Anyway, about this fic. This takes place at the end of Ginny's seventh year at Hogwarts, and it's told from her mother's point of view, except for it also tells one scene that Molly never actually saw. And it doesn't really have anything at all to do with Ginny. Sorry! Acually, the first segment takes place the day of Ginny's graduation. The second segment takes place towards the end of Molly's seventh year, and the end segment is back at the graduation again. f you hate me for this idea....well, feel free to. I guess it might seem that the characters' personalities are a little bent, but I think I kept things pretty close to how they could have been. They may seem to say/do things that don't seem fit the character, but in some situations people will act much differently than they're expected to. Oh, and I know the ages don't exactly match up....but hey, it's fanfiction. I want them to be the same age! And while I'm thinking of it, I don't own anything. Please don't sue me.
"All my babies are grown now."
Letting her go.
Thinking those three words made Molly remember someone else she would be seeing at the graduation. Someone else she had let go, years before. This would be the sixth time she had attended a Hogwarts graduation ceremony since her own. The sixth time she had been given the chance to speak to Minerva McGonagall since their seventh year.
That wasn't quite true; she HAD spoken to Minerva at other times, when she and Arthur had been called to Hogwarts in an emergency regarding one of their children (or surrogate children, in Harry's case.) But all of those times had been stressful situations. Graduation was the only occassion where they could have spoken casually, but they never had.
Sighing, Molly poured herself a cup of tea and sat down at the kitchen table, waiting for Arthur to finish showering before they left. She and Minerva had always been an unlikely pair of friends, now that she really thought about it. She was short and a little on the plump side, but not exactly overweight.....well, that was in her younger days. Seven children had caused her figure to stretch over the years. But her personality hadn't really changed much from what it was then. She had always been a happy girl, cheerful and full of sunshine for everyone. The years hadn't really changed anything except her innocent views, and motherhood had caused her to become sterner, but she still tried to be warm to everyone she could.
Minerva, on the other hand, had been a different story. She had a tendency to be withdrawn and serious, although she could laugh and have a good time when she was with the right people. Even their looks differed greatly; Minerva's pale skin, dark hair and cloudy grey eyes contrasted sharply with Molly's rosy cheeks, flaming red hair and chocolate-colored orbs. Still, all their differences somehow caused them to be friends. Best friends, even.
Even now, Molly marvelled over how their friendship did a complete turn-around with no fair warning. When she first befriended Minerva, the quiet, studious brunette had been contemplating suicide. She came to depend deeply on Molly, who was older by several months, but still in the same year. They were really quite alike, deep down inside.....they understood each other the way only best friends can. Although Molly was thankful to have a 'soul-sister' to confide in, Minerva's dependency on her sometimes became quite overbearing. She worried constantly over the other girl, fearful that an unkind word or a careless comment would put another scar on the pale arms. There were times when she wanted to get out of the friendship completely, but didn't dare chance Minerva's reaction.
But the friendship HAD ended......and in a way Molly never, ever expected it to.......
"Hi Minnie!" Seventeen year old Molly called out cheerfully when she spied her best friend sitting at a table in the otherwise deserted common room. As usual, Minerva had her nose buried in a book, and didn't even bother to look up at the greeting.
The sullen tone of voice caused Molly to frown slightly. "Something the matter?" she asked, a tinge of worry in her voice.
Minerva raised her eyes from the book momentarily. "Um, no?" she replied, in a tone that plainly said, "You're bugging me, go away."
Molly suppressed a sigh. Over the past several weeks, she had grown accustomed to Minerva's attitude.....she almost got the feeling that her friend was annoyed with her, but she couldn't for the life of her reason why. She had been ignoring the mood as though it wasn't there, hoping it would eventually go away.
"I wish you had been at lunch today....the funniest thing happened! You know Luke McAbee, the Ravenclaw seeker? Well --"
"Molly, can it wait? I'm busy." Minerva interrupted her friend's tale. The room grew silent for a moment, and Molly closed her eyes, pushing aside the painful feeling that the snappish words brought.
"Oh. All right. Anyway, I guess it was really just funny if you saw it.....you kind of had to be there." She paused a moment, fiddling with a strand of fire-red hair that had pulled loose from her braid. "Will you come to lunch tomorrow?"
Minerva sighed, annoyed. "No. I don't have time, I've got work to do." she replied.
