I almost couldn't bring myself to post a story before the Deathly Hallows, comes out, but I figure that this one probably won't become AU. You obviously know the outcome to this, but I am going to do my best to create a story that is as true to the canon as I can make it. I'm going to really work on characterization, but obviously the characters will be slightly different because they're fifty years younger. For those of you wondering about Year of the Grim, I was really frustrated because of everything that was thrown of by HBP and I pulled it, for now. I may repost it and finish it, but I hate writing fics in an AU. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. This chapter is pretty short, but the rest of them should be longer. Please review. I'd like to have your input.

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the characters and settings in the fic.

The Fight

She sat in the Gryffindor common room, anxiously awaiting her ten o'clock rounds. She was still unaccustomed to staying up later than eight and she felt her eyes drooping slightly. Glancing at her watch, she finally rose with her wand and a book. She slipped through the Gryffindor portrait hole and walked cautiously down the seventh floor hallway. A slight movement at the corner of her eye startled her.

"Lumos," she whispered, almost afraid of the result. Her wand burst to light. A small mouse scurried out from the shadows and across her path. She laughed slightly, berating herself for her jumpiness.

She strolled almost carelessly down the stairs, wondering if she would run into any other prefects on rounds, but the castle was still. The Great Hall was deserted, as well as the Entrance Hall, so she began making her way back upstairs. She entered the trophy room on the third floor, only to stop short. Someone, or something was standing with its back to her. It wore a long dark cloak and held at its side. She felt a chill crawl down her spine as the figure turned to face her. It stepped forward and the light hit its face just so she could make out that it was a man.

Seeing her, he laughed coldly and held out his hand. Her wand dimmed to black. Without thinking, she turned and ran up the stairs. He followed closely behind in hot pursuit.

She quickly leaped to a moving stairway and caught it as it shifted to the fourth floor, while the figure was forced to wait for its return. Hoping that she had lost him, she continued down the hall.

She dashed into the library and quickly made her way to the far side of the bookcases in an attempt to remain unseen. Rows and rows of shelves stood before her. She hurried along, her heels thudding quietly against the magically muted marble floor. She glanced furtively over her shoulder once - then again. He was here and he was watching her. She could feel it.

Her brisk run turned into a sprint as she neared the restricted section. She fumbled with the clasp on the partition, only to forsake her attempt and jumped over it. She could hear footsteps coming closer and closer. It was only a matter of time before he caught up.

Despite her urge to cry out in fear, she kept silent knowing it would do her no good. He was too close now. As she rounded the last corner of the restricted section, almost safe within her hiding place, she looked back. The shadow of a man, wand extended, reached towards her. She gasped slightly and reached blindly for the secret passage she had discovered the year before. A eerie hush fell over the entire library as the figure approached. Her eyes opened in terror as he pulled down his black hood, revealing his face. A flash of green light. Darkness.

Minerva McGonagall woke up in a cold sweat to find herself sprawled out on a couch in the Gryffindor common room. Quickly gathering in her surroundings, she sprang up and looked at her watch. Ten-fifteen! She was fifteen minutes late. She grabbed her wand and hurried out the portrait hole. Tom Riddle stood opposite the wall holding his wand in his hand and looking exceedingly displeased.

"Some of us have more to aspire for than prefect's duties, Minerva. We can't all afford to give up fifteen minutes of our lives while our partners prepare needlessly for mundane responsibilities."

Minerva glared and stalked ahead of him. Tom's eyes glistened at her reaction and he followed happily behind.

"What? No witty retort? No quick repartee? Really Minnie, I'm disappointed in you."

Minerva shrugged off the fact that he just called her Minnie, and continued on. She was tired of arguing with him and wanted to get through with her duties as soon as possible, without another unnecessary altercation.

"I bet Albus would be disappointed in you as well."

Minerva's wand was instantly at his throat as she thrust him against the wall.

"What is that supposed to mean, Riddle?" she growled angrily.

Tom, unfazed, replied lazily, "You tell me."

Minerva gripped her wand more tightly and jabbed it against his neck. Tom's eyes widened slightly, but he continued to smirk.

"I want to know what you were insinuating," she said slowly.

Footsteps sounded in the hallway, and she quickly stepped back. Two fourth years in a somewhat compromising and uncomfortable looking hold appeared around the corner. Minerva sighed.

"Blotts. Jenkins. You know better. This is the third time I've caught you this month. Fifty points from Gryffindor."

The forth years scowled and crawled through the portrait hole. Minerva distinctly heard "traitor" grumbled by one of them as the portrait slammed shut. She turned back to Tom who was grinning broadly.

"Thank you, Minerva. You make it so easy for me to find reasons to tease you, its almost scandalous. I'm beginning to think you fancy me."

