A/N: First off, I want to warn you....this sort of warps a few personalities. Don't tell me the personalities are wrong or the ages are screwy; I made them that way for a purpose. This takes place not long after Voldemort has begun to rise to power, so McGonagall is in her twenties. J.K. Rowling owns the characters, I'm not sure who owns Send in the Clowns, but it's a Broadway song from the musical "A Little Night Music."

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in midair
Send in the clowns

Minerva stared solemnly out her office window, her gray eyes reflecting the overcast sky. She had never been a serious person. No, everyone remembered her as being carefree, light-heared, cheerful....she was studious, of course, always at the top of her class at Hogwarts, but not serious.

All that had changed dramatically. Within one week, she had lost both her parents, her younger sister, almost all her relatives and old friends, to Voldemort's wrath. This sudden burst of reality had jerked her back to the ground for good.

It was all reasonable, really. Most members in her family were relatively powerful wizards and witches, and those she had gone to school with were in the prime of their lives. Why shouldn't Voldemort want to get rid of them?

There were a few left, of course, though most of them weren't her friends. Sibyll, Lucius, Narcissa, Rita...

And then there was Arthur. The serious, shy, quiet redhead in the back of the classroom had suddenly become a prominent member of the wizarding world....well, maybe not prominent, but he did have a job at the Ministry. Arthur hadn't lost anyone close to the Dark Lord. Arthur had recently married his sweetheart, Molly Finneran. Arthur was expecting his first child. Arthur was blissfully happy. What did he do to deserve happiness?

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around
One who can't move
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns

He was there at all the meetings held to discuss Voldemort, sharing drinks with his coworkers, having the time of his life despite the gloomy atmosphere that surrounded everyone. Minerva always watched him as she sat in a stiff folding chair against the far wall, witnessing his laughter and gaity. Once, that was her out there, having the fun, innocently unaware of the coldness that would later become her life.

"Funny, isn't it?" she thought idly, watching raindrops slide down the windowpane. They had completely reversed roles. She didn't even have any desire to be happy, now that Arthur was married. His engagement had caused her to realize something.

She loved him.

Just when I'd stopped
Opening doors
Finally knowing the one that I wanted
Was yours
Making my entrance again
With my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there

As a girl, she had always been a romantic, continually searching for the Prince Charming she just knew would ride over the horizon to fetch her some day. She had attended the wedding; Minerva and Molly had been good friends in school. Of course, Molly probably wouldn't have invited her if she had known what had happened.

Thinking back on it, Minerva was ashamed of saying anything in the first place....she had betrayed Molly by doing so, on top of making a complete fool of herself. A week before the wedding, she had told Arthur how she felt about him, feeling sure that if he knew she loved him, he would return the love. He hadn't.

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want
Sorry, my dear
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns!
Don't bother, they're here

The rejection had stung her. No one had ever rejected her before....she had always been well-liked, especially by the boys. It had never really occured to her that her Prince Charming would already be taken by the time she found him. She had made fools of them both.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns

With a sigh, Minerva turned away from the window. There were no second chances, not in this world. She had lost her one chance at real love.

"What's the point in loving, if you always lose what you love?" she said aloud, picking up a photograph of her family that sat on her desk. She crossed over to a cabinet, opened the very bottom drawer, and placed the picture inside. The drawer shut with a soft click.

Well, maybe next year.....