Minerva McGonagall pulled the blanket tighter around her and rested her head on the window seal. It had been four days since she had gotten the letter from Albus Dumbledore and she was only a few days short of going crazy. She had not seen or heard from Lord Voldemort since two days ago, and was not complaining. She spent most of her days in the downstairs room with Hermione and Ginny, as she called them now, and they now referred to her as Minerva. The girls were in so much seclusion, she was surprised they were not killing each other. It was a good thing the two got along. As far as she knew, they had not come face to face with Voldemort since he locked them down there. To tell the truth her contact with him was so brief that she started to wonder whether she was his prisoner, or the house's.
In less than a week, she would be out of here and with the man she loved. His letter had left so much unsaid. As bad as she had it here, she had a feeling he was hurting too. Only four people who knew of their relationship- Molly and Arthur Weasley, Alastor Moody, and Severus Snape. Snape had not been on purpose, he had walked in on them doing a little more than paperwork. The other three they had told in secret; they deserved to know.
McGonagall jumped as the door to her small, antique room burst open. A man entered cursing everything under the sun. It took her by surprise how he was changing. Lord Voldemort resembled Tom Riddle more and more. He glared at her as he slammed the door with as much force as he opened it.
"Get over here. Your insolent, half-minded boyfriend is destroying precious items, which took years to make, in a matter of months. I guess he did not think about what it would mean for his whore." Voldemort knew he was loosing control fast, but Dumbledore was slowly turning him human, a mere mortal. How in the world he found out about the Horcruxes, he had no idea, but McGonagall was going to pay for it.
"Tom, stop this. Please, do not this," whispered McGonagall.
His hand met the side of her face. Grasping her wrists, he forced her onto the bed; wand less she was not even in the same playing field as him. His hands crawled up her protesting body. His need was greater than her fighting. He forced himself upon her and she trembled from head to toe. Once he was through, he took out his wand. Her eyes filled with fear, as he preformed the Cruciatious Curse repeatedly. He let her lay in silence for a few moments before he forced her to walk.
"We are going down to see the girls. It has been so long since they were blessed with my presence."
"Tom..." All the energy left McGonagall and she grouped at the wall for support. Voldemort grabbed her arm roughly and practically dragged her to Hermione and Ginny's dungeon room. By the time they got there, the snake, Nagini, and several Death Eaters had joined them, including a rather short skinny one which she hoped was not Draco Malfoy.
Hermione and Ginny were sitting on the same bed playing with some Exploding Snap cards she had managed to come by. They looked up in fright at the party now entering the room. Hermione gasped in surprise at McGonagall's weary state. The professor collapsed as soon as Voldemort let her go. With a flick of his wrist, he flipped the bed they were sitting on, and both girls tumbled to the ground. Ginny fell awkwardly and a snap was heard. Her face turned pale as she clutched her arm, biting back tears.
"Sommeil Sang," said Voldemort calmly as a red mist of light flowed from the tip of his wand to Hermione. The Death Eaters looked at each other in confusion. Only McGonagall seemed to understand the spell, and she used all the energy she had to push herself into a sitting position to try and distract him, but nothing broke his concentration. For ten seconds he held Hermione's gaze before the young girl fell. McGonagall's feeble cursing did nothing to stop Voldemort's fury. "Minerva, this is the end. Your rescue party will be too late, and they will meet the same fate. Malfoy!"
A taller man stepped up from the front of the group. "Yes, Master?"
"D-Draco?" Lucius Malfoy could hardly consume his surprise, but he did it better than some. Whispers flew through the pack.
"Yes, Master?" Draco Malfoy repeated his father's words with the same note of confidence.
"Kill her and the Weasley girl. Nott, Rosen, and Malfoy guard the door in the hallway. Make sure the boy does not leave until they are dead. Nagini will stay to make sure you do not kill them. I want the boy to prove himself. The rest of you are with me. We have a meeting with the new Minister of Magic." Voldemort locked eyes with McGonagall. An eerie silence fell on the room before they broke eye contact and everyone left the room except for Malfoy and Nagini. Ginny whimpered slightly in the corner. Malfoy walked over to where McGonagall half lay, half sat and to the surprise of Ginny, handed her two wands. She slowly rose, testing whether she could walk or not while Malfoy walked over to Ginny and tossed her her wand.
"W-why are you helping us?"
"Ginny this is not the time for questioning. Mr. Malfoy when I break us out of here I need you to help her apparate. I assume you have done it before." Malfoy nodded. His father was always teaching him things ahead of time. "Good. Ginny, to help him out, concentrate on the gates of Hogwarts. I will take Hermione.” Pointing her wand at Nagini, who was beginning to hiss and craw towards the door, she made one swift motion with her wand and the snake’s head was separated from the rest of its body. Then she muttered an incantation at the wall and it exploded. “Quickly, go!” Grabbing Hermione’s lifeless body, McGonagall carried the unconscious girl outside and disapparated to Hogwarts.
