Spoilers for Book Seven
Summary: A professor looks back upon what was lost.
The Hogwarts Express pulled out as she watched. It went down the windy, twisting track and was lost to view. So many would never come back; some due to graduation, and some due to the battle. She still had to hold back tears at the memory of several Gryffindors wrapping Colin Creevy's tiny body in the flag from their common room.
Minor debris from the students lay scattered on the walkway. One particular piece caught her eye. Bending down, she picked up the piece of parchment. She gasped as she recognized it; years ago she'd taken it from four trouble-making students and passed it on to Filch.
She kept her hands from trembling as she walked back to her office. She'd return it to its rightful owner, but first…
Arriving at her desk, she sat down and touched her wand to the parchment and spoke. "Professor McGonagall greets Misters Padfoot, Prongs, Moony, and Wormtail." Though Wormtail had been a traitor, she'd always remember the small student who only wanted to be recognized and respected. She couldn't leave him out.
McGonagall's heart skipped a beat as familiar handwriting scrolled across the yellowed surface.
"Mister Padfoot greets Professor McGonagall, and still thinks he should have gotten an O on his Transfiguration N.E.W.T.S. instead of the E she gave him."
"Mister Prongs thinks Professor McGonagall should have taught Animagi magic in class; it would have made life easier."
"Mister Wormtail would like to say that McGonagall's tree-to-pig trick was the best he'd ever seen."
"Mister Moony wonders if Professor McGonagall has more biscuits; he rather likes it when she shares."
Minerva savored the words, just as she treasured the small wizard painting she had of Albus. She'd lost so many in this war; everyone she loved was gone. She still cared about many people, but smiles were now so much harder to come by. The image of George Weasley, lost in his own world and missing an ear, crossed her mind. Holding the map, Minerva went down the staircase and through the hallways to where a small swamp was roped off. She joined Flitwick, Pomfrey, Hooch, Trelawny, and Sprout on a bench nearby.
They sat in silence as the afternoon drifted by; nothing else needed to be said.