FIC: 'One Fine Day' for mindabbles Recipient:mindabbles Author:xx_kerriann_xx Title: One Fine Day Rating: PG Pairings: Minerva McGonagall/Poppy Pomfrey; Sirius Black/Remus Lupin background. Word Count: 1,455 Warnings: None, but note the pairings. Summary: June, 1975. Minerva and Poppy have a picnic to celebrate the end of the school year, and it leads to a conversation with Remus and Sirius and confessions on both their parts. Author's Notes: Thanks to my friends Sarah and Diane for the beta read throughs. Mindabbles, I hope you like your gift!
The June sky was a perfect blue and almost cloudless over Hogwarts castle. There was a slight breeze in the air and the temperature was just right for a pleasant summer afternoon. It had indeed turned out to be just the right weather for the usual end-of-term festivities. Exams were finished, and the tradition held that both students and staff would celebrate with various outdoor activities.
As was their tradition, Minerva McGonagall and Poppy Pomfrey had planned a picnic for the day. Poppy would bring a light lunch, and Minerva would bring the elf-made wine, though they'd limit themselves to a half glass each since this was a school related function. Minerva grabbed the tartan blanket reserved for the occasion from the shelf of her closet and the bottle of wine, then set off to the hospital wing.
Minerva met Poppy at her office. Madame Pomfrey smiled broadly when she saw her friend and picked up the picnic basket off of her desk. "I've got Jenkins to look after the patients for a little while, so let`s go."
"Which path would you prefer we take?"
Poppy thought about it briefly. "How about the one by the lake? There ought to be a spot around there no problem. It might get crowded soon, but it should be fine right now."
The two women walked along talking about various things until they reached their intended destination.
They had started past the big beech tree at the edge of the lake where they saw that Sirius Black and Remus Lupin had managed to beat the other students outside. The two young men were sitting on a blanket with their backs against the tree trunk, enjoying the shade and light breeze coming from the water. Remus, as usual, had a book in his hand, and appeared to be reading something to Sirius, who was leaning towards him at a slightly odd angle, his head resting on Remus' shoulder for a few moments.
Minerva couldn't help but think that the scene had looked well...intimate, and wondered again what exactly was going on with them. She hadn't heard of them dating each other, or of either of them being out, although such a thing wasn't likely be discussed openly among students. She was pretty sure however, that both Black and Lupin were gay. She deeply regretted that neither of them had ever come to her to talk, though it was an intensely personal and private subject. They probably would have been completely shocked to know that their stern Head of House was one of very few at Hogwarts that might have understood what they were going through.
Remus noticed their presence as they walked closer to the tree and nudged Sirius. He put the book in the bag that was on the ground next to him and stood up quickly. "Professor McGonagall. Madame Pomfrey."
"Professor. Madame Pomfrey," Sirius greeted, starting to get to his feet as well.
Minerva raised a hand in dismissal. "That's quite all right, you two. As you were. Out enjoying the weather already, I see."
Sirius gave a small shrug. "Nothing better to do so we'd thought we'd beat the crowds out here and get a decent spot."
"And your partners in crime?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Actually, James and Peter are serving detention," Remus informed with more than a hint of amusement in his voice. " Apparently Professor Slughorn caught them trying to set up some dung bombs on the second floor. For a last day prank, I guess. I tried to warn them against it, but -"
"You know how they are when they get it in their minds to pull a stunt, mate." said Sirius, who was shaking his head at his two friends' stupidity.
Minerva fixed Sirius with a hard look. "I'm surprised you weren't a part of it," she said almost under her breath.
"Nah. Risk being caught and cooped up inside on the last day of term? A couple of dung bombs isn't worth that."
"Right," Minerva continued to eye Black. Given previous experience, she suspected this was because he had planned something else.
"It seems like you're feeling better, Remus." Poppy said.
"Yes, thank you," he replied warmly. "I do feel better, although that will only last for so long."
"We can always hope that there will be a new discovery that will truly help the situation." Minerva said sympathetically. She could hardly bear the thought of the incredible pain the transformations brought him.
Poppy nodded in agreement. "There's new things happening all the time in the field of Healing. It`s certainly not impossible for a breakthrough to happen."
Minerva gave a little sigh, hating the feeling of helplessness that Lupin's condition brought out in her. "Well, I suppose we`ve lingered long enough. Enjoy the nice weather. I shall see you at the leaving feast tomorrow, then."
"You, too, Professor, Madame Pomfrey. See you tomorrow," Remus said.
"Madame Pomfrey, Professor. Have a nice picnic," Sirius said.
As they left, Minerva indicated a spot a short bit of distance away. "How about a place over there?"
"Seems good to me. Well, it looks as if those two have finally gotten together," Poppy commented with a look back towards Sirius and Remus as they walked to the spot Minerva had picked out. "I'd put Galleons on it. I can't say I'm at all surprised. Black could hardly be pried away from Lupin's side on those days when he was recovering from the full moon. Oh, to be 16 again and in love."
"Thank you, but no thank you," Minerva replied with a slightly wry smile as she spread out the blanket on the grass. "16 was when I had my first true crush on a girl. Lynette Delacour, her name was. I don't know if you remember her at all. She was tall, blonde, completely sweet, and, unfortunately for me, also completely straight. I was so confused. It was...a horrible time, and not something I'd care to repeat. All in all, I`d have to say youth isn't all it`s made out to be. I rather prefer being an adult."
"So do I. Except for the grey hair and wrinkles-"
Minerva rolled her eyes. "Nonsense, Poppy! You look the same as ever for the most part. I've known you for 40 years, and I swear you've hardly changed in the last 30." She looked at her friend as she set the picnic basket down on the blanket and realized it was true. She had aged very gracefully. A few fine lines about her eyes, perhaps, and her hair, once a shiny light brown, had faded into mostly grey, but other than that she looked very much the same as she had since her late teens. Not for the first time, Minerva thought that Poppy Pomfrey was as beautiful now as she had been then. It was a purely idle thought, not one she was ever likely to do anything about, but it was still there.
Poppy flushed slightly as she opened up the basket. "That`s very kind of you of to say."
"It's just the truth. So as long as we're into embarrassing stories. Who was your first crush, Poppy? I can`t believe I don`t know this by now."
Poppy looked at her a little oddly, then took a deep breath. "The truth?"
"Yes, of course."
"Actually, it was you, Minerva"
"No, really. It makes sense if you think about it. You were popular within your crowd of friends, brilliant with your studies, nice - looking, two years older, and really good at Quidditch. Perfect for a third year to get a little star-struck."
"All these years and you never said anything at all about it."
Poppy shrugged. " Why would I? It was during school and just for a little bit. That was a long time ago and it hardly matters anymore. We`re friends -"
Minerva gathered up all of her courage. This was the perfect opening she'd been waiting for to test if there was the slightest chance Poppy might return her feelings, because as tentative as they were, she couldn't - and didn't want to - deny that they were there. " So, you've never been interested in trying for anything else since then? " she asked softly. "What if I were interested in you, Poppy?"
"I - You really?"
Poppy smiled, and Minerva felt a rush of hope run through here. She was interested, too. "How about if we just enjoy this picnic and see what happens?"
"Excellent idea, " Minerva agreed with a smile of her own. That was all she could have hoped for.