When they arrived, McGonagall let them in after several long seconds of spell work. Nearly collapsing under the dead weight she was still carrying, she placed a charm on Hermione that caused her to float in front of her with Hermione’s wand, and with hers, set a silver catlike figure up the walk to the grand castle. They walked, as McGonagall could not run, up to the castle doors to be met by a running Severus Snape.
“Minerva, what are you doing here?” After surveying the odd scene before him, he did not wait for answer before saying, “You look terrible.”
“Thanks, and it is nice to see you too,” said McGonagall sarcastically. “Ms. Granger has suffered from one of Tom’s unique spells; we need to get her to the Hospital Wing.” Snape nodded and they took off again. Rounding the corner to the hallway leading to the Wing, Alastor Moody came clunking up to them.
“Albus is on his way. Watch it!” McGonagall sidestepped dangerously towards the wall. Snape looked back in concern, but Moody had already used his staff less hand to grab her. “Move on Snape. They need to get medical attention. I’ve got her. Damn, Minerva, what the hell happened? We were coming for you in a couple days. Albus is gonna jump out of his skin if he sees you like this! What the hell happened?” Muttering he assisted her to the Hospital Wing.
Madame Pomfrey was fussing more than usual, shoving both Ginny and Draco into a bed, and helped Snape place Hermione on a bed. Her eyes widened at McGonagall’s state of appearance. Moody helped her onto a clean bed across from the others. The doors to the Wing opened and in walked Albus Dumbledore, Arthur, Molly, Fred and George Weasley, and Elizabeth Granger. Mrs. Weasley rushed to her daughter’s side crying hysterically. Her husband’s face showed the same relief. Fred and George eyed Draco suspiciously before joining their family. Dumbledore’s eyes met McGonagall’s, but when she pointed towards Hermione’s bed, he drew away. Moody stopped Mrs. Granger before she could get to her daughter.
Pomfrey was panicking as much as she would let herself. Never before had she been faced with a student whose heart was hardly pumping. The girl in front of her was fading fast and nothing she tried seem to be working to stabilize her. Across the bed was Snape who was working just as hard. Dumbledore joined them, a tired look in his grey-blue eyes. Before he could ask, McGonagall spoke from across the room.
“It’s the Sommeil Sang. It causes the blood to begin to slow, eventually killing the victim if left untreated.” Her voice was weak; the past hours were taking its toll on the older woman. “The counter curse is Sang Vivant, but it takes full concentration and will power. If it is not done right…” she trialed off.
“I think it would be better if I did it,” said Dumbledore. Pomfrey and Snape stepped back. “Sang Vivant.” A violet mist floated from his wand to Hermione’s body. Seconds turned to minutes, and everyone watched anxiously. Finally, a visible breath escaped the young teen, and color returned to her paling cheeks. Dumbledore cut the spell short and motioned for Pomfrey to do her magic. A sigh blew through the room when it was clear Hermione would survive. McGonagall lay back against the pillows, glad for the chance to rest peacefully.
Harry sat in a chair next to Ron drumming his fingers on the edge of Ginny’s bed. All of the Weasley’s were in town, and eating breakfast with Lupin and Tonks in Hogsmeade. Ron and Harry came right after their breakfast in the Great Hall. Ginny was awake, but not talking much. Occasionally she would look at Harry as if to say something, but change her mind. Mrs. Granger was sitting next to her daughter who was still showing so signs of waking up. Draco Malfoy had been released that morning and only talked to Snape and Dumbledore.
The door opened and the breakfast group came in, along with Dumbledore. Lupin and Tonks stayed near the back silently, and Mrs. Weasley came and kissed her daughter on the cheek. The other five waved, but mingled amongst themselves. Dumbledore went to McGonagall’s bed where she was sleeping. She awoke to his touch, and smiled up at him. In low voices, they began to talk.
“How are you feeling this morning, my dear?”
“Better than last night. When is Poppy letting me out?” Dumbledore chuckled softly.
“I am hoping today, but you know Poppy. Even if you are stuck here for the rest of the week, at least I know you are safe.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze of affection. Across the room, unnoticed by everyone but Harry, Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand and gave it the same gentle squeeze. She motioned for him to come near and whispered in his ear.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think in the past three weeks and for some reason all I could think about was talking to you. I know you don’t see me as anything other than Ron’s little sister, but I really like you. I just had to tell you that.” Ginny began playing with a loose thread on the blanket that was over her. Harry did not need to think over what he was going to say.
“Ginny, you’d be surprised how much I’ve thought of you in the past few weeks and I have to say that I return the feeling,” he whispered back.
“What are you two whispering about?” Ron interrupted Ginny’s response. Then he noticed Ginny’s hand on Harry’s. “At least wait until she is out of the Hospital and away from my parents.” He slouched back in the chair grumbling about his best friend and sister, who he secretly approved of very much. Ginny grinned sheepishly and folded her hands over her stomach, nursing her now mended arm. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had stopped talking and were staring at the back of the room where Lupin sat, head in hands while Tonks paced in front of him. Harry never noticed they were having a conversation until Tonks' tones carried their way.
"Remus...I've put so much thought into this. It can work!"
"Nymphadora, I have told you time and time again, it won't. I am a werewolf for Merlin's sake. That is not something you can take lightly."
