Chapter 1 : The Last Biscuit
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When she was a young girl she never wanted to grow old. She liked to compare this to leaving freshly baked biscuits out for a day or two. If you ate them just out of the oven, they were chewy goodness that melted in your mouth; but if you ate them the next day, they were hard and difficult to bite into. Not delicious at all.
Of course, being old hadn’t been all bad. She was wiser, and her students looked up to her. She was allowed time to rest even if she wasn’t tired, and she had much more time to see everything she’d always wanted to. But that was when you were young old, 50s to 70s. After that, you were just tired, wishing the end, old.
Today, the day of the last biscuit, was a warm sunny day. Minerva awoke with the same sleepiness she’d had every single morning of her life. Today was, to her, to be no different than every other Sunday she had ever lived.
The sun shun through her open windows, and she took her time getting out of bed and ready for the day. She would have one of her favourite students come to visit for afternoon tea, but no one would mind if she took it easy and slow until then.
Minerva made her way towards her wardrobe at the back of her quarters. She had no way of knowing that the clothes she would be putting on would be the clothes she’d die in, but even so she selected her favourites. When she was clothed in a long black dress and her well worn and adored emerald cloak, she made her way into the office part of her quarters.
Sitting herself down at her desk, Minerva reached for the box in which she had placed biscuits for students and professors every day since her very first day on the job. Though she never took biscuits from it for herself, today she inexplicably made the exception. She took a biscuit out of the small box and placed it just in front of her on the desk. Closing her eyes, she imagined her history of biscuits.
As a young girl, Minerva had been very close with her grandmother. She was an only child, so she was very mature, but when she was with her grandmother she felt as young and as old as she needed to be. As soon as Minerva could walk, they’d started making biscuits together. She loved helping her grandmother in the kitchen. It was her fondest memory of early childhood.
When she turned seven years old, her grandmother came over to her home and place a blue gift box on the table in front of her granddaughter.
“What have you gotten me grandmother?” Minerva asked politely, her long black hair falling in front of her face.
“Open, my child, and you shall see.” She said softly in return, pushing the hair out of her granddaughter’s eyes. So Minerva pried open the box with her small fingers to see only a single piece of parchment.
“Parchment?” She exclaimed. “What am I to do with a single piece of parchment, not to mention, with words already written on it?”
“But it is not just a piece of parchment Minerva dear. This, is our biscuit recipe. Today you will be making it yourself.”
Minerva’s eyes widened in shock. Never had she ever cooked these biscuits without her grandmother. “I’m scared,” she mumbled, her eyes shining with tears. “What if I do it wrong?”
“You can’t. The recipe is a suggestion, the way your heart feels is the rule. If you simply try your best, and make something that you’re proud of, there is no possible way to do it wrong.”
Minerva took her grandmother’s advice, but she did get frustrated, and she cried, and screamed, and beat her small fists against the counter. But when it was done her grandmother tried a biscuit and cried out in an absolute joy that would make Minerva desire baking biscuits for people forever, making them smile.
Before she wanted to become a professor, she’d done an apprenticeship in a bakery. She had absolutely loved being around the warm and homey perfumes and the stone baking ovens. Eventually however, she realized that baking professionally wasn’t for her, and instead she carted herself away to learn how to be a transfiguration teacher.
She remembered the first biscuit she had offered as if it were yesterday. And she remembered every single solitary biscuit afterwards. She’d given biscuits to every single Weasley to ever walk through the doors of Hogwarts. She’d given countless biscuits to Cedric Diggory, Oliver Wood, and Marcus Flint when the Hufflepuff and Slytherin heads of houses sent them to her at times when the three couldn’t sort out their issues. She’d given too many biscuits to count to one of her absolute favourite students, Remus Lupin. She’d given biscuits to girls who needed to cry over boys or careless pregnancies. She’d given biscuits to students with strange questions, intelligent insights, and clever queries. She’d given biscuits to students questioning their places in the world, their sexuality, personal identity. And she’d given many biscuits to professors as well. If a biscuit could be given, Minerva McGonagall would quickly offer a biscuit.
Today, though she had once again no way of knowing, she would give out the last biscuit of her life.
At around 3:45 there was a small knock on the door. Minerva shook as she got up, but it was all worth it. When she opened the door, Lily Luna Potter stood there beaming. If Minerva had to pick a most preferred person in the world, it would be a three-way tie between her grandmother, Remus, and this child here. Though she was no longer really a child. Lily was twenty-five years old, and probably the most poised and graceful young woman Minerva had ever seen.
Lily’s smile radiated bright and white as she hugged the old woman in front of her tightly. She hadn’t seen Minerva in over a year, and had really missed her.
“It’s so wonderful to see you!” Minerva exclaimed, hugging the Potter as tightly as she’d hugged her. “What have you done with your hair? It looks lovely.” She said, smoothing down Lily’s new shoulder length hair, red as ever.
“Just got five inches cut off.” She shrugged. She followed the older woman to her sitting room, asking for one sugar in her tea. Minerva bustled around with the kettle, and soon enough they were sitting across from each other with warm cuppas. “So, how have you been?”
Minerva really had to think about it. She liked Lily because she was someone you could be honest with, no matter what you were sharing. She was very much unlike her brothers Albus and James, who were both polar extremities, one incredibly quiet and reserved and the other loud and at times unbearable.
“I’ve not been very well. I’m tired, Lily. I don’t have much energy left.”
“That’s hard to hear. I didn’t want to bring this up today, but my father just wants to know,” she took a breath in. “If there’s anything you want us to do after you... After you pass on.”
Minerva took a deep breath in as well. She reached into a drawer into her desk and pulled out a white envelope, placing it in front of the youngest Potter.
“This will tell you everything.”
“Well, now that that’s taken care of, let’s have a happier tea time. I have some news for you.” Lily said to Minerva, who nodded. “Albus and Lorcan have just adopted a child. She was abandoned with no records and only a baby, so they had to find a name for her. It’s Celestia Minerva Scamander-Potter.” She slid over a picture of the child.
Minerva felt the tears prick at her eyes. Albus had always loved her, and saw her as a second grandmother, and Lorcan spent much time in her office with quirky thoughts and jokes like his mother. She was so very touched.
For the rest of the afternoon, she and Lily laughed together, enjoying a quiet Sunday. And that night, when Minerva went to bed, she saw the picture of her as a young girl in her grandmother’s arms, enjoying a biscuit.
And as her soul rolled into Death’s arms, all that he saw was her loved ones enjoying her biscuits. Her last living thought.
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