Series Title: Minerva's Song
Story Title: The Marauder's Choice
Author: Rohan Dupre [aka Lorre]
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 30 December 2005
Word Count: 4826 give or take a few words
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Minerva MacGonnagal/? [FemSlash, I call it HetSlash]
Characters: Young Sirius Black, Dumbledore, MacGonnagal, OC
Rating: PG-13, for slight smut & swearing
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW05
Disclaimer: JKR owns 'em, just borrowing 'em for a bit.
Author's note: This is actually a Story that fits into a Harry Potter series that I am writing. The series is temporarily dubbed Colors or Song's. Information regarding Fawkes and Dumbledore's past was obtained from the Lexicon
Love knows no gender
During the latter years of the Marauder's
"Minerva," The voice echoed through the woods. Minerva MacGonagall whipped around, seeing a form dance in the shadows.
"Reece?" She called, hearing the sweet voice of her lover.
"Minerva, I miss you." The voice called to her. Lord have mercy upon her, the sweetness of Reece's voice broke through her carefully held reserve.
"Reece, please don't do this." Minerva begged. "I'm not strong enough to deal with you right now."
"I promised you I would be back. Find me." She pleaded.
"Professor MacGonagall, are you all right?" A male voice brought her out of her daze.
Minerva shook herself. She glanced back at the young man who stood beside her. "Yes Sirius, thank-you. I simply was. . ." Her voice trailed as she vainly looked for an excuse for her absent mind. The visions were getting stronger.
"Respectfully Professor, it looked as if you were on another planet." Sirius told her, a light dancing in his eyes. She knew that if he had a favorite professor, she would be it. The others were constantly discussing how little he paid attention in their own classes.
It seemed he always paid attention in hers, and rightfully so. He was one of the few Animagi she had successfully taught. She had always thought that it was his doing that the others—his friends--had acquired the skill. Rather than deny his statement, she merely agreed with it. "Yes, I rather think I was." There were a few benefits to being an underpaid professor, one of them was the social acceptability of being absentminded.
For a brief moment, young Sirius's eyes tightened. Then they relaxed. "Perhaps you should talk to someone about it?"
"It, Mr. Black?" Minerva countered.
"Whatever that hurt you so much it caused you to cry." Sirius replied, picking up his books in the now empty classroom. With one last glance, he walked out.
It was only then that Minerva realized her cheeks were wet with tears.
Later at Lunch
Minerva MacGonagall sat at her customary place at the high table. It was rare for her to be so disengaged from what was going on around her, and Dumbledore sitting at her left didn't fail to notice that something was amiss.
"Would you care to talk about it, Minerva?" He asked softly, almost under his breath as he took a sip of wine.
Minerva's lips pulsed slightly. She could tell from the corner of her eye that he was looking out over the students, making them think he was paying attention to everyone. She knew demned well his full attention was on her.
"You are a good friend, Albus. I do not know if I am ready to share this with you." She commented, vainly trying to pull off the same maneuver.
Albus chuckled softly, noting her behavior. "You'll eventually be able to successfully make each student think you have your very eyes upon them, and them only." He took another sip, and then placed his goblet down. It was obvious his mind was heavy with something. "Come to my chambers after your last class, and before dinner. I do not like it when one of my best instructors doesn't even notice when one of her houses' students can't take his bloody eyes off of her."
Minerva focused her gaze upon the offender. Sirius Black raised his glass slightly to both of his professors and took a sip.
After her next class, Minerva made the long walk to the Headmaster's quarters. She said the password, and walked up the stairs as they unfurled before her. Something inside of her felt as if she was on her way to the executioner's.
Minerva stood before the door, and hear Albus call out to her. "Come." When she walked into his office, he was bent over his desk intently reading a book.
"You wanted to see me, Albus?" Minerva asked.
"Oh yes, Minerva," He said rather distractedly. He grabbed a lemon drop from the glass dish next to him, put it in his mouth, sucked on it for a moment, and only then did he look up. "I'm worried about you. Lately, I can tell you haven't been sleeping well. Have you visited the Hospital Wing to request a potion?"
Minerva glanced away, not wanting him to see her reaction. While she knew Albus was too ethical to use his own mind reading skills upon her, she knew he was also too astute for his (and her) own good. "No Albus, I was simply waiting for the dreams to pass."
Dumbledore raised both of his eyebrows, his eyes softening with compassion. "They've gotten worse?"
Lord knew how he knew about her nightmares, or about how long they had been going on. "Worse and more frequent." Minerva answered his inquiry, keeping it short but honest.
