A/N: This story is something that I've wanted to write for weeks, ever since the first time I heard this beautiful song written and performed by the even more beautiful and amazing Joan Baez. She's written it about Bob Dylan. But I guess Minerva or somebody else who really knew Albus could have written something like that … So I've changed a few words (and a few facts ;-)) and there it was … It was one of the easiest and one of the hardest stories I've ever written. But I wanted it to be perfect! It's the official story numbe … which means that I'm really getting old. Therefore, the title is fitting. ;-)
So … Here it is …
*** Winds of the old Days ***
The lady's adrift in a foreign land
Teaching on issues both humble and grand
A decade flew past her and there on the page
She read that the prince had returned to the stage
Minerva Katherine McGonagall was sitting at her desk. She was dressed in her usual green robes and her glasses were where they belonged so that she could read the newspaper she was holding. The newspaper was printed in French which made sense because she was sitting at her desk at Beauxbaton, the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry in France. Minerva had spent the last 10 years of her life in France teaching the girls everything about Transfiguration, and therefore, she was able to understand each and every word that was written in front of her, but she still couldn't believe it. He'd returned … Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore had returned! After ten years in which there had only been rumours about his whereabouts, he was back in Great Britain, to be exact, at Hogwarts! He'd started teaching again!
Hovering near treacherous waters
A friend saw her drifting and caught her
Unguarded fantasies flying too far
Memories tumbling like sweets from a jar
Her head was filled with memories of him, about him, even with some of his own memories. There were good and bad memories. Some were about the war when they'd fought side by side, some were about her time at Hogwarts when he'd still been her teacher. There were memories about hate … and memories about love. And they all seemed to come back to her at once. Like someone had opened a door to a room that was filled with stuff someone had put in there to forget it. It was all too much and she felt like she was going to faint.
Fawkes must have felt it and flew to her to help her. Or maybe he knew that she was thinking about his former owner. Without realising it, she patted his head and he started one of his beautiful Phoenix songs.
And take me down to the castle now
Grapes of the summer are low on the bough
Ghosts of my history will follow me there
And the winds of the old days will blow through my hair
Minerva remembered the first time she'd seen Albus Dumbledore. He had welcomed the first-years and told them to wait until they were told to enter the great hall. Albus had been so young then … and she'd been a child. But from the first time, she'd looked into his eyes, she'd known that he was a very special person and that there would always be a special place for him in her heart. In the following years, he'd become her favourite teacher, her mentor and her friend. He'd seen her potential and had done everything in his power to help her reach her personal goals. Minerva was still sure that she'd never been able to become an Animagus if it hadn't been for him. But then she'd graduated and the war had begun. That's when they'd met again. She'd been an Auror and had been ordered to help him find a group of Grindelwald's followers. When she'd looked at his eyes then, she'd seen to much sadness. She'd never forget that look. It was still hunting her in her dreams. But even though the times had been dark, they'd found a little happiness now and then. They'd shared memories of their past and sometimes, they'd even laughed. Of course, they'd never been carefree, but at least, they'd had each other to share the sorrow over each friend or family member they'd lost.
Breath on an undying ember
It doesn't take much to remember
Those eloquent songs from the dark old days
That set us to marching with wands ablaze
Suddenly, there was a chill in her room that hadn't been there a few minutes earlier. Minerva turned to the fireplace and started a fire. But the sight of the sparks only reminded her of the many nights they'd walked on and on because they'd heard rumours that Grindelwald had been seen somewhere. The moon and the light of the wands had been the only light back then. In the beginning, Albus' eyes had been sparkling at least a little bit, but with each passing day, they'd lost a little more of the joy that had always been a part of Albus Dumbledore as long as she'd known him. There had been so many times, Minerva had just wanted to sit down and surrender. But then she'd remembered what they'd been fighting for and then she'd kept on fighting, no matter the cost. In the end, they'd survived and the newspaper had written about their victory. But in her opinion, they hadn't won. They'd lost. They'd lost way too much.
