Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter characters or anything else really--but the basic idea of the plot--but still--not the world it's in, JK Rowling/Warner Brothers does. :-)

A/N Sierra has always wondered about this--and finally, she just--wrote out her thoughts on it--in the shape of a demented little fanfic, if people like it--it may become a sort of a "series". I have high reason to believe that McGonagall went to school at the same time Tom Riddle did. It's believed on the Harry Potter Lexicon site, that she went to school in the 30's and Tom Riddle went to school from 1936-1943, so...Look here for more.

http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/hogwarts_students.html

and for more information on McGonagall look here--

http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/mcgonagall.html

And for Tom Riddle look here--

http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/riddle.html

and for Voldemort (like you'll really need it) look here--

http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/voldemort.html

Set in there school Days--1940 precisely, when Tom was 15--and since it isn't exact on McGonagall, I made her 15 too--just for my own bits of fun. She's in reality--I think older then him by about 7 years, but nothing is actually *fact* in the books--Just let me have my fun and write this story.

Nothing is actually sure--On the same site it says two different things on Tom's age and McGonagall's age, so, i just picked which one I liked best--this one happened to fit the plot and the other one didn't, so :-p

IF FACTS are wrong, please--don't tell me, because I probably already know and am just neglecting to tell you. This is a very twisted view on things, really--so look out.

Summary: An interesting explanation on why Minerva McGonagall follows the rules. A late night Quidditch Match, leads to an unexpected dangerous encounter, and her fellow rebel is none other then Tom Riddle.

~-*-~

Clever Minds

By

Sierra Sitruc

If you'd have ever met Tom Riddle from afar--you would have thought him handsome and polite looking, until he opened his mouth--then you would have thought him charming as well.

Most every girl in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry thought him this, except one.

The somewhat snobby, detached and prude Minerva McGonagall. She prided herself in knowing what Tom Riddle really was--an egotistical git, with a darkened heart, but she never told anyone of these thoughts, because Minerva McGonagall did not try and cause trouble, she only punished those who did.

The two fifteen year-old prefects of opposing houses, Gryffindor and Slytherin had a friendly rivalry going on between them, or so everyone believed to be 'friendly', but Minerva and Tom knew that it was anything but friendly.

Tom Riddle wasn't stupid, and neither was Minerva--Tom knew she could see right through his facade, and it worried him a bit, but he didn't pay it much mind, he rather liked tormenting Minerva in any case. Minerva entertained him; she was the only one around even close to his intelligence, and while she pestered him a lot, there was something about her that appealed to him.

One of the biggest rivalries between them was Quidditch. While, neither student was on the team of their house, they were both thoroughly intrigued by the game. Before each Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match, one could count on seeing the two of them fighting over who would win--and eventually making bets on who would win.

It was upon the day of such a Quidditch match that thus begins this story, Minerva and Tom were glaring heatedly at one another, their voice ricocheting of the walls.

"I'm telling you Minnie! Slytherin is going to whip Gryffindor's sorry arses!" Tom sneered, he may keep to himself most times--but when Minerva challenged him about Quidditch--he got rather passionate about it, and began using his personal nickname for Minerva, one she rather detested, but handled with dignity.

"Gryffindor's beaten Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff! Don't you recall the Slytherins losing to the Hufflepuffs?" Minerva said tauntingly.

Tom made a sound in his throat that was not unlike a snake, before he said, "Don't remind me of the pitiful defeat by those imbeciles." A Hufflepuff Quidditch player walked by and glared at Tom, but said nothing--after all, he had beaten their team.

"Just face it Tom, Gryffindor is going to win with flying colors. Slytherin won't know what hit them," Minerva said with a superior look.

"Don't be so sure about that Minnie," Tom said with a smirk.

"Any Gryffindor could beat any Slytherin any day," Minerva bragged proudly.

"Any?" Tom challenged, with one dark eyebrow quirked above one deep blue eye.

"Any," The prefect declared haughtily.

"So, you could beat--say, me?" Minerva suddenly knew what trap she'd gotten herself into, but she didn't back down.