Albus leaned back in his chair, his eyes thoughtful and full of compassion. "Have you every really dealt with her death? I know when you were hired here, you were running away from the memories."
Minerva turned from him and walked over to his office window. She heard the soft squawk of Fawkes, but still continued to stare outside. "I still run, Albus. It's not something that's very easy to deal with."
"When are you going to let someone else lighten your load?" Albus asked in response.
A soft smile curled up at each corner of Minerva's lips. "When you tell me who holds your own heart, Albus. In all the years I have known you, you have never looked at anyone, male or female. It's had class after class of students wondering for years."
A pregnant silence filled the room. Even Fawkes was quiet. Then Dumbledore spoke. "I have loved Minerva, many times. I have also had the privilege of knowing and loving the other half of my soul. When you love like that, no one else will do."
Minerva contemplated his words before answering. Again, silence filled the room. It was as if each of them were gauging their words carefully each time they spoke. "I assume she has passed through the veil."
"Yes, Minerva, she is dead. She isn't someone I often talk about, but I know she lives here within my own heart." He patted his chest. "I only have to seek her within myself, and I feel her there with me."
"Can I ask how she died?" Minerva inquired. She had always knew she shared something deeply in common with Dumbledore, but she had no way to realize it was something this dark and deep.
Albus put his hands on the arms of his chair, pushed up, and stood. She heard him walk over to her, and placed a hand upon her own shoulder. It was then that he chose to speak. "Even though I kept her existence quiet, Grindelwald murdered her. Even with her limited skills, she couldn't outrun him."
A look of horror crept across Minerva's face. "May I ask what happened?"
For the first time in her long acquaintance with Albus Dumbledore, she saw a drawn look of pain in his eyes. "Nothing to melodramatic, other than she bled to death in my arms. At the very least I got to say goodbye, and hear that she loved me one last time."
Albus paused as if overcome by the memories of lost love. Then he continued. "To this day I do not know how he found her, I thought she was well protected and hid. She told me," he paused as if waiting for a response from Minerva.
"She told you what?" Minerva inquired, rising to his bait.
"She told me it wasn't my fault, and that she would wait for me on the other side of the veil. She knew I had an important path that I needed to follow, and her death would allow me to focus my utmost attention on it." He squeezed Minerva's arm, almost smiling in his reflection. "You see she was a talented seer."
"A seer?" Minerva responded, half to herself and to him.
"Yes, I often wonder if she didn't seek out Grindelwald, knowing that my energy and attention was too focused upon her. She was very wise for her 30 some years." He told her, knowing just how much of himself he had betrayed. "She was my student, you see, half my bloody age. I had her with me for 8 long years, assisting me with my work."
"You loved one of your students?" Clearly shocked, Minerva stumbled across the words. Albus, while having a knack for bending rules, held his ethics high in front of him. This was a line he wouldn't dare cross.
"Times were different at the turn of the century, Minerva. Even then it took me too many years to declare myself to her. I always thought I was too "demned" old for her." Dumbledore answered. "I was in my sixties, and old man to her youth."
"It didn't matter to her did it?" Minerva found Albus's story both healing and painful. It stirred up too many of her bittersweet memories.
"No, not in the slightest," He chuckled remembering times long past. "I used to set her up with young wizards I knew. At first she would go out with them, to humor me. Then, she began to refuse—saying our work was simply too important. It wasn't until I heard her refusing one of my fellow scholars that I got the hint."
"I can't see someone pulling the wool over your eyes Albus. Surely you knew before that." Minerva countered.
Albus pulled upon Minerva's arm, and nodded towards one of his overstuffed chairs. "Sit." He commanded softly. He took the chair across from her, pointed at the fire and it burst into flames.
"Have you ever wondered why my Patronus manifests as a Phoenix?" He asked.
"No, I simply thought it was because you had Fawkes." Minerva replied.
"Fawkes, as a phoenix is quite old. In fact he was her last gift to me before she passed." He glanced at the bird. "She was able to get Druidess Cliodna to part with him. If it wasn't for her ability to see and find obscure resources, I would not have him."
Minerva leaned back in the chair, closing her eyes. The warmth of the fire kissed her cheeks. "I have always wanted to know if it's true, that Fawkes was Godric Gryffindor's?"
"That I won't say," Dumbledore told her cryptically. "Some knowledge is too dangerous even for you to know." He paused, the sound of the crackling fire echoed throughout the room. "However, I will tell you but one thing Minerva, Isadora went through hell to get Fawkes. The test almost killed her. She was only just healed when the end came."
