A/N: Yes, it's another McGonagall fic. So sue me, that's what I'm best at writing.....as always, J.K. Rowling owns any characters that might be mentioned. Stephen Sondheim owns the song "Being Alive." At least, I think he does. I'm not sure if the lyrics are exactly right, but this is close enough........and I'm sorry if the song doesn't really seem to fit with the story. It was SUPPOSED to, but then it kind of branched off....

Somebody hold me too close
Somebody hurt me too deep
Somebody sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive
Being alive

For as long as she could remember, Minerva McGonagall had simply been running through her life. Not really living, just going through the motions. Perhaps it was just because she had never really seen that much to live for, yet no reason to die, either. She lost her mother not long after she was born; her father and older sister had been killed in a Muggle car accident when she was 10. Life in the orphanage was dull and meaningless....there was no one to care for, no one to care for her. Then again, she wasn't sure she wanted to care about anything, to feel anything. It was easier just being numb. Still, a part of her was so desperate for emotion....

Somebody need me too much
Somebody know me too well
Somebody pull me up short
And put me through Hell
And give me support
For being alive
Make me alive
Make me alive

Less than a year after she entered the orphanage, it was discovered she had magical powers. Always a practical girl, she was skeptical of this; magic was just in fairy tales, wasn't it? Nevertheless, she went off to a place called Hogwarts for her schooling. It wasn't a bad place, but there was nothing all that special about it to her. She had acquaintances, but no true friends. At that time, Muggle-born witches weren't common at all, and this resulted in a lot of teasing. 'Mudblood', that's what they called her. Freak. Misfit. If only one of them had really cared...just one of them...

Make me confused
Mock me with praise
Let me be used
Vary my days
But alone
Is alone
Not alive

Nothing surprised her, not since she first entered Hogwarts. Nothing frightened her. Nothing amazed her. She was dedicated to her studies, and excelled in them, but there was no real pleasure in books or spells. Books were just something to fill time with. They couldn't keep a person company. By her third year, she was allowed to stay on at Hogwarts even during the summer holidays, never having to return to the orphanage. But even her vacation days were spent alone, buried in her books, not really learning anything, not really knowing anyone. Alone.

Somebody crowd me with love
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
As frightened as you
To help us survive
Being alive....

Now, here she was. The Transfigurations teacher, the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts. Some would say she had come far from her humble beginnings as an orphaned Muggle. Successful? Perhaps. But where was the profit in being a success if you had no one to share it with? Of course, she had friends. Albus Dumbledore, Poppy Pomfrey, Rubeus Hagrid, she supposed, and....and....was that it? It must have been true. Those really were the only people she had to call friends, and they had their own lives to attend to. They didn't even realize who she was, how alone she had always been. They thought she was happy.

Being alive.....

Mulling over all these thoughts as she stood by her window, sipping a lukewarm cup of tea, Minerva couldn't help but notice a young girl outside on the grounds. Hermione Granger was sitting on a bench underneath a birch tree, her bushy brown hair hanging loosely about her shoulders, a few stray strands touching the edge of the book that her nose was buried in. The scene reminded the Professor so much of herself, it almost brought her to tears. But no....it wasn't the resemblance that caused her tears, was it? Something else.....something entirely different.....

Then, suddenly, she realized exactly what the difference was. Hermione stood up, grinning, and waved to her two best friends, Ron and Harry. True friends. This girl had life.

Minerva jerked away from the window, hurriedly wiping away the tears that splashed into her teacup.

Being alive.

A/N: Gosh, that turned out REALLY differently than I had meant it. If you like it, please review....if you don't, well...I'm allergic to flames....