Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, except for Victoria Mercer, but if you like her feel free to use her :-D Harry Potter and his universe belongs entirely to the fantastic JK Rowling.

I am not English, so unfortunately I sometimes confuse American and British spelling and words, I apologize for that in advance.

A/N: This is my first Harry Potter story, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway :-D This is Minerva's story as I imagine it and I hope you'll like it as well. I hadn't read the final book, when I started writing this, so I may be wrong on some things, but I like it too much to change anything. There are two different endings to this story, in some ways they are similar, but in others they aren't. I can't decide which is best, so I will post both and then maybe you can leave me a review and let me know which one you like best. Thanks for reading.

- Foxy Nighthawk.

Remembering

Chapter One

Minerva McGonagall sat alone in the darkness of her chambers, for once she had indulged in the luxury of a soft and comfortable armchair. The funeral was over and she had fulfilled her new assignment as headmistress perfectly. She had made sure to distract Rufus Scrimgeour from Grawp long enough for Hagrid to get his giant brother back to the forbidden forest; she smiled a little at the thought of Grawp – Hagrid sure knew how to pick them. She had made sure that Peeves hadn't played any pranks on the prominent guests who were staying at the castle for the night; she still wasn't sure how she had managed that feat. And still she had managed, with help from her colleagues, to make sure that the funeral had been in the spirit of Albus Dumbledore.

Albus Dumbledore. The greatest wizard who'd ever lived and she'd just been to his funeral. She blinked away the tears threatening to spill. Albus had been so much more than the greatest wizard in the world to her. He had been the one to inspire her to become a teacher. He had given her the love for transfiguration. And he had become her loyal friend, the one who had been there when she had gone through the best periods of her life and through the worst – and now he was gone. She stared into the fire burning lively in the fireplace and remembered the first time she, as an adult, had met the quirky, gentle and wise person that was Albus Dumbledore.

It was a warm summer day when the 27 year old Minerva McGonagall had arrived in Hogsmeade on the Knight bus. It had been a stomach wrenching trip and she had felt a little green around the gills when she finally had her feet planted on solid ground again. She had enjoyed being back in Hogsmeade, she remembered the fun trips she'd had when she had been a student at Hogwarts herself. Looking around she had taken in the atmosphere and nodded to a few witches and wizards who had recognized her. She was early for her meeting with Headmaster Dumbledore, being early for appointments was something she had always made a point of since she herself hated people being late. She picked up her bag and walked briskly towards The Three Broomsticks and absentmindedly wondered if Mr. Stilkpilk was still managing it or if somebody else had taken over from the elderly wizard. Soon she arrived at her destination and went inside, squinting to adjust her eyes from the bright light outside she looked around the room. She didn't see Dumbledore but she immediately recognized the big man sitting at a table by himself drinking from what looked like a big bucket. She made her way over to him, while nodding politely to a few people she vaguely recognized. Stopping at the end of the table where he was sitting she put down her bag and greeted him.

"Hello Hagrid." She said with a smile, unlike a lot of people she genuinely liked the Hogwarts Groundskeeper. "Do you mind if I join you?" She asked.

"Why, I'll say…" Hagrid said looking up from his bucket. "If it aint Minerva McGonagall, the best transfiguration student Hogwarts has seen since Albus Dumbledore himself." He pointed to the chair opposite him and then yelled out towards the bar. "Oi, Rosmerta we need a glass of firewhisky over here!"

"No, no!" Minerva stopped him. "I have a job interview with Headmaster Dumbledore in a little while and I'd better keep sober for it."

"Make that a butterbeer instead, Rosmerta." Hagrid bellowed to the busty woman at the bar, who nodded to him.

"How have you been, Hagrid?" Minerva asked.

"Been keeping busy, been keeping busy, lots of things to take care of around the castle." Hagrid smiled and took a swig of his drink. "And with a great wizard like Albus Dumbledore as the new Headmaster things will be better than ever before. A great man he is, Albus Dumbledore, a great man."

