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Chapter 1 : The Opening of the Close
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Sweet summer days when the sea green grass sparkled, all the clouds had deserted the sky and the sun so iridescent it could blind you without some pale, creamy sunscreen slapped on. With a war on right outside your front door, Minerva’s family were too afraid to go outdoors. Her Mother would only apparate to the nearest corner shop for the family’s rations. Otherwise, the family could only stare outside and imagine the slight breeze that brushed against their faces during the summer, and imagine the sun kissed feel if the sun rays beamed down upon them like the heavens opening up to greet them. To pass the time, the family played old board games, or just went about their normal routine, just living inside instead of out. Finally, Minerva’s father decided to buy an old wireless from a shop in town, it was the furthest he’d travelled all summer. First tuning in to find out how the rest of the world was coping with the war was like true magic to Minerva, without the wand and without the spells...just pure Muggle magic. Sat down together as a family Minerva, her parents and two brothers listened eagerly, so close to the wireless their ears were almost pressed against it in hope more information would come flooding in. Those calm voices that spoke through the wireless were comforting; they were so soothing to hear. It was as though they were reassuring you that everything would be fine, but they knew it wouldn’t.
Her family began to ignore the wireless after a while, tried to get on without becoming obsessed with the object, however Minerva was glued. When she heard the songs that were played, she began to believe again, believe that the Muggles could win the war and then all the fear that hung over them like a ghastly shadow would wither into nothingness. Her favourite song was A Sinner Kissed an Angel by Frank Sinatra. Minerva had never been in love, and the way the notes were beautifully strung together, the girl often wondered if that was what love was like. A magical melody that begged you to waltz till the cows came home, though when that final note hit, a melancholy slowly began to inhabit the air. The melancholy feel only made Minerva want to hear the song over and over. So after begging her father until the rivers of tears cascaded down her cheeks, he agreed to buy Minerva her first record record. Once school began again the record got tucked away underneath her bed, the music left to die, those beautiful song notes left to rot. The record was hidden from the world for three years, until the day before Minerva’s final year. Scavenging for a schoolbook that she’d lost Minerva began to ransack her bedroom looking high and low for the schoolbook. After no luck she began to go even further back under her bed, she came across a smooth object, round edges as if it was a flattened out Frisbee. Grabbing the object, Minerva reeled it in with her hand acting as a fishing net. Minerva examined the record and put it in her old record player, that item was just another useless object filling up Minerva’s bedroom. As the tune began to pick up the young woman recognised the song immediately and began to waltz with the invisible man for a few minutes humming along to the glorious tune of A Sinner Kissed An Angel by Frank Sinatra. When it ended she just sat down on her bed...emotionless. Piercing her lip with her teeth Minerva wondered why she’d cast the song aside for so long. Minerva was just happy to find the song which helped her imagine how to love, seeing as that special someone never crossed her path. Minerva never followed the path; she sat on the bench beside the path when it came to love. She watched men stumble upon the path but then get shot down by Minerva’s lack of trust and emotions alongside the fact that Minerva required the ability to put her work second for once.
Eventually finding the book she originally set out to find, Minerva wondered if there was someone out there waiting for her with open arms. She couldn’t really imagine anyone being by her side in that way. Alastor Moody was the only man by her side but he was her best friend. She knew he would never love her that way. He’d courted many times with various, glamorous girls. What made plain, clever Minerva so special? Nothing. Minerva sighed, knowing that no one would be there to hold her when she cried, laugh when she did or be right next to her throughout life.
Back at school for a final time, Minerva looked down to her head girl badge which shone as she wore it with pride. Minerva stopped caring about what others thought long ago, she was more concerned about whether she approved of what she was doing. Minerva did think she may have made too much of an effort on the day back though. It was the first time since her first year she’d let her hair down and the waves flowed over halfway down her back, brown curls that waved like the ocean. As she sat beside Alastor he gave a bashful smile and looked at the floor for a moment. He then returned to his casual manor and grinned,
“You’ve scrubbed up nicely today, what’s the occasion?”