But reporters, there's no sense in prying
Our blue-eyed son's been denying
The truths that are wrapped in a mystery
The fourties are over so set him free
And now … they were doing it again. The newspapers were writing about the great Albus Dumbledore, the man who'd brought peace to the wizarding world. Everyone was happy to have him back. They wanted to know how he'd spent the last decade. There were articles about what he might have done during that time. Each of them praised his courage and his genius. The people still wanted him to be their personal hero, their guiding light, the man with no faults, … They wanted what they'd always wanted: a perfect human being without human faults, without human weakness, without dark secrets. Minerva knew how much he needed his freedom and she was afraid that they would destroy him … again.
Why do I sit the autumnal judge
Years of self-righteousness will not budge
Singer or savior, it was his to choose
Which of us knows what was his to lose
Minerva wondered why it had even surprised her that they were still as ignorant as ever. And to be honest, she'd been as naïve as them … at least, in the beginning … Later on, she'd learned about what it meant to be so famous, to be everyone's favourite hero. Who were they to decide for him? They'd told him to become the Minister of Magic. They'd made him the president of God knows how many needless commissions. They'd awarded him with more orders than he would ever be able to wear at once. But they'd never, not even once, asked him what he'd wanted. And for years, he'd done everything to please them … and he'd almost forgotten the reason why he'd started fighting. But when it had all been over, when the dust had settled down and the last of Grindelwald's followers had been sent to prison, his whole world had come tumbling down … and no one had noticed.
Because idols are best when they're made of stone
A savior's a nuisance to live with at home
Stars often fall, heroes go unsung
And martyrs most certainly die too young
They'd simply forgotten that, after all the miracles he'd accomplished, he was still just a human being. He wasn't perfect. He wasn't made of stone and he'd been longing for the same thing everyone is searching for … love … but love without any restrictions. And they'd never been able to give that to him … Not even she'd been strong enough to give him that kind of love because not even Minerva Katherine McGonagall had known the whole truth about him. But at least, she hadn't been surprised that, one day, he'd simply vanished and nobody had heard a word from him for a whole decade.
At least, she'd received a letter from him a few months after he'd last been seen. Albus had told her everything about his past, each and every horrible secret nobody had ever known about. He'd told her about his childhood, about his sister, about his relationship with Gellart. Simply everything. And that's when she'd finally been able to understand him.
So thank you for writing the best songs
Thank you for righting a few wrongs
You're a savage gift on a wayward bus
But you stepped down and you sang to us
He'd told her that she shouldn't try to contact him. Therefore, she'd never been able to thank him in person. Because thankful she was. Thankful like the rest of the wizarding world that he'd stopped Grindelwald. Thankful that he'd trusted her. But most of all, she'd been thankful for the love he must have felt for her to be able to trust her like that. A lot of his words had hurt her. He'd broken hear heart time after time. Every time she'd read the letter. But somehow, he'd also saved her. And even today, she wasn't sure about her feelings towards him. And now that he was back …
And get you down to the castle now
Most of the sour grapes are gone from the bough
Ghosts of Minerva will visit you there
And the winds of the old days will blow through your hair
She'd loved him and he'd written that he'd loved her, too. But that was in the past. They'd been different people a decade ago. Like everyone, they'd changed over the years. Minerva had never forgotten him and if the words of the letter were true he'd always remembered her.
Minerva took out of paper that she'd received only a few days ago. Armando Dippet, the current Headmaster of Hogwarts, wanted her to teach at his school. Next to his letter, there was a copy of her reply. She'd accepted the offer.
In a few days, she would start teaching at Hogwarts.
Minerva Katherine McGonagall was sitting at her desk. She was dressed in her usual green robes, but her glasses had been placed on her desk, next to a newspaper she wasn't able to read because her eyes were filled with tears. She still couldn't believe it. After ten years in which there had only been rumours about his whereabouts, he was back in Great Britain.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was teaching at Hogwarts.
P.S. I think you can imagine why Fawkes belongs to Albus in the books. To me, Fawkes is a kind of hidden sequel to this story! ;-)