"That he is." McGonagall agreed nodding. "That he is."

"Thank you, Rosmerta." Hagrid paid for the butterbeer and then held up his own drink in a toast to Minerva. "For good luck on your interview." He said before drinking.

"Thank you, Hagrid." She smiled softly before taking a sip of her drink.

"Ah, Professor McGonagall," Dumbledore appeared at their table, "you are, as I expected, early."

"Headmaster Dumbledore," she rose from her chair and extended her hand, "it is good to see you again."

"And you." Dumbledore shook her hand and tipped his head slightly. "Shall we?" He gestured towards the stairs leading up to the rooms on the next floor. "I have taken the liberty to rent a room for the interview, so we can talk in private."

"Yes." She nodded and picked up her bag. "Thank you for the drink, Hagrid." She said to the big man.

"I'll buy you another one when you get back here with a job." Hagrid winked to her.

She followed behind Dumbledore towards the stairs, but cast one last look and smile towards Hagrid hoping that he hadn't just jinxed her interview.

She was woken from her musings by a loud bang from somewhere outside her chambers followed by Peeves laughing loudly. She sighed and got up from her chair straightening the black robe she was still wearing from the funeral, undoubtedly Filch would be knocking on her door soon. She wasn't in the mood to deal with Peeves at the moment. This night was for remembering; remembering the past, remembering the time she was the happiest, remembering the losses in a war that made no sense. As she had expected there was a hurried knock on her door.

"Enter." She called out coolly.

"Headmistress," Filch entered out of breath, "Peeves is making trouble again. He knocked over the big vase on the landing…"

"Did it hit anyone?" McGonagall interrupted him.

"No." Filch shook his head. "But…"

"Then I will deal with Peeves in the morning, Argus." She stopped him again. "Just clean up the mess and I'll deal with him tomorrow."

"Yes Headmistress." Filch turned and walked out of her chambers again, muttering what she was sure was his longing to have Dolores Umbridge back as Headmistress.

She sighed and locked the door behind the janitor before sitting back down in the chair. She had no idea how she could take over after Dumbledore. How was she going to take over from the greatest wizard ever seen? She got lost in thoughts again.

"You finished your studies in transfigurations with flying colours, I see." Dumbledore smiled at her from across the small table they were seated at. "And you have mastered the art of animagus as one of just seven this century." He looked at the paper in his hand. "That is very impressive."

"Thank you." She gave him what she hoped was her most humble smile, but she couldn't help feeling a little smug. "I worked hard to be the best I could be."

"Yes," Dumbledore nodded, "I always knew that you would excel in this subject, having taught you myself." He smiled. "Now, just as a formality, would you mind showing me your animagus form?" He asked with a crooked smile.

"Of course." She concentrated and shortly after a tabby car had taken her place in the chair.

"Very good," Dumbledore clapped, "very good indeed." She changed back to her human form and smiled. "A cat is indeed a very good choice for both the magic and the muggle world. It can prove very useful in the future."

"In the future, Sir?" She asked confused, but pleased by his words.

"Yes, in the future. I hope that this is one of the few times I am wrong, but I don't think it is." He got up from his chair and held out his hand. "Welcome back to Hogwarts Professor McGonagall, I'll see you at the start of the school year."

"Is... Is that it?" She stammered out while getting up to shake his hand. "I got the job?"

"Yes, Professor." Dumbledore chuckled. "Hagrid will show you to the castle and your chambers. But now I have urgent matters to attend to, my brother seems to have gotten himself into a spot of trouble. There was a mention of a goat, I think." He put on his hat and cloak. "Until we meet again." He tipped his hat and apparated from the room.

She smiled at the memory, never in her wildest imagination had she imagined that the interview would have been that easy. On the walk back to Hogwarts that night so long ago Hagrid had told her that he had been at The Three Broomsticks only to show her back to the castle per Dumbledore's request. She got lost in her thoughts again.

