those. Just
the same reports about Grindelwald and his forces being sighted throughout
Minerva reached out for the dark blue robe laying on the bed at her feet and wrapped it around her; seeking comfort in the scent of Albus in the material.
Two days after she’d holed up in the tower; she’d woken up with the need to feel Albus’ arms around her. The feeling… the need… had been so intense, and knowing that he wasn’t there to hold her, had Minerva pacing back and forth for several hours, whispering his name over and over as tears slid down her cheeks until the idea of summoning one of his robes came to her.
When the robe had finally come to her, Minerva had wrapped herself in its warmth and curled up on her bed; savouring the scent of Albus and the sherbet lemons he was always eating mingled in the fabric. Within moments of being cocooned in the robe, she’d fallen fast asleep.
Despite the height of the tower, a loud commotion from the school ground slowly filtered up and woke the sleeping woman. A frown formed on Minerva’s face as she was woken from a very amorous dream she was having about…
“Albus…” Minerva whispered his name longingly then glanced around as she tried to determine what it was that had woken her.
Moments later, she realized it was the clamour below that was responsible. She slipped out of bed, reaching for and pulling on Albus’ robe as she made her way to the balustrade and looked down.
Her eyes widened at the sight.
Instead of being inside for their classes, the students were spread out on the school grounds, and were, Minerva realized, dancing, laughing and singing.
“What on Earth?” Minerva muttered.
At that moment there was a soft pop behind her and Minerva turned to see Mamie, the house elf standing before her with her…
“Lunch tray? I slept through breakfast again?”
“Yes, Miss. Mamie came with your tray but you was still sleeping in the great wizard’s robe and Mamie didn’t have the heart to wake you. You was needing your sleep.”
Minerva smiled at the small creature before her as she took her tray. “Thank you, Mamie.”
“Miss is welcome,” Mamie replied. “Does Miss need anything else before Mamie returns to her other duties?”
“No… I’m…” Minerva stopped and looked down at the elf again. “Actually, there is something.”
“Yes, Miss?” Mamie asked anxiously.
“What is going on with the students?”
“They is celebrating, Miss.”
“The fall of the dark one.”
“You mean Grindelwald has been defeated?!”
“When? When did this happen?”
“Mamie heard the news this morning from the headmaster, Miss. He said the great wizard stopped the dark one.”
“The great wizard? Did the headmaster say who the great wizard was?” Minerva asked hopefully.
“Master Dumbledore, Miss.”
“…Albus…” Minerva uttered his name softly as she turned to and walked back slowly to the bed. She sank down onto the mattress then reached out absently for the copy of the Daily Prophet when the headline, “GRINDELWALD DEFEATED!” caught her eyes. Minerva smiled through the tears that suddenly filled her eyes at the sight of Dumbledore’s picture on the front page. She reached out and ran her finger over his visage and laughed softly when the image in the picture seemed to lean into her touch.
Her eyes skimmed through the article. When she finished she let out a peal of delighted laughter as she sprang to her feet and twirled across the floor.
“Miss? Is you all right?”
“Yes, Mamie. I am perfectly all right,” Minerva answered with a grin as she stopped spinning to once again stare out over the celebrating student body on the school ground.
The diminutive elf watched the witch with wide eyes. In the last couple of months she’d been coming up with trays, she’d never seen her this happy. The sight brought a smile to Mamie’s face.
“Does Miss need anything else?”
Minerva started to shake her head when something caught her eye. She focused her attention on the school gates. “It can’t be…” she said softly then gasped.
Mamie jumped back, startled when Minerva suddenly spun around, and began to run towards the now present and open door; changing into a sleek gray cat just before she disappeared through the doorway.
Minerva raced down the steps as fast as her four legs would carry her, one word repeating over and over in her mind. The stairwell seemed to go on forever, and Minerva feared she would never see the end of it when the entrance to the corridor appeared a few steps away.
‘I’m coming…’ she thought as she hurried through the halls, streaking around students in her bid to get to the main doors and the schoolyard beyond them. After what seemed like an eternity, Minerva burst out into the open air, with only one thought on her mind.
“Well, I’ll be…” Calliope Cross murmured as her attention was taken away from her conversation with the headmaster to the figure passing through the now open front gate. “I wonder if Rapunzel knows…”
Her sentence remained unfinished as she was nearly knocked over by a gray cat darting through her legs and down the stone stairs, causing her to stumble.
Dippet couldn’t help but chuckle as he smiled. “She knows.”
As soon as Minerva’s paws hit the grass, she leapt into the air and morphed gracefully back into her human form; landing on her feet and continuing to rush forward without missing a step.
With her attention solely focused on her destination, Minerva wasn’t aware of the sudden halt in activity as the students stopped in the middle of their celebrations to watch Minerva fly by them, her long black hair and robes billowing out behind her as she ran, her eyes blurred by tears, across the lawn towards the one place she longed most in the world to be.
The tears began to course down her cheeks, and her heart began to pound wildly in her chest as Minerva, with a cry of his name, threw herself into Albus’ arms. Her lips caught his in a fiery kiss as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Albus could taste Minerva’s tears as she deepened the kiss, her tongue moving past his lips to tangle with his. His arms tightened around her and he held her tight against him as he abandoned himself in the kiss.
They pulled apart with a gasp, the tears streaming down both their cheeks making it difficult to retain the oral connection.
“You’re home,” Minerva whispered as she rained kisses over his face. “You’re home. You’re home. You’re home.”
“I’m home…” Albus nodded as he too showered her face with soft kisses; his lips removing the moisture from her rosy cheeks. “I am safe… and I am home…”
With those words, the damn broke and Minerva’s tears fell full force. She buried her face in his shoulder as the sobs wracked her body. Her hands fisted in his hair as she clung to him, murmuring incomprehensible words into his beard while she continued to cry.
Albus tightened his arms around her and nuzzled her temple with his lips. “Ssh… it’s okay, my love… I’m home…” he spoke softly. “I am home and I am with you…”
Minerva lifted her head from his shoulder and her eyes locked with his. “…Albus…”
She whispered his name then caught his lips in another hungry kiss. Her whisper had been filled with such longing, such need… and even more than that… with such love, that Albus was overwhelmed with emotion and crushed her body to his once again as he responded fervently to the call of her kiss.
All too soon, Albus ended the kiss then bent to sweep Minerva up into his arms. She buried her face in his neck as he began to walk towards the castle. He saw Armando, standing on the stairs with a few of the professors; take a step forward then stop at the shake of Albus’ head.
Armando gave Albus a subtle nod of understanding and stepped back with the teachers. He watched as Albus tightened his hold on the young woman in his arms and strode past them into the castle without a backwards glance.