"Easily," she said, with an easier tone then she felt.

"Is that a bet, Minerva?" he asked, a the corners of his mouth curling up most peculiarly, the words rolling off his tongue like poison, dripping with venom.

Minerva didn't know how well Tom Riddle played Quidditch--not well enough to get on the team it appeared, but she just couldn't play Quidditch--she was afraid of heights, and Tom knew this. She might still have a chance against him though--he could be the worst player in history, it was unlikely however, and she expected to end up humiliated.

Her pride would not let her say no, she willed a smart comment to come out that would get her out of this mess--but it seemed this was her fate. "Yes, a bet--and I'll prove Gryffindor is better then Slytherin."

"Have fun proving a false figment of your imagination, then--Minnie," Tom replied, and with a withering glance at her, he stepped back. "See you on the Quidditch Pitch--tonight at eleven, no Professors will catch us that way," he instructed her. Minerva nodded her understanding and they parted ways, with a swish of their robes.

Minerva groaned inwardly, she knew she was in trouble--a lot of trouble. First of all, she was breaking school rules, second of all--she was about to do the most humiliating thing of her entire life, and third of all--the whole entire school was bound to find out.

~*~

Minerva arrived at dinner that evening with her best friend Sherry Sprout, a rather excitable Hufflepuff. Sherry was almost the complete opposite of Minerva, Sherry was short, Minerva tall, Sherry was a bit chubby, Minerva was skinny, Sherry was tolerable looking, while Minerva was delicately pretty, blonde versus black--on and on the differences went, even their personalities differed in extreme. Minerva was smart and fairly calm while... Sherry was a bit clueless and as said before, excitable.

"I can't believe you made that bet with Tom Riddle--handsome he may be, but really, you should watch out for him. I think he's out to get you or something!" Sherry twittered on to Minerva as they settled at Minerva's table.

"I know--I know! But, my pride always gets the best of me around him, and it has nothing to do with his looks," Minerva sighed exasperatedly, picking disinterestedly at her dinner; Sherry always put her in a tizzy when it came to having conversations, Sherry talked at a great speed and to get any words in, you had to speed up your own rapidity.

"Did you even set the stakes?" Sherry asked, taking a sip of her pumpkin juice.

"No--I think either we'll settle that part on the pitch before hand, or... the winner will just have the glory of humiliating the other," Minerva murmured thoughtfully.

"Humiliating you, you mean," Sherry piped up, while popping a cherry tart in her mouth.

"Thanks for all your faith, Sherry," Minerva said sarcastically. Sherry wasn't the most supportive person Minerva knew, but she was well liked by the Gryffindors, which allowed her to sit with Minerva during meals occasionally, such as this one.

A hush fell over the students, as Professor Dippet stood up, Professor Dumbledore, their Transfiguration teacher, was looking up at the headmaster with a light of worry in his eyes--It had to be good.

"I have a grave announcement to make to you all, this dark evening." Minerva's ears perked up, and she shut Sherry up with a glare. (Sherry was still chattering on about how she did too have faith in Minerva) "The Gryffindor versus Slytherin match… has been cancelled."

"That's not grave news at all," Sherry mumbled, but Minerva's interest was peaked--there had to be a good excuse to cancel the most important game of the season.

"Our reason for this decision--is that the Dark Wizard Grindelwald has been rumored to be on the Hogwarts premises." Several students gasped, while others cried out in fear. Minerva rolled her eyes, but felt a bit of alarm herself as well. "Never fear, he's not in the school, and won't get in as long as I'm headmaster. The Ministry has been informed, and they'll be sending guards tomorrow morning. That is all, sleep well, students!"

"Sleep well?! Sleep well!?" Sherry grumbled loudly, other students were thinking/saying things along the same lines. "Sleep well my arse! Why doesn't the man just go on and announce the end is coming?"

The Ministry guards won't be here until tomorrow? Grindelwald could easily attack us in our sleep! Minerva thought worriedly, wondering what was happening in the Ministry lately.

"Don't worry; I'm sure everything will turn out for the best girls," Came a voice from behind, and Minerva and Sherry turned around to see their favorite teacher, Professor Dumbledore.