She spent the first week of her return to Hogwarts to reacquaint herself with the big castle and to decorate her chambers and office. Her office only had the things and furniture that was absolutely necessary and she had done that on purpose. She had been a student once and she believed that strict discipline was the most important thing when teaching young people. Her private chambers were the direct opposite of her office, though. She had decorated it in warm earthy colours and she felt the calm and serenity in the air as she stood in the middle of her living room and examined her finished work. She walked over to the mantle and moved a vase slightly to the left, yes, now it was as perfect as it was going to be. Now it was time to take a look at her new classroom, she felt a light tingle in her stomach at the thought. She had her own classroom; everything she had worked so hard for had finally come through. She felt a little giddy and smiled all the way to the transfiguration classroom.

She stopped right outside the door feeling a little nervous. When she had been a student this had been Dumbledore's classroom and he was the one whose (big) shoes she was going to fill. She tentatively reached out for the doorknob, but jumped back with a shriek when someone put a hand on her shoulder. Turning abruptly she collided with the person standing behind her. They both got out of balance and fell ungracefully to the floor with an 'umph'. Minerva lifted herself up on her elbows and looked down at the woman she had landed on and at once she got lost in the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen.

"I'm so sorry," the woman said, "I thought you'd seen me walk down the corridor."

"Oh," Minerva realized that she was still lying on top of the other woman and got up immediately, "I hadn't seen you. I suppose I got a little lost in thoughts." She reached out a hand to help the other woman up and took the opportunity to take a better look at her. She was a beautiful woman with blue eyes and long blonde hair pulled up in a ponytail. She was slightly taller than Minerva and, judging from the grip she had on her hand, quite strong and as far as she could judge the woman had a very nice figure under the robes she was wearing.

"You must be the new transfigurations teacher," the woman continued, "and don't worry I always greet the new members of staff by scaring them and knocking them on the floor."

"Oh, really?" Minerva looked at her. "How peculiar."

"No, that was a joke actually." The blonde looked down the corridor.

"Oh." Minerva let out a little laugh painfully aware that it came much too late. She held out her hand. "Minerva McGonagall, nice to uh bump into you."

"You too," The blonde took her hand in a firm yet gentle grip, "Victoria Mercer."

"And I am the new transfiguration teacher." Minerva confirmed a little too late.

"You have big shoes to fill." Victoria voiced Minerva's earlier thoughts.

"I do indeed." She nodded. "I'm terrified at the thought of it." She admitted sheepishly.

"I felt the same when I first started here." The blonde witch smiled understandingly.

"But you didn't have to fill the shoes of Albus Dumbledore." McGonagall said with a small laugh.

"No, you're right." Mercer laughed with her. "But if you need any help to find your way around this place or need a couple of notes on the worst of the students, you just come find me."

"I was a student here, so I can find my way around the place." She told her, but hurried to continue when she saw the slightly disappointed look on the other woman's face. "But I might take you up on that other offer." She couldn't help the slightly flirtatious smile forming on her lips. "What do you teach?"

"Care of Magical Creatures," Victoria smiled back at her, "And I'm the deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts as well."

"That is very impressive." McGonagall gave her a not so hidden once over. "You seem young for such a position."

"I probably am," She said honestly, "but Dumbledore appointed me Deputy Headmistress and said something about it possibly being useful in the future."

"He said something like that when he hired me," Minerva mused, "but he didn't explain what he meant by it."

"He didn't to me either." Victoria said with an apologetic shrug of her shoulders. "But I trust our Headmaster, he is the greatest wizard I have ever met."

"Yes." She nodded in agreement, then looked at the door leading to her new classroom.

"I'll let you get back to what you were doing." Professor Mercer backed up a few steps. "I just wanted to introduce myself before school starts." She picked up a bag Minerva hadn't noticed before and, noticing the black haired witch's stare, the blonde explained. "I just got back from my vacation. Anyway, it was nice meeting you and I am very sorry for knocking you off your feet like that."