"And I am a natural born klutz. Everyone has flaws; you just have to learn to live with them. Sure, yours is a little bigger than most people, but that doesn't mean you are incapable of loving someone." Lupin looked up at her suddenly.
"That is not-"
"That might not be what you meant, but that is the way it is coming across. Remus, I am willing to-"
"We need to stop." He looked behind him at the eavesdropping crowd.
"No, what you need to do is stop interrupting each other. Tonks has a point, Remus." Mrs. Weasley sighed. Her husband nodded in agreement.
"Maybe we should take this someplace else." Lupin was mad now. How could she not realize the danger she would out herself in by loving him? He was dangerous. He could accidentally bite her or worst, kill her. Then to say he did not love her? He loved her with everything he had, it was just too dangerous for them to be together; it was easier to just live in seclusion. He stormed out in disgust. Tonks took the chair he had just occupied, and stared at the door he had just left.
"I will go talk to him. Harry, would you like to come?" Most everyone had forgotten Dumbledore was in the room. Harry was surprised by the invitation to go talk to Lupin. What did he know about love?
"Err, I guess." Dumbledore and Harry did not have to walk far to find Lupin. The young man was pacing outside of the wing, clearly trying to decide if he should go back in.
"Professor, Harry, sorry about that. It was-"
"Totally understandable. And
I have a feeling you feel that no one has been in your situation before," said Dumbledore softly. Harry had noticed a complete change in his attitude since McGonagall had returned safely.
"No offence, but none of you are werewolves."
"No, but there are several people who live with the feeling that any choice they make will cause harm to those we love. I made my decision twenty years ago to be loved by someone who was willing to take the chance of getting hurt to love me. I thought I regretted it three weeks ago, but now that she is back, I would not trade our love for the world." Lupin looked at him in surprise before realizing who that special person was. Harry picked up from here, knowing what he had to say.
"I tried to distance myself from my friends last year in attempt to save them, but they cared so much, that in the end, the outcome was the same. Sirius is dead and nothing is going to bring him back, but I regret not spending the little time I did not know I had with him. Pushing away the ones we love is not going to help." Dumbledore smiled down at him. Lupin looked slightly abashed.
"I guess I should talk to her."
"Yes. In addition, keep this in mind. It is hard to turn around on the same road you chose wrongly, but making a turn in the right direction is sometimes enough." Dumbledore motioned for him to enter the Wing first. The first thing Lupin did was take Tonks' shaking hands in his, and tell her he loved her. Enveloping her in a hug, tears poured down both their cheeks.
Two days later, Hermione had woken from her coma state, but was still in the Hospital Wing. Harry and Ginny were holding hands openly in the halls since her release, and did not waste time when it came to taking 'walks' through the rose garden at night. McGonagall had just been released after dinner. She knew that Madame Pomfrey had told Dumbledore about the apparent rape and as he accompanied her back to her rooms, she knew she had some explaining to do. She was lucky she was in love with such a patient man, but she felt bad keeping what happened a secret. The bruises had concerned him; he had said this, but she kept saying she would tell him later. And it was later. She helped her slip on her favorite sleeping gown, and wrapped in the comfort of her robe, she sat him down on her sofa.
"Albus, I don't know how to say this."
"Are you sure you are ready? Minerva, I know what he did to you, you do not have to relive it." Dumbledore held her hand, bringing it up for the first kiss he had given her since her return.
"You deserve to know. It only happened twice, but..." Tears fell from her eyes. "He looks so much like Tom Riddle. There were times...times I thought it was Tom. He was the first man I ever made love to and..." Dumbledore sat in silence knowing that this had to be hard on her. "...and in a way, the first man I ever loved. Oh, Albus..." McGonagall buried her head in his chest, crying freely now. The past few weeks had taken their toll on her, both mentally and physically.
"Minerva, if I had it my way, our first time would be the first time you made love. I would be the first man that your hands touched, but we have both done our share of living and have taken chances we have been given. If our mistakes brought us together, then it does not matter whether we were saints or sinners in the past." Dumbledore lifted her head up to look in her eyes. "All I know is what I see when I look at you, and all I see is what I'm feeling down inside, and all I'm feeling is this feeling that I finally got it right. I know that your heart holds so much more than any man has touched before, and nothing matters more to me than that." He wiped away the tears as she whispered back.
"Stay with me tonight. I don't want to be alone." With a swift motion, he picked her up and brought her to her bed. She snuggled up close to him, feeling the comfort she had missed for so long. Before she closed her eyes, he kissed her on the lips and then whisper gently in her ear the last of his words.
"I don't care if I am your first love, but I would love to be your last."
A/N: Dumbledore’s spill right then is all part of a song called Love To Be Your Last by Clay Walker. This is the longest chapter I have ever done and probably the quickest I’ve updated…weird huh? This is not the last chapter…just in case you thought it was.
Sommeil Sang is French for Sleeping Blood and is a spell I made up myself…pitiful huh? The counter curse is Sang Vivant, which means Living Blood. Boring I know...but oh well. Reviews are welcome!