My thanks to Kathryn Isabella for inspiring this chapter Great idea, so here's your wish! If anybody else would like to see a chapter written about a particular character, please say so. I'd be more than happy to oblige, and you'll get full credit for inspiring it.

Long goodbyes, chapter five- Minerva McGonagall

Minerva had remained at Hogwarts, even after all that happened. That's how it was with death, she realized. People are so used to living one way that they can't adjust to the thought of living any other, without the person who was gone. It was as if she believed that if she didn't change anything, if everything remained as it was, then she could bring Albus back. If she didn't change anything, maybe life wouldn't change and he would return to make things exactly the way they were.

Deep down Minerva knew it was silly. But she had never dealt well with death and loss. She had been a Gryffindor in her day, yes, brave and strong, but it inwardly she cowered. Hogwarts without Albus Dumbledore… it was like winter without snow, or spring without rain and flowers. It was just like that: bleak, with nothing to look forward to.

She didn't want to let it go. She had actually thrown a tantrum at a house elf that had come to clean up Dumbledore's mess so she could fix the place as she wanted. But she wanted it this way. It had to stay. Everything about the room screamed Albus, and she couldn't throw that away.

She turned to look at the new portrait on the wall. There he was, sleeping away, as if nothing was wrong with the world. A small, wrapped candy was closed loosely in his fingers. Minerva couldn't bring herself to look closer. Albus had loved his sweets.

She sighed, deciding to move at last. As she stood, she brushed the golden perch that Fawkes had once stood on. It tipped and knocked over a small table.

She screeched, clutching at the perch and sitting it upright. She moved every paper to where it had been on the table, the broken quill and the small orb that held a model of the solar system. She looked around the floor, making sure she hadn't missed anything when she saw them.

It wouldn't have been much of an omen to anyone else, but to Minerva it was heart-wrenching. A small pile of lemon drops had sat on the table, and now were scattered before here.

"Care for a lemon drop?"

"A what?"

"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle candy that I'm rather fond of."

She had never accepted the offer. She had thought it was silly.

She pocketed one, the tears rolling down her lined face, and put the rest on the table, sorry she had never lowered her guard a bit to share such simple pleasures with her friend. And now it was too late, she never would. But she swore she would never make such a mistake again.