"It was nice to meet you too." Minerva kept her eyes on the retreating figure of the care of magical creatures' teacher until she turned around the corner and out of sight. She shook her head to clear her thoughts of the deep blue eyes and determinedly entered her new classroom.

With a flick of her wand a drawer opened and a picture frame floated into her hands. She looked down at it and smiled sadly to the two figures in it. It was a younger version of herself and standing behind her with her arms circled around her waist was Victoria Mercer. They both wore big smiles and time and time again the younger Minerva in the picture turned her head and kissed Victoria on the cheek.

"God knows I still love you." She whispered softly to the blonde witch in the picture. She gently placed the picture on the table next to her and leaned her head back against the chair.

The first three months at Hogwarts had gone by as well as could be expected, so she wasn't as nervous as she could have been when her evaluation with Dumbledore came up. She was sitting opposite him in his office waiting for him to start talking.

"Professor McGonagall," he started, "you have exceeded even my expectations these three months."

"Thank you, Headmaster." She felt her cheeks burn a little.

"I, of course, hope you will continue on as a teacher here at Hogwarts?"

"I will." She said short and precise.

"In that case," Dumbledore smiled at her, "you might remember that I was Head of Gryffindor House before becoming Headmaster."

"Yes, I do." Minerva smiled. "I am a Gryffindor myself."

"Professor Becket has been filling in for me in this first semester, but it is not his wish to continue and therefore I want to offer you the job as Head of Gryffindor House as well as being transfiguration teacher."

"Well, I… I… I accept." She stammered out happily.

"Splendid." Dumbledore said with a knowing glint in his eyes. "I will make the announcement this evening at dinner."

"Yes, thank you," She got up from her seat, "I'll see you at dinner then." She left his office and walked to her chambers with an extra bounce in her step.

She stopped shortly when she saw the witch leaning a little too casually against the wall outside her chambers reading a book. Her hand went involuntarily to her hair checking that no locks had fallen out of her tight ponytail, once satisfied she continued down the corridor.

"Professor Mercer." She greeted the blonde witch.

"Professor McGonagall." The blonde smiled at her and closed her book. "How did the evaluation go?"

"It went perfectly well." Minerva opened the door to her chambers and showed the other woman in. She quickly formed a strong friendship with the blonde and over the short time gone by the initial attraction she had felt had blossomed into love. She had fallen in love with her colleague, but she hadn't acted on her feelings. She wasn't sure that she felt it was proper for colleagues to be in a relationship and more importantly she wasn't at all sure that the curvy blonde harboured the same feelings for her.

"So you're staying on then?" The blonde turned towards her and watched as she closed the door.

"I am." Minerva confirmed. "And as of tonight I am also Head of Gryffindor House." She said with a little shriek.

"Wow!" Victoria threw her arms around her and hugged her tightly. "Congratulations! That is so great, Min!" She loosened her grip a little and moved her head to look her in the eyes.

"Thank you." Minerva's voice had dropped to a whisper.

"Gryffindor couldn't have gotten a better person for the job." Victoria's voice had dropped to a whisper as well. She looked her in the eyes a second longer, before slowly moving her head closer to Minerva's. Touching their foreheads together, she brought her hand up to Minerva's cheek and caressed it softly before tilting her head slightly upwards to meet her lips in a sweet loving kiss.

Minerva felt the fireworks go off in her entire body by the light pressure from the other witch's lips against her own. The kiss was slow and unassuming, chaste almost, but she had never felt stronger for another person than she did at that moment. When it ended she snuggled content into the crook of Victoria's neck.

"That was long overdue, huh?" The blonde whispered into her hair.

Minerva moved to look her in the eyes and nodded.

"Yes. Yes, it was." She smiled and moved in for another kiss.