"Hello, Professor," they greeted.

"We'll have a teacher guarding each entrance and others patrolling the halls, so don't worry about being--attacked in your sleep, or other such worries," Dumbledore assured with a wink. "No going out on the grounds for a while, though, I'm afraid. Make sure none of the students try and sneak out. Miss McGonagall, as Prefect, that's your responsibility." Minerva wondered sometimes, just how much Dumbledore knew about life that was going on in Hogwarts; he couldn't have known about her plans to meet Tom on the Quidditch Pitch--only Tom, Sherry and herself knew, as far she was concerned.

"Yes, Professor." Minerva answered meekly. Her gut twisted around in a knot, as she thought about the deal she'd made with Tom--she wasn't backing down, she'd show up no matter what and she knew he would too. Even if she did end up killed by Grindelwald, she was prepared for all the consequences.

Dumbledore left them alone, and Sherry whispered to Minerva, "You aren't still planning on going, are you?"

"Of course, I am," Minerva answered simply.

~*~

Later that night, after going through all her books that she owned on Quidditch and useful charms, Minerva found herself walking to the Quidditch Pitch, alone in the dark. It had been difficult to escape the Professors that were around every corner but a few invisibility spells had done the trick. It occurred to her briefly, that if it was so easy for a mere student to sneak around the castle unnoticed, what about a Dark Wizard?

Minerva saw the Quidditch Pitch, and all it's eeriness, she veered away from it though and went instead to where the brooms were locked up, there she picked the best broom she could find, and went on her way.

The moon wasn't out that night; it was completely black, with just the stars to light the Pitch. It was a cool night, but warm enough that Minerva didn't bother with a cloak. She still had her school robes on, and her Prefect badge.

"I see you made it, Minnie," a smooth voice whispered in her ear, Minerva rolled her eyes at the nickname, and whirled around to face Tom.

"Prepared to lose Tom?" Minerva goaded at him.

"No, I'm prepared to win," Tom said, a wicked grin painting his face. They both held their brooms tightly in their hands--a sign of nervousness or possessiveness, Minerva didn't think much of it. "We'd better watch out for old Grindelwald though, I'm sure he'd like to see us both lose." Minerva was almost sure she'd heard a wisp of worry in his voice.

"What are the rules then?" Minerva asked, as they approached the center of the pitch, while also keeping a look out about her, and observing Tom pull out a Quidditch box.

"Whoever catches the snitch first?" Tom tried.

"We'll be here for hours then! You can't see a thing in this dark!" Minerva snapped irritably.

"So be it then--if it gets light out, we'll leave and have a rematch tomorrow. We can't have the Professors seeing us...Or anyone else for that matter." Minerva knew that comment was about Grindelwald.

"What do I get if I win?" Minerva asked sharply.

"The satisfaction of winning, and the same if I win," Tom said coolly.

"Fine, mount your broom then," Minerva instructed, doing the same.

"Ready?" Tom asked, a certain concentration in his normally casual tone.

"Sure," Minerva answered shakily. "On the count of three?" Tom nodded, but she hardly saw it.

"1...2...--." There was a sudden light over their area, and Minerva heard Tom curse violently and heard a small thud.

"What?" Minerva asked, sensing danger, but not knowing where it was coming from.

"Leg-Locker curse!" Tom growled, and it was then Minerva noticed he was on the ground, struggling tremendously to right himself. Minerva felt a panic rising in her throat--or maybe that was just a scream. "Help me out Minerva! Grindelwald is probably hiding in the stands and I don't have my wand!" Tom hissed at her, and Minerva took up her responsibility as a prefect to help him.

"Finite Incantetum!" She tried, pointing her wand at his legs--nothing. "Give me your hand, Tom." Minerva demanded, thankful that the dark was obviously making Grindelwald have trouble aiming at her, because though there were plenty of spells hitting the grass of the pitch, not one had actually hit its target--Minerva.