Minerva rolled her eyes,
“Why thank you Alastor, I see you only just managed to say that without laughing. Do I really need an occasion?” Minerva asked dryly.
“I didn’t laugh at you and I think you do. Not once since we became friends have you let your hair down, literally I mean. If you had...I’d have noticed.” Alastor told her, recording back every word like a soldier.
“Since when have you been observant?” Minerva chuckled tossing back her hair, letting it ripple.
“Observance is an old family trait. As my mother always said, constant vigilance.” He sighed; thinking of his mother brought back some painful memories. He’d always tried so hard to make her proud, and in the end he hoped he had. Just before she died her final words were, well done son- I love you so much.
He remembered how much breath it took for her to carefully strum out those words with such elegance to make sure he knew she meant it. Alastor lived with his father, who was always away on ‘ministry business’. Though his father was distraught to hear of the death of his wife, women started to appear in Alastor’s home much more frequently. Alastor liked his private joke of one for every day of the week, and one for every night too. As Minerva rested her hand on his shoulder she softly whispered,
“Is everything, okay with you and your dad? You don’t like to talk about your dad since your mum...died.” She forced the word out as if it was a forbidden curse.
“I just don’t talk to him, he pays the rent for the house, and I make my own way for food and such. That’s why as soon as I leave here, I’m moving out. I’ll get a house; rent a room at the leaky cauldron just as long as I don’t have to live there any longer. I can’t be happy in that house, not even if any of my friends or you were there.” Alastor told her. Minerva wondered why he said, his friends and her. When he looked at her did he see her like a sister? She threw those thoughts aside as she heard the doors open.
“Oh look the first years are here! Don’t they look adorable? Just think in a few years they’ll be in our place cooing at the first years that come in.” Minerva whispered.
“Oh just think Alastor this is our seventh and last year at Hogwarts, this is the beginning of the end, the opening of the close-” Before Minerva could continue Alastor cut her off with another completely unrelated comment which showed he had ignored her completely.
“First years are annoying little blighters if you ask me. They get in the way and ask too many questions.” Alastor grumbled; bringing up the past had given him such a bad mood. Minerva looked at him with dismay, didn’t he understand that he too was once a first year, an 11 year old who stumbled round the corridors, always scared of getting lost and wondering who to turn to if he did. Though Minerva saw the sorting hat in Dumbledore’s hand so she hushed Alastor and watched the sorting with such fascination; ready to welcome to first years to Gryffindor by getting bursts of cheers and claps going. After the sorting Headmaster Dippett gave a long dwindling speech about every year and how they would achieve greatness as usual.
“Now, I hope every single one of you will get past these great hurdles. Prefects, take the students to their common rooms and now off to bed you go.”
So Minerva and Alastor left for the common room, debating on whether first years were annoying or not. As they did Minerva saw a tall boy with dark brown hair and skin as white as a dove, his deep black eyes like an opening into his soul, though you’d have to get past the locks. He looked so mysterious, he left you with an urge to know more but Minerva had never seen him before. The boy nodded at her, almost blushing, then continued to speed off to his common rom. While Alastor was still grumbling about first years Minerva spoke so softly, almost breath taken,
“Who was that?”
Alastor saw how interested she was in the boy,
“That’s Riddle. A right troublemaker he is too. Riddle’s a sixth year prefect and thinks he can get away with anything; the teachers may buy that charm of his but I’ve always got my eye on him. I’ll just lie dormant until he finally slips up.” Alastor spat. Minerva knew her friend had such a fiery temper and half the time, if it wasn’t for her he’d be in much more trouble, and have a large reputation. Minerva just had a way of keeping him calm, and when he got so bad, she just threatened to never speak to him again. It always seemed to do the trick.
