Title: A Window to the Past
Archive: my site
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the HP universe and its characters. I am just playing with a couple of them.
Summary: a moment in time.
Notes: my thanks as always… to my most wonderful, and yet cunningly evil beta, Jaya!
The steps appeared to go on forever, winding round and round in a never-ending upward spiral; eventually, giving way to the vastness of space… or at least that was the impression of the open space of the highest tower at Hogwarts.
Silently, a shadow appeared at the topmost stair. The soft swish of material was the only sound heard, and after a moment’s pause, the shadow began to move determinedly across the floor towards what seemed to be an empty, dark corner.
“I should have known that you would find me,” a low, gravely voice sounded from the darkness.
“You weren’t at dinner… I was worried.”
“I was not hungry.” There was a momentary pause. “Is there a problem?”
“That was going to be my question.”
A soft sigh sounded and the shadow reached out into the darkness.
“Talk to me, Prof… Albus…”
“What would you have me say, Minerva?”
“Tell me you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.”
Another sigh, this one deeper than the last reached her ears followed by his quiet response. “I wish I could do that.”
When he didn’t respond, Minerva stepped into the dark corner and stood before him. She peered up into his blue eyes. Eyes that were normally bright and filled with twinkling amusement were, in this moment, clouded and troubled.
“Grindelwald?” She asked softly.
“I’m afraid so. He’s gaining more power… more followers. He needs to be stopped,” Albus replied then turned to look out over the school grounds. “I will be leaving tonight.”
Minerva blinked back the tears that suddenly formed in her eyes. “Why?”
“To do my part in this fight.”
“There are other wizards. Wizards who have been trained to fight. You don’t have to go.”
“Yes… I do.”
“Why? Why must you go?”
“I, like any wizard worth his salt, go to fight for our world. I go to stand up against the tyranny of a madman and the evil he promotes. The fate of our world, and that of the Muggles, demand it.”
“But you… it’s not in you to kill. Your soul is too gentle… too loving for that.”
The barest hint of a smile touched the corner of his lips.
“You are correct. It is not in me to kill… but Grindelwald has to be stopped. And if I can help in some small way… then I shall endeavour to do all I can.” He paused then continued in a quiet voice. “And I go… because I have no choice… it is my destiny.”
“What do you mean… your destiny?”
Dumbledore turned his gaze back to the young, dark-haired woman before him; his most prized student, amazed that even in the dark he could see the fear in her eyes; the same fear he could hear in her voice. Fear for him. And he found himself, not for the first time, wanting to take her in his arms. To hold her and never let her go.
“It is as I’ve said. I have to go. I have always known it, and have accepted that there is some purpose to my life…”
“You have purpose here. You are needed here… to teach… to help shape the lives of those like me who pass through these walls! To guide us into the future!”
“There will be no future if Grindelwald is left to wreak his havoc… his wickedness.”
“I understand that, and you’re right! He must be stopped. But why must it be you who stops him? Why not some other wizard?”
“Because there is no one else,” Albus answered, no trace of ego in his voice. “Others have tried… and they have failed…”
“They died,” Minerva corrected with a whisper.
Albus nodded. “They died.”
At the sight of the fear once again in Minerva’s green eyes, the urge to enfold her in his arms returned. Even stronger than before if that were possible. So strong… that he waged an internal struggle of whether or not he should give in and pull her into his embrace.
The decision was taken out of his hands when Minerva suddenly stepped closer, slipped her arms around his waist and buried her face in his chest. “I don’t want to lose you,” she told him in a shaky voice.
Albus wrapped his arms around her slender frame and held her close; the feel of her body against his, the fulfillment of many wishes.
“Minerva…” he began only to be cut off by her soft voice.
“No! I won’t let you! I’ve lost so much already… I can’t… won’t lose you too!” Minerva’s arms tightened around him to emphasize her point. “Please… don’t leave… don’t leave me…” this final plea was muffled against his chest.
“Minerva…” Albus began again as his hands began to move in gentle circles up and down her back. “I wish I could promise you that everything will be all right, but I can’t. No one can. All I can promise is that I will do everything in my power to come back.”
Minerva lifted her head from his chest, and Albus felt his heart break at the sight of the tears coursing down her cheeks. He fought the urge to lower his head and kiss away the moisture marring her beautiful face.
“I want you to promise me that you will continue your studies… that you will not let your grades slip,” Albus said, conscious of the fact that they had yet to separate and remained locked within each others’ arms.
Minerva shook her head.
“Minerva, you must.”
“No… I won’t be able to because I am going with you.”
“You can’t!” Albus told her.
“No, Minerva…” Albus shook his head.
“No!” Albus lifted his hands to cup her face. “I would love nothing more than to have you fighting at my side… but I need to know you’re safe… safe and protected far from the fighting. You’re so young…”
“Please, Minerva… do this for me.” Albus asked her, his thumbs absently stroking her cheeks. Several moments passed before Minerva finally nodded. “Thank you,” he said and pulled her back into his embrace.