"Oh, come on, Minnie...grades are important, I know, but not as important as your friends..." Molly started, but was cut short again.
"Easy for you to say! Your parents don't care whether you get good grades or not, they never punish you no matter what you do! I make one bad mark and they take away everything they can when I get home!" Minerva exploded, slamming her book closed and standing up from the table.
Another long silence filled the room. "But Minnie, I miss you. We hardly ever get to talk anymore....it's no fun hanging out with all the other girls without you." Molly said, hoping to put her friend in a better mood. It didn't work.
"Look, I wish you'd stop depending on me so much, it's just dragging me down. I can't get anything done with you around, and you get mad if my attention is on anything other than you for more than two minutes!" Minerva cried, exasperated. "Can't you go out and get your own life?"
By this time, Molly had given up on trying to hold back her emotions. Tears ran unchecked down her face as she stared at the taller girl, disbelief in her eyes. She couldn't understand this, not at all. After all she had done, after all the times she had kept her mouth shut when Minerva had somehow made her angry, she was being yelled at for wanting friendship. The initial hurt she felt was replaced by anger.....and this time, she wasn't about to keep her mouth shut.
"ME drag YOU down? Tell me, Minerva, who was it that kept you from killing yourself when you had the pills and the razor blades right in front of you? Who was it that stayed here with you in the commons room when you were depressed, instead of going to Hogsmeade with everyone else? Who stayed up until all hours of the night when you were crying for no reason, even when classes began early the next morning? Tell me!" she demanded, her voice quivering with anger and frustration.
"Look, that was a long time ago. I changed. And I'm tired of your whining when things don't go exactly your way. You complain about everything I say, you twist everything around to try and make me feel bad. I'm tired of it. All right?" Minerva's voice didn't shake at all, although it did increase in volume.
Molly couldn't believe what she was hearing. Had she really spent all this time fighting back her own anger just to have Minerva's released on her like this? Then realization hit her. Minerva had probably been keeping her anger inside as well. In trying to keep from hurting each other, they'd only been letting things build up to a breaking point.
"You know what? We'd both be better off without each other." she said suddenly. The anger was gone from her voice, replaced with honesty.
Minerva shrugged in response. "All right, if that's what you want."
"I'm sorry if I've been dragging you down. All this time, I thought I was the one holding you up." She started towards the entrance to the girl's dormitory, then said without looking back, "If you ever need me, you know where to find me."
"Thanks." came the distracted reply. Molly chanced to look behind her, and could barely believe what she saw. Minerva had already gone back to her books and was reading as though nothing had ever happened. Setting her jaw firmly and biting her tongue to keep back a hateful remark, she left the room, shutting the door loudly behind her. Hurrying to her bed, she climbed in and drew the curtains around her, silent tears streaming down her face.
A full minute after Molly left the room, Minerva still sat bent over her books, but she wasn't seeing the words on the pages. Her shoulers shook as she tried in vain to keep reading, finally slamming the book shut. A single tear dripped down on the worn cover, staining the faded, pale red material the shade of blood.
The tea in front of her grew steadily colder as Molly stared ahead blankly, lost in thought. A couple of times, she had felt sorry for ending her friendship with Minerva so abrubtly, as there was still the lingering sense of responsibility for her emotionally-unstable friend's happiness. She had even tried to mend things, but Minerva wouldn't give in......after a time, Molly had realized that the younger girl's state-of-mind wasn't as fragile as it had been when they first met, and so she gave up trying, confident that Minerva could take care of herself.
Even now, she felt sorry for the Transfiguration Professor. Although a successful teacher, Minerva still seemed rather lonely at times. She didn't have many friends, and no family at all. Each time one of Molly's children graduated, she managed to catch Minerva's eye at least once during the ceremonies, and offered her a smile, trying to ease the bitterness of the past. The smile was never returned.
Molly didn't have time to dwell on the matter any more after that; her tea was stone-cold, her husband had finished his shower and they had to leave before they were late. She was so busy with other things that she didn't have the chance to think about Minerva again until she saw her in person at Hogwarts.
Albus Dumbledore had just finished welcoming the parents and friends of the graduates, and the Deputy Headmistress stepped up to read off the names of each student so that he or she could come recieve a diploma. As she reached to unravel the scroll, Molly caught her eye, and smiled a hesitant, hopeful smile.
Then, after more than thirty years, Minerva smiled back.