"Shove off," Minerva muttered. She finally reached the end of the hallway and began down the stairs. Tom followed after her, intent on ruining her evening as much as possible.

"So what was it exactly that kept you so long, Minnie?"

Minerva balled her fists. She knew she had to resist fighting him, but if he continued to degrade her name, there was little she could do to contain herself.

"Were you anticipating an encounter with…Albus?"

She kept walking, her eyes burning with pure rage.

"After all, you are his favorite student. So tell me - Minnie - how are those late night apprenticeship sessions going? I'm sure that Albus finds all sorts of interesting transfiguration things to teach you. You meet in his private chambers, am I right? I'm sure you're just loading up on all kinds of interesting…"

Wham! Minerva's fist made contact with Tom's noise, slamming him first into the wall and then to the floor. He howled in pain and scrambled to his feet with his wand out, but she was too quick for him.

"Expelliarmus!" she cried. His wand flew into the air and he fell back to the ground.

She stood above him with her foot on his chest. "Never speak to me in that vulgar manner again, Riddle," she spat. "I'll not tolerate it."

Tom grinned evilly and snatched her wand. Stepping back in surprise, she fumbled around for his.

Blood dripped from his nose, and he wiped it back with his sleeve. "Whatever you say, Minerva."

She found his wand a few feet away and held it up to meet her own. They stood, frozen, waiting for the other to make the first move. In all the commotion, they had missed the soft footsteps approach and take residence behind a statue.

"Go ahead McGonagall," Tom snarled.

"I'm not going to lower myself to attacking you first," she replied. "I'll defend myself at most."

Tom's mouth flew open, blood still oozing from his nose.

"You just punched me in the nose, Minerva! How is that not attacking me first?"

Minerva frowned and stepped closer. "You were attacking my reputation!"

"Well, Merlin forbid anyone tease you about something that's true!"

"It's not true!"

"Then why did you hit me?"

"Because you've been the one who's spread that rumor all over school."

"Rumors aren't always unfounded, Minerva."

"For goodness sake, he's one hundred years old!"

Tom lowered his wand warily as Minerva did the same.

"It was only a joke," he said quietly.

"It wasn't funny," she seethed.

Tom rolled his eyes and walked past her. "Get a sense of humor, Minerva."

"Get a sense of moral decency, Riddle."

Minerva followed after him. She paused at the top of the stairs, hearing a slight movement, but ignored it and continued on drudgingly towards the rest of her rounds.

Minerva entered her dorm room at eleven o'clock and collapsed on her bed. She had already been exhausted from the day of classes, and she was even more so after an evening of bickering with the spawn of Slytherin himself.

She sat up and tugged at the tie holding her long, black hair in place. Tom Marvolo Riddle. Even his name reeked of pure evil. He had begun as a mere annoyance her second year - an exceedingly pompous first year who believed that he knew more about magic than Merlin himself. The mere annoyance had grown into an incredibly large annoyance, an enemy even. Minerva shuddered at the power he seemed to command among the Slytherins and younger students. He needed someone to keep him in check. Someone to show him that it wasn't feasible to rule the world - not that anyone would try to attempt that.

Minerva bit her lip and laid down, not bothering to change into her night things. Yet, the muggle world was in uproar over just that. Maybe the idea of taking over the world was not as foolish as everyone thought. Still, she laughed slightly to herself, trying not to disturb her sleeping roommates, it was hard to imagine the impending ruler of the world being knocked to the ground by a sixteen year old girl.

Tom stormed into his dormitory, throwing his bag on the floor. His roommates sat up slightly at the noise, but fell quickly back to sleep. Tom examined his blood-stained shirt sleeve and swore loudly. He peeled his shirt off and threw it on the floor, before grabbing a book and crawling into bed.

"Minerva McGonagall," he fumed to himself. He drew the green curtains around himself and lit his wand to be able to read his book.

The lit wand revealed a rather battered copy of Hogwarts: A History. Tom furrowed his brow and made hurried notations as he flipped through the pages.

Minerva McGonagall. He couldn't get her out of his mind. How dare she have the nerve to hit him like that! What kind of witch was she?

"She could have at least forced me into a duel," he grumbled. "That at least would have been better than hitting me when I wasn't looking. That had to have made it pretty easy for her. Cowardly woman."

Tom sighed. He knew that she had beaten him fair and square and that he deserved it. And, he had to admit, her eyes glistened almost prettily behind those square-rimmed glasses when she was mad.

What was he thinking? He had to concentrate on the task at hand. No pretty eyes were going to distract him from five years of hard work. He was so close. There had to be something he was overlooking. He bent forward and tore harder through the book as the night wasted on.