The connection Dumbledore felt with his Phoenix, or any Phoenix made more sense with his words. It was his symbol of hope, that someday his love would be reborn with him. After another moment of pregnant silence he added, "I know she hasn't been reborn again, for her last promise to me was to wait patiently so we could transverse the veil at the same time. It is why I do not fear death, Minerva."
It was something she had always known about Albus, and probably the greatest key to his power. He did not fear death, therefore he was more willing to take risks others turned from. It wasn't as if he had a death wish. His own eyes often gleamed with knowledge of some great purpose. He simply did not turn away from tasks that others feared, knowing that his soul mate waited just on the other side for him.
"I do not fear death either Albus." She replied in kind. "However, I am unsure as to whether Reece is waiting for me on the other side." Her voice trailed off, distant and exhausted.
"She has been reborn, as she told you." He watched as the shock of his words shot through her.
"What?" Minerva sat up, her eyes opening. "How do you know this? Where is she?"
"That would be something I am unable to tell you, Minerva. Like I said before, some things are simply too dangerous in these times for you to know." He answered her. He reached over and squeezed her hand with compassion. "But, I can tell you one thing."
"What is that, Albus?" Minerva's eyes welled with tears. She fought them, trying to keep them from surfacing—but as they quietly slipped down her cheeks, they both knew it was a loosing battle.
"I can promise you a couple of hours, a few hours for you to say your final goodbyes. Everyone should get a chance to really say goodbye." Albus told her, patting her hand. "After that you must promise not to find Reece, at least until you both cross the veil. She knows that you two can never be together again in this life, and your very presence could wreck the most terrible of damage on future events."
"My God Albus, what has she done?" Minerva's voice cracked with a mixture of shock and pain.
"Her love for you and her friends is so strong, she is willing to sacrifice her very self to insure that they all find their other halves. In the end her very life will ensure their connection." Albus replied cryptically.
Minerva stood, sadness and anger filling her. "How can she make this decision for the both of us? Who gives her the right?"
"She's old enough to make that choice Minerva, and young enough to cause you eternal heartache should the Governor's find out." Albus still sat in his chair, as he watched Minerva pace back and forth in front of the fire. Her eyes were still wet with tears. "Besides, she's the only one who can insure hope when the final battle is waged. Don't ask me to tell you any more, just accept it." His calm eyes, flickered with something—as if he feared that she would push this boundary he had established. It was as if her pressure would by its very nature destroy carefully wrought plans.
She turned and stood, looking at him for a long moment. Then she heard the soft song of Fawkes, as he sang. The music filled her easing her pain and granting her a certain amount of courage. "No Albus, I won't seek her out—nor will I attempt to find her. To me she will stay dead."
Albus stood, and walked over to her. After a moment of looking into her eyes, he leaned down and planted a soft kiss on his friend's cheek. "Thank you, Minerva." His voice continued soothing her, as if it also held the unique qualities of the Phoenix. "You will always have me at your side as long as I am alive, as I will you."
In that moment, their friendship transformed into something deeper--Each of them strengthened by the similar sorrow of the other. While it would never fill the hole left by Reece's death, it would be enough to see her through until she was with her soul mate again.
Later that very night
There was a knock at her door. Emotionally exhausted from her conversation with Dumbledore, Minerva walked over to her door. She opened it, and stood there for a moment shocked. What? How? Was she going insane? Had someone put something in her food? What the hell was happening? Then she remembered Albus's promise.
Reece stood before her, like a vision haunting her. "Is that really you?" Minerva asked, stepping back she allowed the ghost from her past to enter.
The woman nodded. Minerva took a moment to look at her, to see how she had aged. It was Reece who responded, "I have missed you so much Cat Eyes." The sweetness of her voice caused an answering shutter to run down Minerva's body.
Minerva shook her head, as if trying to clear it. "You're dead. I watched you bloody well die." She turned facing away from the woman. "I must be going insane."
The red haired woman walked over to Minerva, and placed a warm hand upon her arm. Minerva's eyes closed. Merlin, it had been too damn long. "Minerva, I am very much alive. I promised you I would come back to you." With that warm arms enveloped her.
"Reece, I mean how?" Minerva had so many questions to ask her. She couldn't help but return the embrace.
"Some things are best left unsaid," Reece responded rather cryptically. Reece knew their time was short. She placed her fingers over Minerva's mouth, halting any further words. "Love knows no boundaries. Even death cannot separate us."
