Chapter 1 : ALBUS AND MINERVA
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ALBUS AND MINERVA
“Albus, we need to talk,” Minerva stated with no opening formalities. He could see that she was upset about something. As she strode purposefully into his office, he noticed her usual unbending posture was so taut that he feared she might sprain something vital.
“Sherbet lemon?” he offered, extending the candy dish to her as she perched rigidly on the edge of the chair in front of his desk.
“No, no thank you” she shook her head, thrown off stride…which was his intent.
“We need to talk,” she said less stridently, “about…us.”
“What about us, Minerva?” He asked this with a display of sincere interest, although he had a very good idea where this was heading. Inwardly he cringed…all men abhor the dreaded us chat.
“I’m afraid that the students suspect our…I’m afraid they know that we…erm…enjoy each others company.”
He was unsurprised by her use of euphemisms. He knew how intensely private Minerva was and how very difficult it was for her to show emotions or the softer side of her nature. Yet, deep within that steel-trap body, dwelt a passionate and sensuous being. It was hidden so very deeply that she usually had to transform into her Animagus form, a cat, before she could give into it. He would stoke the unyielding feline…sometimes for hours before he would feel her muscles quiver and relax. Then, he would hear rich, deep purring before she returned to human form and they would make joyful love. Very unusual foreplay, to be sure, but pleasant and satisfying for them both. When they were both sated, she would resume her Animagus form and curl upon his chest, rumbling contently for a while before slipping away on dainty cat paws.
“Now, Minerva…can’t you bring yourself to admit that we are adults and have every right to satisfy our carnal desires? It is no one’s business but our own.”
Blushing slightly, she said, “That’s the problem, Albus. It is OUR business and I have no desire for anyone else to know. How would I be able to show my face in front of class? How could I command respect?”
“There is no shame in being human, my dear. We are still alive and sex is a part of life. We are very fortunate, especially an old goat such as I,” he chuckled, “to have found someone to share that part of living. Many others are not as lucky. Why, just look at Sibyll!”
Although she had cringed at the word sex, his last statement drew a rueful smile from her. With a small snigger, she added, “Ah yes, poor Sibyll…and don’t bring your brother into this conversation, Albus. I shudder to think…” she added with a wry smirk.
“Now, tell me why you believe the cat is out of the bag, so to speak.” He beamed at topping her witty play on words.
She gave a small disapproving frown at this personal pun delivered with such wicked glee, but continued, “I believe the students are…looking at me funnily and I’ve caught them whispering behind my back. I’m sure they have found out.”
“Minerva, we are professors…they always look at us strangely and students have eternally whispered.”
“I’m sorry I’m such a prude, Albus, but I just don’t want students to think of me engaging in…sex. There…I’ve said it! I just know they are on to us!” She was wringing her hands nervously and looked on the verge of tears after blurting out that dreadful word…
“Nonsense, Minerva. I have found that each generation, as they reach puberty, are firmly convinced that they are the first to discover sex. The evidence of their own existence is conveniently overlooked. They cannot make their brains comprehend that their own parents did, and most likely still do, engage in connubial pleasure. And teachers…why, we are not even human to them. Don’t worry so, my dear.”
“Well, I would assume that most of them would never think of it on their own, but Potter is a very intelligent boy. I was mortified when he caught me coming out of your quarters at three in the morning with my hair looking disheveled! I should never have transformed before I reached my rooms! You don’t suppose he’s said anything to the others, do you?”
“My dear, Minerva…there are many adjectives to describe your coiffure and disheveled has never been one of them. Besides, Harry was coming to see me at that time. Surely he knows that I am available to everyone at all hours. No, he would assume we were solving a major crisis…not scratching each other’s itches, so to speak. So, how did you handle the inopportune meeting?”
“Well, I was too flustered to speak, so I gave him a Snape.”
Dumbledore’s brow creased in puzzlement before he said, “I beg your pardon…a Snape?”
“Well, yes. I just stood there and glared at him with my arms crossed and ever so slowly raised my left eyebrow. The higher my eyebrow went, the larger his eyes got. I almost felt sorry for the lad.”
Dumbledore’s merry eyes twinkled in glee as he pictured the scene. It was almost as if he had witnessed it. Poor Harry…as if one Snape weren’t bad enough. He, himself, had never mastered the fine art of eyebrow raising. Oh, both at once was easy, but that haughty one eyebrow loft eluded him. He supposed it had to do with genetics, like how some people can roll their tongues and others can’t. Ah, well, he had a vast repertoire of other imperious expressions, but he always did envy a well-executed arch.
Returning his attention to his distraught paramour he said kindly, “My dear Minerva, we have had several discussions like this over the years. I offer, once again, to make an honest woman of you.”
“Oh, Albus. That would have the opposite effect of putting to rest their purient interest! If we married, then all the children would be picturing our intimate matters. I just couldn’t bear them imagining and giggling about our wedding night. Miss Brown and Miss Patel would have a veritable field day with their speculations!” She sighed deeply and walked to the window where she stared out at the calm night sky, trying to put that scenario out of her mind.
“If anyone should be ashamed, Minerva, it is I,” Dumbledore said quietly coming up behind her.
“What?” she gasped as she spun around, horrified that he might be ashamed of their relationship.
“Yes, it is I who would be labeled a cradle robber and rightly so,” he chuckled.
“Oh, Albus,” she snapped and returned her angry gaze to the stars. “I’m over seventy years old, don’t be silly!”
“Precisely,” he said, “less than half my age! You are but a mere child.” He placed both hands on her shoulders and in the window he caught the trace of a smile on her thin lips. He had seen it…she knew he had seen it and he knew that she knew he had seen it. Such was the nature of their affection.
He felt her shoulders relax somewhat as she said, “Thank you, Albus,” she sighed. “I guess I was just being a bit paranoid. That confrontation with Potter must have rattled me more than I thought. I really should go now.” She patted his hand and turned toward the door.
Dumbledore settled behind his desk with his own sigh and said, “Are you sure I can’t interest you in a sherbet lemon, Minerva? They really are quite tasty.”
She stopped at the door and turned to look upon the wrinkled old man with respect and affection. Her best friend and confidant. He was so kind and loving …so strong and powerful. Her mind couldn’t help but turn to the other great qualities he possessed in such abundance. A feeling of tenderness surged through her. With a warm smile suddenly lighting her tired old face, she transformed into a cat. With a graceful bound she leapt to his desk and then down to his lap where she curled herself comfortably, kneading his thick robes enthusiastically with her claws and purring heartily.
Ah, Albus, he thought to himself as he tenderly stroked the loving creature. How very fortunate you are! A friend, a pet and a lover…all in one wonderful person.
With a youthful smile on his ancient face, he winked at the portraits pretending to sleep, lifted his wand and whispered, “Nox.”
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