Tom reached out for her hand blindly, and she searched for his--they caught on to each other and she noticed how cold his hands were. She gave a mighty tug and pulled him up. "Thanksss," Tom said, really hissing like a snake now. Minerva soon found out what had caused the hiss, when she felt Tom go rigid beside her--she turned around, while still steadying Tom, and managed to see a figure in front of them.

Grindelwald.

Minerva made a sound in her throat, not unlike the squeak of a mouse; Tom staggered back and fell over--since Minerva had let go of him in her moment of fright.

Minerva reached down to pull him up again, but she felt a curse hit her too, the very same curse that Tom had been hit with. She lost her balance, and grimaced, as she knew she was going to fall on top of Tom. "Oof!" she gasped, as she hit Tom harshly, her nose hitting his shoulder rather hard.

She was right about one thing though, this was the most humiliating experience of her entire life.

"What have we here?" A gruff voice asked, and Minerva shivered and tried pushing herself off Tom, but Grindelwald stopped her, "Don't move, girl, or you'll never have those arms again." Minerva froze, and felt her glasses slip of her nose.

"Don't say anything stupid, Minerva," Tom whispered in her ear, and for once, Minerva decided to listen--not that she'd planned to say anything stupid in the first place. She could feel Tom breathing hard beneath her--she wasn't sure if it was because he was scared, or because she was squashing him.

"Troublemakers...Thought you'd explore a bit past curfew? Or--maybe you two were planning on a little romantic rendezvous?" Grindelwald teased the two captured teenagers. "Oh--I see your brooms, perhaps a late night Quidditch game, then?"

What is this guy on about? Minerva marveled.

"What are your names, children?" Grindelwald prompted. "Who knows, maybe I'll even spare you." He laughed to himself. Neither Minerva nor Tom said anything. "Out with it then! What are your names?"

Tom sighed, aggravated, and murmured, "John Longbottom." Minerva was surprised that he chose a Gryffindor's name, but she caught on and knew she'd better pick someone's name to impersonate. She wasn't sure, and finally Tom answered for her, in an annoyed sort of way he introduced her, "And this is Willa Watson, my girlfriend." Truth be told, John Longbottom's girlfriend was Willa Watson too. How Tom knew this, Minerva wasn't sure--but Tom knew a lot of things you wouldn't expect him to.

"Oh--so maybe it was a romantic Quidditch game?" Grindelwald chuckled. "I do hate to kill couples..." That's when Minerva knew what Tom had been up to; she remembered what Grindelwald did to couples... He dismembered them, but let them live! Everyone else--well too bad for them, if you aren't involved with someone, you'd be dead. It was quite ingenious of Tom really, in a twisted sort of way... Minerva didn't like the idea of having her arms, toes, legs, and fingers being cut off slowly...

"Who first then? John or Willa?" Grindelwald asked, apparently not expecting an answer. "Ladies first normally..." Minerva bit her lip to keep from whimpering, and speculated if she could get to her broom and fly it without use of her legs.

Grindelwald reached a clammy hand down on her ankle, and Minerva wished Hogwarts had let her wear pants instead of the skirt as a uniform. Grindelwald proceeded to tug her off Tom, and suddenly Minerva wished Tom would save her--it was probably a ridiculous thought, but she really wanted to keep her body parts all attached to her other body parts.

Abruptly, Minerva felt Tom's thin fingers grab hold of her arms and she felt a whoosh of relief--at least Tom was trying to help her. "Let me go first," Tom suggested to the Dark Wizard.

"Really? You're offering to go first?" Grindelwald asked, mildly surprised. "How nice of you, but--I think not." Minerva felt dread seep into her again as Grindelwald pulled her all the way off Tom. "Don't fight, and it will be a lot more pleasant," he ordered as he removed her shoe.

Minerva then had a wild idea in her head-- her wand! She floundered around wildly for it. "My wand," she said through gritted teeth as she stretched up behind her where Tom was, and where her wand had been dropped.

She felt, rather then saw Tom make a grab for something swiftly, then heard him cry out. "Accio knife!" Minerva wondered how he'd known about the knife, and then wondered why he would "accio" one into his hands.