Minerva nestled closer.
“Spring term will be over soon… you’ll be graduating then leaving…”
Minerva shook her head.
“Why are you…”
“I would do anything for you…” she murmured into his silver-streaked auburn beard. “Anything… but I will not leave Hogwarts until you return…”
Minerva pulled back to look at him and placed her finger against his lips. “Albus… there is no point in trying to talk me out of it. I will stay here… for however long it takes you to rid the world of that fiend. Hogwarts is my home… and here is where I feel closest to you. And for that reason alone I will not leave here until you return safe and sound…”
“To your waiting arms…” Albus whispered; his voice filled with hope.
“To my waiting arms,” Minerva nodded as she traced his lips with her finger.
Albus could feel the rise and fall of her breasts against his chest; the steady drum of her heart, pounding in concert with his own, and found himself drowning in the emerald pools of her eyes as he slowly lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers.
Minerva gasped at the soft touch and tilted her head up for another and another; each touch of his mouth on hers lasting just seconds longer than the one before, but still… each touch no more than the gentlest of caresses.
Twin whispers floated through the darkness, the longing… the need… the desire… unmistakable.
Albus’ large hands framed Minerva’s face as he once again lowered his head and covered her lips with his. He moved his tongue over her soft lips, tracing and learning their shape, their texture… before he pressed and received entrance to the wet heat of her mouth.
A soft moan sounded in the back of Minerva’s throat as Albus deepened the gentle kiss; his tongue slipping past her lips to meet and tangle with hers. She wrapped her arms around his head and slid her fingers into his thick auburn hair as his unique flavour washed over her taste buds.
One of Albus’ hands remained tangled in her luxurious black hair while the other trailed down her back to rest just above the curve of her bottom and pulled her closer to his body. Minerva molded her body to his as the kiss continued, each pouring all of their emotion into the oral connection with every fibre of their being.
After what seemed like an eternity, the passionate kiss slowly tapered off into a series of breathless touches until they rested their foreheads together.
“I have to go…”
Albus lifted his hand to cup her cheek and wiped away the fresh tracks of tears with his thumbs. “Minerva… I…”
Minerva covered Albus’ mouth with hers, muffling his words and the soft sob that escaped her. She pressed herself closer as if trying to merge her body with his even as she sought to merge their souls with their kiss.
With an obvious effort, Albus broke the kiss and moved his lips over her face, kissing away her tears before he pressed his mouth against her forehead and murmured her name over and over. “I must be going…”
Minerva opened her mouth to speak but Albus placed his finger over her lips to stop her.
“Ssh…” he traced her lips with the tip of his finger. “I will do all that I can to return to you…”
Minerva nodded wordlessly.
“Please promise me you will look after yourself… and remember your other promise.”
Again Minerva nodded.
Albus gave her a sad smile as he leaned down and brushed his lips lightly over hers then without another word, he moved out of her arms and strode across the dark floor of the tower and disappeared into the stairwell.
Minerva gazed out over the school grounds, not really seeing them for the tears streaming down her cheeks. She listened to the sound of his footsteps echoing up from the stairwell, each step carrying him further and further away from her. A sob fell from her lips when she could no longer hear him and with a sudden cry of his name, Minerva spun around and ran to the stairwell.
She flew down the stairs, calling out his name.
At the sound of Minerva’s footsteps pounding down the stairs behind him, and the call of his name on her lips, Albus turned just in time to catch her as she flew into his arms; the force of her body almost knocking him down the stairs.
“I love you…” Minerva told him breathlessly as she caught his mouth in a hungry kiss.
Albus groaned and turned, pressing Minerva against the stone wall as he returned her feverish kiss. “I love you too…” he whispered against her lips then kissed her again.
Where their first kiss was slow, and filled with love and a soft-burning passion, this kiss was raw, and filled with a desperate hunger. Each trying to consume the other, to impress upon themselves the taste and feel of the other, not knowing for sure if they would ever truly get another chance to express their feelings.
“My Minerva…” Albus gasped as he wrenched his lips and his body away from hers. He cupped her cheek briefly and with another soft utterance of her name, he turned and continued down the stairs.
Minerva watched him spiral out of view then turned and walked slowly back up to the tower. She made her way across the floor to the dark corner overlooking the school grounds, whispering a prayer for his safety with every step.
When she reached the banister, Minerva laid both hands on the cool stone and stared out onto the grass below. Several minutes passed before she saw him quickly making his way to the formidable gates.
“Be safe, my love…” Minerva said quietly. “Be safe and come back to me…”
She watched as Albus stopped in front of the gate and turned, his eyes raised and trained on her. She felt his warmth envelope her for a moment before he passed through the gate, and then in the blink of an eye he was gone.
Minerva let out a loud wail of agony and crumpled to the floor of the tower; Albus’ name a mantra on her lips.