Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Circle1 Reviews
"She is never sure which cosmology she agrees with, or where she stands, only that this is a duty she embraces without reservation." Minerva McGonagall: three moments, three aspects. HBP spoilers.
Disclaimer: Nothing here belongs to me, except the story itself. Characters are property of J. K. Rowling.
Notes: Winter holiday gift for Debbie, who wanted McGonagall. Still not entirely happy with the ending, but meh.
She is young when she comes to the school, young and full of naÃ¯ve enthusiasm, eager to learn what has been in the blood of her family for generations. Her housemates comment, more than once, that they are surprised she's not been placed in Ravenclaw with that thirst for knowledge, but they understand nothing: she studies for reasons, instead of just to know things.
Outside of the school, war rages, touching Muggle and wizard worlds alike, and while many ignore it, she understands even at that young age that the two worlds are really one, and what happens on one side affects the other.
Somehow, she is not entirely surprised when Albus Dumbledore asks her to stay after class one day. She is not entirely surprised when she realises that the advanced project he's suggested leads ultimately to becoming an animagus.
She is not surprised when he goes away to war. They are both Gryffindors, she and this surrogate father of hers, and two very similar ones at that.
She is surprised when, upon his return, he takes her into his confidence and tells her a story about light and dark and cycles, and a greater war, but when he asks her for her help, she promises it unreservedly.
"Maid of Athens," one of her admirers quotes at her, singsong, later that year, "ere we part, Give, o give me back my heart!"
"Take it," she snaps, before he can finish. She has no time for the games of children.
They are young when they come to the school, she thinks, wondering when she has grown old. She is not, by wizard standards, but she feels aged all the same as she reads off the names and watches the newest class submit to the Hat's assessment. It seems an eternity has passed since she stood there.
Perhaps it has something to do with former students, she thinks, darting a glance at the staff table. Severus Snape is new this year, and he hardly seems old enough to be sitting there, even after the last war. She's still not sure what to make of him, but Albus trusts him and that will have to be enough, especially when she has other things to attend to.
Head of Gryffindor. Deputy Headmistress. And -- other things, that she can stop thinking about now, just for a little while. Just as long as there's a lull between this war and the next ...
It won't be long; she knows that. But just for a while, she wants to be nothing more complicated than teacher and mentor and -- awkwardly, as she's never quite figured it out -- surrogate parent to her charges. Though she does not know how to show it well, she cares for each and every one of them, her Gryffindors and the other houses alike.
She'll take what she can, and pray that they have enough peace for the children to grow up before they must face the world outside.
Strangely, she thinks them less young now as she watches them, though that may be the seriousness that seems borne in with each morning's mail. Children grow up too fast these days, as the world comes full circle back to the days of her own youth.
The gargoyle swings aside to let her in, and she thinks, with a mirthless smile, that at least she can be sure of her position here. Confirmation by the school governors was merely formality, though she knows they were reluctant to do so. Too much of Albus in her, they think, but they understand as little as her old schoolmates: this is something far older and greater than any of them.
She does not wear black. To do so would be to give in to mourning, and she has no time for that. And though she feels very old some days, sees it in the white that has crept into her hair, feels it in the ache of her bones as winter approaches, she has no time to dwell on it.
Birth, life, death -- or is it life, death, rebirth? She is never sure which cosmology she agrees with, or where she stands, only that this is a duty she embraces without reservation. Looking back, she knows with all the surety of a destiny that so much of her life was leading up to this. She is no great champion of the light, to go out and fight the battles; she is not Albus Dumbledore. A woman's way is different, and though some would say it derisively, she knows its value.
The school will stand as sanctuary, even if it takes all she is. And as she looks out the window at the children chasing each other across the grounds, the certitude is joined by a sense of peace. It is very right that this castle and its grounds should now echo in her very bones.
She is home.
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