Minerva couldn't help herself, she kissed Reece's fingertips. Reece smiled softly, a bitter sweetness engulfed them both.
"We don't have much time Reece." Minerva knowing that this was but one night they would have together. She didn't know how she knew it exactly, but she did. Time was bloody well short.
Reece walked towards Minerva's bed. "Come," She whispered. "I need to hold you." And then she whispered it again, softer and more to herself. "I simply need to hold you, nothing more—nothing less." There was too little time to engage in anything more erotic, and they both knew that sex at this point would only cheapen the moment.
It had its place, erotic sexual behavior, but not now—not after so long. Minerva slipped off her gown, and slid naked between the sheets. She felt Reece's naked body slide in behind her.
So many nights they had spent like this, curled together as if one being. Minerva felt Reece's warm lips upon her shoulder. She turned around to face Reece.
"I missed you." Minerva kissed each eyelid. "Merlin, I missed you so."
Reece cupped Minerva's cheek. "Min, don't cry for me. I know you did, for so many years. I know you hid it from everyone that loves you. Don't cry. I will always be with you. You know that."
Minerva moved her head so that it lay just under Reece's jaw. She kissed her collarbone, savoring the taste of the one she loved so damned much. "Merlin, I love you so." Her words echoed her thoughts. She questioned fate, and why she of all people would have been taken so demned young.
"Look at me," Reece told her. When Minerva refused to look up, Reece cupped her cheek and tilted her head upwards. "Promise me something Cat Eyes,"
"Anything, you know I would promise you anything Reece." Minerva answered softly.
Reece laced her naked legs through Minerva's, and then began to speak. "Promise me, if you EVER figure out who I am, you won't approach me about it. You will never talk to me about who I am—you will let me serve out my fate."
Minerva felt fear rise from within her. "What do you mean?"
Again Reece touched Minerva's lips to quiet her. "Don't ask for information you know you won't be able to handle. We both know bad things are going to happen in the future, a war is going to happen. You and I both know we each have our own role within this prophecy."
Minerva only nodded.
Reece continued. "I won't be able to hide from you completely, but bad things will happen—terrible things. Just know that I do this because I love you, and I don't want our pain to spread to others. They deserve some happiness, the very happiness we were denied."
Minerva couldn't help but remember the war they faced, a battle to keep their love hidden from those around them. Even for Witches, there was a thin line between sisterly love and the love they shared. They grew up in a time where such a bond was abhorred, even for the most liberal of witches.
Minerva knew Reece was asking her something, but wouldn't say exactly what. It was as if she couldn't give Minerva the details of what she was about to do, but Minerva knew her well enough to know she was up to something.
"Just promise me one thing Reece," Minerva asked of her.
"What is that Cat Eyes?" Reece responded.
"Just promise me that you won't do anything stupid. I couldn't bare to think of you out there, hurting because you.." her voice trailed, the rising tide of emotional pain evident in her tone.
Reece brushed Minerva's lips again with her own. "No, don't worry Cat Eyes. Dumbledore is in on this with me. He knows who I am.
"Shh…" Reece brushed Minerva's lips with her own, soothing the anxiety she knew that was there. "He won't tell you who I am, nor will he tell you anything else—unless it's absolutely necessary." She brushed another kiss across Minerva's cheek, cherishing every second she had her in her arm. "Things will be rough for me, Dumbledore has in-as-much said so. I will go through hell and back. I, more than likely, will have to die again for the cause."
Minerva tried to speak. No, she didn't want to loose Reece again after having done so once. It was enough to know she was a live and on the planet, not have her taken from here again. The tears welled in her eyes as she tried to force them down.
Reece brushed Minerva's eyelids gently with her fingertips. "Don't cry. Please sweetheart don't, not for me, I don't deserve your tears."
"You deserve my soul," Was all that Minerva could answer.
"I already have it, I always have. How could I be without it as I am your other half." Reece told her softly. "Now sleep Min, when you wake up you will feel better."
"I don't want to sleep." She replied.
"You have too. This magick won't last, and I don't want to see the light in your eyes fade when it does." Reece whispered. "Just remember if you do figure out who I am, and you catch my eyes looking upon you, it's my way of saying I love only you."
Minerva rolled over at her lover's request. She felt her sweet arms wrap around her bare stomach. Then, exhausted and drained like she had never felt before, she slept.
Minerva rolled over in her bed, her naked form wrapped in the softest wool blanket she had ever felt. The candle beside her bed flickered.
