The Sugar Quill
Author: Sweeney Agonistes (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Minerva's Day Out: A Fic in Two Acts  Chapter: The Scene Is Resolved
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Minerva's Day Out

A/N: Hi, my name is Sweeney, and I have a dreadful time with sentence structure. But see, here’s the thing: I’ve got this thoroughly ROXing beta named Zsenya – maybe some of you know her? – who straightens these things out for me without making me feel like an idiot. So everybody give her virtual cookies.

 

The song at the end isn’t mine. Lots of people have performed it; it was written by Brooks Bowman.

 

           

 

The next morning over breakfast, Theron said casually, “I have some business I need to see to this morning, but after that, I thought we could have a sort of day out.”

            Minerva looked up at him sharply from her toast. “What sort of day out?”

            He shrugged. “Just a bit of a day.”

            “You’re being vague.”

            “I am.” He grinned.

            Her face relaxed; she spread jam on her toast. “All right, Theron, I’ll play along.”

            “Good.” Everything was going according to plan. “You’ll need to accompany me on my business, then, to make things a bit easier time-wise. Oh, and Muggle clothes would be good, too.”

            Minerva looked at him suspiciously. Theron gave her his most charming smile. “Trust me.”

 

~*~

 

            They stood near Trafalgar Square with the huge fountain behind them and the columns of the National Gallery in front of them, in the heart of Muggle London.

            Minerva raised an eyebrow. “Business?”

            “This is my business.”

            “But how did you know I’d been wanting to come here?” She looked toward the building with a hungry expression.

            Theron took a page out of his father’s book and merely raised an eyebrow. Minerva laughed, and he was glad to see it. “All right, I won’t ask. But –” she slid her arm through his and smiled up at him. “It’s very kind of you, Mr. Dumbledore.”

            “Not at all, my lady,” said Theron, thoroughly enjoying the role of the gallant gentleman. “Shall we enter?”

            “Van Gogh first.”

            He laughed as she half-dragged him inside.

            They found themselves in front of Monet’s Houses of Parliament, Sunset a few hours later, simply staring. Minerva said in a hushed voice, “It’s a bit like Hogwarts.”

            Theron said nothing, only looking at the strangely evocative, misty mixture of color. Hogwarts. Minerva continued, “I keep expecting it to move.”

            “It does have a magic quality.”

            They stood, looking. After another minute, he broke the silence, saying, “We’ll be late for lunch if we don’t leave soon.”

            “Lunch?”

            Theron smiled. “Another stop on our tour.”

 

~*~

 

            He saw Minerva shiver as they got used to their new surroundings. “Would you believe me if I told you I was a magician?”

            Minerva laughed. “Very probably.”

            “Well.” Theron drew a pencil and his wand out of his pocket with a flourish. He then quietly Transfigured the pencil back into its original form – his old blue cloak with the fur collar and paisley swirls. “If I may, my lady?” He settled it around her shoulders and was rewarded with a lovely smile. Stepping back, he extended his arm. “More magic – Cader Idris is before you.”

            They were on a ridgetop in Wales, a lovely rocky ridgetop with heather and grass and wildflowers and a great flat rock about twenty feet away. In the distance, a tall, craggy mountain resided, brooding over the land below like a foreboding monarch. A curlew cried; the wind blew.

            “I don’t know about you, Minerva-girl, but I’m rather hungry,” said Theron after they’d taken in the view. With a beckoning smile, he went to the flat rock and pulled a small wooden spool out of his pocket. The spool was quickly Transfigured into a picnic basket. He reached inside and drew out a red checkered tablecloth, which he spread upon the rock. “‘A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou,’” he quoted. “Have a seat, and we shall feast.”

            He set out the bread and sausages, and pulled an apple out of the basket, waiting for Minerva to settle herself on the rock; he tossed the apple to her. “Our opening course, madam.” She laughed, and he reached for his own apple, sprawling on the rock propped on one elbow.

            As they ate, they reminisced about their courtship – the times they’d spent walking in the wildernesses of Britain, the people they’d known, the conversations full of laughter. With every minute that passed, Theron saw and felt her lighten, felt her usual good humor returning, and he was glad to see it.

            He took out two mismatched cups and a small flask. “We’ve had the loaf; it’s time for the jug.” Handing one of the garishly patterned mugs to Minerva, he poured her a generous amount of butterbeer. She took a sip and smiled. “You’ve thought of everything.”

            Theron shrugged. “I try.” He then tried to not look too pleased with himself, but he had an idea that he failed miserably.

            Minerva hopped off the rock and began to gather flowers. He watched her with mild interest. Once she had gathered a fair handful, she sat on the grass and began to weave them together. “A crown, fairest lady?”

            She laughed. “With no laurel around for a wreath of glory, wildflowers will have to do for you.”

            He stood on top of the rock and bowed. “I shall be honored.”

            Theron watched her work from his vantage point, dexterously manipulating the stems. How long had it been since they’d had a day like this? Six months or more? He supposed it was forgivable, since they were just coming out of a particularly nasty winter. But feeling the warmth of the sun on his back, watching the wind ripple through the grass and Minerva’s hair – this was life. Not, intellectually pleasurable as Oxford was, spending hours upon hours ensnared in Bodley’s grasp; not working himself to death at St. Mungo’s – if one could do that at a hospital. His thoughts became rather detached and incoherent, but all he knew was that his thoughts made him happy, and standing on the rock made him happy, and being able to watch his wife and know that things were good made him happy – what more did a man need?

            Minerva looked up at him, holding the finished wreath in her hands. “Come down from there so I may lay your wreath upon you.”

