A/N: Thanks as always to Zsenya for wonderful beta-ing and making
turns of phrase.
Disclaimer: All this belongs to Jo, not me. Please do not sue.
Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands”…
-T.S. Eliot, “Portrait Of A Lady”
I entered the Hogsmeade flat and sniffed the air, which was
of garlic. Theron had either prepared dinner or decided he was going
be attacked by a vampire.
I went into the kitchen. For some reason, he had fixed pasta, and
was a basket with garlic bread. Not our usual fare, but a welcome
today. There was also a vase with lilacs in it. A sentimental touch
that was Theron. He was not in the kitchen to see my appreciation of
I poked my head in the living room. There he was – asleep on the
still dressed in his work robes. I looked down at him. He had not
much since we were young – stately, austere gray highlights at his
and gentle laugh lines were the only physical signs of his middle
He was sixty-two, I was fifty-six – the thirty years we had been
were wonderful. Theron had continued in his job at St. Mungo’s as a
I was still the professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts. There were
children, although not through lack of trying. My younger brother
had married his Slytherin prefect and had a son, Meleagrant; my
sister Medea had joined the Department of Mysteries like her husband
who was an Unspeakable. We all gathered once a month for dinner as a
of keeping us all together. Every now and then, Albus would join us
his duties as Headmaster were lonely, and he liked to keep up with
only son, especially in such parlous times as these. It helped that
held Albus’s old position and that we were old friends; we spent a
of time together, playing chess and talking. Talking about He Who
Not Be Named. He dominated much of our lives – we worried,
everything in our power to keep our students from worrying about
They did anyway.
Of course, Albus’s Order worked quietly at their jobs – as always
and obtained intelligence that could be used against the Death
and their master. Theron and I helped out with it as much as we
we were involved primarily for our nephew’s sake. Meleagrant had
a Death Eater, but had finally left their service. He was still very
but too shaken by the atrocities he had both seen and committed to
consider returning to his old lifestyle. Albus had asked Theron and
to be in the Order to give Meleagrant some reassurance and support.
also used his job to provide his father with information about the
tricks the Death Eaters were using to torture and maim. Theron was
crafty – just like his father.
He woke then and stretched, smiling at me. “Hello, Minerva-girl.”
“How was your day?”
“Quiet,” he answered. “No information, no new patients, everything
the up-and-up. Blessedly quiet.”
I laughed. I knew that quiet was never what he truly wanted.
that I knew, he stood and embraced me. I let myself relax and did
let myself think about the essays that I had to grade tonight. I
enjoyed the feeling of being with my other half.
He said, “Pasta for dinner tonight.”
“I saw,” I said into his shoulder.
He extended an arm into the kitchen. “Shall we?”
Amid the filling of plates, he said, “Maimonides and Demetria are
over tomorrow with Meleagrant, and so is Finn – Medea is ill, he
I stopped with one hand over the basket of bread. “Can’t come –
and I are working late tomorrow, and I’m not coming home tomorrow
He said lightly, “You’ll miss a grand dinner.”
I took a bite of my pasta. “If this is anything to be judged by, I
Theron said, “We can reschedule if you want to be there…”
I raised a hand and said wryly, “It’s fine, Theron. I imagine the
will put out something palatable for once – never mind the numerous
they’ve managed to come up with…”
He grinned at me. “Oh, Minerva.”
We ate. And then we spoke of music by the fire over hot chocolate
a tradition inherited from Albus – and then we went to bed. A normal
And the last words that Theron and I ever spoke to each other were
“I love you’s” the following morning.