It took her a moment for the onslaught of memories to wash through her. She rolled over facing the other side of the bed. There, on the pillow, sat a small leather pouch—the one she hid from everyone in her desk.
She reached out to pick it up as she sat. A sinking feeling sat in the pit of her stomach. She didn't have to open it to know what contents were missing.
Reece's hair, the smell of potion... It didn't take a potions master to know what had happened.
She had been born again, returned to the world in which she had been taken from. She had kept her promise. They both knew it wouldn't work, too many years stood between them. None-the-less it gave her a small measure of hope for the future.
Cat eyes... The bittersweet endearment would always echo within her memory. It didn't matter whom she had been reborn as, it simple mattered that she had been reborn. It had filled the hollow void within Minerva. She could only pray that whatever Dumbledore had planned would keep Reece safe. She couldn't stand it if something bad had happened to her again.
Sirius Black stood below MacGonagall's window, looking up. It was pathetic the means he had used to simply touch the woman. God if the others, his very friends, knew just how desperate he was. He couldn't explain the connection, other than he knew that she was his.
"Are you ready?" A voice came from the shadows.
Sirius turned towards the dark form. "Yes Professor, I'm ready."
"You know what this means, do you not Sirius?" Dumbledore began walking towards the lake. "Do not undergo this action lightly."
Sirius fell into step beside the Wizard. "I agreed to it, and I mean on keeping my promise." He paused, glancing back to the window where his soul mate lay sleeping. It was best she never know who actually was the one who touched her. There simply were too many barriers between them to overcome. No, this was better. It was better knowing his sacrifice would bring so many people their own love. It was that very love that would protect them in the coming darkness.
"Do you have the names of those you wish to call forth?" Dumbledore asked as they reached the lake. He didn't stop, but waded into it. Soon they both were up to their waist.
Sirius stood by Dumbledore, and held out his wrist. "Yes Sir, I do."
"Good." Dumbledore responded, concern still in his eyes. "I have to ask you one more time if you really want this Sirius. Once I do this magick, it cannot be undone until you die."
Sirius looked up at the ancient Wizard, allowing his pain to show in his eyes. "Sir, you yourself said there was no way in this lifetime all the barriers between her and myself could be broken. I'd rather my life mean something to others, a guarantee that they would never have to go through what I have."
"It will mean suffering. While this ancient magick is born of a good cause, it's nothing less than a curse for the one who chooses to enact it." Dumbledore replied.
"No matter what hell I walk through, it will be enough knowing that the ones I love will know their true love." Sirius replied. Then after a brief moment he muttered, "I will make due with what I can."
"Good." Dumbledore replied. "Now take out your wand, and point it at your wrists. You have to be the one to do this Sirius, for I cannot."
Sirius followed Dumbledore's instructions, pulling out his wand. He muttered the ancient incantation, and blood flowed from the veins in his wrists—as he sweated blood. While it wasn't life threatening, it was enough to summon the spirits of the deep.
Sirius heard their song, ancient and sweet as they circled in front of him—just below the water. He called upon them, requesting there assistance. A golden glow rose from the water, to encircle him. A bittersweet smile curled upon his lips.
Then he said the names that would forever haunt him.
James Potter and all offspring
Remus Lupin and all offspring
Lily Evans and all offspring
Erisa MacGonagall and all offspring
He could only choose four and their offspring. Peter had too many problems to be a successful mate, and it was the least he could do to include Minerva's only relative. Maybe Erisa would provide her aunt some measure of comfort if she could find her mate. Minerva deserved a chance at a loving extended family, after all she had been through. He had always wondered if Erisa bore the name because of Minerva's connection to himself. It sounded too damned much like Reece.
The golden light slowly died away, as the mere-folk returned to the deep.
"You've done a good thing tonight, Sirius." Professor Dumbledore told him when the charm was finished. "They will know their soul's other half."
Sirius nodded, his voice unable to speak.
"I won't tell anyone what occurred this night, Sirius. I know you won't either." Dumbledore continued on as he walked out of the water. "Chocolate?" he offered a piece of a bar that he pulled from his cloak.
Sirius Black shook his head. "No, Fire Whiskey," He replied.
Albus chuckled. "I am sure your friends can indulge you, but make sure I don't hear about it."
And with that they left, parting ways.
The next day
A folded note sat on Minerva's plate at the High table. No one knew who had placed it there, or what it said. They whispered amongst each other, wondering what the notes said. They wondered why their beloved professor's eyes were sad, and why she canceled class for the day.
Cat Eyes, I will always love you… Until we meet again.