“Ah...well, as long as you don’t get yourself into trouble then that’s okay. I know what you’re like when it comes to things like that. The professors would set him straight, especially Dumbledore, he can see through anyone.” Minerva reassured him, she could never understand why he wanted to do the teachers job, without the urge to ever become a teacher. He wanted to be like the Auror in the comics he read, fighting dark wizards every day of the week, but then saving the weekend for a good book and some whisky by his bedside table. Minerva thought it was quite silly; however she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted adventure in her life, life was too calm for her and after all the exams, stress and responsibility she’d taken up, Minerva wanted to escape from all the hassle and feel more peaceful, but still have fun at the same time. Her family wanted her to get married, find a secure job and have children. Minerva wanted that too, a child to call her own, to look after and keep safe from harm. Would a life full of exploration and no worries give her that child? Of course not, but Minerva was torn between the two, her heart was split both ways and she couldn’t decide which piece to follow. Her school years were quickly running out and a decision would have to be made, but how could she decide? It simply wasn’t possible. As they got past the fat lady and into the common room the fire in the fireplace was crackling away as a few other older students were gathered round it, all the younger students had gone off to bed. Minerva dropped her bag on the old armchair and curled into the armchair next to her bag, as if it was her way of releasing all the tension from the seventh year worries that were soon to come. Alastor went to greet some of the other seventh year lads he spoke to, Benedict, John and Cricket. While Minerva had sunk into such relaxation that she seemed to almost slip away from reality she heard a shout of her name and the young adult jumped up from her seat to find, Eliza Battersmith, her best friend jump up beside her with a grin on her face. Minerva envied Eliza so much because she and her family had everything. She had the looks, she was great at quidditch and so she was going to try to form the first female quidditch team, her family was rich and Eliza just had her entire life sorted without even needing to plan it out. She had a beautiful perm for her black silky hair with a streak of white, which was the result of a spell gone wrong. Saying that, it never seemed to faze Eliza, in fact, the streak of white suited her. No one knew why she even talked to Minerva, never mind the fact that they were best friends.
“Minnie, your hair is down! It looks smashing you know. How does mine look?” Eliza asked Minerva, who gave a heavy sigh,
“It looks lovely Eliza, please don’t call me Minnie.”
“But Minerva is such a long, drawn out and plain name. Minnie sounds much lovelier.” Eliza protested.
“Minnie sounds childish Eliza. I’m not six, and haven’t been for quite some time.” Minerva responded softly, she was too tired to properly snap back at her. Realising this, Minerva stood up and grabbed her bag loosely, too drowsy to worry about it slipping from her fingers.
“Well Eliza, I’m off to the dormitories now. Are you coming?” Minerva called though Eliza was a mere feet away. Eliza followed and as the two girls passed Alastor and his friends Minerva said,
“Night Alastor.” And Alastor looked back at her, the stupid grin he had on his face faded into a sweet smile and he returned her goodnight wishes,
When they finally reached the top of the stairs Eliza spoke,
“Night Alastor,” She mimicked.
“Oh don’t play coy with me Minerva McGonagall. You two have been friends for a while now, you don’t look at him like you used to.” Eliza informed Minerva, who just shrugged.
“How did I look at him before?”
“I don’t know....you just didn’t. Now your eyes, well they don’t sparkle like they say in the books but you can tell something’s changed. You can’t go a few minutes without bickering or blushing. Trust me Minnie, I know what someone’s like when they...fancy another. Alastor acts the same you know.”
Minerva just shook her head.
“I’ll deal with those comments in the morning, just not now, I’m too tired.”
As they both eventually slipped into their beds and under the sheets, Minerva wondered about what Eliza said and why she was playing mind games. Minerva didn’t have feelings for anyone. She knew those butterflies in her stomach was just that she was happy to be back at Hogwarts for a final time. Though as she slipped into a deep slumber she hoped that she would dream of a future love life because she felt it was the closest she was ever going to get.
AN:- Thanks to violet.vespers, living.free and tydemans at TGS because without your help I doubt I would've had the courage to put this story up. Thanks to all the tom/minerva stories and stories with Alastor Moody as the main character because your stories were my research and inspiration. Another thanks to Frank Sinatra and his song A Sinner Kissed an Angel. Finally thank you to those of you who have read this and a bigger thanks to those of you who review.
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