Tom caught the knife safely in the dark, and now had the weapon. Minerva gave Grindelwald a firm kick in the head with her two feet before struggling away.

"Languefacio!" Tom cried at Grindelwald, while pointing the wand at him, and Grindelwald staggered as he lost power. "Come on Minerva! Move! Move!" he hissed at her, while he himself struggled across the field with two hands, buckling his knees and crawling, Minerva followed suit--dignity long gone by then.

"Impedimenta!" he yelled back again at Grindelwald, then he started yelling out a lot of spells that Minerva had never heard before, but were dark in nature. She could not believe, a fifth year was fighting of a powerful Dark Wizard successfully.

Minerva was a fair ways behind Tom, who was faster and stronger then her as it was, and had gotten a head start. "Hurry up Minerva!" he urged. "I won't try and save you again!"

That sped her up; she didn't dare look back at Grindelwald. She was panicked enough as it was, her heart pounding her chest and her legs and arms were shaky--not to mention, she'd lost a shoe in all this and her foot was cold.

Her hair pins had fallen out with all the besiegement of earlier, and her hair was falling in her face. She cursed herself for being so silly as to agree to come out here tonight.

Tom was still repelling Grindelwald, even as they made it across the pitch, grass stained and all. They sat there, panting a moment, before moving on. Grindelwald finally came to his senses and started throwing spells at them in return.

Minerva was hit by a powerful curse, that made her start seeing illusions, Tom noticed her state just in time to help her manage to keep crawling, even though she kept seeing things that weren't there--such as a boulder, a black hole, or Professor Dippet standing on the boulder.

They made it just a short distance from Hogwarts when Grindelwald finally let off--too afraid to face the Professors of Hogwarts without his troops.

"Come Minerva, we have to get back to our dorms." Tom grumbled, "The charms will wear off by tomorrow--Minerva what are--what curse actually hit you?" he asked in wonder, as he watched Minerva's fright as she stared at the ground by her feet.

"I keep seeing things--I know they aren't there--because it's ridiculous for them to be there... It's an illusion curse, I think."

"Oh--well, come on then, I'll take you to your dorms--who knows what trouble you'll get into," Tom grunted, not liking the idea of escorting a Gryffindor (a Gryffindor!) to her (her!) room. "I should probably just let you get into trouble," he muttered, as he continued to crawl up toward the steps of the main entrance.

"You don't have to do that Tom, I can handle myself," Minerva snapped, her pride kicking in again.

"Minerva, do think rationally--not that you very well can when your having symptoms of someone in St. Mungo's--" he sneered. "You'll try crawling up those stairs, and before you know it, a nice illusion of Dippet will show up--and you'll start talking to him, when suddenly the real Dippet comes and gets you in some serious trouble," Tom predicted.

Minerva thought about that...It wouldn't end well if she didn't have someone to tell her what was real and what wasn't.

"Fine then. Be nice," Minerva said quietly, as they snuck in through the doors. To their surprise, every single Professor at Hogwarts seemed to have gathered in the Great Hall. Minerva and Tom made a move for it--since they hadn't been noticed yet--and scrambled up some stairs.

"That was lucky," Tom breathed. "Now we won't have to worry about running into them in the corridors. What do you think they're doing in there any way?"

"Probably planning some sort of attack on Grindelwald--someone must have seen the disturbance on the Quidditch pitch," Minerva said thoughtfully.

"Yeah--it wouldn't do any good though, those teachers are so daft," Tom groused. "All that protection, and no teacher guarding the front entrance!"

"I agree with you on that, it was rather idiotic of them. Two students slipped out and almost got dismembered!" Minerva grumbled. "Ack! Now I can't see anything!"

"What? Why?" Tom asked confused, turning around to look at her.

"My hair is in my face, give me a moment." Minerva paused and began pushing her long hair up and out of her eyes.

"I've never seen you with your hair down before--not to mention without your glasses," Tom informed her of the obvious. "Where did your glasses go anyway?"

"They slipped of my nose when Grindelwald told me to freeze." Minerva said stiffly, thinking back to the embarrassing moment when she'd been hovering above Tom.

