Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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Glancing around at Robert's research and experiments Minerva couldn't help but be struck once again by how Muggle everything was. She supposed that she had thought there would be at least a little magic, despite Robert's own lack of abilities, but there was nothing there that Minerva recognized.
She came to a safe that held Robert's creations. He had taken all the precautions to protect his work from dubious colleagues and Muggle thieves, but never did he suspect her of duplicity. A Muggle safe was nothing to her. A quick Alohomora and its contents were laid bare. It was an odd-looking Muggle device. Minerva had seen guns before and thought it looked rather much like one of those. It had a muzzle and a trigger, but it gleamed white and there were different colored wires coming out of it in every which way. Minerva picked up the device, feeling the weight of it in her hands. It was heavy and unwieldy. Completely impractical for daily use, but given time she was sure Robert would be able to refine his invention. Minerva positioned the gun in her arms, the back cradled against her elbow as she took aim at a chair. She squeezed the trigger and a beam of purple light – straighter and smoother than anything a wand could produce – emitted from the nozzle, engulfing the chair. In a second, the chair was gone. Vanished.
The Wizarding World did not have an army. There simply was not enough witches and wizards to make one. Most countries barely had enough Aurors to keep the civil peace, let alone start international wars. Certain wizard terrorists notwithstanding, of course. Minerva couldn't imagine the devastation a device like this would cause in the hands of millions of people, in the hands of soldiers. There were some days where she wasn't even sure if the Wizarding World should have this sort of power.
Minerva sighed as she regarded the device. Robert had told her about the books he read as a child, of Muggle heroes going into space and fighting aliens with weapons similar to this. Disintegration Ray he had called it. He had envisioned this bright new future for Muggles and he said he had her to thank for it. He had thanked her! And now she was here to destroy it.
Along with the gun there were plans and notebooks and blueprints of other inventions he had come up with, all based on the magic she had shown him. All based on her own Transfiguration theories. With a casual flick of her wand, the gun and all of his research was gone as though they had never existed.
Another crack and Minerva was gone as well.
It was in the early morning hours when Minerva silently entered old Blackmore Castle. The castle had belonged to the McGonagall family for centuries. Yet, for some reason, it no longer felt like home to her. It hadn't for years.
Suddenly there was the sound of something heavy clattering to the floor and the tinkling of breaking china. Minerva turned to see Tini, the house-elf, hastily reaching down to pick up the broken tea service. "Oh, Miss Minerva!" She called out, frantically looking between Minerva and the broken cups. "You're back! Oh! I was just about to send up Master's breakfast! But you're back! Oh! My Mistress!" Tears welled up in the poor creature's eyes. "Oh! She's been so very, very worried about you, Miss Minerva!"
"There is no cause for worry, Tini," Minerva commanded. "I am going to my room to rest."
"Yes! Yes!" Tini agreed, frantically nodding her head and making little 'shooing' gestures with her hands. "You must rest! Oh! I need to tell my Mistress!"
Minerva ignored the hysterical little creature and began her journey up the winding staircase. Everything looked exactly the same as it had been. Had she really been gone for only a few months? She had just been in Edinburgh, and yet it could have been on the other side of the planet.
Minerva's hand slid up the dark wood banister. She remembered playing on the staircase as a child, straddling the banister in an attempt to slide down it. It never worked out very well, if she remembered correctly. There was either too much traction or not enough and she would be flying downwards. Then, there was the fact that the banister curved. She never could stay on when she reached the curve. She remembered one time she tumbled down from the very top and cracked her skull. Her mother had been frantic, shoving potions down her mouth as she scolded her on proper ladylike behavior. Of course Minerva was back on the banister the next day.
Her mother had dedicated her life to ensuring that Minerva acted and behaved like a proper Pureblood witch. She instilled within her daughter all of the etiquette and fine manners that was expected of her. Minerva had always laughed at her mother's silly notions on good behavior. Merely a few years ago, Minerva had fancied herself to be quite the rebel. She hadn't realized just how old-fashioned and proper she was until she went out into the Muggle World. She smiled a little to herself as she felt an embarrassed blush spread across her cheeks as she remembered the way she reacted when she saw those Muggle girls in their knee-length skirts for the first time. It was scandalous!
The smile faded instantly as she passed by William's room. She couldn't help the little shiver. The air around his door always seemed so cold.
Minerva sighed as she reached the end of the hall where her own room lay. She pushed open the dark wooden door. It was exactly the same. Her white carved bed, the floral pink wallpaper, the rows of delicate porcelain dolls that waved to her in joy as she entered. It was the perfect room for a little girl.
Minerva allowed her cloak to fall to the floor and she slipped out of her robes, leaving her standing there in only her thin camisole, brassiere, and bloomers. She hadn't worn a corset in years. With a shiver Minerva crawled into her old bed, pulling the covers over her tall frame. She didn't bother to light the fireplace. She wanted to be alone in the dark.
Minerva blearily opened her eyes and sat up. Her mother stood in the doorway, hand over her mouth as she looked at her wayward daughter. She looked so much older than Minerva remembered. It had only been a few months! How could she have aged this much? Georgiana McGonagall was locked in shock, her hair a mess, her robe hastily thrown over her shoulders. It only took a second for the shock to wear off and suddenly Georgiana was there on her bed, enveloping her daughter in a tight hug. "My girl, my little girl," she sobbed. "What have you done?"
Minerva clutched her mother's shoulders as this beautiful, delicate-looking woman cried out to her in her thick brogue. They stayed like that for several minutes until a soft cough tore their attention away from each other.
They turned to see Tini standing there, nervously shifting from foot to foot. "They're here for you, Miss Minerva," she whispered. "The Aurors. They've come to arrest you."
Georgiana clutched her daughter tighter. "What should we do?" She asked fearfully.
Tini put her hands on her hips as a determined look passed over her pointed features. "There is an escape route down in the-"
"No," Minerva commanded. "I'll go."
For a moment Georgiana just pulled Minerva tighter to her body before reluctantly letting her go. "Yes, yes, of course," she whispered. "Let's go. No! Wait! We need to get dressed! Tini, let them wait in the parlor."
In an instant Tini was gone. Georgiana hurriedly rushed to he own bedroom and Minerva got dressed. She had just finished buttoning her robe when a knock came at her door and her father and mother were standing there. Her father Julius hadn't bothered to dress. He was standing there grim-faced in his nightclothes. Georgiana looked just as impeccable and beautiful as she always did and Minerva wondered not for the first time how she managed to do that in a matter of seconds.
Then they were heading down the stairs with Minerva leading the way.
There were two stony-faced Aurors waiting for them in the parlor. Tini stood in the corner, glaring at them. "Minerva McGonagall?" One of them demanded in his gruff voice. Minerva nodded and stood in front of him. "You are charged with openly admitting and demonstrating magic to Muggles, spreading dangerous and slanderous ideas to both the Wizarding and Muggle Worlds, and endangering the entire Wizarding World with your actions. I am to take you to the Ministry of Magic where you are to be tried for your crimes."