            He hopped down, landing lightly on one knee before her. She settled the wreath on his head, where it lay, slightly too large and slightly askew. “A lovely fit, my lady.” He gave her a rakish grin.

            She laughed. “Not entirely, but I think it will do.”

            Removing two bottle caps from his pocket, he spread his palms in front of her. “It’s time for the return of the magician.”

            “And what trick would you show me this time?”

            He passed his palms over each other three times, closing and opening them as he did, and on the last pass, two garish, argyle-patterned kites sprang from the caps’ place in his outstretched palms. Theron laughed as she shook her head. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop being surprised by you.”

            Theron leaned forward and kissed her lightly. “I should certainly hope not.”

            They flew their kites all over the hills for the rest of the afternoon.

 

~*~

 

            Maggiano’s looked crowded from the outside, and when Minerva expressed that sentiment to Theron, he said simply, “I think you’ll find that our table is being held for us.” He held the door for her, noting as she entered the restaurant that his father was sitting at a back table, waiting for them. Theron caught his father’s eye and nodded; his father rose, came to the front, and bowed to Minerva. “May I escort you to your table, madam?” The professor had a distinct twinkle in his eye, and Minerva, who had begun to smile brilliantly from the moment she had first seen her father-in-law and former Head of House, dropped a graceful curtsey and accepted his arm.

            “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re here,” she said.

            “Probably not,” his father agreed. He pulled out Minerva’s chair for her and settled her in it, assisting her in removing Theron’s old blue cloak. As he handed it to Theron, who draped it over the fourth chair at the table, he said, “That’s a lovely headdress.”

            Theron touched the wreath of flowers on his head and laughed, but he did not remove it. “It’s my wreath of glory.”

            “He’s King of the May,” said Minerva, with a wry, fond glance in his direction. Theron tried to look kingly and noble; Minerva swatted him with the menu.

            His father picked up his own menu and adjusted his spectacles. “Perhaps we should order,” he said, smiling into his moustache.

            Minerva leaned over to Theron and whispered, “You can take the wreath off, if you want.”

            Theron said lightly, “My lady made it for me, and I would not remove it for all the Galleons in the world.” For this he earned a blush and a smile, and he squeezed her hand under the table as he looked down at his menu.

 

~*~

 

            His father carved off a bit of tiramisu with his fork and said offhand, “Hogwarts will need a new Transfiguration teacher next year.”

            Theron quietly made a study of his own plate. He had completed almost all of his part in today; this was his father’s part to play.

            Minerva said, sounding nearly panicked, “You’re not leaving Hogwarts, are you?”

            “No, but Armando Dippet is. I am to be the new Headmaster.”

            Minerva began to say something, but the professor cut her off, “Armando has asked me to hire my classroom replacement, and I would very much like you to join the Hogwarts staff.”

            Theron looked up; Minerva was staring at his father, speechless. He continued, “I knew after that day when you taught my classes that you would be – are – a wonderful teacher. The job is yours if you want it, and I can’t think of anyone who would be better for the position.”

            Minerva was silent. They watched her with apprehension, waiting for her reaction.

            She turned to Theron. “We’d have to move.”

            “That wouldn’t be a problem,” said Theron.

            “You’d have to Apparate over a larger distance.”

            “Apparating is good for the health.”      

            “I’d have to spend some nights up at the school.”

            “I’d appreciate the time I have with you even more.”

            “It’s a lot of change.”

            “It’s a change that I don’t mind making – that I want to make, if it makes you happy.” It was the truth. He looked at her, wondering if his words alone would convince her.

            She said softly, “It does.” She looked at the not-quite-Headmaster and said, “Professor, I would be honored to accept this position.”

            “Then as your future superior,” said Albus, twinkling mightily, “may I be the first to welcome you on board.”

            Theron couldn’t stop grinning himself. Things were about to get better; Minerva’s own small ship was righted and back on calm, blissful seas.

            There was only one small thing left.

 

~*~

 

            “Our last stop,” said Theron, looking out at the back garden of Weathervane from the terrace. The Dumbledore ancestral home, while rather eccentric in color, had beautiful gardens – and one white rose arbor. His father had proposed to his mother under the arbor, and the roses were in full bloom tonight.

            Minerva looked up at him, her eyes lovely and dark. There were no questions about what was to happen; she trusted him, and she was happy. Theron sighed softly and smiled down at her. Without a word, he undid the clasp of her cloak and laid it gently on the stone wall, the scent of the roses in the arbor deep in his senses.

            He took her small hand in his and led her down to the roses.

            Inside the arbor was an interesting looking creation – one his father had adapted for his own purposes, and lent to Theron for tonight. The Muggles called it a gramophone. His father, smiling into his moustache as he did it, had handed him this record as Theron left his office – had said it was by a Muggle named Frank Sinatra.

            Theron withdrew his wand from his sleeve and tapped the great horn-shaped bell of the machine. It began to play, soft and sweet.

            He bowed to his wife. “May I have this dance, my lady?”

            She extended her hand in acquiescence.

            And they danced until the small hours, knowing that the past with its ups and downs was through, and the bright-looking future was ahead – but the present was there, and so was the music. It was all there to be enjoyed.

            White rose petals fell softly, intermittently; Theron Dumbledore had no idea. He was busy dancing with his wife.

 

East of the sun and west of the moon,
We'll build a dream house so lovely
Near to the sun in a day, near to the moon at night,
We'll live in a lovely way dear
Living our love in memory
Just you and I, forever and a day,
Love will not die, we'll keep it that way,
Up among the stars we'll find
A harmony of life, too lovely tune
East of the sun and west of the moon, dear,
East of the sun and west of the moon.

 

           

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