December 20th 1944
The screeches of the air raid sirens filled the dusty basement which now housed around twenty different people. Small children cowered behind their mothers' skirts, families huddled together and the stench of fear lingering in the air. In the midst of it all sat a young woman of nineteen, who was calmly, almost oblivious to her surroundings, writing in a thick leather-bound book that appeared to have no title.
She wasn't oblivious to the world around her. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Air raids had been extremely scarce at her home in the highlands of Scotland - she lived in a tiny village which contained no more than a dozen homes, why should they attack that? The air raids truly terrified her, though she would never admit it, more than anything else could ever do, but she found a solace, of sorts, in writing through her ordeals. She had travelled down to London to search for a home closer to the Ministry of Magic (Apparating from Scotland to London every day was fairly wearisome) just to use while she completed her Auror training. The wizarding world, in recent times, had been more in need of Aurors than ever before. Grindelwald was gaining popularity. Hundreds of lives were lost. Even more were torn apart.
So now, she sat, scribbling away, sketching the odd person to relieve her troubled mind, in a group of Muggles. She was the only witch in the basement, the only one who truly understood the horrors of Grindelwald and his supporters. Her name was Minerva McGonagall.
A huge BOOM echoed around the basement, shaking the room and bringing a little girl to Minerva's right, who could be non more than four years old, to tears. The girl immediately clung to Minerva's side and cried into the side of her shirt. Minerva dropped her journal and embraced the girl, stroking her long blond curls.
"Hush little one. You're all right… shush. Good girl. Now, where is your mummy?" The girl pointed a shaking finger towards a plump woman, in the corner of the basement, who seemed to be searching for something. Minerva stood, holding the girl's hand, and led her towards her mother. The woman had blond curls, like her daughter, a round face and glittering grey eyes.
"I believe this little one belongs to you," said Minerva, "she was startled by the bombs. All right now though, aren't you darling?" The little girl nodded and wrapped her arms around Minerva's legs.
"Come now, Annie," called the mother, "we can go home soon." Annie refused to detach herself from Minerva, causing her mother to lift her up from her feet and take her away. Annie peered over her mothers shoulder, at the witch who was left standing in the corner.
'So much for gratitude,' thought Minerva. The girl seemed so attached to her. As she pondered this, a tall, dark-haired man strided over to Minerva and presented her with her own journal.
"You left this," he explained in a barely a whisper, "I think the girl sensed your magic. I know I can, right powerful it is." The man had a heavy Australian accent and was lean but with defined muscles and a prominent jaw. His piercing blue eyes bore into her emerald ones. He looked to be about twenty years of age.
"Thank you. So… you're a wizard?" Minerva replied in a hushed tone.
"It looks like it, doesn't it?"
"Do you think the girl's a witch?"
"I'm not sure exactly. Sometimes strong magic just attracts people towards you, it's usually more noticeable with children. Perhaps she sensed your power, it is normally a comfort to younger ones in times of great emotional distress."
"I see…. Oh, how rude of me! My name is Minerva… Minerva McGonagall." She stuck out her hand which he gladly accepted.
"Typhon Bedgegood at your service," he kissed the back of her hand, "Pleasure, I am sure."
"I must say that it is rather a shame to meet under such dire circumstances but, nevertheless -"
Minerva was cut off as a second siren wailed, announcing that it was safe to leave the shelters. As the families prepared the children to brace the harsh winter winds, Minerva and Typhon made a swift exit from the basement. Minerva didn't wish to stay there any longer than she must.
The chill bit at her face and hands as she attempted to assess the damage done to the street. The street in which they stood bore no marks of an exploded bomb. However, the next street down had no such luck.
Minerva turned a corner and gasped with shock; where there had once stood rows of small terraced houses, there now lay masses of rubble and piles of concrete. The remnants of destruction. Minerva was looking into the very face of despair. Was all of this really necessary?
Typhon rounded the corner and saw what had stopped Minerva in her tracks.
"Terrible, isn't it? It makes you wonder, what is the point?" The two stood together, consumed in an awkward silence. That was, until Typhon decided to break it with small talk.
"So, where is it that you work?"
"I am actually around a month from completing my Auror training. And you?"
"I work in the Muggle Liaisons Office actually. You know, it's strange that I haven't seen you around, what with working in the same building and all."
"Well, in the Ministry of Magic, one never knows what one may discover."
"I… I should probably get going now. Umm… I'll drop into the Auror Office one day to see you one day, that is, if you wouldn't mind?"
"No, no of course not! That would be wonderful. I am training under Alastor Moody, just send him a memo and ask him to pass it on to me."
"I will. Goodbye Minerva." Typhon said wearily. He placed a feather - light kiss on her lips and turned to depart. "I hope we shall meet again one day." And then he was gone.
Minerva sighed and turned back to face the desolate scene around her. For now, she had work to do; Alastor couldn't catch all of Grindelwald's supporters alone and London wouldn't rebuild itself. Then she got to thinking. Maybe, from the midst of chaos, it was possible to find something beautiful. Like a phoenix from the ashes. And possibly, just possibly, air raids were not as bad as Minerva had first thought.
A/N: It's weird, I know, but all the same, reviews are greatly appreciated. This fanfic was inspired by THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, a remarkable read if ever I saw one.