Chapter Twenty-Six

Someone knocking on the door to her private quarters interrupted the long-serving Transfiguration instructor and Head of Gryffindor from her copy of Transfiguration Monthly. "Enter," she called. The door opened to reveal her young colleague. "Miss Tonks, so you made it back today after all?"

Tonks had a small smile on her face as she stepped inside. "Yes, it went smoothly, Minerva."

"Good, good. Would you like some tea?" McGonagall put a bookmark in her magazine and picked up her wand to summon the tea set from the other room.

"Thanks. Erm... I... I've got to tell you something."

McGonagall looked at the younger woman quizzically. "I'm all ears, dear," she prompted her after Tonks remained silent a bit too long.

"Oh Merlin," Tonks muttered under her breath. "Minerva... I can't keep teaching after the holidays."

"Why on earth not? The students love you! Is it the Ministry?" McGonagall looked concerned as she poured in the tea, then handed over a cup to her colleague.

"It... it's not that. Min... I'm pregnant."

"Oh. Oh my." McGonagall looked closely at her, then let out a sigh. "Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. But you're right, dear. It's not advisable to use magic so close to your due date... when are you due?"

Tonks scrunched her face, thinking. "Second week of May, the Healer said."

McGonagall nodded. "It happened over the summer then? I thought you had been seeing someone... you seem happy. I assume he knows?"

Tonks nodded, a small smile re-appearing. "Oh yes, he knows. I... he... we're going to get married over the holidays."

"Congratulations, my dear!" McGonagall rose to hug Tonks, then sat back down next to her. "I expect an invitation, understood? Who is your husband-to-be then? Do I know him?"

"Ah. Well... erm. That... that's part of why I came to see you."

"Speak up dear, you can tell me," McGonagall encouraged her.

"Please don't think too badly of me, okay?" Tonks pleaded.

"Why are you so worried? It's not... oh, Merlin. It's not Black, is it?"

Tonks looked affronted. "Sirius? Gah! Of course not! He's... he's my cousin! Well, once removed, but still..."

"Okay, not Sirius. Good... at least you have some taste," McGonagall quipped. "Who then?"


"Harry? Harry who?" McGonagall tried to recall meeting any Harrys over the past few years, but only one name kept coming to mind. "Don't tell me it's..."

"It is. You see the problem, Minerva? I... I didn't know how to tell you, with Dumbledore and the Ministry and all and –"

McGonagall leapt to her feet, pointing an accusing finger at Tonks, "Are you out of your damn mind? He is a child! You... you're old enough to be –"

Tonks flushed in a mixture of shame and anger as she, too, got to her feet. "He's only six years younger than I am, and he's far more mature than you think! Don't... don't just accuse me of..."

"Well, what am I supposed to think!" McGonagall sighed, sitting back down. "In Maeve's name, Tonks, what were you thinking?"

Tonks sat down slowly. "I wasn't, not really... but I swear, I was being careful. I... I don't understand how I got pregnant."

"Surely you're old enough to know by now. I know the standard of education has dropped some, but not by that much," McGonagall joked.

"Ha ha. No, I mean, I was on the Potion... it's supposed to be foolproof," Tonks defended herself.

"Well. Well. What's done is done, I suppose... does... does anyone else know?" McGonagall reached for Tonks hand and took it in hers, to comfort her some.

"Sirius knows, and so does Amelia. Amelia Bones, my boss. And some of Harry's friends found out. And my parents... that's who we went to see today."

"Not Albus?"

"I... we... We don't know how much we can trust him," Tonks admitted. "Some things just don't add up, in Harry's life. Minerva... did you know about Harry's home life?"

McGonagall paused a bit before answering, carefully. "I know he lives with his aunt and uncle, the Dursleys."

"Right. But do you know what they're like?"

"I believe my words to Albus were, 'the worst kind of Muggles'," she admitted.

"A good way to put it," Tonks said, her expression clouding over. "Harry won't be happy if I tell you this, but he'll forgive me, you deserve to know. They abused him, Minerva. And Dumbledore knew. All of the Order guards did. Remember how he pulled me off Harry watch when I raised my concerns?"

"I... I find that hard to believe," McGonagall said, her expression stricken. "Albus is a good man, Tonks. I know him through and through, and he is decidedly not dark!"

"Minerva, I am not saying Dumbledore is evil. Far from it... he tries to do good. The question though is, good for who?"

"The Greater Good!" McGonagall blurted out.

"Exactly... 'For the Greater Good'. Or, in German, 'Zum Größeren Wohl'. Remember whose slogan that was, Minerva?"

McGonagall paled. "Grindlewald..."

"Gellert Grindlewald... youth friend of Albus Dumbledore. Like I said, Minerva, I don't think he's evil... but what Dumbledore considers 'Greater Good' is not exactly what I feel is best."

"I... I need to think," McGonagall said, looking ashen.

"Of course... I'm sorry for springing this on you, but you see why I don't want Dumbledore to know, right?"

"Yes, yes... if things are as you say they are... oh, Merlin."

"I'll try to get an Auror replacement for after Yule, Bonesy owes me a favour I think... you okay if I come back later, Minerva?"

"Go, go," McGonagall just waved.

The tea was cooling off, forgotten.

A/N: I know, it's short, it's filler, and it's VERY overdue. I was stuck on this fic for far too long.
Consider this an appetizer for a real chapter if you will. Which hopefully won't take months to appear...

Thanks to my beta firefly81 for being awesome yet again.