"Ah," Tom said in realization. "Terrible luck, that, but you look so much better without them--and with your hair down. Minerva, you really need to loosen up a bit."

"Thanks, Tom, your opinion means so much to me," Minerva said mockingly, while trying to make a rather ugly gnome get out of her vision.

"I get that a lot," Tom sighed, while taking a break to rest his legs. "This is tiring! It's one thing to walk up these stairs--crawling is a different matter altogether!"

"It wasn't my idea for you to help me make this trip up," Minerva said amusedly, as the gnome began attacking the oblivious Tom.

"What's so funny?" he asked, eyeing her suspiciously. "Having a bit too much fun with your illusions now, are you? What do you see?"

"Nothing important," Minerva answered shortly, while making her tired legs keep working. Tom said nothing, but followed her up anyway. Things were quiet between the rivals for a moment, before Tom got tired of the silence and asked her a question.

"You won't say anything about the Grindelwald incident, right?" Tom stated, more then asked.

"No, I don't think I will--I'd rather not spread it around that I was saved by Tom Riddle, what about you? Are you going to keep your mouth shut?"

"Of course! Do you think I want to brag about having Minerva McGonagall fall on top of me?" Tom said good-naturedly. "I'd have half the Gryffindor boys out to kill me! Not to mention another half of the Slytherins!"

Minerva laughed, "Hardly. Sorry about that, by the way--but if I'd decided to fall backwards, I believe I would have fallen on Grindelwald instead, and wouldn't that have been an adventure." Tom chuckled at that. It was then Minerva thought of a question that had been troubling her for a while, "Why did you offer to be dismembered first?"

"Oh that? I was hoping to bide us some time--it didn't work though, now did it? Luckily you dropped your wand near me," Tom said.

"I can't believe you fought off a Dark Wizard..." Minerva said, shaking her head.

"It wasn't hard--I've studied some spells that I heard would weaken him a lot--and low and behold, they worked! I didn't do anything drastic... I just made him awfully slow," Tom told her.

"It was very clever of you," Minerva nodded her approval.

"You were highly clever yourself--giving him that kick in the face!" Tom complimented.

"Which reminds me... he still has my shoe," Minerva complained, as her right foot was rather cold now.

"Who knows Minnie--he might just come back to return your shoe," Tom said, and Minerva threw her head back and giggled softly.

"That sounds like a death threat..." Minerva said airily. "Finally! The Gryffindor portrait."

"Good, I'll be going--it's a long ways down to the dungeons, you know," Tom said cheekily.

"Thank you, Tom," Minerva said awkwardly.

"Don't get used to it, I'm only nice once a week--this nice streak will be over in the morning," he explained. "The Quidditch Match is off--ours, that is."

"I figured," Minerva huffed, as she watched him crawl off. They really did looked like idiots when they crawled.

"Good night, Minnie."

"Good night."

One thing was for certain, Minerva McGonagall was going to become very strict with her rule following from now on.

~*~

A/N I sure am a strange one, aren't I? This was weird...But, fun at the same time. I don't know... What did you all think? 20 reviews gets another short one like this! I really couldn't help but write this...It was too tempting. The plot had been in my mind for so long...I just had to write it! Especially after listening to my COS soundtrack--it has a song called 'Meeting Tom Riddle' that was what I listened to while I wrote the scene with Grindelwald. :-)

Hmm...For the sequel some questions will be answered--that I'm not even sure you all noticed! (If there's a sequel)

What happened to Grindelwald's knife?

Does Tom still have Minerva's wand?

Will the whole school find out about what happened?

Is Grindelwald still out there?

Will Dumbledore be disappointed in Minerva?

Where's Hagrid in all this? (First year of course)

Is anything going to happen--Minerva/Tom action wise?

And most importantly,

Will Grindelwald give Minerva back her shoe?

As an explanation on both characters behaviors, I imagine that Tom would act nice to his other class mates--probably charming and well liked even, McGonagall might have acted like a goody goody or something--I'm not very sure. I tried to keep her in character--but still acting like a 15 year-old as well, so...FEEDBACK, please?

*~Sierra~*